De Blasio’s coronavirus crisis — 911 system swamped — Trump floats quarantine, then backs off

New York’s 911 system is overwhelmed, part of Central Park is being turned into an emergency hospital, and the death rate from coronavirus is accelerating, with the statewide toll surpassing 1,000 on Sunday.

As if we needed another thing to stress about this weekend, President Donald Trump declared Saturday he was thinking about imposing a quarantine on the New York City metro area. The “enforceable quarantine” would prohibit people from leaving the coronavirus hotspot for at least two weeks.

Just as quickly, the quarantine was off. “A quarantine will not be necessary,” Trump said in a tweet. Instead, the CDC issued a travel advisory urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for the next 14 days.

With a harrowing week ahead of us, and a statewide shutdown order now extended through at least April 15, officials are focused on putting hospital beds wherever they can fit them to house the growing flood of sick New Yorkers.

The Javits Center, turned into an emergency hospital, is set to begin treating patients today. The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is expected to arrive in New York harbor today as well, adding another 1,000 beds. Perhaps the most jarring transformation yet is seeing the hospital tents rising in Central Park’s East Meadow. When ready to go on Tuesday, they’ll house 68 beds.

IT’S MONDAY. Got tips, suggestions or thoughts? Let us know … By email: [email protected] and [email protected], or on Twitter: @erinmdurkin and @annagronewold

WHERE’S ANDREW? In New York City to greet the USNS Comfort.

WHERE’S BILL? Appearing on NY1’s Mornings on NY1, CNN’s New Day, MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle and PIX11’s Morning News, before joining the governor to welcome the USNS Comfort. Then he’s headed back to NY1 for Inside City Hall.

— THIS MORNING: Cuomo is seeing sky-high approval ratings in New York, a Siena College poll has found.

NEW YORK CITY’S TOP health officials were tracking warning signs of the flu, and didn’t like what they were seeing: A massive, late-season spike in influenza-like-illnesses that revealed a troubling aberration. So on March 10, Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot went to City Hall to share the findings with Mayor Bill de Blasio and urge him to begin taking more drastic action to control the spread of the coronavirus, which has since claimed 450 lives across New York City. De Blasio resisted, believing that closing schools, restaurants and cultural centers would cripple the city’s economy and disproportionately hurt the marginalized residents he aims to prioritize. What followed was a week of mixed messages, delayed decisions and feuds that escalated to what one person described as “warfare” amongst city officials, all while the federal government withheld critical aid to New York and Gov. Andrew Cuomo grappled with whether to impose draconian mandates.

A week later, the mayor began following most of Barbot’s advice, after plodding through a decision-making process that was described by people involved as tense, laborious and rife with conflict. As he huddled in City Hall with top aides, contending with how to handle the biggest crisis of his tenure, residents of one of the most densely-populated cities in the country continued to cram into subway cars, dine in restaurants and pop into their local watering holes — something de Blasio encouraged only hours before he ordered them shut on March 15. New York City is now ground zero of a global catastrophe few saw coming — one that has thrust de Blasio into the national spotlight, laying bare his managerial vulnerabilities and threatening to undermine the legacy he has been building over the past six years. POLITICO’s Sally Goldenberg

— De Blasio said he would not discuss “anything looking back” when pressed about his early response.

“THE FIRST OF MANY calls that night involved a 24-year-old man who had a fever, body aches and a cough that sounded like a cement mixer. While the Brooklyn paramedics took the man’s fever — 103 degrees — they noticed frightening vitals that hinted at coronavirus: a critically low level of oxygen was flowing into his otherwise clear lungs, while his heart thumped with the intensity of a marathon runner’s. He was taken to the nearest hospital. Then almost immediately came the next call: a 73-year-old man with symptoms similar to the young man’s. They took him to the hospital, too. ‘It’s all a war zone,’ one of the paramedics said… Even as hospitals across New York become inundated with coronavirus cases, some patients are being left behind in their homes because the health care system cannot handle them all, according to dozens of interviews with paramedics, New York Fire Department officials and union representatives, as well as city data. In a matter of days, the city’s 911 system has been overwhelmed by calls for medical distress apparently related to the virus. Typically, the system sees about 4,000 Emergency Medical Services calls a day. On Thursday, dispatchers took more than 7,000 calls — a volume not seen since the Sept. 11 attacks. The record for amount of calls in a day was broken three times in the last week.” New York Times’ Ali Watkins

— As of Thursday, the city had 307 available ICU beds. Another 1,704 beds were full, 850 of them with COVID-19 patients.

— The state ordered that hospitals must allow a partner in the delivery room when women give birth.

