COVID-19 Infection Rate Sits Above 3% as New York Plans for More Cases

BY Spectrum News Staff

New York State’s infection rate is 3.18%, according to Governor Cuomo. Officials are working on a COVID-19 winter plan in anticipation of an increase in cases during the colder months.

The rate in hot spot areas is 4.9%and 2.68% outside of those zones. Both of those are down slightly from the day before.

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Supreme Court Temporarily Rejects State Restrictions on Houses of Worship

BY Courtney Gross

Gail Johnson was heading into church in Brooklyn on Thanksgiving morning. She goes to mass every day.

“If we can go to strip clubs and discos and gyms or whatever, why can’t I go to mass and pray to my God? I don’t understand that,” she told NY1. “I go to mass every day. I pray for my blessed mother’s soul.”

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Supreme Court Rules Against NY Coronavirus Restrictions for Houses of Worship

BY Associated Press
UPDATED 6:30 AM ET Nov. 26, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — As coronavirus cases surge again nationwide the Supreme Court late Wednesday temporarily barred New York from enforcing certain attendance limits at houses of worship in areas designated as hard hit by the virus.

The court’s action could push New York to reevaluate those restrictions. But the court’s action also won’t have any immediate impact since the two groups that sued as a result of the restrictions, the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues in Brooklyn and Queens, are no longer subject to them.

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Mayor de Blasio Regrets Not Having a Schools Reopening Plan Prior to Shutdown

BY Juan Manuel Benitez

NEW YORK - A week after closing New York City public schools for in-person learning, the Mayor says he should have had a plan to reopen them before ordering the shutdown.

“I have to hold myself responsible,” de Blasio said. “The better situation would have been clearly to have that plan all worked through in advance.”

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Travelers Who Break Quarantine Rules Face $1K Fine, Mayor Warns

BY Anna Lucente Sterling and Angi Gonzalez
UPDATED 9:38 PM ET Nov. 24, 2020

Travelers who violate quarantine rules could face stiff fines, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

De Blasio and the city's sheriff laid out enforcement plans of public health safety guidelines for this Thanksgiving holiday. The plan includes vehicle checkpoints at bridges and crossings and at dropoff bus stations carrying out-of-state travelers.

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Holiday Travel May Test the City’s Contact Tracing Program

BY Anna Lucente Sterling

As New York City’s coronavirus infection rate continues to rise, the city’s contact tracing program is bracing for an even bigger surge after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Despite repeated pleas from health officials to avoid travel, more than three million people traveled through U.S. airport checkpoints this past weekend, according to the Transportation Security Administration. Friday and Sunday marked the second and third times since the beginning of the pandemic when more than one million people were screened in a day.

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A COVID-19 Vaccine Is Coming. Who Will Get it First?

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — By this time next month, one or more COVID-19 vaccines will likely be available. The federal government says 20 million people could be vaccinated against the deadly corovnaivus by the end of the year. But who will be the first (and second, and third) to get the shots?

It’s a question that public health officials, bioethicists, and political leaders have grappled with for months. With confirmation last week that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are more than 90% effective, it’s also more releavant now than ever. Official word on the protocol for distribution and prioritization is still weeks away, but here’s what we know now:

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Safety Modifications in Place to Present 12 Balloons at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

BY Frank DiLella

NEW YORK - One of the most highly anticipated elements of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the inflated balloons. This year, there will be 12 large character balloons, but with some modifications on how they are presented, all with safety in mind.

"This parade is something that everybody, every Thanksgiving across the country, they can rely on. They can depend on. They know that in the morning when they're making their Thanksgiving dinner, they can turn on the TV, they can see the balloons, they can see the floats and they'll be able to do all of that this year," said Susan Tercero, the Executive Director of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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Businesses on Staten Island's South Shore Prepare for New COVID-19 Restrictions

BY Angi Gonzalez

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that the southern part of Staten Island will transition from a yellow zone to an orange zone.

The decision means that businesses like restaurants and gyms will face new restrictions which will go into effect Wednesday. For schools in Staten Island’s new orange zone, additional restrictions will go into effect on Thursday. For the owners of the Historic Old Bermuda Inn Restaurant and Catering Hall on Staten Island, the governor’s announcement means the cancellation of Thanksgiving dinner plans.

