- With New York City on the verge of reopening, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that anyone in the city can get free coronavirus testing for any reason.
- New York was hit harder than any state when the novel coronavirus reached the US, with more than 380,000 cases reported and over 30,000 deaths.
- On Wednesday, New York recorded 925 new cases, which was 7th among all 50 states.
When the novel coronavirus infection rate began to spike throughout the US, no state was hit harder than New York. To date, of the 109,000 deaths due to the virus in the United States, nearly a third of them have been in New York. It seemed inevitable that New York would have the longest road to recovery, but in a surprising turn of events, on June 3rd, the third most populous US state recorded the seventh most new cases in the country.
There are plenty of valid criticisms to make about the way that New York’s politicians handled this health crisis, much of which led to unnecessary suffering and death, but one area where the state has been ahead of the curve from the earliest stages is testing. New York ramped up its testing capacity more quickly than any other state, and has tested over 2.2 million people. And as of this week, all NYC residents can get tested for free.
“Widespread testing holds the key to re-opening our city safely,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio during a live press conference on Tuesday. “After months of fighting, we are finally able to say that every New Yorker who needs a test will get one. Now with Test & Trace now up and running, we will be able to care for those who test positive and give them the support they need to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
In order for regions of New York to reopen, there are a series of benchmarks they must hit, including a 14-day decline in hospitalizations, at least 30% availability of hospital beds, and at least 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents. By Monday, June 8th, New York City is expected to hit all of those benchmarks.
Tracing infected individuals and their contacts will be vital to preventing another outbreak in NYC, but contact tracing is pointless if there are not enough people being tested, which is why over 150 testing sites have been established in the city. If you want to get tested, head to nyc.gov/CovidTest, or call 311 to find a site near you. Anyone can get a test, whether you think you were exposed, you’re an essential worker, or you’re just curious to find out if you are infected. You don’t need insurance to get tested, and every diagnostic test is free of charge.
Providing there are no major setbacks or outbreaks between now and Monday, New York City will be able to start the process of reopening its economy on Monday, which seemed impossible two months ago when thousands of people were streaming into the hospital system every day.