New York City is likely heading for increased restrictions as a combative Gov. Cuomo speculated Wednesday about a “tremendous” spike in coronavirus cases after Thanksgiving.
As the city shuttered school buildings using its own numbers, the governor grew irate as he sparred with reporters over the state’s micro-cluster strategy and warned that the entirety of the Big Apple could soon be designated as an “orange zone,” a move that would also shutter “high risk” businesses like gyms and bring an end to indoor dining.
“If you were paying attention you would’ve known that we closed the schools in New York City two weeks ago,” Cuomo shouted at a reporter who asked whether the state could override the city’s school decision during a briefing in Albany.
Public and private schools were closed in COVID-19 hot spots last month in Brooklyn and Queens after the state-designated them “red” and “orange” zones.
“Follow the facts!” the governor thundered.
Since using a regional approach to reopening the economy, the state has targeted smaller outbreaks with increased lockdowns. But if the entire city breaches a 3% positive return on COVID-19 tests the five boroughs will see additional safety measures, the governor said.
The daily positivity in the five boroughs on Tuesday was 2.9%, while the seven-day average was 2.5%, according to state health officials.
The governor defended the Empire State’s success in combating the virus and compared New York’s relatively low infection rate to states across the nation seeing greater surges.
“The whole world is going up, right? The whole world!” Cuomo railed when a reporter questioned the micro-cluster approach. “So success becomes what? How you’re doing relative to what you’re doing to everyone else. Are you defying reality? It’s how are you doing compared to everybody else.
“New Yorkers are doing a great job, and don’t demean them. Because the entire world is going up. It’s disrespectful to New Yorkers,” he added.
Parts of the Bronx were designated Wednesday as “yellow zones,” the least restrictive of the state’s micro-cluster strategy, joining most of Staten Island and a handful of neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens.
More than 2,200 people are currently hospitalized and another 35 New Yorkers died from the virus on Tuesday, the governor said.
Overall, the state has a 2.88% positivity rate, which is currently the fourth lowest in the nation, but the state is entering a “dangerous phase” as the holidays approach, Cuomo warned.
“You will see a tremendous spike after Thanksgiving,” he said. “That’s my personal theory. It’s going to happen because it’s human behavior.”
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