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Rapid COVID-19 Testing Centers Offer Fast Results Without the Wait - for a Price

BY Dan Rivoli

With Thanksgiving just days away, Sophie Krakowski wanted a COVID-19 test, and the results, right away. So she came to a storefront on Elizabeth Street.

"We’re doing a small Thanksgiving, just my family, my aunt. But we’re all getting tested because my parents are over 65. So just to be smart, me and my three sisters are all getting tested ahead of Thanksgiving," she said.

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Special Needs Classrooms Will Be First to Reopen, Mayor Says

BY Jillian Jorgensen and Shannon Caturano
UPDATED 7:00 PM ET Nov. 23, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday some elements of a reopening plan for in-person learning.

He didn’t give a set date for when classrooms would begin to reopen, but he did lay out a plan for which students would go back first.

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Once Homeless and Incarcerated: Now Stars in the Kitchen

BY Roger Clark

NEW YORK - Jared Thomas of the Bronx says his life wasn't going in the right direction after graduating from community college and he struggled to stay out of trouble.

"I didn't want to keep on making the same mistakes, being around the same people and I wanted a job,” said Thomas, who is now a Chef for City Beet Kitchens.

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As Red Zone Designation Looms, Staten Island Restaurant Workers Fear Job Losses

BY Ron Lee

Sebastian Pineda is not only a bartender at Bayou, which serves Cajun food. He also rings up tabs and buses tables.

But with Governor Cuomo issuing a warning Sunday that parts of Staten Island could be designated a red zone in the near future, Pineda fears he and some coworkers could be out of a job, if the Island’s coronavirus numbers do not drop soon.

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Parts of Staten Island, Manhattan Are on Track For Tighter Restrictions, Cuomo Warns

BY Shannon Caturano
UPDATED 4:30 PM ET Nov. 22, 2020

Parts of Staten Island could become a red or an orange zone if the numbers don’t improve this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned on Sunday.

“Staten Island is a serious problem,” Cuomo said during a press briefing. “We’re running into a hospital capacity issue that we’re dealing with on Staten Island.”

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Schumer Promotes $11 Billion Plan to Produce More PPE Ahead of Second Wave

BY Spectrum News Staff

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announces an $11 billion plan to produce and distribute more PPE around the country as cases continue to rise.

"We do not want to repeat what happened in the first crisis where there was a desperate shortage, of masks of gowns of gear," said Schumer in a press briefing on Sunday. "Now the bottom line is the second wave to New York is coming, so we need an expansive plan that helps docs, nurses, hospital workers, providers get the gear they need before, before the second wave hits us."

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First US COVID-19 Immunizations Could Arrive on Dec. 12

BY Rachel Tillman and Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The head of the U.S. effort to produce a coronavirus vaccine says the first immunizations could happen on Dec. 12.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee is set to meet Dec. 10 to discuss Pfizer Inc.’s request for an emergency use authorization for its developing COVID-19 vaccine.

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FDA Allows Emergency Use of Regeneron Antibody Drug

BY Spectrum News Staff & Associated Press

U.S. health officials Saturday agreed to allow emergency use of a second antibody drug to help the immune system fight COVID-19, an experimental medicine that President Donald Trump was given when he was sickened last month.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized use of the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. drug to try to prevent hospitalization and worsening disease from developing in patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.

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NYC's Coronavirus Positivity Rate Continues to Rise

BY Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK - The latest numbers from Mayor de Blasio's office show a 3.11% seven-day average positivity rate.

That’s up from the 3.02% average the city recorded on Friday. More than 1,300 new cases were reported, and 118 patients were admitted to the hospital.

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Grocers Brace for Shoppers Ahead of Holidays and Possible COVID-19 Restrictions

BY Lydia Hu

Perched in his office above the shopping aisles of the Westside Market, manager Efren Mones keeps a watchful eye. On the last weekend before Thanksgiving, he’s ready for a rush of shoppers in need of holiday staples.

“Butter, eggs, milk, sugar, all the baking items,” are what’s in most demand, he says.

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Growing Number of Community Refrigerators Offer Free Food, But Some are at Risk

BY Amy Yensi

One of the newer residents of Mott Haven is also one of the most popular. It is a refrigerator on East 141st Street and St. Ann Avenue, which is packed with fresh food for anyone who needs it.

Daniel Zauderer is a sixth-grade teacher in the neighborhood. He got the idea to set up a fridge on the sidewalk after realizing how many of his students don't have enough to eat at home.

