Here’s what you need to know:
- Governor Cuomo emphasizes the seriousness of the spread.
- Mayor de Blasio calls for military intervention.
- One of New York City’s biggest hotels is closing.
- Closing of senior centers leaves elderly New Yorkers adrift.
- Lining up and anxious at a drive-in test center.
- Hundreds gathered for a Hasidic Jewish wedding in Brooklyn, defying new rules.
- A correction officer tests positive for the virus.
Governor Cuomo emphasizes the seriousness of the spread.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, appearing on The Times’s podcast “The Daily” this morning, emphasized that his priority remained halting the spread of coronavirus — and not the economic fallout from mandatory closings and restrictions that have been put in place.
“You are past the time of monetizing these decisions,” he said.
“You are at a point of deciding: how many people are going to live, how many people are going to die?”
Mr. Cuomo’s comments came halfway through a week in which the authorities have eliminated most public gatherings, shuttered many nonessential businesses and all public schools in the state, as well as in New Jersey and Connecticut.
More than 1,500 people in New York had tested positive for the virus as of Tuesday, up from 950 the day before; 814 of the cases were in the city, including that of a New York Police Department officer at the First Precinct in Lower Manhattan.
For the past week, the number of people who have tested positive for the virus in New York State has increased by about 35 percent per day, a rate that if it kept up for the next two weeks would yield over 90,000 cases.
“We are seeing the enemy on the horizon, and they are approaching very quickly and we don’t have our defense in place,” Mr. Cuomo said. He said the hospital system was likely to be overwhelmed. “There is no way they can handle this.”
He continued: “I’m watching the increase in cases, and you take one measure and you see what the effect was. You take another measure and you see what the effect was. And nothing was having an effect. Nothing we were doing.”
Mayor de Blasio calls for military intervention.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday morning that the United States military should get involved in helping to coordinate the medical response to the disease.
“The military has extraordinary medical capacity,” Mr. de Blasio said on “The Today Show.” “It’s needed in places like New York right now.” He added that the medical resources and logistical know-how of the armed forces were not being deployed as they could.
“The American military is being sidelined when they should be given a chance to get in this game and help us all.”
Mr. de Blasio also continued to insist on the importance of a discussion about shelter-in-place-measures in the city, and said that he would have a conversation with the governor — who has strongly opposed the idea of such measures — later Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Mr. de Blasio offered few details on what such an order would look like in New York City. A similar directive in California’s Bay Area requires people to stay at home except for essential activities. But Mr. Cuomo tamped down any suggestion that a shelter-in-place order was imminent.
“There’s not going to be any quarantine, where we contain people within an area, or we block people from an area,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Individual mobility is what we’re all about. There’s not going to be any you-have-to-stay-in-your-house rule.”
One of New York City’s biggest hotels is closing.
Most of New York City’s hotels have been struggling since the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to leisure and business travel.
But with very few guests and virtually no reservations for the next several weeks, several hotels, including one of the biggest, are shutting their doors and sending their employees home.
On Tuesday, Hilton Hotels said it would close the massive New York Hilton Midtown indefinitely on Friday. It is one of more than a dozen hotels in the city that has decided this week to close, either for a while or forever, industry officials said.
Peter Ward, president of the Hotel Trades Council, which represents about 40,000 hotel workers, said that more than 20,000 of his members have been laid off. All 6,000 of the members of the union’s casino division were laid off when the casinos across the state closed over the weekend, he said.
“This is a very dark moment not just for the hotel industry,” Mr. Ward said. “It’s a dark moment for the retail industry, for the restaurant and bar business, for Broadway.”
Mr. Ward said he expected hotels to fail if restrictions on travel and commerce last more than a few weeks. “I think you will see bankruptcies, I think you will see foreclosures,” he said.
Union officials have been negotiating with hotel operators to get them to pay laid-off workers for all the sick days, vacation days and holidays they could have taken this year. More than 100 hotels have also agreed to bring some workers back as cleaning crews to sanitize lobbies and other common spaces, said Richard Maroko, the union’s general counsel.
But Hilton’s decision to “temporarily suspend hotel operations” at its Midtown landmark, which occupies a full block on Sixth Avenue between 53rd and 54th streets, was a painful blow to hopes for a quick rebound.
The Hilton, which has more than 1,900 rooms, has been a fixture of Manhattan for so long that the Beatles stayed there when they performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964.
A Hilton spokesman estimated that the hotel had more than 1,300 employees. He emphasized that the closing was “a temporary measure.”
