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Coronavirus Stimulus Plan Shortchanges N.Y., Officials Say: Live Updates Coronavirus Stimulus Plan Shortchanges N.Y., Officials Say: Live Updates
(32 minutes later)
State and city officials in New York had hoped that Congress would soften the blow of the pandemic on household budgets and government coffers with a $2 trillion stimulus package that was expected to be approved this week. As the coronavirus workers forced restaurants, malls and hotels to close and tens of thousands of workers to lose their paychecks, it also wreaked havoc on New York’s state and city coffers.
But Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called the package “terrible” for New York on Wednesday. He said that only $3.1 billion was earmarked to help the state with its budget gap, a sum his office said was disproportionately low compared with what states with fewer confirmed coronavirus cases and with smaller budgets were in line to get. The economic slowdown, however long it may last, is projected to cost New York State between $9 billion to $15 billion in lost tax revenue, with the worst-case scenario putting the state in financial straits not seen since the Great Recession a decade ago.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a news briefing later on Wednesday, went further, calling the deal “immoral.” Mr. de Blasio said New York City would be getting only $1 billion, despite having one-third of the country’s virus cases. He said he planned to appeal directly to President Trump, a native New Yorker, to “fix this situation.” State and city officials had hoped that Congress would soften the blow of the pandemic on households and government budgets with a $2 trillion stimulus package that was expected to be approved this week.
“It should have been one of the easiest no-brainers in the world for the U.S. Senate to include real money for New York City and New York State in this stimulus bill, and yet it didn’t happen,” Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, said, putting the blame on Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader. But Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called the package “terrible” for New York on Wednesday. He said that only $3.1 billion was earmarked to help the state with its budget gap, a sum his office said was disproportionately low compared what states with far fewer confirmed coronavirus cases and smaller budgets were slated to get.
Mayor Bill de Blasio went further, calling the deal “immoral.” He said New York City would be getting only $1 billion, despite having one-third of the country’s virus cases. He said he planned to appeal directly to President Trump, a native New Yorker, to “fix this situation.”
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, said the deal’s benefits for New York included over $40 billion in unemployment insurance, grants for hospitals and much-needed funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, whose ridership had plummeted.Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, said the deal’s benefits for New York included over $40 billion in unemployment insurance, grants for hospitals and much-needed funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, whose ridership had plummeted.
New York State is bracing to lose up to $15 billion in tax revenue, with the worst-case scenario putting the state in financial straits not seen since the Great Recession a decade ago. New York State is facing more than a revenue problem: Just last week, it spent more than $600 million in medical supplies to fight the coronavirus. The budget gap could result in a cash crunch within a few months and affect spending on education and health care.
And the state is facing more than a revenue problem: Just last week, it spent more than $600 million in medical supplies to fight the coronavirus. The budget gap could result in a cash crunch within a few months and affect spending on education and health care.
New York City is forecasting billions in lost revenue, leading the mayor to order agencies to identify $1.3 billion in budget cuts.New York City is forecasting billions in lost revenue, leading the mayor to order agencies to identify $1.3 billion in budget cuts.
Allia Phillips was excited to pick up an iPad from her school in Harlem last week. She did not want to miss any classes and hoped to land on the fourth-grade honor roll again.
On Monday, when New York City’s public schools began remote learning, Allia fired up the iPad at her family’s room in a homeless shelter on the Upper West Side.
And saw nothing.
“I went downstairs to find out that they don’t have any internet,” Allia’s mother said. “You’re screwing up my daughter’s education. You want to screw me up? Fine. But not my daughter’s education.”
The public school system’s switch from regular school to remote learning is leaving poor and vulnerable students behind — especially the estimated 114,000 children who live in shelters and unstable housing — because most shelters in the city do not have Wi-Fi available for residents and the Department of Education has not yet provided devices with built-in internet.
The department is scrambling to fix the problem, but it’s not clear how much time will be lost. The new deadline for distribution to all students was this coming Monday, but on Wednesday, the department told shelter operators that deliveries to shelters would begin on that day and would continue through the week.
More than 200 people from an Army field hospital in Kentucky were set to deploy to New York State on Thursday to help the state battle the coronavirus outbreak.More than 200 people from an Army field hospital in Kentucky were set to deploy to New York State on Thursday to help the state battle the coronavirus outbreak.
The personnel, from the 531st Hospital Center at Fort Campbell, an Army base along the Kentucky-Tennessee border, will “provide medical support and hospital capabilities,” according to a statement.The personnel, from the 531st Hospital Center at Fort Campbell, an Army base along the Kentucky-Tennessee border, will “provide medical support and hospital capabilities,” according to a statement.
