As New York City hurtles towards a near-full fledged reopening of economic activity, Mayor Bill de Blasio is touting the city's success in fighting the novel coronavirus and vaccinating such a large portion of its population, with more doses administered each day.
A variety of precautions — like mask wearing — will remain in place in the city until early this summer, the mayor says, to allow more residents to get immunized. But the most onerous of COVID regulations will be repealed in the Tri-State area by May 19.
De Blasio says completely eradicating COVID may not be a realistic goal, but vaccinations and breakthrough treatments can significantly diminish coronavirus-related fatalities and hospitalizations.
"I was anticipating a world in which COVID becomes like influenza," the mayor told NY 1 during an appearance Monday night. "Flu we have to take seriously, we lose some people each year to the flu. But for the vast majority of people, it's a quick shot and they're fine. So, COVID is not going to go away permanently, but we can reduce COVID’s impact to so little that it becomes just a part of the sort of health backdrop in New York City as we continue to recover."
De Blasio's administration has made overtures to welcome tourism back to the city this summer, and the mayor is optimistic that people will flock back to the Big Apple sooner than later.
While COVID produces flu-like symptoms, the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19 is far more transmissible and more deadly than influenza.
Influenza was blamed for roughly 34,200 deaths in the United States during the 2018-2019 flu season, per the CDC.
COVID-19 was blamed for 375,000 deaths in the United States in 2020 the third leading cause of death in America last year.
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