NEW YORK CITY – New York State health officials expect an increase in COVID-19 infectious rates as winter approaches.
Governor Andrew Cuomo during a press briefing on Monday says he is wary of the Fall season ahead.
“We’re coming into the Fall. We have been told since early March beware the fall,” Cuomo said. “We expect to see the infection rate go up in the Fall. All over the globe the infection rate is going up.”
Cuomo mandated the closure of all New York City Schools and said he is meeting with religious leaders in the city to make sure they follow mass gathering regulations.
Because the state does not have current data for some schools within so-called hot spots, Cuomo said he understands parents’ unwillingness to send their children to school.
“I would not send my child to a school in a hot spot cluster that has not been testing,” Cuomo said.
He cited New York City religious gatherings as being part of the problem.
“We know there have been mass gatherings going on in concert with religious institutions in these communities for weeks. If we’re going to keep religious institutions open, it has to be on two conditions. The religious community has to agree to the rules, agree to follow them and agree to enforce them,” Cuomo said.
“If you do not agree to enforce the rules, then we will close the institutions down. I’m willing to do that,” Cuomo warned.
The Governor took some flak for his decision not to wear a mask at the indoor press conference.
Cuomo and five aides didn’t wear masks while addressing reporters in a conference room at his Manhattan office, though they wore masks as they entered the room.
Pictures posted on social media showed journalists wearing masks sitting close to one another in the relatively tight space.
The briefing was held in a room considerably smaller than the more spacious Executive Chamber in Albany, where Cuomo often held his televised coronavirus briefings throughout the spring.