The coronavirus epidemic is accelerating in New York despite the dramatic restrictions on daily life that were supposed to slow it down, the state governor said, warning that the virus would hit harder and sooner than expected.
A pandemic that rumbled like a freight train was now accelerating “like a high-speed train,” said Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, who detailed huge gaps in the state’s supply of beds. hospitals, ventilators and other vital equipment to deal with the crisis. .
“The infection rate is increasing. It’s a peak. The apex is higher than we thought. And the summit is coming sooner than we thought, “Cuomo said during a press briefing on Tuesday at a New York convention center that was being converted to an emergency hospital. New York, he said, had “exhausted all options”.
Democrat Cuomo sometimes praised President Donald Trump. But he was unleashed Tuesday at the White House for not having adequately forwarded a state whose 25,665 confirmed cases are almost 10 times greater than that of the next largest state, and classified it as the American epicenter of the pandemic.
“I don’t understand in my life the reluctance to use the federal defense production law,” said Cuomo, referring to a federal law that authorizes the government to intervene to order private companies to produce equipment for defense. wartime. He also made fun of the 400 fans sent to New York so far.
“Four hundred fans? I need 30,000 fans! Want a pat on the back for 400 fans? “Later, he added,” You choose the 26,000 people who will die because you only sent 400 fans. ”
With Cuomo in the foreground, New York has taken a series of tough measures in recent days to bring the city to a standstill in hopes of mitigating the spread of the virus. It has closed Broadway theaters, thousands of bars and restaurants, the country’s largest public school system and almost all essential businesses.
The idea, as the governor has repeatedly explained in his widely followed daily talk, is that slowing the spread will ease the pressure on the state’s health care system and prevent the type of traumatic depression seen in the northern Italy.
However, the latest test results suggest that the virus has exceeded these efforts. By Tuesday morning, state confirmed cases had risen to 25,665, with 3,234 people hospitalized and 756 in intensive care units.
Based on revised projections, New York could see the worst of the pandemic in 14 to 21 days, said the governor. To cope, it will have to increase its supply of hospital beds from 53,000 currently to 140,000 in a few days, including 40,000 intensive care beds. This is an increase from the assumptions of just a few days ago that New York City would need 110,000 beds.
Cuomo called the figures “troubling and astronomical.”
In the meantime, the governor has rejected the president’s suggestion that restrictive measures – like those imposed on New York – should be lifted in a matter of days to save the economy. Trump said Tuesday he would like to see “the country open” by Easter, which falls on April 12.
“A job must save lives. This must be the priority, “said Cuomo. The governor argued that there was no need to choose between human life and the economy – as upcoming medical tests confirmed that people had recovered from the virus, they could return to work while working others were treated, he said.
In the meantime, the governor implored the White House to adjust its virus-fighting tactics by rushing fans and other equipment to New York, and then moving them across the country to other access points if necessary.
He also sought to dissuade other Americans from thinking that New York, the epicenter of the American epidemic, was somehow unique.
The state is just a “test case” for a virus that is spreading rapidly across the country, he said. “Where we are today,” he warned, “you will be in three or four weeks.”
We want to know what’s going on around you. Are jobs being lost in your business? Are the conditions dangerous? Are wages or benefits changing? Send tips and stories to [email protected]