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'It Whacked Me': Queens Man Hospitalized For 6 Months With COVID-19

BY Lydia Hu

A “true COVID survivor.” That’s what 61-year-old James Colon’s doctors call him after being hospitalized for more than six months battling the coronavirus.

“It whacked me April 12. That’s when my whole world fell apart,” the retired school teacher and nursing home worker said.

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Amid New Lockdown Fears, Some NYC Salons and Barbershops See Surge in Appointments

BY Angi Gonzalez

NEW YORK — Astoria’s Redken Saloon Salon is used to booking clients based on good reviews, but the owner told NY1 on Friday that rumors now appear to be fueling a number of new appointments booked in the last week.

“We’re busy because of people’s fear of a lockdown. It brought in the idea that, ‘All right, let me get in before they lock it down,’” explained Frank Arcabascio, the owner of Redken Saloon Salon.

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Could Coronavirus Also Be Increasing on Rikers Island?

BY Courtney Gross
UPDATED 7:56 PM ET Nov. 20, 2020

NEW YORK — In April, more than half of Rikers Island was locked down for quarantine for exposure to the coronavirus.

During the height of the pandemic in the spring, more than 1,400 correction officers caught the virus. Three inmates died.

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Donald Trump Jr. Tests Positive for COVID-19

BY Rachel Tillman and Associated Press

President Donald Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., tested positive for coronavirus, a spokesperson confirmed to the Associated Press on Friday.

The spokesperson says the younger Trump learned his diagnosis earlier this week, has no symptoms and has been quarantining.

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Officials Apologize After Attending Party Ignoring Coronavirus Safety Restrictions

BY Gloria Pazmino

NEW YORK — Two influential Brooklyn political insiders apologized Friday after attending a crowded party flouting public safety restrictions that currently prevent people from gathering as the city's rate of coronavirus infections continues to steadily increase.

Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Chaplain Ingrid Lewis-Martin and Carlo Scissura, head of the New York Building Congress, both appeared in photos obtained by The Daily News, which first reported Lewis-Martin and other guests were mingling in a crowd where no one appeared to be wearing masks.

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35,000 Students Opt in to Blended Learning in November Enrollment Window

BY Jillian Jorgensen

NEW YORK - About 35,000 students opted in to blended learning during a two-week enrollment period in November, the city says.

Families had from November 2 through November 15 to switch into blended learning, which allows students to attend school in person at least part of the time. The city has said it would be the only opportunity to switch from remote learning to blended instruction, although students attending in person can go remote at any time.

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Holiday Travelers Heed CDC’s Advice as Coronavirus Cases Are on the Rise

BY Roger Clark

NEW YORK - It certainly was nothing like past Fridays before Thanksgiving at LaGuardia Airport. Many folks are heeding calls to not travel as coronavirus cases rise across the nation. Some though did make it to the new Terminal B for flights to see family and friends elsewhere.

One traveler said they had no concerns about flying despite the warnings. “I’m going to keep my fingers crossed.”

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What to Expect of the 2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

BY Frank DiLella and Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK - Since 1924, the employees of Macy’s Department store have been putting on a Thanksgiving Day parade that takes place in the streets of New York City. This annual event has ballooned into a national celebration that, to many, marks the official start of the holiday season.

“We can look at a parade and say, oh, it's just a parade, but I think it's more than, and that's why I think we're so passionate this year of keeping the tradition alive,” said Wesley Whatley, creative producer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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De Blasio and Cuomo Fail to Present United Message on Schools Closure

BY Spectrum News NY1

With the city reaching the COVID-19 positivity threshold of 3%, public classrooms have officially closed for in-person learning.

NY1’s Juan Manuel Benitez, Courtney Gross, and Gloria Pazmino explain how the announcement unfolded after hours of anticipation, confusion, and political drama.

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Experts Urge Political Leaders to Take Swift Action to Prevent Full-Blown Housing Crisis

BY Monica Espitia

Millions of New York City tenants have been unable to pay their rents for the past several months, a situation that has in turn left building owners struggling to keep up with their mortgages.

A new report by the nonprofit Community Service Society (CSS) warns that this could set off a chain reaction that could ultimately lead to a housing crisis comparable in scale to the 2008 crash.

