Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New Yorkers should be prepared for widespread business closings and stay-at-home orders to last months to combat the surge in coronavirus cases.
“This is not a short-term situation,” he said in a Sunday briefing with reporters. “This is not a long weekend. This is not a week.”
“It is going to be four months, six months, nine months,” he continued.
Cuomo pointed to modeling from China indicating that the US was lagging in its capacity to curb the rate at which the virus was spreading in hot spots like New York City.
“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,” Cuomo said. “All we’re trying to do is slow the spread. But it will spread — it is that contagious.”
More than 15,000 confirmed cases in New York
Cuomo said there were 15,168 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 76 deaths in New York state, up from 10,356 on Saturday — a nearly 50% increase. More than 9,000 cases are in New York City. To put that in perspective, Washington state, an early US hot spot for the coronavirus, has reported about 1,800 cases.
New York state has made a push to make testing more available to New York City residents, opening up a drive-thru testing site in Staten Island, which Cuomo said could explain the rapid increase in confirmed cases.
“It’s going to be hard — I’m not minimizing it, but it’s going to be OK,” Cuomo said. “The grocery stores will continue to function, they’re going to have food, the transportation system will function, the pharmacies are going to be open. All essential services will be maintained.”
While younger people are less at risk of becoming seriously ill or dying as a result of contracting the coronavirus, Cuomo reiterated the importance of staying at home and practicing social distancingto help curb the spread.
“I don’t know what I’m saying that people don’t get,” Cuomo said. “This is not life as usual.”
Cuomo proposed closing city streets to make more room for people
He proposed closing some streets in New York City to car traffic to allows runners, bikers, and others who are trying to exercise and get fresh air to spread out from one another.
“You have much less traffic in New York City because nonessential workers aren’t going to work,” he said. “Get creative: Open streets to reduce the density. You want to go for a walk? God bless you. You want to go for a run? God bless you.”
Cuomo also lent some advice to families not used to being cooped up in small spaces for extended periods of time with one another.
“Now you’re all in the same place for 24 hours,” he said. “I live alone, and I’m even getting annoyed with the dog, being in one place. So think that through, because that is real and it’s going to go on for a period of time.”
Source: Business Insider