Large malls in New York will have to upgrade their air conditioning systems with filters that can remove the COVID-19 virus from the air before they will be allowed to reopen, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said today during a news conference in Manhattan.
“The COVID virus is 0.1 microns,” Cuomo said in describing the size of the virus. A human hair measures from 20 to 40 microns in size. “There are HEPA filters that can filter out 0.01, so any malls that will open in New York, large malls, we will make it mandatory that they have air filtration systems that can filter out the COVID virus.”
Cuomo said that in addition to requiring large malls to use upgraded filters in their air handling systems, the state would recommend that all businesses and offices explore installing filters that can trap the COVID-19 virus.
“We have been looking at this issue because we look around the country and you’re seeing malls, you’re seeing air conditioning systems, indoor spaces that have been problematic,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo showed off a model mountain made of Styrofoam that was designed to demonstrate how the number of COVID-19 cases built up in New York, reached a plateau and then made a slow decline.
Painted in various shades of green and gray to reflect rugged terrain, the mountain, which sat on a table behind Cuomo during his news conference, had the number 42 at the top to reflect the number of days it took for the coronavirus outbreak to peak in New York.
Cuomo again blasted the federal government for what he described as abandoning its responsibility in the fight against the virus and said it is time for President Trump to reverse his position on the use of masks.
“The president can do two things,” Cuomo said. “First, sign an executive order directing everyone to wear a mask. How is it we’re at this point as a nation and we still haven’t done the simple, easy, minimal step of saying you must wear a mask when you’re in public? The president doesn’t have to pass a piece of legislation, doesn’t have to call on the Congress, just sign an executive order saying ‘Wear a mask.’ Then let the president lead by example and let the president put a mask on because we know it works. We’ve proven that it works in the state of New York.”
Cuomo said that even though the White House has been saying it’s up to the states to handle the crisis, the president hasn’t really left it up to the states and has been pressuring them to reopen quickly.
“The denial by the federal government of the severity of this virus was followed by the federal government’s abandonment of responsibility,” Cuomo said. “How many testing sites across America has the federal government set up and operated? Forty-one. Well, is that a lot or a little? Well, for comparison, you know how many sites we have in the state of New York? Seven hundred and fifty. The federal government has put up 41 sites, FEMA and HHS, that they operate. How can that be? Because from day one, they told you they didn’t believe it was a problem. They started day one, ‘It’s like the flu.’”
Cuomo announced that the western region of New York has been cleared to enter phase four of the reopening tomorrow.
He said the “2020 MTV Video Music Awards” will be held without an audience, or possibly with a small audience, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Aug. 30.
Cuomo has directed the New York State Police to form a temporary fireworks enforcement detail in view of all the illegal fireworks that have been turning up in the state.
He reported that there were seven COVID-19 deaths in New York state yesterday.
According to statistics obtained from the state Department of Health this afternoon, there have been a total of 24,842 COVID-19 deaths in New York.
Deaths in Westchester now total 1,557, with 1,424 Westchester residents falling victim to the virus. The number of Rockland residents who have died remains at 506. The number of Putnam residents killed by the virus is 63. A total of 401 Orange County residents have died from the virus. Deaths in Dutchess County are unchanged at 159.
New York has had 392,930 people test positive for the virus. There now have been a cumulative total of 34,798 cases identified in Westchester, 13,580 in Rockland, 1,325 in Putnam, 10,716 in Orange and 4,201 in Dutchess.
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