New York City is in Phase 4 of reopening now, which includes zoos, botanical gardens, museums, and gyms. Certain parts of Brooklyn and Queens are under a zoned shutdown. 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:
- NYC Advises Monthly Virus Testing For Essential Workers And Most Of Those Working Outside Home
- New Virus Cases in Midwest And West Hit Record Highs, Northern Ireland Begins 4-Week Lockdown
- Majority Of NYC Public Schoolkids Now Enrolled In Full-Time Remote Learning
- De Blasio Ignores His Own Transportation Experts As Cyclist Deaths Rise And Traffic Gridlock Returns
- Some Borough Park Yeshivas Remain Open, Defying Cuomo's Targeted COVID Cluster Shutdown
2:45 p.m. In an aggressive attempt to stem the spread of coronavirus, France will impose a four-week curfew beginning daily at 9 p.m. and lasting until 6 a.m. for the region of Paris, as well as eight other cities including Lyon, Grenoble, Montpellier, Marseille and Toulouse.
The curfew will begin on Saturday. Those who violate the curfew will be subject to fines of 135 euros, which comes out to roughly $160. Essential errands during the restricted hours will be permitted.
In a nationally-televised interview less than an hour ago, French president Emmanuel Macron said that intensive care units were under pressure.
"We need to get from 20,000 cases per day to 2,000 or 3,000," he said, according to the Guardian's live coronavirus blog. The Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker shows France is now averaging about 22,000 new cases a day.
Macron also said that no more than six people would be allowed at family gatherings. People are still allowed to travel within the country and public transit will not be affected.
The news speaks to how grave the situation is in Europe as several countries are battling a new wave of virus cases. According to a tally by the New York Times, Spain, France and the United Kingdom have all added more cases per capita than the United States over the last seven days ending on Tuesday.
NYC Advises Monthly Virus Testing For Essential Workers And Most Of Those Working Outside Home
12:30 p.m. New York City is now recommending monthly coronavirus testing for essential workers, including those who work in congregate settings, and most individuals who work outside their home.
Those who live in one of the hotspot zones should get tested immediately, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday during a press conference.
"All of this will help us turn the tide and stay safe," he said.
Wednesday's announcement marked the first time the city had issued any formal testing guidance. City health officials had previously been asked how often New Yorkers should be tested; in August Dr. Jay Varma, the mayor's top public health adviser, said once a month was "a good rule of thumb." Varma was later criticized because that level of testing frequency for an estimated 8 million residents would be unfeasible given the city's testing capacity.
The new guidance carves out a more specific, albeit still large, group of people. They include all city residents who work outside the home and interact with co-workers, patients, and customers. The city also lists those who work in the healthcare industry and patient-serving positions, including occupational, physical and speech therapists and psychologists and psychiatrists. Essential workers such as paramedics, EMTs, police, teachers, child-care professionals, social workers, delivery and food service workers, funeral home workers, and security workers should also get tested at least once a month.
New York City has significantly ramped up its testing capacity over the summer. Last week, the city tested 52,000 people in one day, the highest number to date, according to Dr. Ted Long, the head of the city's Test and Trace Corps.
The city is now averaging more than 500 new cases a day. The most recent daily positive testing rate was 1.13%, down from 1.90% the previous day. The seven-day average positivity was 1.46%, down slightly from Tuesday's report.
De Blasio said the city had seen "some leveling off" of infections in the hotspot zones in South Brooklyn and Queens, but he and health officials emphasized the need to see caseloads in those areas decline to more manageable numbers.
"This is a decisive week," he said. "We have to stop a second wave from hitting New York City."
New Virus Cases in Midwest And West Hit Record Highs, Northern Ireland Begins 4-Week Lockdown
Rising coronavirus caseloads in the Midwest and West are fueling a resurgence of the pandemic in the United States. The seven-day average of new daily cases has now climbed to around 52,000, after declining to 35,000 in September, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker.
Experts are increasingly worried about the prospect of a second wave brought on by more indoor activity due to colder temperatures.
A tally by the Washington Post found that since Saturday, more than 20 states have hit record highs in their seven-day average of case counts. On Tuesday, more than half of those states set records again.
Among the states with spiking infections, North Dakota and South Dakota are now seeing the highest new case per capita increase than any other state has previously, the New York Times reported.
And according to the Atlantic's Covid Tracking Project, 36,000 people are currently hospitalized nationwide with COVID-19, the highest number since late August.
To date, the U.S. has reported 7.9 million coronavirus cases, and more than 215,000 deaths, a startling toll that has bestowed a tragic distinction on the country.
In Europe, the fight against the second wave of the virus has led to increased restrictions and lockdowns. On Wednesday, Northern Ireland initiated a two-week closure of schools and a four-week shutdown of pubs and restaurants, marking the strictest measures currently in the United Kingdom. That same day, the region's health department reported a record 1,217 new infections.
“This is not the time for trite political points,″ First Minister Arlene Foster told lawmakers at the regional assembly in Belfast. “This is the time for solutions.″
Under the U.K. regionalized political system, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales control their own public health policies. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has elected a three-tiered system of restrictions, with different areas of the country subject to different restrictions based on whether they are considered "medium", "high" or "very high" risk.
Johnson is facing criticism for his plan after it was revealed that a group of respected scientists urged him to impose a brief lockdown that would involve closing restaurants, gyms and hairdressers, as well as urging people to work remotely.
Instead, Johnson has issued a 10 p.m. curfew for pubs and restaurants.