N.Y. will pay benefits for workers who died fighting the pandemic.
New York’s state and local governments will provide death benefits to the families of essential workers who died while fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Monday.
“We want to make sure that we remember them, and we thank our heroes of today, and they’re all around us,” Mr. Cuomo said at his daily news briefing.
As people paused on Memorial Day to remember military personnel who died while serving the country, Mr. Cuomo linked the fallen service members to New York’s front-line workers, whom he called today’s “heroes.”
The public employees whose families would receive death benefits included health workers, police officers, firefighters, transit workers and emergency medical workers, the governor said. The benefits would be paid out of state and local pension funds.
Mr. Cuomo noted that even as he shut down the state, citing the severity of the outbreak, workers across New York had been required to put themselves in danger to help fight the virus.
“They showed up because I asked them to show up,” he said.
Mr. Cuomo also called on the federal government to provide funds to give hazard pay to workers who were crucial to keeping states and municipalities operating during the outbreak.
The governor’s announcement came as New York reported 96 new deaths related to the virus, only the second time that the state’s death toll had fallen below 100 since late March.
Mr. Cuomo, who held his news briefing on the deck of the U.S.S. Intrepid, an aircraft carrier turned museum anchored at the piers along the Hudson River, specifically mentioned veterans who died of the virus.
Before the briefing began, the governor and his daughter Michaela Kennedy-Cuomo participated in a Memorial Day ceremony.
Memorial Day weekend serves as a peek into what the city will look like in the coming months, a taste of summer that keeps New Yorkers looking forward.
But this year, in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, people on Monday were questioning how to gather during a crisis: Some watched car processions instead of traditional parades, while others prepared to head to the park or the beach, despite the gray skies.
In Yonkers, just north of the city, military and emergency vehicles were part of a Motorcade Memorial Day Parade. An online flyer encouraged onlookers to “wear a mask and practice social distancing.” On Long Island, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran hosted a car parade to the Veterans Memorial at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. Residents were encouraged not to line the streets, but instead to watch a Facebook livestream and “salute” veterans remotely.
Beachgoers in New York City were still unable to take a dip in the water on Monday, though many shorelines in the suburbs were open for swimming. Still, the relatively cool weather and public safety measures — most beaches in the New York region were operating at half-capacity and limiting their use to locals — dampened the urge to pack the sand.
But, many people were simply staying home, unlike in years past, when they gathered on stoops and in public parks to barbecue and toast the arrival of the warmer season.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week that he was considering opening beaches this summer, should the pandemic continue to ebb. The lifeguards’ union said its workers were preparing to return to their posts as early as June.
Still, several members of the New York City Council urged the mayor to open the beaches for swimming.
“Access to city beaches isn’t just a summer fun issue,” Corey Johnson, the Council speaker, said in a statement on Saturday. “It is an equity issue and a public health issue. All New Yorkers, not just those wealthy enough to travel out of the city, deserve access to the beach this summer.”
The Council set forth several recommendations for a beach reopening, including: flags in the sand to indicate where beachgoers can sit while social distancing; walking lanes; limited entry; increased transportation options; and personal protective equipment and testing for lifeguards.
The outlook for the patient assigned to Capt. Eric Dungan on May 1 was bleak: George Crouch, 96, seemed to have given up on life.
His wife had died of Covid-19, and Mr. Crouch was also battling the illness in the hospital. Since his wife’s death in late April, he was refusing medical care and would not eat.
Captain Dungan, a trained social worker in the U.S. Army Reserves, had been deployed from Indiana to New York City to help hospitals during the coronavirus crisis. Many of his patients had already died of the illness, and given Mr. Crouch’s age, condition and temperament, Captain Dungan braced for the worst.
A nurse stopped him on his way to visit Mr. Crouch for the first time. Did Captain Dungan know, the nurse asked, that Mr. Crouch was a veteran of World War II?
“I always see World War II vets as national treasures,” Captain Dungan said. “He did not disappoint.”
The soldiers’ disparate paths had collided at that hospital bedside.
Mr. Crouch was decades out of the Army; Captain Dungan, 46, had only just signed up for the reserves, driven to enlist after the death of his own father, a veteran.
Bonded by their time in the service, the two men connected. Through their friendship, Mr. Crouch found something to live for, his family believes.
“Captain Eric Dungan had immense impact on him. And on us, we really love him,” said Kai Adwoa-Thomas, Mr. Crouch’s daughter.
Blood will be collected from dozens of children in New York to determine whether they share any genetic variations that might make them susceptible to a mysterious syndrome linked to the coronavirus.
Tissue samples from at least one of the three patients to have died from it — ages 5, 7 and 18 — have been sent to a public health laboratory for intensive testing.
A team of more than 30 disease detectives — epidemiologists, clinicians and statisticians — is poring over thousands of pages of medical records.
Even as doctors and scientists around the world race to develop treatments and vaccines for Covid-19, New York State has become the center of a parallel effort to investigate an unnerving aspect of the outbreak: an illness that is sickening a small but growing number of children.
The ailment has now been reported in at least 161 children in New York, making the state’s caseload one of the largest publicly reported anywhere. Hundreds of other children across the United States and in Europe have also been sickened with the illness, now called multisystem inflammatory syndrome.
The syndrome can be characterized by severe inflammation of the heart, blood vessels, the gastrointestinal tract or other organs, believed to be caused by a reaction to the coronavirus. The inquiries into why it is occurring, and whether a treatment can be found, could have an impact on how the authorities handle the reopening of schools and other activities for children.
Doctors in New York involved in the effort say that not since health officials began investigating the connection between Zika in pregnant women and microcephaly in 2015 and 2016 has there been such an urgent search to understand a mysterious threat to children.
“We’re looking at everything possible — therapies, diagnostics, clinical picture — and we’re trying to pull this all together,” said Dr. Howard A. Zucker, the state health commissioner.
He added: “It does keep you up at night. It’s the worry that is there something we’re going to figure out, in six months from now, and we’re going to say, ‘How did we not think about that possible therapy? How did we not figure out that this would have helped?’”
With the Mid-Hudson and Long Island regions poised to start reopening this week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced new public transit safety measures on Sunday in an effort to ensure public health as those areas emerge from lockdown.
Long Island Rail Road trains will add more cars to create more space for travelers, who will be required to wear face masks while riding, the governor said.
“They’re going to add more cars to the trains so people can space out and socially distance when Long Island opens,” Mr. Cuomo said Sunday during his daily briefing, at Jones Beach on Long Island.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is running some 700 trains along the Long Island Rail Road under its coronavirus-era reduced service plan. In anticipation of a gradual reopening of Nassau and Suffolk counties, the M.T.A. is planning to add up to 105 train cars to its current capacity, an increase of roughly 15 percent, said an agency spokeswoman, Abbey Collins.
It will also store extra train cars in 15 yards across the system, in case additional cars need to be quickly deployed.
The M.T.A. is expected to announce capacity enhancements for Metro-North Railroad riders this week, too, Ms. Collins said. The Metro-North Railroad serves much of the Mid-Hudson region, which is set to begin reopening on Tuesday.
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Sandra E. Garcia, Michael Gold, Joseph Goldstein, Jesse McKinley, Dana Rubinstein and Ali Watkins contributed reporting.