well good morning everybody it's a Monday morning and even with all the changes we've been going through these last months of Monday morning still can always be a little tough for all of us so I'm happy to give you some good news to start your week it's important to think about this whole fight we're in the middle of it how many times we've had to emphasize that it's a long battle there are no shortcuts to get where we need to get to really beat this disease back is a long intense process that everyone has to participate in so the good news I'm going to give you in a moment is about how we make that easier for all of us everyone's been doing a great job every time I'm going to say thank you to all of you for everything you're doing to practice social distancing a shelter-in-place to help each other it's been absolutely outstanding but it's not easy and it's taking a long time everyone wants more certainty one of the most frustrating parts of this whole experience has been how many things aren't known how many things aren't known about this disease we constantly feel like we're fighting an invisible and an enemy but not only an invisible enemy a visible enemy that we just don't have enough information about but the thing we all want to know the most is about what's happening to our own families what's happening in our own lives have we been exposed to this virus or not are we still vulnerable these are the questions that people want answered and want to know what it means for their own safety and everyone they love and we know the question has always been from the very beginning this goes back to when we first talked about kovat 19 back in January the question has always been testing testing testing how are we going to get the testing how are we going to be able to get answers even with this difficult adversary this mysterious head versary how do we at least get less mystery about our own lives and get answers through testing so testing is the way forward and it's been a long fight just to get the test we need the ability to give the test but today we have good news today we are beginning to see an easier process for testing and I'm going to talk about it by putting in context of what I experienced Saturday in the Bronx at the Health and Hospitals Gotham community testing center in Morrisania I went up there to see how the testing was being done to see how our extraordinary health care workers at the frontline are giving people answers helping them get clarity figuring out with them what they're going to do next based on the results of the tests making a lot more testing available in the places hit the hardest like the South Bronx so we all know that a few weeks ago we were just trying to save our Hospital save lives we couldn't put together the the personnel and the PPE s and the test kits and all to do community testing but now we were able to over this last week of more and so as of this morning there'll be eight Health and Hospitals community testing sites around the city open for business and since we started this initiative a couple of weeks ago even less than a couple of weeks ago there have been now over 5, 000 tests at the H and H sites another more than 2600 tests at the sites we've sponsored with local 1199 SEIU the healthcare workers union and one medical that number is substantial but now we're going to be taking it up it'll be 10, 000 tests per week or more at these community-based sites and we want to keep ramping that up but the challenge has been and I saw this with my own eyes on Saturday that the tests process we've known up to now the test kits that were used which had a specific long swab and it required a trained medical professional to administer the test not fun and easy very long swab that to go way up into someone's nose had to be handled a certain way kept in a certain environment to be sent on to the lab this was a more elaborate process and not only slower more elaborate for the patient but for the healthcare worker a challenge in many ways and where our health care workers have gone through so much already but realize even in the testing process how much they have to do a health care worker even a new one tests had to put on if you will their body armor they had to put on the whole PPE ensemble a face shield the n95 or whatever type of mask was appropriate that gloves gown a whole specific plan to keep them safe because the problem was with the test we've been using up to now a lot of times it made the patient sneeze and obviously it might be someone would Cove 8:19 and that was going to expose the healthcare worker so it was a laborious careful process but of course a process done with someone who might be infected with the disease that might therefore infect the healthcare worker so we had to take real precautions and that was every single patient every single person being tested hour after hour day after day and it was a slow process and a process that came with real exposure for the healthcare workers who've been through so much we have been working to confirm for weeks now that there was a better way to do this and the good news I have today is there is a better way there is a better way to do testing there is an easier way to do testing and there is a safer way to do testing and we're going to start that this week at our health and hospitals clinics right here in New York City so we're calling it just to make it simple straightforward self swab tests it was it mean it means when you go to one of the community testing sites instead of the healthcare worker having to be all prepared with all the PPE s and then take that very long swab and administer the test no this is a whole different thing this means the healthcare worker explains to the person therefore the test how to administer the test themselves they go into another room for privacy and the patient takes something that's basically a sterile q-tip puts that in their nose they don't have to go away deep just enough to get a sample they forgive my bluntness they spit into a cup and that those two samples provide enough information for the testing to be done much simpler much easier for everyone involved no chance to cause the same kind of sneezing that that long swab way up the nose does simpler but also safer especially for that healthcare worker so many of whom have been putting their lives on the line now for weeks and weeks so when that's done just like we've all experienced many of us at least at doctors offices you hand the sample over to a doctor or nurse a health care worker you do the same here the clinic or the healthcare provider sends it off to the lab to get the results now this is simpler this is better this is something we're going to start using now aggressively because it'll improve the situation for everyone we need partnership from the private labs to do the processing we're engaged in these conversations with them already we need them to step up what our health care leadership here in New York City have told us is it's a very similar process to what they would do with the current samples doesn't take a lot of modification but we need that private labs to agree immediately to do this on a wide scale we have enough to get started but we want to make sure we do this on a wide scale so I'm asking the private labs step up make the small alterations necessary to be able to take these simpler tests and I think that will be a step forward for everyone for health care workers this will be a simpler better reality also think about the PPE s