NYC reopening still 'a few months away at minimum', de Blasio says

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Normal life in New York City "is a few months away at minimum" Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday, even as city continues to see a decline in coronavirus cases.

“Reopening … obviously is a few months away at a minimum,” the mayor said in response to a caller asking about small businesses and COVID-19 restrictions during an appearance on WNYC radio's “The Brian Lehrer Show.”

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De Blasio said his administration is taking steps to bring the city out of the crisis. Parts of that includes the expansion of testing, tracing and isolation. The rate of infections sharply declined from 58 percent on April 11 to 23 percent Friday, the New York Post reported.

As of Friday, the city had recorded 164,505 cases, including 13,000 deaths. De Blasio announced 2,637 new confirmed cases were discovered Thursday, as well as 202 deaths.

"If you open up too soon you could pretty much guarantee a resurgence of the disease,” he said of scientific data.

In addition to testing, de Blasio will establish a series of advisory groups that will meet weekly beginning in May to discuss ways reopen the city. The Fair Recovery Task Force will formulate a recovery effort to rebuild the economy and another will work to address the racial disparity in COVID-19 infections and deaths.

"The goal is not to go back to the status quo, but to spur a recovery that confronts deep inequities, reaches into every neighborhood, and leaves New York stronger than ever," the mayor's office said last week while announcing the task force groups.

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On Friday, de Blasio announced plans to open up to 100 miles of streets to provide open space for pedestrians beginning next week. Approximately 4.5 miles inside city parks and 2.7 miles adjacent to the parks will be opened to reduce crowding, he said.

While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been praised for his response to the crisis, de Blasio's efforts have received mixed results. He was recently criticized for overseeing the break up of a large Jewish funeral in Brooklyn.