De Blasio dismisses coronavirus risks during Biden victory celebrations, contrary to CDC guidelines

Biden: ‘It’s time to end the politicization’ of mask-wearing

Joe Biden delivers remarks on his plans to beat COVID-19 and build the economy back in Wilmington, Del.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio on Monday appeared to brush off concerns that weekend celebrations over Joe Biden’s presidential victory could contribute to the further spread of the coronavirus.

At the mayor’s daily press briefing, a New York Post reporter noted that although many attendees of these celebrations wore masks, many did not abide by social distancing rules – guidelines that De Blasio has previously urged New Yorkers to follow.

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio giving his daily press briefing in Manhattan on Nov. 9, 2020. 
(NYC Mayor’s Office)

Asked whether his administration was concerned that the celebrations would fuel an increase in coronavirus cases, De Blasio said that outdoor gatherings with a mask were less a cause for concern than indoor gatherings without a mask.

“This is really what we’re seeing decisively. Those outdoor gatherings, always something to keep an eye on. But if people keep a mask on and they’re outdoors, we haven’t seen too much ill come of that,” De Blasio said. “Increasingly the concern is, more and more people are indoors, fewer and fewer … wearing a mask. That’s overwhelming where our concern is.”

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De Blasio stopped short of addressing the lack of social distancing that was clearly visible at Biden victory celebrations. Over the weekend countless videos emerged online of people in major cities across the nation – including New York City – packed shoulder-to-shoulder in clear violation of social distancing guidelines. De Blasio shared selfies with other New Yorkers, wearing masks but not socially distanced in a crowd.

People celebrate in Times Square after former Vice President Joe Biden was announced as the winner over President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States.
(AP)

Earlier in the pandemic, De Blasio announced a smartphone app for residents who wanted to report violations of social distancing to authorities. At the time it was the nation’s largest COVID-19 hotspot. He also imposed fines on violators of up to $500.

And in April, De Blasio announced that the NYPD was breaking up the funeral of a Brooklyn rabbi that attracted hundreds.

De Blasio's office has not returned calls by Fox News seeking comment.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises people to use social distancing and limit physical contact both indoors and outdoors.

Guidelines on its website encourage people to “maintain a distance of at least 6 feet or more from people who don’t live in your household” and to “be particularly mindful in areas where it may (be) harder to keep this distance, such as check-in areas, parking lots, and routes of entry and exit.”

Asked Monday to comment on the apparent double standard, De Blasio again appeared to pivot, reiterating his point that not wearing a mask indoors is cause for greater concern.

“I think everyone needs to be careful all the time, and particularly … if these numbers we’re reporting today continue to grow, the people are going to have to get used to more and more restrictions and going back to some of the ways we had to live in the spring,” De Blasio said. 

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Other city leaders like De Blasio have also called for residents to exercise precaution while celebrating Biden's victory. On Sunday, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser encouraged those who voted in the 2020 presidential election to get tested for COVID-19, but was quiet on the thousands of Americans participating in celebrations. 

The irony was not lost on Gabriel Sterling, a Georgia election offical who during a Monday press conference took a jab at the double standard among Biden supporters, quipping: "They're ecstatic. They're in the streets partying. I guess COVID's over." 

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