The coronavirus pandemic in New York grows worse as one 24-hour period brought another 222 deaths to the city and 834 dead across the state as of Saturday.
The Empire State has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, accounting for nearly half of the total number of cases nationwide.
New York City alone reported more than 30,000 cases – a third of them in the hard-hit borough of Queens, according to health officials.
As of Saturday evening, the death toll in New York City reached 672 people.
Since the coronavirus outbreak started, 834 people in New York State have died after being infected, health officials in Albany say
New York City on Saturday reported 222 deaths in a 24-hour period. The city on Saturday also reported that the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus surpassed 30,000
City health officials said that a third of confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported in the borough of Queens
A US National Guard soldier informs patients at a coronavirus testing center at Lehman College in the Bronx on Saturday
In total, New York State is reporting 53,510 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Nationwide, there are 124,388 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Saturday evening.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday that he would issue an executive order requiring all hospitals to allow healthy, non-infected support people inside delivery rooms to be with their loved ones while they give birth.
Cuomo’s office made the announcement in response to an announcement earlier this week by two New York City hospital systems which banned support people, including spouses, partners, or doulas, from delivery rooms due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ban instituted by NewYork-Presbyterian and Mount Sinai medical centers ignited a sharp backlash, prompting the governor to step in. One online petition demanding that the ban be reversed generated more than 600,000 signatures.
‘Women will not be forced to be alone when they are giving birth,’ Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s secretary, tweeted on Saturday.
As the coronavirus toll mounts, the state is struggling to rework its healthcare system to deal with the crippling number of seriously ill and dying patients.
Earlier on Saturday, Cuomo slammed the idea that the state would be placed in quarantine after President Trump suggested that he would place New York, New Jersey and Connecticut under mandatory lockdown.
The governor said that Trump failed to mention the plan to him when they spoke on the phone just minutes before.
Trump backed away from calling for a quarantine for the tri-state area, instead directing that a ‘strong Travel Advisory’ be issued to stem the spread of the outbreak.
President Donald Trump, seen returning to the White House on Saturday, has said he will not attempt to quarantine New York
‘If you start walling off areas all across the country it would just be totally bizarre, counter-productive, anti-American, anti-social,’ said Cuomo in an interview with CNN on Saturday
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted that the CDC was urging residents of the three states ‘to refrain from non-essential travel for the next 14 days.’
The notion of a quarantine had been advocated by governors, including Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, who sought to halt travelers from the heavily affected areas to their states.
But it drew swift criticism from the leaders of the states in question, who warned it would spark panic in a populace already suffering under the virus.
Trump announced he reached the decision after consulting with the White House task force leading the federal response and the governors of the three states.
He said he had directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ‘to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the Federal Government.’
He added: ‘A quarantine will not be necessary.’
Cuomo, who has criticized the federal government’s response as his state became the country’s virus epicenter, said roping off states would amount to ‘a federal declaration of war.’
Cuomo added that he believed it would be illegal, economically catastrophic, ‘preposterous’ and shortsighted when other parts of the US are seeing cases rise, too.
During a press conference on Saturday, Cuomo revealed that there will now be three hospitals in the state that deal only with coronavirus patients in an attempt to keep other patients who are not yet infected safe.
Trump on Saturday morning also approved four new emergency medical sites in New York City, one for each of the outer boroughs, with the Javitts Center set to open as a field hospital with 1,000 extra beds on Monday.
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Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office announced on Saturday that he would forbid hospitals in the state from banning support people from delivery rooms
A medical tent set up outside of Mount Sinai hospital in Manhattan where a nurse died Tuesday
General view of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens during the Coronavirus pandemic
The image taken on Saturday night shows a makeshift morgue outside St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx
Another makeshift morgue is seen on Saturday outside Lenox Health Medical Pavilion in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan
Hospitals across the city and the state have been struggling to keep up with the demand for care as the coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of abating
Speaking to Cuomo just before the governor held his press conference, Trump failed to mention his plans to quarantine the state.
Cuomo was blindsided by a question from a reporter after Trump made the comments while the governor was already speaking.
