METROFOCUS: MARCH 17, 2020

As Mayor Bill de Blasio warns New Yorkers to prepare to shelter-in-place, we get City Council Member Stephen Levin’s take on a potential city-wide shutdown, how city schools are handling the pandemic, and his biggest concerns about hospital preparedness.

Aired on March 17, 2020.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL P. RAMON, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRILL TISCH.

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

THE SUSAN A. AND SIMON B. POYTA.

ROSALIND P. WALTER.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

AND BY --

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH THE LATEST NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AFFECTING THE TRI-STATE.

NEW YORK CITY IS UNDER TOTAL LOCKDOWN.

AS THE ENTIRE REGION ATTEMPTS TO PREPARE FOR AN EXPONENTIAL RISE IN CASES OF COVID-19, SCHOOLS HAVE BEEN CLOSED AS WELL AS BARS, RESTAURANTS, JIM, AND PRETTY MUCH ANYWHERE PEOPLE WOULD CONGREGATE.

ALL IN AN ATTEMPT TO HALT THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS.

BUT THERE ARE EARLY WARNING SIGNS THAT ALL OF THESE CLOSINGS COULD BE HAVING SEVERE AND DIRE ECONOMIC REPERCUSSIONS FOR NOT ONLY NEW YORK CITY, BUT THE ENTIRE METROPOLITAN REGION.

NEW YORK CITY CONTROLLER SCOTT STRINGER HAS SOUNDED THE ALARM THE CITY COULD BE FACING A, QUOTE, PROLONGED RECESSION.

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR NEW YORK CITY?

JOIN BEING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT IT, OF COURSE, IS NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL MAN STEVEN LEVIN.

LEVIN WAS AN EARLY PROPONENT OF CLOSING THE BARS AND RESTAURANTS AS SOON AS THE OUTBREAK BEGAN AND HE'S BEEN EXPRESSING DIRE CONCERNS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT NEW YORK CITY HAS ENOUGH HOSPITAL BEDS TO TREAT THE SICK.

> SO, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM, COUNCIL MAN LEVIN.

THANK YOU, JENNA.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

I WANT TO START OFF, OF COURSE, WITH THIS NEW NEWS WE MIGHT BE FACING A LOCKDOWN SIMILAR TO WHAT WE'RE SEEING IN SAN FRANCISCO.

IS THAT WHAT SOME PEOPLE MIGHT BE SAYING IS TOO MUCH OF AN OVER REACTION OR IS THAT WHERE WE NEED TO BE OR PERHAPS SHOULD HAVE BEEN?

I THINK IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO OVERREACT AT THIS POINT HONESTLY.

WHAT WE'VE BEEN SEEING -- AND I THINK -- I WANT EVERYBODY TO KIND OF UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS THAT WE'RE FACING WITH THE CORONAVIRUS.

SO, THE CORONAVIRUS, AS MOST PEOPLE NAME, CAME -- STARTED OUT OF WUHAN, CHINA, IN DECEMBER.

THE CASES ROSE RAPIDLY THERE AND THEY TOOK A PRETTY SIGNIFICANT EXTREME MEASURES IN CHINA TO GET THEIR OUTBREAK UNDER CONTROL.

HOWEVER, BY THAT POINT, IT HAD STARTED TO GO INTO OTHER COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD.

IRAN, ITALY, AND NOW SPAIN, FRANCE, AND UNITED STATES OBVIOUSLY.

AND SO WHAT WE HAVE SEEN NOW THROUGHOUT THE WORLD IS THAT THERE ARE -- THIS IS A VIRUS THAT IS AT THIS POINT IS PRETTY PREDICTABLE.

IT HASN'T MUTATED BEYOND WHAT WE KIND OF CURRENTLY HAVE SEEN IN OTHER COUNTRIES, WHICH IS IN SOME WAYS A GOOD GUIDELINE FOR US FOR HOW WE SHOULD REACT BECAUSE A VIRUS ACTS -- YOU KNOW, A VIRUS, FOR FOLKS WHO KNOW, IT'S A PIECE OF DNA OR RNA ENCAPSULATED IN PROTEIN THAT INFECTS THE CELL AND STARTS TO REPLICATE.

IT TAKES OVER THE CELLS, REPLICATES AND MOVES ON TO ANOTHER HOST.

THAT'S THE TRAJECTORY OF A VIRUS.

