New York City to enter Phase II as Cuomo turns suspicion to other states

June 17, 2020- Albany, NY- Governor Andrew Cuomo holds daily Coronavirus press briefing (Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

While New York City is fast on its way to Phase II of reopening by June 22, Governor Andrew Cuomo cited figures meant to act as dire warning to all: the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s projected deaths from COVID-19 have increased.

Up 149,000 Americans could be dead from the coronavirus by August as cases in almost half the states in the union continue to climb, which is an 89,000 point spike compared to earlier projections from the IHME, which is recognized by the White House as a leading authority.

Under Phase II of the reopening, in-store retail, real estate, offices, hair salons and barbershops as well as outdoor food services will be allowed. See the full guidelines on the state’s website.

Claiming that the PAUSE orders and the public taking responsibility for the health of those around them, Cuomo railed against policies of states and federal government that increased the spread of COVID-19 outside of New York that could put citizens in the Empire State in danger.

“In May they projected 134,000 deaths, now they’re projecting 149,000 deaths. Why? because they’re seeing the number of hospitalizations go up. So this federal policy [of allowing state’s to reopen] has increased the number of people who they project to die by almost 90,000,” Cuomo said Wednesday.

As New York became the national epicenter throughout April and May, many state governments issued warnings and expressed concern that New Yorkers would traveling to their regions. Cuomo now says he is worried about people from states such as Arizona and Texas traveling to New York. 

Well now it’s the inverse. People are getting on planes and traveling, they could actually be bringing the virus to New York,” Cuomo said.

The Navajo Nation in the Four Corners region alone has logged over 6,600 new cases with 300 deaths in the population of just about 173,000 people, according to the tribal health department. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has disregarded CDC recommendations, reopening the state despite the number of cases in the state spiking throughout.

Daily cases in Arizona have tripled on since only a few weeks ago and ICU beds are becoming scarce.

The federal government has made the claim that there are more cases because of more testing, Cuomo said this was a “mistake”; hospitalizations on the rise neutralize that argument, he said.

Cuomo said that with New York being on track for a full reopening, the last day of his daily COVID-19 press conferences, watched across the country and staple of life for New Yorkers for over 100 days, will be Friday. From then on he expects them to be held as necessary, which he expects to be frequent.

Other news from the governor’s daily presser ranged from signing legislation protecting whistleblowers in the healthcare industry as well as signing an executive order to make Juneteenth a holiday for state employees. Cuomo said he would take further action to commemorate the freeing of the slaves in next year’s budget, but the executive order was the extend of his immediate authority on the matter.