— Jamaica Hospital is flooded with COVID-19 patients.

NEW YORK CITY residents who break social distancing rules will be subject to fines up to $500, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday. As New York battles the spread of coronavirus, the state has ordered nonessential businesses to shut down, banned gatherings of any size and mandated that people stay six feet away from each other. Not everyone has listened. Fines will be a last resort, but de Blasio has authorized police officers to give them out to people who are ordered to disperse but fail to do so. There were 32,308 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the city on Sunday, and the death toll climbed to 678. De Blasio said fines of $250 to $500 would begin for people found congregating in public spaces who fail to disperse when ordered, or return after officers have told them to move along. POLITICO’s Erin Durkin

— Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz and MTA chairman Pat Foye have tested positive for coronavirus.

— The Staten Island ferry reduced service to once per hour.

— Nearly one-third of food pantries in the five boroughs have already shut down as they struggle to feed the growing number of New Yorkers left jobless.

— 900 members of the NYPD are expected to test positive for coronavirus by Monday, and 4,651 were out sick on Sunday.

— Nursing home residents account for 15 percent of coronavirus deaths in the state.

— Police are breaking up homeless encampments.

“THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, which has infected more than 30,000 people in New York City, is beginning to take a toll on those who are most needed to combat it: the doctors, nurses and other workers at hospitals and clinics. In emergency rooms and intensive care units, typically dispassionate medical professionals are feeling panicked as increasing numbers of colleagues get sick. “I feel like we’re all just being sent to slaughter,” said Thomas Riley, a nurse a Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, who has contracted the virus, along with his husband.” New York Times’ Michael Schwirtz

— Two Mount Sinai executives are riding out the chaos in the Palm Beach area.

— “Nurses at Jacobi hospital in the Bronx are rebelling against a new city hospital policy of rationing that would require them to reuse the same N95 mask for up to five days.”

“A STATE OF CONFUSION has engulfed talks over creation of a new state budget, due this week, as officials sent conflicting signals Sunday over how much federal aid may be coming New York’s way to help with the downward spiral of tax revenues needed to pay for the essential functions of the government in Albany. Talk of an inflation-busting increase for 700 public school districts has been replaced by the potential for deep, year-to-year actual spending cuts – thanks to the spread of coronavirus cases and its far-reaching economic hit. State senators returned to Albany Sunday for closed-door budget talks among Democrats who control the 63-member chamber and to pass a resolution to permit remote voting by some members who can’t – for health reasons. The Assembly will return Monday afternoon and pass its own chamber rules’ alterations to hasten the pace of voting and open the door to future voting to occur remotely during times when a state of emergency is declared. Both houses want a new budget in place before the fiscal year starts on Wednesday, April 1.” Buffalo News’ Tom Precious

— Cuomo said the legislature has “objections” to his proposals to legalize paid surrogacy and create new definition of domestic terrorism.

— “Advocacy groups of all stripes are concerned they have been shut out of the state budget negotiations set to conclude this week, a deal one longtime watchdog said is taking shape in ‘unprecedented secrecy.’”

DESPITE a $6 billion budget gap and new revenue losses posed by New York’s coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening to forgo more than $6 billion in federal aid he says would force him to adjust his Medicaid redesign strategy. The governor this week reiterated that he will not accept the $6.7 billion in enhanced federal Medicaid matching rate (FMAP) funds approved earlier this month because it would prevent him from modifying the state’s Medicaid program as proposed in his executive budget. “No, [New York’s congressional delegation] never fixed that bill,” he told reporters while leaving a Thursday news conference. “They never fixed it. They said they would, they never did.” But state budget officials have suggested New York will use “a portion of those FMAP dollars to otherwise change, or delay, or round out the edges” of proposed modifications to its Medicaid program while also seeking “a fix to legislation regarding implementation of [Medicaid Redesign Team] reforms.” POLITICO’s Shannon Young and Anna Gronewold

WHEN GOLDMAN SACHS DIRECTED more than 12,000 employees in the New York City metro area to work from home two weeks ago, bank President John Waldron didn’t need to check with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — he got on the phone with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. It’s one of many calls corporate executives have had to do with state and local officials over the last month as states from California to New Jersey shuttered their economies to prevent the spread of the virus. POLITICO’s Sam Sutton

“TWO WEEKS AGO, an unexpected cluster of coronavirus cases in New Rochelle, N.Y., seemed an unnerving sign that an outbreak that had devastated China and Italy was taking hold in the New York region and could spread rapidly. The state took drastic measures that stirred a backlash, including creating a containment zone. But now, the latest data indicates that the measures may be starting to work. The outbreak, which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo once said was advancing ‘unabated’ in New Rochelle, has appeared to slow: Over the last four days, only 38 new cases were reported to the county. ‘Everybody talks about flattening the curve, and I think that’s exactly what we were able to do in New Rochelle,’ said Dr. Sherlita Amler, the Westchester County health commissioner.” New York Times’ Sharon Otterman and Sarah Maslin Nir

— The Westchester lawyer who was the first known coronavirus patient in the area has been released from the hospital.

