New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned people on Sunday that the coronavirus pandemic could last up to nine months.
In a speech chiding people who have continued to go outside and gather in large groups despite the social distancing guidelines put out by federal and local governments, Cuomo revealed that there were over 15,000 cases in New York and that people need to take the situation seriously, as The New York Times reports.
“This is not a short term situation,” Cuomo said during a press conference in Albany. “This is not a long weekend. This is not a week.”
He added that up to 80 percent of the population could be impacted by the virus, which could strain the hospital system past the point where it could handle the number of people needing help.
“The timeline — nobody can tell you, it depends on how we handle it — but 40%, up to 80% of the population will wind up getting this virus, all we’re trying to do is slow the spread,” Cuomo said.
Despite the increase in cases in the state and the potential for more people to be infected, he cautioned that people shouldn’t panic over the situation.
“It is going to be four months, six months, nine months,” Cuomo concluded. “You look at China, once they really changed the trajectory — which we have not done yet — eight months. We’re in that range.”
Cuomo isn’t the only one who thinks the restrictive measures could have a longer impact than some expect. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that the federal government is looking at 10 to 12 weeks of stimulus measures.
New York saw a massive jump in the number of cases, up nearly 5,000 infections in just one day. The increase is the result of both a growth in the spread and also expanded testing.
Cuomo assured people that businesses like pharmacies, supermarkets, and public transportation will remain open and that there shouldn’t be chaos in the state, but people need to start taking the situation very seriously.
On the Today show, available to view on YouTube, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned that half the cases in New York, which has the highest number of infected people in the United States, were younger adults. He also cautioned people that they need to be staying at home.
Countrywide, the U.S. has over 35,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. However, experts say that it’s likely there are many more that haven’t been confirmed, given the lack of testing. Of those, 175 people have fully recovered.