It’s Friday. We made it through another workweek on “PAUSE,” CivMixers…only until May 15 (at least) to go.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday extended the order requiring all but essential businesses to remain closed, continuing our collective self-quarantine for another month, even as the COVID-19 numbers continued their encouraging trend downward. The reason? He’s not convinced we can safely resume our pre-pandemic lives without risking another wave of infections.
To make matters even more depressing, we’re having a brief throwback to winter tomorrow, with snow and rain in the forecast. It doesn’t appear that there will be a lot of accumulation. But just seeing that white stuff on the ground of late has been mentally challenging.
But that’s tomorrow. Let’s focus on today, because, well, who knows, right? Today, we’re looking at a mix of sun and clouds in the morning, giving way to all clouds in the afternoon with temperatures in the mid-50s, according to The Weather Channel.
Back to that extended “PAUSE.” Cuomo said he has taken action in concert with his fellow East coast governors.
“I need a coordinated action plan with the other states. So, one month, we’ll continue the close-down policies. What happens after then? I don’t know. We will see what the data shows,” Cuomo said. “I don’t want to project beyond that period.”
Cuomo said the state’s workforce would be phased back in the same manner New York shut down, scaling up by 25 percent, then 50 percent and continuing with “more essential” businesses with lower risks of infection opening sooner.
Though the numbers are going in the right direction, there are 2,000 new infections confirmed across the state every day. An additional 606 people had died as of yesterday, which was the lowest increase in fatalities in six days.
The White House issued general guidance for a phased reopening that leaves the final say with state and local officials and suggests governors work on a regional basis where appropriate.
Basically, President Trump told governors they could begin reopening businesses, restaurants and other elements of daily life by May 1 or earlier if they wanted to, but abandoned his threat to use what he had claimed was his absolute authority to impose his will on them.
The White House guidelines call on states to take a three-phased approach for reopening schools and businesses. Each phase lasts at least 14 days and successively decreases social distancing restrictions, according to the guidelines.
The White House has tapped four New York House members – Republicans Elise Stefanik, John Katko and Lee Zeldin and Democrat Tom Suozzi – to join a task force with other members of Congress to plan the reopening of the economy.
More than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid since the president declared a national emergency, a staggering loss of jobs that has wiped out a decade of employment gains and pushed families to line up at food banks as they await government help.
In New York, a total of 1.2 million benefit claims have now been completed within the last five weeks as the coronavirus pandemic has crippled the state’s workforce — but the state is still processing some.
The $349 billion government program meant to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic and economic meltdown ran out of money yesterday, even as many small-business owners were desperately trying to apply for loans.
An out-of-state company is “deceiving small businesses by purporting to provide federal loans” to help them survive the coronavirus pandemic, state Attorney General Letitia James said.
To help combat an economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans are receiving stimulus checks this week — including some who are dead.
Boeing plans to resume commercial airplane production in Washington State by bringing about 27,000 employees back to work, the company said. Most will return by the end of next week.
Chinese officials said today that the world’s second-largest economy had shrunk in the first three months of the year, ending a streak of untrammeled growth that survived the Tiananmen Square crackdown, the SARS epidemic and even the global financial crisis.
The coronavirus death toll in the Chinese city of Wuhan — where the global outbreak is believed to have originated — was revised today, increasing by 50 percent, state media reported.
…The total number of cases recorded in the city now stands at 50,333, with 3,869 deaths. The previous reported death toll for Wuhan was 2,579 — so the revised figure marks a 50 percent increase in the number of deaths in the city from coronavirus.
The U.N. General Assembly has until Monday to consider a draft resolution calling for global action to rapidly scale up development, manufacturing and access to medicine, vaccines and medical equipment to confront the coronavirus pandemic.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is now deprived of the official trappings of the Capitol with Congress in an extended virus-instigated recess, is trying to counter the president’s White House sessions with her own media blitz from her kitchen in San Francisco.
Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen is reportedly to be released from an upstate federal prison camp that is closing because of coronavirus.
Cuomo responded to critics questioning his recent executive order for residents in the state to wear some kind of face covering when in public to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
…the order applies only in situations where people can’t be physically distant from others, like when using public transit. Facial coverings are also required in for-hire vehicles, including by drivers, and must be worn by children ages 2 and older.
The new rule doesn’t apply to kids under age 2, according to the executive order implementing the requirement. It also doesn’t apply to anyone unable to “medically tolerate” a face covering.
Cuomo refused to commit to providing state emergency cash directly to illegal immigrants impacted by the coronavirus, citing Albany’s enormous fiscal problem.
New York would add state income tax brackets and rates for multimillionaires under a bill recently introduced in the state Senate.
Federal health officials are coming under increasing pressure to start publicly tracking coronavirus infections and deaths in nursing homes amid criticism they have not been transparent about the scope of outbreaks across the country that have already claimed thousands of lives.
