Saturday, May 2, 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces Results of Completed Antibody Testing Study of 15,000 People Show 12.3 Percent of Population has Covid-19 Antibodies

  Today is Saturday. I know that because it's on the slide, otherwise I may not have known that. I follow the days by what's on the PowerPoint. Everybody talks about this is uncharted waters, that we've never been here before, and that's true. But even when you are in uncharted waters, that doesn't mean you proceed blindly, right. 

So uncharted waters doesn't mean proceed blindly, right? It means get information, get data, the best you can, and use that data to decide where you're going. So, especially in this situation, you have so much emotion, you have politics, you have personal anxiety that people feel, social anxiety, social stress. Let's stick to the facts, let's stick to the data, let's make sure we're making the best decisions with the best information that we have. So, we do a lot of testing, a lot of tracking to find out where we are.

We test number of hospitalizations. Every night we find out how many people are in the hospital the day before, and we've been tracking that. Good news is that number is down a tick again today. The net change in hospitalizations is down tick. Intubations is down, which is very good news. The new cases walking in the door, the new COVID cases, the number of new infections, was also down a little bit, 831. It had been relatively flat at about 900 every day, which is not great news. Yesterday was 831. We'll watch to see what happens with that. The number that I watch every day, which is the worst, is the number of deaths. That number has remained obnoxiously and terrifyingly high, and it's still not dropping at the rate we would like to see it drop. It even went up a little bit, 299, 289 the day before. That is bad news. Two hundred and seventy-six deaths in hospitals, 23 in nursing homes. As everybody knows, nursing homes are where the most vulnerable population and the highest number of the most vulnerable population.

Again, use the data, use information to determine actions. Not emotions, not politics, not what people think or feel, but what we know in terms of facts. We've been sampling all across the state to determine the infection rate so we know if it's getting or if it's getting worse. We've done the largest survey in the nation testing for people who have antibodies. If somebody has antibodies, it means that that person was infected. That's what the antibody test does for you. It tells you that that person was infected. They've now recovered so that they have antibodies. I went through this with my brother Chris. He got infected, he now has the antibodies. So if you test him, he tests positive for antibodies.

We've been doing these antibody testings all across the state. We have the largest sample now, over 15,000 people which is an incredibly large sample. When we started on the 22nd, we have 2,900 people surveyed at that time. We had about a 13.9 percent, just about 14 percent, infection rate statewide. It then went up to about 14.9 and today it is down to 12.3. Now, statisticians will say this is all plus or minus in the margin of error, but it's a large sample, it is indicative, 14.9 down to 12.3. As you can see, we test about every 4 or 5 days. We have so much at stake, so many decisions that we have to make that we want to get those data points as quickly as we can.

Seeing it go down to 12 percent, may only be a couple of points, but it's better than seeing it go up, that's for sure. Again, this is outside the margin of error so this is a good sign. It is 15,000 people surveyed so it's a large number. You can then start to look at where in the state, who in the state, so that will inform our strategy. You can see it's a little bit more male than female, not exactly sure why that is. In New York City, you see the number went from 21 to 24 and it's down to 19.9. Again, that's a good sign. You always want to see the number dropping rather than the number increasing. Within New York City you see the Bronx is high, 27 percent, Brooklyn 19, Manhattan 17, Queens 18, Staten Island 19. We're going to do more research to understand what's going on there. Why is the Bronx higher than the other boroughs?

Statewide, you see it's basically flat. This is predominantly an issue for New York City, then Long Island, then the northern suburbs, then the rest of the state. But Erie County, which is Buffalo, New York has been problematic. The racial breakdown we're looking at to study disproportionate impact, who is paying the highest price for this virus what's happening with poorer communities, what's happening with the racial demographics, overlaid over the income demographics, and also if there's any information that could be instructive.

We're still getting about 900 new infections every day walking into the hospital. That is still an unacceptably high rate. We're trying to understand exactly why that is, who are those 900? Where is it coming from? What can we do to now refine our strategies to find out where those new cases are being generated, and then get to those areas, get to those place, get to those people to try to target our attack.

If you remember we had the first cluster in the nation. The first hot spot even before they called them hot spots was New Rochelle, Westchester. There was a tremendous outbreak in New Rochelle. We then sent all sorts of resources into New Rochelle and we actually reduced that hot spot.

We're going to distribute today 7 million masks to just those communities in nursing homes, poorer communities, people in public housing in New York City, New York City Housing Authority, so we'll be doing that today. Seven million masks is a large number. There is about 9 million people in New York City total 7 million masks will make a big difference.

