New York City should prepare for possible ‘full shutdown’, de Blasio says

Indoor dining ended on Monday but the mayor of New York City says further measures may be necessary 

Harriet Alexander
Monday 14 December 2020 19:35 GMT
Bill de Blasio says New York City could be placed under full lockdown
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Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, has warned the city to prepare for the possibility of a “total lockdown” as Covid cases continue to soar.

At least 124 new coronavirus deaths and 10,027 new cases were reported in New York on Sunday. 

Over the past week, there has been an average of 10,031 cases per day, an increase of 56 per cent from the average two weeks earlier.

Last week, New York's leaders announced that the city would once again halt indoor dining from Monday.

Since September restaurants had been allowed to operate at 25 per cent capacity.

On Monday morning Mr de Blasio told CNN that further restrictions will likely be implemented.

"You're talking about the potential, and again I'm quoting from Governor Cuomo and I think he's right, there's a potential of having to do a full pause — a full shutdown in the coming weeks — because we can't let this kind of momentum go," he said.

The mayor pointed out that New York City was initially the "epicenter" of the outbreak in the US.

"We fought back. We became one of the safest places in the country. We opened our schools when most innercities didn't. We've kept our schools safe.  

"But now we're seeing the kind of level of infection that we haven't seen since May, and we have got to stop that momentum or else our hospital system will be threatened," the mayor explained.

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York state, issued a similar warning a week ago.

"If our hospital capacity becomes critical, we're going to close down that region, period," he said, outlining "New York Pause" metrics. These "pause" restrictions would require all nonessential business to shutter and all nonessential gatherings to be cancelled.

"It's a little complicated, but if your seven-day average says that, if it were to continue for three weeks, you're going to hit 90 per cent of your hospital capacity, close down," he said.

"If you are at a rate that is going to overwhelm your hospitals, you must shut down. Not just indoor dining. Shut down. Only essential businesses."

Meanwhile, on Monday morning New York City began vaccinating health care workers with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which received emergency authorisation from the Food and Drug Administration over the weekend.  

Sandra Lindsay, an intensive care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, became the first person in the city to be vaccinated and said she felt hope and relief.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel," she said.

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