NYC Lockdown Continues Despite COVID-19 Hospitalizations Dropping To Just 63 On Monday

First we were all supposed to “flatten the curve.”

Now, we’re all apparently supposed to stay inside — with our masks on, of course — until SARS-CoV-2 disappears or a vaccine for COVID-19 is discovered — even if that takes years.

New York City remains in full lockdown despite the fact that the number of new patients admitted to the hospital for the virus dropped to 63 on Monday. But Mayor Bill de Blasio says the lockdown will go until at least June — and that’s only to get to Phase 1 of reopening.

“De Blasio has added new ‘requirements’ to reopening and has said it likely won’t begin until the first half of June,” The Daily Mail reported.

He wants to see fewer than 375 people in ICUs across the city’s 11 public hospitals before he’ll consider letting out-of-work residents back to their jobs.

On Tuesday, he admitted at his daily press conference that he had not yet hammered out a strategy for enforcing social distancing on the subway system once people get back to work, even in the first phase. He also refused to talk about the second phase, which lets office workers and beauty salons resume business, and said Phase 1 would last ‘at least several weeks’.

‘We still have to make sure we don’t end up with a lot of crowded buses and subway cars. As we get closer to phase one we’ll provide people with clearer guidance on how to approach that.

‘But I think the central question, working with the MTA is, what’s the maximum amount of service they can put into play and what measures do we need to put in place to make sure there is social distancing in place.

‘We’re working on that right now,’ he said.

De Blasio said each of the four phases will take two weeks, which means the whole process, should it begin mid-June, won’t be complete until mid-August.

“In terms of Phase 2, I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” de Blasio said. “We have to get to phase one and prove that phase one works.  That will obviously be for at least several weeks.”

In order to reopen, the city needs 30% of its hospitals to be available but is currently about 420 short of that number. And the city wants at lease another 800 “contact tracers” to hit a target of 2,500 people who will try to track down people exposed to the virus after a patient is diagnosed.

But New York City had the beds until they gave them all up. A $21 million field hospital in Brooklyn, New York, built to deal exclusively with a predicted flood of COVID-19 patients, was shut down last week after not treating a single COVID-19 patient.

The facility was part of Cuomo’s demand for thousands of additional hospital beds for what he predicted would be a massive influx of COVID patients. The city built smaller facilities at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center (350 beds) and Stony Point on Long Island, along with a 2,910-bed medical center at the Javitz Center.

All told, the city shelled out $350 million for facilities it never needed. All have since been shut down.

Cuomo also demanded that President Donald Trump dispatch a Navy ship (that was, at the time, in port being overhauled) to New York City ASAP. Trump ordered the USNS Comfort, outfitted with 500 beds to handle the overflow from packed hospitals, up to New York City.

Turns out that wasn’t needed, either. “Nearly 90% of the US Navy hospital ship in New York is empty amid coronavirus fight,” CNBC wrote in mid-April. “As of Friday [April 17], 71 of the USNS Comfort’s 500 beds were occupied.”

By the end, the ship was little used. “The USNS Comfort, a hospital ship operated by the U.S. Navy that arrived following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pleas for federal assistance, treated 182 patients during its nearly four weeks docked at Pier 90 in midtown Manhattan, according to ABC-7 news.”

The ship was sent home after Cuomo said, “we don’t need it any more.”


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