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City Businesses Brace for Potential Shutdowns

BY Shannan Ferry and Rocco Vertuccio
UPDATED 10:37 PM ET Nov. 19, 2020

NEW YORK — City schools transitioned to a remote model Thursday as the percentage of positive coronavirus tests topped 3% around the city. Indoor dining and gyms might be impacted next.

On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the city could soon entirely be deemed an ‘orange zone’ if the rolling coronavirus infection rate in the city, as measured by the state, hits 3%. The state’s seven-day rate for the city was 2.5% on Wednesday, while the city’s measure was 3.0%. On Thursday, the city’s measure rose to 3.01%.

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MTA Says Ridership Won't Fully Rebound, Even After COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives

BY Dan Rivoli

Transit officials say that even after the pandemic is history, ridership will not fully rebound, squeezing the MTA's budget and likely possibly causing a reduction in service.

"But perhaps a bigger challenge for us is right sizing MTA to meet the new normal in 2024," Robert Foran, the MTA's chief financial officer, said at Wednesday's agency board meeting. "We're going to have to match our service structure and service level to equal rider demand."

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At First Briefing in Months, Coronavirus Task Force Addresses COVID-19 Vaccine, Surge in Cases

BY Austin Landis
UPDATED 6:54 PM ET Nov. 19, 2020

In their first official briefing since July, members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force addressed the nation on Thursday, publicly acknowledging the current surge in coronavirus cases as a group for the first time.

A number of familiar faces spoke in the briefing room, including Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Deborah Birx, Coronovirus Response Coordinator, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

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Parks Department Pulls Athletic Permits for Outdoor Fields as Coronavirus Rate Increases

BY Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK — The parks department announced Thursday that field permits to use city parks and athletic areas are being pulled until further notice as coronavirus cases continue to rise throughout the five boroughs.

The department is also pausing processing any further permit applications for the winter season, which is slated to start December 1.

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Mayor de Blasio Doesn't Have a Schools Reopening Plan Yet

BY Jillian Jorgensen

Public school buildings closed indefinitely Thursday. What will it take to reopen them? Mayor de Blasio says he doesn't have a plan for that yet.

"Sometimes it is hard to imagine the next phase until you get there. You do your damnedest to plan ahead, but you can't always do that,” de Blasio said Thursday during his daily briefing. “We have a really ever-changing situation here, but the conversations are quickly progressing.”

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Parents Deliver a Petition to City Hall, Demanding That Schools Reopen

BY Lindsay Tuchman
UPDATED 4:27 PM ET Nov. 19, 2020

NEW YORK - Parents and students marched to City Hall on Thursday morning to deliver a petition and send a message.

“We represent more than 12,000 New York City parents,” said one petitioner. "We are demanding that schools open now."

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'It’s Just A Matter Of Time': Mayor Says Indoor Dining and Gyms Will Likely Close In Next Two Weeks

BY Anna Lucente Sterling
UPDATED 12:45 PM ET Nov. 19, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio said indoor dining and gyms will likely close in the next two weeks as part of new restrictions coming down from the governor’s office amidst rising coronavirus infection cases in the city.

On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the city could soon entirely be deemed an ‘orange zone’ if the rolling coronavirus infection rate in the city, as measured by the state, hits 3%. The state’s seven-day rate for the city was 2.5% on Wednesday, while the city’s measure was 3.0%. On Thursday, the city’s measure rose to 3.01%.

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MTA Chairman: Keeping NYC Transit Running is Critical for Whole Country

BY Spectrum News Staff

The MTA's proposed budget lays clear the massive service cuts and layoffs that could be in store for next year if the federal government fails to come through with $12 billion in aid.

The agency has been warning for months that without a bailout it would be forced to cut transit service between 40% and 50%.

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Carranza Says City Could Change Threshold for Shutting Down Schools

BY Elina Tarkazikis
UPDATED 10:59 AM ET Nov. 19, 2020

New York City is suspending in-person learning Thursday after hitting the citywide 3% coronavirus positivity threshold for shutting down schools.

While this metric has been regarded as the “switch” that sends students back to remote learning atmospheres, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza told NY1 in an exclusive interview that this threshold could change.

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Brooklyn Toy Maker Creates New Way for Kids To Have Fun Away From Screens

BY Stephanie Simon

NEW YORK – With so much happening virtually these days, parents with young kids know how hard it can be to get kids off of their tablets and other devices.

One Brooklyn inventor has spent years developing something that he thinks will click with kids, but with no electronic components, can it keep them engaged? We headed to Assaf Eshet’s new office and retail space to find out.

