New York mayor Bill de Blasio anticipates that the city will not go be back to normal until September, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
During an appearance on Spectrum News NY1, the mayor said that the city is on track to have completely eased social distancing measures in time for the next school year.
“I believe right now we are on a good track for the thing I am focused on the most, which is getting us up and running and as much normal as we can be by the beginning of September when school begins,” Mr de Blasio said.
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“I want to see school come back strong. I want to see us do the work over the next few months to get to that point. It is also a natural time when people coming back from the summer get into higher gear.”
He added that he expects other restrictions to be eased during the summer, with some businesses starting to work as normal again.
“In the meantime, I think we will be able to start reducing restrictions and opening up certain types of businesses in certain ways.”
Mr de Blasio did not specify what restrictions may be eased in the coming months.
New York state is scheduled to continue with its stay-at-home order until 15 May, and on Monday, governor Andrew Cuomo, revealed that coronavirus cases in the state have dropped dramatically.
He confirmed that the amount of deaths in the city decreased to 280 on Sunday, from its peak of 799 in mid April, but added that forecasters predict that easing lockdown will increase transmission rates.
Mr de Blasio used the forecasts to dampen any suggestions that the state may reopen once the current stay-at-home order lapses in the middle of May.
The mayor cited a model created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, that is now predicting that 134,000 people will die from coronavirus in the US, a figure that is close to double its previous prediction.
“The faster we reopen the lower the economic cost, but the higher the human cost. Because the more lives lost. That my friends, is the decision we are really making,” he said during his daily press conference on Tuesday.
“When you accelerate the reopening you will have more people coming in contact with other people. You are relaxing social distancing. The more people in contact with other people, the higher the infection rate of the spread of the virus. The more people who could get infected, the more people who die. We know that,” he said.
The governor added: “How much is a human life worth? That is the real discussion that no one is admitting, openly or freely. That we should. To me, I say the cost of a human life, a human life is priceless. Period.”
There have been a confirmed 319,000 cases of coronavirus in New York state, and upwards of 19,415 deaths, as the city has become the epicentre for the virus in the US, according to Google’s dedicated coronavirus page.
According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now upwards of one million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 71,079.