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Credit…Sarah Blesener for The New York Times

For families of coronavirus patients in New York, one of the coronavirus pandemic’s most heartbreaking aspects has been the inability to visit loved ones who are hospitalized.

Visitors have been all but forbidden at hospitals across the state since March 18, when officials asked that they be suspended as the virus spread.

Thousands of relatives of dying patients have had to say their last goodbyes over the phone, via a tablet screen or not at all.

Now, with the virus on the wane, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Tuesday that the state would allow visitors at 16 hospitals, nine of them in New York City, as part of a pilot program.

The hospitals include Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn and Mount Sinai hospitals in Queens and Manhattan. (See the complete list.)

“It is terrible to have someone in the hospital and then that person is isolated, not being able to see their family or friends,” Mr. Cuomo said.

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transcript

transcript

Cuomo Announces Plan to ‘Bring Visitors Back to Hospitals’

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced a pilot program to let visits resume at some hospitals.

Nassau County is now eligible for elective surgery and ambulatory care. Anyone who needs health service should get it. There’s no reason not to go to the hospital. No reason not to go to the doctor’s office, and many reasons why you should go. Denial is not a life strategy. If you have an issue, get it tested, get it resolved. We’re also looking at a pilot program over the next two weeks to start to bring visitors back to hospitals. That’s going to be run by the Greater New York Hospital Association in downstate, and Health Association of New York State, upstate. There’ll be a number of hospitals participating in that. Northwell has a number of hospitals. But this is getting visitors back into hospitals with the right precaution, with the right equipment. But it is terrible to have someone in the hospital and then that person is isolated, not being able to see their family or friends. I understand the health reasons for that. We were afraid of the virus spread. But this is a pilot project to see if we can bring visitors in and do it safely.

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced a pilot program to let visits resume at some hospitals.CreditCredit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Under the program, which will start by May 26, visitors must wear personal protective equipment, including masks, and they will be subject to having their temperature checked, he said.

Other news from the governor’s daily briefing, which he arrived at wearing a mask:

  • The Albany area can begin reopening on Wednesday, which would leave only three downstate regions under the state’s shutdown orders: New York City, Long Island and the counties just north of the city known collectively as the Mid-Hudson region. All three are still falling short of at least two of the seven health-related benchmarks for starting to relaunch their economies.

  • The state will allow ceremonies for celebrating Memorial Day, so long as they have no more than 10 people. Vehicle parades will also be allowed, provided that participants adhere to social-distancing rules. Another 105 people died of the virus, down from 106 reported on Monday.

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Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

New York University plans to hold in-person classes in the fall, the university’s provost said on Tuesday, as other institutions of higher education weigh how to proceed amid the pandemic.

“We’re planning to convene in person, with great care, in the fall (subject to government health directives), both in New York and at our global sites,” the provost, Katherine Fleming, wrote in a letter to incoming first-year undergraduate students.

Still, Ms. Fleming added: “I can’t pretend that 2020-21 will be a typical academic year.”

The announcement paves the way for a major university in the heart of New York City to invite thousands of undergraduates into what has been the U.S. epicenter of a global health crisis, with various health and safety measures in place.

The move comes as other colleges and universities in the region and across the country continue to explore when and how to reopen their campuses over the summer, and trying to plan for an influx of students in the fall.

Fordham University in the Bronx has signaled that it plans to “be fully in session” for the coming academic year, with an expectation that students would be taught in person and on campus.

Columbia University’s president, Lee C. Bollinger, released a letter last week that did not offer direct guidance about when the university planned to resume in-person classes.

Students should expect more information by July 1, Mr. Bollinger wrote, while expressing a wish that they “may experience much, if not most, of their coursework in person over the arc of” the fall, spring and summer terms of the next academic year.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey has yet to say whether he expects college campuses in the state to open by the fall.

Officials in New Jersey, which has the second-highest number of virus deaths in the United States, said they had revised how fatalities at nursing homes and other long-term facilities will be reported.

The tally of such deaths previously included those confirmed by a laboratory as being caused by the virus and those suspected of being caused by it, Gov. Philip D. Murphy said at his daily news briefing on Tuesday.

Now, Mr. Murphy said, the state would include only lab-confirmed virus deaths in its tally of fatalities at long-term care homes. The new reporting method will align those death figures with New Jersey’s reporting of its overall virus fatalities, Mr. Murphy said.

“We were not reporting these, as it turns out, apples to apples,” the governor said.

The change led officials to lower the state’s nursing-home death total by about 1,400, to 4,295. Overall, officials said, there had been 10,586 virus-related deaths in New Jersey with the addition of 162 on Tuesday.

Other news from Mr. Murphy’s daily briefing:

  • Starting next Tuesday, non-urgent doctor and dentist appointments can resume.

  • Pharmacists can now administer virus tests without a prescription in New Jersey. CVS pharmacies will offer self-swab tests in at least 50 stores by the end of May.