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Public Schools Are Closing. Here's What It Means for All Students in NYC.

BY Faraz Toor
UPDATED 12:38 AM ET Nov. 19, 2020

NEW YORK — In-person classes at public schools across the five boroughs will shift to fully remote starting Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced.

But will schools that are not part of the city education department also shut down? Does this announcement mean students can still get free meals?

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MTA’s ‘Doomsday’ Budget Calls for Deep Service Cuts

BY Dan Rivoli and Lindsay Tuchman
UPDATED 11:31 PM ET Nov. 18, 2020

NEW YORK - "Ugly” and “grim” - that’s how MTA officials described a budget that would drastically slash service and jobs - set to hit the riding public in May, unless the agency gets its federal bailout.

MTA officials at its monthly board meeting offered more details on their threats to cut service between 40 and 50% and lay off thousands of workers to make up a budget shortfall caused by the coronavirus.

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Cuomo Warns of New Coronavirus Restrictions for NYC

BY Angi Gonzalez and Shannon Caturano
UPDATED 11:20 PM ET Nov. 18, 2020

ALBANY - All of New York City could soon be swept under an ‘orange zone’ if the rolling coronavirus infection rate in the city, as measured by the state, hits 3%, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a briefing on Wednesday.

The state's seven-day average for New York City currently stands at 2.5%.

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Mayor: Public Schools To Shut Down Temporarily Due To COVID-19 Uptick

BY Anna Lucente Sterling
UPDATED 10:45 PM ET Nov. 18, 2020

NEW YORK - In-person learning at public schools will be suspended starting Thursday after the city's coronavirus infection rate reached 3%, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced first on Twitter and then in his daily press briefing, which occurred more than five hours later than its original start time.

It's a big blow for the nation's largest school system, which pushed hard to reopen for in-person learning in September following a spring of remote instruction.

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Students Set Up Their Remote Classrooms, Again

BY Shannan Ferry

Jesse McCoy has quite the remote learning set up at his home in Astoria. “But it's nothing like being in person. All we do is sit on our computers all day. It’s so boring,” he said.

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De Blasio-Cuomo Tensions Flare Yet Again Amid Closure of NYC Schools

BY Emily Ngo

Different press conferences, different calculations for tracking the coronavirus, different messages about whether the city’s public schools are closed for in-person learning amid rising COVID-19 rates.

“If by the state’s numbers you hit 3%, the schools close," Governor Cuomo said. "What’s going on here is nothing that the law hasn’t said over a month.”

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As Coronavirus Rates Rise in NYC, Staten Island Stands Out

BY Amanda Farinacci

Despite the cold, a line stretches along Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island's East Shore to get into an Urgent Care clinic.

It's become a common sight, day after day, across the borough, as the number of coronavirus cases rise.

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School Safety Agents Prepare Thanksgiving Care Packages for Families of Coworkers Who Died From COVID-19

BY Lori Chung

NEW YORK - In this room, everything from designing the boxes to the items placed inside is done with care by a group of school safety agents forming an assembly line of Thanksgiving dinner packages. It's a holiday gesture to families of the coworkers they lost to COVID-19.

"We lost 13 amazing school safety agents who will be greatly missed," said Yvette Perkins, an administrative staff analyst. "No one can ever replace them but they can never be forgotten."

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State Fines, Shuts Down Funeral Home Where Bodies Were Found in Trucks Parked Outside

BY Spectrum News Staff

The state has fined and permanently shut down a Brooklyn funeral home months after dozens of bodies were discovered decomposing in unrefrigerated rental trucks during the height of the pandemic.

At least 50 bodies were found in April inside U-Haul trucks parked outside Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Services on Utica Avenue in Flatlands.

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Judge to Make Decision Next Week in Lucerne Case

BY Courtney Gross

For several hours on Monday and Tuesday, five attorneys sat in front of a Manhattan Supreme Court judge on Zoom arguing over the fate of more than 200 homeless men.

For months, the Upper West Side and Lower Manhattan have been clashing over who would take them. The men originally moved to the Lucerne Hotel in July — and immediately created a stir uptown. Residents complained their quality of life was deteriorating. Some said they saw drug deals, public urination and more.

