NY, NJ and Conn. to Begin Coronavirus Travel Quarantine for Hotspot States

New Jersey and Connecticut will also require visitors to quarantine for two weeks. The rule reflects a stark shift in the course of the outbreak.Videotranscripttranscript‘They Could Literally Bring the Infection With Them’: Cuomo Announces Joint Travel AdvisoryGov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that New York and two neighboring states would require visitors from states with big outbreaks to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.So we’re announcing today a joint travel advisory. People coming in from states that have a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days. And we have a calibration for the infection rate, and any state that goes over that infection rate — that state will be subject to the quarantine. It’s only for the simple reason that we worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down. We don’t want to see it go up, because a lot of people come into this region. And they could literally bring the infection with them. As of today, the states that are above that level are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah, Texas. That’s as of today — the states themselves can change as the infection rate changes. And we will update daily what states are above that infection rate.Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that New York and two neighboring states would require visitors from states with big outbreaks to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.CreditCredit…Juan Arredondo for The New York TimesJune 24, 2020Updated 4:57 p.m. ETA few months ago, New York was suffering through the worst ravages of the coronavirus pandemic. Hospitals filled to near capacity. Hundreds of people died each day, reaching a peak in mid-April. The rest of the country recoiled at the sight of a New York license plate. Florida and Rhode Island singled out New York travelers, who researchers now believe helped to seed the spread of the virus in other states.But as New York has largely controlled its outbreak, other states — especially in the Sun Belt and the West — have seen virus cases surge, leading to a table-turning moment: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday announced that anyone coming to New York from a state currently hard hit by the virus would have to quarantine for two weeks.The restrictions were based on specific health metrics related to the coronavirus, Mr. Cuomo said. At the moment, travelers from nine states — as well as New Yorkers returning from those states — would have to quarantine.“We now have to make sure that the rate continues to drop,” Mr. Cuomo said. “A lot of people come into this region and they could literally bring the infection with them. It wouldn’t be malicious or malevolent, but it would still be real.”Failure to quarantine in New York could result in thousand-dollar fines, Mr. Cuomo said. Travelers to New Jersey and Connecticut would also be told to quarantine, though officials from both states said there was no enforcement mechanism at the moment.The order — a “joint travel advisory” with the two other states — would take effect at midnight, Mr. Cuomo said on Wednesday. He said the quick implementation was aimed at preventing a rush of travelers trying to avoid the requirement, which currently applied to Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington.ImageIn Florida, more than 20,000 people tested positive over a five-day period.Credit…Saul Martinez for The New York TimesAs businesses reopen and public life returns, the virus has been spreading to areas that had mostly managed to initially evade the worst of the outbreak.In recent days, Texas has seen record-high levels of hospitalizations for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Local hospitals, particularly in Houston, have struggled to keep up with the rising number patients needing intensive care. “There is a massive outbreak of Covid-19 across the state of Texas,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a television interview on Wednesday.Amid rising hospitalizations in North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper said on Wednesday that the state would “pause” its move into the next phase of reopening and make masks required statewide in public when distancing is not possible.In Florida, more than 20,000 people tested positive for the virus over the last five days ending Tuesday; in New York, where far more people are being tested daily, roughly 3,100 tested positive over those same five days. Only a handful of states — including Maine, Rhode Island and Hawaii — have required out-of-state travelers to quarantine. A larger number have asked travelers to quarantine but do not mandate doing so. And a few, such as Florida and Kansas, apply the requirement only to those coming from certain states. The new quarantine in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut would apply to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or a state with a 10 percent or higher rate over a seven-day rolling average. Mr. Cuomo said that enforcement would be up to each of the three states. In New York, he said, those violating the quarantine order could be “subject to a judicial order and mandatory quarantine.” A first violation could result in a $2,000 fine and could go up to $10,000 for subsequent violations.Indeed, the effect of the order may be largely symbolic. Even in places where out-of-state arrivals are already formally required to quarantine, there has not been widespread enforcement to make sure the rules were being followed. A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo said that if a New Yorker believes that a recent arrival — or a returning neighbor — has not been abiding by the quarantine, then that person should start by reporting the possible violation to the local health department.“You could argue that even law is the honor system until you get caught,” Mr. Cuomo said. “You can violate the quarantine until you get caught,” he added, then “you’re in mandatory quarantine and fined thousands of dollars.”ImageNew York City entered Phase 2 this week, with safety precautions in offices.Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York TimesPlayers from the Mets and Yankees who have been in Florida but are coming back to New York for an abbreviated and late spring training will not be required to quarantine, Mr. Cuomo said. The state had been working on separate “health protocols” with them since last week, he said.Mr. Cuomo, who hosted the news conference from New York City, was joined via video link by Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey and Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut, all three Democrats.

Updated June 24, 2020

What’s the best material for a mask?
Scientists around the country have tried to identify everyday materials that do a good job of filtering microscopic particles. In recent tests, HEPA furnace filters scored high, as did vacuum cleaner bags, fabric similar to flannel pajamas and those of 600-count pillowcases. Other materials tested included layered coffee filters and scarves and bandannas. These scored lower, but still captured a small percentage of particles.

Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?
A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?
The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

What is pandemic paid leave?
The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.

Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?
So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?
Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

How does blood type influence coronavirus?
A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?
The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

How can I protect myself while flying?
If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

What should I do if I feel sick?
If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

“This is a smart thing to do. We have taken our people, the three of us, these three states, through hell and back,” Mr. Murphy said. “The last thing we need to is subject our folks to another round.”The goal, the governors said, was to maintain the hard-fought gains against the virus that have been made, at great economic and human cost, over the past three months. On Monday, for example, nearly 49,000 people were tested for the virus in New York, with just shy of 600 coming back positive.Since the middle of March, New Yorkers have largely abided by the orders to stay at home and wear masks in public, creating a new way of life in the city and surrounding suburbs that helped to bring new infections down to a manageable level.At the same time, many New Yorkers with the means to do so fled, often to out-of-state locales. By late March, Florida began requiring travelers from the New York area to quarantine. Other states sought to restrict visitors. Now, the virus appears to be spreading far more rapidly outside of New York, with new infections surging in places like Arizona and Texas. Those who left for other states, upon their return to New York, will have to quarantine.The city and state have begun a phased reopening of business that has been more cautious than other areas of the country, and Mr. Cuomo as well as other officials have been concerned about a resurgence of the virus. The travel restrictions were an attempt at mitigating the risk of new infections coming from outside the state.“We now have the virus under control. Yeah, but Florida doesn’t, Texas doesn’t, these other states don’t,” he said last week. “And what happens if they get on a plane and they come to J.F.K.? So, we get the infection rate down and then because other states are high, we could have a problem.”Epidemiologists do not see a uniform coronavirus wave spreading across the country, but multiple outbreaks that are out of sync with each other. In that context, they said, quarantine requirements made sense.They also cautioned that the outbreak remains active and that the situation in any one state or region of the country could still change.
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