NYC Reopening in May Would Be a ‘Miracle’; N.J. Several Weeks Away

Governor Andrew Cuomo said it would be a “miracle” if New York City and the downstate region reopen in two weeks. New Jersey, meanwhile, reported a higher increase in coronavirus deaths than New York for the first time.

Some regions of upstate New York will have met Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, with declining cases for 14 consecutive days, Cuomo said. “Not in New York City, not downstate, unless a miracle happens. Please, please.”

New York has been “on pause” since March 22, with businesses shut down under an order that expires May 15. Reopenings — and re-closings, if necessary — will be dictated by data, Cuomo said. He said he’ll decide by week’s end whether schools will reopen this term.

“I’m not going to trade off economics for life and death,” Cuomo said Tuesday at a press briefing in Syracuse. “We will come back in downstate New York.”

In New Jersey, the state is “a number of weeks away” from reopening, Governor Phil Murphy said Tuesday in Trenton. While the state is seeing progress in hospitalizations and ventilator use, it reported 402 more deaths, more than New York’s 335. While Murphy said that may be due to weekend fatalities not being reported until Monday, it shows how New Jersey’s recovery is trailing New York’s.

New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, had 295,106 cases as of April 27. New Jersey, which has the second-highest number of cases, reported a total of 113,856, with increases seen in southern parts of the state as northern cases decline.

During the first two weeks of April, cases more than doubled in New York and more than tripled in New Jersey, data show. During the past two weeks, cases increased by 46% in New York and 66% in New Jersey.

While Murphy has said he’s hesitant to look at regional reopenings of New Jersey, Cuomo has highlighted the varying infection rates in different parts of his state.

In New York’s baseline survey of the state’s infection rate, it tested 7,500 people and found 14.9% of the population has Covid-19 antibodies. Results vary by region, with a 24.7% rate in New York City and 14.4% rate on Long Island. The state is expanding the survey to test police, fire, health-care and transit workers.

Under Cuomo’s reopening plan, construction and manufacturing will come first. Businesses must ensure distancing and personal protection equipment and consider temperature checks, Cuomo said.

Going forward, the way to control the virus is to find the person who was infected, then trace and isolate the infection, Cuomo said. The state needs facilities for people who are positive to quarantine for two weeks if they cannot self-isolate at home, he said.

If hospitals in an area reach 70% capacity, and the rate of transmission exceeds 1, that is cause for pause, the governor said. A rate of 1 means that each case causes one new infection.

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