'A long, tough fight.' Mayor promises more health care gear as NYC death toll reaches 365

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"There's nothing that can compare to what we are experiencing now and where we are going," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio during his daily COVID-19 briefing on Thursday.

Later in the evening, he tweeted that positive cases of the coronavirus reached 23,112, resulting in the death of 365 people.

MORE: LIVE BLOG - Coronavirus updates from the tri-state area and beyond 

During the news conference, the mayor said the tireless work of health care professionals will be remembered for throughout the history of the city. He called their actions “heroic and really difficult and absolutely necessary to save the lives of your fellow New Yorkers."

Mayor de Blasio then promised health care workers to get them more equipment to keep them safe.

"You deserve, and you must have, and you will have the supplies you need. One way or another, we are going to get them to you every day,” he said.

The mayor said the goal is to triple the amount of hospital beds in the city from 20,000 to 60,000 by May – a task he admitted would be difficult to accomplish. Mayor de Blasio said finding new locations that “create crucial new capacity” will help in the hospital bed effort.

Mayor de Blasio also announced that as of Thursday, there are less than 5,000 inmates in city jails. The last time that happened was 1949. He said an additional 200 inmates were released on Wednesday.

 Here are some notes from the briefing:

  • Mayor Bill de Blasio says, "There's nothing that can compare to what we are experiencing now and where we are going." He says people should prepare for a long, tough fight.
  • There are 21,873 positive cases of COVID-19 in New York City as of Thursday morning. The mayor says there have been 281 deaths as a result of the pandemic. 
  • Mayor de Blasio says health care workers are "doing something heroic and really difficult and absolutely necessary to save the lives of your fellow New Yorkers." 
  • To health care workers: "We're going to remember. We are going to remember it for the rest of the history of New York City."
  • Mayor de Blasio on providing health care workers with necessary equipment: "You deserve, and you must have, and you will have the supplies you need. One way or another, we are going to get them to you every day."
  • The mayor calls Elmhurst Hospital in Queens the "epicenter within the epicenter" of the COVID-19 crisis. "In the past 10 days, we have four times resupplied Elmhurst Hospital with additional ventilators." Forty arrived there on Thursday, as well as 56 additional staff members.
  • Mayor de Blasio: "Our goal is to triple the number of hospital beds in this city by May" to 60,000. He says it is crucial to finds new locations where they can "create crucial new capacity."
  • The mayor reiterates the importance of getting ventilators to New York City. He says the federal government is providing 2,500 within a few days. 
  • Mayor de Blasio says the federal government is not using the Defense Production Act at its full disposal, calling it a game changer.
    He says that it would ensure that the ventilators are built and shipped to New York City in time to save lives.
  • Mayor de Blasio says face shields are being created at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in a newly built warehouse there. They were put into production today and by Friday, 50,000 will be distributed to health care workers.
  • As of last night, 200 inmates from NYC jail system have been released as a result of COVID-19. It put the jail system at below 5,000 inmates. The last time that happened was 1949. 

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