Lockdown is easing for some Covid-plagued areas of New York City today.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that outbreaks in several parts in the city have eased enough to allow Brooklyn’s orange zone and all zones in Queens to be downgraded to yellow, Politico reports.
The yellow designation means that businesses can reopen as soon as today and school can resume Monday. Brooklyn’s red zone remains unchanged, however.
The state’s color-coordinated strategy to “crush the cluster” of Covid-19 cases ballooning in certain parts of New York has three tiers: red, orange, and yellow.
Cuomo also clarified the metrics that must be met to move from one designation to another in his Wednesday briefing.
For an area to transition from red to orange, testing must be under 3 percent positive over 10 days. To go from orange to yellow, testing needs to be under 2 percent positive during a 10-day period. Finally, a yellow zone can shed its designation as a Covid hotspot if positive tests are under 1.5 percent across 10 days.
The rollout of the “crush the cluster” plan triggered backlash, particularly among Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish communities.
Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed regret this week for how the city communicated to those communities prior to their outbreaks and genuflected following complaints that enforcement has recently been more strict against the Orthodox. Cuomo, on the other hand, doubled down on the state’s strategy and declined to apologize except to say he was sorry that houses of worship were disrupted.
“Do I believe we could have communicated the rules of social distancing and mask-wearing more than we communicated them? I suppose it’s always possible,” he said during the briefing. “But I think I have communicated more with the people of the state of New York than any governor in the history of the state of New York.”
[Politico] — Erin Hudson