that will now be saved in this process they've been precious up to now that personal protective equipment we know it's been a fight week after week to make sure we had enough this will mean we'll be able to conserve our supply a lot more and make sure we have it for everyone who needs it when they need it so there's a lot of virtues here it will also just take fewer healthcare workers to administer this kind of test because we'll get more done in the time we have so just it helps on so many levels and allows more healthcare workers to be at the frontline where they're still needed so deeply now it's faster as I said right now at an H and H site because you have to process each individual and explain what's going to happen and administer the test and everything has to be done very methodically they can do about 15 tests per hour for each health care worker taking the tests but the I'm sorry 15 I shouldn't say per person per site 15 tests per hour with this new approach that will go up immediately to 20 tests per hour and then we'll keep expanding from there again we need help the private labs we need them to really get with this new approach quickly help move it forward because this will make everyone's lives easier and faster and this will give more people answers and it will simplify and clarify our steps forward as we move into that test and trace period in the month of May but we also still need the federal government I don't want anyone for a moment to think this means the federal government doesn't have responsibility they still do and the big question now and again testing has been the big Achilles heel of the federal government from the beginning but here's a chance to get it right use all the tools the federal government to expand lab capacity so we can help New Yorkers and this is needed all over the country we need the supplies that go to those labs to make them work particularly what's called reagents which are part of the process of doing the actual analysis of each sample there is still a crisis of supply affecting the labs we still don't see the federal government owning this problem to the extent they need to it's been the same story from the beginning not focusing on testing when we needed them to and then even when everyone became clear that testing was the answer we don't see the federal government using all its powers all at tools to secure the supply chain to make sure the test kits originally and the lab capacity is there that needs to be fixed immediately so we can take a big step forward in May now remember the more tests you do the faster you move towards low level transmission of this disease it all starts to come together expand testing rapidly more and more of the contact tracing more and more getting people to isolation who need it that's what May is going to look like but this is actually going to help us speed that up markedly to be able to do a simpler kind of test one day and I think it is possible we'll be able to test every one we need to again we cannot do it without federal help but one day if we do this right we'll be able to reach everyone we need to on any given day and you'll see extraordinary correlation of how every step towards that day connects with pushing back this disease I'm not saying it's gonna be perfect I'm not saying it's always going to go in a perfect straight line you've seen with our indicators and we'll get to them in a minute things go up things go down sometimes we'll have setbacks that's part of life but so far New Yorkers have done an extraordinary job pushing back this disease and now the testing is starting to come into play if we do it right may not be a perfect straight line but it will be regular consistent progress the more testing the more progress this will help us achieve more testing as simple as that so of course once you have the testing more and more widespread you need that ability to trace the contacts of everyone who tests positive and as we've talked about before when we were tragically seeing the disease spread and spread the spread we weren't able to do the contact tracing we were trying to save lives protect hospitals deal with the most basic needs of people but we couldn't build a whole contract contact tracing network that we wanted for something of this size now the good news is we can and that's what we're going to build in the month from a a contact tracing Network in this city likes never been seen before on a vast scale so every time someone test positive immediately we can swing into action figure out who where their close contacts get those people tested to isolate anyone who needs isolation so I'm announcing today that we are hiring we are looking for talented experienced health workers so anyone out there listening to me now watching this or anyone who hears about this if you have experience in the healthcare field if you're ready to lend your talents this fight we need you and we need you right away we are hiring immediately and we'll be hiring throughout the month of May city of New York plans to hire 1, 000 contact tracers immediately they will be working with all the healthcare personnel we have already and people we will train from a variety of city agencies to complement this work as well but right now we need 1, 000 new contact tracers I will getting great help from our fund for Public Health and I want to thank everyone at the fund for public health for the great work you do and all the people who support you and have donated to the fund for Public Health you're going to see that support come alive in a powerful way now as we fight back this disease here in the epicenter but we want to get the word out to everyone that we need to higher up right away as this work begins what will they do the contact tracers literally they'll do the interviews to determine who are those key contacts they'll follow up with those contacts they'll arrange for each of them to be tested folks who need isolation they'll make sure they're getting it they'll help make sure that the steps that are needed are glued together and they'll ask the questions that are needed and that training will be so important to understand if there's anyone who needs that follow-up talk about disease detectives before this is a variation on that but it's the same concept of knowing how to ask the right questions the only how to search for the clues of the people in someone's who tested positive that need to be contacted need to be followed up on need to be tested so again we'll start immediately and anyone interested should go to the fund for public health website its fph NYC dot org again fph NYC dot org very very important please we need you to come forward right away so we can get you into this battle and help save wives here in this city let me switch to a couple of other important topics before I talk about the daily indicators first of all something so many New Yorkers ask about and care about and it's important to everyday life alternate side parking alternate side parking in this crisis we've seen something very unusual there have been so many fewer people out and obviously businesses closed etc that the reality why we need alternate side parking to begin with has been altered fundamentally so we've been watching regular our sanitation department is monitoring communities to make sure we don't want to see communities get dirty we don't want to see anything that would undermine the hygiene of this city in the middle of a pandemic then very pleased by what we're seeing streets are