The COVID Crisis: Mayor de Blasio Calls For Draft Of Essential Medical Personnel

April 2, 2020

As New York City works to quickly quadruple the number of hospital beds throughout the city, today, Mayor de Blasio today called on the federal government to institute an essential draft of all private medical personnel to help in the fight against COVID-19. The United States must mobilize a national response to meet the rapidly growing demand for medical personnel – first in New York and then other localities throughout the country.

“Our City faces unprecedented challenges in the weeks ahead,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Every ventilator and doctor can save life, which is why we are marshaling every possible resource to our City in record time. But the facts remain the same: the federal government must step up and provide the reinforcements we need. The battle will be long, and we cannot fight it alone.”

Citywide as of 6:00 PM on April 2, there are 49,707 positive cases of COVID-19 and 1,562 fatalities. There are 9,343 confirmed cases in the Bronx, 13, 290 in Brooklyn, 7,398 in Manhattan, 16,819 in Queens, and 2,822 in Staten Island.

As of 6:00 PM on April 2, there were at least 9,680 people hospitalized. Of those individuals, at least 2,240 were in the ICU.

New Recommendations for Face Covering

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is advising all New Yorkers to cover their noses and mouths using a scarf, bandana, or piece of clothing when in public to reduce the risk of transmission. This recommendation is modeled off a new study from the CDC published April 1st, which outlines the possibility of pre-symptomatic COVID-19 transmission in Singapore.

New Yorkers should not use surgical or N95 masks as face covers. Masks must be preserved for health care workers and first responders.

New Yorkers should continue to practice social distancing measures.

Critical Supplies

The City is currently working to dispatch 400 ventilators from the federal stockpile that were distributed by the State. While these ventilators will sustain the City for a short, interim period, a minimum of 2,500-3,000 ventilators must be procured by Sunday to carry the City through the next week. The City still needs a total of 15,000 ventilators. The City has made a formal request of the federal government, which can be read here.

To preserve the City’s supply of ventilators, City hospitals are training staff on how to use BiPap machines, which can keep some patients from requiring a ventilator. If you are willing to donate or sell a ventilator to New York City, please call 833-NYC-0040 or visit

Health + Hospitals also needs 1,000 nurses, 300 respiratory therapists, and 150 physicians by Sunday, April 5th to adequately treat every COVID-19 patient.

Expanding DOE Meal Hubs to all New Yorkers

To ensure every New York City resident can access nutritious meals, the Department of Education’s Meal Hubs will expand service to include all children and adults across the five boroughs starting on Friday, April 3. Sites will begin grab-and-go adult meal service, serving three meals a day, Monday through Friday. Adults and children can pick up three meals at a time and no adult will be turned away. There is no registration or identification required.

Meal hubs will operate from 7:30 AM- 11:30 AM for children and families and 11:30 AM- 1:30 PM for adults. Since March 16, the Department of Education’s free meals programs have served approximately 1.2 million meals to families and students at over 440 Meal Hubs sites across the city. Meal Hub locations can be found at here or text NYC FOOD to 877-877.

Relief for Small Businesses

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) opens up Friday, April 3rd. The $350 billion federal loan program is open to small businesses or nonprofits with fewer than 500 employee. The program is open on a first come, first serve basis. Those who are interested should apply here.

Stay Informed

Over 800,000 New Yorkers have signed up for the City’s COVID text notification system to get regular updates on the latest developments with coronavirus in New York City text COVID to 692-692. New Yorkers can text COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish. You will receive regular SMS texts with the latest news and developments. If you have any questions on finding medical care call 311.

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