Cuomo looks overseas for COVID-19 containment advice as Western N.Y. opens

Governor Andrew Cuomo holds daily COVID-19, Coronavirus press briefing, Announces Statewide testing for Coronavirus at 700 plus locations (Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Western New York starts its reopening Tuesday as statewide deaths drop to 106 and to keep the ball rolling, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would seek the advice of two foreign health advisors for further containment of COVID-19.

Dr. Samir Bhatt from the Imperial College London and Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease, will be helping the state better understand the statistics coming out of specific regions, according to Cuomo, and how the government should react in turn.

“I want to make sure have people reviewing and then reviewing the reviewers and as many opinions from experts as we can get,” Cuomo said.

Bhatt said the amount of data collection being made in New York would help the Imperial College of London come to further conclusions about coronavirus with the amount of antibody testing and tracing now in the works. Bhatt was confident that the reopening of regions would see spikes in cases, but would inform their COVID-19 response team of how to advise governments.

“At Imperial College in London, we have a huge COVID-19 response team collaborating with scientists and government agencies globally,” Bhatt said. “New York has contained the virus successfully enough, but New York is not out of the woods yet. No state, no country is… New York is leading the way in data collection and this will tie together many sources of evidence as possible to reach a scientific consensus which can then be used for decision-making.”

On Sunday, Cuomo said testing capacity more than exceeded the current demand with many drive-through testing sites only reaching about a third of their full capacity. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio has created a partnership with CityMD which makes testing free for anyone with insurance, and those without will be able the get the testing for free. Testing capacity through the city has reached 20,000 people per day, the mayor said today. 

Photo Courtesy of an Upper East Side resident.

But if the state’s testing sites are going to be taken into account, private providers seem to be reaching higher volumes of New Yorkers hoping to learn their status.

In the Upper East Side, a line going out the door of a CityMD at 97th Street and Lexington could be seen that reached the end of the block. 

According to the governor, testing kits will be sent to nursing homes, hardest hit by the virus, in order to bring a more informed approach to fighting COVID-19 as it affects the most vulnerable.

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