Between February 26 and March 15, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has time and time again downplayed the COVID-19 outbreak in his city with many of his predictions having come untrue.
Selections of press conferences by the Mayor between February and today can be found in the video compilation above.
In particular, de Blasio and Dr. Mitchell Katz, the head of the City's Public Hospital system, kept reassuring that its 1,200 beds would be more than enough to handle caseloads and that there would be no shortage of ventilators. The Mayor also predicted the case number to rise to several hundred in weeks.
On March 8, Mayor de Blasio told a Jewish reporter that it was appropriate for asymptomatic people to visit grandparents for the holiday of Purim, on which Jews traditionally gather on parties and go door to door within their communities. By that time however, there were already cases and studies showing that even asymptomatic people could spread the virus.
"On ventilators, New York City is in good shape," said Dr. Katz on March 4. "And based on the, even the most dire predictions of percentages of people who will have serious illness with this, we will be fine. And that’s because all hospitals, including ours, have the most current ventilators that we use every day. And we also keep stores of ventilators that were previous generations that can be made to use an emergency."
In reality, today the City has a case number of over 30,000 with over 600 fatalities and a complete shortage of beds and ventilators in its public hospitals.
On March 27, Katz said the system will be out of its current ventilators after March without federal assistance.
The Mayor was pressed with a smaller compilation of three clips by CNN's Jake Tapper today.
"That last clip was from March 13th, just about two weeks ago. In retrospect is that message, at least in part, to blame for how rapidly the virus has spread across the city?" asked Tapper. "Mr. Mayor, you say you don't think you should look backwards, but you've criticized President Trump for 'actions that are far, far behind the curve'. I mean, Mr. Mayor, weren’t your actions in this outbreak also far, far behind the curve?"
"You know, Jake, we should not be focusing, in my view, on anything looking back on any level of government right now," responded de Blasio. "I mean, you could ask all the questions you want, they're fair. But I think the time to deal with these questions is after this war is over, because literally here in New York City, it feels like a war-time environment."