Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press conference Saturday morning to announce that efforts to address the state's severe shortage of ventilators and masks are making inroads. In what is becoming a daily event, the governor held a live video press conference to announce that 6000 ventilators have been found, reducing to 24,000 the number still needed. He said two million surgical masks have been identified for purchase.
“Understand, these are masks that usually sell for 80 cents,” Cuomo said. “They're now selling for $4.00.”
Asked for information on distribution on masks, Cuomo said that there are "enough masks for all upstate's needs." He said businesses are starting to retool to produce gowns and masks.
The governor said there are now 10,356 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 15% of them require hospitalization. More than 7000 of those cases are in New York City. The strain on the state's hospitals has been a major concern and the reason for all of the restrictions aimed at slowing the progress of the virus.
“That (hospitalization rate) is actually down from where it was, which is good news.” he said.
But he offered a somber prediction, based on figures compiled by the Johns Hopkins Medical Center.
“Based on projections, we expect that between forty and 80 percent of the population will be infected. So far, 285,000 people worldwide have been confirmed with the virus. There have been 12,000 deaths, and 90,000 people have already recovered.”
He tried to put the pandemic into perspective, noting that 34,000 people died from the flu from 2018 to 2019, and 74 percent of them were over 65.
“Don't listen to rumors,” he said. “You have such wild rumors out there. People call me with the craziest things. There won't be any roadblock saying you can't go somewhere in the morning.”
Cuomo asked New Yorkers with questions to go to a website designed to get answers for citizens...http://coronavirus.health.ny.gov.
“Go and we will get you the answers you need,” he said. “As FDR said, 'The American people deserve the truth. They can handle the truth.' Everything I know, I've told you.”
Cuomo said he'd be heading to New York City to see for himself what was going on in the city's parks, where young people reportedly continue to congregate, believing they're not susceptible to the virus.
“You are wrong,” he said. “54% of New York State's cases are people 18 to 49 years old. People everywhere have to practice social distancing.”
Cuomo also spent time stressing social responsibility.
“We are all first responders. Your actions can save or endanger a life.”
He acknowledged the emotional toll the current emergency is taking on everyone, and called on therapists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to volunteer for a website he hopes to establish to offer mental health assistance to those who need it.
“This kind of crisis brings out the truth about ourselves, our society, and others. Practice humanity. Thank everyday heroes."
He also called on state lawmakers to continue to do their jobs.
“Pass a budget, pass a budget, pass a budget,” he said. “This is when you need government to work like you never needed it to work in your lifetime.”
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