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New York City may soon compel most people to stay in their homes except in emergencies or when shopping for essentials, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday, but the state's governor, Andrew Cuomo, doubted it would work.
Any decision to issue the "shelter-in-place" order would likely be made in the next 48 hours, but even if imposed, it would likely still allow more than 8 million residents to make necessary trips out to buy food or medicine, the mayor said as the number of confirmed cases in the city rose to 814.
Cuomo, a Democrat like de Blasio, said he did not think sheltering in place would be effective. "I dont think you can really do a policy like that just in one part of the state. So I dont think it works," he told CNN.
"As a matter of fact, Im going so far that I dont even think you can do a statewide policy," Cuomo said.
New York, Washington state and California account for the bulk of confirmed U.S. cases of the highly contagious respiratory illness. There have been 13 deaths in New York state, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
Some 6.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay area have already been ordered to stay home for all but the most crucial outings until April 7.
New York City officials acknowledged on Tuesday they still did not have all the medical resources they were seeking and that they had been receiving protective equipment from the federal government that was past its expiry date.
The city has already asked New Yorkers to stay home when they can and has closed schools and limited bars and restaurants to takeout or delivery.
But if there is still not enough compliance, the city may soon enforce new rules restricting people to their homes unless they can prove they have a good reason to stay outside, Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell said in an interview.
A tally of mechanical ventilators found the city had far fewer of the life-saving machines than was thought, she said.
There are about 3,500 mechanical ventilators in the city's public and private hospitals, the tally found, not the 5,000 city officials including the mayor cited as recently as Tuesday afternoon.
In the most serious cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, patients need the machines in order to breathe. Public health officials fear there may not be enough to go around, forcing doctors to make life-and-death decisions.
"We're aggressively trying to buy ventilators right now," Criswell said.
'We've never been here before'
The city asked the federal government to send 2.2 million N95 respirator masks, which nurses and doctors place over their faces to prevent getting infected by the patients they treat, from the National Strategic Stockpile.
"We received 76,000," Criswell said. "And they were all expired." It was not clear wheRead More – Source