Speaking in a virtual press conference on Monday, Mayor Eric Adams said his doctors have cleared him to participate in outdoor events as soon as Friday, which would be five days after he received his first positive test for coronavirus — as long as he wears a mask.
The mayor, dressed in a blue suit and pink tie, spoke for roughly 20 minutes as he stood before a podium at Gracie Mansion. He held the virtual press conference to comment on President Joe Biden’s new restrictions on "ghost guns" as they were discussed publicly on Monday.
Aside from sounding slightly hoarse, he appeared healthy. His office said on Sunday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would be working remotely as he recovered from the virus, which manifested in the form of a raspy voice.
“I feel fine. No fever, no runny nose, no aches and pains outside of the raspiness in my voice,” Adams said.
The 61-year-old mayor credited his condition to the fact that he was vaccinated and had received one booster shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said those who test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms should isolate for at least five days, regardless of vaccination status.
Still, the infection with COVID-19 came at an inopportune moment for the mayor, who tested positive on his 100th day in office. Prior to announcing his illness, the mayor abruptly canceled a morning of in-person events, including appearing at an opening day event at Coney Island’s amusement park. The mayor had also been expected to deliver a speech this week on his 100 days that would spell out the next steps in his agenda.
Some have criticized the mayor for failing to wear a mask consistently at all of his events. He attended the Gridiron Club dinner last weekend in Washington, D.C, where more than 70 attendees have since tested positive for COVID-19.
On Friday, he went to opening day at Yankee Stadium before departing for Albany, where he spent Saturday mixing with lawmakers at events organized by the Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian legislators. He was seen maskless in some videos taken by protesters inside the Legislative Office Building in Albany.
Asked by a reporter whether he would change his behavior in light of his infection, Adams said that he would still “try to be as visible as possible as we get through COVID and many of the other crises that we're facing.”
“I just think it's important to continue to encourage New Yorkers to be vaccinated and boosted,” he said.
The mayor also said his diagnosis would not affect his broader policy of rolling back pandemic restrictions.
Cases have been steadily rising in New York City, driven by the BA.2 variant. The seven-day average of new daily cases is now more than 1,800, compared to under 100 cases per day a month ago, according to the city’s health data.
Adams has repeatedly said his decisions on ending restrictions would be based on the guidance of city health officials. The surge in virus cases recently prompted the mayor to postpone his decision to lift the mask mandate for children under 5.
“What happens to me personally should not determine how I make policies,” he said.
Adams began the press conference by saying that the number of ghost guns — untraceable firearms, which can be assembled from home — had “skyrocketed” in New York, with 163 recovered this year as of last week — five times as many as the same period last year.
“This is one of the most important weapons that feeds the sea of violence in our city and in our country,” he said.