NEW YORK (AP) — New Yorkers started their first full day of severe restrictions Monday that are intended to curb the spread of the virus after the number of cases in the state continues to surge amid an uptick in testing.
All of the state's “nonessential” businesses were ordered closed by 8 p.m. Sunday under an order that also banned nonessential gatherings of individuals. New Yorkers may still go outside their homes to pick up groceries or exercise, but must stay 6 feet away from anyone who isn't a member of their household.
Here are the latest updates about the coronavirus in New York:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised 1,000 temporary hospital beds will be swiftly placed inside a vast Manhattan convention center as officials raced to prepare for an overwhelming number of coronavirus patients.
“This is going to get much worse before it gets better. We are still in the relative calm before the storm,” Cuomo said during a stop at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. “You’re going to see the number of infections, the number of cases, increase dramatically. You are going to see an overcapacity of our health system.”
The number of positive coronavirus cases in New York state surged to more than 20,000, with more than half the cases in New York City. The city has emerged as a worldwide hotspot for the outbreak, with more than 12,000 known cases.
Cuomo said the swift climb in numbers also is due to aggressive testing, with the state now testing 16,000 people a day.
Construction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency temporary hospitals at the convention center will start this week and hopefully be done within 10 days, Cuomo said. The state is working with the federal government to add another 1,000 beds for a lighter level of care in the cavernous space typically used for auto and trade shows.
“This was never an anticipated use,” Cuomo said, “but you do what you have to do.”
Cuomo said the 1,000 hospital beds will relieve pressure on hospitals at capacity as the outbreak spreads. He said 320 federal staff will come to take care of 1,000 people initially.
The governor also has ordered existing hospitals to increase their capacity by 50%.
The scramble to add beds is part of a larger effort to line up adequate supplies of ventilators, masks and other medical equipment. Cuomo said the state has enough supplies for today, but cannot make predictions about next week or the week after.
There have been 157 deaths in New York state. And there have been more than 2,500 hospitalizations in the state, with 621 ICU patients.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that he spoke with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence about the city's urgent need for medical supplies to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
"We’re literally in that very tight window now that if we don’t get the ventilators in particular we will actually start to lose lives that could have been saved,” ” de Blasio said on CNN.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough, and the vast majority recover. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
Cuomo said state health officials will proceed with an experimental treatment for patients seriously ill with the coronavirus. The treatment involves taking plasma from someone who has been infected, processing it and injecting the antibodies into a sick person to stimulate their immune system.
“It’s a trial for people who are in serious condition,” Cuomo said.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the trial, which will begin this week on a "compassionate care basis," the governor said.
Also, the state on Tuesday will begin to conduct trials of an experimental treatment with the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic Zithromax, a treatment touted by President Donald Trump.
ONLINE SCHOOLING STARTS
School was back in session Monday for New York City's 1.1 million public school students, though instruction was happening in digital classrooms.
City education officials gave teachers a crash course in online instruction last week and distributed laptops and tablets to some students who lack them, but Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged that many students still lack devices to access their classes and do their homework with.
“We will reach a lot more kids over time,” de Blasio told WPIX-TV. Officials have said pencil-and-paper packets will be available in the meantime.
Hill and Associated Press writer Marina Villeneuve contributed from Albany, N.Y.