We're also funding food banks. The more this has gone on, the longer people are without a job, the longer people are without a check, basics like paying rent and buying food become very important. We have addressed the rent issue, the immediate urgent need. Nobody can be evicted for nonpayment of rent and that's true through June. So, people are stable in their housing environment.
The next basic need is food right and we're operating food banks. We just funded $25 million more in food banks. All the food banks will tell you that the demand is way, way up and we need help in funding the food banks. There are lot of philanthropy, a lot of foundations that are in the business of helping people. Well if you're foundation or not-for-profit, or philanthropy, or a person who wants to help, we could use more funding for food banks. The state budget is also very stressed with what's going on. So, we don't have the state funds to do what's need. But we would appreciate donations for the food banks.

And to keep our transit workers safe and to keep the public safe, the riding public, we're going to do something that has never been done before. And that is that the MTA is going to be disinfecting every train 24 hours. This is such a monumental undertaking I can't even begin to describe it to you. The New York City subway system has never been closed. It operates 24 hours a day because we have a 24-hour city. We're taking the unprecedented step during this pandemic of closing the system for four hours at night from 1:00 a.m. to 5 a.m. when the ridership is lowest. The ridership is lower to begin with. It's down about 90 percent because of everything, but its lowest during 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. We're going to close it from 1:00 a.m. to 5 a.m., the MTA is going to literally disinfect every train and I just view the operations on how they're doing it, it's smart, it's labor intensive. People have to wear hazmat suits. They have a number of chemicals that disinfect, but literally you have to go through the whole train with a misting device where they spray disinfectant literally on every surface. You know this virus, they're just studying it now, but there are reports that say the virus can live two or three days on some surfaces like stainless steel. You look at the inside of a subway car, you look at the rails, you look at the bars, they're all stainless steel. So, to make sure the transit workers are safe, to make sure the riding public is safe, the best thing you can do is disinfect the whole inside of the car, as massive a challenge as that is. But that's what the MTA is doing and they're doing it extraordinarily well.

You know, this was a delicate balance all along. We needed New Yorkers to understand how dangerous this virus was, and we communicated that early on, so that when we want stay home, people understood they should really stay home, right? New Yorkers can be a cynical bunch, and just because a governor says stay home, they're not going to stay home unless they understand why they need to stay home. So, we presented those facts, but at the same time we're saying to essential workers, after hearing just how dangerous the virus is, and by the way, you have to go for work tomorrow. And they did. And if the essential workers didn't, then you would have seen a real problem. If you don't have food on the shelves, if you don't have power to homes, if you don't have basic services, if the police don't show up, if the fire department doesn't show up, if the EMTs don't show up, if the ambulances don't run, if the nurses don't show up, if the doctors don't show up, then you are at a place where you've never been before.
So, after communicating how dangerous this situation was, the next breath was, but frontline workers, you have to show up. And then did. And they did. And they did their job. That's an extraordinary example of duty and honor and respect and love for what they do and who they are and love for their brothers and sisters in the community. And they demonstrated it. They didn't say it. They demonstrated it, every day when they get up and they leave their house. So, God bless them all, but we also have to do what we have to do to make sure we're doing everything we can to keep them safe, and this heroic effort on cleaning the subways is part of that. And we will continue it, because we are New York tough, but tough doesn't mean just tough, it means smart, it means united, it means disciplined and it means loving. You can be tough and you can be loving. They're not inconsistent. Sometimes you have to be tough to be loving. And that's what New York is all about.

Amid Ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Issues Executive Order Delaying School Board Elections and Budget Votes Until June 9th Village Elections Until September 15th

All School Board Elections and Budget Votes Will Be Conducted by Mail
Local Special District and Village Elections Will Be Delayed Until September 15, 2020

  In an effort to keep New Yorkers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued an executive order delaying school board elections and budget votes statewide until June 9, 2020. The school board elections and budget votes will all be conducted by mail and all qualified voters will be sent an absentee ballot with return postage paid. The Executive Order also delays local special district and village elections until September 15, 2020.

"We've made great progress to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but we still don't know when this pandemic will end and we don't want to undo all the work we've already done to flatten the curve," Governor Cuomo said. "We don't want to put New Yorkers in a situation where they are possibly putting their health at risk, so we are delaying school board elections and conducting them by mail and delaying all local special district and village elections to help limit any unnecessary exposure to this virus among both voters and poll workers."


Governor Cuomo has moved village special district and village elections back to September 15th not to infect or kill people during COVID-19. 

However while Governor Cuomo cares about people in the small villages of New York State, he does not care about the people of New York City, and continues to have the election on June 23rd and not move it back to September 15th like other areas of New York State.