IT DOESN'T HAVE A BRAIN.

IT DOESN'T ACT OUTSIDE OF ITS KIND OF GENETIC MANDATE, WHICH IS TO INFECT AND REPLICATE, INFECT AND REPLICATE OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

SO THAT, IN SOME WAYS, IT MAKES IT A PREDICTABLE ENEMY.

UNLIKE, SAY, A NATURAL DISASTER LIKE A HURRICANE WHERE METEOROLOGISTS HAVE TO FACTOR IN THE JET STREAMS AND THE HIGH PRESSURE, SLOW PRESSURE, SO YOU CAN PREDICT ONE DAY THAT A HURRICANE IS GOING TO HIT NEW ORLEANS AND THEN IT TURNS AROUND AND HITS HOUSTON.

WITH A VIRUS IT'S ACTUALLY A LOT MORE PREDICTABLE THAN THAT, SO WE KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT HERE, WHICH ACTUALLY SHOULD BE A CALL TO ACTION FOR ALL OF OUR GOVERNMENTS, INCLUDING NEW YORK CITY AND NEW YORK STATE, THAT WE NEED TO TAKE THE TYPE OF MEASURES THAT WE'RE SEEING AROUND THE WORLD, AND NOW IN THE UNITED STATES, TO ADDRESS IT BECAUSE -- ANOTHER IMPORTANT THING TO KEEP IN MIND WITH A VIRUS IS A VIRUS SPREADS IN AN EXPONENTIAL WAY.

SO RIGHT NOW, AS YOU GO BACK TO 8th GRADE MATH, ALGEBRA.

OF COURSE.

THE EXPONENTIAL CURVE GOES LIKE THAT.

IT GOES LIKE THAT.

SO, YOUR CURVE STARTS TO ACCELERATE.

NOW, THE Y AXIS HERE IS YOUR NUMBER OF CASES AND YOUR X AXIS IS TIME.

AND SO AS WE CAN SEE, YOU KNOW, THE NUMBER OF CASES STARTS TO RAPIDLY INCREASE AND ACCELERATE AS TIME GOES ON.

SO WHAT WE'VE SEEN IS THE INTERVAL -- I'M JUST GOING TO MAKE IT -- MY SIMPLE VERSION OF IT -- ABOUT EVERY FOUR DAYS, THE NUMBER OF INFECTED PEOPLE DOUBLES IN ANY AREA.

THAT COULD BE WORLDWIDE -- THIS IS WITHOUT ANY MAJOR INTERVENTION.

OF COURSE.

SO LEFT TO ITS OWN DEVICES, IT WOULD -- BASICALLY CASES WOULD DOUBLE EVERY FOUR DAYS.

THAT'S ONE THING IF THE CASES ARE DOUBLING FROM 10 TO 20 IN FOUR DAYS OR FROM 100 TO 200 IN FOUR DAYS.

THE FURTHER ALONG YOU GET IN THAT EXPONENTIAL CURVE, THERE'S A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 100 AND 200 AND 100,000 AND 200,000, AND THEY'RE NOT ACTUALLY THAT FAR APART IN TERMS OF TIME BECAUSE OF HOW THE CURVE ACCELERATES.

SO THAT'S WHY WE'VE BEEN RINGING THE ALARM BELLS BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T STOP IT EARLY -- SO WE'VE ALREADY MISSED A COUPLE OF MAJOR INTERVENTION POINTS ALONG THE WAY.

WE ALREADY -- THERE'S -- THE FIRST INTERVENTION POINT IS IDENTIFY CASES IMMEDIATELY THROUGH TESTING, AND THEN DO A THING WHAT THEY CALL CONTACT TRACE, WHICH IS YOU FIND AN INFECTED PERSON, GO TO ALL OF THEIR CONTACTS, TEST THEM ALL, AND THEN FIND OUT IF ANY OF THEM HAVE THE VIRUS.

AND THEN IF ANY OF THEM HAVE THE VE VIRUS, YOU DO THE SAME THING TO THEM.

WE MISSED THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THAT FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS.

FIRST AND FOREMOST, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REALLY BUNGLED THE ROLL OUT OF TESTING.

EVEN LAST WEEK, THE FDA WAS HOLDING UP APPROVALS FOR TESTING AND THEN JUST TODAY THEY ANNOUNCED OR LATE LAST NIGHT, THAT THEY WERE GOING TO GIVE A BLANKET APPROVAL FOR PRIVATE TESTING COMPANIES.

