…In the war on coronavirus, N.Y. Gov. Cuomo reiterates no ‘shelter in place’ plan for NYC, acknowledges shutting down businesses/
By LARRY MCSHANE/
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/
Gov. Cuomo, joined by officials in New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, announced a four-state shutdown Wednesday of retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys in the ongoing war against the coronavirus.
“Together we will reduce density (of people) and slow the spread of coronavirus,” Cuomo tweeted shortly after a news conference where he imposed a mandatory statewide order to cap staffing at 50% of the workforce for all but essential businesses. The governor also announced a 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship was headed to New York City for possible assistance in handling non-virus medical issues if local hospitals are overrun by victims of COVID-19.
Cuomo brushed aside questions about the economic impact of workforce restriction.
“We’re past that point,” he said. “There’s going to be an impact on the economy, and we’re going to have to deal with that crisis. But let’s deal with one crisis at a time.”
The governor added that certain crucial services, including pharmacies and health care outlets, will remains immune to the restriction.
The USNS Comfort was headed to New York Harbor as a possible answer to the anticipated crunch for hospital beds if the virus infects as many New Yorkers as projected. The ship contains its own operating rooms and other medical services, and would treat non-coronavirus patients while city facilities focused on those infected by the virus.
“It’s an extraordinary step, obviously,” said Cuomo. “It is literally a floating hospital.”
The latest numbers indicate 2,383 coronavirus cases in New York state, with 549 people hospitalized and 20 fatalities, said Cuomo. There was some good news: 108 New Yorkers who tested positive had since recovered and returned home.
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The governor again shot down the plan to restrict movement inside the five boroughs, with the city’s 8.5 million residents barred from leaving home unless they are in need of essentials like food, prescriptions or medical care. Mayor de Blasio had suggested such a plan could be in place by Thursday, but the governor dismissed it as a non-starter.
“This is a health issue, a public health crisis,” said Cuomo in his daily update. “Worse than the virus is the fear we’re dealing with (and) the rumors, how they spread: ‘I’m going to be quarantined. They’re not going to let me leave my house.’”