Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York has issued a rather grave warning. He said that 4.6 million people in the city, which amounts to half of the city's population could get infected with the deadly COVID-19 before it abates.
"It's a fair bet to say that half of all New Yorkers, and maybe more than half, will end up contracting this disease and that's worrisome, very deeply worrisome for all of us," he said on Wednesday evening while at the same time in Washington the White House Coronavirus Task Force said that the number of new cases there were relatively "constant" in a sign the social distancing norms were working.
De Blasio took a completely opposite stand from the New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo's statistics that point the rate of increase in cases was showing signs of slowing.
At a news conference, Andrew Cuomo said that the rate of hospitalisation of coronavirus patients which was doubling every two days on Sunday had slowed to doubling every 3.4 days on Monday and 4.7 days on Tuesday.
The entire state is in a semi-lockdown with a total closure of all non-essential businesses and offices, and Stay-at-Home orders for the people.
New York City, which has now become the epicentre of the pandemic in the US, had reported 17,856 cases on Wednesday with 192 deaths.
New York is reporting an infection rate of 1 in 1,000 compared with between 0.1 and 0.2 per 1,000 in other states, according to Vice President Mike Pence.
The White House coronavirus co-ordinator, Deborah Birx, said at the task force brifing, "You will see in New York City, the number of (new) cases per day has been relatively constant over the last three days.
Birx said that these numbers are clearer to interpret now because the testing backlog has been reduced significantly.
However, she said the hospital cases in New York will continue to rise, although not any more than a "consistent day over day rise."
This increase in hospital cases is a reflection of the infection rate before the full mitigation efforts were put into place.
Birx warned against complacency and urged Americans "not to let up for a moment" as the 15-day mark nears for the first test case of social distancing guidelines.
"This is a real call to every person in New York City in the New York metro area to continue to follow the White House social distancing guidelines", she said.
Bix said that 56 per cent of new cases are still coming from the New York metro area that includes a few counties in New Jersey state.
New York City's Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbo said that the percentage of people in New York City infected with COVID-19 will "likely 50 per cent but it could also be much higher" by September.
"I think it's safe to say that there are tens of thousands of New Yorkers that are somewhere along the spectrum of having COVID-19 or having been exposed to COVID-19 and that's why it's so important for people to stay home," she said.