Mayor: City ramping up 'social distancing ambassador' force to spread awareness

The mayor says NYC will "increase intensely" the number of public servants who are out educating people and reminding them about social distancing.

News 12 Staff

May 10, 2020, 1:00 PM

Updated 1,474 days ago


Mayor Bill de Blasio gave an update Sunday morning on the response to the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City. 
-The mayor began by wishing New York City mothers a happy Mother's Day, including the city's First Lady Chirlane McCray. He reminded residents to celebrate by giving them the gift of "keeping them safe" during the current COVID-19 crisis.
-The moms who deserve particular credit, de Blasio says, are the mothers on the front lines of the crisis, including the doctors, nurses, NYPD and FDNY members and other essential workers.
-On what's next in battling the crisis, de Blasio says we need to continue to do what's working while work on vaccines and other medical efforts continue.
-De Blasio discussed new "examples of progress" in the battle against the virus. He referenced the newly FDA-approved drug remdesevir that's being utilized in trials in public hospitals, including Jacobi, to treat people suffering from the virus.
-The mayor says the company behind the drug, Gilead, donated half a million doses to the federal government but says the city has only received 4,000 doses. He says he's reached out to the federal government to try and speed up the shipment of the drug to New York patients in need. "Whether we like it or not we're still the epicenter of this crisis," de Blasio said, adding that he hopes the White House will "hear our plea." He's asking for 39,000 doses of remdesevir for May.
-The mayor says at least 260 public servants in the city have lost their lives to the virus. He says the city is extending for 45 days the health care coverage for the families of those workers who have lost their lives. He says the city is fighting for further benefits as Congress works to pass another stimulus bill.
-The mayor discussed the new syndrome affecting children and young people that's believed to be linked to COVID-19, called "pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome." There are 38 cases in the city and nine more that are pending investigation, and there has been 1 child fatality in the city from it. Of the cases that have been verified, 47% of kids involved tested positive for the coronavirus; of those who tested negative, 81% had the antibodies indicating they had been previously exposed to the virus.
-The mayor says Health + Hospitals will test all children will symptoms of it for COVID-19 antibodies. They will convene a citywide conference on it, and will alert parents of the symptoms which include fever, rash, vomiting, stomach pain.
-On the topic of enforcing social distancing, the mayor referenced a video that captured an instance of what he called poor policing that hurts relations between the police and the community. He says he wants to emphasize the positives, the progress that New Yorkers have made in adhering to the regulations.
-The mayor says NYC will "increase intensely" the number of public servants who are out educating people -- called "social distancing ambassadors." He says there are already 1,000 but that force will increase to 2,300 by next weekend. These workers will provide face coverings and reminders, and will educate people on distancing - and the mayor says enforcement by police will be there as a last resort.
-The mayor discussed efforts to help homeless people find shelters and services as the city closes the subways each night for disinfecting. He says hundreds have accepted help so far, and he says it's "really encouraging."
-On the numbers, the mayor called it a "mixed bag." The percentage of positive COVID-19 tests citywide was up, at 17% (from 12% as of May 7). 69 people were admitted to hospitals, and the number of total current hospitalizations was down to 540, from 559 on May 7.
-The mayor thanked several companies and partners for donating items including tablets, non-medical masks and face shields.
PHOTOS: Countries around the world cope with COVID-19

More from News 12