Amid coronavirus outbreak, warm weather poses challenges

With warmer weather arriving amid the coronavirus pandemic, some state and local government officials are ordering enhanced safety measures as more people return to the streets.

In New York, with temperatures expected to hit 70 degrees this weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state would distribute 7 million more cloth masks to lower-income families, nursing home residents and other vulnerable people.

He added that in New York City, the transit authority would disinfect subway cars every 24 hours and that stations and commuter train cars would also be cleaned on a daily basis.

“This has never been done before and it’s an extraordinary effort,” Cuomo said during a news conference Saturday. “The riding public deserves this. Essential workers deserve this. Transit workers deserve this.”

Cuomo said he understands that New Yorkers would face difficulty remaining indoors all day as the weather warms.

“You can’t stay indoors all the time. But respect the social distancing and New Yorkers are doing it,” the governor said.

Sandy Williams, of Williams Fruit Farm, sells flowers at New York’s Prospect Park Market on a sunny Saturday. Social distancing guidelines for the city remain in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

(Yana Paskova / Getty Images)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that, starting next week, the city would begin to open 40 miles of streets to pedestrians.

“The open streets are going to be another way to help encourage social distancing, because the warmer weather tells us we’re going to have a new challenge,” de Blasio told reporters.

The daily numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in New York, the state hit hardest by the viral outbreak, have remained relatively steady in the last several days.

New York had 299 new deaths in a 24-hour period ending Friday, up from 289 the day before, according to Cuomo. He added that around 900 new cases are being confirmed each day.

Meanwhile, in states that have already begun to reopen their economies, social distancing issues can only increase.

In New Jersey, starting Saturday, residents will be allowed to venture out to golf courses and state parks. Gov. Phil Murphy emphasized that social distancing will be required for the foreseeable future.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases this week in the U.S. topped the 1-million mark. On Saturday, the death toll from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, passed 65,200, according to Johns Hopkins University.