Coronavirus US: New York lockdown eased as infection rate drops

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New Yorkers are cautiously stepping out of lockdown after the city’s official phase 1 reopening on Monday which allows curbside retail to resume along with construction and manufacturing – but much of Manhattan remains boarded up. 

The infection rate among the 30,000 people tested daily on Monday dropped to just one percent- the lowest since the pandemic began and a far cry from the 71 percent peak in April. 

Only 57  

On Tuesday, both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted the new numbers as a victory for all New Yorkers. 

But while stores are all technically allowed to open, many – namely those that belong to large conglomerates with stores in other states where the coronavirus crisis was less severe – are choosing to stay closed. 

It’s unclear if they will ever reopen or what is stopping them now. Some retail workers are hesitant to come back to work because they don’t want to contract the virus. A major point of concern is getting on mass transit. 

Bronx residents shop inside CEE & CEE Dept. Store located at the corner of E 188th Street and Morris Avenue in the Bronx a

Bronx residents shop inside CEE & CEE Dept. Store located at the corner of E 188th Street and Morris Avenue in the Bronx a

Bronx residents shop inside CEE & CEE Dept. Store located at the corner of E 188th Street and Morris Avenue in the Bronx a

Customers shop inside CEE & CEE Dept. Store located at the corner of E 188th Street and Morris Avenue in the Bronx

Customers shop inside CEE & CEE Dept. Store located at the corner of E 188th Street and Morris Avenue in the Bronx

Customers shop inside CEE & CEE Dept. Store located at the corner of E 188th Street and Morris Avenue in the Bronx

Customers shop inside CEE & CEE Dept. Store located at the corner of E 188th Street and Morris Avenue in the Bronx

Customers shop inside CEE & CEE Dept. Store located at the corner of E 188th Street and Morris Avenue in the Bronx

Customers shop inside CEE & CEE Dept. Store located at the corner of E 188th Street and Morris Avenue in the Bronx

Customers wait on line before the doors open at CEE & CEE Dept

Customers wait on line before the doors open at CEE & CEE Dept

Customers wait on line before the doors open at CEE & CEE Dept

Subway riders take the 4 train on Fordham Road subway station as first phase of reopening in New York City goes in effect on June 9, 2020.

Subway riders take the 4 train on Fordham Road subway station as first phase of reopening in New York City goes in effect on June 9, 2020.

Subway riders take the 4 train on Fordham Road subway station as first phase of reopening in New York City goes in effect on June 9, 2020.

Another potential factor is that many stores were looted in Manhattan last week while riots and protests over George Floyd’s death raged.  

The first phase of New York City’s reopening lets retail resume on a pick-up basis only and also allows construction workers to go back to their jobs. 

It brings another 200,000 to 400,000 people who were forced to stay at home from March 2 back into the workforce. 

De Blasio, on Tuesday morning, said: ‘We have been through such a fight against the coronavirus. It’s been such a difficult time in this city.

‘The coronavirus taught us about the lack of equality in this city. Our clear mission is to not just restart but renew this city to do something very different, to come back as a city that is fair.

‘Let’s keep clinging to that progress, let’s beat back this disease.’ 

Cuomo, at his press conferences, regularly praises New Yorkers for ‘crushing’ the curve while coronavirus cases remain on the rise in other states. 

Chinatown's stores reopened this week. Some grocery stores had been able to stay open throughout the pandemic but others weren't and the neighborhood's streets were quiet

Chinatown's stores reopened this week. Some grocery stores had been able to stay open throughout the pandemic but others weren't and the neighborhood's streets were quiet

Chinatown’s stores reopened this week. Some grocery stores had been able to stay open throughout the pandemic but others weren’t and the neighborhood’s streets were quiet 

Chinatown is slowly getting back to life after being closed for nearly three months. Pictured, people on Tuesday

Chinatown is slowly getting back to life after being closed for nearly three months. Pictured, people on Tuesday

Chinatown is slowly getting back to life after being closed for nearly three months. Pictured, people on Tuesday 

Shoppers in Chinatown on Tuesday. The area was devastated by the lockdown with all of its restaurants and non-essential stores having to close

Shoppers in Chinatown on Tuesday. The area was devastated by the lockdown with all of its restaurants and non-essential stores having to close

Shoppers in Chinatown on Tuesday. The area was devastated by the lockdown with all of its restaurants and non-essential stores having to close

