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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Appears Live on ABC's Good Morning America

March 27, 2020

George Stephanopoulos: Let's bring in the Mayor of New York right now. Bill de Blasio joins us from City Hall this morning. Mayor, first of all, our condolences for that victim from the NYPD, the first victim, and all the casualties here in New York City. More than 23,000 cases in New York City right now, 365 deaths. What more can you tell us about the situation right now?

Mayor Bill de Blasio: George, look, here's the reality in New York City, people are answering the call, health care workers, first responders, but we have to be real honest about where this is going. I can tell you right now, we have enough supplies to get through this week and next week in our hospitals. That's all I can guarantee. And after that, unfortunately, we think this crisis is going to grow through April into May. That's the truth. And we need the President and everyone in Washington to understand it's just a blunt reality. We're looking at the numbers, we're looking at the human impact and we can't ignore it. We can't minimize it. We need help now. When the President says the State of New York doesn't need 30,000 ventilators, with all due respect to him, he's not looking at the facts of this astronomical growth of this crisis. And a ventilator, George, means someone lives or dies. It's as simple as that – someone lives or dies. If they get the ventilator in time, they can live and come through, like that amazing woman in Washington State, 90 years old. That's beautiful. But if they don't have a ventilator, a lot of people are just not going to make it.

Stephanopoulos: So, you need 30,000 where are you right now? What do you need from the federal government?

Mayor: We've gotten in New York City about 2,500 in the last week or so. The State needs 30,000, the City needs 15,000. So, we've gotten something and I'm thankful for that, but it has to keep coming. The President has to make that contract happen with the companies that can create ventilators, not just for New York City and New York State, for the whole country. This is going to get worse before it gets better. And it's literally – we have to understand, without a ventilator, doctors can't save lives. This is the greatest country in the world. We should be producing all the ventilators possible over these next weeks because all parts of this country are going to need them.

Stephanopoulos: You know, it's not just ventilators, Mayor. I have the cover of the New York Post right here, this morning – hell on the front lines, talking about these nurses that are wearing plastic gowns and garbage bags in order to protect themselves. So many shortages in so many hospitals here in New York.

Mayor: George, the truth is, we have, again, the supplies for this week and next. We've got to make sure every hospital is getting them to their extraordinary heroic medical personnel, the nurses, doctors, everyone in those hospitals, because the supplies are here, we’ve got to make sure everyone gets them when they need them. But again, not too long from now, I may not be able to say that if we don't get constant help from Washington. There's a lot of fear, George. I don't blame any health care professional. They're going through hell, look what they're having to deal with and we've got to make sure the supplies are there every single time when they need them.

Stephanopoulos: Give us a bit more sense – you say this going to go into May here in New York. The number of increased hospitalizations, about 3,000 yesterday, that was 4,000 the day before. Are we seeing – we know it's still going up, but are we seeing any kind of flattening at all?

Mayor: George, there's some – you know, some days we see numbers that make us a little helpful, but I don't want to give people a false hope and then, you know, they get hit with a ton of bricks and it turns out is not real. The overall projection, we believe over half the people in this city will ultimately be infected. Now again –

Stephanopoulos: Over half?

Mayor: Over half. Thank God, for 80 percent, that will be very little impact, in truth. For about 80 percent, we see this consistently, it's like having, you know, a cold or flu type dynamic and you get through it in seven to 10 days. And a lot of those people get right back to work – our first responders, our health care workers. But for 20 percent of the people infected, it's going to be tough. And for some of them, of course it's going to be fatal. So, when you look at these overall numbers, we’ve got to be honest about it grows before it comes – you know, before it comes down, we're going to go through a really sharp growth period.

Stephanopoulos: Mayor, final question – the Presidents, as you know, has talked about opening some parts of the country by Easter. That's his hope. You just talked about New York City – should we expect New York City to be closed basically through May?

Mayor: I think, George, we have to be ready for that, and I think it's going to spread in the country. This idea of Easter is unfortunately a false hope. It would be better for the President to be blunt with people that we've got a really tough battle ahead, throw in the military who are not yet being fully engaged – and they're ready, but the President has to give the order – build those ventilators, get the supplies all over this country, because people are going to need it in April and in May.

Stephanopoulos: Mayor de Blasio, thanks for your time this morning.

Mayor: Thank you, George.

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