Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called out the National Guard to help set up a containment zone in the New York City suburb of New Rochelle, which the governor says contains the country's largest cluster of coronavirus cases.
In one of the more drastic measures in the United States so far, authorities are establishing a 1.6 kilometer radius around a New Rochelle synagogue — the epicenter of the virus in Westchester County, New York.
"We're going to use the National Guard in the containment area to deliver food to homes, to help with the cleaning of public spaces," Cuomo said.
Although schools, churches, synagogues and any place that can hold large gatherings will be closed for two weeks starting Thursday, Cuomo said this is not a quarantine.
Stores will stay open, and people are free to come and go in and out of the containment zone.
Cuomo made the decision to bring out the National Guard as part of his health commissioner's emergency recommendations.
"We are attacking this hotspot at the source," the governor said. "This is literally a matter of life and death. ... I am urging all New Yorkers to remember the bottom line. We talk about this stuff to keep the public informed, not to incite fear, and if you are not a member of the vulnerable population, then there is no reason for excess anxiety."
Of the 849 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. as of late Tuesday, 173 cases are in New York state.
Of those 173 cases, 108 are in New Rochelle and surrounding Westchester County.