New York, one of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, took center stage tonight during the final presidential debate as Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Trump disagreed on how the state has handled the health crisis.
Trump called New York City "a ghost town," where restaurants "are dying" due to shutdowns and its Democratic-led government.
"If you go and look at what's happened to New York, it's a ghost town. It's a ghost town. And when you talk about Plexiglas, these are restaurants that are dying. These are businesses with no money," Trump said. "Putting up Plexiglas is unbelievably expensive, and it's not the answer. I mean, you're going to sit there in a cubicle wrapped around with plastic? These are businesses that are dying, Joe. You can't do that to people. You just can't — take a look at New York and what's happened to my wonderful city for so many years. I loved it. It was vibrant. It's dying. Everyone's leaving New York."
Biden championed New York state for stemming the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths.
"Take a look at what New York has done in terms of turning the curve down in terms of the number of people dying. And I don't look at this in the terms that he does, blue states and red states. They're all the United States," Biden said. "And look at the states that are having such a spike in the coronavirus. They're the red states. They're the states in the midwest. They're the states in the upper midwest. That's where the spike is occurring significantly. But they're all Americans. They're all Americans. And what we have to do is say wear these masks, number one."
More about the pandemic in New York City: The New York City public school system, the largest school district in the country, has so far been able to reopen for in-person instruction without a massive outbreak of coronavirus cases.
Aside from New York City, the remaining nine of the nation's top 10 school districts started their school years online. New York's preliminary success could potentially serve as a resource for other districts embarking on a return to in-person learning.
Restaurants across the Empire State have been struggling to stay in business since the coronavirus pandemic forced them to shut down in March. On Sept. 3, the New York State Restaurant Association released the findings from its latest survey of more than 1,000 restaurateurs across the state.
Nearly 64% of restaurant owners said they are likely or somewhat likely to close by the end of this year unless they receive financial relief. And about 55% of those who are likely to close said they expect to shut down before November.
Only about 36% said they expect to still be in business by January.
Some context about a surge in Covid-19 cases nationwide: The US is now grappling with a new Covid-19 surge — one that could overwhelm hospitals, kill thousands of Americans a day by January and leave even young survivors with long-term complications.
"We went down to the lowest point lately in early September, around 30,000-35,000 new cases a day. Now we're back up to (about) 50,000 new cases a day. And it's going to continue to rise," Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said on Oct. 13.
"This is the fall/winter surge that everyone was worried about. And now it's happening. And it's happening especially in the northern Midwest, and the Northern states are getting hit very hard — Wisconsin, Montana, the Dakotas. But it's going to be nationally soon enough."
Across the country, more than 30 states have reported more Covid-19 cases this past week than they reported the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.