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New York coronavirus: Nearly 20% of the NYPD’s uniformed workforce is out sick


NYPD Auxiliary Police Officer Ramon Roman died on Sunday from coronavirus-related complications, according to a daily coronavirus report from the NYPD.

Nearly 20% of its uniformed workforce is out sick.

The city is a hotspot for the virus, with more than 68,000 cases and 2,700 fatalities. The city’s hospitals have been struggling to maintain the space, personnel and equipment to treat the growing number of patients.

On Monday, 6,974 uniformed members of the NYPD were out sick, accounting for 19.3% of the Department’s uniformed workforce, according to the report. That number has jumped from 12% on March 28.

Currently, 1,935 uniformed members and 293 civilian members tested positive for the coronavirus, the NYPD said.

These states have implemented stay-at-home orders. Here's what that means for you
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea previously said that while they were not close to implementing 12-hour shifts, they would do so if necessary.

Some recovered officers returned to work Friday, a law enforcement source told CNN, which delays the necessity to implement 12-hour shifts on the department.

“Now we’re getting the first wave back,” said the official. “By next week, we could be getting hundreds back.”

The NYPD said it is cracking down on social and religious gatherings.

Over the weekend, police used sirens and played social distancing messages over their PA system in Borough Park to break up a large gathering for a funeral in the Hasidic Jewish community that did not follow social distancing guidelines, according to CNN affiliate WPIX.

In a 24-hour period, officers visited 2,419 supermarkets, 6,959 bars and restaurants, 1,238 public places and 3,288 personal care facilities.

Nobody was arrested or issued summonses in relation to the visits, the NYPD said.

CNN’s Laura Ly and Mark Morales contributed to this report.



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New York request to treat coronavirus patients on Navy hospital ship approved by Trump



Cuomo had told reporters earlier Monday that he was “going to call the President this afternoon and ask him to shift the (USNS) Comfort from non-Covid to Covid.”

Trump, speaking at a White House news briefing Monday afternoon, said he “was informed that Gov. Cuomo has already told you and announced he called me up a little while ago and asked whether or not it would be possible to use the ship with respect to fighting the virus.”

“We hadn’t had that in mind at all, but we’re going to let him do it,” Trump remarked.

“It’s set for Covid,” Trump said of the Comfort. The President also confirmed that the ship has been approved to treat New Jersey patients.

The US Navy hospital ship had originally been designated as a space for non-coronavirus patients to alleviate the pressure from New York hospitals, though Trump signaled this weekend that the ship could be used for coronavirus patients if needed.

“That was not supposed to be for the virus at all and under circumstances, it looks like more and more we’ll be using it for that,” he told reporters at the White House Sunday. “The ship is ready and if we need it for the virus, we’ll use it for that.”

The move comes as New York City’s hospitals have been overwhelmed with coronavirus cases and are struggling to respond to patients streaming in. A shortage of personal protective equipment has also placed medical workers at risk of contracting the virus.

As a result — even before Trump’s announcement Monday — Joint Staff Surgeon Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs, the top medical doctor for the military, said the USNS Comfort had already treated coronavirus patients, stating, “Our commitment has been that if a patient comes to us, we would take care of them.”

“Have we had patients who ultimately were determined to have coronavirus on the hospital ships? Yes,” Friedrichs said. “And we’re taking care of them, just like we’re taking care of all the other patients going forward.”

A defense official tells CNN that the Comfort has treated fewer than five coronavirus patients and the Pentagon has said that Comfort has treated a total of 41 patients.

“Having the Comfort here is a very, very important thing for New York City in terms of the number of patients served, but also an extraordinary morale boost when we needed it,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN Friday. “I don’t have a doubt in my mind, the Comfort will be filled up soon.”

CNN’s Nicky Robertson contributed to this report.



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Tom Dempsey, NFL kicker who set a record for the longest field goal, dies of coronavirus


“Tom’s life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations,” said Gayle Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, where Dempsey began his career.

“He exemplified the same fight and fortitude in recent years as he battled valiantly against illnesses but never wavered and kept his trademark sense of humor,” she said in a statement.

Following a March 25 diagnosis, Dempsey initially fought the virus “promisingly,” but his condition worsened in the last week, daughter Ashley told the newspapers that form nola.com.

Because Lambeth House residents were quarantined, his family was not able to visit with him before he passed, but Ashley Dempsey was able to speak to him via video chat, she told the news outlet.

“We didn’t want him to think we had abandoned him,” she told the papers. “We wanted him to know we still loved him — always.”

