New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference on Saturday that the rate of new coronavirus infections in his state is continuing to decline, falling to levels not seen since last month.
New York, the global epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, continues to see a declining number of hospitalizations, intubations and deaths, Cuomo said.
Total hospitalizations were down again, falling to their lowest level since early April: “We are back to where we were 21 days ago … 21 days of hell,” the governor said at his press conference.
The number of daily hospitalizations fell to about 1,100 new cases—the lowest since March 25.
“Only in this crazy reality would 1,100 new cases be relatively good news,” Cuomo said. He said ideally New York could soon get back to the point where there are only several hundred new infections per day.
In more sobering news, another 437 New Yorkers have died from the virus since Friday, up from 422 deaths the day before. The number of total fatalities is now at least 16,599.
While Cuomo admitted that the coronavirus was the “worst thing we have experienced in modern history,” he said that social distancing measures have so far paid off and saved countless lives. “That’s a heck of an accomplishment… one that New Yorkers will be proud of.”
“All the numbers are basically saying the same, that we are in fact on the downside of the mountain,” Cuomo said on Saturday.
“Testing is what we are compulsively obsessively focused on now,” Cuomo said at his press conference. The governor announced that New York is authorizing all independent pharmacists—around 5,000 in total—in the state to serve as collections sites for testing. Testing criteria will also expand to include more New Yorkers, Cuomo said: “As you increase the capacity to test, you can increase the eligibility.”
The state is doing an average of 20,000 tests per day, but the goal is to reach 40,000 per day with help from the federal government. Cuomo described a productive meeting with the Trump administration earlier this week, in which the president said that he understood that the federal government needs to have a role—namely in mobilizing national manufacturers to get more testing equipment to states.
In his press conference on Friday, Cuomo sharply criticized Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for his suggestion that states facing budget crises due to coronavirus should declare bankruptcy. Earlier this week, Cuomo had called it “one of the really dumb ideas of all time.” Like many others, New York is facing large budget shortfalls due to the pandemic, with Cuomo and other governors repeatedly calling for more federal funding to states. Putting aside the “absurdity” and questionable morality of the proposal, the New York governor said, states can’t even legally declare bankruptcy unless a federal law is passed allowing them to do so. “Pass the law, I dare you,” Cuomo taunted McConnell during his press conference. “Pass that bill, if you weren’t just playing politics.”
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