TOPLINEIn a press conference on Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a new executive order directing all New Yorkers to wear masks or face coverings while in public, warning that although new infections are “down to a manageable level,” the coronavirus remains a “serious public health issue” in his state.
Cuomo issued a new executive order that people must wear face masks or coverings in public, giving them three days notice to comply.
He stressed that it was mandatory in situations where maintaining social distancing (staying 6 feet apart from others) is not possible, such as on busy sidewalks or public transportation.
The New York governor also reiterated calls for more federal aid to embattled states, citing his joint statement with Republican Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland, in which they called for an additional $500 billon in funding on behalf of the National Governors Association.
For states to conduct widespread testing and eventually reopen, they need additional federal assistance: “The past legislation has not provided it, it’s that simple,” Cuomo said. “State governments are broke.”
New York has so far conducted over 500,000 tests—more than the next states (California, Michigan and Florida) combined, but the governor reiterated that it is not nearly enough.
Cuomo announced that New York, which had one of the earlier curves, will send 100 ventilators to Michigan and 50 to Maryland. “I will never forget the generosity that people across this country showed to our state,” he said.
New York’s curve is “continuing to flatten,” Cuomo said again on Wednesday, pointing to a declining number of new hospitalizations and intubations. “The great news is that we can control the [infection] spread,” adding that it had “stabilized” and was “down to a manageable number.” He also warned people not to get complacent and to stick to social distancing guidelines, however: “We’re still in the woods, and just because that number has plateaued doesn’t mean it’s time to relax what we’re doing.”
New York State is still the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with over 203,300 cases reported so far—amounting to more than a third of the total confirmed in the U.S. The “terrible news” again on Wednesday was that another 752 New Yorkers have died from the coronavirus, Cuomo said.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.