Dempsey was born in Milwaukee and attended high school and college in Southern California.

He was born without toes on his right foot and with no fingers on his right hand. To compensate, he wore a custom, flat-front kicking shoe that ended where his toes were supposed to begin.

At a time when NFL kickers were increasingly moving to soccer-style field goals and extra points — booting the ball with the laces of their shoes — Dempsey was a relic, preferring the old-school, straight-ahead style (which, for other kickers, meant kicking with their toes) that had dominated the early days of football.

On November 8, 1970, Dempsey’s basement-dwelling Saints were losing 17-16 to the playoff-bound Detroit Lions at home in Tulane Stadium. With only seconds left, safety Joe Scarpati took the snap and Dempsey booted a 63-yarder, shattering Bert Rechichar’s record of 56 yards, which had stood for 17 years.

Some claimed his specially designed $200 shoe gave Dempsey an unfair advantage, but he shrugged off the critics, according to “Game of My Life Detroit Lions: Memorable Stories of Lions Football.”

“How about you try kicking a 63-yard field goal to win it with two seconds left and you’re wearing a square shoe — oh, yeah and no toes either,” he told reporters, according to the book.

In 1974, the NFL moved to discourage long kicks like Dempsey’s by moving the goal posts 10 yards, to the back of the end zone, and giving opposing teams the ball at the spot of the kick after a missed field goal.

A few years later, the league mandated that kickers’ shoes “must have a kicking surface that conforms to that of a normal kicking shoe.”

Dempsey shrugged off critics who said his flat shoe gave him an unfair advantage.
Dempsey’s shoe now sits in Canton, Ohio, site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which hails the modified cleat as a memento from 50 great NFL moments, along with the bench Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi used in his final game and the shoes the Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Dorsett wore when he ran for the first 99-yard touchdown.

Dempsey’s record was tied numerous times — first by Jason Elam in 1998, Sebastian Janikowski in 2011 and David Akers in 2012 — but Dempsey’s defenders point out that two of the three kicks came in Denver, where the balls fly farther in thinner air.

In 2013, more than 43 years after Dempsey’s historic kick, Matt Prater, who played for — you guessed it, the Denver Broncos — broke the record with a 64-yarder. The record still stands.

When Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano booted a 63-yarder in 2018 to tie Dempsey’s record for the longest game-winning field goal (giving the Panthers a 33-31 win over the New York Giants), Gano honored Dempsey the next day.

In a tweet, Gano said he’d always wanted to win a game in record fashion as Dempsey had done, and that one of the “coolest gifts” he’d ever received was a kicking tee signed by Dempsey.

“Honored to be able to put the ball from yesterday’s kick onto the tee that he signed,” Gano tweeted, including a photo of the ball resting atop the orange tee.

After two seasons with the Saints, including his All-Pro rookie year, Dempsey went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills before retiring in 1979.

He was diagnosed with dementia in 2012.

Dempsey is survived by Ashley and her siblings, Toby Dempsey and Meghan Dempsey Crosby, according to nola.com. He also had three grandchildren, the paper said.

CNN’s Alta Spells and Wayne Sterling contributed to this report.



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Oklahoma judge blocks state order restricting abortion during coronavirus outbreak



US District Judge Charles Goodwin wrote “that while the current public health emergency allows the State of Oklahoma to impose some of the cited measures delaying abortion procedures, it has acted in an ‘unreasonable,’ ‘arbitrary,’ and ‘oppressive’ way — and imposed an ‘undue burden’ on abortion access — in imposing requirements that effectively deny a right of access to abortion.”

Several states’ officials opted to include elective abortions in limiting medical procedures during the coronavirus outbreak, pointing to the need to conserve personal protective equipment, while abortion rights supporters have disparaged the move as politically motivated.

Many of the court battles have a potentially long future ahead of them. Federal judges in Texas, Ohio and Alabama moved last week to block those states’ orders limiting elective abortions. While an appeals court then reversed course and temporarily allowed the Texas order to go into effect, another appeals court on Monday affirmed the lower court’s ruling blocking Ohio’s order.
In Oklahoma, Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an executive order in March that he later confirmed applied to “any type of abortion services” that are not a medical emergency or necessary to “prevent serious health risks” to the woman.

In the order Monday, Goodwin cited evidence that medication abortion, a type of abortion typically involving taking two pills without any surgical intervention that would have been included in the ban, “is safer and requires less interpersonal contact and PPE than surgical abortion.”

