KEY POINTS

  • New York City is pouring massive financial resources into its forthcoming fight against COVID-19
  • New York City sets in motion a plan to ensure the virus doesn't inflict significant harm to its population
  • “We can really keep this thing contained,” said de Blasio

The City that Never Sleeps has been making high-profile announcements about its plans to withstand the forthcoming COVID-19 onslaught the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says is inevitable.

It’s making these moves both to reassure New Yorkers and to head-off any rapid spread of this highly-contagious disease that's now infected 83,389 persons and killed 2,858 persons worldwide.

New York City has set in motion a lavish plan spanning the entire breadth of the measures it must take to ensure the virus doesn't inflict significant harm to its population of 8.6 million, and its economy that makes it the world's second richest city behind Hong Kong.

On Wednesday, New York City mayor Bill De Blasio said the city is acquiring at least new 1,200 hospital beds in case of a COVID-19 outbreak. He said the hospital beds are available and won’t compromise other health services.

De Blasio also said the city will acquire a minimum of 300,000 facemasks after already distributing about 1.5 million masks to hospitals, healthcare centers and first responders, among others. The city also plans to ask for federal assistance to acquire these facemasks from private manufacturers.

De Blasio has also requested CDC to expand its testing of travelers that arrive at its airports from Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, apart from those coming from China.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYDHMH) believes the arrival of COVID-19 seems inevitable. Its high state of preparedness is now being tested with the identification of a possible patient being tested for COVID-19. Seven other people in the city who were previously tested were found not to have the coronavirus.

NYDHMH claims it's ready for the coronavirus. It's stockpiled a huge store of supplies hidden in three locations around the state. A temperature-controlled warehouse near Albany is stacked to its 40-foot tall ceiling with surgical masks, gowns and gloves, and more extreme protective gear like N95 respirators and enclosed Tyvek suits resembling hazmat suits.

Health officials have also stockpiled ventilators (necessary for severe cases of this coronavirus), which causes respiratory problems that can sometimes be fatal.

Bill de Blasio Bill de Blasio, shown here at a rally in New York City in October 2017. Mayor de Blasio is being pressured by the ICE to release critical information about Reeaz Khan, an undocumented immigrant accused of murdering an old lady in Queens last month. Photo: Getty Images

City officials are determining if changes will be needed to the city's emergency powers law to address this new threat. In addition, New York State is also asking federal officials to allow testing for COVID-19 at a basement-level laboratory adjacent to the State Capitol, and at laboratories in New York City and elsewhere. The tests are currently being sent to the CDC in Atlanta, a time-consuming process.

New York City is working closely with New York State to combat COVID-19. On Wednesday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state is preparing for the worst-case coronavirus scenario. He said state and city officials are taking the necessary steps to help state residents should the situation take a turn for the worse.

"I've said before, it's highly probable that you will see a continuing spread of this virus," Cuomo said. "It's highly probable that we will have people in New York state who test positive. New York is the front door, internationally."

Cuomo said the state will ask the New York State Legislature in Albany for an emergency supplement of $40 million for the New York State Department of Health. Cuomo also plans to add more epidemiologists and other medical personnel to track potential patients.

“We can really keep this thing contained,” said de Blasio.