During a Wednesday press conference on COVID-19, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “We are never going to be the same,” and “we can’t forget what happened here.”
At the outset of the presser, Cuomo went over the latest numbers for the state of New York, which could provide insight for other major metropolitan areas that haven’t yet experienced the full brunt of the illness, as New York has become the American epicenter for COVID-19.
While hospitalization rates have bobbed up and down, the overall trend is still ticking upward, with 1,297 hospitalizations on Tuesday compared with just 91 on March 16. Monday currently holds the record for single-day hospitalizations at 1,412.
Similar to the number of hospitalizations, the number of ICU admissions continues to trend upward, with 312 on Tuesday compared with just 46 on March 17. The trajectory for ICU admissions is more volatile than general hospitalizations, however, with March 26 holding the record high of 374.
As for daily intubations, despite three consecutive days of downward steps, the general trajectory from March 17 through Tuesday is upward. 291 people had to be intubated on Tuesday.
The trajectory of discharged patients is also going up, with 1,167 people being discharged on Tuesday.
After noting that “nobody knows what’s going to happen” for sure with the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor stated that what New Yorkers do have are the “facts.” What the latest data suggests is that the apex of COVID-19 in New York will come at the “end of April,” according to Governor Cuomo.
“Every day you get additional data, they run that data into the model, and they refine the model,” said Cuomo, noting that there are numerous models, and consulting firm McKinsey has synthesized the various models into a moving projection.
“But what we’re looking at now is the apex, top of the curve, roughly at the end of April, which means another month of this,” the governor said, adding that the model, which is based on “minimal social distancing impact,” shows that New York would need 110,000 “COVID beds” and 37,000 ventilators. “High compliance with social distancing” would mean a drop to 75,000 “COVID beds” and 25,000 ventilators at the apex.
After rebuking young people, who he says are not getting “the message” as it pertains to social distancing, Cuomo spoke more broadly about the future, and how the COVID-19 pandemic will “change us.”
As a society, beyond just this immediate situation, we should start looking forward to understand how this experience is going to change us, or how it should change us because this is going to be transformative. It is going to be transformative on a personal basis, on a social basis, on a systems basis.
We’re never going to be the same again. We’re not going to forget what happened here. The fear that we have, the anxiety that we have, that’s not just going to go away. When do we get back to normal? I don’t think we get back to normal. I think we get to a new normal, like we’re seeing in so many facets of society right now…
Our challenge is to make sure that transformation and that change is positive and not negative. Lets make sure we’re taking the positive lesson and not the negative lesson. You could get wary of intimacy and contact and density … what a terrible thing to live with as a human being. What a cruel torture. “Isolate yourself from other people. Be afraid of hugging someone.” Just think how emotionally and personally repugnant that concept is, right? We crave human connection…
So, how we come out of this, and making sure that it’s positive and not negative? How do we learn from this and how do we grow from this?
Cuomo went on to pose the question, “What happens when something like this happens again?”
“You can’t just turn off the economy like a light switch,” the governor said.
How do governments work together? … Learn the lessons from this … Why weren’t we ready with a tele-education system? Why weren’t we better at telemedicine? … Why don’t we have medical supplies made in this country? Why are we shopping in China for basic medical supplies? Why don’t we gear our medical research to these types of threats and challenges, which we know are on the horizon? … Let’s talk about first responder capacity … what’s the backup to that situation?
Cuomo concluded by talking “about societal stability and engagement at times of crisis.”
You can’t just tell everyone, “Go home and lock your doors and sit on your couch and order takeout for the foreseeable future.” That’s not who we are. It’s not even a mental health issue. It’s a personal health issue. It’s how we relate to one another. We’re not built to be isolated for long periods of time and not have human contact. So, how do we deal with that? These are the types of questions that we have to start to think through.
COVID-19, which originated in China’s Hubei province, has infected over 921,900 people worldwide, and led to more than 46,250 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) Global Cases map. 192,964 people have recovered.
In the United States, there have been more than 206,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and over 4,500 deaths. As of publication, 8,413 individuals have recovered from the virus.
According to the New York State website, there have been 83,712 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, and 1,941 deaths. In New York City alone, there have been over 44,900 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 1,139 deaths.