For the second time in two days, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is publicly discussing another full-blown lockdown in the city, even as he simultaneously pushes to reopen schools.
NBC New York reports that de Blasio stressed that a shutdown on par with the springtime "PAUSE" (that's the state's monicker for its springtime lockdown) will be necessary to curb the surging cases in the city and the state. On top of suggesting once again that another lockdown in the Big Apple is virtually inevitable at this point, the mayor offered some new details, with the caveat that the decision ultimately rests with Gov. Cuomo.
Unlike Germany and the Netherlands, who have encouraged citizens to simply accept a Christmas lockdown, de Blasio suggested that the lockdown might be delayed until after Christmas because - let's be real - it would simply be ignored, otherwise.
The comments come as NYC's 7-day positivity rate - that's the average percentage of those tested who test positive, seen as an important indicator of viral spread adjusted for the level of testing - tops 5.5%, its highest level since the spring. It has persisted above this level since Nov. 30. It's already above the 5% threshold seen as the cutoff where de Blasio once promised to impose heightened new restrictions akin to what New Yorkers endured back in the spring. The city is reporting an average of 2,813 new cases/day over the past week.
"Clearly these numbers are going in the wrong direction," de Blasio said Tuesday. "Unfortunately, and I don't say it with anything but sorrow, but I do think it's needed. We're going to need to do some kind of shutdown in the weeks ahead, something that resembles the PAUSE we were in in the spring."
Meanwhile, between Nov. 30 and Dec. 11, the 7-day average of newly reported cases rose from 2,582 to 2,837, the 7-day average of new hospitalizations increased from 138 to 178 and the 7-day average for new daily deaths rose from 15 to 22.
The city started imposing more restrictions on Sunday evening and Monday as restaurants shut down their dining rooms again, and many closed for goods.
While Cuomo as governor has taken heat in the press for trying to spend holidays with his family, if nothing else, the governor might see the political wisdom in waiting until after the holidays - not to mention the argument about people ignoring the order, like they ignored his order to keep Thanksgiving gatherings at a minimum.
We await further word from the governor's office, which we expect will be announced during a highly choreographed press briefing carried live on CNN and MSNBC.