WE WERE ASKING FOR THEM TO DO THAT LAST WEEK WHEN WE HAD AT LEAST A SEMBLANCE OF A CHANCE TO TEST AS MANY PEOPLE AS WE REALLY NEEDED TO.

OKAY.

SO DOES THAT MEAN, THOUGH, THE NOTION OF -- AGAIN, SHELTER-IN-PLACE, WHICH IT SEEMS LIKE INCREDIBLY DRACONIAN, ESPECIALLY TO NEW YORKERS, SOMETHING WE SHOULD SEAR RIOUSLE CONSIDERING OR IT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED IS WHAT YOU'RE SAYING?

IT SHOULD HAPPEN RIGHT NOW.

BECAUSE OF HOW FAR ALONG WE ARE NOW, YOU KNOW, THERE'S PROBABLY ABOUT, SAY, 10,000 NEW YORKERS THAT ARE INFECTED RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THERE'S ABOUT A THOUSAND CASES THAT HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED, AND THAT'S ABOUT 1/10 OF THE -- WITH THE MODELLING WE'RE SHOWING, 1/10 OF INFECTED CASES.

THAT NUMBER 10,000 COULD DOUBLE IN FOUR DAYS.

20,000, DOUBLE IN FOUR DAYS AFTER THAT.

IN A LITTLE OVER A WEEK THERE WILL BE 40,000.

AND IN TWO WEEKS YOU'RE LOOKING AT 80, 160.

SO 160,000 CASES IN TWO WEEKS IS WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT IN NEW YORK CITY IF WE DON'T TAKE SOME SIGNIFICANT MEASURES.

ONE THING I THINK -- I SAW OVERNIGHT THAT I THOUGHT WAS A VERY CONCERNING PIECE OF DATA THAT CAME OUT OF THE WEBSITE, THE CITY, WHICH IS A NOT FOR PROFIT JOURNALISM IN NEW YORK CITY.

OF COURSE, THEY DO WORK WITH THE CITY.

THEY SHOWED A MAP THAT SHOWED TURN STYLE SWIPES IN NEW YORK CITY ON THE SUBWAYS KIND OF IN A MAP FORMAT SO THAT YOU CAN SEE BETWEEN MARCH 6 AND MARCH 13 THE DECREASE IN THE NUMBER OF TURN STYLE SWIPES.

UNSURPRISINGLY, YOU SAW IN SOME NEIGHBORHOODS THE UPPER EAST SIDE, THE UPPER WEST SIDE, ALONG THE L LINE IN BROOKLYN, BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, PARK SLOPE, IN NEIGHBORHOODS YOU SAW A DRASTIC DECREASE IN THE NUMBER OF TURN STYLE SWIPES.

60% TURN MORE.

WHAT YOU SAW, THOUGH, IN COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT THE OUTER BOROUGHS, COMMUNITIES OF COLOR WHERE PEOPLE HAVE TO GO TO WORK AND HAVE LESS OF AN OPTION TO WORK FROM HOME, IN THE BRONX THE DECREASE WAS LIKE 13%. IF

THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT POINT IN ALL OF THIS, AND THAT IS HOW DO WE HELP PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY NEED OR WHO HAVE BEEN RELYING ON SYSTEMS.

NOT JUST WORKING PARENTS WHO HAVE CHILDREN WHO ARE IN THE SCHOOLS WHO ARE NOW HOME, BUT ALSO -- I ALSO UNDERSTAND A LOT OF THE CITY'S NONPROFITS ARE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW THEY'RE ABLE TO CONTINUE IF THEY CAN'T MEET THEIR CITY REQUIRED QUOTAS.

DOES ALL OF THIS, IN ADDITION TO THE EMERGENCY OF SHELTER-IN-PLACE AND PEOPLE UNDERSTANDING THAT THEY NEED TO SOCIAL DISTANCE OR SIMPLY STAY AT HOME, DOES THE NEED TO BE AN EQUAL URGENCY ON THE PART OF GOVERNMENT TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS SOME SORT OF FINANCIAL SAFETY NET SO THAT WE DON'T LOSE ALL OF THESE INSTITUTIONS THAT WE'VE COME TO RELY ON?

SO, YES -- THE ANSWER IS YES.