No. 202.26: Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency

No. 202.26

E X E C U T I V E  O R D E R

Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws
Relating to the Disaster Emergency

WHEREAS, on March 7, 2020, I issued Executive Order Number 202, declaring a State disaster emergency for the entire State of New York; and
WHEREAS, both travel-related cases and community contact transmission of COVID-19 have been documented in New York State and are expected to be continue;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 29-a of Article 2-B of the Executive Law to temporarily suspend or modify any statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or parts thereof, of any agency during a State disaster emergency, if compliance with such statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation would prevent, hinder, or delay action necessary to cope with the disaster emergency or if necessary to assist or aid in coping with such disaster, I hereby temporarily suspend or modify, for the period from the date of this Executive Order through May 31, 2020 the following:
  • Sections 103 and 104-b of the General Municipal Law, to the extent necessary to allow a board of elections to procure and provide absentee ballot applications, absentee ballots, envelopes, or any other means of transmitting an absentee ballot application or absentee ballot, including postage, to voters without the usual advertising for bids and offers and compliance with existing procurement policies and procedures;
  • Sections 1804, 1906, 2002, 2022, 2601-a of the Education Law, to the extent necessary, to provide that the annual district meeting and election of every common, union free, central and central high school district and the annual meeting of every city school district in a city having a population of less than one hundred twenty-five thousand inhabitants was scheduled to be held on the third Tuesday of May, two thousand twenty is hereby adjourned and rescheduled until June 9, 2020, which shall be deemed the  statewide uniform voting day;
  • Sections 2003, 2004, 2022 2601-a of the Education Law, to the extent necessary to provide that trustees or boards of education of each such school district shall provide notice of such adjourned meeting to the qualified voters in the manner prescribed for notice of the annual meeting except that the number of required publications shall be two and the first publication must be no later than 28 days before the election, and such notice shall provide for an adjourned budget hearing. Such adjourned meeting shall take place remotely, and qualified voters shall vote in such adjourned election only by absentee ballot, to be provided to all qualified voters by each school district. Each district shall send out postcard notice which details the date of the election, date of budget hearing, definition of qualified voter, and an absentee ballot, The adjourned district meeting or district meeting and election shall be deemed the annual meeting or annual meeting and election of the district for all purposes;
  • Sections 1608 and  1716 of the Education Law to the extent necessary to allow report cards to be submitted to the State Education Department no later than 18 days prior to the date of the adjourned meeting, and the department shall make its compilation available electronically at the latest on June 2, 2020, seven days prior to the adjourned meeting date;
  • Sections 2018-a and 2018-b of the Education Law are temporarily suspended and hereby modified to provide that due to the prevalence and community spread of COVID-19, that the potential for contraction of the COVID-19 virus shall be deemed temporary illness;
  • Sections 2018-a and 2018-b of the Education Law are hereby modified, only for the purpose of any election held on or before June 30, 2020, to require every eligible voter be sent an absentee ballot with a postage paid return envelope;
  • Sections 2018, 2032, and 2608 of the Education Law to the extent necessary to allow candidates be listed on ballots alphabetically, and that ballots for small city school districts shall be set 30 days before the election;
  • Sections 2018 and 2608 of the Education Law to the extent necessary to eliminate any minimum threshold of signatures required, provided, however, an individual must meet any other requirements necessary to be placed on the ballot, including any applicable residency and age requirements;
  • Section 260 of the Education Law to the extent necessary to authorize public libraries established and supported by a school district to re-notice an election noticed pursuant to this section. Such election and/or budget vote shall be conducted via absentee ballot in conjunction with the school district’s rescheduled absentee ballot process or independently using the guidelines created for the school district’s absentee ballot process. Such a vote may be managed by the school district or the library, at the library’s request. Furthermore, the same provisions that are made for a school board trustee’s petition shall apply to a library board trustee’s petition;
  • Section 259 (1) of the Education Law to the extent necessary to give applicable school ballot funding propositions for public or association libraries to take place on the absentee ballot used to administer the school district’s budget vote;
  • Sections 259 and 260 of the Education Law are hereby modified for any library election held on or before July 1, 2020, to eliminate any requirement for an application to access an absentee ballot, and each such eligible voter shall be mailed an absentee ballot with a postage paid return envelope;
  • Article 6 and 15 of the Election Law in relation to conducting any village election to be held September 15, 2020 pursuant to this Executive Order, are temporarily suspended and otherwise modified as follows:
    • Any village election previously scheduled to be held in March, April, May, or June will be held on September 15, 2020.
    • For any village election scheduled to be held on September 15, 2020 as directed by this Executive Order, all party nominations shall be made by party caucus, which may be conducted remotely as set forth by the chair of such party, and which shall be held not later than August 20, 2020, and provided that a certificate of nomination from such caucus and any certificates of declination or acceptance shall be filed not later than August 22, 2020, and provided that once a certificate of declination is submitted, no substitutions shall be permitted.
    • All independent nominations for a village election previously scheduled prior to September  2020, now to be held on September 15, 2020, shall be postponed until such time as NY on Pause is suspended, subject to a process determined by a future Executive Order. 
    • Any village election postponed by Executive Order originally scheduled for a date in March, April, May or June of 2020 for which the ballot was fully determined at the time of this Executive Order shall proceed with the same ballot as would have been used at such prior election, and if such ballots were already printed, such ballots may be used at the September 15, 2020 election despite containing thereon the original date of the election. 
    • Any provision of the election law or village law otherwise applicable to the manner of conducting such an election in March, April, May or June, shall apply to the date of the September 15, 2020 election.
    • Village officials elected at a rescheduled election held on September 15, 2020, shall assume office as soon as the statement of canvass is filed with the village clerk pursuant to section 15-126 of the Election Law or certified by the board of election, and the term of office of such officers shall end as if they had been elected at the time of the originally scheduled election.  
    • Any village election previously postponed by Executive Order for which ballot access was not completed at the time of such suspension shall be conducted solely in accordance with the ballot access provisions applicable to the September 15, 2020, election.
  • Section 8-406 that is modified to the extent that any absentee ballot sent to a voter for a primary or special election to be held on June 23, 2020 shall be provided with a postage paid return envelope;
  • Section 9-209 of the Election Law in relation to canvassing absentee ballots is modified to permit any absentee ballot submitted by a voter who requested such ballot for the prior date of an election canceled and then rescheduled due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, shall be cast and canvassed unless otherwise invalid, unless such voter shall appear to vote on the date of the rescheduled election or such voter requests and returns a subsequent absentee ballot;    
  • Section 8-410 of the Election Law in relation to marking absentee ballots is modified to the extent that for any election held before July 1, 2020, upon transmitting or mailing absentee ballots to voters, the board of elections shall provide and maintain, in its office, a voting system that is accessible for voters wishing to mark their ballot privately and independently, and provided that availability of this service shall be posted on the website of each board of elections;
  • Section 16-108 of the Election Law is modified to permit any Justice of the Supreme Court appointed to hear election matters on election day may hear and determine such matters telephonically or by video conference and shall not be required to be physically at a board of elections;
  • Section 8-407 of the Election Law, in relation to providing absentee ballots to voters residing in certain facilities, is modified to the extent that inspectors of the board shall not attend and/or visit facilities described in section 8-407 of the Election Law, and shall not physically deliver ballots to residents of facilities in person for primaries or elections held on or prior to July 1, 2020, and boards of elections, in the same manner as absentee ballots are delivered to other absentee voters pursuant to Title 4 of Article 8 of the Election Law, shall instead mail or deliver absentee ballots to voters residing in such facilities; and
  • Section 5-204 of the Election Law in relation to local in person registration is modified to the extent that meetings for local in person registration at poll sites shall not be held in 2020.

