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N.Y. Today: Hospital Visits

Email sent: May 20, 2020 5:50am

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What you need to know for Wednesday.

Coronavirus in N.Y.C.: Latest Updates

It’s Wednesday.

Weather: Increasingly sunny, with a breeze. High in the mid-60s.

Alternate-side parking is in effect on Wednesday and then suspended on Thursday for Solemnity of the Ascension. It is in effect on Friday and Saturday, and then suspended through June 7. The city may extend the suspension past June 7 based on street cleanliness and the availability of the work force.

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Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Some hospitals will allow visits to resume, in a pilot program.

For families of coronavirus patients in New York, one of the pandemic’s most heartbreaking aspects has been the inability to visit loved ones who are hospitalized.

Visitors have been all but forbidden at hospitals across the state since March 18, when officials asked that visits be suspended as the virus spread.

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Thousands of relatives of dying patients have had to say their last goodbyes over the phone, via a tablet screen or not at all.

Now, with the virus on the wane, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Tuesday that the state would allow visitors at 16 hospitals, nine of them in New York City, as part of a pilot program.

The hospitals include Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn and Mount Sinai hospitals in Queens and Manhattan. (See the complete list.)

“It is terrible to have someone in the hospital and then that person is isolated, not being able to see their family or friends,” Mr. Cuomo said.

N.Y.U. plans to hold in-person classes, ‘with great care,’ this fall.

New York University plans to hold in-person classes in the fall, the university’s provost said on Tuesday, as other institutions of higher education weighed how to proceed amid the pandemic.

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“We’re planning to convene in person, with great care, in the fall (subject to government health directives), both in New York and at our global sites,” the provost, Katherine Fleming, wrote in a letter to incoming freshmen.

Still, Ms. Fleming added: “I can’t pretend that 2020-21 will be a typical academic year.”

The announcement paves the way for a major university in the heart of New York City to invite thousands of undergraduates into what has been the U.S. epicenter of a global health crisis, with health and safety measures in place.

The move comes as other colleges and universities in the region and across the country continue to explore when and how to reopen their campuses over the summer and try to plan for an influx of students in the fall.

Also in New York City, nearly 16 percent of the 1.1 million public school students will be asked to attend online summer school for about six weeks. That’s about four times the percentage from last year.

The school year is set to end on June 26. Students who have fallen behind in courses will be notified about their summer school placements before then.

N.Y.C. health commissioner resurfaces after controversies.

The appearance on Tuesday of New York City’s health commissioner at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily briefing on the pandemic would not ordinarily have been remarkable.

But the commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, had been absent from the briefings for nearly a week, after missing only four of 60 since the outbreak started. And questions had begun to swirl over whether Mr. de Blasio had sidelined her.

Dr. Barbot had undoubtedly hit a rough patch.

On May 7, The New York Times reported that Mr. de Blasio had shifted the job of contact tracing for the virus out of the Health Department, which has historically led such efforts, and to the agency that runs the city’s public hospitals.

About a week later, The New York Post reported that in March, during the outbreak’s chaotic early days, Dr. Barbot and a police commander had a heated confrontation over the distribution of personal protective gear to health care workers and police officers.

Dr. Barbot, The Post reported, told the commander, “I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops.”

The mayor pointedly said at a news conference on Friday that he had not spoken to Dr. Barbot in “a couple of days.” She did not attend a City Council hearing about contact tracing that day.

On Monday, Dr. Barbot apologized publicly for the comments about the police. And on Tuesday, she was back for the daily briefing, participating by video link.

From The Times

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

What we’re reading

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is rolling out 230 ultraviolet lamps on subways and buses to help eradicate the coronavirus. [New York Post]

The Queens district attorney and the acting borough president will host a virtual Memorial Day observance ceremony. [QNS.com]

A dumpling shop set to open in July in the East Village will use automat service — where customers can order and get food without interacting with anyone. [Eater New York]

And finally: Quarantine and a ring

The Times’s Charanna Alexander writes:

For many people, a marriage proposal involves months of planning, ring shopping and, of course, creating the perfect moment for that ultimate surprise. But when the coronavirus started to spread globally, followed by stay-at-home guidelines and the closure of restaurants and public spaces, plans to propose in exotic locales or fancy restaurants came to a screeching halt.

Many quarantined couples, however, decided to press on with their plans.

Christopher Bent of New York told The Times:

The whole city was on lockdown, so I decided to lock this down, too. At a time when everyone has to categorize what is essential in life or not, it’s easy to see who is essential in your own life. We got engaged on March 20, on our apartment building’s rooftop surrounded by the skyline, with a bottle of champagne and zero bystanders.

Daniel MacGregor, also a New Yorker, wrote:

My girlfriend, Paulina, and I decided to have a romantic dinner to celebrate us having lived together for three years. Halfway through dinner, Paulina started to say that she was grateful that I came back to New York from Mexico to be with her during the pandemic. My dad had needed surgery, and I’d spent a few weeks in Mexico (where we’re both from) to be with my dad and my family. While there, the pandemic broke out.

It was important to me that we stay together, so I traveled back to New York on March 21. During our dinner on April 1, I had the engagement ring hidden inside a box of Flanax, so I went to get it from the desk drawer and Paulina was confused as to why I needed medicine so abruptly while she was speaking. I got the ring out from the box of medicine and got down on one knee. We both started laughing and crying. I asked her if she wanted to marry me, and she said yes.

It’s Wednesday — surprise someone.

Metropolitan Diary: Losing it

Dear Diary:

It was January, and I was home from college visiting my father on the Upper West Side.

While I was in New York, I relished making plans way downtown that would give me the chance to get a good stroll in. Unfortunately, that often meant braving the madness of Midtown.

On one chilly night, I was near 39th Street when a huge truck swerved around some parked cars and pulled up to a red light way too close to me.

I lost it. Pure rage. Every curse I could string together flew out of my mouth. I even banged the side of the truck’s cab with my open palm.

I could see the steam pulsing off me as I waited for the driver’s response. I was ready to escalate.

But after a beat, he smiled.

“That was pretty good,” he said through the truck’s open window.

My fury dissipated immediately. And as it did, a new warmth filled my cheeks. Pride.

I loosened my scarf and kept walking downtown, leaving Midtown’s mad heat behind.

— Victoria Bata

New York Today is published weekdays around 6 a.m. You can also find it at nytoday.com.

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