BUT THAT HAS TO BE A LONG-TERM QUESTION, AND IT REALLY HAS TO BE A QUESTION FOR ANOTHER DAY.

IT CAN'T BE TODAY'S QUESTION BECAUSE TODAY'S QUESTION HAS TO BE WHAT WE CAN DO TO KEEP THIS PANDEMIC FROM INFECTING -- YOU KNOW, IF WE LEFT IT GO UNCHECKED -- AND AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THAT DATA, 13% DECREASE IN SWIPES -- THIS DIDN'T ACCOUNT FOR YESTERDAY OR TODAY, SO WE DON'T KNOW.

THIS WAS LIKE FRIDAY.

BUT 13% DECREASE IN SWIPES IS NOT GOING TO MAKE A DENT IN THE SPREAD OF THIS VIRUS.

THAT'S JUST STATISTICALLY WILL NOT MAKE A DENT.

AND WHAT WE ARE LOOKING AT -- I WANT PEOPLE TO REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE LOOKING AT HERE.

WE ARE LOOKING AT IF LEFT ON ITS OWN TRAJECTORY, ON THE EXPONENTIAL CURVE, BY SOMETIME IN MAY THERE WILL BE A MILLION NEW YORKERS OR MORE, 2 MILLION NEW YORKERS MAYBE BY JUNE, THAT ARE INFECTED WITH THE CORONAVIRUS.

2 MILLION IF WE LEFT -- IF WE DON'T DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW TODAY AND ESSENTIALLY --

JUST SO PEOPLE UNDERSTAND, I WANT YOU TO GIVE US A RATIO OF 2 MILLION INFECTED NEW YORKERS VERSUS HOW MANY HOSPITAL BEDS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT JUST SO THAT PEOPLE CAN UNDERSTAND WHY THAT'S A PROBLEMATIC NUMBER.

SURE.

WHAT THE DATA HAS SHOWN FROM STUDIES AROUND THE WORLD IN THE LANCET AND NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, TRY TO GET A HANDLE ON WHAT THE SEVERE AND CRITICAL CASE RATIO IS OF CORONAVIRUS.

IT'S PRETTY CONSISTENT THAT IT'S BETWEEN 10% AND 14%. LET'S THINK ABOUT WHAT 2 MILLION INFECTED NEW YORKERS LOOKS LIKE.

200,000 TO 280,000 NEW YORKERS THAT ARE IN CRITICAL AND SEVERE NEED OF A HOSPITAL BED.

WE HAVE 25,000 HOSPITAL BEDS IN NEW YORK CITY.

NORMALLY WE'RE ABOUT 80 TO 90% FULL.

SO WE ARE TALKING ABOUT IN THE SPAN OF A COUPLE OF MONTHS A TRAJECTORY THAT SHOWS US BEING OVER CAPACITY IN OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEM BY A FACTOR OF TEN.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

WHEN PEOPLE GO -- WHEN PEOPLE BECOME SEVERE WITH CORONAVIRUS, WITH COVID-19, THEY GO INTO ACUTE RESPIRATORY DISTRESS.

WHAT IT IS, IT'S BASICALLY YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM TRYING TO ATTACK THIS VIRUS.

THE VIRUS ATTACKS YOUR LUNGS, BY THE WAY, IT GETS INTO YOUR LUNGS.

THAT'S WHERE ITS MAIN RECEPTORS ARE.

YOU MIGHT HAVE THE SNIFFLES.

THOSE ARE MINOR SYMPTOMS.

THE MAJOR SYMPTOMS ARE DRY COUGH, SHORTNESS OF BREATH AND FEVER.

THAT'S BECAUSE THE INFECTION IS IN THE LUNGS FOR THE MOST PART.

AND SO AS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM STARTS TO ATTACK THE VIRUS IN YOUR LUNGS, YOUR LUNGS BECOME -- GO INTO THIS ACUTE RESPIRATORY SYNDROME WHICH IS BASICALLY YOUR LUNGS START TO LOSE THEIR ELASTICITY.

THEY LOSE THEIR ABILITY TO CONVERT OXYGEN IN THE AIR INTO OXYGEN IN YOUR BLOOD, AND YOU BASICALLY, FRANKLY, PEOPLE WILL DROWN IN OPEN AIR FROM THIS DISEASE, AND THAT IS -- WHEN WE SEE A FATALITY RATE OF 3% OR 4%, THAT'S WHAT -- THAT'S THE KIND OF AVERAGE AROUND THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

YOU KNOW, IN ITALY IT WAS 6%. PEOPLE ARE DYING OF -- THEY'RE BASICALLY, THEY'RE BASICALLY GASPING FOR AIR.

