NY to test for antibodies, governor mandates face covering

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Governor Andrew Cuomo is directing NY state residents to wear a mask or other cloth covering in situations where proper social distancing isn't possible.

Maryland also issued its own orders requiring face masks in certain public settings. Cuomo said at his daily briefing.

"If you are going to be in public and you can not maintain social distancing then have a mask, and put that mask on", Cuomo told a news briefing.

"If people don't follow it", he said, "we could do a civil penalty", as opposed to a criminal violation. As part of an executive order, New Yorkers must wear a mask or cloth covering over their nose and mouth to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Cuomo said that a total of 18,335 people were hospitalised across NY because of Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, down from 18,697 a day earlier, which had marked the first decline since the crisis began.

Cuomo, along with many other USA governors, shut his state economy to limit the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus and has warned that he is are prepared to keep businesses shut - perhaps for several months more - unless he can assure public safety.

With evidence that the outbreak is slowing in states like NY, political leaders have engaged in an acrimonious debate over when to try to reopen the economy without paving the way for a deadly second wave of infections.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new executive order he plans to sign Wednesday.

But the state will continue to withhold the names of nursing homes that have experienced severe outbreaks from others, saying patients deserve privacy.

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According to Johns Hopkins University, COVID-19 has so far killed at least 119,000 people globally and infected almost two million people.

"They'll be safe, they'll be strong, but we want to get our country back", Trump said of coordinating with states to roll back coronavirus regulations.

"New York had one of the earlier surges", Cuomo said. "We'll have no other choice".

However, health experts have warned that the United States needs to ramp up testing capabilities and contact tracing before loosening restrictions implemented to prevent the spread of the virus.

While the state is waiting on a vaccine, Cuomo laid out a number of factors that could help NY return to some semblance of normal life, including widespread antibody testing and the development of a robust system for contact tracing. An excess of 11,500 people in NY have died from complications caused by COVID-19. "If he wants a fight, he's not going to get it from me", he added.

"That is a massive undertaking", he said.

In the meantime, New York will begin testing 2,000 people a day for virus antibodies this week via a newly developed finger-prick test. Priority will be given to nurses, New York City police and other first responders, so they can know if they've been infected. But on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, no more.

Skelos has been serving a four-year and three-month prison term after he was convicted of extortion, wire fraud and bribery.

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