Two New Jersey counties, Bergen and Mercer, are set to begin virtual grand jury proceedings as part of a pilot program.

Grand juries, which mainly determine whether sufficient evidence exists to move forward with charges brought by the police and prosecutors, stopped meeting in New Jersey two months ago when courthouses were closed amid the pandemic.

As a result, officials said, 1,400 defendants are being held in county jails while they await indictment; many others who are free awaiting trial also have not been formally charged.

Even with courthouses shut, thousands of hearings and trials have been held in the state using remote technology.

New Jersey’s chief justice, Stuart Rabner, said on Tuesday that the technology would now be used for grand juries “in a manner that protects the public while safeguarding the rights and privacy of defendants, witnesses, victims and jurors.”

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Credit…Desiree Rios for The New York Times

When New York City’s school district, the largest in the United States, switched to remote learning in March and scrambled to get the system up and running, there was little question that many students would fall behind.

On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio gave a sense of the problem’s dimensions: Nearly 16 percent of New York City’s 1.1 million students will be asked to attend online summer school for about six weeks. That’s about four times as many as last year.

About 177,000 students will attend summer school in July and August. Last year, about 44,000 children were required to attend summer courses, although about a total of 150,000 students were enrolled in some kind of summer class, including optional enrichment programs.

About 6,000 teachers will lead summer classes, a number comparable to previous years. They will be able to take on bigger classes this year because all learning will be remote.

“It’s going to be a huge effort, an unprecedented effort,” Mr. de Blasio said. He added: “It’s been tough so far on our kids. It’s going to in some ways be even tougher as the summer goes on.”

The school year is set to end on June 26, and students who have fallen behind in courses will be notified about their summer school placements before then.

When Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut first said that many retail businesses in the state could resume limited operations on Wednesday, hair salons and barbershops were among those set to reopen.

But on Monday, Mr. Lamont said that hair care businesses in Connecticut would not return to work until early June, when their counterparts in neighboring Rhode Island are set to reopen.

On Tuesday, a crowd of stylists reacted to the governor’s decision by gathering in New Haven to protest. Most of them appeared to be wearing masks.

“We want to OPEN! Our clients want us to OPEN!” one sign read. “Governor Hear us! Chameleon Salon is prepared to open safely!!” read another.

When hair salons and barbershops do reopen, they will have to adhere to restrictions that include the use of masks by employees and customers; increased cleaning; and a limit on “verbal communication” between customers and employees when they are within six feet of each other “to the extent practical.”

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Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

The appearance on Tuesday of New York City’s health commissioner at Mr. de Blasio’s daily briefing on the pandemic would not ordinarily have been remarkable.

But the commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, had been absent from the briefings for nearly a week, after missing only four in 60 news conferences since the outbreak started. And questions had begun to swirl over whether Mr. de Blasio had sidelined her.

Dr. Barbot had undoubtedly hit a rough patch.

On May 7, The New York Times reported that Mr. de Blasio had shifted the job of contact tracing for the virus out of the Health Department, which has historically led such efforts, and to the agency that runs the city’s public hospitals.

About a week later, The New York Post reported that in March, during the outbreak’s chaotic early days, Dr. Barbot and a police commander had a heated confrontation over the distribution of personal protective gear to health care workers and police officers.

Dr. Barbot, The Post reported, told the commander, “I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops.”

The mayor pointedly said at a news conference on Friday that he had not spoken to Dr. Barbot in “a couple of days.” She did not attend a City Council hearing about contact tracing that day.

On Monday, Dr. Barbot apologized publicly for the comments about the police. And on Tuesday, she was back for the daily briefing, participating by video link.

  • Updated May 12, 2020

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in people reporting symptoms of chilblains, which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another symptom of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • How do I take my temperature?

      Taking one’s temperature to look for signs of fever is not as easy as it sounds, as “normal” temperature numbers can vary, but generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you don’t have a thermometer (they can be pricey these days), there are other ways to figure out if you have a fever, or are at risk of Covid-19 complications.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • When will this end?

      This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: “How will we know when to reopen the country?” In an American Enterprise Institute report, Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery: Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.

    • How can I help?

      Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, the C.D.C. recommends that you call your healthcare provider and explain your symptoms and fears. They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • How does coronavirus spread?

      It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.

    • Is there a vaccine yet?

      No. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.

    • What makes this outbreak so different?

      Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions — not just those with respiratory diseases — particularly hard.

    • What if somebody in my family gets sick?

      If the family member doesn’t need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there’s space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.

    • Should I stock up on groceries?

      Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home. Even if you just hang out in a park, rather than go for a jog or a walk, getting some fresh air, and hopefully sunshine, is a good idea.

    • Should I pull my money from the markets?

      That’s not a good idea. Even if you’re retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year’s worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.

    • What should I do with my 401(k)?

      Watching your balance go up and down can be scary. You may be wondering if you should decrease your contributions — don’t! If your employer matches any part of your contributions, make sure you’re at least saving as much as you can to get that “free money.”


