NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio says at least half a million New Yorkers will be unemployed

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) speaks at a press conference about COVID-19 and the closing of K-12 public schools in New York City.

Michael Brochstein | Barcroft Media | Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that early estimates of unemployment data shows at least half a million New Yorkers have or will lose their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced state and local officials to shutter businesses and schools across the state. 

“It’s staggering, we’re only seeing the initial numbers, they will get worse unfortunately,” de Blasio said, adding that a lot of people can’t get even get through online or via phone to apply for unemployment.

“Right now our early estimate is unfortunately at least a half million New Yorkers will end up unemployed, are already or soon will be,” he said. 

Americans filed over 3 million unemployment claims last week as the coronavirus pandemic displaces workers in record numbers. 

The Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion relief package late Wednesday night, but de Blasio said the amount is not enough to help New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S.  Cases across the state have been doubling every three days and now account for more than half of all U.S. cases.

The Senate bill aims to help small businesses and improves unemployment insurance. 

“If the federal government does everything they’re capable of it will help us get through, and we can help everyone to the point where we actually start a recovery, which I think is something that is hard to believe before the summer or fall but we will get to that point,” de Blasio said.

Earlier on Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized the relief packaged as “irresponsible” and “reckless” because it doesn’t provide nearly enough cash to cover his state’s huge loss in tax revenue.

The coronavirus has infected more than 21,800 people in the city and has killed at least 281, de Blasio said. The city has 20,000 hospital beds but is going to need three times that amount by May, he said. 

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