While the number of positive Coronavirus cases in New York continues to climb, I want to share some hopeful news: New data show that our density reduction measures may be working. The forecasted rate of hospitalizations are slowing down. On Sunday, forecasts showed hospitalizations doubling every 2 days; on Monday, they showed hospitalizations doubling every 3.4 days; and yesterday, they showed hospitalizations doubling every 4.7 days. But the virus is still spreading very quickly, and New Yorkers must stay at home and practice social distancing as directed. By doing so we may flatten the curve.
Here's what else you need to know tonight:
1. A mental health hotline is available to New Yorkers who need it. We can't underestimate the impact this pandemic is having on mental health. I'm proud that over 6,000 mental health professionals have volunteered their time to help with New York's Coronavirus response. For free emotional support, consultation and referral to a provider, call 1-844-863-9314.
2. New York City will pilot closing streets to vehicles and opening them to pedestrians as part of the city's plan to address the lack of adherence to social distancing protocols. I am also enacting a voluntary playground social density protocol that prohibits close contact sports such as basketball.
3. Utility rate increases that were scheduled to go into effect on April 1 have been postponed. At my direction, the Public Service Commission ordered that rate hikes be postponed for nearly 2 million customers. This will help ease the financial stress on families and businesses affected by this pandemic.
4. Make sure you respond to the 2020 Census. Invitations to complete the Census have started to arrive in New Yorkers' mailboxes, and this year you can respond online. Everyone living in New York counts: A complete tally of all New Yorkers is crucial in determining how the state receives federal funds for infrastructure, education, public health and more. You can fill it out without having to leave your house. For more information on the Census, click here.
5. I want to share my thanks. I am so grateful to the frontline heroes who are helping our state respond to this pandemic. If you see them, thank them. My thanks go out to every healthcare worker, EMT, police officer, firefighter, grocer, trucker, store clerk, mail carrier, takeout cook, hospital and building cleaner, teacher, child care worker, mental health professional and countless others. You are stepping up and your state and I are grateful.
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": New York University is offering early graduation for senior medical students so they can help overworked doctors who are fighting in the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior medical students who volunteer will be able to work immediately as paid interns at NYU Langone Health's Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine departments.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo