The latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic for April 29, 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.

10:52 PM: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered the MTA to clean its fleet of subway cars every night, as the system’s homeless population has soared in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

10:29 PM: Oprah will be the commencement speaker and Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X and Simone Biles will offer words of wisdom to the Class of 2020 in a multi-hour graduation streaming event on Facebook and Instagram on May 15.

10:03 PM: The Baseball Hall of Fame announced Wednesday that it has canceled the July 26 induction ceremony because of the coronavirus pandemic.

9:40 PM: Two California doctors who made headlines for downplaying the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, calling for an end to social distancing orders, have been called out by medical experts for spreading misinformation. 

9:18 PM: According to the NYPD, as of April 29, 2,767 uniformed members of the force are out sick, accounting for 7.7 percent of its uniformed workforce, down from a high of 19.8 percent. So far, 4,959 members of the NYPD have tested positive for coronavirus. 

3,958 members of the NYPD have returned to work full-duty after a positive coronavirus test. 745 uniformed members and 219 civilian members are still out sick with coronavirus. 

37 members of the NYPD have died due to coronavirus-related illnesses.

8:48 PM: As cities and states prepare to reopen parts of their economies, data suggests that many Americans have already begun social distancing less.

8:12 PM: President Donald Trump said Wednesday the federal government will not be extending its coronavirus social distancing guidelines once they expire Thursday, and his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, predicted that by July the country will be “really rocking again.”

7:54 PM: Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont says the newest COVID-19 cases are appearing in densely packed neighborhoods in Hartford and Bridgeport; these communities will be prioritized for testing. 

7:24 PM: The Federal Bureau of Prisons has tested 2,700 people systemwide; 2,000 tests were positive.

7:20 PM: Roughly half of all laid-off workers in the United States could reportedly make more money in unemployment benefits than they did at their job prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

6:50 PM: The number of of people who have died from the novel coronavirus in the United States surpassed 60,000 on Wednesday, April 29, based on the most recent data available from Johns Hopkins’ Coronavirus Resource Center.

6:15 PM: Haunting images of an empty Times Square and the daily accounting of hundreds of fatalities in New York City have reinforced the idea of the coronavirus as an urban contagion. That may obscure the fact that statistically, you may be more likely to have the virus if you live in the suburbs.

6:02 PM: The Baseball Hall of Fame cancels its 2020 induction ceremony, which was set for July in Cooperstown, N.Y.; Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons, and the late Marvin Miller will instead be honored on July 25, 2021, along with whoever might be elected this winter.

5:40 PM: Across New York City, the coronavirus pandemic has upended almost everyone’s lives. But the arts community — the dancers, actors, visual artists and designers, who never made much income to start with — is especially suffering, imperiling New York City as a creative capital.

4:59 PM: Experts from Texas A&M are studying which household materials make the most effective filters for face masks amid the coronavirus outbreak

2:07 PM: Murphy: Thank you, everybody. I lived in Germany twice, I think the people who use the word 'fascist' should be very careful with the words they use. We are up here trying to save lives. That's the exact opposite of what that word means. Parks- state and county-opening this Saturday. Enjoy some fresh air. Please stay away from each other. The golf protocols are many. Please read them. Hoepfully it will be one of many to come in NJ.

1:55 PM: Murphy asked what he's hoping to hear from his newly appointed commission. 

Murphy: I am looking for wisdom and counsel. We don't see a light switch, we see more like a dimmer switch getting turned on. We are not close to having all the answers. 

1:50 PM: Can you expect abrupt change on parks. How will social distancing be enforced? Who is paying the commission? What charges are being handed to protest organizer.

Murphy: None of this abrupt. We are constantly looking at it. The mental health argument did play into this. The positivity rate is coming down for the past 7 or ten days. We are prepared to trust you by saying we are opening these up. It will be enforced by state park police and at the county level. NJSP will be out. If we see congregation of people, we will reconsider. The members of the commission are not paid.