As deaths at nursing homes and assisted living complexes on Long Island rose by nearly 200 in three days, most facilities refuse to publicly disclose positive COVID-19 cases and deaths.
With the coronavirus pandemic ravaging New York’s economy, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city will be forced to slash more than $2 billion in municipal services over the next year. All aspects of New York City life will be affected.
The New York City teachers union boss ripped City Hall for cutting critical school programs while spending billions on central administrators in a pointed statement.
New York City will lock up all public pools for the entire season, from late June until Labor Day, in order to prevent public gatherings and the inadvertent spreading the novel coronavirus.
Even with fewer cars on the streets, the city’s automated speeding cameras have issued almost twice as many speeding tickets daily. There were 24,765 speeding tickets on March 27, up from 12,672 tickets issued daily a month earlier, according to city data.
The NYC jail population dipped below 4,000 inmates, the lowest level since shortly after WWII, de Blasio announced as he also said 11,000 hotel rooms are being prepared to quarantine coronavirus victims.
Nurses exposed or who’ve been infected with the coronavirus are protesting a new NYC policy cracking down on absences amid the pandemic.
At least 58 service industry employees unionized under 32BJ SEIU have died due to COVID-19 across the country — with 45 of those deaths taking place in New York City, the union announced.
Coronavirus patients arriving at New York City’s hospitals are increasingly already very sick with the deadly disease — and are pushing intensive care units to their limits or even beyond.
A NY Post analysis found that more than two-thirds of the 30 NYC ZIP codes with the highest per-capita rates of testing were either whiter or wealthier — and frequently both — than the city average population.
A clinical trial of a drug to treat coronavirus has doctors optimistic of finding a treatment to fight the global pandemic. The trial in Chicago uses Gilead Sciences’ antiviral medicine remdesivir.
Due to the urgent need of coronavirus testing, preparations to intensively train dogs to detect asymptomatic carries of the virus have started and could be ready in six weeks, according to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
It may be a good idea to give one another more than six feet of space while exercising outside during the current coronavirus pandemic, according to a compelling new study that looked at how air flows around bodies in motion.
State officials said only about five percent of Covid-19 deaths in New York were of people who were known to also have asthma, a relatively modest amount.
The start of the spring/summer thoroughbred race meet at Belmont Park on Long Island will be delayed. The 51-day meet was scheduled to start next Friday but it’s on hold because of the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the pandemic keeps horse racing fans guessing about the prospects for the sport, grooms and trainers at the Saratoga Casino Hotel’s harness track must still care for the nearly 400 horses in the barns there – with workers’ pay being cut or the future of their jobs in question.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is moving ahead with its mandatory Arch session this summer by holding it remotely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic instead of on-campus, which was one of the original selling points of the program for rising juniors.
“Will life go back to normal” is one of many coronavirus-themed searches that have skyrocketed in popularity in recent weeks, according to Google Trends data. Unsurprisingly, “when will life go back to normal” is right behind it.
With schools closed and their essential source of revenue drying up, the Hudson River Clearwater Sloop has furloughed much of its staff and the vessel is indefinitely docked in port.
Bill Gates, 64, the Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist, has now become the star of an explosion of conspiracy theories about the coronavirus outbreak, due to his 2015 warning that the greatest risk to humanity was not nuclear war but an infectious virus.
George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and liberal financier, is directing more than $130 million through his foundation to combat the effects of the coronavirus, with $37 million aimed to help at-risk populations in New York City, including undocumented families and low-wage workers.
Cristina Cuomo spoke publicly (on Instagram) for the first time about her COVID-19 diagnosis, thanking her kids for stepping up to care for the family when both she and her CNN anchor husband, Chris, are in quarantine. Also, she’s going the “naturopathic route” as far as treatment is concerned.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have volunteered twice with the Hollywood-based charity Project Angel Food, delivering dozens of meals to the chronically ill, the nonprofit’s CEO said.
R. Kelly’s trial in New York on charges that include racketeering and sex trafficking has been moved to Sept. 29, though a member of his legal team said that date is in question as the coronavirus pandemic keeps cases on hold.
The latest trend: Coronavirus shaming.
In non-virus news…
The federal judge overseeing the criminal case against Roger J. Stone Jr. refused to grant him a new trial, rejecting the defense’s argument of juror misconduct that President Trump has also repeatedly trumpeted.
Cuomo’s 2019 income topped $280,600, much of that coming from a big year in the stock market, while Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who files jointly with her husband Bill, reported income last year of more than $1.18 million.
A state Senate committee has been investigating businesses allegedly engaged in “abusive” ticketing practices, including refusing to refund consumers for sports, concerts and other events impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
City of Albany police have charged a 38-year-old Queens man in connection with a homicide that occurred in January at 1 Lincoln Square.
Photo credit: George Fazio.