More States Extend Shutdowns: New York, Connecticut, Virginia

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
April 16, 2020Updated: April 17, 2020

New York, Connecticut, and Virginia authorities are among the latest to announce extensions of COVID-19 lockdowns in their states.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said April 16 that all schools and non-essential businesses would remain shuttered in his state through at least May 15.

Cuomo has formed a pact with governors in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island to coordinate the reopening of their economies.

“We have to continue what we are doing,” Cuomo said, Fox News reports. “I don’t want to project beyond that period. … People need certainty and clarity, so they can plan. I need a coordinated action plan with the other states. So one month we will continue the close-down policies.”

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Medical workers cheer and acknowledge pedestrians and FDNY firefighters who gathered to applaud them at 7 p.m. outside Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York on April 14, 2020. (John Minchillo/AP Photo)

The numbers of people hospitalized for COVID-19 and deaths in New York fell to their lowest levels in more than a week, adding to evidence that the hardest-hit state was controlling its spread, Cuomo said.

“The good news is it means we can control the virus. We can control the spread,” Cuomo told a daily briefing. “And we did not know for sure that we could do that.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement that all previously enacted executive orders on business closures and social distancing would be extended through at least May 20. He also said non-essential workers are to stay home and that social and recreational gatherings of more than five people are banned.

“Anyone in a public space should make sure that they’re wearing a mask, not only for your own safety but also for those around you,” Lamont said in a Twitter post. “This is the way that we are going to get this virus behind us sooner and get everyone back to work as soon as we possibly can.”

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A nurse dressed in personal protective equipment prepares to give a COVID-19 swab test at a drive-thru testing station in Stamford, Conn., on March 23, 2020. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Non-essential businesses have been ordered to stay shut until May 15 in Washington and until May 8 in Virginia.

In announcing an extension of stay-at-home orders for another two weeks, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement: “It continues to be important for Virginians to stay home. The actions we have taken are slowing the spread and flattening the curve—but we can’t let up now.”

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A shopper passes a self-distancing queue outside Trader Joe’s, as the number of shoppers allowed in the store was limited to help prevent the spread COVID-19, in Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia, on March 31, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/File Photo/Reuters)

Americans Heeding Stay-at-Home Orders, CDC Says

Americans in four cities with substantial numbers of COVID-19 infections are heeding calls for social distancing and potentially helping curb the spread of the disease, new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows.

“Actions such as social distancing are especially critical when medical countermeasures such as vaccines or therapeutics are not available,” researchers said in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published April 13.

Anonymous location data from devices as people moved around in New York City, Seattle, New Orleans, and San Francisco—four cities with significant numbers of COVID-19 cases—showed a drop in “community mobility”—a rise in social distancing.

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To encourage social distancing, a volunteer marks the walkway at an outdoor grocery store at Bow Market in Somerville, Mass., on March 21, 2020. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

“Community mobility in all four locations declined from February 26, 2020, to April 1, 2020, decreasing with each policy issued and as case counts increased,” the researchers said in the report.

The report found that, on Feb. 26, around 80 percent of people in the four cities were leaving their homes. By April 1, that figure dropped between 20 percentage points and 40 percentage points in each city, after stay-at-home orders were introduced.

“They didn’t leave their home at any point for any reason. They didn’t go outside. That’s significant,” said study coauthor Kathleen Ethier, in remarks to CNN.

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Shoppers stand on designated spots some 6 feet apart as they wait in line at the Safe Supply outdoor grocery store in Somerville, Mass., on March 21, 2020. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The findings suggest that public policy plays an important role in how thoroughly people adopt social distancing measures and “provides some very early indications that these measures might help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

“Public policies to increase compliance with social distancing, including limits on mass gatherings, school closures, business restrictions, and stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders appear to be associated with decreases in mobility,’’ the researchers said.

“However, more information is needed to assess impact on disease transmission.”

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Maryland had extended its lockdown. The Epoch Times regrets this error.