New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave New York City officials 24-hours to tell him how they plan to get people from congregating in parks and public places, suggesting possibly shutting down streets to open to pedestrians in the crowded city where coronavirus cases are surging.
“The density is wholly inappropriate. In some part you would think nothing is going on,” he said during a Sunday morning press conference, referencing parks and public basketball courts in particular.
“This is not a joke and I am not kidding. I want a plan in 24-hours so I can approve it.” He noted vehicular traffic is way down, so said maybe the city could “open streets.” But details of the plan are up to city officials.
“You want to go for a walk or a run, god bless you. Open the streets, open spaces that are area not just in parks,” he said. “There were all sorts of kids playing basketball yesterday. There is no such thing as social distancing while playing basketball. You can’t stand six feet away from people playing basketball.”-
“I want it in 24 hours,” he repeated, noting the surge in coronavirus infections in New York state to 15,000, including 4,800 new cases. New York City has the highest concentration. New York’s cases are by far the highest of any state in the nation – including 15 times the cases in California, which has 1,500 cases statewide, Cuomo said. He attributed that in part to New York’s aggressive testing.
He urged President Trump to exercise federal power to order companies to manufacture masks, gowns, ventilators and other necessary products under the Defense Production Act. Currently the administration has asked the companies to help, but it’s optional.
States are competing against each other for supplies and price gouging is rampant. He said New York is paying $7 for masks that used to cost 85 cents.
“States simply cannot manage it. We need nationalization of supply distribution. They can’t deal with finding the medical supplies that they need. The federal government should take over that function, acquiring the medical supplies.
“I have apparel manufacturers who I am asking to stop making dresses and to start making masks that people wear and that is what the federal government should be doing,” Cuomo said later on CNN.
On Friday, New York state ordered all non-essential businesses to close as of today – Sunday – and told New Yorkers to stay at home as the state clamped down on the spiraling crisis.