THEY'RE RUNNING OUT OF AIR.

THEY ARE DYING OF ACUTE RESPIRATORY DISEASE, DISTRESS, WHICH IS BASICALLY THEY'RE DROWNING IN OPEN AIR.

IF WE ARE LOOKING AT A TENFOLD CAPACITY IN OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEM BY -- WHETHER IT'S JUNE 15th OR JUNE 28th, IT KIND OF DOESN'T MATTER.

WE HAVE TO, WE HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN RIGHT NOW TO DO IT.

AND SO THAT'S WHY I SAY IT'S A QUESTION FOR ANOTHER DAY.

THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THIS IS BASICALLY UNFATHOMABLE AND WE -- THERE IS GOING TO BE SUCH AN IMMENSE AMOUNT OF ECONOMIC PAIN ALL AROUND THIS COUNTRY.

BUT RIGHT NOW IN NEW YORK CITY WE ARE PROBABLY IN WORSE SHAPE THAN ANY OTHER CITY IN THE COUNTRY.

I JUST WANT TO MAKE PEOPLE REALLY CLEAR ABOUT THIS.

RIGHT NOW WE ARE IN WORSE SHAPE THAN ANY OTHER CITY IN THE COUNTRY.

THE REASON BEING THAT WE HAVE A HIGHER NUMBER OF CASES, WE'RE FURTHER ALONG IN THAT EXPONENTIAL TRAJECTORY THAN MOST OTHER CITIES.

WE ARE DOING LESS THAN MOST OTHER CITIES ARE TO COMBAT THIS.

WE ARE SO FAR BEHIND THE CURVE.

BY THAT CURVE, IT IS EVERY SINGLE DAY MATTERS.

FRANKLY, IF WE SPEND THREE DAYS DECIDING WHETHER TO CANCEL THE SAINT PATRICK'S DAY PARADE, ANOTHER THREE DAYS TRYING TO DECIDE TO CANCEL SCHOOL, THOSE ARE IMPORTANT DAYS WE MISSED -- REALLY IMPORTANT DAYS WE MISSED.

I DO WANT TO ASK YOU, THOUGH, DO YOU THINK THIS MEANS IT'S A GOOD IDEA -- THERE'S BEEN TALK OF MOBILIZING -- I THINK THE MAYOR REFERENCED THIS -- MOBILIZING THE ARMY RESERVES AND THE ARMED FORCES TO START SETTING UP SOME SORT OF TENTS OR CAMPS TO BE ABLE TO DEAL WITH PEOPLE TO PUT THEM IN ISOLATION SO THAT THEY HAVE A PLACE WHERE THEY CAN RECOVER?

WE THOUGHT ABOUT -- WE CAME UP WITH -- YESTERDAY WE SHOULD BE BRINGING ONLINE SOMETHING LIKE MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, THE JAVITZ CENTER, BARCLAY CENTER, SO PEOPLE THAT ARE INFECTED THAT HAVE MILD SYMPTOMS ARE ABLE TO GO SO THAT THEY'RE NOT OUT THERE IN THE GENERAL PUBLIC CONTINUING TO INFECT PEOPLE, BUT THEY'RE ALSO NOT IN THE HOSPITALS JAMMING UP THE HOSPITAL SYSTEM.

ANOTHER THING TO KIND OF KEEP IN MIND IS ONCE THE HOSPITALS GET OVERLOADED AND THEY'RE AT CAPACITY AND CONTINUE TO GET FLOODED AND GET FLOODED EVEN WORSE AND WORSE IN AN ACCELERATING PACE, EVERY SINGLE FLAW IN OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEM, IN OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM WILL ALL BE EXPOSED AT ONCE.

SO THINGS WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT RIGHT NOW ARE GOING TO THEN BE FORCED OUT INTO THE OPEN.

SO IT'S NOT -- IT'S KIND OF A -- THE IMPACT OF THIS KIND OF RIPPLES OUT FURTHER AND FURTHER.

SO IF ALL 25,000 BEDS -- THEY SAID THEY'RE GOING TO BRING ON ANOTHER 8,000 BEDS.

