New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut down all New York City playgrounds on Wednesday and called on the NYPD to more aggressively enforce social distancing following a spike in the state’s coronavirus death toll over the last 24 hours. In a briefing on Wednesday, the governor cited density issues as his reason to close playgrounds. However, the city will leave open spaces available for people to move freely. “The compliance is still not where it should be… so we’re going to take more dramatic actions,” he said.
He said the NPYD “needed to get more aggressive, period” otherwise he would be forced to mandate social distancing laws. “How reckless and irresponsible and selfish for people not to do it on their own,” he said. “Who else has to die for you to understand you have a responsibility in this?” He said that, beyond individual responsibility, “we are going to need law enforcement to get more aggressive.”
The state has more than 83,000 coronavirus cases, and the death toll is now 1,941—up almost 400 in 24 hours. Cuomo said the state could be facing many more weeks of social distancing, lockdowns, and deaths due to the current severity of the virus. Current modeling shows that 16,000 New Yorkers will die from coronavirus, with infection rates reaching an apex at the end of April.