After Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents in a March 17 news conference to prepare to “shelter in place,” Mr. Cuomo dismissed the mayor’s plan in a television interview while his aides blitzed City Hall with calls.
“The phones were ringing off the hook,” recalled Freddi Goldstein, the mayor’s press secretary at the time. “They said, ‘[The mayor] sounds crazy. He’s scaring people. You have to walk it back. It’s not up to you. It’s not your call.’ ”…
Instead of the abrupt shutdown Mr. de Blasio called for, Mr. Cuomo had his own plan: a gradual closure tailored to avoid panic and encourage public compliance. Millions of people continued to pack commuter trains and subways in the five-day span between Mr. de Blasio’s “shelter in place” comments and Mr. Cuomo’s eventual shutdown order.
By the time “New York on Pause” took effect at 8 p.m. on March 22, about 25,000 New Yorkers had tested positive for Covid-19. The virus soon would push the state’s hospital system to the brink and kill more than 30,000.