After making unpopular decisions to restrict bars, restaurants, gyms and other business operations, Governor Andrew Cuomo says criticism should be directed at him and not at local officials.
While Cuomo said he does not “feel good” about the anticipated impacts to business in the name of “flattening the curve” on the virus’ spread, more restrictions are not out of the question.
Italy again was on Cuomo’s mind as he said Tuesday morning that reductions in services may only leave pharmacies and grocery stores open, but no decision would be made today.
“We’re not there yet, but we need to get down that rate of spread,” Cuomo said. “This is an extraordinary time in this nation’s history – it will go down in history as one of those moments of true crisis, confusion and chaos. I lived through 9/11 where a single moment your whole concept of life and society can be shaken; you need to see government perform at it’s best… This is a character test for us individually, this is a character test for all of us as a society.”
Of the 53,000 beds available in the state, there are only 3,000 intensive care unit beds. With a hospitalization rate of 15% – 19% and considering the 19.5 million population of New York, Cuomo’s office estimates that 55,000 to 110,000 hospital beds will be needed if the virus hits its peak in around 45 days.
As many as 18,600 to 37,200 ICU beds are projected to be needed for the acutely ill, Cuomo said.
As for the Army Corp of Engineers stepping in to provide resources such as a surplus of ventilators and the ability to step up hospital capacity, Cuomo said President Donald Trump is willing to offer help after the governor has been calling for help since this weekend.
“I am telling you, this government can not meet this crisis without the resources and capacity of the federal government. I spoke to the president this morning and he is ready and willing to help,” Cuomo said. “I told him we need the Army Corp of Engineers and we need FEMA and he said ‘OK.'”
Cuomo’s account of the interaction with Trump this morning is a major contrast to the president’s account of discussions with governors on Monday in which he picked Cuomo out for criticism saying he needed to “do more” in his COVID-19 response.
In a more sentimental portion of the press conference, Cuomo invoked his relationship with his mother in discussing how isolation is a difficult but necessary act of love.
With up to 10,000 tested state-wide there are now a number of 1,374 confirmed cases with 644 cases in the city. Twelve people have died from COVID-19 in New York.