The latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic for April 17, 2020

FOX 5 NY is updating this blog with the latest developments on the coronavirus outbreak so you can get the information in one spot.

10:55 PM: Governor Andrew Cuomo’s face mask rules go into effect as of Friday night, requiring all New Yorkers to wear face masks in public when social distancing is not possible. But what to use, and how should you wear them? FOX 5 NY spoke to medical experts for answers.

9:31 PM: A group called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) is calling for a “virtual walk out” in response to the firings and conditions within Amazon workplaces.

The group said in a post on Medium that it is asking fellow Amazon employees to “call in sick” on Friday, April 24, “to show that you want Amazon to go in a different direction.”

8:56 PM: Commissioner Adam Silver said it remains impossible for the NBA to make any decisions about whether to resume this season and that it is unclear when that will change.

8:25 PM: According to Johns Hopkins University, as of April 17 there are 694,296 positive coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 28,998 people have died.

8:00 PM: NYRR has canceled the Brooklyn Half, the country's largest half-marathon, because of the ongoing shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

7:30 PM: The U.S. Department of Agriculture will administer a $19 billion relief program for farmers; President Trump says the USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will include "direct payments to farmers as well as mass purchases of dairy, meat and agricultural produce to get that food to the people in need."

7:28 PM: San Francisco Mayor London Breed issues a public health order requiring residents to wear face coverings when out in public.

7:25 PM: San Diego Comic-Con has been canceled due to coronavirus-related restrictions around large gatherings.

7:20 PM: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she hopes to begin gradually reopening the state's economy on May 1.

7:01 PM: Several U.S. senators call on police departments to be on alert for racially biased policing because many people in communities of color are expressing fears of being profiled while wearing masks or other face coverings in public.

6:55 PM: Taylor Swift cancels all of her performances and appearances for the rest of the year; her rep says, "With many events throughout the world already cancelled, and upon direction from health officials in an effort to keep fans safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19, sadly the decision has been made to cancel all Taylor Swift live appearances and performances this year."

6:30 PM: Johns Hopkins University says COVID-related causes have killed more than 150,000 worldwide.

6:15 PM: New York City, in an email, says, "311 is experiencing high call volume. Get information about city services and submit non-urgent requests by visiting, using the 311 mobile application, or by calling 311 after 7 p.m. or during the weekend."

5:15 PM: New York City Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg in a message reminds subway and bus riders that the governor's executive order requiring them to wear a mask or other face covering­ goes into effect today at 8 PM.

5:00 PM: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says President Trump's comments about "liberating" parts of the country from stay-at-home orders put millions of Americans at risk of contracting COVID-19.

4:50 PM: Utah Gov. Gary Herbert unveils a plan to gradually reopen the economy; the state aims to reopen restaurants and gyms and resume elective surgeries in early May.

4:40 PM: Many police departments in the tristate are warning people to stop tossing used gloves and face masks on the street because not only is littering illegal but these items could transitmit the coronavirus. 

4:10 PM: Connecticut's death toll from coronavirus-related causes now exceeds 1,000.

3:36 PM: If you haven't received your share of the federal stimulus payment, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urges you to make sure the IRS has your bank direct deposit information.

3:15 PM: New York City sends alert: "Show your support for NYC’s grocery workers: Only shop when you need to, wear a face covering & keep at least 6 feet from others."

2:30 PM: A report released by New York state shows that COVID-19 has devasted nursing homes; other states are seeing similar crises at long-term care homes.

2:15 PM: President Trump tweets about "liberating" states that have shutdown orders in place and also takes aim at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying he "should spend more time 'doing' and less time 'complaining.'"

2:09 PM: Gov. Murphy: Keep doing what you're doing; together, as one New Jersey, we will win this war.

2:01 PM: Commissioner Persichilli says the hospitals in northern New Jersey have probably seen the peak of the outbreak but the hospitals in central and southern New Jersey probably have not; "And it's coming."

1:56 PM: Gov. Murphy: Nothing new to report on lifting the ban on self-serve gasoline (reporter said some gas station owners sent the governor a letter asking for the ban to be temporarily lifted).

1:53 PM: Gov. Murphy says he believes that children and educators will probably need to wear face coverings/masks when schools finally do open; he says this is his opinion and not a mandate at this time; schools are remote until at least May 15; no decision has been made beyond that but he believes schools will likely remain closed beyond that date.

1:41 PM: Gov. Murphy: We will need to do widespread testing and contact tracing in order to turn that dimmer up on that light switch.

