The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. surpassed 60,000, led by a continued surge of infections in New York State, as plans are underway to close some streets in New York City to cars and to close parks and playgrounds to contain the new coronavirus.
As an order requiring most New Yorkers to stay home from work and not gather in groups outside their families is in effect, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called to ban cars from New York City so that people could have a walk.
Cuomo told a press conference Wednesday these new measures may be implemented to help city residents socially distance themselves from each other.
During the conference, the Democratic governor acknowledged that social distancing “may be working,” citing a slowdown in coronavirus hospitalization rates.
“People want to walk. They want to go out and get some air. You want a less dense area, so pilot closing streets to cars, opening streets to pedestrians,” he explained. Reducing the density of people in a single public area can aid social distancing efforts.
Cuomo also expressed concern over the Senate stimulus bill that would allocate $2 trillion in relief for businesses, state governments and individuals. Of this sum, New York state would reportedly receive $3.8 billion, leaving a $15 billion deficit.
Alternatively, the House bill would give the state $17 billion.
As of Tuesday morning, New York state alone recorded 25,395 confirmed cases with 271 deaths, according to media reports.
The US has the third highest number of confirmed cases after China and Italy. The World Health Organization had earlier warned that the US has the potential to become a new epicenter of the novel coronavirus.
Meanwhile, US health experts have sharply rebuked the Trump administration for initially downplaying the crisis and lagging behind in testing efforts.
According to a report by the Guardian on Wednesday, Trump has privately asked some of the US allies in Europe and Asia, including South Korea, to help the country overcome the shortages caused by coronavirus spread.
Trump had previously assured that his administration would not rely on foreign nations for help in fight against coronavirus.