New York Mayor Bill de Blasio urged residents to stay put during this holiday season and called the impact of the coronavirus on holiday travel plans “very sad.”
“I have to urge all New Yorkers: do not travel out of state for the holidays,” the mayor said during a Monday news briefing. “Do not travel to a state with a high infection rate. Do not travel to a country with a high infection rate.”
De Blasio said he wanted the federal government to require travelers show proof that they tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of getting on a plane to travel, Fox 5 reported.
“Everyone is going to make their own decision. I know there are painful choices. I get it,” de Blasio said. “But my recommendation is to avoid travel this holiday season. Stay safe to keep us all safe.”
De Blasio said his family would also be forgoing any travel during the holidays.
“I can’t see traveling to family in other places. I can’t see it working for anybody,” the mayor said.
“It’s sad. It’s very sad. I really, really love it, care about it. But, I’m sort of telling myself what I’m telling everyone else: This may be the one year in our life we have to change our patterns, just take a deep breath and know that next year will be better,” he added.
New York bore the brunt of the pandemic’s effects early on in the health crisis, with cases in the city and state peaking in mid-April. After April, the state saw a steady decline in new cases, but over the past month has once more experienced moderate growth in the number of new infections.
Reports of new cases have increased by 16% over the past two weeks, and deaths have climbed by 20% statewide, according to the New York Times. In total, the state has had more than half a million COVID-19 cases and more than 33,000 deaths. Nearly 263,670 of the state’s total cases and about 24,000 of its deaths were sourced to New York City.
Nationwide, the total number of cases has ballooned to around 8.8 million, with more than 226,000 deaths. The United States has seen a new surge recently, especially in the Midwest, and over the past two weeks, new infections have increased by 40% and deaths by 14%.