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Area Residents Taking Precautions As Virus Peak Looms

Jamestown resident Chuck Hall is pictured Tuesday in downtown Jamestown wearing a white face mask. Hall said he is doing whatever he can to protect himself from the coronavirus pandemic. P-J photo by Eric Tichy

Jamestown resident Chuck Hall said he isn’t taking any chances when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.

While running errands Tuesday morning in downtown Jamestown, Hall wore a white face mask, a hard-to-come-by item he received while volunteering with the Salvation Army.

“I’m trying to protect myself,” Hall said. “I’m doing whatever I can to protect myself from getting it.”

The city resident said he is pleased with the response he has seen from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been holding daily briefings for updates on the virus. However, Hall was critical of the federal government, which he said was delayed in its response to handling the virus and rounding up resources and issuing guidance.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t get the head start on it that we could have and should have and everything else, and that comes from the top,” Hall said. “We’re behind the eight ball and we’re trying to play catch up. The governors are doing a fantastic job in New York, in Washington, Illinois, North Carolina, you name it. They’re doing a great job, and we’re getting nothing but baloney from up high — why we don’t evoke the federal Defense Production Act. It’s just crazy, and to suggest we’re going to restart the economy is just asinine.”

On Tuesday, Cuomo sounded his most dire warning yet about the coronavirus pandemic, saying the infection rate in New York is accelerating and the state could be as close as two weeks away from a crisis that sees 40,000 people in intensive care.

Such a surge would overwhelm hospitals, which now have just 3,000 intensive care unit beds statewide.

The rate of new infections, Cuomo said, is doubling about every three days. While officials once thought the peak in New York would come in early May, they now say it could come in two to three weeks.

“We are not slowing it. And it is accelerating on its own,” he said during a briefing in New York City. “One of the forecasters said we were looking at a freight train coming across the country. We’re now looking at a bullet train.”

There were more than 23,000 positive cases in New York state and 183 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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