Cuomo says it’s still too soon to close NYC despite de Blasio warning second lockdown is imminent as he is slammed for ‘ignoring health officials to shut down schools’ while bars and restaurants stay open
- Gov Cuomo on Thursday told reporters he was not yet at the stage of shutting down businesses in NYC
- He says the test positivity rate has to rise by another 0.5% before he’ll end indoor dining and close gyms
- The positivity rate across New York City is only 3%; South Dakota – which has no restrictions – is at 55.6%
- Despite bars, restaurants, nail salons and stores being open, Mayor de Blasio has closed public schools
- The decision has been met with outrage from parents who say it is too soon and unnecessary given the infection rate in schools is only 0.19%
- Sources say de Blasio’s own advisors told him it would be pointless to close the schools and was too soon
- They also said the 3% metric he was using as a threshold was unnecessarily low
- De Blasio said he made the decision because New York ‘was once the epicenter’ and because Cuomo will impose tough lockdowns ‘soon’
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday that it was too soon to start closing New York City despite Mayor Bill de Blasio claiming another lockdown was coming ‘soon’ as a justification for shutting public schools.
De Blasio has been slammed for deciding on Wednesday that he was going to close all public schools despite the infection rate in New York City being just 3 percent and only 0.19 percent in schools.
Parents are furious that their kids can’t go to class while bars, restaurants, nail salons and other non-essential businesses are still open. Many private schools are also still open.
De Blasio, in trying to justify his decision, on Thursday said it was because New York City had once been ‘the epicenter’. He also promised that Cuomo – who is the only official with the power to shut down businesses – would do so soon.
But during a call with reporters, Cuomo said the infection rate was still too low. When asked why de Blasio had taken the decision and if he agreed with it, he said ‘you’d have to ask the school district’.
It has also been claimed that de Blasio ignored his own health experts to shut the schools.
According to a senior official cited by The New York Daily News, ‘senior city health officials have expressed to the mayor and his administration their disagreement and concern with using the 3 percent threshold to close schools in the city, given that schools themselves are not at 3 percent and that transmission in schools is not as big a concern as it is in other settings like bars and restaurants.’ A spokesman for de Blasio’s office denied it.
Nationwide, COVID-19 cases are increasing. Panic buying has started again in some states and many cities are struggling to keep up with the number of people lining up for tests again.
Across the state of New York, the test positivity rate decreased between Tuesday and Wednesday from 3.4% to 2.7%. Contextually, Chicago has an infection rate of 15 percent, California’s is 8 percent, Alabama is 24.7 percent, Iowa is 50 percent and South Dakota is 55.9 percent and none have taken measures as de Blasio has.
At odds: Mayor Bill de Blasio justified closing public schools because he said Gov. Cuomo was going to start shutting down businesses ‘soon’. On Thursday, Cuomo said it was still too soon for that
MANHATTAN – 2.3%
BROOKLYN – 3.9%
QUEENS – 4.6%
BRONX – 5.1%
STATEN ISLAND – 4.5%
NYC WHOLE – 2.5%
NY STATE – 2.8%
CALIFORNIA – 8%
ALABAMA – 24.7%
IOWA – 50%
SOUTH DAKOTA – 55.6%
On Thursday morning, de Blasio was was roasted during an appearance on CBS This Morning where gave no other reason for sticking to the 3% threshold other than ‘because we were once the epicenter’.
He insists that Cuomo is about to shut down New York City, and is using that as his justification.
‘The governor made clear yesterday that New York State is going to very soon be applying an orange zone standard to New York City.
‘That will be closing indoor dining. Those restrictions are coming very soon,’ he said.
He insisted that his decision is not ‘political in the least’, adding: ‘We’re dealing with a new circumstance, a surge that we have to be very, very concerned about.
‘We’ve got to reset this equation.
‘So, I say to my fellow parents, I don’t expect this to go for long, I expect us to come up with a new standard that’s more stringent.
‘We’re going to ask a lot of parents – we’re going to ask them to get their kids tested a lot, but then we can come back.’
Asked why he took the decision to close schools when everything else was open, he said: ‘Because we were the epicenter of this crisis.’
He also warned that he would enforce a tougher standard once they reopened but did not say what that would be. Cuomo on Thursday shirked responsibility for the public schools closure.
‘I left discretion to the local school districts. NYC came up with their rules.
‘They have their individual rules…on the 700 school districts, you have to talk to them,’ he said.
Teachers, parents and children protest outside of City Hall, Manhattan, against the closure of New York schools. New York, United States. November 19 2020
Parents protest demanding that public schools remain open, outside New York’s City Hall on November 19
Children take part in a protest demanding that public schools remain open, outside New York’s City Hall on November 19
A sign on the door of a closed public school in Brooklyn. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city’s entire public school system, the largest in the country, will indefinitely suspend all in-school classes
While the numbers are coming down now or at least holding steady, Cuomo says there will be a spike after Thanksgiving.
‘There’s a new factor. Living room spread.
‘In addition to those other factors. We know indoor dining has been a problem. The gyms, the hair salons; every national health agency has identified them.
‘We then add the theory, which is also from the CDC, that family, living room spread is now a new factor. I am telling you – I will wager you – that if people are not extraordinarily diligent, and act in a way they’ve never acted before, you’re going to see a very large spike.
‘The travel is a very large problem for us. If people are coming from Vermont or Maine they don’t pose a risk. If they come from anywhere else, they pose a risk.
‘Better safe than sorry. We went through this once before,’ he said.
He went on: ‘From here until January is very dangerous.
‘A vaccine is on the way… but not in any time frame that is going to make any difference to the immediate future.’
New York City is still well below its threshold for hospitalization but cases are increasing