Here’s what you need to know:
- Governor Cuomo said there were signs that density- control measures were working.
- De Blasio joins Cuomo in criticizing stimulus deal.
- Mayor debunks the idea of returning to normal in April.
- The first virus-related death of a homeless New Yorker is confirmed.
- Thirteen deaths in a day for one overwhelmed New York City hospital.
Governor Cuomo said there were signs that density- control measures were working.
Though the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to grow quickly and has now topped 30,000, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday said that there were early signs that stringent restrictions on social gatherings and other measures could be slowing the virus’s spread.
Mr. Cuomo highlighted data that showed slowing hospitalization rates. On Sunday, the state’s projections showed hospitalizations doubling every two days, while Tuesday’s estimates showed them doubling every 4.7 days.
“That is almost too good to be true,” the governor said, “but the theory is, given the density that we’re dealing with, it spreads very quickly, but if you reduce the density, you can reduce the spread very quickly.”
Other highlights from Wednesday:
New York State has 30,811 confirmed cases, up more than 5,000 since Tuesday morning. That is more than 7 percent of the 431,000 cases worldwide tallied by The New York Times. There have been 285 deaths in the state.
Officials reported late Wednesday that New York City had added 3,223 new confirmed cases since the morning, bringing the city’s total to 20,011. The death tally stood at 280, up from 199 in the morning.
There was encouraging news from Westchester County, where the rate of infection has slowed. “We have dramatically slowed what was an exponential rate of increase,” Mr. Cuomo said. “That was the hottest cluster in the United States of America. We closed the schools, we closed gatherings, we brought in testing, and we have dramatically slowed the increase.”
State officials project they will need 30,000 ventilators, of which they currently have 4,000. But the state is making headway: Mr. Cuomo said 7,000 more ventilators have been procured, in addition to 4,000 ventilators sent by the federal government.
The governor said about 40,000 health care professionals, including retirees, have volunteered to work when hospitals become strained. Almost half are nurses.
More than 3,800 people are currently hospitalized, or 12 percent of all confirmed cases. Of those, 888 people are currently in intensive care.
In New Jersey, Gov. Philip D. Murphy announced 736 new cases, bringing the total in the state to 4,402, including 62 deaths.
Mr. Cuomo’s comments came the morning after federal officials, alarmed over the infection rate in New York City, urged anyone leaving the city to quarantine themselves for 14 days before mingling with the general population elsewhere.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that New Yorkers who were “understandably” trying to leave for places like Florida needed to make sure they were not “seeding” the rest of the United States.
“When they go to another place, for their own safety, they have to be careful,” Dr. Fauci said.
De Blasio joins Cuomo in criticizing stimulus deal.
State and city officials in New York had hoped that Congress would soften the blow of the pandemic on household budgets and government coffers with a $2 trillion stimulus package that was expected to be approved this week.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic minority leader, said the deal’s benefits for New York included over $40 billion in unemployment insurance, grants for hospitals and much-needed funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, whose ridership had plummeted.
But Mr. Cuomo complained on Wednesday that the package was “terrible” for New York. He said that only $3.1 billion was earmarked to help the state with its budget gap, a sum his office said was disproportionately low compared with what states with fewer confirmed cases and with smaller budgets were in line to get.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a news briefing later on Wednesday, went further, calling the deal “immoral.” Mr. de Blasio said New York City would be getting only $1 billion, despite having one-third of the country’s virus cases. He said he planned to appeal directly to President Trump, a native New Yorker, to “fix this situation.”
“It should have been one of the easiest no-brainers in the world for the U.S. Senate to include real money for New York City and New York State in this stimulus bill, and yet it didn’t happen,” Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, said, putting the blame on Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader.
Mayor debunks the idea of returning to normal in April.
Mr. de Blasio continued to emphasize on Wednesday how urgently the city needed supplies to cope with the crush of new cases. He said he appreciated the assistance the federal government had committed to providing, but that more was required. And he again called for the U.S. military to get more directly involved and in a much bigger way.
The mayor warned New Yorkers to relinquish any hope of a return to normal life by April, rejecting the president’s comments this week that he wanted the economy to reopen by Easter. City residents should prepare for the possibility that conditions could worsen in May, he said.
Citing various projections, the mayor said at least half of all New Yorkers could contract the virus, an estimate similar to those that officials have given in California. But Mr. de Blasio noted that for 80 percent of those who were infected, it would be “a very limited experience.”
The mayor also said that New Yorkers were “overwhelmingly” following social-distancing guidelines, but that there were exceptions. To address one of those, he said, the city would remove hoops from 80 of the city’s 1,700 basketball courts where pickup games were still being played.
The first virus-related death of a homeless New Yorker is confirmed.
A man who had been living in New York City’s shelter died after being hospitalized with the coronavirus for several days, officials said on Wednesday.
