New York quiets as it becomes next virus hot spot
No more play dates, no more picnics in the park with friends, no more pickup games of basketball. No more commuting or using public transport — unless absolutely essential. New York implemented dramatic restrictions Sunday in an attempt to slow a pandemic that has swept across the globe and threatened to make the state one of the world’s biggest coronavirus hot spots.
As infections soar — or in anticipation that they will — officials worldwide warned of a critical shortage of medical supplies. Spain was erecting a field hospital in a convention center, British health workers pleaded for more gear, saying they felt like “cannon fodder,” and President Donald Trump ordered mobile hospital centers be sent to Washington, California and New York.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses in the state to close and nonessential workers to stay home starting Sunday night, tightening even further restrictions put in place earlier.
Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also called for getting everything from masks to ventilators, as well as doctors and other medical workers to New York, warning a mounting death toll might grow more steeply without more federal help.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, promised on CBS’ “Face The Nation” that the medical supplies are about to start pouring in and will be “clearly directed to those hot spots that need it most.”
Hours later, Trump said he had ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ship mobile hospital centers to Washington, California and New York.
“No American is alone as long as we are united,” Trump said.
But efforts for a quick aid package from Congress faltered. The U.S. Senate voted against advancing a nearly $2 trillion economic rescue package. Democrats argued it was tilted toward corporations rather than workers and health care providers. But negotiations continued.
The delay shook investors, as futures for U.S. stocks fell sharply at the start of trading Sunday. Futures for the S&P 500 fell by 5%, triggering a halt in trading shortly after opening. Wall Street is coming off its worst week since 2008, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 17%, many restaurants and bars nationwide closed and large swaths of the economy suddenly ground to a halt.
Worldwide, more than 335,000 people have been infected and more than 14,600 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
There were more than 33,000 cases across the U.S. and more than 400 deaths. New York state accounted for 117 deaths, passing Washington state, the initial epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, in the number of fatal cases.
Along with the staggering numbers, there were individual reminders Sunday of the reach of the virus. Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky became the first U.S. senator to announce he was infected. Opera superstar Placido Domingo announced he has COVID-19, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel put herself into quarantine after a doctor who gave her a vaccine tested positive.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever or coughing. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. Some 97,800 people have recovered, mostly in China.