NYC mayor says 'war time actions are necessary' to combat coronavirus

Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City is facing an ‘unprecedented threat’ from coronavirus and ‘war time actions are necessary’ to save lives as schools, bars and restaurants are forced to close

  • Mayor de Blasio says it could be months before the coronavirus outbreak peaks 
  • On Monday morning he warned New York City residents to settle into a ‘new reality’ as schools, restaurants and bars are closed
  • De Blasio joined other city and state officials in pleading with the Trump administration to coordinate a national response to the outbreak
  • He said New York doesn’t have enough medical supplies to handle the increasing number of patients and called for the Army to step in to help
  • ‘This should be a reality where the United States is put on a war footing, where the federal government mobilizes all the resources necessary,’ de Blasio said 
  • Soon after, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all bars and restaurants in the state would be shut down beginning 8pm Monday 
  • Several other states including Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Washington have enacted similar bans  
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned residents of New York City to settle into a ‘new reality’ as he expects the coronavirus pandemic to rage on for months.  

De Blasio is taking drastic measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 in America’s largest city, where 269 cases have been confirmed and five people have died to date. 

On Sunday the mayor announced the closure of 1,900 schools and said he would be signing an executive order limit the city’s 27,000 restaurants, bars and cafes to food takeout and delivery beginning Tuesday morning. 

‘I fear this crisis is going to start to crescendo through April, May before it gets better,’ de Blasio told MSNBC on Monday morning.

‘I wanted to get people acclimated to a new reality.’ 

Soon after, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he would be expediting the shutdown measures by banning sit-down service at all bars and restaurants beginning at 8pm Monday.  

Both leaders have pleaded with the Trump administration to coordinate a national response to the outbreak, saying patchwork measures enacted by state and local authorities were insufficient to confront the crisis.  

Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned residents of New York City to settle into a ‘new reality’ after closing all 1,900 schools in the area and ordering bars, restaurants and other social hotspots to limit operations to delivery and takeout

On Monday morning, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he would be expediting the shutdown measures by banning sit-down service at all bars and restaurants beginning at 8pm tonight 

New York City streets were eerily quiet on Monday morning as many citizens are now working from home and avoiding public spaces amid heightened fear over the coronavirus outbreak

A slow stream of commuters pass through the usually-bustling Grand Central Station Monday

De Blasio ordered the closure of all 1,900 New York City schools on Sunday. Dr Sun Yat Sen Intermediate School in Chinatown is seen empty on Monday

As of Monday morning there are more than 3,800 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US and 69 people have died. Nearly 750 cases have been reported in the state of New York

On MSNBC, de Blasio said that New York doesn’t have enough medical supplies to handle the outbreak and called for the Army to step in. 

‘The US military right now is still engaged in building those border walls. Take them off that and put them on coronavirus for god sakes,’ de Blasio said. 

‘This should be a reality where the United States is put on a war footing, where the federal government mobilizes all the resources necessary – and it begins with testing.’   

The mayor said broader testing is needed for the entire population, not just high-risk groups such as the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions. 

He also expressed fear that hospitals will quickly become overwhelmed as cases counts continue to rise.  

‘We’re going to have to set up emergency ICUs in hospitals, not only all over New York City, all over America,’ he said. 

‘We’re going to need the United States military to come in with their substantial logistical and medical capacity.’ 

De Blasio compared the outbreak to America’s darkest historic periods as he suggested that rationing food and other essentials may be necessary.   

‘The Great Depression and the New Deal are very instructive here, I’m not saying bread lines,’ he said.  

‘This is a pure war footing right down to rationing if you need it.’ 

 De Blasio announced the closure of schools, bars, restaurants and other common gathering places in a series of tweets on Sunday

Broadway has been closed since Friday, bars and restaurants will close on Tuesday morning 

Several bars were vacant over the weekend, including Peter Dillion’s pub in Manhattan (pictured)

De Blasio announced the closure of schools, bars, restaurants and other common gathering places in a series of tweets on Sunday. 

‘Our lives are all changing in ways that were unimaginable just a week ago. We are taking a series of actions that we never would have taken otherwise in an effort to save the lives of loved ones and our neighbors. Now it is time to take yet another drastic step,’ he wrote.

‘The virus can spread rapidly through the close interactions New Yorkers have in restaurants, bars and places where we sit close together. We have to break that cycle. 

