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Coronavirus apex is time to 'minimize' supermarket trips, experts say

Shopping trips should only be done if absolutely

Shopping trips should only be done if absolutely essential as New York faces the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts said.  Credit: Kendall Rodriguez

With the apex of the COVID-19 pandemic looming over New York in the coming days, experts are warning people to take even stronger measures to limit their exposure to the potentially deadly virus.

That means Long Islanders should think twice before making seemingly necessary trips to the supermarket this week.

“You shouldn’t be hoarding but you also shouldn’t be running in every day for a fresh container of milk and then the next day for some orange juice,” said Dr. Mark Jarrett, chief quality control officer for Northwell Health. “It is probably a good week to minimize it. If you have forgotten something, unless it’s a medication … you live without it for a week.”

There are more than 300,000 people confirmed to be infected with the virus across the U.S. and it has caused the death of more than 8,400 people. About half of those cases are in New York State, where over 122,000 have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 4,100 deaths are related to the disease.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Sunday there has been a shift to Long Island where the number of positive coronavirus cases continues to grow. It’s still not clear when the highest number of cases will occur and if those numbers will remain high for a while before decreasing.

“We could be either very near the apex or the apex could be a plateau and we could be on that plateau right now,” Cuomo said during his daily news briefing in Albany. “We won't know until you see the next few days.”

Federal officials also sounded alarms this weekend that challenging times are ahead.

“This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” That comes after Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator for the White House, called the next two weeks “extraordinarily important” during a briefing on Saturday.

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“This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe and that means everybody doing the six-feet distancing, washing their hands,” she said.

There was some good news in Cuomo’s daily briefing. The number of deaths and hospitalizations decreased Sunday over Saturday.

“I think we are at a point where we might be starting to see the great benefits of social distancing, but now more than ever the message must be to continue doing that so we maintain and further decrease the number of new cases,” said Dr. Aaron Glatt, chair of the department of medicine and the chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital. “If people let down their guard we will see a quick spike back up, which would be disastrous.”

Many Long Islanders picking up provisions at the Stop and Shop in Farmingdale said they needed to venture out for food and other necessities.

 “We don’t have a choice,” said Karin Patano of Farmingdale. “I have a 20-year-old, a 22-year-old (children) and my husband and my dog and we need to eat.”

Patano said while she has tried to use home delivery and drive-thrus, those options are not always available.

“Am I going to go shopping for clothes or furniture? No. But for food and the pharmacy, you need it,” she said.

“I don’t want to be out but you have to move too,” said Joe Yenalevitch of Farmingdale, who is recovering from recent back surgery. “I can’t even go to therapy. You have to go move your body. It’s not healthy to sit on your butt all day.”

With Steve Langford and AP

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