Coronavirus Update: Should NYC shelter-in-place? Debate goes on

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Friday, March 20, 2020
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New York City topped 3,900 positive cases of COVID-19 as a surge in new infections coincided with an increase in testing and rising concerns that medical supplies are running out.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city is two to three weeks away from hospitals running out of critical supplies and he's once again recommending Governor Cuomo order New Yorkers to shelter in place.

New York City streets are much quieter after the governor ordered schools and many businesses closed and asked other businesses to cut their work force back to 25 percent.

But unlike California, there is no mandatory call to stay at home.

Mayor de Blasio says it's time New York followed California's lead, but Cuomo disagrees.

"I think that San Francisco model is a clear sort of humane, smart version of shelter-in-place that really keeps the essentials going but gets rid of everything non-essential. I think it's a smart approach," Cuomo said. "Somehow people have the idea that New York City may be quarantined, locked off, imprisoned in their home. If you look at what other places are calling shelter in place, it's what we are doing now."

The mayor is also asking the federal government to mobilize the military and its healthcare expertise, taking an adversarial tone with President Trump. At one point, he even comparing him to Herbert Hoover, who was president at the start of the great depression.

"I don't think any president in American history would've hesitated to mobilize our military in this kind of crisis," he said "If he acts in the next few days, we can and should get what we need. If he refuses to act, we're going to have an extraordinarily difficult situation in the first half of April."

The mayor is also asking retired healthcare workers to volunteer during the crisis.


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"We need what they are creating," he said.