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NYC mayor responds to overwhelming arrests of black people for social distancing violations

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New Yorkers in Prospect Park during nice weekend weather as social distancing guidelines remain in place to limit the spread of coronavirus on May 2, 2020 in New York City.New Yorkers in Prospect Park during nice weekend weather as social distancing guidelines remain in place to limit the spread of coronavirus on May 2, 2020 in New York City. (Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

New York City will be able to test 20,000 people per day by the end of May through the new testing and tracing program, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Right now, the city has been testing about 14,000 people per day. De Blasio hopes the number will reach 50,000 in the next few months.

The program, called the Test and Trace Corps, is being formed to hamper the spread of the disease as New York City enters “low-level transmission.”

“This is how we move forward,” de Blasio said.

By early June, there will be 2,500 public health foot soldiers in the program to investigate and monitor cases, as well as trace contacts, according to the mayor, who added that nearly 7,000 people have applied to work in the program.

For those who do test positive and cannot properly isolate, they will be put in one of the 1,200 hotel rooms that de Blasio said would open by June 1.

The program will be run by Dr. Ted Long, who currently serves as vice president of ambulatory care at New York City Health + Hospitals.

De Blasio also said that as the city continues to battle the disease, social distancing will be increased in parks through police intervention.

At Hudson River Park Piers 45 and 46 in Manhattan, the mayor said police will be at the site to limit the capacity of how many people are allowed in. He did not specify how many people would be allowed to enter the park or how police would monitor who enters.

At Domino Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, he said there will be an increase in NYPD officers.

The heightened presence and social distancing comes after the mayor and police were criticized for the overwhelming arrests of black people related to social distancing.

— ABC News

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