Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday proposed temporarily closing all schools and nonessential businesses in nine ZIP codes with high test positivity rates in Brooklyn and Queens beginning Wednesday, pending state approval.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved part of that plan, agreeing to close schools in those nine hot spot areas and moving their closures up to Tuesday. He declined, though, to close nonessential businesses and religious institutions.
“My number one concern has always been schools,” Cuomo said Monday.
The decision to roll back reopenings in those areas highlights the challenge facing cities, states, universities and businesses as they try to balance the need to reopen the economy with ensuring public health and safety during the pandemic.
By any measure, the US has failed this challenge: temporary layoffs have become permanent, the President has spent three days in the hospital after a White House coronavirus outbreak and more than 40,000 Americans are newly diagnosed with Covid-19 each day.
“I am certainly not pleased (nor) satisfied, but I’m actually disturbed and concerned about the fact that our baseline of infections is still stuck at around 40,000 per day,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN on Monday. “That’s no place to be when you’re trying to get your arms around an epidemic.”
In all, more than 7.4 million have been infected with the virus in the US and more than 209,810 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The US hit its highest daily rate of new cases in almost two months on Friday.