Bowery on Tuesday as more and more New Yorkers left lockdown to go shopping as the first phase of lifting restrictions occurred

Bowery on Tuesday as more and more New Yorkers left lockdown to go shopping as the first phase of lifting restrictions occurred

Bowery on Tuesday as more and more New Yorkers left lockdown to go shopping as the first phase of lifting restrictions occurred

Construction work in Manhattan, as New York enters Phase1 of its coronavirus re-opening plan

Construction work in Manhattan, as New York enters Phase1 of its coronavirus re-opening plan

Construction work in Manhattan, as New York enters Phase1 of its coronavirus re-opening plan

Construction work in Manhattan, as New York enters Phase1 of its coronavirus re-opening plan

Construction work in Manhattan, as New York enters Phase1 of its coronavirus re-opening plan

Construction work in Manhattan, as New York enters Phase1 of its coronavirus re-opening plan

Construction work in Manhattan, as New York enters Phase1 of its coronavirus re-opening plan

Construction work in Manhattan, as New York enters Phase1 of its coronavirus re-opening plan

Construction work in Manhattan, as New York enters Phase1 of its coronavirus re-opening plan

Many stores remain closed despite being able to reopen. It is unclear whether it is down to workers being scared to come back or not

Many stores remain closed despite being able to reopen. It is unclear whether it is down to workers being scared to come back or not

Many stores remain closed despite being able to reopen. It is unclear whether it is down to workers being scared to come back or not 

Sephora is one of the many stores which has not yet reopened

Sephora is one of the many stores which has not yet reopened

Sephora is one of the many stores which has not yet reopened

He shared data which revealed the city-wide infection rate was 2 percent, higher than what de Blasio said, and that the worst infections were in the Bronx where the rate is almost 51 percent in some neighborhoods. 

Both Cuomo and de Blasio said the coronavirus pandemic highlighted racial inequality across the state and city. 

There are 22 states across the country where the virus is still on the rise. 

New York state, and specifically NYC, had some of the strictest lockdowns after recording the highest number of cases. 

There have been more than 17, 000 deaths in the city since the start of the pandemic.

On Monday, both de Blasio and Cuomo took the subway to prove that it was safe.  

On the whole, De Blasio said the unrest seen in the city over the last week had had little impact on reopening plans. 

‘Because we contained it with the curfews, very minimal impact in terms of phase one,’ he said, adding that the looting had been ‘horrible’.

Before commencing phase one of reopening, New York City had to hit state-mandated targets on COVID-19 testing and hospital capacity as well as infection and hospitalization rates. 

 

‘All New Yorkers should be proud that you got us to this day,’ de Blasio later said of the reopening at a press conference in Brooklyn. He credited residents following strict social-distancing measures since mid-March, and predicted 200,000 to 400,000 people will return to work during this first phase. 

If all goes ahead as planned, after two weeks the city will be permitted to move into the second phase of reopening, which would allow outdoor dining at restaurants, while offices, hair salons and retail stores could open their doors at 50% capacity. 

But so far, there has not been a sudden rush back to business that might have been expected several weeks ago. Some retail workers are also scared to go back to their jobs because they fear contracting COVID-19. 

De Blasio accepted that not everyone would hurry back and said many people and businesses will likely watch eagerly over the next few days and weeks for a second wave of virus infections before encouraging staff to return to work.

‘Everybody has to make their own choice. New Yorkers are very pragmatic. What they’re going to do is watch and as they see things working, more and more people will come out,’ he said. 

Twenty two states are seeing an increase in new COVID-19 cases with Arizona seeing infections increase by more than 90 percent in a week. Arkansas and Utah have gone up more than 60 percent. Michigan's cases soared more than 150 percent last week due to the state including nearly 5,000 probable infections

Twenty two states are seeing an increase in new COVID-19 cases with Arizona seeing infections increase by more than 90 percent in a week. Arkansas and Utah have gone up more than 60 percent. Michigan's cases soared more than 150 percent last week due to the state including nearly 5,000 probable infections

Twenty two states are seeing an increase in new COVID-19 cases with Arizona seeing infections increase by more than 90 percent in a week. Arkansas and Utah have gone up more than 60 percent. Michigan’s cases soared more than 150 percent last week due to the state including nearly 5,000 probable infections

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