Bill de Blasio says the coronavirus pandemic is 'one part the Great Recession, one part the Great Depression, one part the 1918 flu epidemic'
- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday compared the coronavirus pandemic to the Great Depression, the Great Recession, and the 1918 flu, and said the city's response to it should resemble President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.
- "The Great Depression and the New Deal are very instructive here," the mayor told MSNBC on Monday morning. "If you want to know what this whole thing is going to play out as, one part the Great Recession we went through a few years ago, one part the Great Depression, one part the 1918 flu epidemic."
- New York's state and city government's have taken drastic action, including closing the public schools requiring restaurants to move to delivery or take-out service only.
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In an interview on MSNBC Monday morning, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio compared the coronavirus pandemic to the Great Depression and said the city's response to it should resemble President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.New York's state and city governments have taken drastic action in recent days to protect residents from the rapidly spreading virus. These have included shutting down the city's public schools, which serve 1.1 million students, forcing bars to offer only take-out and delivery food, and closing all movie theaters, nightclubs, and concert venues. Advertisement
De Blasio said he was "exceedingly hesitant" to close the city's schools, which will be shut through at least April 20 - and potentially through the end of the school year. He mentioned some of the many dangers and complications of closing the schools, including stripping vital meals from 750,000 kids who live in poverty and child care away from many essential city workers, including healthcare workers.
The city is planning to use the city's schools as child care centers for the city's essential workers and temporary food distribution centers where families can pick up meals their kids would otherwise have received during the school day."The Great Depression and the New Deal are very instructive here," the mayor told MSNBC. "I'm not saying bread lines, but let's be clear, we're getting close to a reality where the government has to ensure that the food supply is not only available, but that it's equitably distributed."
He added that the city government would have to "get into a heavy intervention in people's economic lives because people are losing their livelihoods by the hour and they need a continuity of economic support."And he described the challenge the coronavirus poses as a mix between the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession, the Great Depression of the 1920s, and the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed about 50 million people."We have the historical playbook, and this, if you want to know what this whole thing is going to play out as, one part the Great Recession we went through a few years ago, one part the Great Depression, one part the 1918 flu epidemic," he said, adding, "We have to understand this as a pure war footing, right down to rationing if you need it."Advertisement
Almost one million New York City households don't have internet access, and many public school students don't have a computer they can use for remote learning.
As of Monday morning, there were 732 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York State - 329 in New York City alone - and six people had died from COVID-19, five of them in the city.Advertisement
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