While New York is starting to see some positive changes in the COVID-19 numbers, Governor Andrew Cuomo says we still have a long way to go before the state can reopen.
According to Cuomo, on April 9 the state had 290 new hospitalizations and 190 new intubations. Despite these slight increases, the number of ICU admissions declined by 17.
April 9 also proved to be another deadly day with 799 lives claimed, bringing the number of statewide deaths up to 7,844. However, Cuomo remains “cautiously optimistic” that New York is flattening the curve, so long as residents keep following the social distancing protocol that has been in place since the state went on PAUSE.
“The actual curve is much lower than what was projected,” said Cuomo. “What we are doing today will affect the infection rate two or three days from now. We have to stay the course.”
From day one, Cuomo has asserted that more testing is needed to fully get the pandemic under control. The State Department of Health is working to developing a non-invasive antibody test to scale so more New Yorkers can get tested. Currently, the state can perform 300 antibody tests per day — it is projected that the department could perform 1,000 tests a day by next Friday and 2,000 a by the following week. COVID-19 antibodies from people who have developed an immunity to the virus could potentially be a life-saving therapy for those who are ill, and their immunity makes it safe for them to return to work.
“Even with our high capacity and high performance on testing, it’s still not enough,” said Cuomo. “It’s not enough if you want to reopen on a meaningful scale.”
As a result, Cuomo is suggesting that New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut partner with the federal government to bring the testing up to scale and is calling on them to enact the Defense Production Act in order to ramp up testing capacity. Cuomo is also asking the federal government to create a federal stimulus bill that is “fair and nonpolitical.”
“You know where the cases are, you know where the need is,” said Cuomo. “I understand the political dynamics of the US Senate, but this is not the time to be passing bills that really are to make sure that your home state gets enough funding. That’s not what this is about. This is about helping the country come back and focusing on the need.”
For now, Cuomo announced that $200 million in emergency food assistance will be provided to families who are enrolled in SNAP. In an effort to aid medical workers, the state is starting a COVID-19 Heroes Compensation Fund to help frontline medical workers who have been affected by the infection.
It was also announced that Airbnb will provide $2 million to help provide housing for healthcare workers during the pandemic. The company will also partner with 1199SEIU to provide housing for members of the union.