NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City’s daily coronavirus infection rate has spiked above 3% for the first time in months.
“Obviously, everyone is concerned about that,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. “That is something we all have to work on together to address, and something that says to us we have to be on high alert to make sure we fight back this challenge.”
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De Blasio said the daily infection rate is 3.25%, but the seven-day rolling average is 1.38%.
Zip codes with rising infection rates:
- Gravesend/Homecrest (6.92% positivity rate)
- Midwood (5.64%)
- Edgemere/Far Rockaway (4.91%)
- Borough Park (6.23%)
- Bensonhurst/Mapleton (6.05%)
- Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay (4.05%)
- Flatlands/Midwood (4.73%)
- Kew Gardens Hills/Pomonok (3.60%)
“This is an inflection point. We have to take more action at this point, and more serious action,” he said. “We will be escalating with each day, depending on what we see happening on the ground and the test results we’re getting.”
Over the weekend, the city increased outreach, testing and enforcement in those neighborhoods. But after days of warnings and education, in some neighborhoods the rate of infection has continued to increase.
Many of the communities are home to large Orthodox Jewish populations, some of whom feel unfairly targeted. Local community leaders are very concerned.
“You must protect yourself, your family, your community. There is no excuse to being lax,” Jewish community leader Dov Hikind said. “People die if you do not do the right thing.”
CBS2’s Jessica Layton reports there appeared to be more people wearing masks in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Tuesday compared to Monday, but the governor says compliance needs to be 100%.
“I don’t care what your political opinion is. I don’t care what your religious opinion is. Mask wearing is a law,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
The governor says he plans to meet with religious leaders to discuss the clusters in Brooklyn, along with Rockland and Orange counties.
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Cuomo also said the new cases did not just happen out of nowhere.
“What happened in these clusters? There wasn’t compliance and the city didn’t enforce it,” Cuomo said.
De Blasio said Tuesday anyone not wearing a mask will be given one, and anyone who refuses to comply will be fined.
“If we do not see progress quickly, there are additional steps… If necessary, we will have to prohibit gatherings, except for very small gatherings. If necessary, we’ll have to close non-essential businesses. No one wants that to happen if it can be avoided,” he said. “It is a situation at this point that’s very serious, and we have to have all options on the table.”
Watch Aundrea Cline-Thomas’ report —
Last weekend the NYC Sheriff’s Department cracked down on a number of illegal gatherings and handed out masks.
As CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported, it’s part of a larger enforcement effort. The city set up new mobile testing areas and are sending more health officials into the hot spots for outreach.
“There will be 350 people on the ground today, including our Test and Trace Corps community engagement specialists. We have seven sound trucks around the cluster area and we’re making robocalls,” said Dr. Mitch Katz, president and CEO of Health + Hospitals.
The MTA is also cracking down, handing out masks and issuing summonses to those who refuse to cover their faces on mass transit.
New York City has come back from the brink and knows how to beat this virus. Now, it’s just a matter of everyone doing their part.
It’s important to note that the city is a long way away from herd immunity. That means that most people have not been infected by the virus, so precautions need to be taken every single day. Cuomo will be meeting with Orthodox Jewish leaders from across the state to discuss the rise in positive cases.
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