1:37 PM: Col. Patrick Callahan, NJSP superintendent: Compliance with the executive orders has been very good statewide with relatively few outliers; A car wash was cited for an executive order violation; Newark police issued 90 EO violations and closed 7 businesses; Elizabeth police issued 7 EO violations to people who had been warned to disperse.

1:28 PM: Commissioner Persichilli: 1,961 patients are in critical care & intensive care; 81% are on ventilators, which is significantly down from a peak of 97% in the last week.

1:24 PM: New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli: 384 long-term care facilities are reporting confirmed COVID-19 cases; 9,094 cases and 1,530 deaths; public health surveyors are visiting several sites; 111 long-term care facilities are no longer admitting residents because they cannot safely cohort COVID-19-positive residents with non-positive residents.

1:20 PM: Gov. Murphy: New Jersey has 70 sites where you can get a COVID-19 test; you must be exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness; see here for details:

1:16 PM: Gov. Murphy: The state has begun issuing emergency medical licenses to foreign-licensed physicians; this is being done through attorney general and Consumer Affairs Division.

1:14 PM: Gov. Murphy says a friend of his who is a restaurateur told him, "The virus closed the state, you justt organized it"; says that before the shutdown order came, very few people were coming to restaurants anyway because they were afraid. 

1:10 PM: Gov. Murphy: "I know social distancing is hard. I know it's not fun. I know it's going to be a few more weeks, at least. If you want to be mad at me, go ahead. But, my number one goal – my entire focus – is on defeating this virus and getting our state back to where we can reopen."

1:03 PM: Gov. Murphy: 3,250 new confirmed cases brings state total to 78,467; 323 more people have died, bringing the toll to 3,840; here are some of their stories:

1:02 PM: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy holds an update on the state's response to the coronavirus crisis | WATCH LIVE:

12:54 PM: Cuomo asked what businesses will open first: We are not there yet. Where, what or when. That's what we have to work on.

Gov. Cuomo ends briefing.

12:48 PM: Cuomo asked about opening parts of upstate New York before New York City: If parts of the state are in a better situation than other parts of the state, can they reopen sooner? I think they can. How do you do it without competing with the other parts of the state? Now it starts to get tricky. That has to be though through. We are still in the midst of a public health crisis. Can we bring up the Peter Navarro, CDC Director memo that the President said he never saw. These were his projections. You know that show the President did, fire them? Fire them all. The head of the CDC and the coronavirus task force.

12:26 PM: Cuomo asked about the President's tweet saying he was complaining If he is sitting at home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work. Second, let's keep emotion and politics out of this. About 800 people have gone through Javits. We didn't used 2500 beds because we didn't reach capacity. If he didn't believe 2500 beds was necessary I don't believe the federal government would have built 2500. We relied on your projections, Mr. President. Were we wrong to rely on your projections? I don't need the President of the United States to tell me I'm governor. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, gave me the power. Now he says it's up to the governors to reopen. And you don't want to help on testing. I need a stockpile? Where is your stockpile? Your projections said they would need double the hospital capacity of this nation. The CDC said double the hospital capacity . The minimum capacity was 2.4 million hospital beds. The whole hospital system is only 900,000. You were ready with your own stockpile? Thank you, again, Mr. President for the Javits, the USNS Comfort, which is really your job. We need help on testing and we need funding. It's up to the governors, it's up to the states, then provide the funding.  Then you're going to say no help, financial money. Why don't you show the same consideration to states as you did to the airlines and your big businesses. He said it's up to the governors. All he is doing is walking in front of the parade and he had nothing to do with the parade. Thank you for participating in a modicum in a national emergency. If you don't agree with your projections, fire your head of the CDC and fire your task force, they came up with the projections.  On March 13 the CDC said 2.4 million cases with 21 million Americans hospitalized. So it's two and a half times what your capacity is. 

12:25 PM: Cuomo asked about the COVID tracker on the website and the number of nursing home fatalities. State official says it will be updated today.

12:18 PM: Cuomo asked about Mayor de Blasio shutting pools and possibly beaches: These decisions are all interconnected. You open your schools as one district then what does it do to the next door district? Same thing with beaches. My people are going to your beaches - two counties, let's say. Now we have a problem. We have to coordinate as a state. So what you want to do with your park normally is up to you but in an emergency what you do with your park is going to affect what everyone else does with their parks. Connecticut just called today with marinas. We are flooding their marinas with our people. They want to know on marina openings, we should have the same policy.

12:18 PM: Cuomo asked about aiding state farmers We are looking into that. I am open to that. 

12:16 PM: Cuomo asked about trade offices across the state and China: We do have people who represent the state in China. It was a lesson. You need face shields? They're made in China. You need ventilators? They're made in China. How? How?  You have the federal government going to China. 

