Cuomo: Wear a mask to respect nurses who died to save us

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called face masks a sign of respect for others on a day the state reported 195 new deaths. Other data released Tuesday shows that nine out of 10 people arrested for coronavirus-related offenses in New York City have been black or Hispanic.

Here are the latest coronavirus-related developments in New York:

COVER UP

Warning that the state isn’t out of danger yet, Cuomo on Tuesday urged New Yorkers to wear masks out of respect for the nurses and doctors who have died to protect people from the pandemic, which he said had killed another 195 people.

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During his daily briefing, Cuomo recounted a tense conversation about masks he had with a man while on a recent walk with his daughter. He said people should be aware that masks, which are worn to reduce the wearer’s chance of infecting others, are a sign of respect to everyone they walk past, as well as to workers pulling society through the outbreak.

“This mask says, ‘I respect the nurses and doctors who killed themselves through this virus to save other people. And I respect the nurses and the doctors, so I’m not going to infect anyone or allow anyone else to be infected unnecessarily so I don’t cause more stress on the nurses and the doctors,’” Cuomo said.

New York requires people to wear face coverings when in close proximity to others in public. As people grow wearier of the extended lockdown, some complain that requirement infringes on individual liberty.

Cuomo instead stressed “reciprocal responsibility” as some upstate areas prepare to start phasing in economic activity this week.

The 195 deaths recorded in New York are a jump from 161 the previous day, but still about a quarter of the highest daily tallies just over a month ago. Hospitalization rates also continue to decline.

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ARREST NUMBERS SHOW RACIAL DISPARITY

Nine out of 10 people arrested for coronavirus-related offenses in New York City have been black or Hispanic, police department data released Tuesday shows.

Of 125 arrested between March 16 and Sunday, 83 were black, 30 were Hispanic, 9 were white and 3 were Asian.

The New York Police Department says the pandemic-related arrests fall into broad categories such as hate crimes, domestic violence and resisting arrest. They include fights that broke out over cutting supermarket lines and a bank robbery suspect who gave a note to a teller saying, “this is a bank robbery, I have COVID.”

“These are not social distancing arrests,” the department said in a statement. “Many were responses to calls for service where there was a clear victim and police took necessary action.”

Data released Friday showed that of the 374 summonses issued through May 5 for violating social distancing orders, 52% were given to black people and 30% to Hispanic people.

The Legal Aid Society, a public defender group, called on the NYPD to release a “full and transparent accounting of all police encounters related to social distancing enforcement” including locations of each encounter and demographic details for people stopped, given summonses or arrested.

The organization also wants the department to make public the guidance it’s providing officers on social distancing enforcement.

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SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER

A federal judge has ordered Cuomo to include an American Sign Language interpreter on the screen alongside him as he delivers his daily press briefings.

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni issued the order Monday as she considers a lawsuit filed by a disability rights group that claims Cuomo is the only governor who has failed to do.

The governor has argued that the state has provided “reasonable accommodations” to deaf New Yorkers through a separate online ASL stream and closed captioning.

But the lawsuit filed May 7 by Disability Rights New York included several examples of deaf New Yorkers who lack internet access or who don’t read or write in fluent English. Four individuals named in the lawsuit said they could access Cuomo’s widely watched briefings on television if he offered an additional accommodation of including an interpreter in the frame of his main stream.

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SALES TAX DROP

New York’s cities and counties saw a 24.4% drop in local sales tax collections in April compared to April 2019, according to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Local governments are grappling with shortfalls as plummeting sales tax collections have left them short about $327 million compared to last year, DiNapoli said Tuesday.

New York City saw a 23.1% decline — or $141.8 million — in lost revenues in April.

“The coronavirus has hurt household finances, and the April sales tax figures show how deep it is cutting into municipal finances,” DiNapoli said.

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OTHER CORONAVIRUS DEVELOPMENTS

-New York is now investigating about 100 cases of a syndrome in children that’s thought to be related to the coronavirus. It affects blood vessels and organs and has symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock. Three children in the state have died.

– The shutdown on Broadway has been extended again — until at least early September. Although an exact date for performances to resume has yet to be determined, Broadway producers are now offering refunds and exchanges for tickets purchased for shows through Sept. 6.

– Two New England hospital systems tried the latest twist in internet matchmaking: online swap meets. As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, online platforms have popped up to match hospitals that need masks, gowns, ventilators and even doctors with those that have extras.

– Even as President Donald Trump urges getting people back to work and reopening the economy, an Associated Press analysis shows thousands of people are getting sick from COVID-19 on the job.

– One is a Roman Catholic church in Queens; the other, a Lutheran church in Manhattan. But the COVID-19 pandemic has united the two Hispanic congregations in grief. Between them, they have lost more than 100 members to the coronavirus, and because of lockdown rules, they lack even the ability to mourn together in person.

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Hill and Villeneuve reported from Albany, N.Y. Michael R. Sisak contributed from New York.

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