IN ADDITION, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 29-a of Article 2-B of the Executive Law to issue any directive during a disaster emergency necessary to cope with the disaster, I hereby issue the following directives for the period from the date of this Executive Order through May 31, 2020:
  • Any district or special district, including, but not limited to fire, library, sewer, or water, that conducts an election and/or budget vote shall be rescheduled to September 15, 2020 and collection of signatures for nominating petitions is hereby suspended until further notice, subject to a process determined by a future Executive Order; provided however, a library district may conduct an election on June 9, 2020 pursuant to this Executive Order if such election is managed by a school district.
  • Circulation, filing, and collection of any independent nominating petition pursuant to section 6-138 of the Election Law for any office that would otherwise be circulated or filed pursuant to the Election Law or for any special district election, as provided for in Executive Order 202.13, continue to be postponed until further notice and shall be subject to a future Executive Order.
  • Any village election that was postponed in March of 2020, or scheduled to be held on June 16, 2020, or any time prior to September 15, 2020, is hereby rescheduled for September 15, 2020.
  • Executive Order 202.23 is modified to clarify that any voter that is in active and/or inactive status and is eligible to vote in a primary or special election to be held on June 23, 2020 who requests an absentee ballot via telephone for the June 23 special election or primary election, shall be sent an absentee ballot with a postage paid return envelope; provided however each voter shall not be sent more than one ballot, and shall not be required to complete an application either prior to or simultaneously to receiving the ballot. Further, the board of elections receiving the telephone request shall maintain a record of such telephone request for an absentee ballot, and may complete the absentee ballot application as such record on behalf of the voter requesting the absentee ballot, provided that no ballot shall be deemed invalid for lack of a complete absentee ballot application for any reason.

G I V E N   under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State in the City of Albany this first day of May in the year two thousand twenty.


Secretary to the Governor


    Mayor Bill de Blasio: So, understanding that May is here, we also know that with that comes the warmer weather, and that's what's predicted for this weekend. We all are noting that the weather reports are talking about temperatures in the seventies. So, the spring fever, we're all going to feel it more and more, and particularly our young people are restless, and I don't blame them, and it's been a tough few months, and now the warm weather is going to pull at them. So, the truth is May can be a great month for the city in terms of fighting back and really starting to turn the tide on this disease, but it's going to require us to be tough and disciplined, and the warmer weather will make that harder. But I've seen so much from all of you already, so much achievement in fighting this disease. I have no doubt that we all will buckle down together and get it right. The bottom line is we cannot let up now, and the indicators that we go over every day are telling us a really important story, a good story, but a cautionary tale too, and a lot of information that helps us understand why we can't take our foot off the gas just yet.