“A FOURTH STATE legislator has tested positive for coronavirus. Assemblyman Brian Miller (R-Catskills) tested positive for COVID-19 last week and has been hospitalized, according to Minority Leader William Barclay (R-Oswego). Miller, 61, was tested on March 20, just two days after being in the Capitol to vote on a coronavirus-related paid sick leave bill. ‘I encourage anyone who may have had contact with or been in close proximity to Brian to take necessary steps to self-isolate and limit any contact with others who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19,’ Barclay said in a statement Friday.” New York Daily News’ Denis Slattery

#UpstateAmerica: Comedian Jim Gaffigan says the garbage plate is the “ultimate quarantine food.”

#UpstateAnimals: The WAMC newsroom is finding relief from crisis mode in Animal Crossing’s animated islands and babbling creatures.

#UpstateIceCream: Fire and Ice (Cream): Capital Region favorite The Snowman delivered to EVERY Troy Fire Station as they closed their doors this week.

— 1,100 people jailed for parole violations will be released.

— Elon Musk is donating hundreds of ventilators to the city.

— Nearly 100 people in New York City died in a seven-hour window.

— Pregnant EMS workers are still reporting to work.

— An NYPD detective died from the virus. A third MTA worker also died.

— Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse plan to strike to demand coronavirus protections.

— The city has delayed planned waste collection reforms.

— Romi Cohn, who saved 56 Jewish families during the Holocaust, succumbed to coronavirus.

— The Apollo Theater is holding virtual auditions for its renowned amateur night.

— Wegman’s is looking to hire hundreds of full-time and part-time employees to keep the shelves stocked and the stores open.

— More of an empty New York City, a skeleton of what it once was.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO will delay New York’s presidential primary from April 28 to June 23, he announced Saturday, derailing the last contest to be scheduled for that date. “I don’t think it’s wise to bring a lot of people to one location to vote — a lot of people touching one doorknob, a lot of people touching one pen,” he said at one of his daily briefings about the coronavirus. It’s been clear for some time that the April 28 date would be unrealistic to work as planned, though there had not been any consensus as to what fixes might occur. POLITICO’s Bill Mahoney

AS GOV. CUOMO was winning acclaim with his words and presence, nervous Democrats grew worried that they had made a mistake. Perhaps they had the wrong man. Was the former vice president at the top of their ticket truly the best candidate to take on the Republican incumbent, who had moved seamlessly from show business to politics? The year was 1984, and it was Mario Cuomo who inspired second-guessing after he delivered his famous “Tale of Two Cities” keynote address at the party’s convention, overshadowing the nomination of Walter Mondale. The former vice president went on to lose spectacularly to former movie actor Ronald Reagan. Thirty-six years later, Mario’s son, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has emerged as a national leader in a national emergency of historic proportions, inadvertently overshadowing former vice president Joe Biden as he seeks to wrap up the party’s nomination to take on Donald Trump in the fall. And just like 1984, the performance of a governor named Cuomo has led to murmuring in political circles that the Democrats may have rallied around the wrong candidate. POLITICO’S Bill Mahoney

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP announced Saturday that he would not be quarantining New York City’s metro area, which has emerged as the nation’s largest hot spot for the coronavirus, after floating the idea earlier in the day. “On the recommendation of the White House CoronaVirus Task Force, and upon consultation with the Governor’s of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, I have asked the @CDCgov to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the ….Federal Government,” Trump tweeted. POLITICO’s Katy O’Donnell

— Rhode Island will not restrict just New Yorkers entering the state, Gov. Gina Raimondo said. It’ll be everyone.

— Trump “went on a bizarre rant implying foul play in New York City’s heavy use of urgently needed face masks.”

