NEW YORK — Borough President Jimmy Oddo says he thinks coronavirus is spreading at higher rates on Staten Island compared to the rest of the city because residents are more likely to get in a car and travel throughout the island and into New Jersey.

“In other boroughs, perhaps folks are still a little reticent going on public transit to get to and from. On Staten Island, you hop in your car, you drive all over the borough,” Oddo said in a Thursday evening interview with Inside City Hall anchor Errol Louis. “So while there are hot spots in particular communities, the spread is rather consistent from south to north.”

Most of Staten Island has been designated a “yellow zone,” meaning schools remain open, but with strict testing measures in place, and indoor and outdoor dining is limited to four people per table. And in a borough with plenty of small businesses, many residents are not thrilled that restrictions on when bars, restaurants, and gyms can be open are set to go into effect Friday night.

But Oddo — who implored Staten Islanders to heed government orders to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, and not hold large indoor gatherings — said people need to buckle down now to prevent more onerous restrictions. And he urged residents to not politicize health warnings.

In the past two presidential elections, the borough voted for President Donald Trump, who, like some Staten Islanders, has downplayed the virus, and mocked scientists and those who wear face coverings and suggest restrictions.


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