12:10 PM: Cuomo asked why it's taken so long for the public to learn about outbreaks at nursing homes: We've been talking about nursing home almost every day for 30 days. That's how this country was introduced to it. We've said our most vulnerable population is seniors and our most vulnerable place is nursing homes. We've taken radical measures at nursing homes- no visitors. These are people who live for visitors. Staff testing, cleanliness procedures. The virus is very good at killing older people and people with compromised immune systems. We need tests of healthcare workers. Test all the residents, that would be ideal but we don't have all that testing.

12:05 PM: Cuomo asked about rolling back ppe The CDC reduced the ppe. They went to crisis guidelines. You take all these numbers with a grain a salt. You can have a second wave. Are we at a point that we are immediately in danger of exceeding hospital capacity? No. 

12:05 PM: Cuomo: 0.9 and 1.2 .. you have many states where you have minimus.. we are up to .9.. we are right at the line of a possible outbreak. We've gotten that down to 0 .9.

11:59 AM: Cuomo asked about additional federal funding to open the economy. How much? The National Governors Association we have publicly requested $500 billion for the states. The allocation should be proportionate to the need. 

11:55 AM: Cuomo: Do we need to drive into work every day? Can we telecommute more? It's a moment of personal reflection. I've spent a lot of time with my kids, 22 and 25, twins. Now I got time to sit with them and really have in-depth conversations that I haven't had in a long time. One of the things, I've learned is I've been missing a lot. They have complex lives and complex feelings. You don't get to appreciate that when you say, how are you? what do you need? I was busy. That was my defense. Take a deeper reflection on what's important in life. You can't have a quality relationship unless you take the time. You know how many times I've told my mom I would come over for a cup of coffee and then I call back and say I can't. It made me realize I had been missing a lot. I've learned a lot on a personal level.

11:50 AM: Cuomo: When we look back we'll say that all sorts of reforms and innovations happened. You have an opportunity to make changes. There are so many lessons to learn. Then you come back better than you were. After 9/11, we learned from it. 9/11 transformed the country. We went through Hurrican Sandy, you build back better than before. You improve society. We have to do that here. Look at what we learned about the public health system, there is no public health system capacity. There was no emergency capacity. Why not? How do you improve the public health system? Now let's learn and how are we going to be ready. There will be another. There will be something and we have to be ready and better for it.

11:47 AM: Cuomo: We have to stabilize the financial state. When you starve the state governments, we can't fund small businesses and the extraordinary efforts we're taking. Reopening is up to the states. But then don't give the states this massive undertaking and not give them any resources to do it. That's not how this is going to work.

11:47 AM: Cuomo: The tests need certain re-agents. They need to get the chemicals. The chemicals come out of China. Like everything from the past 40 days. China is being asked globally for these re-agent chemicals. That's a part I can't figure out. I'm going to issue an executive order that the Dept. of Health will be coordinating these private-sector labs to work together. But the federal government cannot wipe their hands of this. The federal government is also testing. So we end up in this bizarre state again. We need a coordinated approach.

11:42 AM: Cuomo: We don't have a testing system that can do this volume. Our private sector testing capacity is minimus also. That system does not do large scale, COVID testing. It's a complicated test and its expensive. This is where we were with the hospitals. We came up with surge and flex. We started seeing these much higher numbers. Downstate you only have 15 public hospitals. We had to get those private hospitals to work with the state. How do we get 300 private labs and hospitals to become one system statewide to do testing for COVID? 

11:38 AM: Cuomo: This has all been crisis response. That is all phase one. Drastic measures taken quickly. We're still in that phase because you still have 2,000 people coming in every day. You're not in crisis because you can control the beast but you can only control the beast because you're doing what you're doing. The second phase is un-pausing. We are moving into another phase. How do you plan the reopening? You have to develop a testing capacity that does not now exist. You test, trace, find other positives and isolate them.

11:35 AM: Cuomo: When will it end? It will be an incremental process. We also have a lot of work to do operationally in terms of the healthcare system and testings. The testing system is the guide post through this. It informs who can go back to work, isolate people. Testing is a totally new challenge.

11:32 AM: Cuomo: Total hospitalizations ticked down. Total hospitalizations net change is on the decline. On the three day average, it says the same. The ICU admissions is down. The number of intubations is down and that is very good news. Number of new cases that walked in the door is still about 2,000 per day. That's still very high. It's hovered at about the same rate. It peaked but 2,000 is very high. Number of deaths- 630. That is still breathtaking in its pain and grief and tragedy and basically flat again like many of the other numbers. 

