NEW YORK, NY — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned residents against relaxing efforts to remain socially distant despite encouraging coronavirus testing numbers in recent weeks during his Sunday press briefing.
De Blasio praised the "vast majority" of New Yorkers who are taking social distancing measures seriously and practicing good behaviors such as wearing face coverings while outside and avoiding large gatherings.
"There's always going to be exceptions, there's always going to be some people who don't get the message or are thinking about themselves and not other people," de Balsio said Sunday. "But the vast majority of New Yorkers have really risen to the challenge powerfully."
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Going forward, the city must focus on preventing a second surge in coronavirus infections, de Blasio said Sunday. De Blasio warned that lifting restrictions on businesses, schools and some social gatherings too early could result in a second wave of infections, setting back the city's recovery from the virus.
"I think we've all established, we all have seen painfully, so many of us have experienced it in our own families and in our own lives why it's such a dangerous disease. This is not a disease that will just walk away and leave us alone," de Blasio said Sunday. "The danger is a bounce back, a boomerang where the disease seems to be going away and then reasserts."
With temperatures reaching the 70s on Saturday, New Yorkers flocked to city's parks in large numbers. Concerned New Yorkers posted photos and videos to social media that showed crowded lawns and people gathering without masks. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Sunday that he thought the NYPD and city agencies handled the park crowds well. Officers handed out 43 summonses for violating social distancing rules in parks on Saturday, Shea said.
De Blasio said Sunday that New Yorkers need to remain vigilant when visiting public spaces and limit any interactions to people who they live with. The mayor also made a point to differentiate between large numbers of people heading to parks and organized public events such as funerals. This week, the NYPD cracked down on two public funerals in Williamsburg.
New York's "key indicators" show that social distancing measures have helped curb the spread of coronavirus, but hundreds of new cases are still being admitted to the hospital every day. Daily hospital admissions as of May 1 are at 113 cases — an increase from 92 the day before — there are still 645 people in city ICUs and the percent of coronavirus tests with positive results are down to 20%, de Blasio said Sunday.
Coronavirus has sickened more than 166,000 New Yorkers since the city's first confirmed case was recorded in March, according to city data. Of those who have fallen ill with the virus, 13,156 have died with an additional 5,126 probable deaths, according to the data.