N.Y.C. may limit entry to parks to reduce crowds, mayor said.
New York City may limit entry to some parks to prevent them from becoming too crowded as the weather warms and adhering to social-distancing rules becomes more of challenge, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday.
At some parks, Mr. de Blasio said, “just the configuration of the park lends itself to overcrowding.”
“We can’t let that happen and we have to limit the number of people going in,” he said, adding that any such effort would require “experimentation.”
The mayor did not clarify which parks could be covered by the new rules, but said more details would be announced on Friday.
“There’s not that many places, honestly,” Mr. de Blasio said. “But wherever that is the case we’re going to work with a protocol to do that.”
With playgrounds closed and gyms shut down as nonessential businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak, New Yorkers have flooded parks in search of safe places to exercise and enjoy the outdoors while maintaining social distance.
To help create more open space, the city has been closing some streets to car traffic. On Thursday, two more miles of streets were closed, bringing the total to nine miles. (Here’s a full list of which streets have been closed so far.)
Officials have said a total of 40 miles of streets would open to pedestrians and cyclists this month. There are plans to ultimately expand the program to 100 of the city’s 6,000 miles of streets.
Jimmy Glenn, a former boxer, trainer and gym owner who spent decades running a popular Times Square dive bar where he was a beloved fixture and friend to many patrons, died early Thursday at a NYU Langone hospital in Manhattan. He was 89.
Mr. Glenn was hospitalized in mid-April after contracting the coronavirus and never recovered, his son Adam said. He had operated his bar, Jimmy’s Corner, on West 44th Street, since 1973.
In addition to being a boxer himself, Mr. Glenn worked as was a corner man and trainer of other fighters, including Muhammad Ali, at his now-shuttered Times Square Gym, on 42nd Street.
“Jimmy was an icon and a legend in #NYC, not because he was a giant in #boxing or because he owned an incredible pub, but because his heart was giving, pure and boundless,” the boxing promoter Lou DiBella wrote on Twitter. “There are literally COUNTLESS people that Jimmy touched who are grieving right now.”
In addition to his son Adam, Mr. Glenn is survived by six other children: Denise Mercado; Cheryl Mitchell; Delana Glenn; Anita Costa; James Glenn Jr.; Tanya Glenn; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
JetBlue flyover of N.Y.C. gets a mixed response.
New York City’s nightly applause recognizing essential workers was accompanied on Thursday by something else: three JetBlue planes flying 2,000 feet overhead in honor of those fighting the coronavirus on the front lines.
As described in Twitter posts and graphics promoting the event, officials said the planes, each with a New York-themed logo on its tail, started from Kennedy Airport around 7 p.m. and followed a path over Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan before looping back.
Word of the flyover, the second such display in a little more than a week, had been met on social media with a mix of gratitude and scorn earlier in the day.
The critics included Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx. She called the event as “a corporate PR campaign” that would burn “jet fuel at low altitudes over vulnerable communities dying from a respiratory virus.”
Other New Yorkers worried that the event was a gratuitous exercise that would entice people to gather outdoors to gawk at the planes, violate social-distancing rules and put themselves and others at risk.
Similar concerns were raised when fighter jets belonging to the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds squads flew over the city for the same purpose on April 28. Photos that circulated widely on social media after the event were cited by some people as evidence that the rules against crowds were being unevenly enforced.
JetBlue did not respond to a request for comment about whether it was concerned that the flyover might create a public health risk. In Twitter messages about the event, the company had urged people to “keep a healthy distance from others while watching” and even suggested that they take in the sight from their homes.
Drug touted by Trump didn’t aid N.Y.C. patients, study says.
Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug that President Trump has promoted as potentially effective in fighting the coronavirus, neither helped nor harmed virus patients at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in Manhattan, researchers report.
As a result, the hospital is no longer recommending its use as a treatment for its virus patients.
The authors of the report, in The New England Journal of Medicine, said the drug should be used only in controlled clinical trials where patients were picked at random to get one treatment or another.
Hydroxychloroquine is approved to treat malaria and the autoimmune diseases lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. But anecdotal reports from China and France early in the coronavirus pandemic suggested it might also help fight the virus. With no proven treatment, doctors around the world began to use it in a desperate bid to save dying patients. But there has been little evidence to support its use, and the French report was subsequently discredited.
