Cuomo Calls for NYC Street Closures Amid CCP Virus Outbreak

March 23, 2020 Updated: March 23, 2020

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on March 22 called for a ban of cars on some New York City streets as part of measures to curb the spread of the CCP virus.

Cuomo made the comments after an order was issued instructing people in New York—the new epicenter of the nation’s CCP virus epidemic—to work from home and refrain from gathering in groups starting Sunday. 

It came as the city’s mayor described the outbreak as the biggest domestic crisis since the Great Depression and called for the U.S. military to mobilize to help keep the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

“If we don’t get more ventilators in the next 10 days, people will die who don’t have to die,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, as the nation’s most populous city saw COVID-19 cases top 15,000 as of Sunday afternoon, while and deaths rose to 117, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The number of confirmed CCP virus cases in the city now accounts for roughly 5 percent of the world’s cases, according to the New York Times.

Epoch Times Photo
An empty Times Square is seen on the street following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New York City on March 18, 2020. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

Cuomo said help is not coming quickly enough, and urged the federal government to take over acquisition of medical supplies so states do not have to compete with each other for desperately needed resources.

“Time matters, minutes count, and this is literally a matter of life and death,” he said. “At the same time, there is not going to be chaos, there is not going to be anarchy. Life is going to go on. Different. But life is going to go on.”

He said that he expected between 40 percent and 80 percent of the state’s population to eventually contract the virus.

Cuomo gave New York City officials 24 hours to come up with a plan to deal with residents still congregating in parks and other places and not practicing social distancing. The plan should outline which streets should be shut off to traffic, he said.

Cuomo expressed concern over reports of people gathering in the city’s parks over the weekend, and called for some streets to be closed to ramp up social distancing efforts.

“It’s insensitive. It’s arrogant. It’s self-destructive. It’s disrespectful to other people,” Cuomo said of reports that people are ignoring advice to practice social distancing. “It has to stop and it has to stop now.”

“You have much less traffic in New York City because non-essential workers aren’t going to work,” he said. “Get creative: Open streets to reduce the density. You want to go for a walk? God bless you. You want to go for a run? God bless you.”

“But let’s open streets, let’s open spaces. That’s where people should be,” Cuomo added.

DeBlasio said that while he agrees with Cuomo’s proposal, more must be done to ensure crowds do not gather in the streets, which make up 80 percent of public space in the city.

“It cannot be we’re just going to close off some streets and let it be,” the mayor said. “I guarantee if we let that happen we’re going to see some people who start to congregate.”

Reuters contributed to this report.