Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that 100 percent of non-essential work forces are now required to stay home, calling it “the most drastic measure we can take” as he said the entire state of New York was “on pause.”
Two days ago, that decree applied to 50 percent of the non-essential work force. A day ago, it rose to 75 percent. Now it’s practically everyone; Cuomo said the escalation of the numbers gave him no choice but to further control density.
“This is not life as usual. Accept it. Realize it. And deal with it,” Cuomo said. He asked the public to “remain indoors to the greatest extent possible to protect physical and mental health. Your actions can affect my health; that’s where we are. We are all in quarantine.”
As of Friday morning, New York state’s COVID-19 cases had surpassed the 7,100 mark, accounting for nearly half of all confirmed cases in the country. Cuomo said New York City had more than 4,400 cases, adding nearly another 2,000 overnight for the second time in as many days. Less than three hours after later, a city spokesman said the total had risen to 5,151. Right now, the five boroughs account for more than 28 percent of all cases in America. Dozens have died.
Effective immediately, non-essential gatherings of any size are banned and strict social distancing — maintaining at least a 6-foot distance from others in public — must be obeyed. Public transportation will keep running to get nurses, doctors, law enforcement officers, and other essential personnel where they need to go. Everyone else is asked to use mass transit only if absolutely necessary.
“I strongly support what he’s doing,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a White House news conference Friday. “I know what New Yorkers can do. We’re tough.”