It was the first virus-related death of a homeless person in the vast system of 450 traditional shelters, hotels and private apartment buildings that the city uses to house homeless families and single adults. As of Wednesday, there were 39 confirmed coronavirus cases among 27 shelters, according to the city’s Department of Social Services.
The agency did not identify the man or provide additional details about him, but said he had been living in a shelter for single adults.
“Tragically, one New Yorker experiencing homelessness succumbed to this virus after several days in the hospital,” Isaac McGinn, a spokesman for the social services agency, said in an emailed statement. “Our hearts go out to this individual’s friends and family.”
The city has around 100 shelters specifically for single adults. In the current environment, such shelters pose a particular challenge for the homeless services department because most of them have dormitory-style sleeping quarters and shared bathrooms.
People living in shelters have complained that social distancing is nearly impossible, and they have questioned whether the buildings were being cleaned frequently enough.
The virus has spread quickly in the shelter system. At the beginning of last week, a woman in her 50s living in a shelter for single women was the only confirmed positive case. The woman has fully recovered and was out of quarantine, Mr. McGinn said.
Thirteen deaths in a day for one overwhelmed New York City hospital.
In several hours on Tuesday, Dr. Ashley Bray performed chest compressions at Elmhurst Hospital Center on a woman in her 80s, a man in his 60s and a 38-year-old who reminded the doctor of her fiancé. All had tested positive for the coronavirus and had gone into cardiac arrest. All eventually died.
Elmhurst, a 545-bed public hospital in Queens, has begun transferring patients not suffering from coronavirus to other facilities as it moves toward becoming a facility dedicated entirely to the outbreak. Doctors and nurses have struggled to make do with a few dozen ventilators. Calls over a loudspeaker of “Team 700,” the code for when a patient is on the verge of death, come several times a shift. Some have died inside the emergency room while waiting for a bed.
A refrigerated truck has been stationed outside to hold the bodies of the dead. Over the past 24 hours, New York City’s public hospital system said in a statement, 13 people at Elmhurst had died.
“It’s apocalyptic,” said Dr. Bray, a general medicine resident at the hospital.
Across the city, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, hospitals are beginning to confront the kind of harrowing surge in cases that has overwhelmed health care systems in China, Italy and other countries. On Wednesday morning, New York City reported 16,788 confirmed cases and 199 deaths.
Virus rules let construction workers keep building luxury towers.
While life in New York City and the surrounding area has come to a screeching halt, the construction industry, one of the region’s main economic engines and biggest employers, is humming along as if nothing has changed.
Laborers work side by side, cramming 20-people deep into service elevators and sharing the same portable restroom.
While Mr. Cuomo has told New Yorkers to stay indoors in a furious effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus, construction workers have been deemed essential employees, meaning they have to continue working even as most of the work force stays home.
Across the country, governors and mayors have urged roughly half of the United States — at least 179 million people — to stay home. The only people who should go outside, they say, are emergency responders and those considered essential, a wide-ranging term with different meanings in each state.
In New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and most of the country, construction workers have fallen into the essential category. In New York City, which had nearly 158,000 construction jobs in 2018, laborers are hauling hard hats and tools on nearly empty subways and trains every morning on the way to job sites.
“I’m essential to the pocketbooks of rich contractors and essential for spreading the virus, but that’s about it,” said Kirk Gibbs, 57, an electrician at a new parking garage in Syracuse, N.Y. “It’s not essential for us to be here right now.”
With big hotels closing, one offers rooms to health care workers.
With most of the big hotels in New York City either closed or making plans to close, some are offering to house doctors, nurses and other workers on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus.
On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Twitter that the high-end Four Seasons hotel on East 57th Street, which closed temporarily last week with hopes of reopening in late April, would provide free accommodations to “medical personnel currently working to respond” to the pandemic.
The Four Seasons, which is owned by the Beanie Babies founder Ty Warner, was “the first of many hotels we hope will make their rooms available,” Mr. Cuomo said.
There is an abundance of rooms that could be made available. A list circulating among hotel industry officials shows that hotels that have closed their doors or plan to contain more than 30,000 rooms.
The list contains some of the city’s biggest and best-known, including the Grand Hyatt, the New Yorker, the Ritz Carlton, the Pierre, the Plaza and the St. Regis. Most have given notice to the main union of hotel workers in the city, the Hotel Trades Council, that they plan to reopen from mid-April to late June.
Reporting was contributed by Jonah Engel Bromwich, Michael Gold, Joseph Goldstein, Matthew Haag Nicole Hong, Patrick McGeehan, Andy Newman, Brian M. Rosenthal, Michael Rothfeld, Somini Sengupta, Nikita Stewart, Tracey Tully and Ali Watkins.