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said that he was “very disappointed” by Monday’s court order, with his office confirming the state plans to immediately appeal it to the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Excluding abortions from the order “may encourage a flood of other judicially conjured exceptions, completely undermining the state’s ability to combat the worst public health crisis in Oklahoma history,” he said.

Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, said that while the ruling was a relief for patients, “they should have never had to wait for a judge to rule before accessing the time-sensitive care they needed.”

She accused Stitt of “wasting valuable time and resources using the COVID-19 pandemic to score political points.”

CNN has reached out to Stitt’s office for comment.



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US election: Can Donald Trump wait out the coronavirus?



Which is what makes the current situation in Florida in regard to the state’s response to the coronavirus very, very important.

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has come under heavy criticism for his unwillingness to issue a stay-at-home order earlier — spring breakers packed the Florida beaches last month — and for delegating decisions about public safety to local officials rather than issuing more robust statewide directives. (DeSantis finally issued a stay-at-home order on April 1.)
And the state is seen as a potential hotbed for the virus due to its elderly population, according to an analysis done by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Which brings us back to DeSantis — and Trump. The President endorsed the then-House member in a contested GOP primary for governor in 2018 and campaigned for him vigorously in the general election. DeSantis ran ads painting himself as a mini-Trump. The connection between the two men — in most voters’ minds — is very, very close.

Keep watch on the situation in Florida. If it worsens significantly, the blame will likely fall on DeSantis. And that could spell trouble in the state this fall for Trump too.

4. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s political future: Last week, the New York governor, who has emerged as the face of the government’s fight against the coronavirus for millions inside and outside the Empire State, said he would never, ever run for president in the future.

That won’t stop the question from being asked — especially once the pandemic lessens in both New York state and nationally.

Cuomo, at 62, would be far younger than Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren are right now if he ran in 2024. And he’d be only 70 — almost a decade younger than Biden and Sanders! — if he ran for president in 2028.

(Sidebar: For people suggesting Cuomo could be the nominee in 2020, that’s not going to happen.)

Cuomo is able to put off any questions about his political future — which almost certainly includes a run for a fourth term in 2022 — at the moment due to the fact that he is dealing with a massive crisis with an uncertain end date.

But he and his political team will, at some point in the future, figure out whether his answer will (or should) change on whether he ever wants to run for president.

Episodes like this — a battle against a global pandemic — have ways of changing long-held views and re-orienting life goals. For all of us, and for politicians, too.

3. Wither conventions?: In the space of the last week, Democrats have delayed their national convention to August and then watched as their near-certain presidential nominee has suggested an in-person convention might not happen at all.
“We may have to do a virtual convention,” Biden said Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week.” “I think we should be thinking about that right now. The idea of holding the convention is going to be necessary. We may not be able to put 10, 20, 30,000 people in one place.”

He’s right. Even if the spread of the coronavirus is largely limited by mid-summer, does anyone think it’s a good idea to gather tens of thousands of people in close quarters anytime soon?

It’s hard to imagine the Democratic National Committee will have much choice in the matter if the de facto nominee is on the record suggesting that an in-person convention is problematic.

Of course, Trump continues to insist that the Republican National Convention — set to begin August 24 in Charlotte, North Carolina — is full speed ahead.

“We have no contingency plan,” Trump said on Saturday. “We’re having the convention at the end of August, and we think by the end of August, we’ll be in good shape. We have no contingen- — you know, it’s going to be in North Carolina, as you know, in Charlotte. And I think we’re going to have a great convention.”

Riiiiight.

Keep an eye on both parties as they try to navigate the balance between holding a massive, quadrennial party and lingering public health concerns.

2. The Biden VP search: Biden’s presidential campaign has been effectively ground to a halt by the coronavirus as the former vice president has been forced to stay home and do virtual fundraisers and rallies.

But there’s one key element of the coming general election campaign that coronavirus doesn’t have much impact on: The search for a vice presidential nominee.

“I am in the process and I’ve actually had this discussion with Bernie because he’s a friend — we’re competitors, he’s a friend,” Biden told participants in a virtual fundraiser on Friday of the VP vetting process, adding: “You have to start now deciding who you’re going to have background checks done on as vice presidential candidates and it takes time.”

Biden said he plans to form a formal VP search committee sometime in the next month and has talked with former President Barack Obama about the best way to go about it. (Biden surely likes Obama’s process since it would up picking him as the nominee.)

