While the US has become the global epicenter for the Covid-19 pandemic, New York State is the US’s epicenter, far leading in confirmed cases and deaths. Over 200,000 of the confirmed cases in the US are in New York and over 10,000 people in the state have died. Almost 110,000 of those cases are concentrated in New York City. About 25% of New York State’s COVID19 deaths are residents of nursing homes and adult care facilities. There are about 96,000 residents at 613 licensed nursing homes in New York State. More than 5,500 residents at 338 nursing homes have tested positive for the coronavirus.
For the first time since the coronavirus crisis struck New York, there were fewer admissions to the intensive care unit on Thursday, April 9th than the day before. It’s one of a number of encouraging signs that the worst may have passed. The governor said that he is “cautiously optimistic” that we are slowing the infection rate. He cited a dramatic decline in hospitalizations and even a negative statistic for the first time in the ICU.
Governor Cuomo said that social distancing policies and compliance by the public greatly flattened the curve after the death toll stabilized but he warned the situation is still dire and New Yorkers would need to maintain strict measures to continue the trend. Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a very high level, and there’s tremendous stress on the healthcare system. And to say to this healthcare system — which is at maximum capacity today, right? This is a hospital system where we have our foot to the floor and the engine is at red line and you can’t go any faster. And by the way, you can’t stay at red line for any period of time, because the system will blow.”
Cuomo said schools and nonessential businesses will now remain closed and he announced fines for violating social distancing rules would increase from a maximum of $500 to $1,000. As of today, New York State has nearly 5,000 recorded deaths from COVID-19, with over 131,000 confirmed cases and over 16,000 hospitalizations. While the total number of statewide cases of Covid 19 hospitalizations is plateauing, confirmed cases are rising in some areas as they fall in others.
Cuomo announced that the state would issue a number of additional guidelines, including requiring that cloth masks be provided, cost-free to essential workers, by businesses, and the expansion of who is eligible to receive an antibody test. Cuomo again said testing would be the key to restarting the economy. It’s been almost a month since stores around the state have been shut, its employees home and out of work, and trying to apply for unemployment benefits. This week 347,000 New Yorkers filed for unemployment, bringing the number of jobless claims since March 14 to over 800,000.
When asked when he thought things would return to normal for the hard hit state, Cuomo said “As far as when things could go back to normal, well, when will we return to normal? I don’t think we return to normal. I don’t think we return to yesterday, where we were. I think if we are smart, we achieve a new normal.”