New York City has made a "remarkable comeback" from the COVID pandemic, and now it's time to quit fighting "yesterday's war" and start looking even more to the future, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.
"COVID levels are now 95% lower than they were on Jan. 1," the mayor said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "It was ground zero, but now it's one of the safest places in the country."
Part of that is because a majority of New Yorkers have gotten at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, but the other part is because of the sacrifices that have been made, he added.
"New Yorkers get this victory because we said, we're going to ask you to sacrifice; we're going to ask you to do something tough, socially distance, shelter in place, wear a mask, change your lives, and they did it," said de Blasio.
"Then we said to go out and get vaccinated, and now 8.4 million vaccinations have been given in this city," said the mayor. "The people did this. Every vaccination is a human being making that decision to show up, and a healthcare hero to give them that vaccination. That human equation has happened 8.4 million times, so in the end, the victory goes to the people of this city. It didn't happen by magic."
He added that he has faith in the city and its people, but there are still long-term challenges that the city is facing, including the fight against crime and homelessness.
"If you talk to homeless folks, they were living a 'normal life' but something went wrong," de Blasio said. "It takes very patient, intense outreach; it takes understanding about what each person needs to come in off the streets ... even during the pandemic, we got homeless people off the streets, but it's repeat, repeat, repeat."
The mayor also talked about proposals for police reform, including the suggestion by some to send a social worker out with police on several types of calls, but de Blasio said doing that is not suitable in violent situations.
"We have already made a major change in New York City, where we now send (a social worker) on emergency calls, and more civilians if we don't think there's going to be a violent situation," he said.
But meanwhile, it's important to "put COVID behind us in our minds," said the mayor. "It's almost over. It's time to go to the future. That's why we are opening schools full strength in September, no questions asked, no more remote learning. It's time to go back to normal."
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