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Research Roundup: Here’s What We Have Learned About Coronavirus Recently

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) — In recent months, the scientific world has seen a steady flow of research updating what we know about the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and how it affects humans. Because the virus is so new, researchers are still grappling with many questions about its function. And because of the nature of the scientific process, no single study can completely answer those questions. Instead, new research is constantly challenging our understanding of the pandemic.

Here, we explore some recent studies that have shed new light on the virus.

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Taxi Driver Helps Hungry New Yorkers - and Himself - During Pandemic

BY Dan Rivoli

Pedro Cruz is heading to Brooklyn for a shift behind the wheel of his green taxi. But this day, as he does twice a week, Cruz is transporting food, not people.

“Sometimes, I get here earlier so I could be first on line,” Cruz said outside a warehouse in East Flatbush, waiting to load his car with boxes of food. The food is from the Met Council on Jewish Poverty to serve Holocaust survivors, largely Ukranian and Russian immigrants in Brooklyn. The Met Council signed up drivers through Arro, a company with an app to hail and pay for taxi trips. These programs are a life line for drivers like Cruz, an immigrant from Mexico and father of four, who saw his taxi trips all but disappear in the pandemic. "Right after the pandemic there was no business," Cruz said. "Everything shut down.” The pandemic hit Cruz personally as well as financially. His older brother in Mexico died. And he fell ill, too, taking him out of the drivers seat for a month last spring. "I felt, like, dizzy and my coffee, especially, I used to taste it, like, with a spoon of salsa in there," Cruz said. "That's how I knew I was sick." His wife, who also contracted coronavirus, lost her job and now they scramble to pay the rent for their Bronx apartment. "The rent money is a little bit of an issue right now," Cruz said. "For the meantime, we applied for food stamps, thank God we got it, and we’re getting there, little by little." Green taxis can pick up passengers anywhere in the city outside of central and lower Manhattan, and the airports. According to the Taxi and Limousine Commission, green taxis averaged a combined 3,000 trips a day in September - less than half the number before the pandemic erupted in March. Cruz says he can make more money after a few hours of delivering food, as he can on a good day of driving for 10 hours. And unlike his taxi fares, there are no surcharges and fees he has to give back. "With these kind of deliveries, I make $150 - clean.” There's also the benefit of helping out New Yorkers in need. “This is a difficult time, and it help us," said Alex Feldman, who received a food package from Cruz. "It’s a way better feeling to help others," Cruz said.

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Schools Remain Open Through at Least Wednesday, Says Mayor

BY Anna Lucente Sterling
UPDATED 12:15 PM ET Nov. 17, 2020

Schools will stay open through at least Wednesday, Nov. 18, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

With the city currently below a 3% positivity rate for coronavirus infections over the past seven days, it remains below the threshold Mayor de Blasio has set for shutting schools down and going fully remote.

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Top Cop Says NYPD Will Not Break Up Large Gatherings on Thanksgiving

BY Spectrum News Staff

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told NY1 city cops won't be breaking up large Thanksgiving gatherings next week.

Last week, Governor Cuomo said that the state would prohibit New Yorkers from holding Thanksgiving celebrations with more than 10 people present.

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New Coronavirus Curfew Impacts Restaurants and Bars Differently

BY Angi Gonzalez

Andrea Scanniello, a bartender at The Rookery Bar in Bushwick, will be counting on the tips she get from her “regulars” to make it through the next few months.

Up until this past weekend, she had a second job at another Brooklyn bar. However, after the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions were implemented on Friday, she said that her second job has ended.

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Hunts Point Produce Market 'Gives Back' with Five Borough Food Distributions

BY Roger Clark

On a chilly day in the Melrose section of The Bronx, a line stretched for blocks, with neighborhood residents waiting for food for their holiday tables and beyond.

Among the first on line at the Bronx Works Classic Community Center was Julio Ortiz, a maintenance worker at Barclays Center who hasn't collected a paycheck during the pandemic. He arrived at the center at East 156th Street at 5 a.m.

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De Blasio: 2 to 3 Million New Yorkers Have Been Exposed to Coronavirus, Health Dept. Estimates

BY Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK — The city's health department estimates 2 to 3 million people in New York have already been exposed to COVID-19, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who says the department is ready to administer the vaccine when it’s ready.

