NEW YORK — "We're gonna fight it back."
That's how the mayor reacted when he was asked a question in his Thursday briefing about a potential rat problem in New York City, with typical prevention measures adjusted for social distancing and a medical crisis with the coronavirus.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the status quo for things like pest control changed due to the coronavirus and the need for almost all resources to be poured into health care.
That, coupled with less people on the streets and closed business, has reportedly led to an increase in city rats seen on garbage piles and throughout the city.
"We can not let it get out of hand," the mayor said, vowing to contact city agencies to help subdue the issue.
Several reports, including this one in Gothamist, said the changes in the city's economy could lead to a sort of rat turf war, since most of the city's rat population get food in one way or another from commercial establishments.
The result: a potential for rat combat, or even cannibalism.
In the mayor's Thursday news conference, a reporter likened the situation to New Orleans, where video shows rats seeming to roam the empty streets of the city's French Quarter, perhaps due to social distancing measures.