staying generally clean I know a lot of everyday New Yorkers are helping to make that happen I thank you for that so as we continue to see progress we can continue to pull back on alton side parking we've been doing at two weeks at a time we're going to keep doing that for the foreseeable future and we're going to judge each time what makes sense but i am here to announce that we will suspend alternate side parking for the next two weeks and that will take us to Tuesday May 12th again as we get close to that point I will have another update very important update I want to give now and it's something that's been worked on for the last few days the weather has been getting warmer slowly but surely we've talked about the changes that when it gets warmer there'll be more and more people outside gotten a lot of good questions from everyday New Yorkers and from the media and from elected officials how are we going to balance this well well I have a bigger plan for the truly warm weather and summer but in the here and now we can predict in the next few weeks as we go through May it will get warmer and warmer more people out more challenges a lot of folks have asked good questions about what can we do differently and I've said consistently we want to see if there's new approaches but we have to make sure they're safe and we have to make sure that can be enforcement City Council came forward I think it was Wednesday with a vision of how we could come up with a plan to open up more streets do it over time and do it in a way that was responsive to the core concerns we've heard from the NYPD for example about safety and enforcement we've been engaging the city council over the last few days with a very positive spirit because as I said a few days ago when you look at the history of relationship between both sides of City Hall we always come together in the end and find a solution there's been a collegial positive spirit always but particularly during this pandemic and we share a lot of the same values so the City Council has been absolutely right to say let's keep looking for solutions here and I want to thank them for that I think it's been right to say let's find a solution that helps open up space but absolutely keeps people safe because the first job here is to protect people's safety so I want to announce today that we have reached an agreement with speaker Johnson and the City Council and over the next month we will create a minimum of 40 miles of open streets and then the goal during the duration of the CO vid crisis and we don't know how long that is obviously but as this crisis continues we're going to all work hard to keep it as short as possible but during this crisis the goal is to get up to a hundred miles of those open streets and the way we will do it we're going to focus first on streets in and around our parks very concerned about the streets on the outside of parks that oftentimes we're seeing that immediate area getting very crowded that's an obvious opportunity those streets adjacent to parks are not obvious opportunity to open up more space so we're gonna work together to figure out how to do that some places will be able to expand sidewalks use the example of what we did over the holidays around Rockefeller Center where you just open up the sidewalk space into the street more but with the proper kind of barricades some streets will be more local areas that aren't necessary where you have a major attraction like a park but they are places where we can safely open up some space and have it be enforced and another important piece of discussion is early action bike lanes where we see an opportunity to do more with bike lanes done some of that already in this crisis we want to do more so the focus here will be to focus of course same as we're doing in so many other things where the need is greatest so so many communities that we already identified have been very hard hit bike ovid while be particularly sensitive to implement these kind of steps working with the City Council working with the police department Transportation Department sanitation department Parks Department figuring out all the right places we can do this but first priority on the places hardest hit and then of course figuring out where they'll have the biggest impact where the most people are so that's good news from the good work we've all been doing together with the council over the last few days now let me go into the indicators for the day and I think today's indicators are broadly good got it's not the perfect thing we want all down in the same direction but broadly good and we keep making progress in one form or another I want to see more and I want to see steadier progress for us to really be able to make some of the bigger moves we all would like to make so the first indicator today daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected kovat 19 this is obviously the root of everything this one's down meaningfully from 144 to 122 that's very good daily number of people in I see use across our health and hospice public hospitals for suspected kovat 19 that's down but only a little 768 to 766 percentage of people who tested positive for kovat 19 citywide stable not going in the wrong direction at least but stable at 29% the one place that was not so good the public health lab tests went up 46 percent to 55 percent that is again important measure but it's a measure of a smaller group of people when you composite the day progress but not enough progress but it's a reminder everything we're doing is affecting these indicators let's keep doing it so as I conclude and I'll say a few words in Spanish but first say look the tests and tres plan we talked about a few days ago this is really the key and it's gonna be very aggressive it's gonna be large-scale this is how we take the good work that all of you have done we supercharge it by finally getting testing on a wide scale tracing people isolating everyone who needs it doing that is the path forward but we knew the testing piece of the equation was a challenge because we've always struggled to have the testing capacity we needed from the very beginning of this crisis finally we see something simpler having an approach to testing that will protect our health care workers more save time allow a simpler process a process that's easier for the person being tested as well as for the healthcare worker and the fact that it will speed things up and require less personnel overtime is a huge huge benefit so the goal here's the test as many people as possible this is another step toward that it's a good way to start the week with some good news and it makes us even more ready to go into mate with that aggressive test and trace strategy I think is going to be a game-changer for New York City just a few words in Spanish nuestros trabajadores de salud estan haciendo un trabajo Eroica en nuestro centros de prueba LS debemos cada forma de protección possibly Colonel Otto examining Lester Ramos Olivia íbamos has gear amply ando la capacidad de de hacer Craybas para mas New York eNOS cardia estamos poniendo mess piezas en lugar para lo que viene y me promesa a law snarkiness SK vamos a estar preparado z– with that we will turn to questions from our colleagues in the media and as usual tell me the name and the outlet of the journalists calling in will now begin our QA as a reminder we have dr.
death colitis dr.
barb Oh dr.
Katz and senior adviser Jay Varma also in the line first question today goes to Bridget from WNYC join mr.
