NEW YORK CITY, New York - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and UN Secretary-General Antnio Guterreswas were on hand to announce the provision of 250,000 face masks donated by the UN on Saturday.
The move followed de Blasio's appeal for supplies to help the City's health care workers treat New Yorkers affected by COVID-19. New York City remains the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S. with more than 29,000 confirmed cases and 517 deaths as of Saturday at 10AM.
"Our healthcare workers are heroes - plain and simple. We must do all we can to they protect them," said the mayor. "I thank the United Nations for their much needed donation. New Yorkers and the international community stand together in this fight."
The UN chief praised medical professionals in New York City who, he said, have been working "courageously, selflessly, and tirelessly in response to the spread of COVID-19 across the boroughs.
Guterres went on to express his hope that the protective equipment will "play some small role in saving lives."
"These masks, in surplus to United Nations requirements, will be given to the medical professionals in New York City who have been working courageously, selflessly, and tirelessly in response to the spread of Covid-19 across the boroughs in the hope that they play some small role in saving lives. We speak with one voice to express our resolute support for this great city and its proud people. To us, New York is not just our home or the headquarters of the United Nations. It is a vibrant international capital through which the world communicates, debates, trades, and prospers. On behalf of the UN community and the diplomatic corps, we sincerely hope this modest donation makes a difference," the UN chief said.
Shortly after the statement was released, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, said in a press conference that the spread of the virus is leaving people disorientated. The State is on lockdown and, said Mr. Cuomo, the peak of the virus is still forecast to be up to three weeks away.
728 people have died from COVID-19, said the New York governor, and the State is working on three hospitals dedicated to COVID-19 patients. De Blasio, said on Friday that the City needs some 15,000 ventilators to treat critically patients.