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NYC mayor warns of possible shelter-in-place order as U.S. death toll hits 100

NYC mayor warns of possible shelter-in-place order as U.S. death toll hits 100
Commuters walk in a near-empty Grand Central Station Terminal on Monday morning in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents to prepare for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order in the city. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 17 (UPI) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday warned residents they should prepare for possibly sheltering in place in the next couple days as part of the city's plan to combat coronavirus.

He issued the warning during a news conference about the city's fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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"It's a difficult, difficult decision," he told reporters.

De Blasio's warning came on the same day the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 100, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. The school's interactive global tracker said there are 6,330 confirmed cases of the disease in the country.

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The U.S. Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention said there were 75 deaths and 4,226 confirmed cases as of Monday afternoon.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, though, that a shelter-in-place order for the nation's largest city wasn't imminent,.

"The emergency policies that have been issued are of statewide impact, and the governor is making every effort to coordinate these policies with our surrounding states," Melissa DeRosa, a top aide to Mr. Cuomo, said in a statement to The New York Times. "Any blanket quarantine or shelter in place policy would require state action and as the governor has said, there is no consideration of that for any locality at this time."

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De Blasio's remarks come one day after several counties in the San Francisco Bay area ordered residents to shelter in place to stem the spread of the virus. All residents in the area were prevented from leaving their homes except for "essential needs" until April 7.

De Blasio said a shelter-in-place order, if implemented, would limit all outdoor travel to first responders and healthcare workers. He said 1,500 people in the state tested positive for the virus as of Tuesday, up from 950 the day before.

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"We are certainly going to have thousands of cases next week," he said. "It is not that long before we hit 10,000 cases, that is a true statement."

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday ordered all bars and night clubs to shut down for 30 days and all restaurants to operate at half capacity.

Though the cities of Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Miami Beach closed their beaches to the public, DeSantis said the state's other beaches will remain open but people must be in groups of 10 or smalle in accordance with federal guidelines.

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