He responded that he had spoken to Trump just before the briefing and that this had not been mentioned but he didn’t like the sound of it.
‘I don’t know what it means … I don’t know how it will be enforceable. I don’t like the sound of it,’ Cuomo said.
The president made the comments as he touched down at Joint Base Andrews around noon Saturday and spoke to reporters.
The move will restrict travel to and from the three states, which are some of the hardest-hit by the outbreak.
New York cases are now more than five times greater than they are in New Jersey, which has the second highest number of cases in the United States at 8,825.
‘We’d like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hotspot — New York, New Jersey, maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut quarantined. I’m thinking about that right now,’ he said Saturday.
President Donald Trump salutes as the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort pulls away from the pier at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia as it starts its journey to New York to aid with the growing coronavirus crisis in the city
US President Donald Trump, with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, speaks during the departure ceremony for the hospital ship USNS Comfort before it began its journey to New York City. Gov. Cuomo said he will welcome the ship with ‘open arms’
‘We might not have to do it but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine — short term two weeks for New York, probably New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.’
Trump said he would speak again to Cuomo later on Saturday.
In their previous call, Trump informed Cuomo that he was set to send off the US Navy Comfort Saturday which would arrive in New York on Monday, providing extra beds and more medical staff.
‘I will greet it with open arms,’ Cuomo said.
He added that the medical staff aboard the ship are vitally needed in the city where doctors, nurses and EMT workers are on overdrive to treat patients as best they can. Another nurse died in the state on Friday as concerns grow for the risks to their own health and safety exposing themselves to positive patients as stocks of protective equipment grew lower.
Trump reinforced the quarantine claims on leaving the air base and traveling to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, where he was sending the USNS Comfort on to New York where it will be turned into a makeshift hospital.
‘We will make a decision, very quickly, very shortly’ on quarantining the ‘hot areas’ of those states, he said.
‘We’ll be announcing that one way or the other, fairly soon.’
The president said that, if enforced, the move would not restrict trade coming in and out of the states.
‘This does not apply to people, such as truckers, from outside the New York area,’ he said.
‘It won’t affect trade in any way.’
His comments on a possible quarantine seemed to backtrack on his previous claims that he wants to get the economy and normal life back up and running as soon as possible.
On Saturday, Trump also gave Cuomo approval for four further emergency medical sites, one based in each of the outer boroughs of New York City, that will provide much needed beds the city as it deals with over a quarter of the country’s cases.
The sites will be established in Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, at the Aquaduct Racetrack in Queens, at CUNY Staten Island, and at the New York Expo Center in the Bronx.
The new sites should make 4,000 more beds available.
The governor also warned that the escalating crisis in New York City where temporary morgues are being established outside of hospitals could see see some patients sent to hospitals further upstate for treatment.
As seen in the map released by Cuomo below, Westchester Square, SUNY Downstate and South Beach Psychiatric Center will be treating patients who have the coronavirus only.
The move comes on the advice of the New York Department of Health who believe that it is necessary to keep coronavirus patients away from other patients who may be at risk if there are infected.
The hospitals seen above in blue will now only be used to treat coronavirus patients
SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn will now only treat coronavirus patients
As New York state continues scrambling to try to amass 30,000 ventilators ahead of a projected mid-to-late-April peak in coronavirus cases, Cuomo bluntly illustrated the alternative during the conference: masks with manually operated air bags.
He said the state has bought 3,000 of them, has ordered 4,000 more and is considering training National Guard personnel to operate them. It entails pumping the bulb-like bag by hand: 24 hours a day for every patient in need.
‘If we have to turn to this device on any large-scale basis, that is not an acceptable situation,’ Cuomo said, ‘so we go back to finding the ventilators.’
Cuomo demonstrated the operation on a hand-held mask to show how much work it would take if New York hospitals were forced to rely on them instead of on ventilators
Cuomo said the state has bought 3,000 of them, has ordered 4,000 more and is considering training National Guard personnel to operate them but that he would prefer ventilators
The federal government has sent over 4,000 ventilators to the state and New York City this week.
