Mar 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

De Blasio on downplaying crisis: "None of us have time to look backward"

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio brushed off his previous comments about the coronavirus pandemic on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, insisting that now is not the time to look backward.

Why it matters: De Blasio told New Yorkers in the early stages of the outbreak that they should continue their normal activities. "We want people to go about their lives," he said on March 13. "We want people to rest assured that a lot is being done to protect them."

  • De Blasio also visited his preferred Brooklyn gym on the same day that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would order a series of closures, including gyms, in response to the coronavirus outbreak

The big picture: With more than 30,000 reported cases and 672 deaths from the virus in New York, the city is now the epicenter of the crisis in the United States and the site of one of the largest outbreaks in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

What he's saying:

"We should not be focusing, in my view, on anything looking back on any level of government right now. This is just about how we save lives going forward. Everybody was working with the information we had. And trying, of course, to avoid panic. ... This was a very different world just a short time ago. ... 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 wartime environment."
— Bill de Blasio

Go deeper: New York's fight to save itself from coronavirus is also the country's fight

Go deeper