World News

Doctor in NYC to fight coronavirus had $11k robbed from hotel room

A Texas doctor in town to help with the fight against the coronavirus was ripped off for $11,000 worth of personal items in her Brooklyn hotel room, police sources said Monday.

The suspect, a woman believed to be in her 20s, broke into the room in the Brooklyn Hotel on Atlantic Avenue near Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights at about 9 a.m. on Saturday, cops said.

She then grabbed about $11,000 worth of jewelry and clothing before getting away on foot, police said.

The victim was in town to help provide care for New Yorkers stricken by coronavirus, sources said.

The crook, who is still at large, was last seen wearing a blue tank top and black pants.

The burglary is the latest crime against a frontline worker in New York.

In April, a nurse who works at Bellevue Hospital — and had just recovered from COVID-19 — was beaten and robbed by a group of about 15 muggers on her way to work.

Martha Toscano, 60, told The Post she feared for her life during the beating, but was saved by three good Samaritans who intervened and stopped the mugging.

Also in April, a Florida nurse who had come to help during the pandemic was mugged in Times Square.

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Three fatally stabbed in NYC over Memorial Day Weekend

Three people were stabbed to death within a 12-hour span over Memorial Day weekend, the NYPD said Monday.

Cops found Deidre Borders, 56, with multiple stab wounds to her torso in the bedroom of her Staten Island home around 11:45 a.m. Sunday, cops said.

A second-floor tenant called cops to the two-family home on Osgood Avenue after not hearing from Borders “for a while” and spotting the woman through a window lying unresponsive in her first-floor apartment, cops said.

EMS responded but could not save Borders. She died at the scene.

Police believe the woman was murdered.

Later on Sunday, a 23-year-old man died after being stabbed in the stomach, back and neck outside 1129 Blake Avenue in East New York just before 6:45 p.m., according to police.

The man, whose name was not released pending notification of family, was rushed to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

Another man was stabbed to death three hours later in the Fordham Manor area of The Bronx on Sunday, according to the NYPD.

The 37-year-old, whose name was not released, was stabbed multiple times near the intersection of 195 Street and Marion Avenue and died after being taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, cops said.

A 29-year-old man was taken into custody but has not been charged as of Monday morning.

It was unclear what sparked the fatal encounter.

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Chinese ‘scammer living in NYC busted trying to defraud $20MILLION in loans meant to help during COVID pandemic’ – The Sun

A CHINESE national living in New York allegedly tried to steal $20million in coronavirus relief money from the federal government and banks.

Muge Ma, 36, was arrested on Thursday after he tried to bilk the money, claiming it was for “small businesses” — when it was really only for him, prosecutors claimed.

Ma, otherwise known as Hummer Mars, allegedly applied for $20million in loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and five banks.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said in a press release that Ma claimed his two companies employed hundreds of people, and paid them millions of dollars each month.

Prosecutors said Ma provided fake bank records, tax records, payroll records, and financial statements to try to dupe the government.

The man described one of the companies as a “patriotic American firm,” and said the other company would “help the country reduce the high unemployment rate caused by the pandemic by helping unemployed American workers and unemployed American fresh graduates find jobs as quickly as possible.”

The New York Post reported, citing court documents, that Ma built a website for the “companies” that included pictures of him with notable officials, including New York Gov Andrew Cuomo.

Ma also allegedly contacted a Canadian company that makes coronavirus tests and falsely claimed he was a vendor of New York state who buying tests.

But federal prosecutors said Ma “appears to be the only employee of either company and had no legitimate claim to the funds for which he applied.”

His “attempts to secure funds earmarked for legitimate small businesses in dire financial straits are as audacious as they are callous,” the office said.

The SBA ended up giving Ma a $500,000 loan for one company and $150,000 for the other before they learned of his alleged scheme.

A bank gave Ma $800,000 in loans from the Payment Protection Program, but the funds were frozen amid the investigation.

Prosecutors said Ma then tried to withdraw his loan applications from banks and give back the money.

Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement: “Small businesses are facing uncertainty and unprecedented challenges, the least of which should be opportunists attempting to loot the federal funds meant to assist them.”

