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New York delays its presidential primary

Coronavirus in New York
A Manhattan street is almost deserted on Thursday.
(Associated Press)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that New York’s presidential primary would be postponed from April til June to keep people from gathering — even to vote — amid the state’s coronavirus outbreak.

With cases expected to peak in mid-to-late April, nurses continued to make anguished pleas Saturday for more protective equipment and rebuffed officials’ claims that supplies are adequate.

Here are the latest coronavirus developments in New York:

PRIMARY DELAYED

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Cuomo said he was delaying the state’s presidential primary from April 28 to June 23, when the state plans to hold legislative congressional and local party primaries.

“I don’t think it’s wise to be bringing people to one location to vote,” the Democrat said.

New York joins more than a dozen states that have delayed some elections. Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Indiana and Kentucky have postponed their presidential primaries.

The governor’s decision came as election commissioners across New York warned they were risking their health and safety to meet impending deadlines for testing machines and preparing ballots ahead of the April 28 date.

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NURSES APPEAL FOR MASKS

At a news conference outside city-run Jacobi Hospital, nurses called for more masks and other gear to safeguard themselves against the virus that has so far sickened more than 52,000 people and killed more than 700 in New York state, mostly in the city.

At least one healthcare worker, Mount Sinai West assistant nursing manager Kious Kelly, 36, has died of the virus. Others also have fallen ill around the metropolitan region.

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Jacobi nurses said managers at the Bronx hospital have been rationing protective equipment and doctors and nurses are reusing N95 masks.

“We have a number of workers — two in this hospital, two nurses — fighting for their lives in the ICUs right now,” pediatric nurse Sean Petty said, blaming a scarcity of equipment.

City officials have insisted there’s enough protective equipment for roughly the next week, though they’re worried for the weeks after. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city delivered 200,000 N95 masks to hospitals Friday, with 800,000 more to come Saturday.

But Petty said policies on protective equipment were being driven by shortages, not science, and he slammed officials as subjecting medical workers to avoidable risks of contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

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“We will not let any health official or government official say that we have enough” protective equipment, he said, “until every healthcare worker has an N95 for every time they interact with a COVID-19 patient.”

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.


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