Watch Now: Cuomo on ‘Major Disaster’ Declaration for New York

The Trump administration has issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the state, meaning more federal aid is coming to New York as cases of coronavirus show no sign of abating.

As of Saturday morning, more than 8,300 New York state residents had tested positive for the virus. With 6 percent of the U.S. population, the state now accounts for nearly half of the 18,000 cases in the country tallied by The New York Times.

The designation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency gives New York access to billions of dollars in aid from the Disaster Relief Fund.

State officials and doctors have been sounding the alarm about an impending shortage of supplies, hospital beds and ventilators as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continue to climb.

On Friday night, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York announced that the Trump administration had issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the state, which now has the most coronavirus cases in the nation.

“It’s imperative that the federal government does everything within its power to support New York in the state effort to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus,” said Mr. Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, in a statement.

“There is no compromise when it comes to the health and lives of New Yorkers,” he continued, “and I’m glad the administration recognized that and approved the nation’s first Major Disaster Declaration in response to the coronavirus, right here in New York.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday issued a sweeping decree meant to compel New Yorkers to stay indoors as much as possible, ordering all nonessential businesses to keep their workers home.

Later on Friday, Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut issued an order similar to Mr. Cuomo’s, and Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said he planned to issue an order on Saturday that all nonessential businesses in that state shut down as well.

When the clock strikes 8 p.m. Sunday, the most populous city in the country will all but come to a halt.

That’s when a broad executive order aimed at slowing down the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus is slated to take effect in New York State. Other states around the nation grappling with the epidemic, including California, Connecticut and New Jersey, have enacted similar restrictions.

Here’s what Governor Andrew M. Cuomo told New Yorkers to expect:

  • Businesses considered nonessential must keep all of their workers at home.

  • Those older than 70 and those who have compromised immune systems or have underlying illnesses should stay indoors as much as possible to limit their exposure to the coronavirus. Plus, stronger restrictions for these groups, including having to wear a mask when in the company of others.

  • Those under 70 and healthy may leave the house for short periods of time to exercise, take a walk and participate in contact physical activities as long as they stand six feet apart, enough distance to keep contagion at bay.

  • Public transportation will remain open, but roads and mass transit should only be used as a last resort.

  • Gatherings of any size will be prohibited.

A number of businesses deemed essential will remain open during the pandemic, officials said.

They include grocery stores, restaurants offering takeout or delivery, pharmacies, health care providers, banks, gas stations, liquor stores, child care providers, funeral homes and others.

Mr. Cuomo reminded New Yorkers these limitations weren’t optional.

“These provisions will be enforced,” he said. “These are not helpful hints.”

Late Friday, officials reported 5,683 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City and 43 deaths. Earlier in the day, officials had put the number of cases at 5,151 and the number of deaths at 29.

As of late Friday, there were 736 confirmed cases in the Bronx (compared with 667 earlier in the day); 1,740 in Brooklyn (1,518); 1,402 in Manhattan (1,314); 1,514 in Queens (1,406); and 285 on Staten Island (242). Six cases were not linked to a specific borough.

Friday night, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York State stood at 8,377, according to the most recent data from the city and state — a jump of more than 2,700 from Thursday.

The state performed 10,000 tests overnight from Thursday to Friday, bringing the total number of people tested in the state to more than 32,000, officials said. As of Friday morning, around 1,250 people — 18 percent of cases reported by that point — were hospitalized, the governor said.

Mr. Cuomo said New York was now testing more people per capita than China or South Korea.

Mr. Murphy said on Friday that 890 people in New Jersey had tested positive for the virus and that 11 had died, up from nine on Thursday. In Connecticut, officials reported 35 new confirmed cases on Friday, bringing the state’s total to 194. Four Connecticut residents have died of the virus.

For weeks, as the coronavirus has spread across the globe, New York officials have warned that a surge of cases could overwhelm the state’s health care system, jeopardizing thousands of patients.