‘Tomorrow, I will sign an Executive Order limiting restaurants, bars and cafes to food take-out and delivery. Nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses, and concert venues must all close. The order will go into effect Tuesday, March 17 at 9:00 AM.’

 He continued: ‘This is not a decision I make lightly. These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker. But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality.’

‘We will come through this, but until we do, we must make whatever sacrifices necessary to help our fellow New Yorkers.’

Earlier in the day de Blasio announced that the entire New York School District – which serves 1.1 million students – would be closed beginning on Monday and continuing at least through April. 

He suggested that the closures could extend through the end of the school year. 

De Blasio has not ruled out implementing a curfew for the city. 

New Jersey announced today that a curfew from 8pm to 5am would ban all ‘non-essential’ travel in the state. 

Although that curfew hasn’t extended to other tri-state areas, lawmakers in Connecticut and New York were ‘strongly discouraging’ travel during those hours. 

Students from Stuyvesant High School students are seen leaving school on Friday. De Blasio warned that the New York City School District may remain closed through the end of the academic year should the outbreak persist

Gov Cuomo sped up de Blasio’s timeline on Monday morning when he announced that the entire state will close bars, restaurants, casinos, gyms and movie theaters at 8pm tonight as part of an effort with neighboring states Connecticut and New Jersey to stop coronavirus spreading. 

‘The #Coronavirus doesn’t care about state borders, so this agreement with will help protect the entire Tri-State Area,’ Cuomo tweeted.

NYPD transit chief has coronavirus: Cop who protects city’s 5.6m daily subway riders falls ill with a fever 

The NYPD Transit Bureau Chief Edward Delatorre

The NYPD Transit Bureau Chief Edward Delatorre fell ill with a fever and tested positive for the coronavirus.

The chief was tested for the disease several days ago after he fell ill and since received the results confirming he contracted the virus.

On Sunday, Delatorre’s fever had diminished and he was said to be resting at home in the Bronx.

The department is now desperately working to understand which employees Delatorre was in contact with while he was infected.

Usually, Delatorre would be in contact with hundreds of cops, in his role as the transit chief. 

‘These temporary closures will last as long as is necessary to protect the public health. Grocery stores will remain OPEN. 

‘Our primary goal is to slow the spread of #Coronavirus so that the wave doesn’t crash our healthcare system. Social distancing is the best way to do that.

‘I have called on the federal gov’t to implement nationwide protocols, but in their absence we are taking this on ourselves. 

Cuomo later said that people would be able to order alcohol from their local bars and that he would relax liquor laws to allow it.

‘State Liquor Authority … will have guidance up by 5pm that will allow bars, restaurants, distilleries, to sell their products off premises,’ he said at a press conference.

‘So whatever you could order in the bar or restaurant or distillery or winery, you can purchase through take-out. We hope that goes a long way to alleviating any economic hardship.

‘Stay home, order from your favorite bar, restaurant, winery … just order it and stay at home.

‘SLA will change the rules, it’s not currently allowed. We will only allow during this period of closure. It will help these businesses.’ 

Earlier, in an interview on Good Morning America on Monday, Gov Cuomo said it made no sense for him to take harsh action in New York but have neighboring states like New Jersey and Connecticut not, because people would simply migrate there to keep living their lives and potentially spread the virus.

‘This government has to get more engaged. There’s been no country that hasn’t handled this on a federalized level.

‘This patchwork quilt of policies doesn’t work. It makes no sense for me to do something in New York and New Jersey to do something else.

‘I close the bars? They go to jersey. You need the specific rules.

‘Every state cannot come up with its own rules, you’ll just have people going from state to state.

‘You’ll go to New Jersey, Connecticut, wherever you can be served. That’s the last thing we want.

‘Set the national standards and let’s live with them,’ he said.

Speaking to Good Morning America on Monday, Gov Cuomo urged Trump to shut down the country to fight coronavirus and said the current ‘patchwork quilt’ system of some states being more vigilant than others is not working

He repeated his request for the army’s corp of engineers to come to New York and start fitting out available buildings as hospitals, saying the ‘wave’ of the virus will ‘break’ on New York’s hospital system tomorrow if it they do not.

‘We have been behind this disease from day one. We saw it develop in China, we weren’t ready and we’ve been playing catch up ever since.

‘You need to get ahead of this. It’s about the next war.

‘The next war is going to be overwhelming our hospital systems.’

