NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- In a speech in front of a new Pandemic Response Lab on Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined a vision tying the city's long-term economic recovery with public health, saying “there will be a renaissance for New York City.”
The mayor said the city was at a “transformative moment” and that “today we lay out the foundations of our recovery agenda,” which will include an investment in the life sciences industry as well as underserved communities.
“Today we present a vision that focuses on public health and social justice—these will be the pillar of our future,” de Blasio said. “Public health is economic health. There is no economic health without public health. And thank God we invested in public health long before we heard the word coronavirus.”
De Blasio said the city would seize on its growing life sciences industry and make the five boroughs “one of the great life science capitals of the world.”
“We can transform New York City into a living laboratory, a place where great innovations occur, great innovations are achieved and put into practice immediately to benefit all people,” the mayor said. “The future of our economy will be more and more about health care.”
The mayor said the city will bring together doctors, nurses, academic researchers, industry innovators, health care nonprofits and economic development organizations “for a common cause”—making the city “a global hub for public health research, for development and for the practice of new ideas.”
De Blasio provided few details but said a number of “very specific plans” would be released in the coming weeks. He did lay out “four core principles for this public health vision.” They include:
1. “We must continue our momentum and then build further progress in the fight against COVID-19.”
2. “We must invest in innovation to make us a stronger hub for public health research.”
3. “We have to create new, high-quality jobs that improve the health of our people.”
4. “We have to focus on historically underserved communities, the places that didn’t get the investment, because we have to right that wrong and recognize that we are truly all in this together, and if one community of New York City is not healthy, we all are not healthy.”
The mayor said the plan would first focus on the immediate challenge—the coronavirus. “We have to overcome COVID for everything else to be possible,” he said, adding that the city is creating a new citywide rapid-testing program.
Thursday’s briefing was held in front of the Alexandria Center for Life Science on E. 29th Street, where a new Pandemic Response Lab that opened last week will serve a “critical purpose” in the city’s fight against COVID-19.
“Quick, reliable testing is what will help get more and more New Yorkers back to work safely,” de Blasio said. “This lab, with the ability soon to process 20,000 tests a day, will be a key part of that solution.”
James Patchett, the president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, said the lab is “dedicated to processing COVID-19 test results for Health + Hospitals in 24 to 48 hours.” He said that “every result the lab has been sent has been returned to patients within 24 hours.”
By the end of this month, the lab will be able to do 10,000 tests per day, and by November it will be able to do 20,000 tests per day. It currently employs 100 people, a number that will grow to 150 people by November.
“There will be a rebirth. There will be a renaissance for New York City,” de Blasio said to end his briefing. “And anyone who wants to be a part of that I invite you to the table in this great effort.”