Mehra and I have some questions related to the election tomorrow would have been the presidential primary here in New York so just a few questions first the governor announced in an executive order last week and the table state board elections long municipalities to mail absentee ballot applications to all voters just interested in your reaction to that along with keeping cool sites open you have any concerns there and he also canceled the special elections for Queens borough president and City Council and I'm wondering the thoughts on that and then finally the State Board of Elections reading today and may cancel the presidential primary here in New York given that you're a supporter of senator Sanders and Ernie but your thoughts on that Thank You Bridget so I think the absentee ballot approach isn't very much a step in the right direction and look Bridget you've been very very deeply involved reporting on these issues for years now this state was way behind the country for a long time last year we saw extraordinary reforms and change it was a moment a lot of us been waiting for for decades or New York State finally caught up with the rest of America in terms of a lot of crucial reforms to make voting easier and to protect the voting process in this crisis to me the first question is health and safety care deeply about the sanctity of our elections but the first question is health and safety so I think the absentee ballot approach is the smart way to go and in fact you know it's teaching us for the future if mail-in ballots might be part of yet another piece of a strategy which some states used very widely already not just because this crisis to make it easier for people to vote and encourage more people to vote so I'm very happy that that approach is being used here I think we could go a lot farther with that potentially I think the absentee approaches what everyone should do so my advice to everyone involved is let's just focus on folks mailing in it's the safest approach it's so long as it's being made widely available and it will be handled benevolently meaning you know for years and years you know there was kind of a burden of proof on the voter if my assumption in my hope here is that every absentee ballot application will be regarded as automatically valid in that case that's the way to go that's where the energy should be focused on certainly don't want to see people out and about who don't have to be on the other issues I honestly compared to all the other concerns out there none of this registers to me as something I'm particularly worried about respect the decisions that the state has made I was a proud supporter of senator Sanders he obviously made a decision to leave the race and support Vice President Biden I think you know that's matter is closed so I think keeping the election activity to a minimum in this environment makes sense what I'm looking forward to is getting through this recovery the right way and getting our whole society back to normal and having elections again as an indicator of our Renaissance of our resurgence but I think that's something that obviously is going to happen in the fall not now next question is to Andrew from WNBC how are you good morning hey Andrew how you doing I was wondering if you had seen some of the studies which show that outdoor transmission of this virus is extremely low and as a result of that are you considering assisting restaurants by closing some of the streets like ninth Avenue to when they ultimately reopen essentially create sort of the maximum amount of outdoor restaurant space in New York City have you begun discussions on that and do you think it can happen yeah Andrew I think that's a very interesting idea you know as we've thought about and we have begun discussions but as I said when we have firm plans step by step we'll unveil them but there's something elegant about that solution we know that when the right time comes for restaurants to reopen there's still gonna be real questions about how much distancing how you protect customers how you protect the folks who work in the restaurant and clearly there could be advantages to having more of at the outdoors you still have to have those precautions thought through and acted on but there's something appealing about shifting more of the activity outdoors and adjusting accordingly obviously in terms of how we handle streets and sidewalks so there's something very very interesting there now I have not read that particular study to be fair and I think one of the things we can say about kovat 19 is we get new information all the time and a lot of unknowns but I'm very intrigued by the idea and I want to see if it's something we can act on as we think about that piece of the reopening I don't know of any of the doctors wants to comment further doctors anyone so I'll just add that my team and I actually have begun those conversations to talk about ways in which we can provide clear guidance to New Yorkers with regards to maintaining distance while we are able to lift early the some of the layers of social distancing and certainly maximizing our use of outdoor space is one of those potential options especially when it comes to restaurants okay next question is Jen pelts from the AAP hi mr.
mayor how are you good how you doing fine thanks I had just some questions a little bit about the self swab testing that you mentioned earlier one was explain a little bit further about why their two samples being collected here in one nasally and one from saliva and also a little bit more about how come this reduces the need for personal protective equipment I'm gonna start as the layman here and then pass to the doctors so Jen the so it is two samples two different samples from the same human at the same time and that actually is helpful in terms of cross-checking and and helping with ensuring the validity of the outcome of the test but the other thing is just to try and I'll try and be clear without being overly graphic so why is it safer because when I was there at Morrisania in the Bronx they they took out the actual test kit and here's the swab and the swab I don't know I can get the exact length one of the doctors probably knows exactly but it's a long swab it's not I think about a q-tip it looks like most of twice that size and that is to put it really deep into your nose in a way that a human being would have trouble doing themselves but a medical professional can perform but the problem is it also causes for a lot of people kind of impulse sudden impulse to sneeze so you guys certain number people who are going to be coveted positive they're there with a health care worker and their health care workers right up close to them performing this test and then the immediate reaction is someone sneezes right at the health care worker because they're right there in front of them so that's not great it's been what we've had it's been the the only option that appeared to be truly consistent and viable and that required a healthcare worker think about the face shield the peepees everything this ain't that this is you know like many of us have experienced at a doctor's office they give you instructions and here's the sample cup that you spit into and you put the cover on and here's the q-tip and you know bring it back and hand it over and then they can package it and send it for processing so it just takes away that that close contact that sneeze the things that would create vulnerability for the healthcare workers also from what I've heard at least has not been done to me but it from what I've heard a lot more comfortable for the patient to not go through that deeper procedure doctors that was my attempt to put it into plain English you take it from there I think it did really well mr.
mayor everyone who has the nasopharyngeal culture done the one up there knows almost always coughs and sneezes on the healthcare worker because it's so uncomfortable so new methods are really needed in terms of the multiple specimens in some cases we may be able to do it just with a nasal swab just swabbing the front of the nose something that the patient can do under the supervision of the healthcare worker as you keep saying and teaching people we're learning new things about the disease all the time we may find that adding sputum spitting does improve the test characteristics or doesn't make it different enough so we may just be doing the swabs but I think the big point which you've made so well is that this will be safer testing and be more comfortable testing for the patients and will enable us to do more testing and reach your goal of being able to open the city safely with enough data to be sure that we don't have large outbreaks in the future okay next question is Christina from choc beat hi mare we have seen some reporting that the DEA is considering a grading policy that many advocates advocates think is unacceptable they don't want to see any grades for high school and they want assurances that every student will graduate from high school this year just curious whether the goe is taking that feedback when we can expect an official policy to come out and and what the holdup is yeah thank you Christina now look the focus has been over these last few weeks to really get the distance-learning moving to the extent that we need it to and to try and consolidate the education of our kids right now under the most adverse possible circumstances 1.
