Mayor announces plan for city’s pandemic ‘rebirth,’ but offers few details


Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the bones of the city’s pandemic recovery plan which focuses on public health and social justice on Thursday.

The agenda recognizes the link between the city’s economic health and the health of New Yorkers and the city is entering into a “transformational era,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“There will be a rebirth, there will be a renaissance for New York City,” de Blasio told reporters during a now rare in-person press conference outside of the Alexandria Building for Life Sciences on FDR Dr. between East 28th ad East 30th Streets. ” Anyone who wants to be a part of that I invite you to the table.”

Mayor de Blasio’s plan will “kick-off” a series of policy proposals and will focus on four principals to make the city “stronger, healthier and fairer”:

  • Continue the City’s momentum in fighting back COVID-19: We will continue the momentum in fighting COVID-19 by working with the private sector to expand lab capacity and deploy rapid, safe, and inexpensive testing, allowing our businesses to stay open and our economy to move forward. Last week, the City and its partners announced the opening of the Pandemic Response lab. Today we will launch a competition to design rapid, reliable and inexpensive testing for COVID-19. The City will be prepared to lead in the distribution of vaccines and treatments as medical advances become available.
  •   Make the City a hub for public health research: We will make New York Center a center of innovation for public health research, design, and practice. We will build new research and development facilities and forge collaboration among unlikely partners – doctors and nurses, academic researchers, industry innovators, health nonprofits and economic development community organizations, just as we did in the early days of COVID-19. Because health security depends upon a highly trained workforce, we will create a Public Health Corps – a team of community health workers building trust and taking care of people in our hardest-hit neighborhoods.
    •       Create high-quality jobs: We will encourage the creation of new, high-quality jobs that also help improve the City’s health.
    •       Continue making New York the fairest city in America: We will center service and action in neighborhoods that have carried the heaviest burden of economic and health inequities. The plan will include policy proposals around better use of public spaces, a more equitable transit system, and small business recovery, all of which are critical to a healthy and thriving city.

The New York City Economic Corporation Development opened the Pandemic Response Lab inside of the tower last week. The lab is dedicated to processing COVID-19 tests within a 24-48 hour period for NYC Health + Hospitals with the goal of processing 20,000 tests per day by November.

Mayor de Blasio also announced a competition to speed up the development and deployment of rapid COVID-19 tests. The city is looking for tests that will cost between $5 and $10 and can be completed within 15 minutes, according to NYCEDC CEO James Patchett. The competition is national and open to international responses.

The mayor did not give details on how the city is planning to transform the city into a stronger hub for public health research, create new high-quality jobs that improve the health of New Yorkers or how the city would better invest in low-income communities of color that bore the brunt of the pandemic.

Instead, de Blasio said, the city will provide detailed plans over upcoming weeks “to realize this vision.”

This story first appeared on amny.com.

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