NJSP Col. Callahan: It's a violation of the executive order that went through the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office. Executive orders don't prohibit your right to protest but they are clear on the ban on gatherings. We're doing it with public safety and public health at the forefront.

1:46 PM: Murphy asked about testing in prisons. Schools reopening?

Murphy: Nothing new on schools. My gut tells me regardless of which way we go we will beat that by a number of days as to when we will be announcing. 

State official: 54 inmates have been released; 24 are scheduled for release. Testing plans are being rolled out.  

1:43 PM: Murphy asked about the head of the veterans homes no longer in the job. Did he resign?

Murphy: To the best of my knowledge, he resigned. I've got no more color on that. The VA is in Paramus in a big way. They are there to be our eyes and ears and to plus-up the staffing. 

Persichilli: When we talked with them , they are assessing leadership and the training and looking at all sanitation processes, not just Paramus but Menlo Park.

1:39 PM: Murphy asked if parks opening is a sign of what to expect to beaches opening. Also, unemployment benefits backlog plan? President Trump said we want sanctuary city adjustments, what's your reaction?

Murphy: Let's see how the parks go. No decision on beaches. We only control Island Beach State Park. 

About unemployment claims, the Dept. of Labor has chopped through the backlog. 

I don't really have any reaction to the Presiden'ts statement. We are in need of money. It's a conversation I hope to have sooner rather than later with the President.

1:36 PM: NJSP Col. Pat Callahan: Charges have been authorized against the organizer of yesterday's protest.

1:35 PM: Murphy: The top counties are Bergen, Hudson, Essex, Union, Passaic and Middlesex. If you look at the new cases they are from Passaic, Middlesex and Essex.

1:32 PM: Persichilli: Last evening, only two hospitals went on divert. We are reporting 2,481 new cases. There have been 329 new deaths. The racial breakdown of positive cases is White: 52.3 percent; Black: 20.1 percent; Hispanic 16.9 percent; Asian 5.1 percent; and other 5.5 percent. 

1:30 PM: Judith Persichilli, State Health Commissioner: We are getting reports that people are delaying seeking care in emergency rooms. Get medical treatment if you have any symptoms. I can assure you that our hospitals and our emergency rooms are safe and are waiting and ready to care for you. They are always available to everyone. 

1:29 PM: Murphy: Please enjoy the parks but be responsible. 

1:26 PM: Murphy: Rumson-Fair Haven senior Bobby Hoye ran a marathon on his treadmill. He asked for donations to support Jersey Shore Hospital. He raised more than $6,000. New Jersey thanks you. I have to give a shout out to Nanina's in the Park. Pulling their resources together they have been catering more than 2,000 meals to local hospitals and police. Thank you. If you have a story, let us know. use #NJThanksYou

1:23 PM: Murphy: For information on testing sites, go to COVID19.NJ.GOV/Testing

1:22 PM: Murphy: 21 million pieces of PPE have been distributed statewide. We are sending 50 ventilators to Boston. We are sending 2,000 surgical masks to New York State. 

1:21 PM: Murphy: If you receive Supplemental Security Income, go to for more information on the $500 from the stimulus for children. 

1:20 PM: Murphy: Recipients of the first round of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments will be notified by the Dept of Labor.

1:19 PM: Murphy: I am signing an executive order allowing petitions or referendums to be signed electronically. No one should be going door-to-door.

1:14 PM: Murphy: I'm signing an executive order reopening our state parks and allowing golf courses to reopen. This will go into effect sunrise on May 2. County governments can decide whether to reopen county parks. Social distancing rules will be in effect. Parking will be capped at 50 percent of capacity at parks. Playgrounds, restrooms, picnic areas will be closed. Everyone wear a face covering. It is a strong recommendation. We reserve the right to mandate that. We will be looking closely. For passive recreation, running, hiking, biking, state parks will be open.

