Over 30,000 New Yorkers died from coronavirus between March and May, prompting the Empire State to lay out some of the most intense restrictions and guidelines in the country. Since then, New York has managed to keep its positivity rate extremely low – less than one percent. Now, hospitalization rates are the highest they’ve been since June as the state reports a one-day total of 5,310 positive cases.
NY COVID Policy
New York has contained the virus by establishing yellow, orange and red restriction zones depending on how severe a COVID-19 outbreak is in a given area. For towns in the yellow zone, large gatherings are limited to 25 people, businesses and schools can remain open, and restaurants can only seat four people per table. In orange zones, large gatherings are limited to 10 people and certain “high-risk businesses” must close (such as gyms and hair salons). In red zones, large gatherings are prohibited, only essential businesses can remain open and restaurants must be takeout-only. In response to the uptick in cases, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made the decision to close in-person schooling until further notice. Policy implemented after the city’s deadly spring earlier this year requires schools to close if they reach a three-percent positivity rate across a seven-day average. “We must fight back the second wave of COVID-19,” the mayor tweeted.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who (perhaps prematurely) published a book on leadership lessons from the pandemic in October, got into a shouting match with reporters at a recent press conference. The exchange began when Wall Street Journal reporter Jimmy Vielkind pressed Cuomo about whether he would overrule any decision by city officials to close schools. Cuomo was also very blunt when speaking directly to New Yorkers, stating: “If you socially distanced and you wore a mask and you were smart, none of this would be a problem. It’s all self-imposed.” The announcements drew cynical statements from New York City officials, including the public advocate Jumaane Williams. “People are scared and stressed, and need plans and assurances,” he said. “Today, we have only executives governing by haphazard tweets and combative press conferences, from City Hall and the State Capitol to the White House.”
At least 574,072 people have been reported to have COVID-19 in New York since the beginning of the pandemic. According to reports, 34,187 have died. One thing is certain: Governor Cuomo’s ominous message back in March was accurate. “We are your future. What happens to New York is going to wind up happening to California and Washington state and Illinois. It’s just a matter of time.” The country reported a total of 185,000 coronavirus cases in a single day Thursday, the highest since the pandemic began. Both Texas and California recently surpassed over 1 million confirmed cases while cases continue to surge throughout the Midwest.