Monday, July 27, 2020

Mayor de Blasio NYC Update on COVID-19 and Other Items

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Well, good morning, everybody. It's Monday, beginning of week, and what are we beginning with? Heat – intense heat. It’s going to be a very hot week, particularly the first half of the week. And I'm going to talk about in a moment the heat advisory and what we're doing to address it. But first I want to talk about a challenge we have been facing over these last weeks as result of the perfect storm that we're experiencing here in this city, crisis, layered upon crisis – all the challenges created by the coronavirus. And we know there's been an uptick in shootings in recent weeks. We know there's been a real problem with violence that must be addressed, and we know the best way to address it is with communities. And you see all over the city, community members stepping forward, elected officials, clergy, Cure Violence movement and Crisis Management System, a whole host of people and organizations occupying the corners. What that means is taking back the neighborhood, making clear that violence won't be acceptable. All the good people who work so hard in this city, want their neighborhoods to be safe, need their neighbors to be safe, they're doing something about it. And they understand and we understand that the best way to achieve lasting safety is with communities and NYPD working together. And the outpouring of community involvement and support has been striking. It's also important that the City government keep investing in communities, going at the root causes of so many of the challenges we face and investing, particularly, in our young people. And that means investing in youth programs, youth centers. We're going to be talking about that in a moment as well. But because we're facing a perfect storm – and no one can doubt that – all of the combined crises and traumas together have created an aberrant situation where we saw crime uptick and a lot of the normal realities just weren't there to address it. We've got to fix that now. Thank God, New York City has made so much progress on the health front. We’ve got to keep that progress, defend that progress, but we also have to restart all the pieces of the criminal justice system to make sure that if, God forbid, someone has committed an act of violence and means to do harm to their community members, that we can do something about it. So, the bottom line is our criminal justice system needs to get back to full strength. Our courts not only need to reopen, they need to reopen fully as quickly as possible.

Now, remember, the disruption here has been striking. And I want to say to everyone in the court system, to the DA’s, NYPD, everyone went through massive disruption. A lot of people were sick. It was impossible to do some of the normal things because of the precautions that had to be taken. So, this is very clearly something where we're all in it together. I want to make sure everyone hears that – we are all in this together and everyone's been through a tremendous amount of disruption, but now is the time to overcome that and start to rebuild so we can really address the violence issue together. A striking reality that there's a huge backlog when it comes to cases involving violent crime – only 50 percent of firearms charges have even gotten to the point of indictment. And obviously, we need to go from indictment through the trial process and determining the fair resolution, and those who need to feel consequences have to experience those consequences in a speedier fashion. That's not happening right now. So, I want to call together all of the players. I've sent this letter this morning to the chief judge and the five district attorneys, saying let's all work together, let's get this right. I want to convene everyone and figure out what can the City of New York do to help each of you and all of your colleagues to get this right? Because, again, just a little beginning of the court system won't get it done. We need to find a way to get back to full strength. And there are obvious issues of health and safety – we want to help. We have a lot of spaces we can make available, personnel to help address the health and safety issues. But I'm going to work with all of my colleagues, the DA’s, the chief judge, everyone in this system to get it right, because we owe it to the people of our communities. And I have spent time with some of the families that have lost loved ones. That is a searing painful experience. When you see what happens to a family, especially now thinking today, and the day of his funeral, little Davell Gardner Jr., and meeting with his family and the pain they're going through – no family in New York City should ever have to go through that. And when you think about that pain, it's incumbent upon all of us to re-glue the criminal justice system, get it going at full strength and make sure there are consequences for those who would harm their fellow New Yorker.

Now, that said, that is how we bring all the pieces together, but we have to keep moving each and every piece as energetically as possible. And this is why our focus on young people is crucial. After a really huge challenges in March and April, all of us together were able to rebound and restart summer programming for young people. I want to thank the City Council for the leading role they played in helping us put that together, but we also have to do more. We have to create more and better space safe spaces for young people. Think about it for a moment. If you're a young person in New York City, you need safe places to go. You need places to grow and develop. You need places for recreation and culture. We don't have enough of those spaces. We need to create more. So, today, we're going to talk about one of the examples of that kind of investment that's going to make such a big difference right in the heart of Brooklyn, in a community that needs this support. And remember, what's so important here – this is about our priorities, and this is an example of resources we took from the NYPD budget and are putting into young people, reprogramming our resources to help young people, to put them on the right path, to stop problems before they begin. So, today, we're going to talk about the new recreation center that will be created at the Nostrand Playground in Flatbush, Brooklyn. And it's going to be amazing. It's going to have an indoor pool, and a track, and a kitchen for community cooking lessons, and all sorts of wonderful amenities that will help community members to have great, great options, especially our young people. And we're going to begin a process of engagement with the community this fall on how to specifically create the center in a way that will be most helpful to the community. And now, I want to thank and celebrate and let you hear from the two driving forces behind this great project. Both of them put a huge amount of – excuse me – a huge amount of time and energy into envisioning this and bringing it to life. And I can attest to the many times they spoke to me about the need to get this done and we're getting it done now. 

Alright, now, going back where I started at the very beginning today, we're celebrating this good news about the recreation center, but we're also dealing with a huge challenge today, and that's the heat we're all facing. And I want everyone to recognize, take this heat situation seriously. Everyone, look, New Yorkers do a great job of looking out for each other. In this situation, please look out for the people in your life, look out for the people on your block and your building. Seniors in particular, make sure they're okay and they have what they need. Everyone's got to stay hydrated. People should not be out in the heat any longer than they have to be. So, take it seriously today and tomorrow – we're talking about temperatures and heat index nearing 100, so this is serious stuff.

Now, the City will have cooling centers open today and tomorrow across all five boroughs. To find those cooling centers – and please, if you need them, take advantage of them, they're a good, safe place to be – you can go to And, of course, you can call 3-1-1. Anyone who goes to one of these centers, you're going to find there’s social distancing, there’s face coverings. We’re taking very seriously – we have to continue to fight against the coronavirus, but, right now, the heat's front and center. So, you can go to one of these centers and know you'll be safe in every way. And we opened up public pools – a number of public pools this Friday. We have eight more coming this coming Saturday, August 1st. And we'll talk about that again later in the week. But already, we've seen the pools that have opened, a huge number of New Yorkers coming out to enjoy them and appreciate them. And again, doing it safely with all the right social distancing. So, the pools are going to help a lot, and more coming up and opening up this Saturday.

Okay, let's go to our indicators. Number one, daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19, threshold is 200 – today’s report, 54 patients. Number two, daily number of people in Health + Hospitals ICU’s, the threshold 375 – today, 286. And number three, most important, number of people testing positive citywide for a COVID-19, threshold, 15 percent –and today, it's – again, this is the best number we've seen, we've seen a few times, but we're back at it again today – one percent in New York City. That's absolutely outstanding and that's because of all the hard work all of you have put in. And I keep saying it, everybody, please do not let up. I was out and around the city this weekend, I saw a lot of people with face coverings, not as many as I'd like to see. Everyone, remember how important those face coverings are. Keep that social distancing, help the people in your life to remember how important it is.

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