ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that health experts are recommending that New York City's venerable St. Patrick's Day parade be cancelled amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The governor told a news conference at the state Capitol that officials would likely make a decision later Wednesday. The parade, scheduled for Tuesday, would draw thousands to Manhattan at a time when officials are trying to reduce large gatherings.
``Why would you risk bringing thousands of people together knowing that this is virus that easily communicates?'' Cuomo asked, explaining the thinking of those urging the event be canceled.
In another effort to reduce large congregations of people, the state and city university systems will begin teaching their students remotely starting on or about March 19, following the lead of colleges around the country. And Cuomo said he has asked business leaders, mostly in New York City, to stagger their employees' work shifts or let them work from home to reduce potential coronavirus exposure.
That strategy of staggering work hours to reduce rush-hour crowding was widely used during the 1918 influenza epidemic.
New York had 212 confirmed COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 39 more than the day before. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.
The announcements came the day after Cuomo declared a 1-mile radius ``containment area'' in a suburban community with more than 100 cases of the virus.
Several schools and houses of worship in New Rochelle, just north of New York City, are closed for two weeks, and Cuomo said the National Guard would be sent in to help deliver food to quarantined people.