Cuomo has already pleaded with the federal government to mobilize the Army Corp of Engineers to fit out buildings in New York to turn them into temporary hospitals.

There are more than 700 cases in New York State, almost half of them are in New York City.

Cuomo revealed that there are only 50,000 hospital beds in the entire state and only 3,000 of them are in intensive care units.

‘The only hope we have at this late date is retrofit existing facilities.

‘Get some of the people from the hospitals into those new medical facilities and back fill the beds with coronavirus. States can’t build – it’s the army corp of engineers.

‘Let them come in today. Today. Time is short,’ he warned.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are among several states to take significant action to curb the spread of coronavirus after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a memo on Sunday night advising against holding large gatherings of more than 50 people for at least eight weeks.  

California, Washington, Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Michigan have all ordered bars and restaurants to offer takeout food only.    

The developments mean economic hardship for millions of service industry workers who will miss out on tips even if they are still paid. 

Many independent businesses are also unlikely to be able to survive a period of prolonged closure. 

At least 33 states have decided to close public schools, which combined with district closures in other states has shuttered least 64,000 US schools, according to Education Week. 

At a press conference on Sunday, President Donald Trump told Americans to ‘take it easy’ and insisted that the outbreak is under ‘tremendous control’

States implement closures of bars and restaurants

New York – Effective 8pm Monday – indefinitely

  • Bars and restaurants shut indefinitely to sit-in customers
  • Clubs, cinemas, gyms indefinitely shut

New Jersey – Effective 8pm Monday – indefinitely

  • Curfew from 8pm – 5am
  • Bars and restaurants shut indefinitely to sit-in customers
  • Clubs, cinemas, gyms indefinitely shut 

Connecticut – Effective 8pm Monday – indefinitely

  • Bars and restaurants shut indefinitely to sit-in customers
  • Clubs, cinemas, gyms indefinitely shut

California – Effective immediately – indefinitely

  • All bars advised to shut
  • Restaurants asked to cut occupancy by half
  • Anyone over 65 advised to self-isolate

Kentucky – Effective immediately – indefinitely

  • Bars and restaurants shut indefinitely to sit-in customers

Michigan: Effective immediately – indefinitely

  • Bars and restaurants shut indefinitely to sit-in customers 

Ohio: Effective March 15 – indefinitely

  • Bars and restaurants shut indefinitely to sit-in customers 

Illinois: Effective March 16-30 

  • Bars and restaurants shut indefinitely to sit-in customers 

Massachusetts: Effective March 17-April 17 

  • Gatherings with more than 25 people banned
  • Restaurants limited to takeout only 
  • All bars closed  

Washington state:  Effective March 16-31

President Donald Trump, a Republican, declared a national emergency on Friday and has championed his government’s response. 

On Sunday he told Americans to ‘take it easy’, insisting that the outbreak is under ‘tremendous control’.

Trump urged citizens not to stockpile food and said the federal, state and local governments are all working with retail leaders, including Walmart, Costco, Target, Whole Foods, Publix and several more, to ensure there are no shortages of goods and food. 

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders have criticized the president for downplaying the crisis and issuing misleading or false statements.

Gov Cuomo on Monday morning said the federal government needs to draw up uniform measures for all states to follow, rather than have each state act independently. 

He warned of a looming crisis as the US healthcare system will get overwhelmed with patients.

‘In an emergency, someone has to take charge,’ Cuomo told CNN. 

‘You have to have consolidated centralized authority. It makes no sense for all these states to be doing different things.’ 

US Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams also called for more aggressive action on Monday.  

‘We are at a critical inflection point in this country,’ Adams said in an interview with Fox News.

‘We are where Italy was two weeks ago in terms of our numbers and we have a choice to make as a nation: Do we want to go the direction of South Korea and really be aggressive and lower our mortality rates or do we want to go the direction of Italy?’

Italy is the second worst hit country in the world after China, where the illness first emerged late last year, and the outbreak has shown no signs of slowing, with 24,747 cases and 1,809 deaths by Sunday.

South Korea has been widely praised for its strict measures to control the virus.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Monday he was preparing to bring an executive order to Trump that would help relocate medical supply chains from overseas to the United States during the coronavirus outbreak.

Navarro, in a CNBC interview, also said Trump’s push for a payroll tax cut would provide enough stimulus to help combat the economic damage from the coronavirus.

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