New York, 16 April 2020 (dpa/MIA) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said he would require people in the state to wear face coverings in public when they cannot maintain social distance of around 2 meters from others.
He told a daily press conference he would issue an executive order that comes into effect on Saturday.
“If you are riding on public transit where it is impossible to maintain social distancing, or walking on a busy sidewalk, you must wear a face covering like a bandana or a mask,” Cuomo explained in a tweet.
The governor also told the news briefing that large-scale coronavirus testing was needed to reopen society, but that states were not there yet.
“The more testing, the more opening of the economy, but there’s not enough national capacity to do this,” Cuomo said.
“It is very hard to bring this to scale quickly and we need the federal government to be part of this.”
New York is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.
In encouraging news, hospitalizations and intubations were down and the “health situation has stabilized,” Cuomo said.
But “we are not out of the woods yet,” he warned, saying New York was still in a “monumental public health crisis.”
The governor said there had been 752 more virus-related deaths in a day, bringing the state’s official death toll to over 11,500.
The real number of fatalities is likely much higher, as Cuomo said the state would adjust its reporting to include victims who had not tested positive but are presumed to have succumbed to the virus.
Later on Wednesday, Cuomo’s office reported an additional 11,571 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York, bringing the state’s total to over 213,700, more than any other country.
The US is the hardest-hit nation in the world, with at least 619,600 confirmed cases and 27,760 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.