Okay, so what do the indicators tell us when they look at them in big picture? The first thing they tell us is don't count your chickens before they're hatched. That this virus is tragically still alive and well, and living in this city. We have not beaten it, and we should not take it lightly. It's a fearsome enemy, and we need to understand this enemy if we're going to beat it ultimately. Today when I go over the indicators, you will see some good things for sure, we've seen that many days, but you have to put it in perspective of what's happening around us. So, yesterday in New York City, 2,637 confirmed new cases of the Corona virus in the five boroughs. That is a huge number. The number of people we lost yesterday, 202 New Yorkers lost their lives yesterday to the Corona virus. These numbers, when we look at them compared to where we were a few weeks ago, maybe we feel a little better, but we can't forget that each and every one of these cases, each and every one of these numbers is a human being. And we can't for a moment, forget what we would have thought about this. If I said these numbers to you three, four months ago, it would have been staggering that that's what happened in a single day in New York City. It would have been staggering. We can't get numb here. We have to realize that numbers like that tell us there's still a real fight ahead. Even if we're going to be tugged by that warm weather, even if we want it to be over, and Lord knows we all want it to be over. We got to look at those realities square in the eye.

So, let's talk about the indicators in the context of a longer period of time. So, on indicator number one, daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19, well this chart speaks volumes. It's very striking, and you see it and you get very hopeful, and you should be hopeful. But you should always be sober about the larger reality at the same time. So, this is how many more patients we needed to care for each day in our hospitals. Now, when you look at the progress, the peak that we experienced with this disease, we now know that on March 31st 850 new cases one day, 850 new admissions to the hospital for suspected COVID-19. On April 11th when we started putting out these indicators publicly, so basically three weeks ago, went down to 383 that's great. By April 22nd last Friday, 176, by today 136, fantastic. That's the good news. Real progress. However, remember the numbers I told you a moment ago. Overall, the number of new positive tests, the number of people who have passed away, and that 136 we feel good about that number, but we still have to remember why we shouldn't feel good about that number, because that's still the number of people every single new day that we're seeing go in to the hospital.

Now, we've talked a lot about test and trace, and we're going to keep talking about it. This is going to be the game changer. The ability to go after each of these cases and find everyone else that might be affected and test widely, and we're building that up rapidly. But you can see, the numbers we're talking about now, how daunting a task that is, you're still talking about thousands of new positives each day. It just puts in perspective how much we have to do.

Now, let's go to indicator number two, the daily number of people in ICU’s across our public hospitals for suspected COVID-19. Now, what does this tell us? Well, it tells us a lot of New Yorkers are still fighting for their lives. And it tells us that our public hospitals, which were born the brunt this crisis, are still experiencing a lot of strain. And we need to get to the day where there are almost no New Yorkers, one day we hope zero New Yorkers fighting for their lives. And we have to get to the day where our public hospitals can rest assured that they can handle whatever is being thrown at them, including all the many, many challenges they deal in normal with in normal times. So, this number is encouraging again, because there's some decrease, but you'll notice the difference between this chart and the last chart. There's decrease, but nowhere near as sharp a decrease. This causes real pause. You know, when we launched these indicators three weeks ago, our ICU’s, our intensive care units and our public hospitals were basically at double their normal capacity. So, there's been improvement since then, but still not back to normal. And again, listen to the numbers, you all like progress, but then you still have to listen to the raw number. April 14th was the day where we saw the most people in these ICU’s, 887. By last Friday was 786; by today, 704 – steady progress, obviously, but not sharp, sharp progress and 704 people is a lot of people.

Okay. Indicator number three, number of percent, percent of people who tested positive for COVID-19. Well, this obviously is the indicator that talks about how widespread this disease is in our City and we're going to get a better and better picture as we add more and more testing. So, this is a great story, the citywide percentage is really improving pretty steadily on April 11th when we started the indicators 58 percent, by last Friday 30 percent, today 23 percent – that's fantastic, a very, very hopeful sign. And the public health lab, which again is a particularly rigorous standard, we saw a real progress today, this is exciting to see as well. When we launched 78% of their tests were coming back positive, by last Friday 52 percent, by this morning 17 percent, now that's fantastic. Now, this number has gone up and down quite a bit so I want to note it's everyday based on the facts of that day it's been as you can see a much choppier pattern. So again, we should never get overconfident but we're happy to see this progress, it certainly shows we are still decelerating and decelerating is the name of the game and that gets us to that point where we can do that big handoff to test and trace and then take the next big step. We still cannot say with assurance that we're out of the woods when it comes to that point about plateauing. Right now, it looks really good, but we are not to a point where we can say we are absolutely sure we won't have some kind of level off and we do not want that level off. That prolongs this agony we're all dealing with cooped up in our homes and everything else, so these numbers we need to keep pushing down steadily.

