While deaths now tally at 4,758 across New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo says hospitalizations and intubations are continuing to level off as April progresses.
Sunday, the governor said downstate would appear to be reaching its coronavirus apex and by Monday officials were much more confident that this is the case as per a press conference where the Cuomo administration claim social distancing measures were working.
But it was not all good news, according to Cuomo, who hopes to turn the USNS Comfort into COVID-19 care vessel as well as bring on the Javits Center to augment care capacity by 3,500 beds.
“If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a very high level … you can’t stay at reline for any period of time because the system will blow, and that’s where we are now,” Cuomo said. “We would feel better about sustaining this capacity if we can bring on these two facilities.”
Jim Malatras, the president of the Rockefeller Institute of Government, backed the governor’s statement that social distancing measures were working.
“The question was, what could you do to lower those initial projections from 110,000 to 55,000 [in hospital capacity],” Malatras said. “The answer was and what the government has been doing, was to aggressively enforce and enact social distancing to lower the overall number. This number and current data suggest that that is exactly what is happening … we are indeed potentially at the apex.”
One warning from the governor? Just because the numbers are looking up, does not mean it’s time to relax social distancing and quarantine standards.
As such, the state will be upping the fine for those violating social distancing mandates from $500 to $1,000 and is asking local governments to help facilitate this. The hidden factor in maintaining the figures and driving them down will be keeping the “foot to the floor,” Cuomo said.
“You don’t have the right to risk someone else’s life,” Cuomo lectured. “Now is not the time to be lax.”
After Councilman Mark Levine sounded the alarm about a possible mortuary crisis and the possibility of temporary internment of the influx of death in city parks, Cuomo said that not only was it a “wild” notion that he had not heard anything about but that there was no evidence for it.
“I just spoke to the city yesterday,” Cuomo said, taken aback by the question from a reporter.
This story first appeared on amny.com.