What to Know
According to de Blasio, 4.5 miles inside city parks and 2.7 miles adjacent to parks will open up to ease crowding. These streets will open up Monday.
The first streets to open up will be:
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CORONAVIRUS17 HOURS AGOCoronavirus After Effects? NY Doctor Develops Heart Disease After RecoveryHe also said that those who may be in need of face coverings will also be able to obtain them from officials on the streets.
The mayor first announced the city's plans to open up 40 miles of streets to pedestrians, with a set goal of expanding to 100 miles of open streets, earlier this week.
"The way we will do it is we are going to focus first on streets in and around our parks. [We are] very concerned about the streets around parks. Often times we are seeing that immediate area getting very crowded," de Blasio said at the time. "Those streets adjacent to parks are an obvious opportunity to open up more space. We are going to work together to figure out how we are going to do that."
De Blasio went on to explain that some other locations will see sidewalks expansion similar to what was done around Rockefeller Center during the winter holidays where the sidewalks space was opened up into the streets a bit more with proper barricades in place for safety.
"Some streets will be more local areas that aren’t necessarily going to be where you have a major attraction like a park but they are places where we can safely open up some space and have it be enforced," he said. "And another piece of discussion is early action bike lanes where we see an opportunity to do more with bike lanes."
According to de Blasio, the city will focus first on where the need is greatest.
"So many communities that we have already identified have been already hard hit by COVID we want to be particularly sensitive to implementing these kind of steps," de Blasio said, adding that it will be a joint effort between the City Council, working with the police department, transportation department, sanitation department, parks department to figure "out all the right places we can do this, but first priority are the places hardest hit and then of course figuring out where they’ll have the biggest impact where the most people are."
This is the second attempt at closing down city streets in order to provide more open space to residents, while still keeping social distancing norms during the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier this month, New York City abandoned a pilot project to open major streets in each borough for pedestrian open space, citing the demand on NYPD resources as more and more cops call out sick.
The city had closed a series of major thoroughfares from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily for a couple of weeks. However, in a statement at that time, de Blasio's office said it was taking more than 80 cops a day to effect the closures, and not enough people were using the newly opened streets to justify that level of resource commitment.
It now appears that the mayor' office has changed course, and now will be opening up even more streets as the warmer spring weather approaches.
I’m an emergency physician at St. Barnabas Hospital in The Bronx. I have been in the ER every day these last few weeks, either supervising or providing direct care. I contracted a COVID-19 infection very early in the outbreak, as did two of my daughters, one of whom is a nurse. We are all well, thank God.
COVID-19 has been the worst health-care disaster of my 30-year career, because of its intensity, duration and potential for lasting impact. The lasting impact is what worries me the most. And it’s why I now believe we should end the lockdown and rapidly get back to work.
From mid-March through mid-April, the ER staff at St. Barnabas huddled in groups of about 20 every morning. We asked ourselves what had happened over the previous shift. We generated a list of actionable tasks for the following 24 hours. At first, we addressed personal protective equipment and the management of patients with mild illness who were seeking COVID-19 tests.
Then came the wave of critically ill patients in numbers none of us had ever seen. This lasted for two weeks. The number of patients on ventilators accumulated in the ER and throughout the hospital. We witnessed an unprecedented number of deaths. The tone of the huddles became more somber. We became accustomed to the morbidity; we did our jobs.
It is precisely what I have witnessed that now tells me that it’s time to ease the lockdown. Here’s why.
First, the wave has crested. At 1 p.m. on April 7, the COVID-19 arrivals slowed down. It was a discrete, noticeable event. Stretchers became available by 5 p.m., and the number of arriving COVID-19 patients dropped below the number discharged, transferred or deceased.
This was striking, because the community I serve is poor. Some are homeless. Most work in “essential,” low-paying jobs, where distancing isn’t easy. Nevertheless, the wave passed over us, peaked and subsided. The way this transpired tells me the ebb and flow had more to do with the natural course of the outbreak than it did with the lockdown.
Second, I worry about non-coronavirus care. While the inpatient units remain busy with sick COVID-19 patients, our ER has been quiet for more than a week. We usually average 240 patients a day. For the last week, we averaged fewer than 100. That means our patients in this diverse, low-income community are afraid to come to the ER for non-COVID care.
Gotham-wide, the number of 911 ambulance runs declined to 3,320 on April 18, down from a peak of 6,527 on March 30, according to New York Fire Department data. The current nadir is significantly below the average.
A large share of those staying home surely have emergency medical and surgical conditions not related to the novel coronavirus. The growing numbers dying at home during this crisis must include fatal myocardial infarctions, asthma exacerbations, bacterial infections and strokes.
