This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Saturday, May 30th, 2020. Previous daily updates can be found here, and up-to-date statistics are here.
Read our guide to understanding New York on PAUSE, NY's stay-at-home order, as well as what the upstate reopening means; 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.
Here's the latest:
- Cuomo Announces 10 More Testing Sites In NYC "Hotspots" Where COVID-19 Rates Remain High
- Connecticut Allows Outdoor Gatherings Of Up To 25 To Resume
- NYC Will Begin Phase 1 Of Reopening On June 8th
- The Differences Between New York and New Jersey's Reopening Plans
- Ask An Epidemiologist: How Safe Is Mass Transit?
- City Council Introduces Outdoor Dining Plan For Reopening
On Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo noted this was "day 91 of this coronavirus pandemic. It's a hard day. It is a day of light. It is a day of darkness. It's a day where we see how far we have come in so many ways, but yet a day where we see how far we need to go in so many ways."
"In battling this coronavirus, we have made great progress. The numbers today again are all good news in terms of total hospitalizations are way down. Intubations are way down. The number of new COVID cases walking in the door every day is also way down. So, that is all good news," he updated. "The number of New Yorkers we lost is at an all-time low. Same number as yesterday, but overall that has been tremendous, tremendous progress from where we were. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families we lost."
He also signed a law giving full death benefits to frontline workers—state and local government employees—who die from COVID-19.
Noting that while coronavirus hospitalization data was encouraging, Cuomo said there were still 10 areas in NYC that were "hotspots" for infection. Now each community will get a testing site; six are in the Bronx, three are in Brooklyn, and one is in Queens.
As we reported, "The identified hotspots by zip code are 10457, the Mt. Hope, Crotona, and Belmont sections of the Bronx where positive antibody tests were 51 percent; 10460, the West Farms and Van Nest sections of the Bronx, with 50 percent positive rate; 10468, the Bedford Park, Fordham, Kingsbridge sections of the Bronx, with 50 percent positive rate; 11226 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, with 45 percent positive cases; 11427 in Jamaica, Queens with 45 percent positive cases; 10456 in Morrisania in the Bronx with 43 percent positive cases; 11212 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, with 40 percent positive cases; 10452 in Highbridge and Mt. Eden in the Bronx with 38 percent positive cases; and 10469 in Allerton, Baychester and Williamsbridge in the Bronx, with 38 percent positive cases."
"The ten hotspots are those areas that we have identified through testing where we're still generating new cases," he said. "We want to get down that infection rate, get down the new cases in those hotspots. They tend to be in the outer boroughs. Let's focus on those zip codes over the next week.”
De Blasio Acknowledges COVID-19 Toll On Communities Of Color While Discussing George Floyd Protests
During a press conference to address Friday night's protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the inequality of the coronavirus in New York City.
Addressing systemic racism in society, in the city, he said, "Let's be clear, the coronavirus crisis has created a depth of pain that still has not been accounted for. So many New Yorkers have lost someone but that is particularly true in communities of color and particularly true in the African-American community. That loss, that loss is being felt so deeply because everyone knows it's not based on equality. It's not that everyone lost the same way. Communities of color lost so much more."
"When I walked through Queensbridge Houses in Queens on Monday, I heard the most painful stories of people who had lost loved ones and who could not even mourn them because of this crisis. In fact, I heard story after story after story," de Blasio described. "Then you had the horrible insult of that video of Amy Cooper"—referring to the woman who called 911 on a black birdwatcher who asked her to leash her dog, according to park rules, in Central Park—"the epitome of white racism in one video. Her allegation being, her indictment being, that there was a black man in her midst. Literally criminalizing the act of being a black man. That's what we saw before our eyes, that brought up the fundamental contradiction in our society."
Data from the city's Health Department shows communities of color have higher infection and death rates from COVID-19. The coronavirus death rate in NYCHA developments far outpaces other areas; 90 percent of NYCHA tenants are black or Hispanic.
With the protests raging against the backdrop of the pandemic that continues to impact New York City, de Blasio cautioned groups to be aware that attending gatherings can spread the virus.
"I would still wish that everyone realize that when people gather it's inherently dangerous in the context of this pandemic. And I'm going to encourage people not to use that approach. And if they do to focus on social distancing and wearing face coverings."
Connecticut Allows Outdoor Gatherings Of Up To 25 To Resume
Connecticut continued to take the furthest reopening steps in the Tri-State area, with Governor Ned Lamont announcing that outdoor gatherings of 25 people could take place—and that indoor religious gatherings of up to 25 percent of its space (or 100 people, whichever is smaller) could resume.
Outdoor religious gatherings in Connecticut may be capped at 150 people.
Hair salons and barbershops are also allowed to reopen on June 1st, if they operate at 50 percent of capacity and limit their work to haircuts and eyebrow waxing; no blow drying is allowed (details).
Two casinos, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, are also reopening on June 1st, but by invitation only and with new setups, including plexiglass barriers at card tables. Chuck Bunnell, chief of staff for the Mohegan Tribe, said in a statement, "This allows our team to get used to the new protocols ahead of the partial reopening on Monday to the public. As part of that partial reopening, Mohegan Sun will have limited food offerings, alcohol beverage service on the gaming floor with disposable cups and straws and no smoking inside the building."
According to NBC Connecticut, Lamont, who had been in discussions with casinos, "said that one sign of progress is that the casinos will not be allowing guests from out of state to stay in their hotels at first. Butler clarified that they will only allow Connecticut or Rhode Island guests to stay at their hotel. The governor also said that the state will be putting signs outside the casino to remind people who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 to stay home."
However, Lamont had hoped that casinos would not serve alcohol.
“My broad thinking was guided by obviously our healthcare committee," Lamont said on Friday. “Outside is safer than inside. Younger are much less likely to suffer complications. Small groups and small gatherings are safer than large groups and large gatherings and alcohol is not great in any context."