1:09 PM: Murphy asks everyone to take a brief moment of silence. Among those who have died are Dr. Arthur Freiman of Teaneck, NJAlso, Latasha Andrews. She lost other family members to COVID. Harvey Feldman, two weeks ago we remembered his wife. Last month, Harvey turned 91 years old.  Three more beautiful lives gone.

1:08 PM: Murphy: Today we are reporting a loss of an additional 329. We have lost 6,770 blessed souls from our New Jersey family. That's more than NJ lost in many wars, 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy combined.

1:07 PM: Murphy: 1,811 individuals are in ICU across the state. There are 1,327 on ventilators. 426 new hospitalizations yesterday. The NJ Hospital Association says that they have removed the dead from their count so there are 474 patients or 48 more than those who came in.

1:05 PM: Murphy: As of last night, 6289 patients hospitalized yesterday. We are seeing a downward curve in North Jersey and Central Jersey, but an increase in South Jersey.

1:03 PM: Murphy: 2,481 positive test results for a total statewide number of 116,264.

1:02 PM: NJ Gov. Phil Murphy holds coronavirus briefing. Watch at this link:

12:57 PM: Starbucks will reportedly begin reopening some stores with limited service in May — and anticipates reopening 90% of its company-owned U.S. locations by early June. The Seattle-based coffee giant temporarily closed about half of its U.S. stores due to the coronavirus pandemic. The reopening of stores will occur in “carefully planned stages,” Starbucks COO Rosalind Brewer said in a Tuesday earnings call, according to the trade publication Nation’s Restaurant News.


12:45 PM: New Jersey's parks and golf courses, which had been shuttered as the coronavirus pandemic crisis worsened, will reopen this weekend, according to the governor.


12:22 PM: Cuomo ends coronavirus briefing.

12:18 PM: Cuomo asked why Saratoga hospital being allowed elective surgeries but not Glenn Falls.

Malatras: They have to meet the criteria established by the state. Some of the individual hospitals don't meet those tests and some counties do not either. 

12:15 PM: Cuomo asked for a breakdown of who is still going to hospitals positive.

Jim Malatras, SUNY President: We know by region but not people's occupations.

12:11 PM: Cuomo asked about #ExtendTheLockdown is trending and if he is worried people will be fearful about going back to work.

Cuomo: Last week they were protesting that they wanted to go back to work. This week they are protesting because they don't want to go back to work. Welcome to America. I get both sides. Everybody is under stress. Mental health issues are way up. Domestic abuse is way up. These decisions we have to make based on the facts and not on emotions. I laid out yesterday 12 steps, the first plan we have seen on the number. You can open, if you don't increase hospital and infection rates.

12:09 PM: Cuomo asked about nursing homes and COVID patients.

Cuomo: A nursing home takes a COVID patient if they can adequately care for a COVID person. If they can't they transfer to a different facility or they call the Dept. of Health and we have COVID overflow facilities. It start with their determination, they have to say, they can't provide for this person. Nobody asks why. We'll take the person.

12:02 PM: Cuomo asked about the maintenance of subways by the MTA.

Cuomo: When people get into the train they need to know that it was disinfected the night before. 

How realistic is this?

Cuomo: It's realistic. We have been starting. You're going to have to get homeless people into shelters, that's a second operation. The MTA has been going back and forth with the NYPD for weeks and weeks. The MTA hired private security guards but all they can do is call 311 who calls police who aren't there in the first place. I don't care who is to blame. I just want to get it done. Just tell me what I need to do to get it done.

What should be done about homeless people?

Cuomo: I've been working on the homeless since I was 26 years old.  Mayor Dinkins, Mayor Giuliani, the federal government, they all implemented my plan. No one wants to sleep on a subway. You deserve a shelter that is safe and services that can help you improve your life.

12:01 PM: Cuomo unveils a 'self portrait of America.'

Cuomo: We received thousands of masks, uinsolicited, in the mail, homemade, creative, personal with beautiful notes, just saying thinking about you, we care, we love you, we want to help. A little bit more of this and less of the partisanship and this country would be a better place.

