ALBANY – Governor Andrew Cuomo used his daily press conference Wednesday to announce that playgrounds in New York City are going to be closed down to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. He called on city police to enforce the current social distancing regulations, and said he'd make it a law if needed. He also revealed a revised estimate on the apex of the pandemic curve.
At the same time, Cuomo said it appears the state has an agreement on a budget.
“This is a tough, tough budget,” Cuomo said. “We have a conceptual agreement with the leaders on the budget. They'll go to their members today to talk about it. If the leaders are successful in their conferences, then we will pass the budget.”
New York's governor said new projections he is using indicate the apex of the virus will hit the state by the end of this month. The only variable in those models appears to be the severity of that apex. Social distancing is the variable that changes the projected intensity.
“There are more aggressive and less aggressive models,” he said, “that predict it could hit in as soon as seven days or up to six weeks. But there's just no way to meet the most aggressive estimates, so that's not even useful to me.”
The number of total cases of COVID-19 in the state is now 83,712. 1,941 people have died. Discharges are up to 6,142.
Cuomo said upstate medical staff has already started arriving in New York City to help, though he doesn't yet have numbers. He also confirmed that some COVID-19 patients were transferred to Albany Medical Center in what he called a “one-off” arrangement that was “pre-existing.”
“In future, transfers will be based on capacity,” he said. “The hospitals in New York City are not yet at capacity. Until they are, we will be moving patients within the downstate area before moving them anywhere else.”
Cuomo also said that if downstate first responders and law enforcement personnel begin to be depleted by illness, he will look at temporarily transferring upstate state police and other upstate personnel to meet the city's needs.
The governor used the press conference to talk about the future, questioning what this public health crisis will teach us.
“This is going to transform us,” Cuomo said. “We will never be the same again. I don't think we will get back to “normal.” We will get to a new normal.”
He said society as a whole should be thinking about how to make the economy more resilient.
“This will happen again,” he said. “Something like this will happen again.”
Cuomo brought up inter-governmental cooperation, tele-medicine, and tele-education as topics that should be addressed. He also pointed to the “ironic fact” that all of the medical supplies needed in this emergency are made in China, not the United States.
“How did we let that happen?” he said. “China is manufacturing everything and shipping it to the world.”