New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday introduced a new round of restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus as the rate of infection increased and hospital stays increased in the condition that was the epicenter of the US outbreak in its early stages.
Cuomo ordered bars, restaurants and gyms in the state to turn off local services at 10pm and limited the number of people who could attend private parties at 10am.
“We are seeing a national and global COVID rise, and New York is a ship on the COVID tide,” the governor told reporters, adding that contact tracking identified late-night gatherings at bars, restaurants and gyms as key viruses in the state.
The new measures, which take effect on Friday, came a day after California and several states across the Midwest tightened restrictions on residents to try to limit the rapid spread of the virus.
“This is our LAST chance to stop a second wave,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Wednesday, announcing that the full seven-day average percentage of coronavirus samples that returned positive had reached 2.52%.
The city’s public school system, the country’s largest, would be closed for personal learning if that figure reaches 3%.
As COVID-19 infections, hospital stays and deaths increase across the United States, more signs emerged that a second wave could engulf areas in the northeastern United States that had managed to gain control of the pandemic after being beaten last spring.
The United States as a whole reported more than 1,450 deaths on Tuesday, the highest number of days since mid-August, according to a Reuters analysis.
U.S. COVID-19 cases climbed for seven days in a row to reach over 136,000 starting late Tuesday, while hospital stays passed 60,000 for the first time since the pandemic began, threatening to overwhelm systems in many parts of the country.
In New Jersey, one of the early US hotspots, an increase in cases in Newark – the state’s largest city – forced Mayor Ras Baraka to implement aggressive measures, including a mandatory curfew for certain areas.
Positivity in Newark soared to 19%, more than twice the state’s 7.74% seven-day average, Baraka said in a statement on Tuesday. The World Health Organization has said that just over 5% are affected.
“Stricter measures are needed in the city’s hotspots to curb the virus and limit the spread,” he said.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday announced restrictions such as those in New York in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state and outbreaks among bartenders.
In Maryland, where the positivity rate was 5.6% on Wednesday, officials warned of rising COVID-19 hospital stays.
More than 800 people were treated for COVID-19 in state hospitals as of Wednesday, according to Mike Ricci, communications chief for Governor Larry Hogan. This is Maryland’s highest daily number since April.
A record number of people died of COVID-19 in several Midwestern and Western states on Tuesday, including Alaska, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
“We are definitely seeing an increase in the number of cases and a large number of cases across the state,” said Dr. Chris Weaver, an emergency physician and senior vice president of clinical efficacy at Indiana University Health, told Reuters.
“We are in a good place now to handle all the patients we have, but as volumes increase rapidly, it will fill everything,” he added.
In Texas, El Paso County officials have taken in 10 temporary cold storage trailers to fight one of the worst COVID-19 nails in the United States.
Officials in states hardest hit by the virus appealed to residents to stay home as much as possible and listen to expert advice by wearing masks, washing hands and taking social distances.
“It’s not safe to go out, it’s not safe to have others over, it’s just not safe. And it may not be safe for a while yet,” Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said as he issued new mitigation measures. “Please, cancel happy hours, dinner parties, sleep and play dates in your home.”