New York Primary 2020: What We Know – The New York Times

[Want to get New York Today by email? Here’s the sign-up.]

It’s Thursday.

Weather: Mostly sunny in the high 80s, then a slight chance of thunderstorms later today and this evening.

Alternate-side parking: Suspended through Sunday.

Credit…Desiree Rios for The New York Times

In 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s win over an entrenched House Democrat was viewed by some of her critics as a fluke. They apparently miscalculated the shift to come.

Young progressives are now steering the agenda in Albany. And on Tuesday night, several left-wing candidates opened wide leads in some of New York State’s key primary contests, though a staggering number of mail-in ballots remained to be counted.

That means we still don’t officially know who will move on to the general election.

I spoke to my colleague Jesse McKinley, who covers state politics, about what to take away from the primary election.

Q: What happened on Primary Day?

A: It was a big night for progressive candidates, as they took commanding leads in several closely watched races. That includes Jamaal Bowman, who is challenging Representative Eliot L. Engel, a longtime congressman from the Bronx, who is on the ropes.

Two other young progressives — City Councilman Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones, a lawyer — also seem likely to win their primaries.

[An insurgent wave upended House primaries as Engel fell behind.]

Why is there a delay in the results?

In April, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo expanded access to absentee ballots, fearing that making people go to polling stations would increase their exposure to the coronavirus. The nearly two million ballots sent out by the state’s Board of Elections won’t be fully counted till next week, at the earliest. So Election Day has become Election Week, as my colleague Jonathan Martin put it.

What do the current returns say about the liberal wave that elected Ms. Ocasio-Cortez to Congress in 2018?

That wave continues to crest and shows no sign of ebbing. (Forgive the aquatic metaphor, but it is too swell to avoid.) The generation of centrist Democrats — in the mold of Bill Clinton, and, to an extent, Mr. Cuomo — is facing a serious challenge in an age in which younger, less transactional politicians are in vogue and, increasingly, in power.

What is the state of New York’s Democratic Party?

Dominant. Democrats control the governor’s mansion, both houses of the Legislature and the New York City Council, and make up most of the congressional delegation. Republicans haven’t won a statewide race since 2002, and 2022 — when a very popular Mr. Cuomo seems likely to run for a fourth term — doesn’t exactly seem like a slam dunk for them either.

What can we expect in November?

Most of these congressional seats are safely Democratic, so the winners of the primary will be elected to Congress, barring something nutty. But considering how 2020 has been going thus far, I suppose anything is possible.

In late March, Florida, worried about the spread of the coronavirus, began requiring travelers from the New York area to quarantine.

Other states also sought to restrict visitors from the state, a center of the pandemic that was later found to be seeding outbreaks around the country.

But now, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are all requiring certain out-of-state visitors to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

The rule, which went into effect at midnight on Wednesday, reflects a stark shift in the course of the outbreak. Nearly 20,000 people tested positive for the virus in Florida over the last five days ending on Tuesday; in New York, where far more people are being tested daily, roughly 3,200 tested positive during that period.

[Read more about the travel restrictions.]

The new restrictions will be based on health metrics related to the virus, Mr. Cuomo said. So far, travelers from nine states — mostly from the South, including Florida, Texas and Arizona — would be required to quarantine.

Fireworks Conspiracy Theories: Why You Should Be Skeptical

Pandemic May Force New York City to Lay Off 22,000 Workers

A Teenager Hosted a Graduation Party. Then 2 Gunmen Showed Up.

‘The City Fumbled It’: How 4 Families Took On the Virus

A Bridge From Queens to Manhattan, but No Cars Allowed

Want more news? Check out our full coverage.

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

Transit officials are considering the use of artificial intelligence to track how many subway riders are wearing face masks. [Gothamist]

A Bronx toddler was struck by a firework when it flew through his apartment window. [New York Post]

How has the city’s boss of beaches kept his position for 40 years? [Intelligencer]

Talia Matz planned on running three marathons this year. Now, that number is down to zero.

Ms. Matz, 40, of Manhattan, has been a runner for 10 years and a New York City marathoner since 2015. Like many New Yorkers, she was excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the race, a 26.2-mile course that snakes through all five boroughs and a sea of cheering onlookers.

“New York City’s the best marathon I think there is,” she said. “I ran Chicago, but it just didn’t compare.”

  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated June 24, 2020

    • Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?

      A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

    • I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?

      The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

    • What is pandemic paid leave?

      The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.

    • Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?

      So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • How does blood type influence coronavirus?

      A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

But the New York City Marathon — the world’s largest — was canceled on Wednesday because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the dropping infection rate in New York, city officials and marathon organizers decided it would be too risky to hold the race, which attracts more than 50,000 runners and 10,000 volunteers. Public health experts have warned that large events will continue to pose a threat until there is a treatment or vaccine for the coronavirus.

Runners can either defer their entry or receive a refund. Organizers also planned to announce details for a virtual race.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Teresita Gonzalez was one of many children in Sunset Park who, over the years, gave runners high-fives as they passed by.

Ms. Gonzalez, now 24, first ran the marathon in 2018. This year, she was excited for her brother to join her.

But after learning that the race was canceled, she found a silver lining: Now, she said, she could focus on starting school to study culinary management. “It’s not worth risking the lives of people in order to put on these events,” Ms. Gonzalez said.

Ms. Matz agreed. Despite her disappointment, she said that the organizers made the right choice, and that she was looking forward to someday finishing her favorite marathon in under four hours.

“It’s electric,” she said.

It’s Thursday — stretch your legs.


Dear Diary:

I was standing near a big pile of fruit being sold by a vendor on 23rd Street from whom I had been buying for years. It was early August, when apples available on the street that look OK on the outside are sometimes brown and soft on the inside.

I was employing a discreet system that the vendor and I had implicitly worked out: I stood on the gutter side of the stand, picking out individual apples and giving each a tiny bite followed by a quick visual inspection.

The small bites ended up in the street. I showed the occasional overripe apple to the vendor, who disposed of it and allowed me to pick out another.

Normally, it was a quiet, private routine. But on this August morning, a young man who was passing by looked at me pointedly with a knowing smile on his face.

Sensing that I needed to go public, I looked his way.

“Sometimes you have to check,” I said in a fairly loud voice.

The man’s smile widened.

“In summertime,” I added as he continued down the sidewalk.

“Have a good day,” he said, the smile still on his face.

— George A. Smith

New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. Sign up here to get it by email. You can also find it at

We’re experimenting with the format of New York Today. What would you like to see more (or less) of? Post a comment or email us: