Exactly 100 days after the first coronavirus case was confirmed in New York City, some workers began returning to jobs on Monday at the start of reopening from a citywide shutdown to battle the epidemic that killed nearly 22,000 of its residents.
People who had been staying home for months boarded subways and buses as the most populous US city began Phase One of its hopeful journey toward economic recovery.
“This is clearly the hardest place in America to get to this moment because we’re the epicenter,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
New York, by far the hardest-hit US city, on Monday reported the rate of people testing positive for the coronavirus fell to a new low of 3%, well below its threshold for reopening of 15 percent, Mr de Blasio said.
As some 400,000 workers head back to 32,000 construction sites, wholesale and manufacturing centers and some retail sites across the city, Mr de Blasio urged them to wear face masks and use social distancing to keep COVID-19 cases on a downward trend – particularly those who use mass transit to get to work.