This new data comes as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his most serious press briefing yet, in which he criticized the federal government for their “woefully insufficient” response to the pandemic.
The infection rate in the state has now reached the point where the number of cases is doubling every three days, a statistic that is causing concern among state officials. These new numbers indicate that the peak of the virus could come within the next “two to three weeks,” which is much earlier than projections indicated and will put even more strain on an already burdened healthcare system.
“We haven’t flattened the curve. And the curve is actually increasing,” Gov. Cuomo stated.
“The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought. This is a bad combination of facts.”
The governor also took a harsher tone with the federal government than he has in past weeks, chastising them for being pleased they sent the state 400 ventilators when they need at least 30,000. So far, they have only procured 7,000 as states are competing amongst each other to procure the life-saving equipment.
“You’re missing the magnitude of the problem, and the problem is defined by the magnitude.”
This criticism comes as the state is mobilizing its National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers to help transform various locations into field hospitals. Gov. Cuomo was speaking from the Javits Conference Center, which has been turned into a 1,000-bed emergency hospital.
This morning @NYCMayor visited the @NYCEmergencyMgt warehouse where 400 life-saving ventilators have arrived from the federal government. They will be distributed to health care facilities across the city. pic.twitter.com/MCjoE8oLuR
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) March 24, 2020
However, efforts are not nearly enough. The state is now predicting it will need 140,o00 hospital beds — an increase of the 110,000 it had projected just a few days ago — while only 53,000 are currently available, according to The New York Times. The governor also warned that New York is a harbinger for other states. He stated what his state was dealing with now could be faced by others in “five or six weeks time. We are your future.”
Finally, he discussed the idea of gradually opening back up the economy and allowing those who have recovered from the virus or who are at low risk of contracting it — like younger people — to return to work. He did not go so far as some of his conservative counterparts, though, stating that he was not going to sacrifice human lives to restart the economy.
“We’re not going to accept a premise that human life is disposable.”
As of Tuesday morning, New York reported 25,665 coronavirus cases, which makes up nearly 7 percent of the global cases, as reported in The New York Times. New York City has 14,904 confirmed cases alone, including in 22 of the city’s homeless shelters. As the virus continues to spread, New York City police have begun conducting patrols to enforce social distancing rules.