NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that rising coronavirus infection rates outside of the New York metropolitan area should serve as a warning to other states not to reopen their economies too quickly. Also on Wednesday, the city’s normally 24-hour subway system shut down for cleaning in the early morning hours, part of a new routine as the city aims to curb the spread of the virus.
NEW YORK MAYOR: LEARN FROM OUR EXAMPLE.
De Blasio said on CNN’s “New Day” that new data showing rates of new coronavirus infections declining in the New York metropolitan area but ising in other parts of the country suggest that other states may be moving too quickly to open up businesses and loosen restrictions on gatherings.
“This desire to restart and open up without necessarily referencing the actual facts of what’s going on is dangerous,” de Blasio said.
The mayor said New Yorkers have succeeded in lowering virus infection rates by largely following social distancing orders and by covering their faces in public. “My message to the rest of the country is learn from how much effort, how much discipline it took to finally bring these numbers down and follow the same path until you’re sure that it’s being beaten back or else if this thing boomerangs you’re putting off any kind of restart or recovery a hell of a lot longer,” he said.
New York state recorded 230 COVID-19 deaths on Monday, far lower than the peak of 799 on April 8.
SUBWAYS CLOSE FOR CLEANING
New York City’s subway system went silent in the early morning hours of Wednesday, as part of a plan for the normally round-the-clock system to shut down for train cleaning.
The trains, which had been running on a reduced schedule since late March, are now going to be stopped from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. each day.
Police officers escorted people out of Brooklyn’s Coney Island station, the end of the line for several trains, and told them they would have to board buses to get to their destinations. Cleaners carrying bottles of bleach then boarded the trains.
Fewer trains had been running in the overnight hours anyway, but the shutdown allows for daily cleanings and for city workers to move homeless people who have been more visible in subway cars during the coronavirus.
The New York Police Department has assigned more than 1,000 officers to secure many of the system’s 472 stations, as fewer than 200 can be physically locked up.
Outreach teams made up of officers and nurses are being sent to 29 end-of-line stations to roust homeless people from trains that are headed out of service for cleaning, Chief of Department Terence Monahan said Tuesday.
Many of the people at the Coney Island station early Wednesday appeared to be homeless, though one man insisted he was not and asked officers how he was going to get to his home in the Bronx.
New York City normally has the country’s busiest public transit system, with a weekday ridership of more than 5 million. But the impact of the coronavirus and people staying at home has been severe, with overall mass transit use dropping more than 90% in the past several weeks.