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New York Rate of Virus Deaths and Cases Is Lowest in Weeks
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New York state reported the smallest increase in both deaths and cases from the new coronavirus in weeks, along with other data that point to a decline in the outbreak, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
There were 478 deaths on April 19, the smallest one-day increase since April 2. Cases climbed by 4,726, the lowest one-day increase since mid-March, while new hospitalizations were flat. Cuomo said his top concern is making sure the numbers don’t inch back up.
“What we’re doing here, as a general rule, determines our future,” he said Monday at his daily briefing in Albany. “This is cause and effect on steroids.”
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New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, had seen daily case increases between 8,000 and 10,000 for weeks. On April 14, it reported a high of 11,571 new cases. Nearly 250,000 New Yorkers have tested positive for the virus, which has closed schools and businesses for weeks.
“The question is now how long is the descent and how steep is the descent? Cuomo said. “Nobody knows, just the way nobody knew how long the ascent was. That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”
In the interim, the state continues to focus on plans for safely reopening. Its health department will begin to conduct an antibody testing survey of 3,000 people today, to see how many people contracted Covid-19 and are now immune, Cuomo said.
The state also is launching a testing program with the New York City Housing Authority, and is donating 500,000 cloth masks to the authority along with 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to distribute to public housing residents.
The governor has been pushing for federal assistance and coordination to help ramp up antibody testing, which would allow people to return to work.
“I’d like the federal government to help on those supply chain issues,” Cuomo said. “This is a quagmire because it’s not just funding.”
Cuomo said the federal government also has pledged funding to help states weather the financial crisis, but hasn’t come through yet. If it doesn’t step up, New York anticipates 20% cuts in state aid to schools, local governments and hospitals, the governor said.
The governor said it’s great the federal government is helping businesses, but teachers, health-care workers, firefighters and other public employees also need aid. Cuomo called on the federal government to provide front-line workers with a 50% bonus. He noted that two-thirds are women, and one-third are members of a low-income household.
In addition, people of color are “disproportionately represented in delivery services and childcare services,” Cuomo said. They make up 41% of front-line workers, 45% of public transit workers, 57% of building cleaning-service workers, and 40% of health-care workers, he said.
A state policy about elective surgeries will be released tomorrow, Cuomo said. His administration will be taking into consideration the virus rate in each region, as well as the vacancy rate, he said.
Cuomo said there will be a “Reimagine New York” task force focusing on how to reopen the downstate region and make businesses and transportation better than they were before the outbreak.
“Everything is closed unless we say otherwise,” Cuomo said. “People need government to work. Government has to be smart, and if it looks confused between the state and the county or the state and the town, that’s the wrong message for everyone, so let’s just be smart.”