Ma was charged with one count of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of making false statements to a bank for the scheme, prosecutors said.

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NYC principal in coronavirus epicenter brings calm to the chaos

Principal Justine Lucas happens to oversee one of the Big Apple’s largest public schools but PS143Q is also at the epicenter of New York’s coronavirus outbreak in Corona, Queens — making an already tough job that much more challenging.

“A lot of our students have very, very sick families and some of our students’ families have passed away and so we’re trying to wrap around everybody with as much support as we can,” Lucas, 36, told The Post.

“It was the scariest experience because every single day I was getting, you know, messages from staff that they were not feeling well, they have fevers and so we were really nervous.”

Lucas immediately got to work to make sure her staff, and her students, felt like they could lean on her during this time.

Every Friday, she hosts a virtual mental health check in with her teachers and regularly hosts meditations and Yoga sessions with her staff, parents and students. She also does “coffee with the principal” every Tuesday so parents can ask questions and have an opportunity to communicate with her.

“The biggest thing that we try to do is distract and keep saturating our community with positivity and having those virtual connections,” Lucas said.

She encourages her students to record themselves saying affirmations like “I am safe, I am loved, I am going to be okay.”

“What we’re trying to do is rehabilitate their spirit,” Lucas, who lives in Freeport, Long Island, explained.

“This devastation has really taken the wind out of our sails and my whole guiding sentiment, whether we’re a traditional school or not, is to have a healthy, empowering environment for my teachers, you know, and to ignite their passion and care for them above all,” Lucas went on.

“That’s how I believe we are best for our children because doing that in turn motivates us all to go the extra mile for our students and families and they know that I’ll do anything for them.”

The second week into remote learning, Lucas set up a weeklong, virtual pep rally to keep the positivity flowing, despite the destruction happening outside of everyone’s windows.

“Everyday was a theme. Monday was love, Tuesday was gratitude, Wednesday was aspire, Thursday was pride and Friday was hope,” Lucas said.

“We just flooded our entire community with messages of love and tried to kind of be each other’s biggest fans… a lot of the parents had said that because of those engaging activities, they were able to then concentrate on the rigor of you know, Google Classroom, so it kind of made them feel confident.”

Lucas said she might be “sad behind the scenes” but she strives to be the “calm amidst a lot of chaos” so the entire school community can feel at ease and focus on learning.

“If you want to have a good school, you have to be a good principal. If you want to have a good classroom, you have to be a good teacher,” Lucas said.

“People always laugh like ‘oh you, you tell your staff you love them’ and, like, I do love them. When I say I love them, I mean it. I love them and I can’t do any of this without them.”

Do you have a nominee for The Post’s Hero of the Day? Email [email protected]

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Ashley Olsen seen in NYC as Mary-Kate Olsen divorces Olivier Sarkozy

Ashley Olsen stepped out in New York on Wednesday, the same day news emerged of twin sister Mary-Kate Olsen’s divorce from husband Olivier Sarkozy.

Clad in a light-blue dress shirt, black slacks, white sneakers, and a navy coat, the 33-year-old fashion designer also sported sunglasses, a face mask, and protective gloves by her office.

The Olsens are behind the luxury label The Row. They are said to be worth an estimated $100 million.

Though reports of Mary-Kate‘s split from 50-year-old Sarkozy broke Wednesday, the former “Full House” star signed a summons and a complaint for divorce last month. She also alleged in legal documents the French banker is booting her from their New York residence next week.

“This application is an emergency because my husband expects me to move out of our home on Monday, May 18, 2020 in the middle of New York City being on pause due to COVID-19,” Mary-Kate claimed in the docs.

Sarkozy, the half-brother of Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s former president, is said to be worth $60 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Mary-Kate wed Sarkozy in Manhattan in 2015. The reception included “bowls and bowls filled with cigarettes, and everyone smoked the whole night,” a source said at the time.

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NYC DAs won’t prosecute most social distancing-related arrests

The city’s five district attorneys offices aren’t prosecuting most social distancing-related arrests, officials said Tuesday.

“As a matter of policy our office declines to prosecute arrests for social distancing and other violations of the recent emergency executive orders,” said Manhattan DA spokesman Danny Frost.

