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New York City positivity rate above 5 percent, highest level since May

New York City positivity rate above 5 percent, highest level since May
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New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioAs Trump steps back in the spotlight, will Cuomo exit stage left? NY lawmakers agree to strip Cuomo of pandemic-related emergency powers The Memo: Cuomo's fall raises questions for media MORE (D) announced Thursday that the city reached a coronavirus infection rate of more than 5 percent, the highest since May as areas across the country face new surges in cases, according to Bloomberg.  

The city recorded 11,502 new infections, 802 hospitalizations and 75 confirmed deaths as a result of the virus in the past week, according to the outlet. 

In a press conference Thursday, de Blasio responded to the growing numbers, announcing the creation of the Pandemic Response Institute (PRI), meant to prepare the city and other areas for future health emergencies. 

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The institute, which will be housed at the Alexandria Center for Life Science in Manhattan, will build new technologies and systems to detect outbreaks, establish training for public health professionals and improve health infrastructure across communities, according to a press release from the mayor’s office

“The Pandemic Response Institute will establish New York City as a global leader in public health training, research, and management,” de Blasio said. “No city in the county has sacrificed more, or worked harder to keep COVID-19 at bay. It’s time to put those lessons to work – and move forward with bold ideas to keep New Yorkers healthy and jump-start our economic recovery.”

“It’s quite clear at this point that this second wave unfortunately is right upon us,” he added. “Even though that number has gone up, it’s still a very different reality in our hospitals than what we experienced in the spring. The ability of our hospitals to deal with patients is greatly improved.”

According to the press release, the city plans to convene a meeting in early 2021 to gather input from public health and community leaders, with the PRI scheduled to open by the end of 2021. 

Statewide, New York has had a total of more than 669,000 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday afternoon, with more than 34,000 fatalities, according to The New York Times coronavirus database

This comes as numerous other states across the country that were seemingly successful in flattening their infection curves over the summer have seen surges, including Massachusetts and New Jersey. 

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California, another early epicenter of the virus, saw a single-day record of new infections Wednesday with 19,140.

Newly reimposed health and gathering restrictions across New York have received pushback in the city.

On Wednesday, some 400 demonstrators, most of them without masks, gathered outside a Staten Island bar to protest its closure due to coronavirus regulations.

Sheriff’s deputies previously arrested Danny Presti, co-owner of Mac’s Public House, after the bar was shut down Tuesday for operating past the 10 p.m. curfew and without a liquor license.