So, all of that will get us where we need to go, and I want to see us rapidly make progress in the month of May. That big apparatus building and these numbers continuing to go down and we'll go over the indicators regularly and if they keep moving the right direction, we're going to make more, we have more and more ability for that handoff to go well. And then to get to that low-level transmission period, that is the gateway to starting toward normalcy. These numbers go in the wrong direction, we're going to stay tight, we're going to stay in a situation where we do not allow the disease to reassert. So, real transparency here and a real warning about what happens if we slip up, but a very positive reminder of how close we're getting to the point where we can start to make even more progress. So, today's daily indicators after all that context, today's daily indicators show you again just how it's still way too gray a situation and it's something we have to fight harder to overcome. Kind of a mix progress in some ways for sure and progress particularly with the public health lab, which has been— toughest measure but not overall progress that we need to see. So, on the first indicator daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID that went up. It went up only slightly 129 to 136 it's not horrible, but it's not what we need, we need it to go down. The daily number of people in ICU across Health and Hospitals for suspected COVID went down but only by one 705 to 704, 704 is not a good number, progress but not the kind we need. The percent of people who tested positive, unfortunately that one went up for citywide 22 percent to 23 percent but again a very small increase. So, we've got a lot of effective break-evens here. The good news, and this is very good news because it is the toughest measure, is that the public health lab went down and it went down markedly from 36 percent to 17 percent. So, that is the hopeful the hopeful reality today.

Now, we're going to do a lot of things in this next phase in May and when I say phase, I don't mean yet getting to low-level transmission, we're going to have to earn that, we'll have to fight for that. But I mean that May— May becomes the time, if March was the time we were dealing with that horrifying unforeseen, unheard of up— swing in this disease, April was the month we were beating back from the worst and making real progress. May is the month where we do something transcendent, particularly because we build up test and trace. Now we're going to use every conceivable tool. Yesterday, I talked about the fact that we're going to have stronger enforcement efforts, not just the NYPD but by a variety of other agencies that we're going to have people out there on top of enforcement, educating, providing the face coverings for free. We're going to do all sorts of innovative things to keep people helping each other through this crisis and supporting them and pushing them. And of course, enforcing, we’re going to use all the tools creatively and assertively to keep making progress. So, whenever we have a new tool, we're going to talk about it and the impact it can make.

So, now, I'm going to talk about the open street’s initiative, and this is something I want to thank the city council for their partnership. And it's been worked on, not just with the council but with of course, the NYPD and Department of Transportation. The open streets are going to be another way we help encourage social distancing, because the warmer weather tells us we're going to have a new challenge and we combine the fact that we have to meet that challenge by understanding where people are going to be. Again, we're going to require social distance distancing face coverings and people only being out for just a period of time they need for their exercise and then get back. But we do know warmer weather, it's going to draw more people, that's obvious. And we also know that, thank God, the NYPD and all our agencies are getting back their personnel and really great numbers. So, they're regaining their strength in terms of being able to enforce farther and farther across the City and better and better. So, with the city council, we agreed that we would put together a plan to open 40 miles of streets in May, a hundred miles overall in the course of this crisis. And the focus would be on those streets in their parks because we expect them to attract a lot of people in the warmer weather. We want to expand the parks, if you will, by opening up these streets. And of course, the hardest hit neighborhoods, the place where we've seen this disease have the most devastating effect. So today we'll announce the first seven miles over seven miles in fact, of these open streets and these will all be opening on Monday. 4.5 miles are inside parks, they are areas that will now be devoted to pedestrians, bicyclists. 4.5 miles and that's made up of Callahan-Kelly Park, Forest Hill Park, Fort Tryon Park, Flushing Meadows Park, Grant Park and Silver Lake Park. And then 2.7 miles of streets that are adjacent near parks that'll help to expand and affect the parks. And that will be a Carl Schurz Park, Court Square, Highbridge Park, Lieutenant William T. Triangle, Prospect Park, Stapleton Waterfront Park and Williamsbridge Oval.