The office is pursuing only a handful of more serious offenses stemming from social-distancing stops, he said.

Out of six that were referred to the office, two are being prosecuted, including a 27-year-old man who was charged with resisting arrest after he refused an officer’s command to disperse.

The NYPD announced Tuesday that there have been 125 “COVID-19 related” arrests.

The Brooklyn DA’s office is also declining to prosecute certain misdemeanors and violations, said spokesman Oren Yaniv.

“This is pursuant to our COVID-19 policy of declining certain low-level offenses where there is no victim or public safety component,” he said, adding that the policy applied to a wide array of crimes to minimize the number of defendants in the system.

Bronx DA Darcel Clark has taken a similar position.

“As with arrests for other low-level non-violent offenses, we decline to prosecute violations solely for social-distancing enforcement,” she said. “Whenever possible, NYPD should issue summonses instead of making live arrests.”

She said that her office is aware of 22 social-distancing related arrests that each involve multiple charges.

Richmond County DA Michael McMahon’s office has received zero arrests related to social distancing, a spokesman said.

“If a misdemeanor or felony arrest related to social-distancing enforcement were made by police, we would evaluate the facts and evidence on an individual basis before making a charging decision, as we do in all cases,” McMahon said in a statement.

The NYPD has issued nearly 400 summonses for violations of social-distancing protocols or other emergency measures related to the coronavirus — but those aren’t handled by the DA’s offices.

These stops can lead to arrests if a person doesn’t have identification or disobeys a police officer’s order.

President of the Police Benevolent Association Patrick Lynch said there was little point in making arrests that aren’t prosecuted.

“We’re not just wasting our time — we’re unnecessarily jeopardizing our health and careers,” he said. “The NYPD brass has to stop this charade and let cops focus on our core public safety mission.”

People of color accounted for more than 90 percent of COVID-related arrests and 80 percent of social-distancing summonses leading to unfavorable comparisons to the city’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy.

A spokesman for the Queens DA didn’t return multiple requests for comment but told other media outlets her office wouldn’t prosecute social-distancing offenses.

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De Blasio: NYC will start ‘self-swab’ coronavirus tests this week

New York City will expand its coronavirus testing capacity by administering “self-swab” tests starting this week at sites across the Big Apple’s public hospital system, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.

The new form of COVID-19 testing, which allows patients to administer samples themselves under the supervision of medical personnel, will soon be implemented at eight sites through NYC Health and Hospitals, said de Blasio.

“There is a better way to do testing, there is an easier way to do testing, and there is a safer way to do testing and we’re going to start that this week,” the mayor said of the new coronavirus test during a conference call with reporters.

Previous tests required medical workers to swap deep inside a patient’s nose, possibly triggering a sneeze response that could spread the contagion.

The self-swab test is a two-step test that requires a nasal swab and saliva from a patient, de Blasio explained as he noted that the new way of testing better protects health care workers from exposure and also saves on personal protective equipment in the process.

“This is simpler, this is better, this is something we’re going to start using now aggressively because it will improve the situation for everyone,” Hizzoner said.

To do the self-swab test, the “patient takes something that’s basically a sterile Q-tip, puts that in their nose. They don’t have to go way deep, just enough to get a sample,” and then the patient would “spit into a cup,” de Blasio said.

“Much simpler, much easier for everyone involved.”

The new method will increase testing capacity from up to 15 per hour to 20 per hour “and then we will be expanding from there,” he added.

De Blasio acknowledged that there is a limited amount of private labs able to accept these new tests as he called on private labs to “step up.”

“We need partnership from the private labs to do the processing work. We’ve engaged in these conversations with them already. We need them to step up,” the mayor said.

The mayor also announced that the city is hiring 1,000 “contact tracers” or health care workers to help trace, isolate and support all New Yorkers with confirmed COVID-19 and find out who else that person has been in close contact with.

“We need you to come forward right away so we can get you into this battle,” de Blasio said of the “experienced health workers” the city is seeking to hire.

Meanwhile, de Blasio said that the Big Apple is “getting steadily better, but we are far from out of the woods,” in the fight against coronavirus as he reported the number of suspected COVID-19 patients in intensive care units across the city’s public hospital system is down as well as the number of people admitted to city hospitals.