As the outbreak worsened in New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had asked for medical assistance from the military. Members of the National Guard have already been sent to help turn several large buildings, including the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan, into makeshift medical centers. As the outbreak worsened in New York, Governor Cuomo had asked for medical assistance from the military. Members of the National Guard have already been sent to help turn several large buildings, including the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan, into makeshift medical centers.
The Army earlier this week issued deployment orders to three of its hospital centers, sending field hospitals to Washington and New York, two of the states hardest hit by the pandemic.The Army earlier this week issued deployment orders to three of its hospital centers, sending field hospitals to Washington and New York, two of the states hardest hit by the pandemic.
In several hours on Tuesday, Dr. Ashley Bray performed chest compressions at Elmhurst Hospital Center on a woman in her 80s, a man in his 60s and a 38-year-old who reminded the doctor of her fiancé. All had tested positive for the coronavirus and had gone into cardiac arrest. All eventually died.In several hours on Tuesday, Dr. Ashley Bray performed chest compressions at Elmhurst Hospital Center on a woman in her 80s, a man in his 60s and a 38-year-old who reminded the doctor of her fiancé. All had tested positive for the coronavirus and had gone into cardiac arrest. All eventually died.
Elmhurst, a 545-bed public hospital in Queens, has begun transferring patients not suffering from coronavirus to other facilities as it moves toward becoming a facility dedicated entirely to the outbreak. Doctors and nurses have struggled to make do with a few dozen ventilators. Calls over a loudspeaker of “Team 700,” the code for when a patient is on the verge of death, come several times a shift. Some have died inside the emergency room while waiting for a bed.Elmhurst, a 545-bed public hospital in Queens, has begun transferring patients not suffering from coronavirus to other facilities as it moves toward becoming a facility dedicated entirely to the outbreak. Doctors and nurses have struggled to make do with a few dozen ventilators. Calls over a loudspeaker of “Team 700,” the code for when a patient is on the verge of death, come several times a shift. Some have died inside the emergency room while waiting for a bed.
A refrigerated truck has been stationed outside to hold the bodies of the dead. Over the past 24 hours, New York City’s public hospital system said in a statement, 13 people at Elmhurst had died.A refrigerated truck has been stationed outside to hold the bodies of the dead. Over the past 24 hours, New York City’s public hospital system said in a statement, 13 people at Elmhurst had died.
“It’s apocalyptic,” said Dr. Bray, a general medicine resident at the hospital.“It’s apocalyptic,” said Dr. Bray, a general medicine resident at the hospital.
Across the city, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, hospitals are beginning to confront the kind of harrowing surge in cases that has overwhelmed health care systems in China, Italy and other countries.Across the city, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, hospitals are beginning to confront the kind of harrowing surge in cases that has overwhelmed health care systems in China, Italy and other countries.
New York City will temporarily close 26 blocks to vehicles beginning Friday morning to give people more open public spaces and prevent them from crowding city parks in violation of social distancing rules.
The closings are the start of a city pilot program announced on Tuesday by Mr. de Blasio after criticism from Mr. Cuomo over the number of people congregating over the weekend.
The closed blocks are on four different stretches:
Manhattan: Park Avenue between 28th Street and 34th Street
Brooklyn: Bushwick Avenue between Johnson Avenue and Flushing Avenue
Queens: 34th Avenue between 73rd Street and 80th Street
Bronx: Grand Concourse between East Burnside Avenue and East 184th Street
The streets will close to vehicles from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Monday. Police officers will be stationed on the closed streets to enforce social distancing of at least six feet. Traffic will still be allowed on cross streets.
Mr. de Blasio has said this week that New Yorkers were “overwhelmingly” following social-distancing guidelines, even as the city has put in new regulations to address Mr. Cuomo’s concerns.
In another measure, the city will take down basketball hoops from 80 of the city’s 1,700 basketball courts where pickup games were still being played, the mayor said on Wednesday.
“There will not be any basketball games because there will not be any basketball hoops,” Mr. de Blasio said.
Though the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continued to grow quickly and had now topped 30,000, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Wednesday that there were early signs that stringent restrictions on social gatherings and other measures could be slowing the virus’s spread.Though the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continued to grow quickly and had now topped 30,000, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Wednesday that there were early signs that stringent restrictions on social gatherings and other measures could be slowing the virus’s spread.
Mr. Cuomo highlighted data that showed slowing hospitalization rates. On Sunday, the state’s projections showed hospitalizations doubling every two days; on Tuesday, those estimates showed rates doubling every 4.7 days.Mr. Cuomo highlighted data that showed slowing hospitalization rates. On Sunday, the state’s projections showed hospitalizations doubling every two days; on Tuesday, those estimates showed rates doubling every 4.7 days.
