New York City residents should prepare to be under a “shelter-in-place” order in the next 48 hours in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday.
The decision is not yet official, and the city would have to make that designation along with New York state, according to The New York Times, but de Blasio said it would be “the right guidance” to help limit the number of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the city.
De Blasio did not clarify what the shelter-in-place order would look like for New York City, but it would likely be similar to the current restrictions in the greater Bay Area, which put residents under a shelter-in-place order as of Tuesday. There, residents are to stay inside except for trips to get groceries or other essentials, such as medications, or to help people who need assistance.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 814 cases of the virus in New York City, and at least seven people have died.
“We are certainly going to have thousands of cases next week,” de Blasio said in a press conference. “It is not that long before we hit 10,000 cases, that is a true statement.”
New York City is not currently under any kind of forced orders to stay at home, but the city has already taken steps to limit residents from leaving their homes. On Monday, de Blasio announced that gatherings will be limited to 50 people, and that all theaters, gyms and casinos will close, and all bars and restaurants can only offer take-out.
On Sunday night, after facing pressure from parents and teachers unions, de Blasio agreed to close New York City schools for at least five weeks. The public school system in the city is the largest nationwide, with 1.1 million students, and a significant portion rely on schools for free meals. Additionally, 114,000 students are homeless. Schools will continue to provide free breakfasts and lunches, and teachers will begin remote instruction on Monday.
On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that a mass quarantine of the city “cannot happen,” the Times reported. However, he said that cases in the city are likely to peak in the next 45 days, and he anticipates a shortage of hospital beds during that time. Right now, New York has around 53,000 hospital beds and 3,000 intensive care beds. If COVID-19 peaks at that time, they would need 55,000 to 110,000 hospital beds and 18,600 to 37,000 intensive care beds.
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