March 9, 2020 By Allie Griffin
A 75-year-old Queens man is critically ill after contracting the novel coronavirus and is the borough’s second confirmed case of the virus known as COVID-19 — as the citywide total has risen to 20 confirmed cases.
The man has an underlying condition of diabetes and is being treated in the ICU at a private hospital, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today.
The man is “someone, we’re very, very worried about,” de Blasio said.
He first came down with a fever and then developed pneumonia and shortness of breath and is now in the ICU at an undisclosed hospital.
His wife is also being quarantined, but is asymptomatic, the mayor added.
People over the age of 50 who have at least one of the five pre-existing conditions — diabetes, heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease or a compromised immune system — are especially at risk for developing serious conditions as a result of coronavirus.
A 7-year-old girl in the Bronx who attends a Westchester school that closed on Mar. 3 and a city worker from Westchester County — where the main cluster of cases are — are also among the new cases of COVID-19.
The Bronx girl is doing well with minimal symptoms and is being quarantined in her home with her family members who all tested negative.
The city worker is also being quarantined at home. He was in the city last week, “but only for three hours,” the mayor said. He was asymptomatic at the time and remains asymptomatic.
Other new city cases include a 68-year-old man, who has diabetes and heart disease, in Brooklyn and a 22-year-old man in Brooklyn. The older man is critical, but stable and remains in ICU, while the 22-year-old is stable, but remains hospitalized — possibly due to the fact that he vapes, the mayor said.
There have been 205 negative test results of coronavirus and 86 tests are still pending. The mayor said there are 24 people in mandatory quarantine and 2,019 people in voluntary isolation across the city.
The coronavirus may be around until September, Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said today.
Though officials don’t have an exact idea, September is “the best informed estimate of how long the transmission will last,” Dr. Barbot added.
The mayor has encouraged employers to allow their employees to work from home when possible or implement staggered work hours in order to reduce close contact among straphangers in crowded subway cars during rush hour commutes.
He also urged New Yorkers to avoid packed subways and wait for the next train or to bike or walk to work if possible.