Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Today is the LAST DAY of this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

TODAY is the last day to meet our goal -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year.

New York City's Grand Central terminal is quiet on a business day due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 16, 2020.

New York City's Grand Central terminal is quiet on a business day due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 16, 2020. (Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Treating Coronavirus Like Active Shooter, NYC Mayor Warns of 'Shelter in Place Order' for Entire City

The mayor's comments come as Gov. Cuomo says peak of infectious outbreak could still be 45 days away.

Eoin Higgins

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday afternoon that city residents should be prepared for a "shelter in place" order with the next 48 hours to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, a dramatic escalation of measures to contain the disease that came hours after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state could still be at least 45 days away from peak infection. 

"This is a reality that is being talked about because the crisis continues to grow," said de Blasio of the possible order at a press conference, adding, "It is quite clear this is a fast-growing crisis."

A shelter in place order—most typically associated with the nation's crisis of mass shootings—would curtail New York City's public life even further than it is now with restaurants and bars across the city closed or operating at severely limited capacity and schools and universities shut down. 

According to the New York Times, de Blasio is considering other measures to prepare for the pandemic's hit:

By canceling elective surgeries and dismissing patients from hospitals more quickly, the city could free up about 7,000 patient beds, the mayor said. Another 1,200 to 1,300 beds could be added by taking over unused space in hospitals and converting a newly built nursing home in Brooklyn that was not yet occupied.

Earlier Tuesday, in his daily press briefing on the outbreak, Cuomo said he would not consider shutting down cities and that they could not "quarantine" themselves. 

"We hear New York City is going to quarantine itself. That is not true," said Cuomo. "That cannot happen."

"It cannot happen legally," the governor continued. "No city in the state can quarantine itself without state approval. And I have no interest whatsoever and no plan whatsoever to quarantine any city."

Cuomo also told reporters that New York state is "45 days" from the peak of infection and woefully unprepared for the coming onslaught of illnesses and deaths.

The governor's statement drew horror and calls for urgent action from observers. 

"If we have 45 days before we hit our peak," said podcaster Rachel Millman, "we need to overhaul hospitals and hotels starting today."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

TODAY is the last day of our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Texas Supreme Court Allows Century-Old Abortion Ban to Take Effect

"Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences."

Jake Johnson ·


'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo