New York City will hold a ticker tape parade to celebrate the health care staff, first-responders and other essential workers who got the city through the Covid-19 pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.
The event will be the first official parade hosted in the city since the pandemic began early last year.
The parade will be held July 7 on the Canyon of Heroes parade route in downtown Manhattan and will include groups of essential workers marching and standing on floats.
The mayor said the event is meant to celebrate “the people who kept us alive, the people who kept this city going — no matter what.”
It will be “a day to celebrate and appreciate the heroes who often go unsung,” de Blasio said, calling it “a parade you will remember for the rest of your life.”
The announcement comes as the city has a Covid-19 positivity rate of just 0.59% — setting a new record for the city’s lowest rate since tracking that statistic, de Blasio said. Now, about 65% of adults have had at least one Covid-19 vaccine, and the average daily deaths is in the single digits.
“We are driving back Covid because people continue to get vaccinated and it’s having more and more of an impact,” de Blasio said, adding that nearly 8.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in the city so far.
New York reported 193 new Covid-19 cases on Monday. City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said that the vast majority of new Covid-19 infections and severe illness are among people who are still unvaccinated, with an extremely “miniscule” amount of rare cases in vaccinated people.
Chokshi said the Covid-19 pandemic that exists in New York City now is “primarily a pandemic among unvaccinated people.”
In all, the city is in a far different position than last spring, when Covid-19 rapidly spread through the five boroughs, sickened tens of thousands of people and overwhelmed hospitals. The virus disproportionately affected poorer, non-white residents who were deemed “essential” workers and faced pressure, economic and otherwise, to continue venturing into businesses without proper protections or safeguards. More than 33,000 city residents have died from the disease.
During the most harrowing times, city residents under stay-at-home orders began a nightly ritual of applauding the health care workers and others who were putting their own health at risk. The ticker tape parade is a larger representation of that same desire to recognize those workers and their sacrifices.
The city used to more regularly hold ticker tape parades for returning heroes, astronauts, veterans and heads of state. In the last two decades, though, the honor has gone exclusively to championship sports teams, including most recently a 2019 parade to celebrate the US women’s national soccer team.