While the VP selection is always a critical choice — less in terms of its impact on the Electoral College than what it says about how a potential president sees his strengths and weaknesses — that’s especially true in the case of Biden’s pick due to the fact that he is 77 years old. (Biden would be the oldest person ever elected to a first term as president if he wins this fall; he turns 78 on November 20.)

“[O]ne of the ways to deal with age is to build a bench — to build a bench of younger, really qualified people who haven’t had the exposure that others have had but are fully capable of being the leaders of the next four, eight, 12, 16 years to run the country,” Biden said Friday.

Biden has already narrowed the field of potential picks by pledging — in a debate last month — to pick a female VP, which was, politically speaking a very smart thing to do.

I’ve gone through the 10 women most likely to be Biden’s nominee — SPOILER ALERT: Kamala Harris is currently No. 1 — and will be out with a new Top 10 later this week. Stay tuned!

1. The impatience of Trump: The President is not a patient man. Like many Americans, he wants what he wants when he wants it. Which is, almost always, right now.

Enter coronavirus — and the recommendations from virtually every medical expert that the only way to stop its deadly spread is to stay at home — a move that effectively grinds the economy to a halt.

Trump has bristled at that order before, spending the days leading up to his announcement of a 30-day stay-at-home order for April insisting the cure can’t be worse than the disease itself.

Well, he’s doing it again. Here’s Trump in the daily coronavirus briefing on Saturday:

“We have to open our country. You know, I had an expression, ‘The cure can’t be worse than the problem itself,’ right? I started by saying that, and I continue to say it. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself. We got to get our country open.”

There’s a reason for Trump’s impatience. Jobless claims reached almost 10 million nationwide in the first two weeks of the stay-at-home orders. The stock market tumbled. Economists warned of a major recession.

If by the end of this month, the virus remains a major public health threat and the economy continues to slide, ask yourself this: How long will Trump be willing to heed the advice of the medical community? How patient can he be — and what will the consequences be if he isn’t?

“I can’t tell you — I can’t tell you a date, but I think it’s going to be sooner rather than later,” Trump predicted Saturday.



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New Movie Release Dates for Coronavirus Postponed Films






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Arizona man arrested after being accused of stealing protective coronavirus equipment and cleaning supplies



Keith Brown, 49, was arrested and booked into the Yavapai County Jail on one count of felony theft and one count of fraud, the Prescott Police Department said in a statement Saturday.

The arrest comes at a time when health care workers and others on the frontline of the coronavirus epidemic are facing a critical shortage of protective equipment including masks, gloves, cleaning products and toilet paper, which are hard to find across the country.

Brown worked in the housekeeping department of the Yavapai Regional Medical Center West Campus, who contacted police on Friday regarding suspicions that Brown had been stealing supplies.

While being interviewed by police, Brown admitted to stealing gloves, hand sanitizer, surgical scrubs, wash cloths, paper towels, masks, bleach cleaner, toilet paper, and an automatic hand sanitizer over the last three weeks, Prescott Police said.

CNN has reached out to Brown for comment.

Brown has been terminated from his job at the Yavapai Regional Medical Center West Campus, police said.

The police department said it is working with the hospital to return the items as soon as they are deemed safe to use.



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Coral Princess cruise ship docks in Miami with coronavirus patients


This ends a voyage that began March 5 in Chile and was supposed to finish March 19 in Argentina, but it ran on for days as countries declined to welcome passengers ashore during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Coral Princess’ trip was lengthened even though none of the ship’s occupants tested positive for the disease until this week.

It’s still not clear how soon all of the 1,000-plus passengers and 878 crew will disembark in Miami, but some of the most seriously ill will leave first and go to hospitals, Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Saturday.

Princess Cruises had said Thursday that 12 people aboard — seven guests and five crew — were positive for Covid-19, after a small group of people with respiratory illness were tested Tuesday.

The company announced Saturday that two guests had died. Gimenez said both died of coronavirus. Their names were not released.

“I want to offer my condolences to the families of the loved ones of the two people who died from Covid-19 on that ship. It is heartbreaking news,” Gimenez said.

“Our hearts go out to their family, friends and all who are impacted by this loss,” the cruise line said in a statement released to news media.

Healthy passengers will start leaving Sunday

Two passengers needing immediate medical attention will be taken to Miami’s Larkin Community Hospital, and an unspecified number of others also will be taken to hospitals soon, Gimenez said.

Coronavirus deaths pass 60,000 globally

About 15 other ill passengers who don’t need immediate hospitalization will remain aboard for medical treatment until they are cleared for travel by the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Gimenez said.

