New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared in an executive order, posted to Twitter today, that New Yorkers “MUST wear a mask or face covering in public in situations where social distancing is not possible.” As examples, he mentioned public transportation and busy sidewalks.
The governor shied away from the possibility of criminal charges for not wearing masks, but hinted at “civil penalties” if people refused to follow the order and suggested neighborly surveillance would suffice for now.
Calling for aid from the Trump administration, Cuomo said “large-scaling testing” was “the single best tool to safely reopen society” and insisted “we can’t get either diagnostic or antibody testing to scale without federal support.”
New York recorded 752 deaths with the coronavirus in the last 24 hours – a slight drop from the previous day – but Cuomo cautioned that “we are not out of the woods yet” and pledged to conduct 2,000 or more finger-prick antibody tests per day, focusing on first responders and healthcare workers.
The state is currently the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with over 202,000 confirmed cases and 10,834 deaths with the virus, according to New York statistics. However, casualty numbers released on Tuesday by New York City include close to 3,800 people who were never tested for coronavirus but merely assumed to have the disease.
The US has 614,482 cases as of Wednesday and some 132,276 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.