Two more states made New York’s travel advisory list Tuesday, requiring travelers from most of the nation to self-isolate for two weeks when arriving in New York.
Visitors from Alaska and Delaware — previously included in New York’s travel advisory — or states with more than a 10% positive coronavirus test rate, or a positive test rating higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day average, must quarantine for 14 days when flying or driving into New York. Officials update the list every Tuesday.
“New York state is moving forward in the face of a continuing crisis throughout the nation and around the world — we’ve gone from one of the nation’s worst infection rates to one of its best and have an infection rate below 1 percent for the 11th straight day — but that’s no excuse for getting complacent as we add two more states to our travel advisory,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday.
Cuomo and his top aides on the state’s coronavirus task force have questioned when coronavirus cases will increase in New York as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations continue to rise in dozens of U.S. states and territories. The governor expanded the tri-state June 25 executive order Tuesday requiring visitors from 32 states and two territories to self-isolate for two weeks, including Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia and the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Out-of-state travelers remain the greatest threat to New York’s low coronavirus infections and transmission numbers, Cuomo has said, as the European strain of COVID-19 infected the Eastern Seaboard after landing in New York and New Jersey airports in February and March. The state’s COVID-19 transmission rate is 0.93, meaning every New Yorker with the coronavirus will infect 0.93 other people. The virus stops spreading with transmission rates under 1, or spreads quickly when one person infects more than one other person.
“Our success in this fight is determined, more than anything, by the actions each of us takes in daily life — washing our hands, properly social distancing and wearing masks — and by the willingness of local governments to be competent partners and to enforce state guidance,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “We continue to move in the right direction, but it’s up to all of us to slow the spread and stay safe.”
Cuomo, who rose to international fame with his daily coronavirus briefings and Powerpoint presentations this spring, will release the book “American Crisis” on Oct. 13 about his experience leading the state through the COVID-19 epidemic, according to a statement Tuesday from Crown, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. He previously published “Crossroads: The Future of American Politics” in 2003 and “All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life” in 2014.
“Crisis,” which will be released as a physical book, ebook and audio edition read by the governor, will detail Cuomo and New York’s fight against the coronavirus. “American Crisis” is Cuomo’s personal assessment of the public health crisis, interactions with the White House and the federal government’s response, economic catastrophe, the decision-making behind the state’s organized response and a national plan forward as the pandemic continues.
“If you don’t feel fear, you don’t appreciate the consequences of the circumstance,” Cuomo writes in “American Crisis.” “The questions are what do you do with the fear and would you succumb to it. I would not allow the fear to control me. The fear kept my adrenaline high and that was a positive. But I would not let the fear be a negative, and I would not spread it. Fear is a virus also.”
The state will close any public school districts that have a COVID-19 spread after reopening this fall. Cuomo did not detail the specifics of when officials would close a district, or for how long.
“If something happens and there is spread, the state will step in and we will close the school, but we don’t want to get to that point,” the governor said Monday. “That’s what we want to avoid. That’s why the how and why of [the school’s reopening] plan is so important.”
Each of the state’s 713 public schools must hold three to five public meetings by Aug. 21 with parents, who will be allowed to participate remotely, and at least one meeting with teachers to review district reopening guidelines before the first day of classes. School cannot resume without parents sending their children or teachers feeling comfortable and safe when returning to the classroom.
“In this country, we’ve had issues, so the parents are right to be concerned, ” Cuomo said. “It’s only natural. They’re not being obstructionists. It is a determinative consultation, Those have to be the people who feel good about accepting this decision. Otherwise, it’s all moot.”
The governor announced new guidance for the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative established by Cuomo’s June executive order requiring every locality to adopt a plan to reform the local police department by April 1, otherwise forgo future state funding. The guidance offers a framework and topics for consideration by local police departments, elected officials and citizens as they develop their local plans for reform.
“That’s the only way out of this — denial doesn’t work,” Cuomo said. “Let’s ignore it, maybe it will go away. It’s not going away. The relationship [between police and the community] is based on trust. The relationship is ruptured, but divorce is not an option here. You have to resolve the tensions and reconcile it. ... but it has to be done, and it has to be done quickly.”
New York City is one of dozens across the nation to report a violent crime spike. New York City murders are up 29% and shootings are up 79% year-to-date, with a 60% increase in the Bronx, 102% in Brooklyn, a 54% spike in Manhattan, 75% in Queens and an increase in Staten Island of 108%.
The State Liquor Authority and state police did not issue violations to bars or restaurants for not complying with the state’s mask-wearing and social-distancing mandates after the task force visited 976 Monday night. Over the weekend, enforcement officials inspected 3,375 bars, restaurants and businesses statewide, issuing 66 violations to establishments.
“The SLA and state police are attempting to supplement what the local police departments are supposed to be doing,” Cuomo said. “Frankly, they’re not doing it in some places to the extent they should be doing it. I hope establishments are getting the message.”
The state reported 655 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, or 0.98% positive — New York’s 11th consecutive day with a coronavirus infection rate below 1%.
Eight New Yorkers died from the virus Monday, up from six fatalities each Saturday and Sunday.
Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations have remained flat at 537 virus patients, which is up from 534 Monday.