By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech
Mayor Bill de Blasio advised New Yorkers to avoid traveling during the holidays as COVID-19 numbers continue to go up across the country.
The country reported 80,000 new cases of the virus, setting a single-day record, earlier this week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
De Blasio said that the city would be upping its enforcement of travel guidelines that require those entering New York City from high-risk states to quarantine for two weeks.
“It’s tough and it’s painful. This hopefully will be the only holiday season that gets affected by this horrible disease,” said de Blasio. De Blasio, who normally travels to visit family during Thanksgiving and Christmas, said that his family did not have any plans to leave the city for the holidays.
Mayor de Blasio also urged the federal government to enforce stricter rules for those traveling during the holiday season and to require those traveling by air to show proof that they tested negative for COVID at least 72 hours before their flight.
De Blasio said that the city will work to increase already existing COVID-19 testing efforts at John F. Kennedy International airport and LaGuardia Airport. “We want to make it easy and clear that anyone coming off of a plane should immediately get tested, “de Blasio said.
The city has been working towards preventing a second wave of the virus after a number of COVID clusters popped up in Brooklyn and Queens last month and surpassed the 550 threshold of new cases last Friday. On Tuesday, City Hall reported that the city’s overall COVID positivity rate is 2.48%, there are 528 new cases based on a seven day average and that total number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 is 60. The numbers are higher than average but remain lower the COVID numbers for most other states.
“The best thing would be to keep it local,” de Blasio said. “Stay nearby. Keep it safe. It’s not easy, but none of this has been easy.”
This story first appeared on amny.com.