What there is to know
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is launching a full break similar to PAUSE for a period of two to four weeks starting after Christmas to combat soaring viral levels; any decision on this is up to the governor
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo has hinted that more aggressive action may soon be coming; earlier this week, he said parts of the state were heading for a worst-case halt at current hospitalization rates.
- New York’s overall increases over the past two weeks have been higher than New Jersey’s, according to data from the New York Times; hospitalizations are up 64% and 23% in the two states, respectively, during this period
Restrictions similar to PAUSE in the spring could close New York again as soon as the end of next week if the COVID-19 numbers continue to move in the wrong direction, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. At least he thinks they should one.
The mayor stressed in his latest briefing that he felt it necessary to impose some sort of shutdown on non-essential activities just after Christmas for a few weeks to contain the outbreak, but noted that the decision was up to the governor.
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday night, de Blasio said the goal would be to protect hospitals from overflow, which could trigger an even longer and more drastic shutdown comparable to the multi-month shutdown earlier this year. . He suggested a post-Christmas departure so as not to interfere with holiday shopping, he said, but would be comfortable closing earlier if the state chose to do so.
De Blasio has been sowing the seeds of the need for more questions for weeks, and most recently Governor Andrew Cuomo has planted them alongside him. Covering meals indoors in New York City may have been just the first step.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned this is coming. The same day he announced that New York had approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, he said the restaurant inside New York City would close on Monday. Report on Andrew Siff and Gaby Acevedo of NBC New York.
Hospitalization rates continue to rise in New York and statewide; the total now stands at nearly 6,000, a number the state has not exceeded since May 15. Daily deaths are also on the rise. Cuomo reported more than 100 deaths (128) on Tuesday, the highest toll in a day in months and a worrying sign of a potential tragedy to come. At the same time, confirmed virus deaths in New York have topped 28,000.
In a COVID briefing earlier this week, Cuomo tore up critics who challenged his decision to close restaurants inside the five boroughs, with bars and restaurants contributing less than 2% of exposures nationwide. The state and the city’s positivity and hospitalization rates remain lower than much of the state.
Cuomo accused these and all the other critics of having a short memory.
“The virus is spreading much faster in New York City,” Cuomo said. “Anyone who doubts they’re not here in the spring or has the shortest memory imaginable. ”
Indoor dining activities will be suspended from Monday, the same day winter weather is expected to hit all three states, offering not one, but two chances of snowfall this week. Reports by Ida Siegal of NBC New York.
At the same time, the governor warned that if current trends continue, some areas of the state would be on the verge of reaching 90% of hospital capacity within 21 days. This would trigger a red zone closure, shutting down non-essential businesses and schools, as part of its adjusted winter plan for micro-clusters.
New York City had an 80% capacity for hospital beds on Tuesday, a slight improvement from the 81% capacity recorded last week.
“If we don’t change the course, we could be heading for closure. It’s something to be concerned about, ”Cuomo said. “We are going back to where we were. ”
The numbers in the middle of this latest wave are by no means as strict as they were in the spring, but daily new cases have been on a steep slope for weeks and the positivity rate has been rising steadily. It was 5.51% Thursday in the city, according to data from Blasio, and 5.33% statewide.
While these rates are significantly lower than most other major US cities and states, they are surprisingly high by New York standards. As Cuomo said, New York has seen how quickly the numbers can get out of hand; families as well as business owners and workers have suffered the consequences.
Daily percentage of positive tests by New York region
Governor Andrew Cuomo divides the state into 10 regions for testing and tracks positivity rates to identify potential hot spots. Here is the latest monitoring data by region and for the five boroughs. For the latest county-wide statewide results, click here
If a shutdown is ordered for a period of time, de Blasio proposes an adjustment to the previous restrictions: keeping schools open.
They will be closed for the holidays just before Christmas and during the New Years anyway, which would remove at least a week any potential two to four week downtime. The city’s largest teachers’ union doesn’t necessarily agree with this. Its president said on Tuesday that if a shutdown was needed to curb soaring viral levels, it would be dangerous to keep school buildings open for in-person learning.
At this point, the discussion is moot unless Cuomo moves. He is expected to hold his second COVID briefing of the week on Wednesday.
The approach discussed by officials in New York differs markedly from the latest approach in New Jersey, where the governor says he has no plans to implement sprawling new restrictions, let alone eating out. inside, in the middle of the last wave. Gov. Phil Murphy said most of his state is more similar to Westchester County in New York or even Long Island, suggesting that the same density issues that apply only to New York do not apply to the Garden State.
The latter happens to be the most densely populated state in the country, Murphy acknowledged. New Jersey has also seen a significant or notable increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in recent weeks.
According to data from the New York Times, deaths have increased 69% in New Jersey over the past two weeks (Murphy’s latest report of 97 new daily deaths was its highest in months). Hospitalizations have increased 23% during this period, while cases have increased by 15% in the past 14 days. The governor says these numbers are manageable in terms of hospital capacity at the moment and urges people to follow proven COVID precautions as the state begins rolling out its vaccine.
NBC New York’s Ray Villeda reports.
In contrast, New York has seen an 87% increase in deaths in the past 14 days, a 64% increase in hospitalizations and a 48% increase in cases, according to data from the New York Times. These, say Cuomo and de Blasio, are alarming trends that could threaten to overwhelm the hospital system if left unchecked.
The national increases over the past 14 days have been smaller than the percentage changes in New York. According to data from the New York Times, cases have risen 28% in the past two weeks, deaths are up 60% and hospitalizations are up 17%. All baseline figures are at record pandemic levels in the United States
And this last wave should swell more before it ebbs. Dr Anthony Fauci and Cuomo, among others, expect it to peak in mid-January after a vacation wave on top of the wave that’s been underway for more than a month.
To date, the country has confirmed more than 16 million cases of COVID and exceeded 300,000 deaths, according to data from NBC News. Dr Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has warned that the United States could see its tragic toll of nearly 450,000 by February if the current rate remains unchanged.