Coronavirus Could Hit N.Y.C. Like the Great Depression, Mayor Warns: Live Updates – The New York Times
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Crisis could cause economic fallout akin to the Great Depression, mayor warns.
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City has, from the beginning of the crisis caused by coronavirus, used the great disasters of the last hundred years as a reference point. On Tuesday, he warned New Yorkers to brace themselves for economic hardship like something out of the Great Depression.
Appearing on CNN, the mayor pleaded for the federal government to provide cash aid to people whose livelihoods have been affected, directly or indirectly, by the virus and said the city’s upended existence could last “well through the summer.”
“The federal government needs to put money back in the hands of people,” said the mayor, a second-term Democrat. “We need direct income replacement at this point.”
Restrictions on the city’s 25,000 restaurants, which are now allowed only to do takeout and delivery, will likely remain in place for months. “Thank God some people will still be employed,” the mayor said.
His comments followed similar remarks by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Monday evening.
“The economy was teetering, to begin with,” Mr. Cuomo said. “This is a deep, deep economic hole.” He added: “You’ll have businesses closed that never reopen.”
The mayor said on Tuesday that he still hoped to reopen public schools by April 20, but added, “Watching the trajectory it’s hard to imagine that’s going to work.
”The worst is we lose the whole school year,” he said.
The mayor was asked several times Tuesday about enforcing a mandatory quarantine like the one San Francisco enacted on Monday. He said that all options were on the table.
But the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, called for an order that would require residents to stay in their homes.
“We are making incremental solutions when we should be ripping the Band-Aid off,” Mr. Johnson said on the Brian Lehrer radio show on WNYC on Tuesday.
Earlier Tuesday, Mr. de Blasio called for military presence at the front lines of the crisis, seemingly referring to anywhere in which there were many infections, not only New York.
“If you’re a member of the military, we need you right now at the front, and the front is the place where the coronavirus epidemic is worse.”
A 5-year-old in New Jersey tested positive.
On Tuesday, Governor Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said that a 5-year-old had tested positive for the virus, stressing that the disease affects people of every age.
“We have a lot of teenagers and young adults who think ‘I am too healthy, I’ve heard even if I get this, the symptoms are mild,’” he said. “Even if you have a mild case and God willing that 5-year old will have a mild case, you can pass this virus on without even knowing it.”
Cases in New Jersey nearly doubled in a day on Monday, up to 178, from 98 on Sunday.
As of Monday evening, the totals in New York stood at 950 cases statewide up from 729 the day before, with 463 cases in the city. Nine people have died from the virus in New York State, including seven in the city, and 158 people have been hospitalized. Mayor de Blasio said the city was on pace to hit 1,000 cases this week
Connecticut reported 41 confirmed cases on Monday, up from 26 on Sunday.
New York faces a possible shortage of ventilators.
It is possible that the state could slow down the spread of the virus enough to curb the demand for ventilators, the machines that help the sickest patients breathe. But a panel convened a few years ago by the state found that in the worst-case scenario of a flulike pandemic, New York could be short by as many as 15,783 ventilators at the peak of the crisis.
The panel, the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, studied ventilators for years before issuing a 2015 report offering guidance for hospitals on how to decide whom to ventilate and whom to effectively let die during an emergency. The advice is now frighteningly relevant.
While a national stockpile of ventilators exists, it is unclear how the machines will be doled out. In a conference call on Monday with a group of governors, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, President Trump said that states should not count on the federal government for more ventilators or other equipment.
“We will be backing you,” Mr. Trump said, according to a recording of the call, “but try getting it yourselves.
President Trump and Governor Cuomo continue to spar on Twitter.
Mr. Trump on Tuesday tweeted at Mr. Cuomo, continuing a multi-day spat between the president and the governor of the state with the most coronavirus infections.
“Cuomo wants “all states to be treated the same,” Mr. Trump wrote. “But all states aren’t the same.”
“Andrew, keep politics out of it,” he added.
The tweet followed an volley between the two men on Monday, when the president tweeted then that the governor needed to “do more” to fight the coronavirus.
Mr. Cuomo responded on Twitter, “No — YOU have to do something! You’re supposed to be the President.” Mr. Trump later deleted the tweet but Mr. Cuomo continued to respond.
“Happy to do your job, too,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Just give me control of the Army Corps of Engineers and I’ll take it from there.”
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut ban gatherings of 50 or more.
The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced broad restrictions on public life on Monday, with gatherings of more than 50 people banned in all three states and many nonessential businesses ordered closed.
All schools in New York State were also closed for at least two weeks, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced. The move came after New York City’s public school system, the nation’s largest, shut down for at least five weeks.
Casinos, gyms and movie theaters in the three states must close by 8 p.m. Monday, Mr. Cuomo said on a joint call with Govs. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey and Ned Lamont of Connecticut.
