New York City prepares for lockdown as cases rise above 800

Reports say Gov. Andrew Cuomo opposes measure proposed by Mayor Bill de Blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents to be prepared to shelter in place as the number of coronavirus cases in the city soared to 814 Tuesday, according to multiple news reports.

“New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order,” de Blasio said. “The decision will be made in the next 48 hours.”

But the impending order for the city’s 8 million residents may not have the full support of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, according to several news reports, including MSNBC and The Associated Press.

Cuomo reportedly said the lockdown order cannot be given without the permission of his office and that “there is no consideration” of issuing one.

In response to the widening outbreak, de Blasio has already ordered schools closed, limited restaurant services, except for delivery and takeout, and shut down large entertainment events throughout the city.

New York City would be the third city in the country — about 7 million residents of San Francisco and Oakland are under lockdown orders — to prohibit residents from leaving their homes “except for essential needs.”

At least seven deaths have been reported in New York City since the virus was first reported in the United States in late January.

Health officials have said it may not be known for weeks whether quarantine measures like those in the Bay Area are ultimately effective against the virus. Public officials there said they were closely following the advice of federal health officials, according to a report on CNN.

Tuesday began with de Blasio saying he was “absolutely considering” a shelter-in-place order in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

"I don't take this lightly at all," de Blasio said, according to NBC. "Folks have to understand that right now, with so many New Yorkers losing employment, losing paychecks, dealing with all sorts of stresses and strains, I'm hearing constantly from people who are tremendously worried about how they're going to make ends meet."

“In that scenario, a shelter-in-place begs a lot of questions,” the mayor said. “What is going to happen with folks who have no money?”

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In another sign of the growing crisis Tuesday, four Brooklyn Nets players tested positive for the virus, according  to a report by CBS News.

Elsewhere, three New York representatives in Congress — Jose Serrano, Tom Suozzi and Max Rose — called on President Donald Trump to deploy a Naval hospital ship to the region to help with the response there, according to BuzzFeed.

— This is a developing story. Please return to AJC.com for updates.