The Big Apple will have 30,000 city-made 3D-printed coronavirus test kits by Friday — and will pump out 50,000 each week to help contain the pandemic’s spread, Mayor de Blasio said Sunday.
“Testing is the key — testing has always been the key,” Hizzoner said at a press briefing Sunday, saying it would help make sure any social-distancing orders were lifted safely to avoid “the dreaded boomerang.”
“For the first time in the city’s history, we will have our own test kits produced in large numbers right here in the five boroughs,” he said, calling the pioneering move “uncharted territory.”
The first 30,000 city-printed swabs will be available by Friday, with production “on track thereafter for 50,000-a-week,” the mayor said.
Hizzoner noted the “painful, painful irony” that the key swabs used in test kits were previously made in the region of northern Italy that became an epicenter for the contagion, crippling production.
“The global market wasn’t working … so we decided we would make our own,” de Blasio said.
He praised the “tremendous talent in this city” for getting the kits made quickly, with local 3D printing company Print Parts making the swabs.
The city has said it will produce swabs and plastic tubes needed for the tests — but the Viral Transport Medium that samples are transported in will come from outside the Big Apple until May 17, when Bronx-based Albert Einstein College of Medicine should be able to produce the media itself, he said, making the tests completely city-made.
There is still a dearth of labs to actually process the tests, however, de Blasio warned.
“Now we need [federal] help with lab capacity, we’re still not getting the help we need and we’re gonna keep fighting for it,” he said.
Ultimately, widespread testing will “help us go on the offensive — testing, tracing, isolating, quarantining,” the mayor said.
It added up to “all the pieces needed to fight back this disease and avoid that dreaded boomerang,” he said, highlighting Hong Kong, Singapore and the Japanese island of Hokkaido as places that needed tougher lockdowns after lifting restrictions too soon.
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