11:48 AM: Cuomo: This is not turning into a political brawl on state and local funding. They are lead by Senator Mitch McConnell who leads the Senate. 'No blue state bailout,' he says. Senator Scott from Florida says 'we're supposed to go bail them out?' What an ugly sentiment. The facts damn everything they are saying. But there are facts. New York State bails them out every year. They're not bailing us out. NYS pays $29 billion into federal pot MORE every year that we never get back. They (Kentucky) take out $37 billion every year than they pay to the federal government. Who is bailing out whom? Senator Scott, Florida, you take out $30 billion more than you pay in. How dare they when those are the facts? How long are you going to play the American people like they're stupid. Flyovers are nice but how about actually paying them with hazard pay and with childcare?

11:47 AM: Cuomo: Some crime is up in the subways. I don't even understand how that is possible mathematically. I told the MTA I want a plan on how we disinfect every train, every single night.

11:47 AM: Cuomo: We will be doing antibody testing of transit workers to further determine spread amount our frontline workers.

11:43 PM: Cuomo: I will do an executive order today for the counties where elective surgeries can begin.

11:40 AM: Cuomo: We should keep an eye on Singapore, learn from Germany where there are increases reported.

11:37 AM: Cuomo: Hospitalization rate ticks down. Net change down. That's good news. Intubations down. COVID hospitalizations new ones per day is just about flat, actually up a tick. That's not good news. What we are watching now is how fast the decline. How low does it go? We want to see that in the low 100s. Death rate, terrible news, 330 (April 28). The decline is slow at best and still disgustingly high. We are not out of the woods yet.

11:36 AM: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a briefing on the coronavirus in NY State. Watch LIVE:

11:13 AM: De Blasio asked if you are asymptomatic should you still seek out testing. Also, what concerns does the city have on testing and tracing on undocumented.

De Blasio: For the undocumented, we have gone out of our way to protect them. We go out of our way to make sure records are not kept that could be problematic.

Our message to people is getting tested is important. What will change is when we go to a huge test and trace approach. 

Dr. Barbot: Antibody testing and testing for infection are put together but they need to be teased apart. 

Dr. Wei: There is a benefit to the antibody test to know if you have been exposed but we don't know how much immunity there is so people should not relax their ppe or social distancing.We will not be asking immigration status at H&H. We care about your health.

11:08 AM: PC Shea asked what police will be doing going forward for gatherings. For Dr. Barbot, can you explain absence of evidence, and evidence of absence?

Dr. Barbot: Absence of evidence means that there are not a good amount of studies that have documented evidence one way or another. Evidence of absence meaning that studies were done and confirmed that there is no current association of the particular question in mind. But future studies may find a finding.

PC Shea: We are two months into this pandemic, if you look at how we as a police department have policed, I think we have done a good job working with people. We've empowered officers to use discretion. 

11:04 AM: De Blasio asked about children experiencing inflammatory symptoms. What are you seeing big picture? Is that something you want your health department tracking? What else do you know about this condition?

De Blasio: We have to be vigilant all the time. 

Dr. Oxiris Barbot: Every day we learn more and more about how this virus behaves. To date, we have not heard of ways in which the coronavirus has been affecting children's cardiovascular system.  We meet with through webinar with infectious disease specialists. We have not seen this to date. 

Dr. Wei: We are not seeing lots of children testing positive but we are aware of the news and literature about inflammatory changes, Kawasaki disease.

11:01 AM: De Blasio asked about mental health of children.

De Blasio: The First Lady and the Chancellor are taking a lot of initiatives from Thrive and apply them with the kids remotely and for the planning for September.  IN the not too distant future, you will hear plans to address mental health needs of kids and definitely when it gets closer to school.

McCray: Teachers are being trained in social/emotional learning so they can continue to work with children online. 

10:55 AM: De Blasio asked about Gateway National Recreation Area in Brooklyn. The MTA has parked idled buses at Floyd Bennet Field. It's not closed to the public and cut off people from community gardens. Also, he was asked about city beaches and approved recreation space.