The NewYork-Presbyterian study was not a controlled trial. It was based on the records of 1,376 patients admitted from March 7 to April 8, including 811 who got hydroxychloroquine.
At the start of the study, the researchers hypothesized that patients receiving the drug would be less likely than those not getting it to need a ventilator or to die. But they actually found no difference.
The findings are not the last word, they said: Randomized, controlled trials were still needed.
N.J. nursing home put residents in “immediate jeopardy,” a report says.
One patient at a troubled nursing home in northern New Jersey was found dead in bed, 12 hours after falling on a wet floor and suffering a head injury. Rigor mortis had set in. The patient had suffered from a high fever for days, but a doctor was never told.
Sick residents who were awaiting the results of coronavirus tests shared rooms with healthy residents. And thermometers used to take workers’ temperatures at the start of each shift did not work.
The report containing those findings, released on Thursday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, offered the first detailed glimpse into how the pandemic has ravaged nursing homes across the United States.
The inspection found that the privately owned Andover home had placed residents in “immediate jeopardy,” prompting the agency to issue a $220,000 fine. Its median fine over the past three years was $13,000.
Also on Thursday, National Guard members arrived to help at the 543-bed home, where the police found 17 bodies piled in a small morgue last month and where at least 53 residents have died since March after testing positive for the virus.
In a statement, Chaim Scheinbaum, the home’s manager, welcomed “the assistance from the New Jersey National Guard, as the state makes more resources available to help deal with the pandemic.”
The guard’s arrival, he added, would “free up medical staff to spend more time on patient care.”
New Jersey unemployment claims top 1 million.
New Jersey officials have received more than one million claims for unemployment benefits since March 15, when the state began shutting down its economy to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Mr. Murphy said on Thursday.
Since then, the state Labor Department has issued $1.9 billion in unemployment assistance.
“This is an unemployment crisis unlike that which we have ever seen,” Mr. Murphy said.
Robert Asaro-Angelo, the state’s labor commissioner, said his employees had fielded a stream of calls and emails from desperate residents seeking benefits and that 150,000 new claims had been filed each week since mid-March.
“To put this in perspective, the most new claims in a week after Super Storm Sandy were just 45,000,” he said.
Many people have complained about waiting hours to reach someone at the department or have reported delays in getting checks.
On the first two nights of the city’s effort to steer homeless people off subway trains and into shelters or hospitals, more than half of those who were approached by outreach workers accepted the offer, Mr. de Blasio said on Thursday.
On Thursday, 218 of the 361 people who were approached went to shelters or hospitals, and on Wednesday, 139 of 252 did, he said. The subway now closes each night from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. so that trains can be emptied of passengers and cleaned and disinfected.
It had appeared recently that more homeless people were camping on mostly empty trains as the coronavirus swept through the city’s densely packed, dormitory-style shelters for single homeless adults.
As of Wednesday, 50 of the 71 homeless people who died of the virus had been staying in such shelters, the city social services agency said. Officials have said they were reducing the number of people in the shelters by moving them into otherwise empty hotels.
But advocates for homeless people remained concerned that the city’s shelters were unsafe, and they said that some homeless people who were kicked off the subway simply slept on buses, which continue to run all night.
Craig Hughes, a supervising social worker at the Urban Justice Center, said city workers should be offering masks and gloves to everyone they approach and giving blankets to people who do not go to shelters and were now deprived a subway car’s warmth. Nighttime temperatures in the 30s are expected this weekend.
Tanel Saar and Olga Malmon, a couple who said they had been homeless for about two years, said they refused help at the Union Street station in Brooklyn on the subway shutdown’s first night because they would have been placed in different shelters since they are not married.
They said that they had tried to go to a park after they left the train, but that the parks department had sealed it off.
Amazon subsequently fired Mr. Smalls. The company said he had not been let go for his role in the protest, but because he put other employees at risk by returning to work to lead the demonstration despite being on a paid 14-day quarantine after coming into contact with a person at the warehouse who was sick.
Last month, New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, informed Amazon that her office was investigating whether it had violated federal worker-safety laws and New York’s whistle-blower protections by firing Mr. Smalls.
Reporting was contributed by Jonah Engel Bromwich, Maria Cramer, Michael Gold, Denise Grady, Jeffery C. Mays, Andy Newman, Azi Paybarah, Sarah Maslin Nir, Matt Stevens and Nikita Stewart.