New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a press conference on Tuesday, March 24, updating the public on the state’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19—and the message was far from uplifting. “The increase in the number of cases continues, unabated, and, in fact, the rate of increase has gone up,” said Cuomo. The rate of new cases is actually doubling nearly every three days. “We are not slowing it, and it is accelerating on its own,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo noted that while New York State has done everything in its power to “flatten the curve” —closing businesses, reducing the number of people on the streets and increasing the ability for doctors to test for COVID-19, but the number of new cases continue to climb. (New York is actually testing more people than any other state in the US.) Cuomo said that, while talking to an expert virus forecaster about the outbreak, that person likened the outbreak to a “bullet train” crossing the country.
The state’s projected “apex” (or height of new cases in New York State) could be as many as 14 to 21 days away, said Cuomo, and the state’s projected number of hospital beds needed to be filled—110,000—might need to be upped by as many as 30,000 in the ensuing weeks. To that end, Cuomo reiterated the desperate need for hospitals to acquire protective equipment for doctors—most importantly, ventilators, which are needed for the most critically ill patients and could mean the difference between “life and death.” (The governor said there’s been a call to potentially test using a single ventilator for two separate patients.) New York State has been able to acquire 7,000 ventilators but needs to get that number up to 30,000.