about their lives” amid the coronavirus pandemic
Mr de Blasio repeatedly made the comments in public addresses to New Yorkers in January, February and early March, while discussing the potential outbreak.
On his show on Monday, Mr Tapper played a video showing the Mayor making the remarks and then asked him if the message was unhelpful to send out while the city was preparing to tackle the virus.
“In retrospect, is that message at least in part to blame for how rapidly the virus has spread across the city?” Mr Tapper asked.
Mr de Blasio defended his actions and and replied: “We should not be focusing in my view on anything looking back on any level of government right now.”
“This is just about how we save lives going forward. We all were working, everybody was working with the information we had, and trying, of course, to avoid panic, and at that point, for all of us, trying to keep — not only protect lives, but keep the economy and the livelihoods together, keep ensuring that people had money to pay for food and medicine.”
New York is currently struggling with the outbreak, having reported the most cases of any state in the US.
Figures from the Johns Hopkins University show that New York has upwards of at least 1000 deaths related to the virus.
Later on in the interview, Mr Tapper asked Mr de Blasio if his criticisms of president Donald Trump‘s handling of the pandemic in recent weeks are hypocritical in light of his own remarks.
Mr de Blasio contradicted his earlier comments and took the opportunity to criticise the government’s actions, saying that “I, in real time, said — and this was weeks and weeks ago as it was happening — that we were not being given the testing we needed.”
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“I think the big historical point here that will be looked back on is if this country had had the testing when we needed it, this could have been a very different reality.”
In the same interview, Mr de Blasio reiterated that New York is running out of medical supplies, amid a shortage of ventilators.
“I have told them all the same thing, Sunday, April 5. We have enough supplies to get to a week from today, with the exception of ventilators. We’re going to need at least several hundred more ventilators very quickly,” he said.
“But we have otherwise the supplies to get to next Sunday. We are going to need a reinforcement by Sunday, April 5, in all categories, especially ventilators, but in other areas as well. And personnel is becoming more and more of the issue.”
According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, upwards of 159,184 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 2,945.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended a two-week ban on gatherings of more than 50 people as part of the battle to contain the spread of the contagion.
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