1 million kids spread out over a whole city not a single one of them you know in a classroom in the traditional sense although some are at the enrichment centers it's still not the classrooms that we knew you know in the school structure we knew so that's been the focus of the deal we get that piece right and start building for the future for the summer and for beyond in different ways this week we'll have an update on the grading policy I've had detailed conversations with the Chancellor and his team we'll have an update for you I will say of course the voices of the advocates and every stakeholder is listened to and we want to be fair and we want to be really respectful of students and families in this moment we also want to strike a balance I think it is important with everything in life that there be some real standards I think it helps people to have some clear standards and we think we can do that in a fair way that accounts for how difficult this experience has been clearly want to see as many seniors as possible move on at the end of this school year the right way but we have to structure that in a smart way and again we'll have the details this week next question is henry from bloomberg mr.
mayor how are you doing today good Henry how you doing okay let me ask you this I have you me I don't know whether you've ever spoken about this but why do you think New York City has been such an epicentre for this pandemic way beyond other cities that are densely populated and act as international gateways well that's a profound question Henry I've spoken a little bit to it and I think we're gonna keep researching that question going forward but I would say you're on the right track international gateway in a way that very few cities on earth are I mean I think we have to understand your city you know who we are what we are how we compare to the rest of our country how do we compare the rest of the world we are one of the most international cities in the world with a handful of cities as the true international capitals that obviously in a pandemic makes us more vulnerable we have you know the greatest diversity in the world so we have people traveling back and forth from every part of the world and we saw this pandemic growing from different parts of the world and I think as we look at more and more we'll see that some of that came in from more than one location and that was more of a vulnerability for us than it might have been for some other places yes there are densely populated cities in this country but there's nothing that compares New York City it's just no city that's laid out the way we that concentrates anywhere near as many people that's a huge part of the equation when you think of the second biggest city in the country Los Angeles it's structured entirely differently it's spread out over a vast area you have many many fewer people concentrated in big buildings there's many many reasons why it made sense very sadly and the human cost has been profound and painful there's many reasons why we were particularly in the crosshairs of this disease a lot more will say about overtime I think the other interesting question will be examined over time is you know when all those challenges added up and this disease manifested so intensely and we never seen anything like it I mean again the only parallels 100 years ago thank god this city long ago devoted itself to having a very strong public health apparatus Department of Health Health and Hospitals community based clinics and that is part of what saved us here because our hospital system was strained deeply but it never broke a lot of other places have they had gone through the kind of overwhelming growth of the disease that we've gone through their hospital systems would never have been able to handle it ours held so that's something all New Yorkers should be proud of and obviously the health care workers were the heroes but those are some initial thoughts Henry but I think we'll all be doing a lot more research as we get more information next is Gersh from streets plug i'm good girl how you doing great I appreciate that um so I do want to obviously talk about this massive open streets announcement you just made um you did you enforcement so I need to understand a little about what's different now between what you're going to do and what the NYPD was doing with the original open space pilot have you accepted the council's position that open streets can be done with far fewer cops and with more trust in drivers to stay out of areas where they don't belong so I would say it this way I mentioned I think in one of the settings may even have been in answer to one of your questions a long conversation a few days back with Commissioner Shea and Commissioner trottenberg I mean we went deeply into the question of looking at each of the plans from around the country something you and others have asked Oakland Minneapolis etc things happen around the world and our comparison to New York City and what it would take here and I think there is you know an assumption and everything we do and it gets back to vision zero that we want to be very cautious about making sure drivers are constantly given the message slow down drive safely recognize the ramifications of what it means to drive a vehicle and your responsibilities so that world view Gersh makes us very cautious when it comes to trusting that if you create a situation whether or not protections and it's not enforcement that you could put people in danger and obviously the goal of an open city street or safe street kind of structure is that people can enjoy it and experience the virtue of it and the social distancing without having a new danger from vehicles so we've always had a concern about enforcement would continue to but the the council discussions with the council I think we're kindred in the sense that we could come up with places to open I think the areas around parks are a great example where by opening them up you were going to capture the natural flow of people one of the things many of the questions I've gotten from all of you in the media but beyond is one of the most important places to open might be where a lot of people are going anyway and just give them more space since more and more people will go there when it gets warmer that also is actually a more straightforward enforcement dynamic then if you're trying to open a bunch of places all over so it was sort of a focus on where the need was greatest both in terms of where people go and obviously communities most affected using some of the enforcement we were already devoting to those areas in an efficient way and then more and more of a conversation revolve this is something the council felt deeply and actually as we looked at more we felt this was a very important Pease revolved around community partners that could be relied upon to create structures that you know if you were going to have a place closed off there would be a constant effort to monitor it to make sure it was safe if there was any problem to get NYPD over there quickly something with a little more structure than for example what we saw in Oakland so I think there's been a really good consensus that we can do something substantial while keeping the health and safety issues upfront and ensuring the right kind of forcement more work with trusted community partners but I would not go so far as to say forgetting what we learned from vision zero which is to always keep our guard up against the problems of people who drive irresponsibly and making sure we're protecting pedestrians at all times next is shunt from the Daily News morning mr.
