The COVID-19 pandemic may be isolating New Yorkers inside their houses and apartments, but to get to the next phase of the crisis—reopening the economy—it’s going to, paradoxically, require them to be in constant contact with one another.
During his daily press briefing on April 17, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he’d signed an executive order, formally directing the 301 public and private laboratories/hospitals in New York State to coordinate with the New York State Department of Health (DOH), to basically become a statewide, systematized COVID-19-testing system. “This is something that’s never been done before, and is going to be a tremendous undertaking,” said Cuomo.
Per Cuomo, there are two issues at hand in making this a reality: One, the sheer coordination between all of the state’s various medical facilities on the state level; and two, the need to correct international supply chain issues in order to get the state the testing supplies it needs. Cuomo addressed that fact that crucial chemical reagents needed for the COVID-19 test can only be acquired from China. To that end, said Cuomo, the only way the state would be able to get its hands on said chemicals would be through a partnership with the federal government. “I’m willing to do what I can do and more,” said Cuomo, “but I’m telling you, I don’t do China relations, I don’t do international supply chain, and that’s where the federal government can help.”
As of today, it’s still looking as though the state is flattening the curve. Total hospitalizations (net change and the three-day average) were down, as were ICU admissions and intubations (80 percent of the people intubated and put on a ventilator don’t survive). And although the total number of COVID-19 deaths was up again to 630 on April 16 from 606 on April 15, the numbers are basically flat.
Hospitals, however, are still adding some 2,000 new COVID-19 patients daily. And New York still leads the entire country in its number of COVID-19 cases, with more than 120,000. To date, more than 11,000 New Yorkers have succumbed to the virus.