De Blasio Urges U.S. Support for New York City Amid Viral Surge
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the federal government to step up supplies of tests and treatments to the city amid a spike in infections caused by the omicron variant.
President Joe Biden needs to use “every tool” possible, De Blasio said Sunday at a press conference. He suggested using the Defense Production Act to increase testing and treatment, including the supply of monoclonal antibodies, and accelerating the authorization of Pfizer Inc.’s antiviral pill.
“We are feeling the omicron wave especially hard right now but we know it’s going to be all over the country,” de Blasio said. “This whole country needs go on a war footing to fight back.”
New infections in New York City have tripled over the last month. The seven-day average of new cases reported on Sunday was 5,731, a number de Blasio called “really shocking.” New York state has broken records for new infections for the last three days, reporting 22,478 new cases on Sunday.
To fight the surge, the city is focused on maximizing vaccination as well as booster coverage during this “temporary reality,” de Blasio said.
Long waiting times, particularly for tests, are a challenge during this surge, he said. To reduce them, the city is opening new sites in all boroughs, expanding hours at existing sites and distributing at-home tests through community-based organizations.
Case counts and test positivity are higher in Manhattan than in other boroughs, said Dave Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner. That reflects a combination of more infections and that more people in Manhattan are seeking tests.
De Blasio, who leaves office at year-end, was also joined by Mayor-elect Eric Adams. Adams said his transition team and City Hall “are speaking every day” to ensure continuity in the city’s Covid fight.
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