10 things we learned from Mayor de Blasio’s Coronavirus roundtable with community and ethnic media

Photo credits: Isseu Diouf Campbell

Mayor de Blasio hosted a Coronavirus Roundtable with Health & Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot, Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services Dr. Raul Perea-Henze, Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Bitta Mostofi, Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Marco Carrión, and Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell to update the community and ethnic media on the Coronavirus crisis in New York City, on March 11, 2020 at City Hall.

These are the 10 things we learned:

1- The novelty of the virus makes it difficult to manage
“The scientific community is trying to understand this disease and there’s new information coming up every day, including from our own health workers here in New York City,” said Mayor de Blasio

“No one in the world has ever been exposed to this,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “And so there are a lot of people who are not immune. And when we have that kind of a situation, it’s natural that every day we will be learning new things.”

2- The government can’t do it alone
“This is not just a crisis that the government takes care of for you and we’ll call you when it’s over,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “That’s not how this works. Everyone has to be a part of solving this. So those good common-sense personal hygiene adjustments as we just saw, make a difference.”

3- Wash your hands frequently with soap, cough or sneeze into your sleeve and stay home if you’re sick
“Wash your hands frequently, best to do it with soap and water, but if you’re not close to a water source, use alcohol-based sanitizer,” said Commissioner Barbot. “The other thing is that if you cough or sneeze, to do it into your sleeve, not into your hand, and most importantly, if you’re sick, don’t go to work, don’t send your child to school.”

4- Symptoms arise between two to six days after exposure
“The average time that it takes for someone who has been exposed to COVID-19 to develop symptoms is anywhere around five to six days,” said Commissioner Barbot. “It can be as short as two days. And so in that time, most people develop, as I mentioned before, fever (100.4) and cough, or fever and shortness of breath. And so what we are advising New Yorkers to do is to stay home for the first 48 hours and if they’re not getting better, to then reach out to their doctors.”

5- Undocumented and uninsured New Yorkers will receive care
“I want to really emphasize that, anyone who comes for healthcare, we will not ask documentation status – we want everyone to get the help they need,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We’re not in our public healthcare system stymied by someone’s ability to pay or not. We’re going to give them care.”

6- Testing is only for those with sustained symptoms consistent with coronavirus
“It’s not for lack of testing capacity,” added Mayor de Blasio. “It is I think intelligent prioritization.”

“Some can do 150, 200 like Columbia, Cornell, Montefiore, Mount Sinai, and the expectation is that by the end of the week collectively we will all have around 5,000 – the capacity to do 5,000 tests a week,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Raul Perea-Henze.

7- Not all NYC Schools are closing
“We’ve had to determine the right way to address a situation in a school, not with a sledgehammer, if you will, but with a scalpel, not with a full closure of vast numbers of schools for long periods of time, but with a very pinpoint approach to addressing the specific school, the specific needs and then getting that school up and running,” said Mayor de Blasio

8- Affected businesses will be eligible for zero interest loans or grants
Businesses with fewer than 100 employees, seeing a decrease in sales up to 25% or more will be eligible for zero interest loans up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit and small businesses with fewer than five employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees

9- There are 154 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in New York City
As of March 13, 2020, Mayor de Blasio confirmed that out of 8 million New Yorkers, 154 people had contracted the Coronavirus in New York City.

10- The Coronavirus crisis can last to September
“Dr. Barbot said, and I’ve commended her for it, her assessment as a professional is that this will be until September, could be less, could be more, but I want to just let that hang in the air for a moment, said Mayor de Blasio.”