On Sunday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo offered an update on the state’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor began by addressing the elephant in the room – hospital capacity as it relates to the number of COVID-19 cases.
“As of now, the numbers are continuing to increase. What we’re working very hard to do is to keep the rate of increase of the spread of the disease to a level that we can manage it in our hospital system,” Cuomo said. “We have 53,000 hospital beds available right now. The curve suggests we could need 110,000 hospital beds, and that is an obvious problem, and that’s what we’re dealing with.”
After expressing his disagreement with the way things are currently moving as it pertains to various states bidding for medical gear and equipment, and suggesting that the federal government take the lead in that area, Cuomo spoke about the construction of “temporary” hospitals.
“I’m requesting today from the federal government that the Army Corps immediately proceed to erect temporary hospitals. I went out yesterday, I surveyed the sites. There are several good options that give us regional coverage,” he stated.
Among the places that could potentially be used are SUNY Stony Brook and Old Westbury, which are on Long Island, as well as the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, and Westchester County Center.
Cuomo said that the state has asked “FEMA to come in and erect four federal hospitals at the Javits Center.” He added that FEMA hospitals are different than the temporary setups from the Army Corps of Engineers because they “come with staff and with supplies.”
Cuomo then blasted New Yorkers who don’t appear to be taking the threat of COVID-19 seriously:
I was in New York City yesterday. It was a pretty day. There is a density level in New York City that is wholly inappropriate. You would think there was nothing going on in parts of New York City. You would think it was just a bright, sunny Saturday. I don’t know what I’m saying that people don’t get.
I’m normally accused of being overly blunt and direct – and I [take] that, it’s true. I don’t know what they’re not understanding. This is not life as usual. None of this is life is usual. And this kind of density – we talk about social distancing – I was in these parks, you would not know that anything was going on. This is just a mistake. It’s a mistake. It’s insensitive, it’s arrogant, it’s self-destructive, it’s disrespectful to other people, and it has to stop, and it has to stop now. This is not a joke, and I am not kidding.
The governor then said that he has been in contact with city officials, including the mayor, and has told them that they need to develop a “plan to correct this situation.”
COVID-19, which originated in China’s Hubei province, has infected nearly 330,000 people worldwide, and led to more than 14,300 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) Global Cases map. 97,846 people have recovered.
New York, which has become a COVID-19 hotspot in the United States, has had 15,777 cases and 114 deaths as of publication, according to the CSSE data.