Mayor Eric Adams embarked on a seemingly endless series of TV and radio interviews Wednesday morning as he remains quarantined with COVID-19, amid one of the worst crises of his brief mayoral tenure.
Adams appeared in 10 interviews — all before 10 a.m. That followed a marathon of TV and radio appearances Tuesday.
Speaking to WNYC Wednesday, the mayor broke the news that police were now considering Frank R. James, 62, as a suspect in the mass subway shooting that rocked the city Tuesday morning, with dozens of people injured. James had previously been deemed a “person of interest.”
In another new detail, the mayor spoke about wanting to introduce a new unobtrusive technology to detect guns in the subway station.
The media blitz suggests one of the frustrations and challenges facing Adams, a hands-on mayor who has made a point of rushing to crime scenes.
He repeatedly invokes wartime analogies, saying generals must lead their troops from the front. Adams has also relied on the press to help amplify his message. Yet as of Wednesday morning, he had not answered questions on the latest shooting from much of the City Hall press corps.
During a Wednesday morning interview on Fox News, the mayor was asked if he had considered breaking COVID protocols to manage the latest crisis.
“I did,” Adams replied. “And those who know me are well aware that I want to be on the ground. I want to lead the city from the front. That is symbolic and it is substantive.”
“I would have been on the train today. I would have been on the train yesterday,” he added, before saying that he heeded the advice of his doctors.
Adams tested positive on Sunday after attending a flurry of events, including the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, D.C. where more than 70 attendees were infected.
Prior to the shooting, Adams said he would be permitted to take part in outdoor events beginning on Friday, as long as he was masked.
He has now said he plans to ride the subway on Saturday while wearing a mask.
Asked about whether that conflicts with what the mayor said previously, Jonah Allon, a spokesperson said only, “He’ll continue to follow the guidance of his doctors.”
Dr. Jay Varma, a former top health adviser under Mayor Bill de Blasio, has recommended that anyone with COVID-19 not leave isolation until they have a negative antigen test or have waited at least 10 days from the time they tested positive.
Varma reiterated that advice when asked on Wednesday about the mayor’s decision to ride the subways later this week.
“If the mayor or anyone chooses to leave isolation, they should wear a mask that is both high-quality and well-fitting and wear it consistently and correctly any time they are sharing indoor air with others,” he told Gothamist. “Ideally, others sharing indoor air with them do the same."