Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Mayor de Blasio on Heat and COVID-19


  Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. Well, let's talk about something really important today. Let's talk about New York City's comeback. Let's talk about how we are going to re-devote ourselves to making this a city that works for everyone. We have a lot of work to do, but the focus has to be on creating not just a strong city, a resilient city, but also a city that truly focuses on working people. And we're going to be doing that now. One of the things we're going to talk about today is protecting tenants, making sure people can keep a roof over their head. But we have a lot of work ahead to make sure we build an equitable economy, a bigger vision of an economy that is sustainable and fair and available to all. We want an economy that everyone gets to participate in. So, we've got a lot to talk about today, and going forward, but first we have a really important reminder – the heat. The heat is still with us. It's with us today. It's with us tomorrow – heat advisory in effect. So, look, every time I talk to you about these kind of weather situations, what I'm saying to you is take it seriously. Do not ignore it. Do not underestimate it. Particularly if you're at all vulnerable, be careful. This is serious, serious heat – heat index values up to 97 degrees. And that will be today and through tomorrow night. So, we have our City cooling centers open across the five boroughs and they are safe places to be because they're cool, but they're also safe because we're practicing social distancing and having the face coverings – everything. So, it's a good place to be. If you need help, if you need to know where, go to nyc.gov/chillout or call 3-1-1. That is available for free for anyone who needs a cool location. And look, New Yorkers always look out for each other. There's no one more compassionate than a New Yorker, and, in a crisis, especially, that's true. So, look out for your neighbors. Look out for seniors. Look out for anyone who doesn't have air conditioning, see if they need any help. And anyone who needs a place to go, we have for them.


Now, let's go back to the things we're challenged by now and what it means also as we go forward. So, if this was just the coronavirus crisis, if it was just a health crisis, that would be one thing, but we all know it's so much more. And the economic crisis has had such a painful impact on so many New Yorkers. So many people without a livelihood. So many people can't afford the basics anymore. So many people who don't know how they're going to keep a roof over their head. We need to be there for them. And there's so much more we need to see done in Washington and Albany to help tenants. But, right now, we want to do everything we can in the city. So, we're launching the first ever tenant protection portal. Now, this is one stop shopping. This is a place where you can go for free and get all the help you need to protect yourself. You can get a lot of information. You can get access to free legal services. You can get to a real human being who will talk through your options, your rights, the different ways that we can help you. I don't want to see anyone lose their apartment because they can't afford the rent, because they just don't have a livelihood anymore. So, I want to say to anyone, if you need help, this is the place to go to get that help. You can go online or any time you can call 3-1-1 and simply say tenant helpline. But the point is, there are real people who work for the City of New York whose job is to protect tenants, to talk to tenants, to help you find every tool, every resource to protect yourself and your family. And we are here for you, again, always for free.

Now, let's talk about the indicators today. Number one, daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19, threshold, 200 patients – today's number, 61. Number two, daily number of people in Health + Hospitals ICUs, threshold 375 – and today's report, 297. And finally, number three, percentage of people testing positive citywide for COVID-19, threshold 15 percent – and today's report, two percent. That's the number we've been at the most over the last two months. That is a good number. Keep doing what you're doing, New York City.

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