In his weekly “Mondays with the Mayor” interview with NY1’s Bobby Cuza on Inside City Hall, de Blasio didn’t provide further details and evidence on how the health department reached the 2 to 3 million estimate, but experts agree that the number of reported COVID-19 cases in the country and across the world is very likely an undercount since not every person gets tested, or because people have been incorrectly diagnosed with an illness with symptoms similar to COVID-19.

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If Schools Close, What Will It Take to Reopen Them?

BY Jillian Jorgensen

Mayor de Blasio says he's sticking to his guidelines for closing schools: If at least 3% of all coronavirus tests come back positive over seven days, all students will learn remotely.

But he's suggesting the rate may not have to fall below 3% to reopen the schools.

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Why the COVID-19 Restriction Valve Could Continue to Tighten

BY Nick Reisman

Governor Andrew Cuomo in an interview with MSNBC on Monday morning did not rule out making further changes to New York City indoor dining rules as COVID-19 cases continues to rise in New York and around the country.

At the moment, indoor dining in New York City is limited to 25% occupancy.

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Infection Rate Remains Low Enough for Schools to Open Through at Least Tuesday

BY Shannon Caturano

Schools will stay open for at least another day as the city’s coronavirus positivity rate continues to remain below the threshold that would force the suspension of in-person learning, Mayor de Blasio said Monday.

Last week, the mayor warned that schools could close as early as today and switch to fully remote learning if the city’s seven-day infection rate reached 3% over the weekend.

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Public School Parents Weigh Decision For Remote Learning

BY Ron Lee
UPDATED 10:07 PM ET Nov. 15, 2020

Across New York City, students attending public schools faced a major deadline Sunday when it came to deciding whether or not to participate in blended learning.

It’s a decision that will ultimately decide whether some students will ever step foot in a classroom this academic year.

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Schumer and Gillibrand Call for Action on COVID Relief

BY Spectrum News Staff

New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are calling on Republican leaders to stop blocking a COVID-19 relief bill and work with Democrats to pass legislation aimed at helping millions of Americans.

Schumer and Gillibrand held a press conference in Midtown Sunday accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of blocking Democrats every step of the way on a COVID-19 aid package. It comes after President Donald Trump said in a tweet Saturday that Congress must pass a relief bill. Both Schumer and Gillibrand say Democrats have been ready to get a deal done.

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Schools Will Stay Open Through at Least Monday

BY Shannon Caturano

Schools will remain open for in-person learning as the city's infection rate slightly decreased over the weekend. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday warned that schools could close Monday if the seven-day positivity rate went above 3%.

But now, that seven-day average has decreased from 2.69% to 2.57%, allowing classrooms to stay open at least through Monday.

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Cuomo Suggests City Change Threshold for Closing Schools

BY Nick Reisman and Shannon Caturano
UPDATED 5:00 PM ET Nov. 14, 2020

As the city’s coronavirus infection rate continues to increase, Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested Saturday that schools don’t need to close if the virus isn’t spreading in classrooms.

Under the current guidelines, schools will close if the city’s infection rate hits 3%. But Cuomo said this rule should be reconsidered, now that a testing system is in place to identify if schools are safe.

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'People Should Get Ready': Mayor Says Schools Could Close as Early as Monday

BY Elina Tarkazikis and Jillian Jorgensen
UPDATED 10:10 PM ET Nov. 13, 2020

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio said schools could close as early as Monday should the city's positivity rate inch up further this weekend.

The seven-day rolling average for positive COVID-19 cases in the city was 2.8% on Friday, the mayor said on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show, just below the city's 3% threshold for shutting down schools.

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Diwali Preparations Underway in Queens

BY Clodagh McGowan

NEW YORK — Preparations are underway in Queens for Diwali, or the Indian festival of lights. While this year’s celebration will be different, people say the significance of the holiday is not lost during a pandemic.

An ancient Hindu tradition is being celebrated in a very 21st Century fashion in Queens and beyond.

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Trump Says He Won't Send Vaccine to New York Unless Cuomo Approves

BY Nick Reisman and Zack Fink
UPDATED 9:05 PM ET Nov. 13, 2020

President Donald Trump on Friday said he would delay sending an approved COVID-19 vaccine to New York until Gov. Andrew Cuomo authorizes it.

“We won't be delivering it to New York until we have authorization to do so, and that pains me to say that," Trump said, pointing to criticism Cuomo has made of the federal government's vaccination distribution plan.