Closing of senior centers leaves elderly New Yorkers adrift.
For some New Yorkers, the new restrictions put in place to fight the coronavirus have cut off a key link to society: senior centers, an outlet from their homes and a place to gather and socialize.
About 30,000 people a day typically visit the nearly 250 senior centers scattered across the five boroughs.
Now, by order of the mayor, all on-site activities are canceled, though the centers can still provide meals to go.
At a center on the Upper East Side on Monday morning, Anna Reifman came for fellowship but ended up simply taking a meal to warm in her toaster oven.
“I’m really isolated now,” said Ms. Reifman, 69. “This isn’t just about lunch. I come here to talk to people other than my cat.”
Lining up and anxious at a drive-in test center.
At any other time, the three white tents set against Long Island Sound in the middle of a public park, with a line of vehicles waiting to get in, could have been the scene of a wedding or a garden party.
But the appearance of the people underneath the tents — in silver hazmat suits, face shields and masks — told a different story.
It is New York State’s first drive-through coronavirus testing center, set in the middle of Glen Island, a 105-acre park connected by drawbridge to the mainland in New Rochelle, just north of New York City, an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
New York is among roughly 10 states that have set up drive-through testing centers, as state and local leaders look to compensate for an acute shortage of tests in the United States.
Hundreds gathered for a Hasidic Jewish wedding in Brooklyn, defying new rules.
More than 200 people gathered for a wedding in Williamsburg on Tuesday, dancing in the street after the Fire Department broke up the party following complaints from neighbors (and one of the wedding musicians). Gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned in New York State since Monday.
“Everything was exactly how it would have been if there hadn’t been any kind of a pandemic,” said one of the musicians, who declined to be named because he feared losing future jobs. “I was assuming it would be canceled.”
Several large weddings have been held in New York’s Hasidic community in recent days, community activists said, highlighting the challenges of persuading people to follow public-health restrictions.
They also raised questions about coronavirus preparedness in the Hasidic community, which was hit hard by a measles outbreak that began in 2018.
Mordy Getz, a local businessman, called the gatherings “very painful” and said they did not represent the mainstream Hasidic community in New York. He blamed the influence of a small number of “extremist leaders.”
“There has been a total disrespect to everything medical authorities and the government have been telling us to do,” Mr. Getz said. “It is total defiance.”
A correction officer tests positive for the virus.
A correction officer at a checkpoint leading to Rikers Island tested positive for the coronavirus, a union official said Wednesday.
The officer’s job is to check the credentials of staff entering the jail complex, said Elias Husamudeen, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.
The officer had been out for about five days after he felt ill, Mr. Husamudeen said, adding that city Correction Department officials were tracking down people the officer may have been in contact with.
Mr. Husamudeen said his officers still needed more supplies, including masks and hand sanitizer. He has asked the city for higher-grade masks to better protect officers if the virus breaks out in the jails.
“We can’t not come to work,” Mr. Husamudeen said. “We need to be protected.”
M.T.A. seeks $4 billion federal bailout as ridership plunges.
In a letter on Tuesday to New York’s congressional delegation, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the city’s subway and buses and two commuter railroads, said that subway ridership had plunged 60 percent and bus ridership had fallen 49 percent on Monday compared with the same day last year.
Ridership was down 90 percent on the Metro-North Railroad, which serves communities north of New York City, and 67 percent on the Long Island Rail Road.
“The M.T.A. is now facing financial calamity,” Patrick J. Foye, chairman of the transit authority, said in the letter.
One man’s struggle to get tested for the virus, and to learn that he had it.
Almost a dozen calls with five health care providers over five hours. Two hours of hold music. Two hours in a hospital. Four days of anxiously checking an online portal for results. And lots of confusion.
That’s the winding path through bureaucracy that took me from placing my first phone call last Wednesday to getting my positive coronavirus test results on Monday night. Five days in limbo.
I’m 33 years old and healthy without any existing respiratory conditions, so the illness itself is perfectly manageable. It feels like a medium-grade flu, with some extra coughing and chest pain.
But the process to get me here was a maze of inefficiency, and I’m one of the fortunate ones.
Jonah Engel Bromwich, Christina Goldbaum, Matthew Haag, Tim Herrera, Patrick McGeehan, Sarah Maslin Nir, Andy Newman, Jan Ransom and Liam Stack contributed reporting.
Midway through a grim week, the virus continues to spread quickly.