De Blasio: I'm not happy hearing about Floyd Bennet Field. We will get back to you. People do need access to recreation and community gardens. I don't understand why with so much less service it would be necessary to knock out those opportunities to people.

On the beaches, we don't know what that will be like. Later on in the summer, we might get the opportunity. I could see a scenario where we do social distancing, but that won't be easy. That won't be easy to enforce. We'd have to be certain we had turned a corner on the disease. 

10:53 AM: De Blasio asked if the BQX project will move forward. Also, if the First Lady will need to give him a haircut.

De Blasio: This has been a topic at home. It's getting a little much. We will have to figure out a new approach. Something like the BQX is going to be looked at like all the other initiatives. Today it will be discussed in the budget process. 

10:52 AM: First Lady Chirlane McCray: I would remind you that the primary task of this group is to make recommendations. It's a position that requires the ability to listen well. I am a volunteer. I have a very committed approach to this. I have been a mental health champion from the beginning of this administration. 

10:46 AM: De Blasio: We will have to shut down some subway stations for a deep cleaning. It will change the pattern that a homeless individual could ride a subway back and forth. What we are seeing here is a real problem. Nothing has changed. There are fewer people riding the subway so the homeless people are standing out more. It's a clarion call to get them to shelter.  

10:39 AM: De Blasio asked about how involved police were in the planning of the gathering in Williamsburg and what kind of summonses were issued. 

De Blasio: You cannot gather in houses of worship or a living room. We have been talking about this.  The next gathering will be met with summons and arrests not warnings.

10:33 AM: De Blasio asked if he will apologize to Hasidic community for singling them out. Also, asked about directing medical examiners to extend hours.

De Blasio: Our team will follow up on the medical examiner. I spoke last night out of passion. I could not believe my eyes. This is a community I have spent a lot of time working with closely. If you saw anger and frustration, you are right. I regret if the way I said it in any way gave people the feeling they were treated the wrong way. It was said with love. To all those who say this is like gathering in the park, it was not. It was thousands of people. I will also not tolerate any anti-Semitism anywhere. My message was to all communities. What I saw I had not seen anywhere else. People were put in danger last night. If I see it in any other community, I will call it out equally. I'm sorry about that.

PC Shea: There were thousands of people crowded on one block. There were two funerals last week for members of the NYPD, we would normally have thousands turn out, we had a handful. Regarding the crossing guards, we are still praying for members in the hospital, but we are on the road back. We are very cautious about how we use those crossing guards and in what capacities.

10:29 AM: De Blasio asked why can't people play tennis? Why can't you regulate the amount of people who can visit city pools in the summer? Or regulate the traffic going into city beaches? 

De Blasio: There will be no large gatherings of any kind, anywhere. We are working on this all the time and how we are going to address the warm weather including opening up more spaces. The other piece of the equation is what we will afford to open. That's dependent on the stimulus package. We have to know we can manage them properly. 

10:23 AM: De Blasio asked about the funeral that was broken up in Brooklyn and reports that it was coordinated with police.

De Blasio: I heard about this situation at about 6:30, 7 o'clock. I was very concerned. I understand when people are going through mourning they are in pain but you have to understand what it means to hold a large gathering in NYC today. People who went will get sick, they will spread the disease and people will die. I have a lot of love for the community. We have to do something different. We have to break out of whatever we thought was normal in the past because we are not in normal times. We are not allowing these gatherings in any community.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea: Make no mistake, this large gathering is putting members of my department at risk. It cannot happen. It will not happen. It will be immediately broken up and there will be consequences. A contingency plan was put into place. As the time unfolded last night, it was probably thousands of people, additional officers were called in. That crowd was dispersed. 12 summonses were issued including a few for a refusal to disperse. What happened last night simply cannot happen. We need community leaders to stand beside us. 

10:22 AM: De Blasio makes statement in Spanish.

