New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks in front of stacks of medical protective supplies during a news conference at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center which will be partially converted into a temporary hospital during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., March 24, 2020.
Mike Segar | Reuters
New York coronavirus cases continue to surge, topping 37,258 on Thursday as the state scrambles to find enough hospital beds and ventilators to handle the coming onslaught of patients, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
More than 5,300 residents have already been hospitalized and the state is projecting that will climb to 140,000 over the next two to three weeks, he said. At least 1,517 people have been discharged, he added. The state has already spent $1 billion trying to stymie the outbreak and estimates that business closures will cost roughly $10 to $15 billion in lost revenue.
“To be angry is a luxury, we don’t have time to be angry. Let’s just deal with the facts,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany on Thursday.
The state estimates it will need roughly 40,000 ventilators at the peak of the outbreak, Cuomo said. The state has about 3,000 to 4,000 ventilators on hand and has purchased about 7,000 more, he previously said. COVID-19 patients also need ventilators a lot longer than most other respiratory patients, 11 to 21 days compared with three or four days, Cuomo said.
“We now have people who have been on a ventilator for 20 to 30 days,” Cuomo said. “The longer you’re on a ventilator, the more likely you’re not going to come off a ventilator.”
A chart showing the most impacted states from Covid-19 in the U.S. as of March 26th, 2020.
Source: New York State
Cuomo reiterated that residents should seek out counseling if they are feeling anxious, adding that the state has more than 8,600 mental health professionals on hand. Earlier this week, he announced that the state had set up hotlines and would provide mental health counseling to residents for free.
“We’ve always said this is not going to be over quickly,” he said. “I understand people are tired, but I also understand people in the situation are stepping up to the plate and doing phenomenal work.”
“This is not a sprint. It’s a marathon,” he added.
He also criticized Congress, calling the $2 trillion stimulus bill designed to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the country “irresponsible” and “reckless.”
“The congressional action in my opinion simply failed to address the governmental need,” he said.
New York City is the epicenter of the major outbreak in the state, where cases have been doubling every three days and now account for more than half of all U.S. cases. The number of cases in New York City increased by 3,537 to 21,393, Cuomo said Thursday. At least 385 people have died.
New York state and city officials plan to close some streets in the nation’s largest city and may close parks and playgrounds there to contain the coronavirus outbreak as cases across the state surge, Cuomo said Wednesday.
“The plan is going to pilot closing streets in New York City because we have much less traffic in New York City. We have many fewer vehicles in New York City,” Cuomo said. He said that by opening the streets, fewer people will congregate in the parks. “People want to walk. They want to go out and get some air. You want a less dense area, so pilot closing streets to cars, opening streets to pedestrians.”