Cuomo also said he was delaying the state’s presidential primary from April 28 to June 23, when the state plans to hold legislative congressional and local party primaries.
‘I don’t think it´s wise to be bringing people to one location to vote,’ the Democrat said.
New York joins over a dozen states that have delayed some elections. A smaller group including Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Indiana and Kentucky have also postponed their presidential primaries.
The state has also pushed back its tax filing deadline until July 15, leaving the state, already financially struggling, without any revenue until the summer.
Rhode Island cracks down on fleeing New Yorkers: National Guard soldiers go door to door to force visitors from the coronavirus epicenter into 14-day quarantine – prompting Cuomo to threaten to sue the state
The Rhode Island National Guard is going door to door in coastal communities on Saturday to tell visiting New Yorkers of a mandatory 14-day quarantine as a furious Governor Andrew Cuomo threatens to sue over what he calls a ‘reactionary’ policy.
The measure, while extreme, is necessary because the New York City area is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and is needed to control its spread, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo said on Saturday.
The order came the same day state police started pulling over vehicles with New York license plates to get contact information for drivers and passengers and to inform them of the quarantine order.
People who break the order faces fines and even arrest for subsequent violations, the Democratic governor said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island on Thursday questioned the constitutionality of pulling over vehicles for no other reason than having a New York plate.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (left) threatened to sue Rhode Island after its governor, Gina Raimondo (right), announced a new policy forcing visitors from New York into a mandatory 14-day quarantine
Rhode Island Air National Guard Sgt William Randall walks through the Watch Hill neighborhood looking for New York residents to inform them of self quarantine orders Saturday
Guards approach a property to check for New Yorkers. Rhode Island is sending the National Guard to hunt down any New Yorkers who have fled to the state
The National Guard has been deployed to knock door-to-door looking for anyone who has evacuated the coronavirus-stricken state and arrived in Rhode Island
Police have also started pulling over cars with New York state plates looking for any escapees
But Raimondo said Friday she has consulted with lawyers and is in line with White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Cuomo said that if Raimondo doesn’t walk back the policy, he will take her to court.
‘We’re talking to Rhode Island now,’ the New York governor told CNN on Saturday evening.
‘If they don’t roll back that policy, I’m going to sue Rhode Island.
‘No state should be using police to limit interstate travel.’for this
While Rhode Island’s response to the outbreak has been solid, the state is unprepared for a huge surge in cases such as experienced in New York and New Orleans, Raimondo said.
Because of that, she extended the state’s social distancing guidelines that include no public gatherings of more than 10 people and limiting restaurants to takeout and delivery service only until April 13.
The state’s two casinos will remain closed indefinitely while visitors will not be allowed at the state’s nursing homes and hospitals until further notice.
A member of the Rhode Island National Guard Military Police directs motorists with New York license plates at a checkpoint on I-95 over the border with Connecticut where New Yorkers must pull over and provide contact information and are told to self-quarantine for two weeks
A Rhode Island National Guard Military Police officer directs motorists with New York license plates at a checkpoint in Hope Valley, Rhode Island, on Saturday
Raimondo on Saturday ordered anyone visiting the state to self-quarantine for 14 days and restricted residents to stay at home and nonessential retail businesses to close Monday until April 13 to help stop the spread of the coronavirus
Members of the Rhode Island National Guard Military Police wait for motorists with New York license plates at a checkpoint on I-95 near the border with Connecticut on Saturday
A member of the Rhode Island National Guard Military Police directs a motorist with New York license plates at a checkpoint in Hope Valley, Rhode Island, on Saturday
A sign on Interstate 95 directs motorists with New York license plates to pull over in Hope Valley, Rhode Island, on Saturday
There were 38 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Rhode Island on Friday, bringing the state’s total to more then 200, Raimondo said. Twenty-eight people are hospitalized.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
Other states are mimicking Rhode Island.
Florida, Texas, South Carolina and Maryland also require a mandatory 14-day quarantine for new arrivals from the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut tri-state area.