Bars and restaurants will be limited to takeout and delivery, Mr. Cuomo said. Groceries, gas stations, pharmacies and some other businesses can stay open. Mr. Cuomo said he was also encouraging other businesses to close at 8 p.m.
On Monday, Mr. Murphy asked New Jersey residents to stay at home from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. every day for now, a day after suggesting that he was considering a mandatory curfew.
“We are strongly asking, pleading with folks, to stay home,” Mr. Murphy said on Monday night. Asked about how long the recommendation would be in effect, he said: “It certainly is at least weeks, and it may be many months.”
Unemployment claims are ‘comparable to post-9/11,’ state says.
A surge of laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits swamped New York’s Labor Department on Monday.
After Governor Cuomo waived the seven-day waiting period to apply, workers who had been let go over the weekend immediately tried to replace some of their lost income.
Frustrated applicants complained on social media about not being able to apply online. Some said that the state’s system was crashing all day.
Madeleine Witenberg tried to help her partner, Irene Leon, who had just been laid off from her full-time job as a bartender and server at a restaurant in Dumbo in Brooklyn. Using two different computers, the women made three unsuccessful tries to navigate the system, Ms. Leon said.
“It just cut me off as soon as I was making progress,” she said.
The department acknowledged the problem.
“Today we experienced a massive increase in the volume of unemployment insurance claims, which slowed down the server,” it said in a statement. “It is currently being addressed.”
A department spokeswoman, Deanna Cohen, said the agency had received 8,758 calls by noon, more than triple what it got last Monday.
“We are seeing a spike in volume that is comparable to post-9/11, but make no mistake, anyone entitled to these benefits is going to receive them in a timely manner,” Ms. Cohen said.
The city may be in shutdown mode, but you still have to move the car.
Bars are closed, the theaters are shuttered, and not even the mayor can perform his morning workout. But one constant remains in New York City: Alternate-side parking is still in effect.
“That’s still being discussed,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference on Monday, when asked whether the city would suspend the practice.
On Tuesday morning, the rules were still being enforced.
Alternate-side parking rules, the bane of New York City’s car owners, require vehicles to be moved out of the way of street cleaners on one side of the street on specific days, often twice a week.
The rules are waived on holidays and are often suspended for days at a time during snow and other kinds of foul weather.
But with the city health department urging New Yorkers to stay home as much as possible, a growing number of motorists and elected officials have been calling for the city to suspend a rule that forces people out of their homes.
“Alternate side parking should have been suspended,” Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker, said on Fox 5 TV on Tuesday. “I am flabbergasted that it wasn’t.”
Laura Feyer, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said that car owners who received alternate-side parking tickets while under self-isolation could have the tickets dismissed with “medical documentation or testimony.”
Fallout is immediate from school and restaurant closings.
Sandra Martinez and her daughter, Nicole, wore face masks on Monday and headed to a grocery store in Jackson Heights, Queens, to pick up canned goods and toilet paper.
Nicole, 11, would normally be at her middle school while her mother worked as a waitress at a Colombian restaurant. But the closing of New York City’s public school system forced them to overhaul their routine.
“I’m worried about the bills, the car, the rent,” said Ms. Martinez, 42, who will be out of work and unpaid for an indefinite period as restaurants and bars shift to offering only delivery and takeout services.
Families across New York City were scrambling for resources and child care as the threat of the coronavirus and the school shutdown put a heavy strain on parents. (About 14,000 New York City students picked up free meals at their schools on Monday, the schools chancellor Richard A. Carranza said, a tiny fraction of the roughly 750,000 children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Mr. Carranza said he expected that number to grow.)
The challenge facing Ms. Martinez showed not just the impact of the school closings, but also the effect of the virus’s spread on New York City’s restaurant industry.
N.Y.C. recreation and nature centers close but parks and playgrounds stay open.
On Tuesday, all New York City recreation centers and nature centers closed to the public until further notice, the parks department said. City parks and playgrounds remain open.
Popular public spaces like playgrounds are not risk-free — by some estimates, the can survive on metal, glass and plastic surfaces for 2 hours to nine days.
New York City does not regularly clean outdoor furniture and play equipment, said Meghan Lalor, a spokeswoman for the city parks department.
“We have not yet committed to changing our standard operations due to coronavirus, but we will continue to monitor the situation as it develops,” she said.
Dr. Sean O’Leary, M.D., an executive member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Infectious Diseases, said playgrounds are “probably not the safest place right now.” For city dwellers, he recommended going to big, wide-open parks when available, where children can stay six feet apart from each other and not touch equipment.
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Jonah Engel Bromwich, Joseph Goldstein, Jessica Grose, Matthew Haag, Corina Knoll, Patrick McGeehan, Jesse McKinley, Andy Newman, Amelia Nierenberg, Brian M. Rosenthal, Matthew Sedacca, Eliza Shapiro, Liam Stack, Tracey Tully and Michael Wilson contributed reporting.