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Cuomo shuts down NYC playgrounds as coronavirus deaths soar

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he is closing New York City playgrounds as part of the continued efforts to stem the dramatic rise in coronavirus deaths in the state, which have reached nearly 2,000.


“We are going to close down the New York City playgrounds ... I warned people that if they didn’t stop the density and the games in the playgrounds – you can’t play basketball, you can’t come in contact with each other – that we would close the playgrounds,” he said, before promising to keep green spaces open so people could exercise.


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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had resisted closing playgrounds, but on Tuesday had closed 10 problem playgrounds – and warned that more could be coming.

“Overwhelmingly, we’re seeing compliance in parks and playgrounds,” he said in a Queens press briefing, according to The New York Post. “[But] with some real problem spots, too.”

“If people will not follow the rules, we’ll continue to shut them down aggressively,” he said.

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But on Wednesday, Cuomo made the call to close all playgrounds across the city entirely, saying he had agreed with the mayor that they would try compliance with social distancing using the NYPD, but that it was still a problem. He later tweeted angrily about people who were ignoring their obligation to keep a safe social distance from others.

“How many people have to die before the people ignoring social distancing get that they have a responsibility?” he tweeted.


Cuomo made the announcement at a daily press conference where he also announced that deaths in the state had more than doubled in 72 hours to 1,941. That was up from 965 deaths on Sunday morning.


The state has closed schools, businesses and issued a sweeping stay-at-home order that has shuttered much of daily life in the Empire State, but officials have warned of the need for continued compliance from New Yorkers.


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Data released by the city shows that the disease is having a disproportionate effect in neighborhoods mainly in Queens and Brooklyn. Cuomo cited projections showing the outbreak reaching its apex roughly by the end of April, “which means another month of this.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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