NYC had to move more than 250 homeless people out of subways to disinfect trains

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Mayor Bill de Blasio greets healthcare workers and conducts a press conference at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, New York, April 10, 2020.

EuropaNewswire | Gado | Getty Images

More than 250 homeless people were moved out of New York City subways in the city’s first scheduled shutdown to disinfect trains early Wednesday as part of the state’s effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. 

“We have never ever seen so much success in a single night before,” de Blasio said at a news briefing. “It’s only one night … But this number is staggering,” he said of the number of homeless people who were moved into temporary housing.  

De Blasio said 139 of the 252 homeless people who were approached by outreach workers and NYPD officers agreed to leave the streets and seek help, De Blasio said. “We have never seen this many people who are living on the streets agree to something different.”

There are consistently somewhere between 3,500 and 4,000 people living on the streets and subways of New York City across the five boroughs, de Blasio said, citing an annual study by the federal government.

On April 30, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and De Blasio announced that New York City is suspending its 24-hour subway service to disinfect subway cars during the global pandemic. Cuomo said the cleaning service will occur from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. every night.

The city’s subway system has previously been lauded for its 24 hour daily service. Its operation has rarely been ordered to halt before except in cases of natural disasters.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.

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