The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
De Blasio told a news conference that all of the inmates who will be released have been convicted of misdemeanors or some nonviolent felonies and have less than one year remaining in their sentence. There are over 500 inmates who fall into this category, however the mayor said he will not be releasing those who have been convicted of domestic violence or sexual assault, leaving 300 inmates who are eligible for release.
The mayor also said he wants to release those inmates who are over the age of 70 or who have any of the five preexisting health conditions that make them most vulnerable to the CCP virus, based on advice by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preexisting health conditions include chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; heart disease with complications; and severe obesity and complications such as diabetes or liver disease. People who are immunocompromised including those undergoing cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation; those with immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS; or those with prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications, are also at risk.
Pregnant women should also be monitored as they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk.
“My strong view is that at this point, I want to follow the exact same categories that I heard from Dr. Anthony Fauci in terms of those who are most in danger, and obviously Dr. Fauci has done an extraordinary job during this crisis, leading this country with the best information and guidance on how to address coronavirus,” de Blasio said.
“Dr. Fauci told me last week that anyone over 70 years old or anyone with one of those five major preexisting conditions, those were the people who would most likely be in danger. This is my view. No one over 70, no one with any of those five preexisting conditions, should be in our jail system right now.”
The mayor noted that he will be working through some “very intense complicated legal issues case by case,” and that he does not have the direct power to release everyone in that category, adding, “That can only be done with the approval of the state of New York or a district attorney.”
“But that category of people, those in immediate danger because of the specific nature of coronavirus, I strongly believe they all should be released and we are working through those details immediately,” he said.
There are just over 5,000 people in New York jails and the city has previously released 75 other prisoners in relation to the spread of the virus.
De Blasio’s announcement comes after The Guardian reported that at least 38 people had tested positive for the virus at Rikers Island and nearby facilities. Last week, a New York City Department of Corrections officer who was stationed at the prison died from the disease, one of 13 CCP virus-related deaths in the city. A statement from Department of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann said the individual had “limited contact with people in custody.”