“The theory is, given the density that we’re dealing with, it spreads very quickly, but if you reduce the density, you can reduce the spread very quickly,” the governor said.“The theory is, given the density that we’re dealing with, it spreads very quickly, but if you reduce the density, you can reduce the spread very quickly,” the governor said.
Other highlights from Wednesday:Other highlights from Wednesday:
New York State had 30,811 confirmed cases as of Wednesday morning, up more than 5,000 since the previous day. That was more than 7 percent of the 431,000 cases worldwide tallied by The New York Times. There had been 285 deaths in the state as of Wednesday morning.New York State had 30,811 confirmed cases as of Wednesday morning, up more than 5,000 since the previous day. That was more than 7 percent of the 431,000 cases worldwide tallied by The New York Times. There had been 285 deaths in the state as of Wednesday morning.
Officials reported late Wednesday that New York City had added 3,223 new confirmed cases since that morning, bringing the city’s total to 20,011. The death tally stood at 280 as of late Wednesday, up from 199 in the morning.Officials reported late Wednesday that New York City had added 3,223 new confirmed cases since that morning, bringing the city’s total to 20,011. The death tally stood at 280 as of late Wednesday, up from 199 in the morning.
There was encouraging news from Westchester County, where the rate of infection had slowed. “That was the hottest cluster in the United States of America,” Mr. Cuomo said. “We closed the schools, we closed gatherings, we brought in testing and we have dramatically slowed the increase.”There was encouraging news from Westchester County, where the rate of infection had slowed. “That was the hottest cluster in the United States of America,” Mr. Cuomo said. “We closed the schools, we closed gatherings, we brought in testing and we have dramatically slowed the increase.”
Perhaps it was inevitable that jam-packed New York City, with its reliance on public transit and constant tourist influx, would become an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.Perhaps it was inevitable that jam-packed New York City, with its reliance on public transit and constant tourist influx, would become an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
But to stop the virus, scientists have to figure out which factors played the greatest roles. As it turns out, that is not so simple.But to stop the virus, scientists have to figure out which factors played the greatest roles. As it turns out, that is not so simple.
And despite some obvious suspects, scientists say chance may be a big factor in the explosion of cases.And despite some obvious suspects, scientists say chance may be a big factor in the explosion of cases.
There was almost certainly an early and undetected introduction of the virus into the city, probably in January, said Benjamin Cowling, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Hong Kong.There was almost certainly an early and undetected introduction of the virus into the city, probably in January, said Benjamin Cowling, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Hong Kong.
The city’s density — more than 27,000 people per square mile — was certainly a factor. The many older people who live close together played a role. New York might have more confirmed cases in part because of the age group it was testing.The city’s density — more than 27,000 people per square mile — was certainly a factor. The many older people who live close together played a role. New York might have more confirmed cases in part because of the age group it was testing.
Could the effect be at least in part explained as a statistical fluke, like cancer clusters that can look ominous but turn out to be random?Could the effect be at least in part explained as a statistical fluke, like cancer clusters that can look ominous but turn out to be random?
Chance may play some role in situations like this, said Donald Berry, a statistician at MD Anderson Cancer center. What matters, he says, is not the number of cases but the clusters.Chance may play some role in situations like this, said Donald Berry, a statistician at MD Anderson Cancer center. What matters, he says, is not the number of cases but the clusters.
Suppose an executive on Wall Street was infected early in the epidemic and exposed a group of others by shaking hands. It was the start of a cluster that ballooned out as each person infected others. Suppose that at the same time an actor on Broadway was infected and started another cluster. And a patient in a nursing home started yet another cluster. The number of cases can start to explode.Suppose an executive on Wall Street was infected early in the epidemic and exposed a group of others by shaking hands. It was the start of a cluster that ballooned out as each person infected others. Suppose that at the same time an actor on Broadway was infected and started another cluster. And a patient in a nursing home started yet another cluster. The number of cases can start to explode.
“When you see a case you see a lot of cases,” Dr. Berry said. The number of cases becomes the cluster size times the number of clusters. In New York, he added, “it all comes together to spell a very bad picture.”“When you see a case you see a lot of cases,” Dr. Berry said. The number of cases becomes the cluster size times the number of clusters. In New York, he added, “it all comes together to spell a very bad picture.”
Reporting was contributed by Jonah Engel Bromwich, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Michael Gold, Joseph Goldstein, Nicole Hong, Gina Kolata, Andy Newman, Brian M. Rosenthal, Michael Rothfeld, Somini Sengupta and Tracey Tully. Reporting was contributed by Jonah Engel Bromwich, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Michael Gold, Joseph Goldstein, Nicole Hong, Winnie Hu, Gina Kolata, Andy Newman, Brian M. Rosenthal, Michael Rothfeld, Somini Sengupta and Tracey Tully.