ALBANY – In his daily press conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters that projections, in his opinion, indicate that thousands will die in New York State before the public health emergency from COVID-19 is over.
So far, 965 people have died, with the vast majority of the 59, 513 cases in the state in the metro New York area. However, Cuomo said predictions indicate that the state will experience a “rolling apex,” with the worst of the virus hitting New York City first, and upstate feeling the worst of the effects later.
“That's why I'm ordering public and private hospitals to work together as one system,” he said. “They've got to create a new culture, where hospitals under strain can share resources and staff with other hospitals.”
Cuomo said that not only will upstate hospitals need to help downstate hospitals when the virus hits its apex in the city, but “it will work both ways,” with downstate hospitals, expected to be past the worst of the pandemic, able to assist upstate hospitals when the apex reaches that area.
The governor said he supports the travel advisory issues by the White House and the CDC, indicating it is what the state is already doing. He said he spoke with Rhode Island's governor about her Executive Order targeting New Yorkers traveling into that state, and that order has been rescinded. He said he would look into reports that Florda is doing similar traffic stops of cars with New York license plates.
“This is not a lockdown,” he said. “I know we feel under attack. Some reactions, even from governments, are frightening. But no one is going to attack New York unfairly, no one is going to deprive New York of what it needs.”
Cuomo announced that the state has developed a faster, less intrusive test for the virus, which he described as key to eventually getting everyone back to work. It will be available next week.
“When will this be over? When an inexpensive test is brought to volume, that's when we'll see a return to normalcy. If you can test millions of people, they can go back to work immediately.”
The governor announced that “Patient Zero,” the Westchester patient who was the state's first confirmed case of COVID-19, whom he described as being “very sick,” is recovering and has been discharged from the hospital.
New York's governor also had harsh words for Senator Charles Schumer, calling the emergency relief bill passed in Washington “political calculus.” Cuomo said New York's Congressional representatives “didn't represent the people of New York.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has acknowledged the holes in the relief to state budgets and said another relief bill will be needed. The state's fiscal year begins April 1.
As it stands now, Cuomo said, “We're going to have to make drastic cuts to the budget like you've never seen.”