Guests fit to fly home will start leaving the ship Sunday, but the disembarking “is expected to take several days due to limited flight availability,” Princess Cruises said.

More than 990 passengers and 840 crew members have been deemed fit for travel, Gimenez said Saturday.

‘It’s a stressful time,’ daughter says as ill parents remain aboard

Julie Maa is worried about her parents, who are aboard the ship and ill.

Her father, in his early 70s, tested positive for Covid-19 this week. Her mother, in her 60s, also has a fever and is coughing, Maa said.

Maa, at her home in New York, has been talking to them by phone. On Saturday morning, officials were telling them that they would have to convalesce in a medical ward on the ship, and that her father needed supplemental oxygen.

All guests had been asked to stay in their rooms starting Monday after medical staff noticed a higher-than-normal number of people with flu-like symptoms, the company said.

With the ship docked Saturday, Maa’s parents were preparing for their stay in the medical ward.

Her parents, from the San Francisco area, were traveling with three senior couples they’ve known since college.

“It’s a stressful time at the moment,” she told CNN on Saturday.

Caught at sea as the world changed

The Coral Princess was about halfway through its voyage around South America when, on March 12, Princess Cruises said it would end underway cruises as soon as possible as worldwide concerns about coronavirus grew.

The ship was to disembark at Buenos Aires as originally scheduled on March 19, in part because guests already had air travel booked there, the company said.

It did dock there, but the government allowed only Argentine passport holders and people with confirmed flights that day to disembark, according to Princess Cruises.

The ship then departed that night, after the Argentine government warned the ship would be required to stay there indefinitely — with no passengers disembarking — if it remained past midnight, the company said.

The Coral Princess then asked for permission to disembark passengers at port in Uruguay, where it picked up provisions, March 21, and Brazil, but were denied.

Passengers will be allowed off Zaandam and Rotterdam cruise ships off Florida

The ship, then heading toward Florida, picked up more supplies in Barbados on March 31.

Two other cruise ships carrying passengers with flu-like symptoms — the Zaandam and the Rotterdam — docked in Florida’s Port Everglades on Thursday evening, ending their own nightmarish voyages disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Most of the cruise line industry announced a voluntarily suspension of cruise ship operations from US ports of call on March 13, and the CDC issued a “no sail” order on March 14 to all cruise ships that had not voluntarily suspended operations.

CNN’s Rosa Flores, Artemis Moshtaghian and Francesca Street contributed to this report.



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In the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard, locals fear wealthy coronavirus refugees



In Southold, New York, on the North Fork of Long Island, town supervisor Scott A. Russell warned that if more people arrive, it will stretch resources to a breaking point. He has asked the governor to put a travel ban in place, prohibiting all but essential workers from traveling to the island’s East End.

“A new trend is taking place that puts our local residents at even further risk — people seeking refuge from the metropolitan areas,” Russell said in a statement. “Our limited medical resources are overburdened and … they are reaching capacity which has the potential of limiting access to local residents…. Southold should not be treated as someone’s personal isolation unit.”

While some city residents are already hunkered down comfortably at their part-time resort homes, others are still deciding whether to make a run to quieter, more open spaces that haven’t been overcome by the coronavirus. But they should keep in mind that they may not be welcome.

Full-time residents of resort areas are in the strange position of asking people to stay away from the places they are often in the business of promoting.

In Ocean City, New Jersey, a popular beach resort area, the mayor has asked second-home residents to stay away and has all but banned short term rentals.

“Although Ocean City ordinarily welcomes all visitors, at this time we must take all available steps to enforce social distancing recommendations and limit nonessential travel to Ocean City,” mayor Jay A. Gillian said in a statement.
After people rushed to Newport and other coastal towns, Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo issued an executive order that anyone coming to her state from New York must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, among others, pushed backed against the order and Raimondo has since repealed that order, amending it to require self-quarantine for anyone coming from outside her state for non-work related reasons.

Locals living in fear

Some year-round locals are also reacting negatively to the onslaught of visitors they weren’t expecting so early in the year.

“There is the full range of emotional responses to the influx of people,” said Laura Roosevelt, a writer and full-time resident on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. “Ranging from, ‘I kind of wish you weren’t here, but I’m not mad,’ to others who are furious that people have invaded and perhaps infected the island.”

She started noticing the uptick of people on the island when her seasonal friends, who were not expected until summer, began showing up over the past few weeks. “I can think of six of my own friends with families who are here that normally aren’t.”

