Here’s what you need to know:
- 100 children in N.Y.C have a rare illness tied to the virus.
- The mayor criticized a video showing the arrest of a woman without a face mask.
- Murphy suggests N.J. beaches could open by summer.
- This Queens diner has transformed into a pop-up drive-in.
- A legal shield is making it hard for families to sue nursing homes for neglect.
100 children in N.Y.C have a rare illness tied to the virus.
New York City has confirmed 100 cases of a dangerous and mysterious inflammatory syndrome that afflicts children and appears to be connected to the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday.
The total reflected 18 new cases of the syndrome since the day before, when Mr. de Blasio said 82 children had been found to have the illness, which is known as pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome and causes life-threatening inflammation in critical organs, including the heart.
“This is something where we need to put supreme focus,” Mr. de Blasio said during his daily news briefing. “We have to understand it better. We have to get ahead of it.”
So far, three children in the state, including one in New York City, have died of the illness.
The mayor criticized a video showing the arrest of a woman without a face mask.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has for days defended the Police Department’s enforcement of social-distancing rules, on Thursday criticized officers recorded while arresting a woman who was not wearing a face mask in the subway system.
In the video, officers escorting the woman out of the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station in Brooklyn station appear to wrestle the woman to the ground after she slaps away one officer’s hand. The police then appear to handcuff her as her daughter looks on.
Mr. de Blasio, at his daily news briefing, said that the encounter contained “complexities,” but that the officers’ actions were out of line.
“Whatever else was happening in that moment, we should never have a situation where a mom with her child ends up under arrest for that kind of offense,” he said.
Mr. de Blasio has previously acknowledged that several recent videos have highlighted the need for better training in officers’ enforcement of social distancing. But he has also said that the number of arrests and summonses has been minimal and that the Police Department would continue to play a role in enforcing social distancing.
The video of the subway encounter emerged on Wednesday, as New York City’s top police official forcefully defended his department from charges that black and Latino New Yorkers were being unfairly targeted for social-distancing violations.
On Wednesday, Police Commissioner Dermot F. Shea disputed assertions by some elected officials and community leaders that the arrest data and videos showed a racist double standard for social distancing that was reminiscent of the “stop and frisk” policy.
Commissioner Shea, like Mr. de Blasio, said that the videos were “incredibly disheartening” and that officers would be held accountable if investigations found that they had engaged in misconduct.
But he rejected the idea that the police were engaged in “racist policing,” saying the accusations “could not be anything further from the truth.”
Murphy suggests N.J. beaches could open by summer.
Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey suggested late Wednesday that the state’s popular beaches, a major tourist draw, would open in a limited way by Memorial Day, the traditional start of summer.
Mr. Murphy, in an interview on CNN, said he planned to make an official announcement Thursday about the rules governing beach openings, but that they would resemble those put in place when officials reopened parks and golf courses two weeks ago after steady declines in new virus cases and hospitalizations.
“Folks should expect to see something of a similar vein as we did with county and state parks, which is mandating social distance, for sure, and finding some ways to limit capacity,” the governor said.
That beaches appeared set to open by summer was the second sign of progress on Wednesday for a state that has been ravaged by the coronavirus outbreak.
At a news briefing earlier, Mr. Murphy said that all retail stores in the state could begin curbside pickup on Monday and that nonessential construction could also resume then.
This Queens diner has transformed into a pop-up drive-in.
Before the pandemic, a large menu and relatively cheap prices kept the Bel Aire Diner packed.
“We haven’t locked the doors in 25 years,” said Patricia Dellaportas, an owner of the retro-style diner in Astoria, Queens.
But now, unable to serve patrons in its comfortable turquoise booths, the diner — like many New York restaurants struggling to stay afloat during the lockdown — decided to pivot. Bel Aire’s solution was to turn its parking lot into a pop-up drive-in theater.
On Wednesday night, people headed there in dozens of cars for two socially distant screenings of “Dirty Dancing.” The film was projected on a 25-foot outdoor screen; the audio played through a local radio station. Customers ordered food like hot dogs, sliders and popcorn from the restaurant’s website.
The diner shares how and when to get tickets to its screenings — its first was “Grease on May 7 — on its social media pages.
“It’s an amazing way to get the community together and out of their house,” Victoria Philios, the diner’s event coordinator, said. “We’re sold out tonight and feel very fortunate that we’re keeping busy.”
A legal shield is making it hard for families to sue nursing homes for neglect.
In the chaotic days of late March, as it became clear that New York was facing a catastrophic outbreak of the coronavirus, aides to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo quietly inserted a provision on Page 347 of New York’s final, voluminous budget bill.
Many lawmakers were unaware of the language when they approved the budget a few days later. But it provided unusual legal protections for an influential industry that has been devastated by the crisis: nursing home operators.
The measure, lobbied for by industry representatives, shielded nursing homes from many lawsuits over their failure to protect residents from death or sickness caused by the coronavirus.
Now, weeks later, more than 5,300 residents of nursing homes in New York are believed to have died from the outbreak, and their relatives are finding that because of the provision, they may not be able to pursue legal action against the homes’ operators over allegations of neglect.
Several state lawmakers, besieged by complaints that poor staffing and shoddy conditions allowed the virus to spread out of control in the homes, said they were blindsided by the provision. At least one called for it to be repealed.
Mr. Cuomo’s aides said nursing homes were not singled out for protection, noting that the provision also shields hospitals and other health care facilities. As New York anticipated a surge of patients, officials wanted other facilities, including nursing homes, to take in Covid-19 patients and expand bed capacity, they said. Their goal was to protect health care workers from litigation during an emergency.
“This legislation is not intended to shield any bad-acting facilities during this tragic time, but rather to ensure facilities could continue to function in the face of potential shortages and other evolving challenges the pandemic presented,” said Dani Lever, a spokeswoman for Mr. Cuomo.
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Reporting was contributed by Kim Barker, Maria Cramer, Michael Gold, Amy Julia Harris, Jesse McKinley, Brittainy Newman, Azi Paybarah, Ashley Southall and Matt Stevens.