Public schools in New York City will close from Thursday as a result of the rising COVID-19 test positivity rate and businesses like gyms may soon be closed too, officials warned on Wednesday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday afternoon that all schools would revert to remote learning starting from Thursday morning because the test positivity rate in New York City was 3 percent.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who decides if businesses stay open or not, gave a lower number.
He said the test positivity rate was 2.5 percent but that if it rose to 3 percent, he would start closing indoor dining
It’s unclear whose numbers are most up to date or why they continue to differ, as they have been throughout the nine-month pandemic.
The number of daily hospitalizations and deaths is also creeping back up.
On Tuesday, there were 29 deaths across the state of New York.
The number is a far cry from the hundreds that were dying every day in the spring, but they are a worrying increase from the single-digits seen throughout most of the summer.
Indoor dining, which is currently at 25 percent capacity, will stop and outdoor dining will be limited to four people at a table if NYC hits a 3 percent positive-test rate.
Houses of worship will still be allowed to operate, however, at a 33 percent capacity.
Cuomo, speaking at a heated press conference where he yelled at reporters who asked him about schools and called one reporter ‘obnoxious’, warned that there will be a ‘tremendous spike’ after Thanksgiving due to people ignoring his rules to come together.
This is the statewide trend of hospitalizations in New York since the start of the pandemic
The rules now are that no more than 10 people can gather together.
Cuomo said the rising infection rates were all ‘self-imposed’ and compared it to a person ‘eating cheesecake and having a weight problem.’
‘You will see a tremendous spike after Thanksgiving,’ Cuomo warned on Wednesday, saying: ‘Thanksgiving is a holiday and people come together.
‘If you don’t have a real fear about COVID, you’re going to come together.’
He said he has told his own mother that they cannot spend Thanksgiving with his family.
‘Your family sounds safe, doesn’t it? No. You won’t be safe. It’s an illusion. My sister loves me, my sister could infect me. Not maliciously, but accidentally,’ he said.
‘Don’t be the turkey on Thanksgiving,’ he warned.
Cuomo became frustrated on Wednesday as journalists questioned him on whether or not schools would be open tomorrow, and whether the decision was down to him or Mayor Bill de Blasio.
He called the first reporter who asked him about it ‘obnoxious’ and said they hadn’t been paying attention.
He then bit back at the second reporter who asked if schools would be open tomorrow, then snapped at a third who asked if it was him or de Blaso who made the rules.
‘You don’t know?’ he asked repeatedly.
Since the start of the pandemic, parents in New York City have found the conflicting remarks and rules confusing.