Bill de Blasio says the goal is to fully re-open New York City by July 1
Images of New York City from early in the pandemic will haunt us forever. Who could forget the photos and videos of exhausted healthcare workers changing shifts, the sounds of the ambulance sirens going day and night, and the images of a nearly empty city as COVID-19 lockdowns forced everyone to stay home. That’s why it feels almost surreal to hear that the city’s mayor says it’s now time for New York City to fully reopen.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that “this is going to be the #SummerofNYC” in a tweet. “Let’s get vaccinated and get there together,” he says.
The mayor backed up his urging of a return to normalcy by citing the city’s improving COVID indicators including new hospitalizations, new cases, and positivity rate. “These are the best numbers we’ve seen in MONTHS,” he says. “This is why we’re poised to fully re-open our city. Get vaccinated today.”
During an appearance on Morning Joe, the mayor further explained the plan. “We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters, full strength,” he says. “What we’re seeing is that people have gotten vaccinated at extraordinary numbers,” de Blasio said. “This is going to be the summer of New York City. I think people are going to flock to New York City because they want to live again.”
The city was among the first to shut down last year when the COVID pandemic hit American shores. Since then, the city has recorded 923,953 coronavirus cases and 32,461 virus-related deaths as of Wednesday.
A more positive number? Over six million doses of COVID vaccine have been administered in the city with 36 percent of adult residents fully vaccinated. Over half of the adult population has received at least one dose of COVID vaccine.
The news comes as the virus continues to circulate all over the country — including worrying variants. As of now, kids under age 16 still aren’t eligible to be vaccinated, which means herd immunity is still quite a ways off. We also just heard that 5 million Americans skipped their second dose of the vaccine.
While it’s encouraging to see NYC heading toward some degree of normalcy, it’s also kind of scary since we’re clearly still not out of the woods. Hopefully, masks will continue to be a thing and regular hand-washing (which, good lord, should’ve ALWAYS been a thing). As more Americans become vaccinated, there is hope that the future is brightening — but it feels a bit premature to declare things ready to open full blast when we still have a ways to go.