Governor Andrew Cuomo says before there is a blueprint for reopening the economy there needs to be increased testing and tracking in place, something that cannot be accomplished with more federal aid, he said Wednesday.
During his daily briefing on COVID-19, Cuomo told reporters that testing capacity in labs is where the greatest need is and that identifying cases will help the state get from now until the point where a vaccine is developed; an estimated 18 months away.
“All of this volume is descending on these private-sector testing companies who never anticipated this tremendous volume,” Cuomo said. “Can the federal government do this? No. Can the state government do this? No. Can anyone do it? No. But we have to do the best we can to try to figure out how you get this supply chain up… and that has to happen with the federal government.”
Cuomo says while testing and tracing will need to be brought to scale, he “hopes” treatment can be brought into use in the interim period for a vaccine.
“We have a blueprint for the reopening, again as guided by testing-tracing. But there are two factors really on the reopening: how essential is the business service, produce or function?” Cuomo said. “And then second, what is the risk of infection spread of that business?”
Although hospitalizations and intubations continue on the downward trend, deaths continue on pace with earlier numbers this week: 752 since yesterday.
To keep driving down the numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations, Cuomo announced he would issue an executive order to require people to wear masks in public when social distancing is not a possibility. However there is not yet a civil penalty for violating social distancing or mask requirements, yet.
“Our success here has been the very high compliance rate with a very aggressive policy that came out of the blue. Just think what we’re asking people to do: stay home and don’t go outside,” Cuomo said. “People aren’t staying home because I’m giving them a ticket or taking them to jail. They’re staying home because they say ‘I heard you, it makes sense to me, so I’m doing it.'”
New York has turned a corner in terms of the need for ventilators. Cuomo announced that 100 have been sent to Michigan and 50 to Maryland.
As it stands, Cuomo says the shortages no longer pertain to ventilators or ICU beds at all. The shortage lies in personal protective equipment and medical staff.