mayor yeah I was wondering if you could share some more details about the street closure plan I mean to start with can you sort of help New Yorkers visualize what the plan will look like will there be barricades police cars officers enforcing also can you say exactly who's going to be picking the streets will that be do tea or the council or somewhere else and maybe last but not least do you know at this stage what the first streets will be parts of Manhattan Bronx etc anything like that okay so we're all going to work together on the selection council mayor's office NYPD do tea everyone's going to work to figure out the places to make the sense immediately again I think it's going to be a combination I think assume first and foremost those streets around parks where that natural ability to expand if you will the park space and the places where a lot of people gonna be congregating as it gets warmer I think in May we're going to see you know steady warming and more and more people so let's get ahead of that expand out around the parks we'll figure out together where to focus it's one part where you're going to see the most activity another part where you got to see the most need in terms of the health reality so that's obviously a lot of the communities that afflictive the most yes there will be enforcement I think everything you said could you know can and will be a part of it meaning in some places barricades but one of the open questions is you know how permanent for the for the duration of this crisis the barricades need to be or how temporary they can be what will be effective yes there has to be enforcement attached depending on a location it might be more enforcement other places it might be less so long as again there were trusted partners bids have come forward as one example certain neighbourhood entities that work very closely with MI PD this is an idea that commissioner che put forward if the NYPD has a working relationship with an organization and knows that they can rely upon them to manage something and keep in touch if there's a problem that makes sense so and timeline to move obviously as quickly as possible through the month of May but to start where we think there will be the most activity and then build from there details will be announced you know we have to deepen this process with the council and with the agencies as we have the first front of the places that will occur we'll announce that next is yo of from the city I'm mr.
mayor I wanted to ask you about the three indicators the city is tracking for the percentage of people tested who are positive for Cove at 19 why why are you guys separating out the Public Health lab my understanding is that that's a very small subset I guess if you can tell me how many tests the Public Health lab is conducting and is that a special group of people I'm just trying to understand why it's being separated out it's a great question appreciate you off so the indicators I'll start and I'll turn to dr.
das calacas and dr.
varma to speak about this the indicators were developed because we wanted everyone to be able to see in common where we're going but there was real concern that and I think this is playing out in a certain states right now in a very troubling way that if you either didn't have clear transparent indicators or you use the wrong ones or you didn't give them enough time to develop you could really set up that horrible boomerang scenario where the disease reasserts and the diseased reasserts you know I have no words for how much of a problem that would be if it reasserted in a strong way both in terms of the people who would be endangering the lives that might be lost but also setting back any effort to get to normalcy I've said we're not going to be in a perfect straight line on our path back but we need to keep it as tight as humanly possible so having these indicators it was a conservative act to choose three indicators again Ayoo ovulate this on this matter of how and when to reopen I'm on conservative I'm a proud conservative in this matter only but the getting it right being cautious being smart looking for the correlation of the indicators that was the underlying value yes the public health lab is sort of a rarefied slice in my layman's terms it's a high bar but we thought I was right to have it there because we wanted a high bar we wanted to make sure we were really cross-checking all our indicators and seeing something consistent we're gonna see how it plays out we always have the option to reevaluate down the line but so far I think what we've been seeing tracks with what I believe is happening which is we are getting steadily better but we're far from out of the woods look at the number of new cases every day look at the number tragically of New Yorkers who we're losing every day it's better than what it was you know a month ago or a few weeks ago but it's nowhere near what we want it to be and need it to be I think the indicators are doing their job right now but dr.
das caucus dr.
Varma why don't you jump in mr.
mayor so the public health lab actually focuses on testing in patients so it's the sickest New Yorkers who are being tested the indicator the reason that they're too in a graph is because we want to look at them in combination sort of the sickest folks we're being tested as well as just the general population who's being tested so we think it gives a pretty robust view and again like the mayor said you know we really will be able to adjust these further if necessary but the most important message is that the trend is definitely down in both so day to day variations to be expected especially since we test fewer folks the Public Health lab but again since the trend is down we are going in the right direction and does provide for some cautious optimism doctor Varma you want to add I guess he doesn't want to add okay okay next is Gloria from New York one thank you I have two questions for you the first um I understand what the doctors have explained about how this test is easier to administer but is there anything they can say about how you eliminate or prevent the possibility of a person not self administering this test correctly if they do it wrong then is there a possibility that the test might get a wrong result how do you monitor that if the idea is to send the person off into another space to administer the test and my second question is about the streets plan um I thought much of the discussion around us had been about given people who don't have who might not have access to say a park or a large area of open space options so why start with places that are near parks why not focus in places where people might not have that get access to to a green space or place to spread out and take a walk so I'm going to speak to that one and then I'll turn to the doctors on the self swab issue and I think a very good question you're asking about how do you make sure the tests are accurate I think the crucial question here at Gloria is about health and safety so when you think about social distancing and the ability of people do it effectively and New Yorkers have been amazing but obviously space is something we are all challenged by here in general even when we're not doing social distancing it stands to reason the first concern from a health and safety perspective is where are the most people going to be and how do we help address that and of course the warm weather coming on and this is something we talked a lot about with the City Council that warm weather is going to change the dynamic it's going to make it more challenging so the notion of going where the people will be which we know will be a lot of the places they'll be attracted to we're already seeing that on a few nice days we've had that's about maximizing the impact to protect people to give the most people the most opportunity to socially distance again there'll be a focus on making sure we can do it the right way and enforce it and there is an efficiency to focusing on the places we're already doing a lot of enforcement just building them out more if you will and as I said there's gonna be a real focus on the communities have been hardest hit every community in New York City has some kind of place for recreation it's by no means even an equal but every place has some places and folks do congregate all over the city every kind of community in those places so it makes sense to focus there I think as we think about expanding outward it will all come back to where can we find those local partnerships that we can trust to make sure that people are safe again different from the Oakland model which was I think a more honor system kind of model as I said we want something more backed up by a structure by monitoring and then by enforcement when it's needed but we can do that in a number of communities obviously so that'll be an option as well but I think that the first concern should be to think about where the most people are going to be how quickly going to be there and try and get there first and that's around the parks but we'll do these other pieces well we're talking about a substantial amount of space that'll be addressed and we'll work with the council on those priorities for sure let me turn to the doctors on how you make sure the self swab tests is done accurately Mitch you want to start yes sir thank you at least in the beginning we will not be asking people to go into a separate room what we'll be doing is setting it up so that they're looking into a mirror and the health care worker is behind them thereby protected from then the health care worker being sneezed at or coughed on but they'll be able to observe in the mirror and help to instruct the person on how to do it we may be using for health care workers who need to be tested and who are therefore very familiar with the procedure we may allow them to go into a separate room and as you keep saying as we learn more and more about these diseases and these technologies we may be able to liberalize it but I think in the beginning it is appropriate that a healthcare worker be observing it but way less risk to that health care worker mr.