SOON AFTER HER UPSET primary victory against a Democratic Party boss in 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez traveled to St. Louis to prove her victory wasn’t a one-off by campaigning for Cori Bush, who was similarly taking on a longtime Democratic congressman. … Bush lost that race but is challenging Rep. William “Lacy” Clay again in an August primary. She has more money and higher name recognition, and earned the endorsement of Bernie Sanders. But Ocasio-Cortez isn’t helping Bush this time. After her victory in 2018, Ocasio-Cortez encouraged progressives to follow in her footsteps and run for Congress with the backing of the left-wing group Justice Democrats, even if it meant taking on powerful incumbents. Sixteen months later, the Missouri primary isn’t the only one Ocasio-Cortez is steering clear of. POLITICO’s Alex Thompson and Holly Otterbein

— A man who suffered the worst injuries from a Hanukkah stabbing in Monsey has died.

— An MTA worker was killed and at least 16 others were injured after a fire broke out inside a subway car in Harlem early Friday morning, and officials suspect it was set intentionally.

— Critics are protesting a $2 billion development along toxic Flushing Creek

— A transgender woman was fatally stabbed in the neck outside Harlem River Park.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Jason Greenblatt is 53 … Drew Maloney, president and CEO of the American Investment Council … Danielle Maurer Piers Morgan is 55 … Suzy KhimmZach Silber, chief innovation officer at Kivvit … Mark Daley Michael Ramlet, co-founder and CEO of Morning Consult (h/t Olivia Petersen) … Paul Hoffman … NYT’s Alex Kingsbury … Visa’s Jeremy Sturchio Mark Strand … BCW Global’s Susan Lagana Frank Field Charles Koppelman is 8-0 … Marco Werman is 59 … AP’s Oded Balilty is 41 (h/ts Jewish Insider) …

… (was Sunday): Nouriel Roubini David E. Shaw turned 69 … WaPo’s Paul Farhi Marissa Padilla, SVP at Global Strategy Group (h/t Erin Billings) … Mike Florio Casey Wian Lara Logan turned 49 … Steve Peoples, AP’s chief political reporter … Roger SimonPeter Cherukuri turned 44 (h/t Tim Burger) … SUNY’s Peter Velz turned 31 … Annie RosenAlexander Zafran Lily Infante Sarah BlagdenMalcolm Shaw Ned NaderLuisita Torregrosa Roger Myerson … Edelman’s Ashley Trager Chauvin

… (was Saturday): Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) turned 67 … Ed O’Keefe, political correspondent for CBS News, turned 37 … Alexander GrieveHank Paulson turned 73 … Lauren Ehrsam GoreyLena GaviriaKevin Sessums Hadassah Lieberman turned 72 … Fox News’ Todd Piro Ulster, N.Y., County Executive Pat Ryan turned 38 (h/t Jazmin Kay) … Josh Cook, president of Maiden John and EVP at BerlinRosen

MAKING MOVES — Will Reinhart is leaving Rep. Tom Reed’s (R-N.Y.) office to join the Congressional Leadership Fund and American Action Network as press secretary.

“AFTER FACING PRESSURE from city officials and workers, the state is shutting down all construction except work on infrastructure, healthcare facilities and affordable housing. The Empire State Development Corp. updated its guidelines Friday, saying only work on ‘roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters’ will be considered essential. The qualification is a dramatic change from the blanket exemption included in an executive order Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed last week. Under the order, employees of all non-essential businesses are prohibited from reporting to work. Now, workers on condo and commercial sites will need to stay home, unless there is emergency construction that needs to be done.” The Real Deal’s Kathryn Brenzel and Sylvia Varnham O’Regan

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO said [Friday] he is pushing to suspend this year’s Rent Guidelines Board process and freeze rents on the city’s nearly 1 million rent-regulated apartments in light of the coronavirus crisis. “If ever there was a time there should be a rent freeze, it is now,” de Blasio said at a news conference. “That’s something I think we have to do given the sheer severity of this crisis.” The move, which would require state approval, would eliminate the annual process by which the mayor-appointed board decides whether and by how much landlords of rent-stabilized units can increase rents. POLITICO’s Janaki Chadha

Stephon Marbury, unfairly maligned ex-Knick, is working to provide ten million N95 masks, via China, to New York medical personnel who badly need it.

Jim Dolan, Executive Chairman and CEO of Madison Square Garden company, owner of the Knicks and Rangers, has tested positive for coronavirus.

The owners of the Mets, who have said they don’t have to sell the team, yet tried to sculpt a deal that would have allowed them to remain in charge for five years following said sale, are continuing to try and sell the team they say they don’t need to sell amid a shutdown of Major League Baseball and worldwide economic instability.

The day ahead: Monday Night Miracle is today’s selection. Jets-Dolphins, 2000. Vinny Testaverde, Wayne Chrebet, a massive comeback. And you’ll never guess who catches the game-tying touchdown — a Giant in every way!


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