Statistics show no jump in cases following protests
Since May, thousands of protesters angered by George Floyd's death have taken to the streets across Long Island, from government buildings in Mineola and Hauppauge to the main thoroughfare in Bridgehampton.
Over the course of the month, health experts and governmental leaders expressed concern that the massing of people — often seen close together and sometimes not wearing masks — might add to the spread of COVID-19.
"If you were at a protest I would assume you're exposed," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in early June about large New York City demonstrations.
Those concerns have not been borne out on Long Island, where the numbers of new confirmed coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths all continued trending downward throughout June.
The number of new positives today, as of 3 p.m.: 57 in Nassau, 64 in Suffolk, 427 in New York City and 875 statewide.
The chart below shows the cumulative number of people who have been tested for the virus in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Search a map and view more charts showing the latest local trends in new cases, hospitalizations, deaths and more.
What's the plan for reopening NYC schools?
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that the city is preparing for a reopening of its schools, with all the precautions intended to keep the coronavirus at bay, though Cuomo's office said the mayor does not have the power to make that decision.
New York City public school officials are developing plans to return to in-person instruction starting in September — with mandatory social distancing, hand-washing stations, face masks and sanitizing, and deep, daily cleaning of buildings, de Blasio said Thursday.
"You’re going to see constant use of face coverings. They'll be provided for free for anyone who needs them — kids, adults alike," de Blasio said. "Everyone will be expected to wear face coverings. You'll see social distancing, that six-foot rule will be in effect."
However, a spokesperson for Cuomo said plans for schools still depend on what the governor decides.
"The state law governing schools and business closings or openings has been in effect since the pandemic first started and all such decisions are made by state government and not local government," Cuomo spokesperson Dani Lever said.
Gyms plan class-action suit over delayed opening
Local gyms and fitness studios are fighting back against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s decision to postpone their Phase 4 reopening, with one Long Island gym owner leading the charge with a class-action lawsuit that’s expected to represent thousands of plaintiffs, his lawyer said.
Charles Cassara, owner of SC Fitness, with locations in Hicksville and Farmingdale, said Cuomo’s decision negatively impacts small gyms that already have made preparations to reopen with Phase 4, which is scheduled on Long Island for July 8.
Additionally, with no reopening date in sight, owners are struggling with financial insecurity, lease decisions and lack of clarity with regard to their gyms’ futures.
“Phase 4 is here,” Cassara said. “There is no Phase 5. There is no layout, there is no guideline, there is no direction, there is no timeline, which basically means that after Phase 4, your authority rule — whatever we want to call it — should be given over. We should be given our opportunity to open.”
Food bank to launch delivery program for homebound
The Hempstead Town awarded Long Island food bank Island Harvest $2.1 million to create a new food delivery program for homebound seniors, veterans and quarantined families.
Town board members on Wednesday agreed to pay for the program using some of the $133 million in federal CARES Act funds the town received to cover pandemic-related costs. The town previously gave $2 million to Long Island Cares, the Island’s other major food bank.
The money will be used to purchase food and hire a staff of 22 to package and distribute the goods to families in need, officials said, adding that the demand on food distribution centers has jumped by 47%.
“There are still many people out there who don’t have the ability to get to these food banks,” Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin said. “This program is going to reach those people, along with senior centers and get organizations food.”
More to know
Visitors returned to the Nassau County Correctional Center on Wednesday, more than three months after officials suspended visitation, Sheriff James Dzurenda said.
An Island Park restaurant was issued an emergency suspension by the State Liquor Authority for multiple violations that include failing to comply with orders to stop the spread of the virus, officials said.
The United States and South Africa have both reported record new daily coronavirus infections, with U.S. figures surpassing 50,000 cases a day for the first time.
U.S. employers added a substantial 4.8 million jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1%.
Nassau sales tax revenues could be down by as much as $417 million this year and more than $601 million in 2021 if a second coronavirus shutdown comes, according to two new county reports.
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A COVID-19 survivor recounts his long battle. Scott Krakower, a child psychiatrist and addiction specialist at Northwell, tested positive in April, and he’s still not back to work.
On Episode 32 of the “Life Under Coronavirus” podcast, Krakower talks about his battle with the illness, including coughing for nearly two months, dreading the long nights and the terrible fear that he might get his young kids sick.
He’s on the mend and a long way from his spring hospital visit, but it has been an ordeal.
Listen to more episodes of the series.