mayor I'll just build on what dr.
Katz said and if dr.
das kalapas wants to weigh in I would say that Gloria there are other situations where we work with patients for them to do some collection so for example in our Chelsea clinic we have a clinic where patients can self collect samples to do testing for sexually transmitted infections we provide patient education materials that easily walk them through step-by-step how to conduct the self collection to make sure that we have samples that we can test accurately good okay next is no one from the post mr.
mayor can you hear me yes no one how you doing I'm all right Harry oh good man I have a couple of questions on two separate topics the first of which is I was wondering how your own personal experiences in the park changed your mind or decision-making when it came to opening streets around parks I know when I've been riding my bike on the weekends especially on Kent the streets and the sidewalks of Alban are act with people wondering how your experiences in the park shaped any change in decision that you made and secondly if repeatedly talked about the importance of testing throughout the entirety of this crisis um the New York The New Yorker published a story yesterday that said that in early March your broad proposal to test flu swabs that had already been taken um see if they contained coronavirus I'm wondering if you can comment on that story and why it took your administration according to the story of the better part of three weeks – okay that proposal so on the first question Nolan I've been watching carefully as I've gone around the city and tried to always check to make sure that I was watching for how much people are distancing as we told people is important to use face coverings how much people are using them all these different realities how much people appeared to be out versus you know different points and that's a part of why I've been praising New Yorkers throughout is I've just been really moved and impressed by what I've seen has been so consistent how much effort people are going to to distance and how much adherence there is to the face coverings is more to do on that front but still it's pretty remarkable and when you think about the places I've gone when I've gone to different public hospitals or voluntary hospitals I was at Rumson Staten Island in Kings County Hospital Bellevue Elmhurst Lincoln you know looking around the neighborhoods as I was there my own you're right I've kept an eye out whenever I've been in a park I've been in several different parks getting a sense of that talking to our different commissioners but you know Commissioner Shea has been particularly focused on this issue of going out and seeing for himself places like Central Park Riverside Park Hudson River Park but talking to all of his commands about what they're seeing and I think it became clearer and clearer that the parks were filling up in nice weather but people are still doing a pretty admirable job of keeping distance when you saw folks together attended to be people were family groups or people obviously were in relationships under the same roof by and large so the the impulse that people were living by was really good but the question has been coming up more and more it's going to get warmer and we've all been having these constant conversations when it gets warmer what's it going to look like and what new stresses and strains is that going to create and you know that's where a lot of the energy came from to think about what can we do around the parks and particularly to expand them out if you will and certainly the City Council have been thinking a lot of the same things and it was a good consensus so yes everything I saw in parks but beyond made me feel we had to help people continue to be able a socially distance and that a lot of the Nexus would be around the parks as it got warmer on the question in New York apiece I have not read the piece what I've had summarized to me doesn't make sense to me so I'll look at and I can speak about it in more detail whenever we've heard of any opportunity to get more information and I remember these conversations vividly we wanted to maximize anything that would bring us more information on what was going on and anything that would help us reach more people to help them know their health status so I'll give you a more thorough answer after I've read it but from what I've heard so far it does not bear resemblance to what I remember we have time for two more next is Andrea from CBS hi good morning my question is pertaining to the task forces that you announced yesterday will the city not consider or delay reopening until those task forces back with recommendations in June and so that and mr.
