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Cuomo Dismisses Trump’s Idea for N.Y. Region Quarantine: Live Updates




Minutes after President Trump floated the possibility of a quarantine for the New York region, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Saturday dismissed the idea, calling it “unworkable.”

“I spoke to the president about the ship coming up and the four sites, I didn’t speak to him about any quarantine,” Mr. Cuomo said at an afternoon briefing, referring to a hospital ship and four emergency hospitals being installed in New York.

“I don’t even know what that means,” the governor said of a potential quarantine of New York. “I don’t know how that could be legally enforceable. From a medical point of view, I don’t know what you would be accomplishing. I don’t even like the sound of it.”

Mr. Trump, speaking to reporters on the White House lawn, had said earlier in the day that he was considering imposing what he called, without elaborating, an “enforceable” quarantine that would restrict travel in and out of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

“Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hot spot — New York, New Jersey, one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut, quarantined,” Mr. Trump told reporters on the White House lawn. “I’m thinking about that right now. We might not have to do it, but there is a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine, short term, two weeks, on New York, probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut,” adding that he would “restrict travel.”

“They’re having problems down in Florida,” Mr. Trump said in explaining his reasoning for potentially sealing off the metropolitan region. “A lot of New Yorkers going down, we don’t want that, heavily infected.”

“I’d rather not do it,” he added. “But we may need it.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said his office also had no information on a potential quarantine for the region.

“We don’t have any details and aren’t sure what the president means by his comment,” the spokeswoman, Freddi Goldstein, said. “What we know is that while New York City is the epicenter of this crisis right now, it’s in all 50 states. What we need is more supplies for our hospitals — that’s how we can save lives,” said de Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein.

Among the other highlights from Mr. Cuomo’s briefing:

  • The statewide death toll has reached 728, and the total number of cases stands at more than 52,000. More than 7,300 people are currently hospitalized. New York City alone has more than 29,000 cases, the governor said.

  • Four new emergency medical sites have been approved — in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens and on Staten Island — that would add another 4,000 hospital beds. Some city hospitals will also soon be reserved for treating coronavirus patients exclusively.

  • New York’s presidential primary was postponed to June 23, and the state tax deadline extended to July 15.

  • The governor said that the state Department of Health had received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to start an antibody test to determine whether people have been infected with the virus and whether “they have an immunity to the antibodies.” Mr. Cuomo said it would be a “big breakthrough if that happens.”

  • The U.S.N.S. Comfort, a Navy ship with medical personnel and 1,000 beds, is on its way to New York from Virginia and is set to arrive on Monday. “We’ll use this to backfill and take pressure off a hospital,” Mr. Cuomo said.

  • There was some promising news: I.C.U. admissions dropped to 172 on Friday, from 374 the day before. “I wouldn’t put too much stock in any one number. But you could argue that the trend is slowing,” Mr. Cuomo said.

A veteran detective with the New York City Police Department has died due to complications from the coronavirus, the department said Saturday.

Detective Cedric Dixon worked in the 32nd Precinct, in Harlem, and had worked for the department for 23 years, officials said. He is the first officer from the Police Department to die from the virus.

Two civilian employees of the police department also died this week after becoming infected with the virus. Dennis Dixon, 62, died Thursday. Mr. Dixon was a custodian who worked at Police Headquarters in downtown Manhattan. Later Thursday, Giacomina Barr-Brown, 61, died due to complications of the virus. Ms. Barr-Brown worked in the roll call office in the 49th precinct.

“We have lost three members of our family in a little over 48 hours,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said at a news conference on Saturday. “As I stand here I cannot begin to describe what we are feeling.”

According to data released by the department on Friday, 442 officers and 70 civilian employees of the police department had tested positive for the virus. A total of 4,111 uniformed employees were out sick, which is about 11 percent of the department’s police force.

The department has faced criticism in recent weeks for not properly outfitting officers with protective equipment, like gloves and masks. Earlier this month, as the coronavirus crisis worsened in the city, the city’s largest police union filed a lawsuit against the department accusing it of failing to provide necessary equipment to protect officers from the virus.

“We try to minimize risks, but it is impossible to eliminate risks,” Commissioner Shea said Saturday. “For first responders, you just don’t often have the opportunity to isolate.”

Several governors this week ordered people traveling from New York to self-quarantine for two weeks upon arriving, hoping to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus in their states.

Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island has gone further.

Ms. Raimondo, a Democrat, said on Friday that state troopers would begin stopping drivers with New York license plates so that National Guard officials could collect contact information and inform anyone coming from New York that they were subject to a mandatory, 14-day quarantine.

Ms. Raimondo also said the National Guard would begin going door-to-door in coastal communities this weekend to find anyone who had recently arrived from New York and tell them of the quarantine order.

