“Our actions today determine the rate of infection tomorrow, so as the Labor Day weekend continues, I urge everyone to be smart so we don’t see a spike in the weeks ahead,” he said in a statement.
New York once reported startling numbers of new infections and deaths at the outset of the virus; it reported more than 11,500 new cases in a single day in May and more than 1,200 deaths in a day in April, according to Washington Post data.
As of Sunday, New York reported 720 new infections, four deaths and 410 hospitalizations — another low since mid-March — related to the virus.
New York has more than 439,000 confirmed virus cases and over 30,000 deaths, according to Washington Post data, and it has seen its entire region enter Phase 4 of reopening, which allows places of higher education, gyms and malls to reopen for education and business.
The push forward has not been completely smooth, with Cuomo sending out a “SWAT” team focused on testing to Oneonta in Otsego County after a cluster of infections started on the State University of New York Oneonta campus, closing in-person instruction for two weeks.
A total of 91 positive cases were identified, for a positivity rate of 4.6 percent from three testing sites, according to the governor’s office.
Testers discovered that cases appeared to be connected to the ongoing spread among college students, with 85 of the 91 cases being among people ages 18 to 24.
Other colleges and universities across the country have also been grappling with how to hold a fall semester during an active global pandemic.
On Monday, President Trump said that his administration will end the pandemic through Operation Warp Speed, which seeks to produce a vaccine in record time, though his stated timeline clashes with that described by experts in his administration. “This could’ve taken two or three years, and instead it’s going to be done in a very short period of time. [We] could even have it during the month of October,” he said, criticizing his political rivals Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.). “The vaccine will be very safe and very effective and it’ll be delivered very soon. You could have a very big surprise coming up.”
The lead scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed told NPR that a vaccine for the virus was “possible but very unlikely” to be available by October or November. Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb told “Face the Nation” on Sunday that a vaccine for widespread use is likely to be a 2021 event. If a vaccine was created before the end of 2020, it would probably be used for targeted populations, such as health-care workers and nursing home residents, according to Gottlieb. The country could see the end of the more acute phase of the virus because more people are likely to be infected between now and then, he said.
Here are some other significant developments:
- Labor Day celebrations are bringing a new set of concerns about case surges, according to Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. He told “Good Morning America” on Monday that the country is heading into the holiday with about 40,000 cases per day, which is about double that of the Memorial Day weekend. “The summer was supposed to be our reprieve. It was supposed to be sort of the time when we got a break for the virus,” he said. “I am very worried that if we don’t take these precautions seriously, we’re going to go into the fall with school and colleges opening with a lot more cases, and it’s going to be much more difficult to navigate and get through.” Jha advised against large indoor gatherings such as bars and crowded indoor dining.
- Beginning Monday, California’s Employment Development Department will send $900 supplemental unemployment to about 3.1 million unemployed workers who have been struggling with the economic impact of the novel coronavirus, the Los Angeles Times reported. Those who are eligible to receive the benefit have been receiving $100 in weekly unemployment benefits from the state and have verified that they were without work because of reasons stemming from the virus, the paper reported. About 192,000 unemployed workers who have been receiving a benefit less than $100 will not be eligible for the new payment based on federal government guidelines, researchers at the California Policy Lab confirmed with the paper.
- West Virginia University suspended 29 students for coronavirus-related violations. A member of the Theta Chi fraternity, which is not recognized by the university, who had tested positive and was instructed to isolate attended a party at the fraternity house on Friday even though all residents of the fraternity house had been told to isolate or quarantine because of close contact. All 29 students have been banned from campus and online courses. “Immediate interim suspensions are used when we determine a student presents a safety risk to campus,” Dean of Students Corey Farris said. “We know that these parties act as super-spreaders. Their flagrant disregard for the health and safety of their classmates, our campus and the entire Morgantown community will not be tolerated.” The school is also investigating another unrecognized fraternity for another large party.
- India is now the second-hardest-hit country with the novel coronavirus, BBC reported. The South Asian country replaced Brazil as the second-most-affected country behind the United States. India’s total number of confirmed cases has shot over 4.2 million compared with the United States’ 6.2 million, according to Washington Post data. The growing number of cases follows government reopenings aimed at stimulating the economy and more testing capability, BBC reported.
- A handful of European countries, such as the United Kingdom, Spain and France, are seeing an alarming rise in new cases, sparking unease about a possible second wave. The United Kingdom reported 2,988 cases on Sunday, a significant increase since May, Reuters reported. Spain became the first European country to record 500,000 infections as its case counts continue to climb, according to the Guardian. France hit a record number of coronavirus cases on Friday by reporting nearly 9,000 cases, and then more than 7,000 cases on Sunday, France 24 reported. Deaths from the virus have increased by 3 percent, according to the outlet.
Derek Hawkins and Marisa Iati contributed to this report.