mayor you campaigned on a platform to address any qualities in the city are you now using these committees and task forces to make up what you haven't been able to accomplish during your tenure so on the first part no the reopening will move as quickly as is safe and healthy obviously based on the indicators and deliberatively and we're gonna be very very transparent about what can happen in each phase so long as we keep making progress which is the good incentive for every one of us to keep doing the things we're doing and keep showing the discipline that New Yorkers have shown so no these groups will come forward immediately to work on both issues of the immediate restart and the bigger recovery I've said with those sector specific groups for example we'll have one for small business we'll have one for larger businesses we're gonna start meeting with them right away because we need their input as we're figuring out restarting plans obviously we want to hear from the people will be most affected and the people know their businesses best and their employees best think about the fact that may is our first chance to even begin any kind of restart that will depend on the Vallot that the indicators go in the right direction and it will require you know careful smart efforts and then you test them and it you you you know you do some relaxing say of a particular rule and you watch the impact of it is it working is it enforceable so that's all gonna play out starting in May these groups are going to be meeting in a matter of days to give us initial input and then they'll keep giving us input throughout that June first initial road map that I'm expecting from the fare recovery task force is to set some parameters on how we're going to go through a bigger recovery process and do it in a way that actually helps us address some of the real disparities we've experienced and have a smart and effective recovery that reaches all so we'll get that in June first you know we're clearly not gonna be all recovered by June 1st so that will be more than timely so no none of this slows down anything the whole rest of the government will be doing it augmented vices and gives us more perspective to your other question no I'd say the reality is six years we've been fighting inequality and in many ways that have been profound I mean hundreds of thousands of people came out of poverty as a result of these initiatives and obviously now many many hundreds of thousands of kids got pre-k and I could go through a whole list of things that have happened that have changed the lives of New Yorkers no question that you know that was the right direction also no question that didn't that didn't solve inequality no one said that that's enough to solve the fundamental problem we just have to keep fighting we have to keep going deeper now I think this moment is a transformational moment the first and foremost is to protect the health and safety of all New Yorkers and to rebuild an economy so everyone can get back to work but remember that comparison I say it with the deepest humility andreyev that this city was in a another crisis you know 80 years ago that really paralleled some of what we're going through now and New Yorkers led the way and instead of saying we're going to repeat what we had before including the mistakes we had before they were devoted led by giants like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Fiorello LaGuardia they were devoted to bringing us back but making our society better and fairer at the same time that's what I aspire to start I've only got 20 months but in those 20 months we're going to take some very big steps in that direction and then leave the city a clearer bigger roadmap of where we go from here and I believe these actions can take another big bite out in equality and and move us forward last question for today goes to Allen from 1010 wins good morning mr.
mayor how you doing go down how you I'm fine to do for me the experience needed for those 1000 contact tracers the city is hiring and what does it pay and in the second one we have groceries pharmacies essential businesses have been open now for some time with the new standard the masks the gloves the social distancing when do you see other businesses opening with the same protocol it seems that maybe there are other businesses that could open right now with the right precautions let me do the second one first Alan I would be careful about that the and I think again there's a bit of a Tale of Two Cities going on here in this country the places that seem to be putting you know economics ahead of human lives and then those of us who are trying to focus on the health and safety of people first and then build out our economic restart from there if we're not making the citizens based on health care indicators there's something wrong if we're not making sure that like I said that that sort of foothold idea if you're climbing a mountain or something you get your foothold and make sure it's secure before you go up to the next one I mean right now we're still very much in the throes of this is better than a few weeks ago but we're very much in the throes of it and you know we're not going to make a sudden move that sets us back so when you talk about you know what could you reopen safely we want to be very smart about that because imagine for a moment you know you start to reopen a lot of stuff and people start to get looser and they don't do as much social distancing and they don't wear as many face coverings now the disease starts to spread again and here comes that boomerang we can't have that we have to believe that when we have that jump off moment it's one we've really seen the indicators go down to that handoff I talked about to the testing and tracing remember the testing and tracing is like an offense it's like a fight back against the disease because you're finding people proactively identifying who has it and then tracing the people in their life and getting them testing and everyone who's isolation gets it that apparatus is being built right now that's going to empower us if the indicators are with us to open up more because we're pushing back to disease constantly through that effort so when you get to that kind of point yeah you can say here's some places we can start to open up and yes as you said with face coverings with gloves in some cases whatever it might be with distancing but I wouldn't suggest that just those precautions solve the underlying problem I think we have to make progress on the root cause here and then start to open up slowly but surely and the better we do the faster we open up the more we open up on the question that contact tracers and I don't know if there's someone on the phone of our doctors who can answer right away pay levels and things like the questions Allen asked if hold on I've been handed a note I guess I can answer that's because I've been handed a note Thank You Freddie so the paid annualized pay would be in the fifty five thousand and sixty five thousand range so we're talking about folks who have some kind of healthcare background and can come on board and that is the range but we'll get more details out unless one of the other doctors can speak to any of the other specifics of Allen's question what I can say is we're hiring right away and the details will be online at the fund for Public Health website unless one of the other doctors has something to add let me give them that chance okay so Allen that's some initial information but we will get more to you today and we'll put it up online today on so everyone can see it okay everyone look as we conclude yeah I do want to say a very pleasant thing to have a good Monday morning then we're having a good Monday morning we're taking a big step forward here with testing the fact that we can do testing now in a simpler faster way is going to improve everything it's going to allow us to fight back better and faster it's going to protect our health care workers more it's gonna be a better experience for everyone who gets tested to not a minor matter that's a really good thing I spoke to some of the folks online at the Morrisania clinic in the South Bronx on Saturday morning and you're not surprised to hear they were anxious they were worried they were worried for themselves they were worried for the families the test was gonna be a moment of clarity and definition and the test was going to tell him something and I talked to the health care workers they were outstanding I want to thank everyone at the Morrisania clinic they really really impressed me they said is you know people of course they want answers and they want to know what to do next especially if your test positive how do you stay safe how do you keep your family safe how do you isolate if you test negative you still have to take precautions so the fact is anytime we can make that simpler people are going through a lot they're worried they they're looking for answers we can make it a simpler process a better process more comfortable process that's a good thing on that set unto itself but imagine now the ability to get a lot more tests done simpler less danger to our health care workers thank God and something that allows us to move forward without being dependent on some of the sources we used to be dependent on again that does not mean we no longer need the federal government we do because we still need the lab capacity and again to the labs help us out this test is gonna make everyone's life better join us in that effort to the federal government work to make sure the labs are doing that work to make sure we have all the supplies we need at those labs expand lab capacity testing testing testing when we can do this truly on a bigger level all the time that's when we're going to be able to beat back this disease even more so a good step in the right direction today and a lot more to come in the month of May thanks everyone.