Why NYC failed on coronavirus response while Seattle succeeded: reportMeanwhile, our pediatric volume in the ER has practically disappeared. Visits to primary-care pediatricians are also down, with vaccine schedules falling behind. Everyone seems to be avoiding the health system — an important and unfortunate consequence of the stay-at-home strategy.
Third, inordinate fear misguides the public response. While COVID-19 is serious, fear of it is being over-amplified. The public needs to understand that the vast majority of infected people do quite well.
Finally, COVID-19 is more prevalent than we think. Many New Yorkers already have the COVID-19 infection, whether they are aware of it or not. As of today, over 43 percent of those tested are positive in The Bronx. We are developing a significant degree of natural herd immunity. Distancing works, but I am skeptical that it is playing as predominant a role as many think.
More testing will better establish the numbers among those with mild illnesses and no symptoms. My professional experience tells me the number of infected people will be high. Testing is important work, but it should happen in parallel to the immediate resuscitation of the economy and getting people back to work.
At present, the testing is imperfect. We can’t wait months. We must protect the vulnerable and mitigate without destroying the economy.
Standing up to this virus can’t be the job of essential workers only. We’ve been strong, but we’re tired, and we need the rest of you to help us. By getting back to work.
Daniel G. Murphy, MD, is chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at St. Barnabas Hospital in The Bronx.
(CNN)Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday he will allow his stay-at-home order for the Lone Star State to expire on Thursday, commencing a phased exit from the social distancing measures meant to mitigate the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Republican's new order, which supersedes local orders, will allow businesses like retail stores, malls, restaurants and theaters to reopen Friday but limits occupancy to 25%. The order will also allow libraries and museums to open.
Abbott noted that he wants barbershops, salons, gyms and bars open "as soon as possible" and expects them to open no later than mid-May.
"Now it's time to set a new course, a course that responsibly opens up business in Texas," Abbott said. "We will open in a way that uses safe standards -- safe standards for businesses, for their employees as well as for their customers. Standards based upon data and on doctors."
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Experts widely agree that to control the epidemic in the absence of strict social distancing measures, states and localities will need to build the capacity for additional testing and contact tracing -- something Texas medical and public health officials have told CNN the state isn't doing at a large enough scale to reopen.
That process of identifying new cases of Covid-19 and then tracking down and quarantining anyone who could have been infected by those newly identified cases would be crucial to returning to normal life.
But Abbott pushed back Monday, saying that the state "should easily exceed our goal of 25,000 tests per day" by early May and that Dr. Deborah Birx -- the White House coronavirus response coordinator -- told him "the Texas plan was great."
CNN has reached out to Birx for comment.
Touting Texas' plan as the "result of tremendous input," Abbott said the state will not mandate but "strongly recommend" that everyone wear a mask as businesses reopen.
"Now more than ever, Texans must remain committed to safe distancing practices that reduce the spread of Covid-19, and we must continue to rely on doctors and data to provide us with the safest strategies to restore Texans' livelihoods," he said.
"We must also focus on protecting the most vulnerable Texans from exposure to Covid-19. If we remain focused on protecting the lives of our fellow Texans, we can continue to open the Lone Star State."
Still, Abbott faces a unique challenge in reopening Texas, the world's 10th largest economy.
While previewing the state's strategy earlier this month, Abbott said a group of medical and economic experts would guide him through a series of incremental steps aimed at slowly reopening the state's economy.
"A more strategic approach is required to ensure that we don't reopen only to have to close down again, so consistent with CDC guidelines and based on advice from infectious disease specialists we will open Texas businesses in phases," Abbott said Monday.
A premature opening of private businesses, he stressed, would risk further outbreaks.
That approach marks a significant step back from what some had anticipated would be a much more aggressive push from Abbott to reopen the famously pro-business Texas.
The Lone Star State and its $1.8 trillion economy, second only to California in size, has been hit particularly hard by tumbling oil prices and the global pandemic.
As a result, Abbott has had to strike a delicate balance between two opposing forces: a push from the state's business community eager to get back to work and health professionals and economists warning that a premature restart could be deadly.
"The lives saved are priceless, but the price has been steep. Many have lost jobs, others have lost businesses. Many are struggling to pay their bills. I want those Texans to know they are not alone in this fight," he said Monday."Just as we united as one state to slow Covid-19, we must also come together to begin rebuilding the lives and the livelihoods of our fellow Texans."
This story has been updated with additional information Monday.CNN's Maeve Reston, Caroline Kenny, Donald Judd and Julia Jones contributed to this report.
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Federal health officials now advise wearing a homemade face mask while in public, recently changing the guidelines in a bid to protect more Americans from contracting the novel coronavirus. But in some states, a face covering of some kind is no longer an option: it’s a requirement -- if you’re going out in public, at least.
