Cuomo wraps coronavirus briefings with warning for other states: “More people will die”

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on June 12, 2020 in New York City.

Jeenah Moon | Getty Images

More people will die if states that reopened their economies too quickly and are reporting spikes in cases don’t take actions to prevent further spread of Covid-19, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during his final daily press briefing on Friday. 

“More people will die and it doesn’t have to be that way. Forget the politics, be smart, open the economy intelligently and save lives at the same time. That’s what we showed works in New York,” Cuomo said during his final briefing. 

Cuomo’s final daily coronvirus press briefing comes over 100 days after the beginning of the state’s response to the outbreak. New York confirmed its first coronavirus death, an 82-year old New York woman with pre-existing health issues, on March 14.

Since then, the coronavirus has killed more than 30,900 people in New York, the most of any state in the nation, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The coronavirus has killed more than 118,400 people in the U.S., according to Hopkins data. 

The number of new deaths over the next four weeks is expected to accelerate in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah compared to last month, according to forecasts published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

According to an ensemble of forecast data, the CDC said there will likely be between 129,000 and 145,000 total reported Covid-19 deaths by July 11th.

In the days leading up to his final press briefing on Friday, New York had reported record-low hospitalizations from Covid-19 and consistently recorded less than 50 daily deaths. 

“Over the past three months we have done the impossible,” Cuomo said. “We’ve reopened the economy and we’ve saved lives because it was never a choice between one or the other. It was always right to do both.” 

Meanwhile, other states in the West and South have reported a surge in Covid-19 cases over the last few days. Cases are growing by 5% or more in 27 states across the U.S., including Arizona, Texas, California and Oklahoma, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Arizona, Florida, California, South Carolina and Texas all reported record-high single-day increases in coronavirus cases on Thursday. 

Coronavirus hospitalizations, like new cases and deaths, are considered a key measure of the outbreak because it helps scientists gauge how severe it may be. 

Hospitalizations from Covid-19 were growing in 12 states as of Thursday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project. States like Texas have reported record-breaking spikes in hospitalizations, up more than 84% since Memorial Day. Arizona hospitals have slowly approached capacity, according to the state’s department of health. 

Both Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have defended their reopening plans by pointing to their state’s ability to increase surge capacity in hospitals if necessary. 

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