SO LET'S SAY ALL 37 -- I'M SORRY, LET ME GO BACK.

33,000 BEDS -- 8,000 AND 25,000 ARE 33,000 TAKEN UP BY COVID-19 PATIENTS, EVERY OTHER PATIENT IN NEW YORK CITY WHICH NORMALLY TAKE UP 80% OF THAT 25,000 CAPACITY, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO GET THE CARE THEY NEED.

SO SOMEONE HAS A HEART ATTACK, WHERE ARE THEY GOING TO GO?

SOMEBODY HAS A STROKE, WHERE ARE THEY GOING TO GO?

SOMEBODY THAT IS HAVING AN ASTHMA ATTACK, WHERE ARE THEY GOING TO GO WHEN ALL OF THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IS ENTIRELY OVERRUN BY COVID-19 CASES?

THIS IS -- AGAIN, I GO BACK TO MY FIRST POINT.

THIS IS A RATIONAL AGENT.

A VIRUS BEHAVES EXACTLY -- THE VIRUS IS GOING TO BEHAVE HERE EXACTLY HOW IT BEHAVED IN CHINA, EXACTLY HOW IT'S BEHAVING IN IRAN, EXACTLY HOW IT'S BEHAVING IN ITALY, EXACTLY HOW IT'S BEHAVING IN SPAIN.

THERE'S NO REASON IN THE WORLD -- IT WOULD BE FOOLISH, IT WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY RECKLESS AND FOOLISH TO BELIEVE THAT SOMEHOW WE HAVE SOME DIFFERENT IMMUNITY TO THIS DISEASE THAN THE REST OF HUMANITY.

IT'S JUST NOT TRUE.

AND SO WE CAN LOOK TO SEE WHAT THEY DID, BUT WE ARE ALREADY BEHIND THE CURVE HERE.

IN WUHAN, THEY HAD ALREADY BEEN IMPLEMENTING THOSE MEASURES WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW IN THE CURVE.

IN ITALY THEY HAD ALREADY BEEN IMPLEMENTING THOSE MEASURES WHERE WE ARE IN THE CURVE RIGHT NOW.

I WAS LISTENING TO BRIAN LEHRER.

IN BARCELONA THEY HAVE A FULL LOCKDOWN RIGHT NOW.

IT HAS FULL UNANIMOUS SUPPORT FROM THE PEOPLE OF SPAIN.

IT HAS ALMOST FULL UNANIMOUS SUPPORT FROM THE PEOPLE OF SPAIN BECAUSE THEY KNOW HOW SERIOUS THIS IS.

IT'S BEEN EXPLAINED TO THEM BY THE GOVERNMENT IN VERY CLEAR TERMS SO PEOPLE CAN GET, AND IT'S SEEN AS A KIND OF CIVIC DUTY.

THAT WAS ALSO THE CASE IN CHINA.

THERE WAS A LARGE FEELING THAT THIS WAS A CIVIC DUTY.

WE NEED TO TAP INTO THAT FEELING OF NEW YORKERS, WE KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH CRISIS.

WE DEALT WITH SANDY AND WE DEALT WITH 9/11.

THIS IS A CRISIS ON THAT SCALE IN REAL TIME AS WE SPEAK.

WHAT PEOPLE NEED TO DO -- I'M NOT SAYING DON'T GO FOR A WALK.

YOU CAN GO FOR A WALK.

YOU NEED TO WALK YOUR DOG, GO WALK YOUR DOG.

THE VIRUS DOESN'T JUST FLOAT AROUND IN THE OUTDOOR AIR.

IT HAS -- IT'S A DROPLET THAT HAS TO SOMEHOW GET ONTO A MUCUS MEMBRANE.

THAT'S WHY IT'S ON SURFACES.

YOU TOUCH YOUR SURFACE, TOUCH YOUR EYE, YOUR MOUTH, SOMEBODY COUGHS IN AN INDOOR ENVIRONMENT, IT HANGS OUT.

HOW LONG IS IRRELEVANT.

HOW LONG IT'S GOING TO LINGER IN THE AIR, IT COMES IN CONTACT WITH A MUCUS MEMBRANE.

IF YOU'RE WALKING OUT IN THE AIR, WIND IS BLOWING, A BREEZY DAY IN MARCH, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET IT JUST WALKING AROUND ON THE STREET.

KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE FROM PEOPLE.

