15,597 coronavirus cases in New York City

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he "respectfully disagrees" with President Trump about his hope that the coronavirus crisis would last weeks not months.

"We are doing all we can just to get through March right now, particularly in terms of our healthcare system. April will unquestionably be worse than March," de Blasio said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. "And right now, my fear is, May could be worse than April. That's the reality we're facing."

New York City has 15,597 positive cases as of Tuesday at 5 p.m., according to data from the city's website.

"This is a race against time," de Blasio said.

New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell echoed that sentiment. She said that some of the supplies the city asked for are "trickling in" and that a few truckloads arrived at the Javits Center Tuesday. 

"While all of these items are really critical in order for us to be successful with this, our No. 1 most precious commodity in all of my years of disaster experience is time," Criswell said. "And you can't get time back. And every day that goes by that decisions aren't made and supplies don't come in are going to cost people their lives." 

In a town hall hosted by FOX News, earlier on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said that he "would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter."

"I think it's possible, why isn't it?" the president said. "In my opinion, many people, more people are going to die if we allow this to continue," Trump said. "We have to get people back to work."

De Blasio said FEMA is sending 2,000 more ventilators to New York City on top of the 400 that arrived on Monday but warned that the city will need many more.

Mayor de Blasio threatened to shut every playground in the city if social distancing rules are not followed. He said a final decision will be made by Saturday evening.

He announced that hundreds of prisoners were immediately being released from the Rikers Island jail complex due to fears over coronavirus. Initially, approximately 300 inmates who have less than a year left to serve for non-violent offenses will be released. 700 others who were jailed on parole violations will also be looked at to be sent home early on a case-by-case basis.


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