What to Know
- California became the latest addition to the New York quarantine list Tuesday, bringing the total number of affected U.S. states and territories to 41; no areas were removed
- Massachusetts joined New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania in meeting the threshold for the list, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said quarantine restrictions for those nearby states aren't practical
- He continues to urge people to avoid nonessential travel to the extent they can; meanwhile, new restrictions go into effect Tuesday in Newark as its mayor tries to stem a recent surge in cases
California became the newest addition Tuesday to New York's quarantine list, which now restricts travel from 41 U.S. hotspots. No areas were removed, an expected result as new cases are rising in practically the entire country.
Massachusetts, like New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, now meets the new-cases-per-residents threshold to be including on the quarantine order, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it's not practical to do border control with those states.
That said, he continues to urge New Yorkers, to the extent they can, to avoid nonessential travel between those nearby states for as long as they meet the quarantine threshold. Govs. Phil Murphy and Ned Lamont have issued similar pleas to the people of New Jersey and Connecticut over the last week.
Newly confirmed infections per day are rising in 47 states, and deaths are up in 34, according to Johns Hopkins. Death is a lagging indicator, which means it may not be long before more states lose more people. Right now, the United States is averaging almost 800 deaths a day, a far cry from the 2,200 it was seeing in late April but a disconcerting trend as cold weather and the holidays approach.
Deaths per day have soared 10 percent in just the last two weeks nationwide, prompting a growing number of states and cities to implement new restrictions. The calls to avoid holiday travel amid the latest surge continue to grow louder.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was the latest to join the chorus Tuesday, as he called for the federal government to mandate all domestic and international travelers test negative for COVID before they board planes.
"Everyone's going to make their own decision, and I know there are painful choices," de Blasio said. "For those who do travel, recognize how important it is to get tested -- and recognize there's a very strict quarantine in New York state. The vast majority of American states are now on the quarantine list."
The quarantine list requires travelers to the tri-state area from U.S. hotspots to self-isolate for 14 days before roaming freely in the region. It also requires residents of the tri-state area to self-isolate after returning home from an identified hotspot. Heavy fines apply for noncompliance in New York.
The travel restriction applies to the following U.S. states and territories: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming and Wisconsin.
The out-of-state threat only compounds the threat at home, as all three tri-state governors face varying increases of COVID cases and hospitalizations, along with overall positivity rates, in their respective states. Cuomo's micro-cluster strategy is ongoing in certain highly specific geographic areas of Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland, Orange and other counties. Now the largest city in New Jersey is implementing new virus control measures to curb its recent case surge.
Starting Tuesday in Newark, which has seen COVID cases rise at unparalleled levels compared with the rest of Essex County as of late, nonessential businesses, including indoor dining, must close by 8 p.m. nightly. Salons and barbershops can be appointment only and gyms must close for half an hour each hour for sanitizing, cutting service time essentially in half. Outdoor dining will still be allowed until 11 p.m., however. The new restrictions are expected to be in place until at least Nov. 10, Mayor Ras Baraka said.
On Monday, Newark recorded more new cases of coronavirus than all of the other cities in Essex County combined, and some neighborhoods there have recorded positivity rates above 25 percent, more than five times the state average. The city overall has a positivity rate of nearly 12 percent, still more than double the state average. Free walk-up or drive-through testing is now available at 13 locations with no appointment needed, just an ID proving Newark residence.
The localized rules were ordered by the mayor of Newark, not by New Jersey's governor, and are less severe than the hyper-targeted geographic ones Cuomo imposed on narrow hotspots within New York. Gov. Murphy said he supports Mayor Baraka's decision in Newark and will provide additional state assistance on testing, contact tracing and enforcement.
Murphy, who has been in voluntary isolation after a staff member tested COVID positive on Wednesday despite himself testing negative several times, has declined to implement new virus control measures to combat recent upticks across virtually every part of New Jersey as new case totals rise to May highs.
The governor has reported more than 1,000 new COVID cases a day for more than a week. He added another 1,663 Tuesday, bringing the total since March above 231,000, along with another 14 confirmed COVID fatalities.
"These numbers are sobering. We are still in the midst of a pandemic and need everyone to take this seriously," Murphy tweeted.
Tracking Coronavirus in Tri-State
According to him, there has been no evidence that anything he can regulate -- like indoor dining or gyms, for example -- is causing the spread. He can't control what happens in people's private homes -- and he says those are increasingly becoming the sources of new cases. Instead, he urges people to be smart.
Connecticut's numbers have been up as of late, in line with the national trends. Lamont reported a 4.1 percent positivity rate Tuesday, the highest in months.
New York's daily case totals, as well as its total hospitalizations, have been on the rise as well in recent weeks amid its cluster battle. Overall, its infection rate remains low; the Empire State has the third-lowest in the nation, according to Monday data from Johns Hopkins. New Jersey has the 13th-lowest rate, a hard crash from where it was over the summer but still better than most of the country.
Daily Percentage of Positive Tests by New York Region
Gov. Andrew Cuomo breaks the state into 10 regions for testing purposes and tracks positivity rates to identify potential hotspots. Here's the latest tracking data by region and for the five boroughs. For the latest county-level results statewide, click here
Cuomo has touted his micro-cluster strategy as an effective containment approach, ripping White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows over his recent comments that the federal government can't "control" the pandemic. The New York governor says the numbers in his state -- focus area rates down across the board -- prove it can be controlled when people are engaged, testing is available and governments execute compliance and enforcement strategies effectively.
The rolling seven-day positivity rate is down in all of New York's red zone areas except for Rockland, based on Cuomo's update Tuesday. The governor has said he would reassess the cluster zone maps every 10 days, which means some spots could see restrictions ease -- or extend -- by the end of this week.
One place where the hyper-local restrictions appears to have worked is on Long Island. In early October, the state identified a spike in five towns in Nassau County, deeming them yellow and orange zones. After schools were forced to go remote for two weeks, limits were placed on religious gatherings and indoor dining was put on hold as part of the re-shutdown, officials in the county announced on Tuesday that numbers had significantly improved.
"Lawrence cases were a steady drop, 25 percent since last week and about a 75 percent drop in the last three weeks," said County Executive Laura Curran, adding that increased testing contributed to the drop. The model used there will now be used to counter other spikes and COVID clusters in the future.