But, she said, her friends have a home on the island, too.

“If I were a person who bought a house and it was my favorite place, I would feel like, ‘why do I have that house if I can’t use it at a time like this?'” Roosevelt said.

The comment sections of area newspapers and local online groups have lit up with frustration about the strain on services, particularly medical resources.

One commenter on the Martha’s Vineyard Times website posted: “Vineyard should be on full lockdown except for the ferries bringing food and supplies to the Island. With only 25 hospital beds and limited medical professionals to handle an influx of people trying to escape the coronavirus, the Island would be overwhelmed.”

Looking for refuge

Despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stay where you are, including a domestic travel advisory for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, families still wonder if they could make a run for greener pastures. Real estate agents from Connecticut to the Hamptons are fielding a steady stream of calls from New York City residents looking for a refuge.

“Everyone is working from home. They are looking for some sort of relief from the city, a little more space, a yard for the kids,” said Mary Ellen Gallagher, a Connecticut real estate agent with Compass.

In her area, near Fairfield and Westport, short-term, furnished rentals are not typical. Gallagher is reaching out to her network of realtors and clients looking for rental homes to meet the demand. “We’re scrambling,” she said.

Rentals in the Hamptons are in demand, too, said Joseph Kazickas, an agent at Rosehip Partners in East Hampton.

“We have been reaching out to landlords asking if they are able to rent their house immediately based on what is happening in New York,” he said.

But is it a good idea for people to go?

Kazickas said social distancing measures allow him to sell and rent properties. But he says if you want to follow current travel advisories and be respectful to communities, look at a summer rental.

Martha’s Vineyard was where Kristen Kusama-Hinte and her family were headed after New York City public schools closed.

“We didn’t think everyone was thinking the same thing,” she said. “But we realized that it wasn’t such an original idea.”

And soon they wondered if it was even a good idea.

“Our kids were going to feel more comfortable in Brooklyn,” she said. “We didn’t want to feel like we were just bailing on everyone in New York. Even if the hospitals are clearly overwhelmed here, the hospital on the Vineyard would be terribly overwhelmed. We didn’t want to strain their resources.”

They decided to stay put. But she longs for the comfort and natural surroundings of their home on the Vineyard. They are thinking about going up in June and staying for the summer.

“For everyone’s safety, we want to be sure we’re acting in a neighborly way and have that go both ways.”



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NRA suing New York for deeming gun stores non-essential businesses during coronavirus pandemic



In the lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of New York, the NRA claimed that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has “effectively and indefinitely suspended a key component of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution” by forcing gun stores across the state to temporarily shutter their doors.

As states around the country issued stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, some, like New York, didn’t deem firearm and ammunition retailers to be essential, forcing those businesses to close.

The NRA sued the Democratic governor in both his official and personal capacity, as well as New York’s Empire State Development agency and its acting commissioner.

“By closing federally licensed dealers, Defendants have cut off the only way of legally purchasing firearms in the State,” the lawsuit says. “As a result of the government’s overreach, most New Yorkers have no legal way to exercise the constitutional right to purchase arms or ammunition.”

In its filing, the NRA also suggested that the pandemic could be a time of heightened need for a firearm.

“The current public health emergency does not justify impeding the exercise of Second Amendment rights,” the lawsuit says, “especially during a time when many New Yorkers have valid concerns about the ability of the government to maintain order—and criminals are being prematurely released from jails.”

On Saturday, Cuomo addressed the legal challenge during a news conference on coronavirus.

“I think I’ve been sued by the NRA, must be a dozen times. I didn’t even know I was sued this time. You become sort of lawsuit immune. I wish I could become immune to this virus the way I’ve become immune to NRA lawsuits,” he said.

Kris Brown, the president of the pro-gun-control group Brady, called the lawsuit “another attempt by the NRA to jeopardize life-saving responses to stop the spread of this deadly virus that is killing thousands of New Yorkers.”

She said Cuomo is “well within his authority” to close the stores in an effort to address the virus’s spread.

“The Second Amendment, like all amendments in the Bill of Rights, is balanced by concerns of public safety and health,” she added. “Right now, those concerns necessitate the closure of many businesses, including the need to forbid large gatherings, which are rights otherwise protected by the First Amendment. The Second Amendment does not supersede the First, nor does it override the need to stop the spread of coronavirus.”

This story has been updated to include comment from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

CNN’s Sara Murray, Sheena Jones and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.



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