(New York) New York state and several others on Friday declared a halt to all non-essential activities to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, following in California’s footsteps.
Posted on March 20, 2020 at 11:55 a.m.
Updated at 8:50 p.m.
California Governor Gavin Newsom had already announced similar decisions the day before and placed the entire state in lockdown.
The measures taken in California, New York State, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut are more restrictive than those announced so far at the federal level.
The movement overtook President Donald Trump, who on Friday ruled out a shutdown of the entire country. “I don’t think we’ll ever deem this necessary,” he said.
“It was done in California, it was done in New York, these are two hot spots […] But if you go to the Midwest or wherever, they watch it all on TV and don’t have the same issues, ”he added.
The five states now affected by these restrictive measures weigh more than 85 million people, including 60 for California and New York.
This is a huge blow to the country’s economy, as California and New York alone account for almost a quarter of the gross domestic product of the United States (22.3% in 2018).
The first houses the heart of global finance and the second that of new technologies and the Internet.
“This is the most drastic step we can take,” said New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, adding that activities considered essential would not be affected.
He listed the grocery stores, pharmacies, cable operators, and everything related to community services, including water maintenance services or public transport, which will continue to operate.
Restaurants and food shops will continue to make deliveries.
“All in quarantine”
Any gathering of people unrelated to these essential activities is now banned, regardless of size, Cuomo said.
The governor nevertheless indicated that individuals had the possibility of leaving their homes, to do their shopping or even to take the air, while urging them to respect the principle of social distancing.
If he threatened with fines businesses considered non-essential that would remain open, he did not however speak of fines for recalcitrant individuals.
“We are all in quarantine,” hammered the first political leader of New York State, where the number of declared cases has accelerated sharply in recent hours.
“This will have negative consequences for the economy,” admitted Andrew Cuomo, who said he accepted “full responsibility” for the measures announced Friday. “I think these decisions will save lives. I don’t want to put a price on human life ”.
“At this stage, when it comes to the virus, nothing is too aggressive” in terms of prevention measures, added New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in an interview with NJ.com.
In response to the consequences of the unprecedented shutdown of a considerable part of the US economy, the governors of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut sent a letter to the US President and Congress asking them a cash injection of $ 100 billion, said Phil Murphy.
New York State recorded 2,950 new cases in 24 hours, bringing the total to nearly 8,400.
Andrew Cuomo argued that this leap was largely due to the establishment of large-scale testing, on a scale greater than any other region in the United States, he said.
He renewed his appeal to all companies with artificial respirators and masks and not having essential use of them to offer them to the authorities, who will buy them back to prevent a shortage of health services.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite said on Friday that his services were studying the possibility of installing hospital beds in university accommodation and hotel rooms.
Several sites are being studied in the New York area, he explained, estimating possible to install 10,000 beds in “three or four weeks”.
An employee of Vice President Mike Pence, appointed by Donald Trump to head the “task force” responsible for combating the spread of the pandemic in the United States, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The number two of the American state had not been “close contact” with this person, specified his spokesman, nor Donald Trump.