Health officials will flood 10 coronavirus hot spots with more testing and supplies ahead of New York City’s planned June 8 reopening.
Gov. Cuomo said Saturday that some of the 10 neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx had a 50 percent or higher infection rate for the deadly bug.
Overall, the number of New Yorkers who died of COVID-19 Friday stood at 67, the same as the previous day. The horrific statewide body count rose to 23,848.
The overall number of hospitalization was down, but there was a small increase in new patients being admitted with COVID-19, up nine to 178.
The hardest hit area in NYC has been the 10457 ZIP code of Mount Hope and Claremont in the Bronx with a 51 percent infection rate. The citywide infection rate is 20 percent.
“We’re targeting those ZIP codes,” Cuomo said. “We want to get down that infection rate. Get down the new cases in those hot spots.”
In addition to additional testing sites, he said there would be “more PPE, more hand sanitizer, more education, more communication about how important these things are.”
Cuomo said there was also more to do on the subways before the city’s reopening.
“They’re disinfecting trains like never before,” he said. “They have another week of work to do and they will be ready.”
New York City is poised to enter Phase 1 of its opening next week allowing about 400,000 workers in the construction, wholesale, manufacturing and curbside retail industries to go back to work.
Cuomo at his daily briefing, held at a Bronx community center, praised frontline workers and signed into law legislation passed earlier in the week that provides death benefits to their relatives.
The benefits will go to the families of publicly-employed responders including health-care workers, cops and firefighters and be paid out of state and local pension funds.
“It is the least we can do to say thank you, and we honor you and we remember you,” the governor said.
Cuomo said he was troubled by those protesting George Floyd’s death Friday who were not taking proper precautions against the virus and called for them to “demonstrate with a mask on.
“You don’t have a right to infect other people,” he said. “You don’t have a right to act in a way that’s going to jeopardize public health.”
Mayor de Blasio on Saturday said the chaotic protests over Floyd’s death at the hands of a white Minneapolis cop were a culmination of recent events that hit the black community particularly hard — including the coronavirus.
“The coronavirus crisis has created a depth of pain that still has not been accounted for,” he said. “So many New Yorkers have lost someone, but that is particularly true in communities of color, particularly true in the African American community. That loss is being felt so deeply, because everyone knows it’s not based on equality … communities of color lost so much more.”
De Blasio said he was also worried that the coronavirus could spread as protestors gathered.
“The last thing we would want to see is members of our community harmed because the virus spread in one of these settings,” he said.
In hard hit Italy Saturday, the country’s foreign minister warned other countries not to blacklist Italians from travel. Greece has barred Italians, as well as those from other countries, from visiting this summer.
“If anyone thinks they can treat us like a leper colony, then they should know that we will not stand for it,” Luigi Di Maio wrote on Facebook.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis recited a special prayer for the end of the coronavirus pandemic along with a group that included a doctor, nurse, hospital chaplain, pharmacist and recovered COVID-19 patient.
The gathering of more than 100 guests was the pope’s largest since Italy’s lockdown ended. The pontiff did not wear a mask, although many in the crowd did.
In India, where cases continued to rise in major cities, an ongoing lockdown in designated coronavirus-containment zones was extended until June 30. But economic activity was allowed to resume in areas outside those zones.
Additional reporting by Sara Dorn
With Post wires