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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio warns at least HALF of New Yorkers will get coronavirus as U.S. death toll tops 1,000

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AROUND half of all New Yorkers may get coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned, as the U.S. death toll soared past 1,000.

“We are concerned about how many people are contracting the disease. I mean, I’ve been honest with New Yorkers – probably before this is over, half of all New Yorkers, if not more, will contract this disease,” de Blasio told CNN‘s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday.

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 Over half of all New Yorkers may get coronavirus during the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned

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Over half of all New Yorkers may get coronavirus during the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio warnedCredit: Reuters
 'We are concerned about how many people are contracting the disease,' de Blasio said

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‘We are concerned about how many people are contracting the disease,’ de Blasio saidCredit: AFP or licensors
 The U.S. Navy ship USNS Watkins docked in NYC on Wednesday, as the city prepared to get a massive hospital ship in the coming weeks

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The U.S. Navy ship USNS Watkins docked in NYC on Wednesday, as the city prepared to get a massive hospital ship in the coming weeksCredit: Splash News

The mayor’s announcement came as the total confirmed cases in the Big Apple topped 20,000, with at least 280 dead.

“Thank God 80 percent of them will have a very mild experience,” de Blasio said of people who will fall ill from COVID-19.

Even if a majority of the cases are mild, however, de Blasio warned it will put a strain on the healthcare system.

With a population of 8.6 million, this would mean over 4 million New Yorkers will become ill with the virus.

“You know, even a lot of the folks we’re talking about, the health care workers if they’re younger, if they’re healthy, they’ll probably miss work for a week, 10 days, and come back,” de Blasio told CNN.

“But at any given point, a lot of them will be out.

“So that adds stress, which is why we must have some source of additional professionals soon coming in from other parts of the country.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned on Tuesday that as new cases have doubled over three-day periods, hospitals may be soon overwhelmed and around 40,000 New Yorkers may die before the pandemic is over.

New York received a shipment of 400 ventilators this week, to help with an expected shortage in the coming weeks.

The Navy ship USNS Watkins arrived in NYC on Wednesday, as the city prepared for the massive hospital ship, USNS Comfort, to dock sometime in April.

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 Times Square is nearly empty as New York is under a stay-at-home order

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Times Square is nearly empty as New York is under a stay-at-home orderCredit: EPA
 A subway car is nearly empty as all non-essential workers are at home

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A subway car is nearly empty as all non-essential workers are at homeCredit: Represented by ZUMA Press, Inc.

On Thursday, the total coronavirus deaths in the U.S. skyrocketed past 1,000, with more than 200 deaths confirmed for the first time in a 24-hour period.

Both Cuomo and de Blasio have asked for additional masks, ventilators and medical supplies as the city prepares for a massive increase in COVID-19 cases in already tight hospital quarters.

National Guard members on Wednesday constructed a temporary morgue outside Bellevue hospital in Manhattan, and police have begun enforcing social distancing measures around NYC.

De Blasio said Wednesday that city residents are for the most part practicing social distancing measures – but it will be some time before the full effects are seen.

“But the truth is we’ve only had a few days of seeing that improvement,” de Blasio told CNN of the social distancing effects.

“I want to be careful before we assume it’s working deeply, but it is certainly a good sign.”

President Trump has expressed a want to get the country running again by Easter – but de Blasio and health experts have warned this may not be possible.

“We expect the fight against COVID-19 to be a long one,” de Blasio tweeted on Tuesday.

“I wish that wasn’t the case for New York City, but right now we are looking at months.

 The Jacob Javits center in Manhattan is being turned into a temporary hospital

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The Jacob Javits center in Manhattan is being turned into a temporary hospitalCredit: EPA
 Katz's Deli, a famous NYC restaurant, is nearly empty amid the pandemic

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Katz’s Deli, a famous NYC restaurant, is nearly empty amid the pandemicCredit: EPA

“We expect April to be tougher than March, and May to be tougher still.”

He added in a separate tweet: “Normal won’t be possible if our health care system is being overwhelmed and lives are being lost.”

If social distancing measures are lifted too soon, it could cause millions to die, one expert has warned.


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