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Coronavirus: New York City weighs closing parks, playgrounds and streets to enforce social distancing, Gov. Cuomo says

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to the media at the Javits Convention Center which is being turned into a hospital to help fight coronavirus cases on March 24, 2020 in New York City.

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez | Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to close some streets in New York City and may close parks and playgrounds to contain the coronavirus outbreak by reducing density.

State and local officials are taking a tougher stance because city residents aren’t following the state’s guidance encouraging people to maintain a distance of at least six feet from each other, he said.

“The plan is going to pilot closing streets in New York City because we have much less traffic in New York City. We have many fewer vehicles in New York City. Open streets,” by opening the streets, fewer people will congregate in the parks, he said in a press conference Wednesday. “People want to walk. They want to go out and get some air. You want a less dense area, so pilot closing streets to cars, opening streets to pedestrians.”

New York is the hardest-hit state in the country, with the number of cases doubling about every three days. 

The New York metro area, which includes New Jersey, Long Island and southern Connecticut, also has the highest “attack rate” in the country with nearly 1 in 1,000 people in the region contracting the virus. The attack rate is the portion of the population that gets infected.

Cuomo said Tuesday that the “troubling and astronomical” number of cases has increased the urgency across the state for more hospital beds as the outbreak spreads “unabated.”

He said the state is now projecting it will need more hospital beds a lot sooner than thought. The state estimates it will need 140,000 hospital beds in as little as 14 to 21 days. The state previously said it would need 110,000 beds for COVID-19 patients by early to mid-May. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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