Read our guide to understanding New York on PAUSE, NY's stay-at-home order; a look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our regularly updated coronavirus FAQ. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.
1:45 p.m.: Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he and six other governors are launching a "regional buying consortium" to obtain personal protective equipment, tests, ventilators, and other necessary medical equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York will work with Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware to increase market power, as Cuomo reemphasized the federal government's failures on procuring such equipment during a press briefing on Sunday.
"I believe it will save taxpayers money," Cuomo said on Sunday. "I also believe it'll help us actually get the equipment because we have trouble still getting the equipment and just buying the equipment. Because these vendors on the other side, they're dealing with countries, they're dealing with the federal government. Why should they do business with one state when they could do business with an entire country?"
The seven-state coalition will work to identify irresponsible vendors as well as determining the regional medical supplies needs. The consortium will identify U.S. suppliers and as in-state supplies.
Cuomo reflected on previous efforts to procure the necessary equipment as President Donald Trump has pressed governors to obtain their own supplies during the public health emergency.
"There was competition among states, there was competition among private entities to get this equipment," Cuomo said. "We just drove up prices by our own competition."
New York has spent $2 billion on medical supplies, according to the governor.
In one instance, Cuomo had to work with the Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to obtain N95 masks after the New England Patriots' owner Robert Kraft offered up the team's plane to pick them up from Senzhen, China. Kraft and Baker agreed to send New York 300,000 of the masks, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"That's how we handle a global pandemic? I have to call Mr. Kraft and say, 'Can you do me a favor?,' 'Governor Baker, as long as the plane is going, could you pick up some masks for me?' I mean that's how that happened. Two major states in the middle of a pandemic," Cuomo said.
The state will also now require hospitals to maintain a 90-day supply of personal protective equipment in quantities at the level of what was needed during the peak of the coronavirus crisis in New York, Cuomo announced.
At least 280 people died as a result of COVID-19 statewide on May 2nd, down from 299 new deaths the day before. Cuomo announced there were 789 new cases overnight—what Cuomo called good news as new daily cases were previously about 900 to 1,000. He acknowledged the weekend reporting may be an anomaly, but overall, new cases are trending downwards.
NYC Will Begin Building Test Kits With 3D Printing Company
12:15 p.m.: At a press briefing on Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out the city's plan to begin building test kits in NYC—a part of the ongoing effort to build out a massive test-and-trace strategy to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city will work with a 3D printing company, Print Parts, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine to manufacture swabs as well as the liquid such samples are stored in during transport. There has been a global shortage of such swabs, in what de Blasio called a "painful, painful irony" since that critical piece of the test kit was mostly sourced from Northern Italy, which had been the epicenter of the pandemic.
"We realized we had to find another source. The global market wasn't working," de Blasio said on Sunday.
By the end of the week Print Parts will produce 30,000 3D-printed swabs. Ultimately, the company will be able to make 50,000 of them per week.
The transport medium will be developed by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine with the first batch produced this week, following a validation process.
By the week of May 17th, de Blasio said the locally-made swabs and transport medium will be paired together. The city has enough of the third portion of the test kit, screw-top tubes to hold the swab, according to the mayor.
"This seemingly simple piece of plastic actually proved to be a complex matter because it has to be done in just the right way and it has to be kept sterile in packaging like this until the point when it's actually used on a patient," de Blasio said. "For the first time in the city's history, we will have our own test kits produced in large numbers right here in the five boroughs."
The test kits are a part of the test-and-trace strategy, in which the city is building out its testing capacity, tracing patients' contacts, and then isolating and quarantining them as necessary.
De Blasio urged New Yorkers to continue social distancing and not hold gatherings in an effort to avoid a "boomerang" effect, noting examples in which restrictions in other international cities were lifted too soon, spurring a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, like in Hong Kong, the island of Hokkaido in Japan, and Singapore.
"It's a reminder that we have to be vigilant, as a small number of cases can lead to that resurgence if the right restrictions aren't in place," de Blasio said.
As social distancing requirements continue, de Blasio disputed that such enforcement is happening unequally as photos and videos of various social distancing enforcement, or lack thereof, circulate on social media—like a crowded West Village pier during the warm and sunny weather on Saturday and chaotic videos of NYPD breaking up large Hasidic funerals.
In the East Village on Avenue D, a social distancing enforcement action led to three arrests. A video of a part of the action shows a plainclothes officer punching and beating a man, holding him to the ground during the action, which sparked outrage among local elected officials.
Shea and de Blasio emphasized gatherings of any kind would be broken up, and groups in parks would be required to maintain distance from one another unless they're in the same household.
The NYPD issued 51 total summonses on Saturday, including 43 in parks, according to Shea.
Officers also seized six motorcycles in Astoria Park and issued countless summonses for moving violations. NYPD has begun giving out face coverings to those who aren't wearing them outdoors.
De Blasio Promises "Hefty" Fines For Anyone Violating Social Distancing Rules
As expected, the stunning Saturday weather brought out scores of people to various parks across the city. During an appearance on CNN in the afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted that people were generally complying. "New Yorkers have been pretty amazing and following rules in a place where it's tough. There's so many people in one place and yet New Yorkers are doing their job here," he said.
Asked for his reaction to images of crowds enjoying the spring weather in Central Park, the mayor responded, "We expected this and prepare for this. NYPD is out in force and a lot of other City agencies out there with a very clear message I've been given people all week, which is, if you want to go out for a while, get some exercise, get some fresh air, that's totally understandable. Don't linger too long. Get back home while you're out there, keep that face covering on, keep that social distance."
De Blasio also warned that "anyone who tries to resist these basic rules and tries to create a public gathering for example or tries to put together, you know, a sports event or anything like that, the NYPD is going to immediately give them a summons, and these are hefty summonses, and we're going to be very uncompromising about it, Ana. If everyone follows the rules, that's great, but if not, there's going to be very intense enforcement."
De Blasio said the day's enforcement numbers "looked actually quite good, that the vast majority of people have gotten the message and that's the story of New York City over these last week... People have heard that we need them to stay home, overwhelmingly they have, even with good weather, they've gone out for a while but then they get back home. Our kids, obviously, have been at home. That's been tough on them, but families have been doing that the right way. And people are overwhelmingly abiding by that social- distancing, more and more people putting on the face coverings."
The city started to distribute free face coverings across the city this weekend, to further encourage compliance as New York continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. There are currently 166,883 cases in NYC, with nearly 18,500 deaths confirmed from or probably caused by COVID-19.
However, questions remain about how New Yorkers will deal with this "new normal" of social distancing and face coverings as the weather becomes warmer.
According to the NY Times, "Public health experts say parks are generally regarded as a relatively low-risk environment for transmission of a respiratory illness, like the coronavirus," and Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said, "There’s no reason a family can’t picnic in the park."
However, "she noted that it was not always possible to determine at a glance whether a group of picnickers were from the same household, or if it represented a social gathering."
Saturday was also the first day of the city's open streets plan, offering a little more than 7 miles of car-free streets for further exercise. De Blasio had consistently opposed the concept for weeks, claiming it would be too much of a lift for the NYPD, which at one point had up to 20% of its force out on sick leave. (That percentage is now down to 6%, but 37 NYPD employees have died from coronavirus-related illness.) After City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced open streets legislation and threatened to work on a plan with Governor Andrew Cuomo, de Blasio introduced his plan last week. The mayor said that up to 100 miles of city streets may open up during the pandemic.
You can find open streets here: