(MIAMI HERALD) – Mayor de Blasio suggested Monday that the five boroughs could be quarantined and some public schools might be temporarily closed over the coronavirus outbreak after three more people tested positive for the deadly disease, bringing the total number of New York City cases to 16.
Two of the new cases were in Brooklyn and the other was in Queens, he said on NY1. The state’s total of known positive coronavirus cases is over 100.
De Blasio admitted on CNN Monday that access to the city could be shut down to stop the spread of coronavirus but stressed the virus doesn’t easily transmit and the prospect of a total quarantine was distant.
De Blasio was responding to comments from the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said on “Fox News Sunday” that he doubts the U.S. would have to order “draconian” shutdowns like those put in place in parts of Italy but that “anything is possible.”
“With all due respect to Italy, we try not to get to that level,” de Blasio said. “We try to be more pinpoint in our response.”
De Blasio also said there is a “high bar” for closing all the city’s public schools, given students’ and parents’ reliance on them, including for meals.
“The vast majority of parents I’ve spoken to over the years in any crisis don’t want to see the schools close. Of course safety first, but they depend on the schools, they’re a safe place for their kids,” he said on CNN. “I don’t want to see mass closures.”
The city hasn’t ordered any closures of public events.
Those include urging New Yorkers to bike or walk instead of using the subway if possible. The mayor has also encouraged sick people and those over age 50 who have health problems to avoid public forums.
The city was awaiting results for 86 coronavirus tests as of Monday morning.