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Coronavirus Update: De Blasio Says NYC 10 Days Away From Widespread Shortages Of Critical Medical Equipment

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to climb in the Big Apple.

"We are now, in New York City, the epicenter of this crisis in the United States of America," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday. "We represent, shockingly, about a third of the cases in the entire United States of America."

At lease 9,654 people have tested positive in the city, and 63 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported.

"This has only just begun... the worst is yet to come," de Blasio cautioned earlier Sunday.

The numbers include:

  • 2,715 cases in Queens
  • 2,072 in Manhattan
  • 2,857 in Brooklyn
  • 1,411 in the Bronx
  • 593 in Staten Island

At least 1,450 people are hospitalized, including at least 370 in the ICU.

De Blasio said 35% of the hospitalizations have been for people over 70, but people over 70 constitute about 10% of the population of the city. So people that age are being hospitalized at three times the rate of their proportion of the population, de Blasio said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said 98 members of the NYPD had tested positive for the virus, including 70 uniformed officers and 28 civilians. Shea said the NYPD remains in a "good place," but is considering going on 12-hour shifts if needed.

De Blasio was among the many elected officials calling for blood donations. Those interested in donating should call 1-800-933-2566 or click here.

Watch: Mayor Bill de Blasio Gives Coronavirus Update

De Blasio praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo's response to the pandemic, but was critical of the federal government.

"We need supplies on a vast scale for the city," de Blasio said. "We are very happy that FEMA is here. That could make a difference, but so far we have no specifics on what supplies we will get when and we need them now."

De Blasio praised Cuomo's announcement of 1 million N95 masks coming to New York City soon, but "I have no such announcement from the president of the United States."

However, during his daily briefing later Sunday, President Donald Trump said he has approved of the major disaster declarations in New York and Washington, adding four large medical stations with 1,000 beds each are going to be built in the Empire State. It wasn't immediately known where the stations will be built.

"Some have been stocked up," Trump said of the supplies, potentially for New York City. "Nobody can say, 'Oh gee, this will happen.' This is very unique. Hopefully, it will be unique for centuries, long time. But systems are supposed to be ready, willing, able. We're helping them a lot. I have great love for New York. I'm sending ships up there, more than just this ship, may be using some of cruise ships, also.
"I think Bill de Blasio is working very hard. It's a tough situation for him and every mayor because nobody's seen the scale," the president added.

De Blasio said, as far as coronavirus numbers go, he expects April will be worse than March, and he fears May will be worse than April.

The mayor said he believes New York City is 10 days away from widespread shortages of medical equipment, including "really fundamental supplies," like ventilators and surgical masks.

De Blasio said the federal response was falling well short of what's necessary. He called on the president to fully mobilize the military and to use the Defense Production Act to require companies to produce equipment like ventilators and surgical masks. De Blasio said the military is uniquely qualified to help because they are capable of extensive logistical operations and are accustomed to moving large amounts of medical equipment and supplies.

"We have seen next to nothing from the federal government at this point," de Blasio said. "Very, very little has arrived. The military has not been mobilized. The Defense Production Act has not been utilized in any way that I can see. Right now, I have to say, for New York, not just New York City, New York state, I think for a lot of the country, it sure as hell feels like we're on our own at this point. We are not seeing action from the federal government."

"We're not getting shipments. We're not getting the stuff we need," de Blasio said. "If we don't get more ventilators in the next 10 days, people will die who don't have to die. It's as simple as that."

De Blasio said hospitals, the city and state are running out of money and need direct relief from the federal government.

"This has to be in the stimulus bill. Support for hospitals. They will not be able to function if they don't get an infusion of money right away," de Blasio said.

"This is going to be the greatest crisis domestically since the Great Depression," de Blasio said. "And we need the Congress to act like we're on the way to the next Great Depression."


De Blasio announced that Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia will take on a new responsibility: COVID-19 food czar.

De Blasio said people need to pay more attention to social distancing, especially at parks. Playgrounds will remain open but will not be sanitized, he said.

"They never have been. They can't be in this situation. It would take a Herculean effort every five minutes literally that we simply can't do," de Blasio said. "If your kids go to the playground, you might want them to not be on certain types of equipment, or any type of equipment. You might say 'I don't want to go to the playground, I just want my kids to run around in an open area.' You, parents, have to make that decision."

Playgrounds will be monitored and social distancing enforced.

De Blasio said broadly New Yorkers are getting the message to stay socially distant. He said more than 13,000 inspections of places where people might gather were conducted Saturday and only 11 violations given.

De Blasio announced 10,000 parking permits will be allotted to health care workers amid the crisis.

Officials say there will be more and more testing sites popping up in the five boroughs, reported CBS2's Tara Jakeway.

A new one was expected to open Sunday at Pier 88, which is located at West 48th Street and the West Side Highway. It's expected to be Manhattan's first drive-thru coronavirus testing site.

The set-up is similar to drive-thru testing sites in our area, including ones on Staten Island, Jones Beach and in New Rochelle, where the National Guard and state troopers direct traffic, and on Long Island, with medical personnel wearing masks and safety equipment approaching and swabbing drivers.

They are some of the essential employees that are exempt from Cuomo's executive order which takes effect Sunday night at 8 p.m., which mandates all non-essential employees in the state work from home.

A similar order already took effect in New Jersey, where its first drive-thru testing facility opened days ago. Hundreds of cars lined up for hours to get the test, which involves prescreening, and then the test, itself: A nasal swab. Results can take two to four days, with the average being about 72 hours.

New Yorkers are being told to stay home. If you don't feel well and you think you have the symptoms, you first contact your health care provider, who will do a tele-health screening -- a video chat with the health care provider, who will then decide if they believe you should get tested. If they decide you need a test, you need to call and make an appointment. You can't just show up: You have to make an appointment.

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