DON'T GET UP IN PEOPLE'S FACES.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO RIDE THE SUBWAY, DON'T RIDE THE SUBWAY.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO RIDE THE BUS, DON'T RIDE THE BUS.

IT'S IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO KIND OF -- THIS IS WHERE FRANKLY I DO SEE A FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP HERE IN NEW YORK CITY AND NEW YORK STATE.

WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO THE GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR, THEY HAVE NOT COME OUT -- MAYBE THE GOVERNOR HAS A LITTLE BIT.

I DO GIVE HIM CREDIT ACTUALLY.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS.

BUT HE NEEDS TO DO MORE.

BUT TO COME OUT AND SAY TO NEW YORKERS, THIS IS WHAT WE'RE DEALING WITH AND WE KNOW WHAT IT IS AND WE KNOW HOW TO FIGHT IT.

IT'S LIKE THE ART OF WAR, KNOW YOUR ENEMY.

KNOW YOUR ENEMY HERE.

YOUR ENEMY IS A VIRUS.

IT'S A KNOWABLE ENEMY.

WE KNOW WHAT THE ENEMY IS.

WE KNOW HOW IT WORKS, WE KNOW HOW TO FIGHT IT AND WE HAVE TO FIGHT IT IN COMMENSURATE WAYS.

FRANKLY, THE MAYOR HAS COME OUT, HAD MULTIPLE PRESS CONFERENCES THE LAST WEEK.

EVERY SINGLE ONE HE SAYS THINGS HAVE CHANGED IN THE LAST 24 HOURS.

THINGS HAVE CHANGED.

NOW WE HAVE TO CANCEL SCHOOL.

THINGS HAVE CHANGED, SO NOW WE HAVE TO CANCEL SAINT PATRICK'S DAY PARADE.

THINGS HAVE CHANGED, WE HAVE TO CANCEL -- NOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED, WE HAVE TO CANCEL X, Y, Z.

THINGS HAVEN'T CHANGED.

THINGS HAVE GOTTEN PROGRESSIVELY WORSE ALONG A PREDICTABLE CONTINUUM.

IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT NEW YORKERS UNDERSTAND THAT WE DO KNOW -- I MEAN, WE KNOW EXACTLY -- THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT KNOWS EXACTLY HOW THIS IS GOING.

AND SO --

IS THERE A CHANCE, THEN -- AND WE'RE STARTING TO COME UP ON THE END OF OUR TIME TOGETHER.

BUT IS THERE A CHANCE THAT THERE SHOULD BE SOME SORT OF MORATORIUM, ESPECIALLY FOR VULNERABLE NEW YORKERS SO THAT PERHAPS THEY AREN'T WORRYING ABOUT MAKING SURE THEY HAVE ENOUGH HOURS TO PAY BILLS, TO PAY RENT, TO MAKE SURE THOSE DEMANDS THAT MAKE THEIR LIFE SO STRESSFUL AREN'T CLEAR?

IN ITALY WHEN THEY DECIDED TO SHUTDOWN ALL OF THE COUNTRY, I SAW IT REPORTED, THEY SACRIFICED THEIR ECONOMY TO SAVE THEIR PEOPLE.

AND THAT'S REALLY WHAT WE'RE FACING HERE.

AND SO WHEN WE SAY -- WHAT I MEAN BY THAT IS, YES, THERE HAS TO BE A MORATORIUM ON EVERYTHING.

LANDLORDS HAVE TO HAVE A MORATORIUM ON COLLECTING RENT.

BANKS HAVE TO HAVE A MORATORIUM ON COLLECTING MORTGAGE PAYMENTS.

THE CITY HAS TO HAVE A MORATORIUM ON COLLECTING TAXES.

THIS ALL THEN HAS TO BE SORTED OUT.

GOD WILLING, WE GET TO THE SUMMER MONTHS AND THIS IS A VIRUS THAT IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO SUMMER, TO THE SEASONAL FLUCTUATIONS GOD WILLING -- I MEAN, I REALLY TRULY HOPE THAT IS THE CASE.

THAT WOULD GIVE US A LITTLE BIT OF TIME TO PREPARE FOR THE FALL IN TERMS OF RAMPING UP OUR HEALTH CARE CAPACITY, MAYBE A VACCINE, ANTIVIRAL MEDICATION.

