Newsweek Magazine reports that New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has declared a state of emergency as 76 people in the state have tested positive for COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Though well-intended, given the mass confusion caused this week by conflicting statements made between Vice President Pence, the CDC, and Donald Trump, Cuomo’s declaration further fueled uncertainty about the health status not just for New York but the country.
At a press conference in Albany this afternoon, Cuomo stated, “I have officially…done a declaration of emergency, which gives us certain powers. We’re going to be doing purchasing and hiring more staff, especially to help local health departments that are very stressed.”
As part of the state of emergency protocol, Cuomo shared that health departments could implement regular monitoring of quarantined patients who might not be following the direction staying isolated. He also hinted that there could be further actions taken against infected individuals who attempt to circumvent quarantine.
As further reported by Newsweek, “An emergency declaration grants the executive extraordinary—albeit temporary—powers, including the ability to suspend laws and local ordinances that impede the government’s response to the outbreak.”
A state of emergency for New York might also include barring outside visitors from nursing homes and senior living facilities in the New York City suburb of New Rochelle, where the outbreaks have occurred. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to contracting and spreading the Coronavirus. Cuomo understands the delicate nature of quarantining and isolating citizens but also recognizes nursing homes as a “problematic setting.”
To date, CBS News reports the Coronavirus has globally impacted 70 countries, with 90,000 cases and 3,100 deaths. The vast majority of cases and deaths have been in China, and though infections there are now on the decline, cases remain on the rise in South Korea, Iran, and Italy.
Adding to the impact the Coronavirus is having on New York, Amtrak announced the temporary suspension of its Acela nonstop service between Washington, D.C., and New York.
Amtrak offered in a statement,
“The safety of Amtrak’s customers and employees is our top priority,” the company said in a release. “We are closely monitoring the coronavirus and are taking action based on guidance from public health experts.“
For the most up to date health information on the Coronavirus, visit the CDC.