Now, it seems, the surge has arrived.

In a startlingly quick ascent, New York officials said Friday that the state had passed 8,000 positive tests, nearly half of the cases in the United States. The number was more than 10 times higher than what was reported earlier in the week.

The sharp increase is thrusting the medical system toward a crisis point, officials said.

In the Bronx, doctors at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center said they had only a few remaining ventilators. In Brooklyn, doctors at Kings County Hospital Center said they were so low on supplies that they were reusing masks for up to a week, slathering them with hand sanitizer between shifts.

Some of the jump in New York’s cases can be traced to ramped-up testing, which the state began this week. But the escalation, and the response, could offer other states a glimpse of what might be in store if the virus continues to spread. Governor Cuomo on Friday urged residents to stay indoors and ordered nonessential businesses to keep workers home.

As it prepares for the worst-case projections, the state is asking retired health care workers to volunteer to help. The city is considering trying to turn the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, the largest convention center in the country, into a makeshift hospital.

With air travel in free fall, thousands of airport workers have been laid off from their jobs at the major airports that serve New York City.

More than 1,200 of these workers worked at restaurants and stores operated by OTG at La Guardia, Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports, according to the union that represents them, Unite Here Local 100.

OTG said the closings and layoffs were necessary because of the travel restrictions that had virtually grounded airlines.

OTG, one of the biggest operators of airport concessions in New York, informed its workers that they would receive no severance, and that their health insurance would lapse on March 31.

Other unionized workers at the airports also were laid off in large numbers this week, including porters and airplane cleaning crews. Notices from some of their employers showed that they, too, were offering no pay or extended health benefits.

Edith Muzquiz, a bartender in Terminal C at Newark Liberty, said she was first told she would be laid off on Monday night, and got an official notice on Wednesday from OTG. “You should consider your layoff to be permanent as the situation is unprecedented and the effects are unknown,” the notice said.

All local and select bus services in New York City will effectively be free starting on Monday as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the subway and buses, works to keep its operations going while also protecting employees.

The authority is asking riders to begin boarding buses through the rear door, which will allow for more space between riders and drivers at the front of buses, the agency said in a statement.

The changes do not apply to authority’s express bus lines. Riders must still those buses from the front and pay, although they will not be allowed in the first three rows of seats.

“Rear-door boarding will help ensure a safe social distance,” said Sarah Feinberg, New York City Transit’s interim president. “The safety of our employees and customers is Priority One.”

Seventeen major foundations and philanthropists have pooled together $75 million which they plan to give to small and midsize nonprofit organizations in New York City struggling amid the coronavirus crisis.

Applications for aid from the NYC Covid-19 Response & Impact Fund are now available from the New York Community Trust.

Eligible organizations must be registered as 501(c)3s, in New York City, with an operating budget of $20 million or less (excluding government contracts). The money will be given as either interest-free loans, or grants.

“Small and midsize nonprofits likely won’t be eligible for federal stimulus programs usually designed for larger and for-profit businesses,” said Kate D. Levin, who oversees the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts program, a funder of the program.

“So it’s urgent to get these groups some kind of relief so they can continue serving as magnets for talent and creativity, ensuring that New York City survives and thrives,” she said.

Other funders include the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The JPB Foundation, The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros, Jon Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović, Charles H. Revson Foundation, Robin Hood, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Laurie M Tisch Illumination Fund, UJA-Federation of New York, and Wells Fargo Foundation.

“We are not providing a long-term solution,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “That long-term solution is going to have to come from the government and significant public investment to these institutions.”

Reporting was contributed by Edgar Sandoval, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Michael Gold, Joseph Goldstein, Matthew Haag, Jeffery C. Mays, Jesse McKinley, Andy Newman, Azi Paybarah, Michael Paulson, Brian Rosenthal, Ed Shanahan, Liam Stack, Tracey Tully and Neil Vigdor.

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