Notes from Governor Cuomo's COVID-19 Briefing:
REOPENING THE ECONOMY: Cuomo explained there will not be 100% conformity on regional plans and does not believe that will be problematic.
MY TAKE: Given the new EO on masks, if this continues into June and beyond the issue will be how do businesses and individuals access PPE.
- Must wear a mask when riding:
- Public transportation
- Private transportation carriers and for-hire vehicles
- All operators of public systems, private carriers, and for-hire
vehicles must wear a mask at all times
- This will become effective Friday at 8:00 p.m.
- The Governor urged the public to follow precautions set. "The policies I communicated aren't worth the paper they are presented on unless people decide to follow them," he said.
- Hospitalization rate is down 1k (from 18k to 17k). Total hospitalizations also down. Also, net change down more significantly than before.
- ICU admission number down.
- Intubations down.
- New hospitalizations remains at about 2k, same as yesterday.
- Deaths since April 15: 606. 577 deaths from hospitals, 29 from nursing homes.
- Governor says this will be over once a vaccine and/or medical treatments are made. For the moment, need to continue controlling the rate of infection and strengthen the healthcare system through increased capacities. Need to also increase testing with Federal help then conduct reopening in a phase-in matter.
- Reiterated that we must determine the next wave of essential businesses and figure out which businesses are "safer." Then they must develop reopening plan. Cuomo has tapped McKinsey and Delloite to develop the plan – which he typically does for all of his policy proposals.
- Explained businesses would be phased-up via percentages based on whether they are considered low- or high-risk for infection. RMF, in my opinion could fall into the former category.
- The Governor again explained that businesses must "reimagine" the workplace to increase ability to telecommute, ability to socially distance, and restructure customer interactions. Additionally, businesses must be able to determine a proactive infection plan in case of a second wave.
- Testing will be the best tool to make decisions on reopening.
- Governor says NYS has conducted 500k tests in 30 days, more than any other state.
- Still need to increase testing capacity; need to figure out a way of increasing testing sites, supplies, lab capacity, acquisition of chemicals, and create a "tracing army" for investigations.
- Reiterated argument that Federal government should play a role and assist in obtaining resources.
- Need to continue surge and flex procedures, as well as build out a strategic stockpile of PPE.
- Will be sending 100 ventilators to NJ.
- Cannot currently track the infection rate; that can only be achieved through advanced testing.
- Need to determine how fast the virus spreads from one person to another, until it is determined we need to limit the spread rate.
- After mitigation efforts, we were able to decrease the infection spread rate to 0.9 (one person spreads it to 0.9 people).
- However, 1.2 would take us to the high projection rates, so Cuomo is urging caution with reopening.
- NY Pause will be extended in coordination with other state to May 15th.
- Further information on nursing home infection rates will be released later today.
- As it pertains to the delay in releasing nursing home data, the Governor explained that hospitals and nursing homes are over-worked and short-staffed thus may face delays in submitting daily reports. However, he promised data will be released later today.
- Testing capacities have increased which is why we saw an increase in the number of positives recently.
- On claims of a lack of dialysis machines for patients experiencing organ failure, Governor Cuomo said hospitals are reporting shortages daily and they've been working on issuing the needed materials.
- The mask requirement applied to children of 2 years and older, as per CDC guidelines.
- Social distancing protocols will be lifted based on how good the state is at reducing the infection rate.
- The state will be working with local municipalities on coordinating a way to ensure people who cannot afford masks are granted access to them.
- Governor says we cannot overcome the economic strain without Federal assistance. He emphasized the importance of funding state and local governments. I am hearing that this will come under a Phase IV.
POLITICS AND DEATH DATA:
- On President Trump's accusation of NYC padding the death counts, the Governor claimed there may have been a misreporting of numbers. He explained that NYC has begun issuing a "probable death count" in accordance to CDC guidelines which roughly estimates the number of at-home deaths based on symptoms seen close to the time of death. However, these may not all be COVID-19 cases, so the numbers may not be precise. It was clarified that presumed deaths are not counted as part of the actual death count and are considered a separate category in NYC.
- DOL will be issuing details on claims shortly. Cuomo said DOL has completed 925k claims, with 275k claims outstanding. It was further explained that outstanding claims are due to the need for further information or paperwork but promised benefits will not be affected by how long it takes to process a claim.