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There Are Long Lines at Coronavirus Testing Sites Again as Cases Spike in NYC

BY Alyssa Paolicelli

NEW YORK — As coronavirus cases in the city spike, long lines are returning to testing sites.

"I think because the numbers are going up and people are trying to be extra-cautious and safe and take care of each other and make sure we have the information we need,” said Queens resident Gianna Cioffi.

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LIC Diner Prepares to Adhere to New Coronavirus Restrictions

BY Roger Clark

NEW YORK — The Court Square Diner has been a favorite spot for people who live and work in Long Island City for years. Like so many other restaurants in town, things have been rough.

“Everybody’s trying to make it, trying to survive, you know what I’m saying, and keep as many people working as we can,” said Nick Kanellos, the owner of the diner.

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State's Restaurant and Bar Curfew Doesn’t Go Far Enough, Epidemiologist Says

BY Anna Lucente Sterling

It’s lights out and doors locked at 10 p.m. for restaurants and bars starting Friday, the first major rollback of loosened restrictions amid a second coronavirus wave in New York.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the new rule, which only allows for takeout orders after that time, as coronavirus cases across the city and state have continued to climb over the past few weeks.

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COVID-19 Survivor Attracts Attention of Leading Health Care Experts

BY Lydia Hu

“I started Survivor Corps on March 24, right here,” said Diana Berrent, while standing in the bedroom of her Port Washington home.

“I was in isolation with the same mission that we have today, which is to mobilize an army of survivors to support science,” she said.

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How COVID-19 Has Affected Filming the New Season of 'Law & Order: SVU'

BY Annika Pergament

The new season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit premiered Wednesday night after being delayed nearly two months because of the pandemic.

Production for the show was forced to shut down in March and wasn't allowed to resume until mid-July when the city entered phase four. The original premiere date was set for mid-September.

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Gyms Navigate Tighter Restrictions with New Curfew

BY Elina Tarkazikis

New coronavirus restrictions beginning Friday night include a 10:00 p.m. curfew for gyms citywide. This comes just a few months after gyms reopened in September.

“We’ve been anxious to get open,” said James Innocenti, whose company owns all 45 Planet Fitness locations in New York City.

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AOC and the Democratic Blame Game

BY Spectrum News NY1

The blame game between moderate and progressive Democrats is on after the party lost seats in the House. NY1’s Zack Fink, Courtney Gross, and Juan Manuel Benitez discuss the divide and how Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez found herself in the middle of the national debate over the direction of the party.

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NYC Schools Chancellor Warns Principals to Prepare for Potential Shift to Fully Remote Learning

BY Spectrum News Staff and Anna Lucente Sterling
UPDATED 10:46 PM ET Nov. 12, 2020

NEW YORK — The city is preparing to shut down schools if the city’s seven-day coronavirus infection rate crosses the 3% threshold.

Currently, the percentage of people testing positive over a 7-day average is 2.6%. The rate has continued to climb over the past few weeks, crossing the 550 threshold of daily new COVID-19 infections for the last 11 days.

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Staten Island BP Thinks Car Travel Leading to Rising Coronavirus Rates

BY Spectrum News Staff

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.”

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City School Students, Parents, and Teachers Brace for Schools to Close Because of Rising COVID Rates

BY Rocco Vertuccio

At dismissal time at P.S. 31 in Greenpoint Brooklyn, some parents worry that in-classroom learning could soon be canceled because of the pandemic.

Willoughby Jenette is a single parent. His four-year-old son gets in-person learning five days a week: two days at P.S. 31, three days at a learning bridges program. He said even though he works mostly from home, remote learning would not work for him or his son.

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Tens of thousands of New Yorkers have fallen sick from the coronavirus and the death toll keeps rising. Jobs have been lost, storefronts shuttered, hospitals overwhelmed. And many New Yorkers have seen their own lives changed in deeply personal ways.

NY1 wants to hear your story, in your own voice, to use in a future podcast. 

Tell us what is going on in your family, your job, your neighborhood. What are your daily struggles and your daily joys, your quiet fears and your hopes for the future?

Send us a voicemail, voice memo, or a video to YOURSTORYNY1@CHARTER.COM or leave a message at 212-379-3440. 

Make sure to tell us your first name and your neighborhood. If you’d like, let us know how to contact you. 


The 2019 novel coronavirus may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like:

  • cough
  • fever
  • trouble breathing and
  • pneumonia

The CDC believes symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

(Source: NYS DOH)