Now, I'm going to close in a moment, but I want to talk about something very, very sad. This really, I heard about it late last night and it really hit me. We have lost someone who came to our aid, to our defense and there's something particularly painful when someone does the right thing; a fellow American comes from across the country to try and help the people in New York City and while working to save lives here, gives his own life. It's very painful, it's heroic. It's something we honor, but it's very, very painful that we've lost this good man. Paramedic Paul Cary from Aurora, Colorado, part of the FEMA relief effort has died of the coronavirus. For three decades he served the people of Aurora and then came very bravely to serve us – he did not have to do it - he made the choice to come here to save lives. And remember when he, and so many other paramedics and EMTs showed up from around the country, it was a very, very tough moment; we were having the highest number of 9-1-1 calls in the history of New York City and the disease was growing and its impact and lives were being lost and we needed every hand on deck and Paul Cary's one of those people who came. And I got to tell you it just hurts that such a good man has made the ultimate sacrifice for us. So, to the Cary family, we honor, we honor Paul’s sacrifice; we honor what Paul did. He clearly saved lives while he was here. We honor all of you. We grieve with you and we're going to find a way to create a special memorial for Paul here in New York City to remember all those who came to our defense; the paramedics, the EMTs, members of the military - so many good people - doctors, nurses from around the country. So many people came to help, but Paul gave his life for us and we're going to honor him in a particular way. So, everyone, look, the – it's a reminder of the sacrifices that we've seen so many public servants, so many people who serve you have been lost. We've lost four of our own members of EMS. We've lost 10 members of the FDNY overall. First responders, heroes have been lost, healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, everyone who threw themselves into this battle. So right now, we need to be there for their families. We need to be there for the colleagues who are hurting. Imagine how tough it is to be fighting still this battle every day and have lost someone who served with you. We will do a lot to support their families and we will do a lot to remember them and honor them, but I want you to remember, if you really want to honor these heroes, then it's up to you to stick to the rules we're living by now. Every time you do, you help stop the spread of the disease. Every time you help stop the spread of the disease, you're going to save lives and the lives you save could include our first responders and our healthcare heroes. So I want to make it personal for you. I don't want anyone separating your own actions from what it means for the people around you. I want you to take it personally and realize that if we do what we're capable of doing, we're going to save a lot of lives and every time we don't, we could endanger someone like Paul and we can't have that.

So, look, we've talked today about the real progress we've made and the challenges ahead. The good news here is we are winning this fight. There's no question in my mind we're winning this fight. The bad news is we have not yet won - that's the honest truth. Declaring victory prematurely has been proven down through history to be a very dangerous thing. And when anyone from the President on down talks about liberating a city or a state without making sure that the facts support it and the protections are in place for people's health and safety, that's not liberation – that's actually damning people – that's damning them potentially to their deaths and we will not allow that here in New York City. We're going to come back, but we’re going to come back safely and 8.6 million people together have been doing something extraordinary. We got some more to do, but I have absolute faith we will get there together.

Friday, May 1, 2020


Beginning Monday, May 4, the new educational public television program for young learners will air weekdays at 11:00AM EST on THIRTEEN

  Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza announced the launch of Let’s Learn NYC!a new educational public television program produced by the WNET Group in partnership with the New York City Department of Education (DOE) featuring lessons for children in 3K through second grade that will supplement remote learning.

“We’re doing everything we can to make this unprecedented situation a little brighter for our youngest New Yorkers. This partnership will bring entertaining educational opportunities directly to homes across New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.  

"As our city's students continue their education at home, it is more important than ever that we keep them engaged, inspired to learn, and supported," said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “This new partnership will provide young New Yorkers and their families with a fun, new way to learn. We are grateful to our partners at WNET for helping us bring additional educational programming to children across the city." 

“This new program will provide even more fun and innovative learning opportunities for students and families to engage with together,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “Every weekday, our youngest learners will be able to participate in story time, interactive lessons, and hands-on projects all from the safety and comfort of their own homes. We hope to see you there!”

“Our educational mission is central to who we are,” said Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of the WNET Group. “We are proud to partner with the NYCDOE to bring quality educational programming to kids at home. This program is our way of supporting our community during this challenging time in our city and country’s history.”

School buildings are closed, but across the city, families and educators are working tirelessly to ensure students continue their education. Episodes will air on weekdays at 11:00AM EST on THIRTEEN starting Monday, May 4 and will continue through the end of the school year. The episodes will also be available to livestream at 

Let’s Learn NYC! will be hosted by DOE instructional leaders and coaches with expertise in teaching young learners. Educators will film segments from their homes using their phones, tablets, or laptops, and send them to THIRTEEN to be edited, scheduled and aired. Programming will offer age-appropriate content that is aligned to standards and lessons for early childhood education and includes foundational reading skills, literacy, math, social studies, and science.

Literacy lessons will focus on foundational skills such as phonics and fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension, and writing. Each episode will include a “story time” that helps students connect the literacy instruction to important facets of their lives. Other content area lessons will focus on children having fun with numbers, discovering science, and finding out about the world around them. The broadcast will also include “Parenting Minutes,” short videos produced by The WNET Group with information on social-emotional and early childhood learning for families to use with their children.

Let’s Learn NYC! will be broadcast commercial-free on THIRTEEN, New York City’s PBS station, which is available for free to nearly all City residents. The program will also be available to livestream on the station’s website. Following each broadcast, each episode and supplemental learning materials will also be made available on and Archived videos will include English and Spanish captions.