10:21 AM: De Blasio: Call 888-NYC-WELL if you need mental help.

10:19 AM: De Blasio: The daily indicators. The 136 admitted to hospitals, that number went up. 734 in ICU, that number went down. Citywide there 23 percent who tested positive, that's down. Those in the public health lab who tested positive is 29 percent, that went down.

10:16 AM: De Blasio: There are other things we can start to bring back online and later in person. We know there are a lot of folks leading up to this crisis that were planning on getting married. Chirlane and I are coming up on our anniversary on May 14, 26 years. The good news is that cupid is coming to New York City. Project Cupid will allow New Yorkers to get married online starting next week and available in 11 different languages. Visit NYC.GOV/CUPID and CITYCLERK.NYC.GOV. Even in the face of a pandemic we are not going to let it change us.

10:13 AM: De Blasio: Let me talk about how we protect homeless New Yorkers. This week we will move 1,000 more homeless New Yorkers from congregate shelters to hotels.  1,000 more each week as the need indicates. We are also going to provide additional medical oversight to all homeless services sites. To constantly be vigilant what could be dangerous to New Yorkers. We will begin testing homeless New Yorkers at homeless services sites. The goal is to reach the entire shelter system by the middle of May.

10:11 AM: Mayor de Blasio announces antibody testing for more than 150,000 healthcare workers and frontline responders. Testing will be available at hospitals, firehouses, police stations and corrections facilities. The aim is to begin testing next week and done within one month. 

10:03 AM: McCray asks for a moment of silence in the memory of those frontline workers who have recently passed from COVID-19.

9:59 AM: NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray: Our front line workers have been pushed to the limit. How do these healers manage their stress? We are working with the Department of Defense that has brought together members of the Army, Navy and Air Force who are experts in mental health. The team will train others on combat stress management. This is a critical new piece of all that we are doing for frontline workers. The DOD trauma specialists will look at the entire hospital system and start with small groups from hospitals. We will also train more than 1,000 health and hospital personnel. The program will be fully in place by June. 

9:57 AM: De Blasio: NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will work with the military to lead the mental health initiative.

9:56 AM: ThriveNYC exists to break down the barriers to mental health. We also have specialized initiatives for our heroes. They were already dealing with challenges. Health & Hospitals: Helping Healers Heal program. It's a 24/7 helpline for doctors, nurses, and other health care workers. That number is 646-815-4150. FDNY support line at 212-570-1693. 

9:55 AM: De Blasio: We need the help of the military to make sense of this situation. 

9:50 AM: Mayor de Blasio talks about the mental and emotional toll the pandemic has had on New Yorkers.

9:48 AM: Mayor Bill de Blasio holds coronavirus briefing. Watch live:

8:52 AM: More U.S. cities are capping commission fees third-party delivery services charge restaurants, many of which are mom-and-pop small business owners. Seattle is the latest to forbid delivery services like Uber Eats, Grubhub, Postmates and DoorDash from charging more than 15 percent commission for take out orders to reduce the financial burden for restaurants during COVID-19, city officials said.


8:22 AM: Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted the Jewish community in Williamsburg following a large turnout for a rabbi's funeral during the coronavirus pandemic.


7:42 AM: The United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew tells Good Day New York that when students in New York City return to schools, they'll likely have staggered schedules. Mulgrew added that it was unlcear when students would be back in the classroom.

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

6:16 AM: The latest statistics regarding COVID-19 in NY and NJ:

5:49 AM: There is a medical breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus at Chicago's Uptown hospital. Using convalescent plasma, the hospital has successfully treated and released a patient who was struggling with COVID-19.


5:34 AM: In an effort to reduce the growing number of deaths in nursing homes as a result of COVID-19, one local doctor has opened up several assisted living facilities only for treating patients who have tested positive for the virus. “We’re the first in the county to do it,” said Dr. David Silver. “We can potentially prevent what’s going on in Seattle, New York, New Jersey, places like that, and maybe save hundreds if not thousands of lives.”