The National Guard had already been deployed to bus stations, train stations and the airport to enforce Ms. Raimondo’s order, which also applies to anyone who has been to New York in the past 14 days.


“I know it’s unusual. I know it’s extreme, and I know some people disagree with it,” Ms. Raimondo said at a news conference on Friday.

She added: “Right now we have a pinpointed risk. That risk is called New York City.”

Mr. Cuomo said on Saturday that he did not know the details of the Rhode Island restrictions, but an aide noted that members of the governor’s staff would be contacting Ms. Raimondo’s office later in the day.

Ms. Raimondo insisted that her emergency powers gave her the authority to impose the measures, but the American Civil Liberties Union called her move an “ill-advised and unconstitutional plan.”

Texas, Florida, Maryland and South Carolina are among the other states that have ordered people arriving from New York to self-quarantine.

Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut, where many wealthy New Yorkers own second homes, this week urged all travelers from New York City to self-quarantine for two weeks upon entering the state, but he stopped short of issuing an order requiring it.

About 10 percent of the shelters in New York City’s main shelter system have now been affected by the spread of the coronavirus, and the number of people living in shelters and infected with the virus has climbed to 70, officials said.

Out of about 450 traditional shelters, commercial hotels and private apartment buildings used to house homeless people, 45 shelters have had individuals who have stayed there test positive for the virus, according to the Department of Social Services.

Two of the people, a man in his 60s and a man in his 70s, died this week after being hospitalized. As of Friday, 26 remained hospitalized, the social services agency reported.

The nature of single-adult shelters, where people sleep in dormitory-style quarters and share bathrooms, has posed a unique challenge to those trying to comply with rules for social distancing meant to help contain the spread of the virus.

But more homeless people outside of the shelters are contracting the virus. The social services agency reported that four people who were living unsheltered had been confirmed as having been infected.

To try to reduce the virus’s spread, the agency has set up special isolation units at three locations for people who have either tested positive themselves or have been exposed to people who did. As of Friday, 122 people were staying in the units.

Women preparing to give birth at some hospitals in New York City will no longer have to labor alone, nor will they need to remain isolated from their partner or family while recovering in the hospital after delivery, state officials said.

Melissa DeRosa, the secretary to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, announced an executive order would be issued on Saturday requiring all New York hospitals, both public and private, to comply.

“Women will not be forced to be alone when they are giving birth,” Ms. DeRosa said on Twitter. “Not now, not ever.”

The move came after a decision this week by two major New York City hospital systems, NewYork-Presbyterian and Mount Sinai, to ban support people — such as spouses, family members and doulas — from labor and delivery rooms because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Health had notified hospitals on Friday that they were required to allow one person to accompany a woman through labor and delivery. It was unclear whether the hospital systems would comply.

“I’m days away from my due date, and I’m trying to mentally prepare for both scenarios,” said Kate Dinota, 32, who plans to give birth at Weill Cornell Medical Center.

NewYork-Presbyterian changed its policies after pregnant women who were positive for Covid-19 but asymptomatic exposed more than 30 hospital workers to the virus.

In a park along the Hudson River in Manhattan’s Battery Park City, New Yorkers are queuing up — six feet apart, of course — for their turn to play with a wall.

It’s a gray slab surrounded by a chained fence that looks like it might have once been part of a racquetball court. A month ago, the drab-looking wall would have been easily overshadowed by the sleek private gyms close by.

But now locals are lining up to have their turn with it.

Christian Jorg, 56, who runs two start-up accelerators, gets there at 7 a.m. “There is no system really,” he said. “It’s first come first served.”

An avid tennis player, he normally plays at a tennis club in Westchester. But now that it’s closed and he’s isolating, he’s playing against the wall.

“I don’t have any other choice,” he said. “But it’s actually fun. The ball comes back to me quickly, so I can do volleys and backhands. It’s also good for concentration.”

Zara Chadowitz, 35, a senior program manager at Amazon who lives in the West Village, refuses to disclose the location of her wall, which she discovered last week during a grocery run.

“I felt like it was the first day I was sort of winning Corona,” she said. “I hadn’t played tennis in so long. I got the exercise, the endorphins. There was a meditative aspect to it.”

She now feels as if she’s part of a secret community. “There was a cute old guy who was throwing a ball against a wall in his surgical gloves, and a basketball guy playing alone in a surgical mask,” she said. “It looks like people are using the wall for whatever they want.”

Reporting was contributed by Christina Caron, Melina Delkic, Nicole Hong, Alyson Krueger, Jeffery C. Mays, Sharon Otterman, Nate Schweber, Ed Shanahan, Liam Stack, Nikita Stewart, Katie Van Syckle and Ali Watkins.

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