IT'S GOING TO BE UP TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO ESSENTIALLY DO A STIMULUS PLAN LIKE WE HAVE NEVER SEEN IN THIS COUNTRY BECAUSE OTHERWISE WE ARE LOOKING AT -- I MEAN, I'D SAY WE'RE LOOKING AT BEYOND RECESSION, WE'RE LOOKING AT POTENTIAL DEPRESSION.

JUST TO GIVE YOU SOME KIND OF CONTEXT, HERE INNER NEW YORK CITY WE HAVE A CHARTER MANDATED BALANCED BUDGET.

WHICH MEANS OUR REVENUES DETERMINE THE SIZE OF OUR BUDGET.

AND WE CAN'T REALLY GO OUTSIDE OF OUR REVENUES . THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN BLOWING THROUGH BALANCED BUDGETS FOR A GENERATION.

THIS IS A TIME NOW WHEN WE REALLY HAVE TO SAY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STEP IN.

WE NEED TO BE BASICALLY BORROWING MONEY FROM FUTURE GENERATIONS TO GET THROUGH THIS MOMENT.

SO FIRST THINGS FIRST, SAVE OUR PEOPLE.

THERE'S ONE THING THAT IS AN IMPORTANT CONCEPT.

THE HEALTH OF A POPULATION IS INTRINSICALLY LINKED TO THE ECONOMIC HEALTH OF A POPULATION.

AND THAT MAKES A LOT OF SENSE.

IF YOU HAVE, IF YOU HAVE 4% OF YOUR POPULATION INFECTED WITH A DEADLY DISEASE, THAT'S GOING TO AFFECT YOUR ECONOMY IN A CERTAIN WAY.

BUT IF YOU HAVE 50% OF YOUR POPULATION INFECTED WITH A DEADLY DISEASE, WHICH IS WHAT WE WERE LITERALLY ON TRACK TO DO IF WE DON'T INTERVENE RIGHT NOW, THE ECONOMIC IMPACT TO EVERYBODY IS SO MUCH MORE WIDESPREAD AND SO MUCH DEEPER THAT IT IS, IT IS, IT IS CHILLING TO CONTEMPLATE.

AND SO THAT'S WHY WE HAVE TO DO THE EXTREME MEASURES RIGHT NOW -- AND THEY'RE DOING IT IN SAN FRANCISCO.

THEY'RE NOT ACTING ILL LOGICALLY IN SAN FRANCISCO.

THEY'RE NOT ACTING ILLLOGICALLY IN BARCELONA.

THEY'RE LOOKING AT THE SAME STUFF WE'RE LOOKING AT AND THEY'RE COMING TO THE CONCLUSION THAT IN ORDER TO SAVE THEIR PEOPLE, THIS IS WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT SAVING THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF LIVES.

WE ALL HAVE TO DEMAND THAT WE HAVE COLLECTIVE ACTION RIGHT NOW.

WE CAN STEP UP.

WE'RE NEW YORKERS, FOR GOD SAKE.

WE HAVE DONE THIS BEFORE.

WE'VE DONE THIS BEFORE.

WE KNOW WE CAN DO IT.

WE DID IT AFTER 9/11.

WE KNOW EXACTLY HOW TO DO IT.

BUT IT IS GOING TO REQUIRE THAT WE ALL GET ON BOARD.

ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO REQUIRE OUR GOVERNMENT TO BE CLEAR WITH PEOPLE.

THIS IS WHAT WE'RE DOING AND THIS IS WHY WE'RE DOING IT.

THIS IS THE MATH ON IT.

THIS IS 8th GRADE MATH.

THIS IS MIDDLE SCHOOL ALGEBRA.

WE CAN EXPECT OUR PEOPLE TO GET IT.

UNFORTUNATE, WE'RE OUT OF TIME.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING TIME TO SPEAK WITH US.

AGAIN, REALLY VALUABLE INFORMATION.

AND, OF COURSE, WE WILL BE FOLLOWING THE DEVELOPMENTS OF THIS STORY AS IT CONTINUES.

THANKS, JENNA.

THANK YOU.

FOR THE LATEST NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND YOUR COMMUNITY, VISIT US AT METROFOCUS.ORG, FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.

GOOD NIGHT.

AND STAY SAFE.

Announcer: 'METROFOCUS' IS PAID POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRILL TISCH.

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

THE CIVILITY I CAN'T A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARZ.

ROSALIND P. WALTER.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

AND BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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