(C) Reuters. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at the Javits Center in New York
By Nathan Layne and Maria Caspani
(Reuters) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the closure of all playgrounds in New York City on Wednesday in an effort to bolster social distancing and limit the number of coronavirus-related deaths, which are approaching 2,000 in the state.
Cuomo said that New York, which had already shut playgrounds outside of the city, needed to clamp down further because young people continue to gather even as the virus takes a devastating toll on the city, the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak.
“You still see too many situations with too much density by young people,” Cuomo told a daily briefing. “Who else has to die for you to understand that you have a responsibility in this.”
Cuomo called on the city’s police force to “get more aggressive” in enforcing social distancing efforts but added that open spaces in parks would remain available for people to “walk around, get some sun.”
The governor said that the number of coronavirus cases in his state had increased to 83,712, up from 75,795 a day earlier, with deaths rising to 1,941, up from 1,550, by far the most in the United States.
The briefing came one day after U.S. President Donald Trump warned Americans of a “painful” two weeks ahead, referring to modeling that showed an enormous jump in deaths to a range of 100,000 to 240,000 people from the virus in the coming months.
Cuomo said the state was relying on models by the consulting firm McKinsey which projected a need for 75,000 beds for patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and 25,000 ventilators in the case of high compliance with social distancing meaures.
In a scenario where people didn’t adhere to those directives, the need for beds will be over 110,000 and some 37,000 ventilators will be needed. In both models the projected apex of the crisis will be at the end of this month.
Cuomo warned leaders in other regions that they, too, would be facing a similar crisis. “Look at us today, see yourself tomorrow,” the governor said.
New York has only received 4,000 ventiatlors from the federal government, well short of its need, Cuomo said.
He said it was difficult for New York to purchase ventilators on its own amid fierce competition and price gouging. He reiterated his plea for the federal government to step in and act as the central purchaser.
“The only hope for a state at this point is the federal government’s capacity to deliver.”
(reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut and Maria Caspani in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Chizu Nomiyama)
New York Governor closes city playgrounds to combat virus
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