People in ICUs throughout city-run hospitals went down from 144 on Friday to 122 on Saturday, while the number of people admitted to city hospitals for suspected COVID-19 also dipped from 768 on Friday to 766 on Saturday.

The percentage of people tested who are positive for COVID-19 remained flat at 29 percent between Friday and Saturday.

De Blasio called the daily indicators “broadly good,” but added, “it’s not the perfect thing we want.”

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NYC coronavirus deaths hit 12,199 as confirmed cases continue to climb

The city’s coronavirus death toll continued climbing to alarming heights with 722 new COVID-19 fatalities over 24 hours, bringing the grim total to 12,199 by Friday afternoon.

The previous two days saw an increase of under 600 new deaths in the same 24 hour periods, according to statistics published by the city’s Health Department.

The death tally includes 7,890 people who tested positive for the virus before they passed away as well as 4,309 victims who never got a test but showed tell-tale symptoms of the disease.

Confirmed coronavirus cases also jumped from 117,565 Thursday to 122,148 Friday. Queens has the most COVID-19 cases at 37,477 followed by Brooklyn at 32,499, The Bronx at 27,014, Manhattan at 15,952 and Staten Island at 9,166.

Although cases and deaths continue to rise, other coronavirus metrics are headed in a more promising direction.

Intensive care unit admissions and hospitalizations for suspected COVID-19 are down, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced during his daily press briefing Friday.

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NYC homeless shelter in revolt over unsanitary coronavirus conditions

Residents at a city homeless shelter on Randall’s Island are in revolt over what they say are unsanitary living conditions creating a hotbed for COVID-19.

Former resident Alfonzo Forney, 41, who claims several men at the Clarke Thomas shelter have come down with the virus, is circulating a petition signed by dozens who live in the shelter demanding new management.

On March 28, the petition reads, “the resident in bed 1055 … was taken out by ambulance, exhibiting various symptoms of COVID-19.” It goes on to accuse safety director [John] Bradley of allowing three people to stay in the same bed before it was decontaminated.

Roy Coleman, 69, another resident who was diagnosed with coronavirus at Harlem Hospital this week, was sent back to the shelter after his condition was known and spent the night there before being discharged, he told The Post. Coleman said he was eventually given a Metrocard by the shelter and told to make his way to a Marriott in Long Island City — a hotel providing temporary housing to homeless New Yorkers with coronavirus.

“You don’t send a person like that who is COVID-19 positive on the bus or a train,” Forney said.

A Department of Homeless Services police officer at Clarke Thomas told the Post that neither the city nor shelter has provided them with any personal protective equipment and that soap and hand sanitizer were nonexistent in the facility (outside staff offices).

“The PPE I have now, was supplied by another officer,” the cop said.

A rep for Clake Thomas disputed allegations from Forney and others saying an internal investigation “found those claims to be without merit.”

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De Blasio says some NYC coronavirus restrictions could end in May

Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday that some of the Big Apple’s strict coronavirus restrictions could end next month — evidence that the measures are working to contain the deadly bug.

New Yorkers have to remain “tough and disciplined,” but de Blasio said he could now foresee “the promised land of low-level transmission.”

“I think it’s going to be a long tough April. [But] May might be easier than what I originally feared it would be,” de Blasio said at a press conference.

“We can say it’s time to start planning for the next phase,” he said, looking forward to eventually easing the tough restrictions in place.

He said that he imagined that the social distancing restrictions here would likely have to remain in place “through April and, I think, much of May” — adding later, “A lot of May.”

“I don’t think it happens in April, [but] if we really work hard we have a chance of in May or June,” he said of lifting the restrictions as well as seeing low-level transmissions.

Still, he warned about “letting the foot off the gas” — warning that it could force even tougher restrictions if the “horrible, ferocious virus” was allowed to re-assert its hold on the city.

“We have to be honest that that is a real possibility,” he warned.

Hizzoner also revealed that starting next week, New Yorkers will be able to see data in real-time, with info release on the numbers testing positive for COVID-19, as well as the numbers admitted to hospitals and ICUs.

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