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April 11, 2020, 11:37 a.m. ET

April 11, 2020, 11:37 a.m. ET

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is giving his daily briefing on the coronavirus from Albany.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City’s public schools would continue with remote learning through the rest of the school year.

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York discusses the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.CreditCredit…Gabby Jones for The New York Times

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Confirmed cases and deaths in New York State

Feb. 26

April 10

 

7-day average

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See maps of the coronavirus outbreak in New York »


New York schools are closed for the rest of the academic year.

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New York City’s public schools have been closed since March 16.

Credit…Brittainy Newman/The New York Times

New York City’s public schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Saturday, confirming that more than three months of regular schooling for 1.1 million children will be lost because of the coronavirus.

“There’s nothing easy about this decision,” Mr. de Blasio said during a news briefing Saturday morning. “Lord knows, having to tell you that we cannot bring our schools back for the remainder of the school year is painful. I can also tell you is the right thing to do. It will clearly help us save lives.”

Roughly 1,800 schools across the city’s five boroughs have scrambled to adjust to remote learning since they were initially closed on March 16, a sudden shift that has presented educators with perhaps the largest challenge of their careers.

The first few weeks of online learning have already transformed the relationship between the city’s students, parents, and educators, who have come to rely on each other in ways unfathomable even a month ago.

“Our educators were asked to learn an entirely new way of teaching,” Mr. de Blasio said Saturday. “They had a week to quickly retool.”

Mr. de Blasio, who made the announcement alongside the city’s schools chancellor, Richard A. Carranza, faced enormous pressure from parents and teachers to close the schools as the virus began its spread through New York City in March. After initially resisting, the mayor ultimately shut the system and said, “This is not something in a million years I could have imagined having to do.”

On Saturday, Mr. Carranza echoed the mayor’s sentiment and urged parents and students to remain patient as the school district grapples with aftershocks of the pandemic.

“The mayor and I absolutely agree that this is in the best interest of all New Yorkers,” he said. “We know that the past few weeks have not been easy. We are going to be here to support you.”

Though New York City is the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak, more than a dozen states, including California and Pennsylvania, and many more local school districts have already announced that their public schools will remain closed through the end of the school year.

N.Y.C. will move hundreds of homeless people into hotels as deaths in shelters surge.

New York City will begin placing hundreds of single adults, regardless of age and health conditions, into hotel rooms instead of dormitory-style shelters where coronavirus has continued to spread.

About 2,500 people, including people 70 and older, people who are symptomatic or have tested positive, and people in crowded shelters, will be moved out of shelters an into hotel rooms by April 20th.

“It’s tough enough to not have a place to live. We want to make sure people are safe and healthy,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Saturday at a news conference.

The mayor’s announcement followed a surge in deaths among people living in shelters, especially men who live in dormitory-style shelters for single adults. On Friday, the Department of Social Services reported that five more men, including three who lived in shelters for single adults, had died in the city.

A coalition of advocacy groups, including the Urban Justice Center and VOCAL-NY, has called on Mr. de Blasio to use 30,000 empty hotel rooms to house not only people living in shelters but people living on the street and in other congregate settings. The Urban Justice Center began a GoFundMe campaign to begin moving people into hotels independently.

There have been a total of 20 deaths among the homeless, including 12 men and one woman from shelters for single adults. About 100 out of the city’s 450 traditional shelters and private apartment buildings and hotels used as shelters are designated for single adults.

An estimated 79,000 people are homeless in the city, and about 5 percent normally live on the street.

New York has so far avoided the surge at hospitals some models predicted.

On March 24, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo offered the public a dire assessment: To stave off a catastrophe, New York might need up to 140,000 hospital beds and as many as 40,000 intensive care units with ventilators.

Two weeks later, however, with an unprecedented lockdown across the state, New York has managed to avoid the apocalyptic vision that some forecasters predicted.

The daily death toll has still been staggering: Mr. Cuomo announced on Friday that another 777 people had died of the coronavirus in New York — the national epicenter of the pandemic — pushing the state’s total to 7,844.

But the number of intensive care beds being used in New York — one of the main measures to track the progress of sick patients — declined for the first time in the crisis on Friday, to 4,908. And the total number hospitalized with the virus, 18,569, was far lower than the darkest expectations.

Indeed, as the hospitalization curves in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut all show early signs of potentially flattening, the pandemic’s reach has so far not matched the many statistical models officials have relied on for weeks as they placed millions of Americans under crippling restrictions.

Asked on Friday whether he feared losing credibility for trusting some models that offered grim projections that have so far not come to pass, Mr. Cuomo said he did not. Instead, he credited the behavior of New Yorkers themselves for creating the discrepancy between the predictions and the actual statistics.

“The statisticians, when they did their curve, did not know how New Yorkers would respond and didn’t know whether or not New Yorkers would comply, and they didn’t know how unified New Yorkers can be,” Mr. Cuomo said at his daily briefing on Friday.

Still, the virus is not going away anytime soon. The total number of confirmed cases in New York State rose by nearly 11,000 from Thursday to Friday, the largest single-day increase yet, and stood at 170,812. The state’s death toll was 7,844 on Friday, and the total for the tristate region of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut surpassed 10,000.

Are you a health care worker in the New York area? Tell us what you’re seeing.

As The New York Times follows the spread of the coronavirus across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, we need your help. We want to talk to doctors, nurses, lab technicians, respiratory therapists, emergency services workers, nursing home managers — anyone who can share what they are seeing in the region’s hospitals and other health care centers. Even if you haven’t seen anything yet, we want to connect now so we can stay in touch in the future.

A reporter or editor may contact you. Your information will not be published without your consent.

Reporting was contributed by Alan Feuer, Jesse McKinley, Edgar Sandoval, Eliza Shapiro, Matt Stevens and Nikita Stewart.

 

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  • Updated April 11, 2020

    • When will this end?

      This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: “How will we know when to reopen the country?” In an American Enterprise Institute report, Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery: Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • How does coronavirus spread?

      It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.

    • Is there a vaccine yet?

      No. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.

    • What makes this outbreak so different?

      Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions — not just those with respiratory diseases — particularly hard.

    • What if somebody in my family gets sick?

      If the family member doesn’t need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there’s space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.

    • Should I stock up on groceries?

      Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

    • Should I pull my money from the markets?

      That’s not a good idea. Even if you’re retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year’s worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.