This program is made possible by the Fund for Public Schools’ NYC Schools COVID-19 Response Effort, enabling public-private partnerships to support school communities directly during this time. 

“We’re proud to launch this new partnership with funding provided by caring donors who have stepped up to ensure the well-being and continued learning of our 1.1 million students,” said Julie L. Shapiro, Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for Public Schools. “This daily broadcast will bring joy into the homes of many of our families, while providing high-quality programming that will reinforce foundational literacy skills for our youngest learners. Tune in, and Let’s Learn NYC!”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired New York’s parents and educators to get creative to keep children engaged in learning while they are outside of the classroom,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa.  “By bringing educational programing directly into homes, WNET is making it more accessible and even easier for children to participate.  I truly hope students take advantage of this remarkable opportunity.”


Over seven miles in all five boroughs; Streets will be open each day to pedestrians and cyclists — with limited vehicle traffic — from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting Monday

  In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Corey Johnson today announced the first group of streets that would be opened to pedestrians and cyclists every day starting next week, when spring temperatures are forecasted to arrive. The streets, spanning over seven miles and reaching all five boroughs, are part of the Open Streets initiative designed to provide greater social distancing among New Yorkers.

“New Yorkers deserve safe ways to enjoy the warm weather while we fight through this crisis, and I’m proud of my team for jumping into action with this first group of open streets,” said Mayor de Blasio“Our parks have played a critical role in maintaining public health during this crisis. But we cannot afford to have a high demand for open space create unhealthy situations. That’s why we’re opening streets and offering more options for New Yorkers to get outside safely.”

"Today is a great first step and an exciting day for an entire city starved of adequate open space,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson. The Council is glad our efforts on this initiative have brought us this far, and we are eager to work with our colleagues in government, community groups, and our neighbors to keep expanding this program in a safe, effective, and enjoyable way. While we continue our fight against this awful virus, we need to give people the space they need to maintain proper social distancing, and I'm glad we're making progress towards that goal.”

“As we continue to fight this virus, we need to provide New Yorkers with public spaces to properly socially distance while ensuring our streets remain safe,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “I applaud and thank our agencies, the City Council, and countless partners across New York City for collaborating on a quick and actionable open streets plan. We look forward to naming even more streets in the coming weeks.”

On Monday, the Mayor and the Council announced that 40 miles of streets citywide would be opened during May to allow greater social distancing, with a plan to expand to 100 total miles to be identified in the weeks ahead.  

Beginning Monday, May 4, the following streets within parks will be open:

Fort Tryon Park
Margaret Corbin Drive
Fort Washington Ave
Cabrini Blvd
Forest Park
Freedom Drive
Park Lane S
Myrtle Ave

East Main Drive
Metropolitan Ave
Overlook Parking Lot

West Main Drive
Band Shell Lot
Golf Course Lot

Silver Lake Park
Silver Lake Park Rd
Forest Ave
Victory Blvd
Sackman Pl
Truxton St
Fulton St
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Meadow Lake Drive
Model Airplane Field
Meadow Lk Bridge Parking Lot
Grant Park
Grant Ave
170th St
169th St
Total mileage


The following streets adjacent to parks will also be open.
Park   Boro   Street   From  To    Mileage
Williamsbridge Oval  BX   Reservoir Oval E/W  Bainbridge Ave   Bainbridge Ave   0.60
Court Square              QN   Court Sq W                Jackson Ave        Dead End            0.10
Carl Schurz Park       MN   East End Ave             E 83rd St             E 89th St             0.31
Lt. William Tighe
Triangle                     MN   Dyckman St              Broadway            Seaman                0.05
Prospect Park            BK   Prospect Park West    3rd Street            Garfield Place      0.15
Prospect Park            BK    Parkside Ave             Park Circle          Ocean Ave           0.56
Waterfront Park       SI      Front Street               Canal St               Edgewater St        0.51
Highbridge Park    MN   Laurel Hill Terrace    Amsterdam Ave    Amsterdam Ave   0.41
Total mileage                                    2.69

Pedestrians and cyclists can use the roadbed of each open street. No through traffic will be permitted, with remaining vehicle traffic limited to local deliveries, pick-ups/drop-offs, necessary city service vehicles, and emergency vehicles only. These drivers are alerted to be hyper-vigilant and to drive at 5 MPH along these routes.

“We are excited to announce this first group of Open Streets for pedestrians and cyclists, many of which are in and around our parks, which have already proven to be such a precious resource during this crisis,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “But today’s streets are only the first step. We have many more miles in our sights. We urge Community Boards, BIDs and neighborhood organizations to recommend other streets we can open – particularly in areas that have been hard hit by COVID-19.”

“The additional open space that this plan provides by way of our parks, their perimeters and so much more, goes a long way toward encouraging New Yorkers to socially distance and ensuring our city’s safety and health,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “I am inspired by the way that our sister agencies have come together to reimagine the use of the public realm.”