11:31 AM: Gov. Andrew Cuomo updates the public on the coronavirus response in New York. Watch live at this link:

10:53 AM: De Blasio: The stimulus support will be crucial to getting back to normal. You are stepping up. Washington needs to step up with testing. That's the pathway to get back to normal. Thank you.

Mayor De Blasio ends news conference.

10:50 AM: De Blasio asked about budget cuts to student summer programming:  We are going to have discussions about distance learning. We will do whatever we can possibly do online. Let's imagine a scenario where we don't have cases anymore, that's a scenario where can talk about opening the beaches.

10:45 AM: De Blasio asked about report that 26 employees have died at Health and Hospitals and safety at beaches: We need to keep getting out more and more information. If we saw anything about children swimming in rivers we would address it. About beaches, we can put out a lot of law enforcement to protect it. 

10:42 AM: De Blasio asked about former Parks Cmsr. Adrian Benepe comment about closing city pools and the possibility of drownings by city kids who don't know how to swim taking to lakes and rivers: We don't see that and we have never seen our children swimming in city rivers in large numbers. I just don't buy it.

10:39 AM: De Blasio asked what he will do during heat waves this summer. Thank God it's April 17 and we have some time to plan. While we're dealing with one crisis, we can't take our eyes off another problem- heat waves. What will be important in discussion with our health care leaders, you could have a cooling center with social distancing rules. We didn't put the pools in the budge because we don't have the money to spend. It's a huge number of people crammed together. It's everything you don't want. The pools didn't make sense for a variety of reasons. We have to have a plan to prepare for a hot summer.

10:36 AM: De Blasio asked about Corey Johnson plan to close streets for social distancing. The important part is safety and health. I haven't seen the details. The proposal builds on plans in other places that if adopted wouldn't work here. Anything involving streets cannot put New Yorkers in danger. 

10:33 AM: De Blasio asked about the focus on low-income neighborhoods for testings, how soon will the test results come? What's the rationale about focusing on certain neighborhoods? You can test negative one day and test positive the next day. People travel all around the city. Why residents in other parts aren't as important to the city? Everything we're doing is for 8.6 million people. This is about aligning to things that are facts. We know specific neighborhoods are baring the brunt. It will help in a targeted fashion. If you are one of 6,000 individuals that is vulnerable it is very important to you.

10:28 AM: De Blasio asked that after calling 311 about food distribution system, the call went better. There was a language barrier issue for one family and no food at another location. How will you be addressing that? We will follow up immediately. The language issue should have been available long before the crisis. We will fix that immediately. My goal is to have people not on hold not even for a minute.

10:25 AM: De Blasio asked about June events and what the discussion is with the organizers. None of us knows yet. I will love it if we had sustained good news and progress so the day comes that we can open the beaches. Can I envision mass gatherings? I can't see it. I want to talk with event organizers. From what I hear so far, they don't feel confident that they can keep them safe.

10:25 AM: De Blasio takes questions from reporters.

10:22 AM: De Blasio: I am appealing to President Trump and Senate Leader McConnell, here is a chance to do something heroic. All of you like to praise our healthcare workers and first responders, don't just praise, actually help them. The nation's economy doesn't restart without New York City. Morally, you should make sure that stimulus 3.5 includes the money to make New York City whole.

10:19 AM: De Blasio: Many thanks to Delta, Southwest, Harry's and Target for free flights, goods, ppe and donations. Peloton, Americares and inMotion Entertainment, thank you. Open Society Foundations and George Soros, for $35 million to NYC.

10:15 AM: De Blasio: Daily number of people admitted to the hospital is down (two-day lag) 329 down from 386. The daily number of people in ICU in public hospitals went down from 874 to 887. The number of people who tested positive at city hospitals went down from 46 percent from 55 percent. The only increase was of positive cases at public health labs- 82 percent up from 78 percent .

10:08 AM: De Blasio: We need those calls to 311 to target any problem about gatherings on the street, park or subways.   Calls to 311 have increased from an average of 55,000 daily up to 200,000 per day. Special thanks to Juliet Pappa from 1010 WINS who tested the 311 service and could not get through and raised the issue at my press conference yesterday. As a result, we are taking immediate steps. We are prioritizing for coronavirus. We are going to encourage people to go online for other non-COVID 19 calls. If you want food, you get an immediate response and clarity on when it will arrive. That will be the standard going forward. We also want to make sure calling in social distance violations go to 311 or Now you can take a photo and send it to 311-692. Put the address down. We are hiring 120 additional call center staff. 

