‘Where are they coming from?’ Majority of new COVID-19 cases in New York are coming at home

Photo via Flickr/Governor Andrew Cuomo

With 600 new hospitalizations and 232 deaths in the last 24 hours from coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday it was “shocking” to learn that the majority of these were among those who had been adhering to stay-at-home orders.

Data from up to 100 hospitals across the state showed that 66% of patients – from a pool of 1,000 – had been self-isolating for the most part and still contracted the coronavirus; nearly half of the cases were Hispanic or African American, Cuomo said during his Wednesday press briefing.

Cuomo said his focus, as well as that of health experts, have been on new case numbers which are concentrated in downstate areas like the New York City metro area, Long Island and the lower Hudson.

“You still have 600 new cases that walked in the door yesterday. A week before that we still saw 1,000 new cases every day. Where are those new cases coming from? Because we’ve done everything we can to close down,” Cuomo said. “So what we’ve done over the last few days is we’ve asked hospitals, look at just those new cases who are coming… Where are those new people coming from and what can we learn from those new people to further target and refine our strategy?”

Up to 84% of those new patients reported that they were staying at home, according to Cuomo, while only 17% were working. The Cuomo administration expected a high number of essential workers, which was not the case.

“We thought maybe they were taking transportation, and we’ve taken special precautions on public transportation, but actually, no. Because these people were literally at home,” Cuomo said. “Two percent car services, nine percent were driving their own vehicle, only four percent were taking public transportation. Two percent were walking.”

This revelation followed a historic decision ordered by Cuomo and organized by the MTA to close the subways every day between 1 and 5 a.m. for extensive disinfecting. Transportation worker deaths have increased from 33 in early April, to 109 as of Tuesday night with the New York City Transit system, being the largest in North America being swiftly deemed the culprit for the spread.

Cuomo said this study means that the spread ultimately boils down to how individuals protect themselves with face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.