When asked about the episode involving protective gear, she struck a conciliatory tone.

“These were crisis situations where of course we needed to provide personal protective equipment for all of our first-line responders, doctors, nurses, N.Y.P.D., E.M.T.s,” she said. “And we were making hard decisions all the time. I want to just make sure that there’s no ambiguity that we value all of all of our first responders equally.”

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Credit…John Taggart for The New York Times

With New York City’s official number of new virus cases waning and a push to expand testing capacity with a goal of lifting some restrictions on daily life next month, a new study suggests the city may be undercounting how many New Yorkers have contracted the virus.

The study, by the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, found that nearly one in four city households had someone who had experienced virus symptoms, but that only about half of those people had been tested for the virus.

Among those who were tested, the study found, almost four in five people tested positive.

The study’s results show that the city is simply not testing enough people, top CUNY health official said.

“If our goal is to reopen the city safely, most of those tested should be testing negative, which would mean that the spread of the virus is on the decline,” Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, the dean of CUNY’s public health school, said in a statement. “We cannot open up until we ramp up our testing of people without symptoms, and conduct thorough follow-up contact tracing.”

The survey of 1,000 people was conducted from May 15 to May 17.

The city is now testing about 20,000 people a day and is also hiring contact tracers to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus.

“The more you test, the more truth you get,” Mr. de Blasio said in a radio interview with WINS on Tuesday.

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Credit…via Kaleemah Rozier

A Brooklyn woman arrested last week in a physical altercation with the police over how she was wearing a face mask in the subway said she had been targeted because of her race.

The May 13 confrontation between the woman, Kaleemah Rozier, who is black, and about a half-dozen officers at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station in Brooklyn, was captured in a video that was shared widely.

Critics of the police said the footage showed the officers using excessive force. The police said the officers acted appropriately after Ms. Rozier refused repeated requests to cover her nose and mouth, and then hit one who was taking her from the station.

Mr. de Blasio said Ms. Rozier should not have been arrested, and Police Commissioner Dermot F. Shea called what the video shows “horrendous.” Two days after the incident, the mayor said the police would stop enforcing a requirement that face coverings be worn because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The arrest, combined with police data and similar recent events, highlighted racial disparities in the enforcement of social-distancing rules that some elected officials said were similar to “stop-and-frisk” practices ruled to be unconstitutional.

In the video, Ms. Rozier, 22, is seen arguing with officers as they lead her and her 5-year-old son, Camren, up the stairs. As the dispute escalates, several officers grab her and pin her to the floor while another holds onto the boy. She is eventually taken from the station. It is unclear what happens before or after the video’s roughly two-minute duration.

“I felt like they should have had some type of consideration because I had my child with me,” she said. “But they didn’t care.”

Ms. Rozier said that when the police encountered her, she had lowered her mask to breathe more easily while she climbed the subway steps and talked on the phone. She said she had done the same thing on other recent days without the police objecting.

The officers who arrested her, Ms. Rozier said, “were all in the wrong.”

Despite condemning the incident at a City Council hearing last week, Mr. Shea said the officers had acted professionally after Ms. Rozier launched into a vulgar tirade and threatened to cough on them while being led from the station.

Ms. Rozier, who received a desk-appearance ticket for resisting arrest and is scheduled to go to court in September, declined to comment on the allegations. Her lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, said the Brooklyn district attorney’s office should drop the case.

A spokesman for Eric Gonzalez, the district attorney, said Ms. Rozier’s case had not yet been reviewed. Mr. Gonzalez has previously said he would not prosecute arrests for social-distancing violations and other low-level offenses during the pandemic.

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Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

When Mr. Cuomo said last week that beaches in New York would be able to open in a limited capacity, he also said that local officials could make their own decisions on beach access.

Mr. de Blasio declared that New York City’s beaches would remain off limits to swimmers and crowds for the time being. Leaders on Long Island decided they wanted to open beaches there.

Now, worried that city residents might crowd suburban seashores, elected officials in Nassau and Suffolk counties are taking steps to limit access to locally run Long Island beaches to residents only.

Suffolk County’s executive, Steve Bellone, a Democrat, said on Monday that access to county-operated beaches would be reserved for county residents.

The Republican majority in Nassau County’s legislature then said it would introduce emergency legislation to “restrict the use of Nassau County beaches to Nassau County residents” for as long as New York City’s beaches remained closed.

Nassau County operates just one beach, Nickerson Beach Park in Lido Beach, and the county executive, Laura Curran, a Democrat, said she would sign legislation restricting its use to Nassau residents.

It was not immediately clear how the measures would be enforced by Long Island officials. The restrictions would not apply to state beaches like Jones Beach and Robert Moses State Park, miles-long expanses that draw many city residents.

Reporting was contributed by Michael Gold, J. David Goodman, Andy Newman, Azi Paybarah, Eliza Shapiro, Ashley Southall, Matt Stevens and Tracey Tully.

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