De Blasio tells New Yorkers not to travel for the holidays

De Blasio makes last-minute decision to delay in-person learning for public school students

Karol Markowitz, New York Post columnist, joins the debate.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday urged New Yorkers not to travel over the holidays to avoid a spike in coronavirus. 

The mayor also wants the federal government to mandate that all air travelers must show proof of a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of getting off a plane. 

"I have to urge all New Yorkers: do not travel out of state for the holidays," the Democratic mayor said during a news conference at City Hall. "Do not travel to a state with a high infection rate. Do not travel to a country with a high infection rate.”

He also called for an expansion of testing on passengers arriving at JFK and La Guardia airports. 

"For those who do travel, recognize how important it is to get tested and recognize there is a very strict quarantine in New York State and if you go elsewhere you will have to observe a two-week quarantine coming back,” de Blasio continued. “There are a few states that is not true for but only a few states — the vast majority of American states now are on the New York state quarantine list.”

As of Tuesday, 40 states and jurisdictions are on the travel advisory list, requiring travelers from those states to the tri-state area — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — to quarantine for 14 days. Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo even urged against travel within the tri-state area but admitted it was impractical to mandate against travel between the three states. 

"There are just too many interchanges, too many interconnections, too many people who live in one place and work in the another, it would have a disastrous effect on the economy," Cuomo said at the time. "And remember while we are fighting this public health pandemic, we are also fighting to open up the economy. 

Last week, more than 1,000 New York state residents were hospitalized for coronavirus. 

The state recorded 1,023 patients hospitalized for the virus on Thursday, the highest level recorded since June 22, when 1,104 New Yorkers were admitted for COVID-19.

The statewide hospitalization figure has steadily increased over the last month and a half, as Sept. 5 saw 410 individuals hospitalized following a decline throughout July and August.

But since that date, the total recorded coronavirus hospital patients continued to climb, nearly doubling a month later to 710 patients on Oct. 5.

Nearly half of all new hospital admissions over the last two-week period were tracked in Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland and Orange counties, as well as upstate counties along the Pennsylvania border.

New York reached a high of 18,000 virus-related hospitalizations in April.

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Earlier this month, the city shut down non-essential businesses in schools in nine zip codes that had a positive coronavirus test rate of higher than 3 percent for seven straight days. The shutdown affected more than half a million residents.

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