Story at a glance

  • New York City has tallied more than 20,000 cases with more than 200 deaths.
  • De Blasio reminded New Yorkers most patients experience mild symptoms.
  • New York state has become the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., with the most amount of COVID-19 deaths.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) warned that half of the city’s population is likely to become infected with the coronavirus by the time the COVID-19 pandemic is over. 

“It’s a fair bet to say that half of all New Yorkers and maybe more than half will end up contracting this disease,” de Blasio said during a City Hall news conference about the outbreak Wednesday evening. “And that’s worrisome, very deeply worrisome, for all of us, but we have to start with the truth.”

The mayor’s prediction was made as the number of New Yorkers who have died from the disease hit the 200 mark Wednesday, and more than 17,000 cases were confirmed at the time. 

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As of Thursday morning, more than 20,000 cases were confirmed with 280 deaths in the city, according to Johns Hopkins University data

If half of the city’s population does get infected, that would bring the total number of people who have contracted the virus to more than 4 million people. 

The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, estimated that could happen by fall, when health officials predict the outbreak will wind down. 

“We think 50 percent by the end of this epidemic, this pandemic, so by the time September rolls around, likely 50 percent, but it could also be much higher,” Barbot said during the briefing. 


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The mayor reminded New Yorkers that 80 percent of those who become infected experience mild symptoms or none at all, while 20 percent are likely to be hospitalized. 

Barbot said there are currently tens of thousands of New Yorkers who have already contracted the virus or been exposed to it, saying that is why it’s important for people to continue to stay home to avoid further spreading the virus. 

In the U.S., nearly 70,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, with more than 1,000 deaths. 

New York, which has become the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., has more than 30,000 cases with more than 300 deaths.


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Published on Mar 26, 2020