As the epidemic of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to overwhelm America’s health care workers who grapple to treat the worst patients, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month changed its guidelines to urge citizens to do their part in stopping the spread, which now includes protecting your face with some type of cloth covering when you step out of the safety of your home to restock on essential goods.
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The CDC only recently changed its recommendations “in light of new evidence” that shows “a significant portion” of those with the novel virus is either asymptomatic -- meaning they lack symptoms altogether -- or presymptomatic, meaning they can spread the virus to others without first showing signs of it themselves.
“This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity -- for example, speaking, coughing or sneezing -- even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms,” the CDC stated in its updated guidelines.
A facial covering -- not to be confused with a surgical mask or an N95 respirator, both of which are in low supply and should be reserved for frontline medical workers -- can be made from a few simple items likely found around your home, no sewing required. You can find an easy how-to here.
Read on for a look at what states have issued executive orders mandating that face masks be worn while in public.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order mandating some type of face mask for everyone over the age of 2, effective beginning April 20.
“Any person in a public place in Connecticut who is unable to or does not maintain a safe social distance of approximately six feet from every other person shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face-covering,” the order reads.
The coverings are also required when using public transportation or when riding in a taxi, Uber or another ride-sharing service.
Additionally, essential employees -- those who cannot work from home -- are also required to wear a face mask or face covering.
Beginning April 20, Hawaii residents must wear a face covering “while waiting to enter and while at an essential business or operation,” according to the order from Gov. David Ige.
“All employees of essential businesses or operations who have any contact with customers or goods to be purchased shall wear the cloth face-covering recommended by the CDC while at their place of employment,” the order states.
In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order that mandates citizens to wear a face covering while using public transportation in the state. Residents over the age of 9 are also required to wear a mask or covering when shopping in essential “retail or food service” establishments. The same applies to staff members at essential businesses.
Additionally, adults “shall use reasonable efforts” to have any children between the ages of 2 and 9 who accompany them during outings to use face masks or coverings, as per the order.
Similar to other states, New Jersey also requires its residents to wear a face covering while in public.
In an executive order that took effect April 8, Gov. Phil Murphy said employees and customers at essential businesses must wear them, as must anyone working for or using New Jersey public transportation.
Effective April 17, New Yorkers over the age of 2 and “medically able to tolerate a face covering” are required to do so, especially when social distancing is not or cannot be maintained, as per the executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Effective April 19, employees at essential businesses are required to wear face coverings while on the job. Employers must provide employees with a mask, according to the state’s Department of Health.
Customers are also required to wear them and can be denied entry to the business "unless the business is providing medication, medical supplies or food, in which case the business must provide alternative methods of pick-up or delivery of such goods," Gov. Tom Wolf's office said.
Effective April 18, employees at essential businesses must wear a face mask or covering, according to Gov. Gina Raimondo's executive order.
CORONAVIRUS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Unless an employee "can easily, continuously, and measurably maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other employees for the duration of his or her work," all employees at essential businesses “must wear face coverings in any entry, exit and common areas of the business, including, but not limited to: check-in, registration, reception, hallways, bathrooms, breakrooms, time clock areas, elevators, stairways, etc,” the order reads.
Employers must provide their employees either face masks or the appropriate materials to make one, as per the order.
This file will be updated if more states mandate face coverings.
Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.
Apr. 20, 2020 - 1:40 - Peter Stern, Senior Vice President at Clean Rite Center, New York City’s largest laundromat chain, delivers expert tips on how to stay safe while doing laundry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus: Safety Tips for You
April 14, 2020The American Red Cross continues to closely monitor the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and follow the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We understand this is a stressful time and people want to know what they can do now to protect themselves and their families. Below are some everyday steps that people in the U.S. can take now. In addition, stay informed about what’s happening in your community and always follow the directions of state and local authorities.
WEAR A CLOTH FACE COVER
The CDC now advises everyone to wear a cloth face cover when going out in public, such as going to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
HELP SLOW THE SPREAD OF COVID-19
Follow these steps to help keep you and others safe:
WHO IS AT A HIGHER RISK?
According to the CDC, early information shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. This includes older adults and people of any age who:
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19, it is critical for you to take actions to avoid getting sick.
IF YOU ARE SICK
According to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms include fever, shortness of breath and a cough. Keep track of your symptoms, which may appear two to 14 days after exposure, and call to seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen, such as difficulty breathing.
Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you think you are sick:
Emergency Warning Signs
If your symptoms become severe, call to get medical attention immediately. Warning signs include:
This list is not all inclusive. Consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning. Review CDC guidance for more information.
FINDING UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION Visit redcross.org/coronavirus for more information on COVID-19 safety. For the latest information, please visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/covid19. If you live outside the United States, health and safety tips can be found through the World Health Organization and by following your local Red Cross or Red Crescent society’s social media channels (directory).
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
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