10:07 AM: De Blasio: June will be here soon. There are huge events in that month. Those are things we will have to set a real high bar if we will continue. 

10:04 AM: De Blasio: Events in the city that had been permitted by the City through April have already been canceled. Non-essential, permitted city events for May have to be canceled. It's the smart thing to do to protect New Yorkers. Things like the Brooklyn Half Marathon, Summer Stage, we are canceling those events. Farmers Markets, medical sites, will be permitted. 

10:01 AM: De Blasio: For healthcare workers, essential workers, and New Yorkers who are 65 and older with pre-existing health conditions, five new test sites, one per borough, Brooklyn and Queens will open now for them. Staten Island, Manhattan and the Bronx will open Monday. Thank you to One Medical and 1199 SEIU

Call 1-888-ONE-MED1 or use code NYCCare30.

9:59 AM: De Blasio: 11,000 hotel rooms coming online immediately. Anyone who needs that quarantine and can't probably socially distance if they want to be in one of those hotel rooms, it's ready for them and  it's free.

9:55 AM: De Blasio: The community based testing sites opening today are: Gotham Health in East New York, Brooklyn and Gotham Health in Morrisania in the Bronx and the Vanderbilt Health Center on Staten Island. Sydenham Family Health Center in Harlem and Queens Hospital open Monday. These test sites will be walk-in sites and based on serving people who meet the criteria. Call 311 to make an appointment. There will be 2,500 tests per week, initially. 

9:52 AM: De Blasio: I want to give you updates on how community-based testing will begin. Imagine we could give a test at any given moment to anyone. That's what we have to get. This community-based testing will help us out a lot. Folks in the lowest income communities. People of color. Immigrant communities. Folks who are older and folks who have pre-existing conditions. That's where we want to make sure the testing goes to first.

9:51 AM: De Blasio: There is no way to get back to normal without a huge amount of testing. We're taking matters into our own hands. We still need help from the federal government.

9:50 AM: De Blasio: Everyone wants their freedom back. I want to remind everyone we have to get out of widespread transmission of this disease. And sticking with the things that are working. To get back to normal, have have to move steadily and carefully and not create a boomerang effect.

9:49 AM: Mayor Bill de Blasio updates the public on the coronavirus response in New York City. Watch LIVE at this LINK:

9:08 AM: From the NYC Office of Emergency Management: Healthcare workers: If you need a place to stay to reduce the spread of COVID-19, visit to reserve a free hotel room.

8:51 AM: Some Americans expressed concern that the Internal Revenue Service mistakenly sent their stimulus check deposits to the wrong bank account. The Treasury Department and the IRS launched the "Get My Payment" tool that allowed people to track their payout. About 80 million people were expected to receive the deposit by Wednesday, the Treasury Department said.


8:40 AM: New York State & New York City Statistics:

New York State: 223,691 cases; 14,832 deaths

New York City: 123,146 cases; 11,477 deaths

— Queens: 37,918 cases

— Brooklyn: 33,521 cases

— Bronx: 25,932 cases

— Manhattan: 17,091 cases

— Staten Island: 8,684 cases

A total of 550,579 individuals have been tested for Coronavirus in New York State.

8:22 AM: A Smyrna, Georgia restaurant owner has been making great sacrifices to stay open. She even sold her car so she could pay her employees.


8:16 AM: Nassau County Executive Laura Curran tells Good Day New York that for 10 days straight the number of people entering the hospital in the county for COVID-19 symptoms is lower than the number of patients leaving the hospital.

7:35 AM: Westchester County Executive George Latimer tells Good Day New York that there have been 20,000 positive cases; 10,000 active. For every 3 tests, 2 people are testing negative.

7:30 AM: Two new testing sites open today in Westchester County. Both are by appointment only. They are the St. John's Riverside Hospital Pakrcare Pavilion in Yonkers.  You must live in zip code 10701. And, the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center is a walk-through facility. Call 888-364-3065.

7:15 AM: U.S. stock futures are signaling a strong start to Friday's session adding to the momentum seen on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average are up more than 700 points or 3 percent while the S&P 500 was higher by nearly 3 percent and the Nasdaq Composite 2 percent.


7:00 AM: Watch Good Day New York at this link:

5:11 AM: The latest statistics for NY and NYC:

5:08 AM: Kim Sill is the founder of Shelter Hope Pet Shop, a nonprofit, where she finds homes for dogs and cats to get them out of shelters. Since the pandemic, she's started delivering free essential items and pet food to people who foster her dogs, healthcare workers, seniors, and people in need. 


(APRIL 16, 2020 BLOG)