New York City may be the city that never sleeps — but it might be safer for some New Yorkers to give it a rest this weekend amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to experts.
Popular events in the Big Apple over the weekend include a New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils hockey game at Madison Square Garden; the New York Wind Band Festival at Carnegie Hall; and the Chocolate, Wine & Whiskey Festival at the Brooklyn Expo Center — all of which had not been canceled as of Thursday, according to reps.
But according to Manhattanville College Professor Anna Yeung-Cheung, that doesn’t give everyone a free pass.
To avoid spreading the highly contagious illness, she said, “Anyone feeling sick shouldn’t go.”
On Thursday, nine more coronavirus cases were reported in the Empire State, bringing the total number statewide to 22. In New York City, four cases have been reported.
Other people who should be more careful include those with pre-existing medical conditions and the elderly.
“People with long-term illnesses or seniors need to take more precautions in crowded areas — and consider staying home — but not the average New Yorker,” Yeung-Cheung told The Post.
But while most New Yorkers won’t have to cancel plans or avoid going out, New York-based Dr. Navarra Rodriguez said some goings-on are riskier than others for those worried about falling ill.
Revelers may want to steer clear of culinary events — especially ones that serve buffet-style grub or finger foods — along with kid-centric gatherings.
“This may be the weekend you avoid going to a buffet or skip a kids’ birthday party,” Rodriguez, president and chief medical officer at EmblemHealth, told The Post, noting that children can carry the flu-like virus with few symptoms. Symptoms of the COVID-19 virus — fever, cough, runny nose — are similar to those of the common cold or the flu.
However, Rodriguez also stopped short of urging New Yorkers to scrap their weekend plans, saying, “If there’s an event that’s meaningful to you, then go — but use common sense and wash your hands.”
In general, seated events tend to be safer than ones where people are free to move around, experts said. And you’re less likely to catch the virus at outdoor events because the “air exchange” is better.
Health professionals are also urging New Yorkers to use hand sanitizer, wipe off subway poles and disinfect cellphone screens and other frequently touched items. If you’re healthy, there’s no need to wear a face mask.
But recommendations might become more strict in the coming weeks — so it is important to keep up to date with the latest public health advice.
“It’s overkill right now to tell people to stay home,” said Dr. William Haseltine, a US-China Health Summit chair and former Harvard Medical School professor. “But that could soon change. It’s unpredictable.”
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