Coronavirus

Stories from WBFO and NPR about how COVID-19 is affecting Western New York, the United States and the entire globe.

Governor Cuomo's Flickr account

Governor Andrew Cuomo has extended the mandatory closure of all non-essential businesses and ban on gatherings in New York for another two weeks, through April 15th. That time period includes the Passover and Easter holidays.


Updated 8:13 p.m. ET

President Trump said on Sunday that federal guidelines urging Americans to social distance to slow the spread of the coronavirus will remain in place for another month and could last until June.

Under the recommendations, the Trump administration is imploring people to avoid restaurants, bars and other situations involving more than 10 people and restrict traveling to trips deemed essential.

Updated at 3:52 p.m. ET

The number of coronavirus deaths in the United States has sharply accelerated in recent days, now exceeding 2,000, marking a doubling of the fatality rate in the span of two days.

Photo from Poloncarz's Facebook Live video

As the month of March draws to a close, New York is reporting some stunning coronavirus statistics. On Sunday, March 1st, there were still no confirmed cases in New York. Today, there are more than 52,000. 728 New Yorkers have died from COVID-19.

Updated at 10:32 p.m. ET

After broaching the possibility of quarantining New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, President Trump backtracked late Saturday, saying a "quarantine will not be necessary."

Earlier in the day, the president said he was "looking at" quarantining New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut because they had developed as "hot spots" of the coronavirus outbreak.

President Trump claimed during Friday's White House coronavirus briefing that the federal government shipped droves of ventilators to New York. What did New York officials do in response? According to Trump, they ignored the new supply and instead attacked the White House for not doing more to assist the state.

"We sent thousands of ventilators to New York, and they didn't know about it at the time they were complaining," Trump said. "They were going there in large numbers."

Karen DeWitt

Several New York state lawmakers and a co-chair of the state Board of Elections are pressing for New York to expand its absentee voting laws to allow for more mail-in balloting and to postpone the April 28 presidential primary until late June.  


Facebook/County Executive Mark Poloncarz

A member of Erie County government, identified only as anindividual who has worked in the county's coronavirus first response efforts, has tested positive for COVID-19. County Executive Mark Poloncarz confirmed the case, as part of his daily briefing on the pandemic and its local numbers. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the number of coronavirus cases in his state is doubling every four days now — a marked decrease from early on in the outbreak, when it was doubling every 2 1/2 days.

"It's still doubling, and that's still bad news, because that still means you're moving up towards an apex," Cuomo said at a press conference on Friday. "But there is good news in that the rate of the increase is slowing."

WBFO file image

An estimated 70 percent of New Era Cap's U.S.-based workforce, including operations in Buffalo, will be furloughed for at least 60 days, the company announced Friday, as the result of slumping sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past several weeks NPR, like your station, has had to make significant changes to our production workflow, while simultaneously serving listeners in new ways. You’ve heard this on the air, especially as NPR newsmagazines and daily news/talk programs have responded quickly to cover the coronavirus crisis. Today we’re updating you about what our other NPR shows are doing. 

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Kids at home are supposed to be home doing school work, replicating what they might be doing back in the classroom. Adults may be at home, waiting for their businesses to reopen. Both are finding ways to keep connected in this era of coronavirus.

Plexiglas shields are coming to a supermarket checkout near you.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Buffalo parks are open for passive use only and Mayor Byron Brown said there is a tightening of enforcement to make sure of that.

Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) is blasting proposals in Washington to start sending American military to the U.S. border with Canada to help all of the federal agencies that now patrol the border.

Marian Hetherly / WBFO News

As most people get used to the notion of working from home amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are some agencies facing the challenge of continuing to deliver services without the face-to-face interaction on which their clients. This includes veterans support agencies.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, facing a state budget deadline in less than a week, is out with a new proposal to try to cope as the state faces a multibillion-dollar budget gap and much uncertainty, with the economy shut down due to coronavirus.

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

President Trump told governors his administration is working on publishing guidelines for state and local governments to use to determine whether to increase or relax social distancing rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The announcement came ahead of the White House's regular news conference on its response to the pandemic.

Over a thousand people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, and over a third of those deaths have taken place in New York. Nearly half the confirmed cases in the United States are in New York.

Albert Pautler

Nursing homes have shut their doors to visitors to protect residents from the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s led to questions about how families can stay in touch with their loved ones — and make sure they're getting the care they need. WBFO’s Older Adults Reporter Tom Dinki reports how the issue is playing out in Western New York nursing homes.

 

Buffalo.edu

When Governor Andrew Cuomo announced 40,000 healthcare professionals had volunteered to help in the state's battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Nancy Nielsen was not surprised. "Doctors and nurses run to where trouble is. We always have done that." That's personal experience. Though she no longer has a private practice, Nielsen, Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has volunteered for the effort.


Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will give his daily COVID-19 update Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Listen live on WBFO or watch below. 

cc-wny.org

Many local organizations have donated their spare masks to medical personnel, but one local community group has gone a step beyond that to buy masks directly to donate them to local hospitals.

 

Siana McClean is an immigration attorney and the regional American Immigration Lawyers Association representative. She works with detainees at the Federal Detention Center in Batavia. Her drive to the court involves crossing the U.S. Canadian Border. 

But since March 16th, she hasn’t been making the trip. She's worried about the coronavirus. 

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Buffalo has 15 new police cars on the street, although you might not notice them in their plain clothes.


Mike Desmond / WBFO News

On a chilly but sunny Wednesday afternoon, there were some visitors walking around Canalside or sitting on a bench looking into a clear blue sky, across the harbor. However, this year, that waterfront scene is buried in the fog of coronavirus, leaving the events of the next few months unclear.


State lawmakers have just one week until the state budget is due, and despite the coronavirus outbreak, they say they intend to meet the deadline and will use precautions to avoid meeting in large groups.They face a daunting task of putting together a spending plan while a multibillion-dollar deficit grows each day.


Updated at 10:51 a.m. ET

A record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country. The Labor Department's report for the week ended March 21 was one of the first official indicators of how many people have suddenly been forced out of work nationally.

In the prior report, for the week ended March 14, initial claims totaled 282,000.

Updated at 1:50 a.m. ET Thursday

The White House's pandemic task force convened another briefing on Wednesday afternoon amid a tense denouement for legislation aimed at helping an economy poleaxed by the disaster.

Last-minute objections on Wednesday delayed the Senate vote until late in the evening, when it passed on a vote of 96 to 0.

Daemen College has announced that two of its Distance Education students have tested positive for Covid-19.

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