Cuomo Seemingly Backtracks on Shutting Down New York
It appears Gov. Andrew Cuomo is backtracking on closing down many parts of New York.
On Monday during a COVID-19 press briefing, Gov Cuomo hinted another statewide "pause" order could be put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"We could potentially do a NY Pause," Cuomo noted during his COVID-19 briefing on Monday. "The hospitalization rate is increasing dramatically."
Cuomo pointed to other states, like California, when announcing New York could see another "pause" order, Cuomo's preferred word for the closing of nonessential businesses.
Later on Monday, the Governor's staff released a press release that confirmed Cuomo's COVID-19 Winter Plan has a strategy in place, called an "Emergency Stop" that will shut down parts of New York State, if a region's hospital system is overwhelmed.
In addition to the 3 existing micro-cluster zone levels (Yellow Precautionary, Orange Warning and Red), New York will also add a new 'Emergency Stop' level, which will effectively put that area under the NY Pause guidelines, if needed to preserve hospital capacity. Hospital metrics associated with these zones will be identified in the next week to 10 days, once data from the Thanksgiving holiday is received and analyzed.
On Thursday, Cuomo says the main focus remains the hospitalization rate and hospital capacity.
"In the broad scope of things, we're dealing with increases in hospitalizations, but we're doing dramatically better than essentially every other state in the country. The total number of hospital beds in the state is 53,000 - currently 35,000 beds are occupied, and about 4,000 of those with COVID patients. At our height, we had about 19,000 people hospitalized with COVID, to put this recent increase in perspective," Cuomo said in a press release.
Cuomo added New York's contact tracing found that restaurants, bars, gyms, salons and other businesses are not the biggest source in the increase of COVID-19 cases across New York States.
"At this point, you don't control the activity of the overwhelming majority that's causing the spread. Government cannot control that. The gyms, salons, the protocols are working. They're a very small percentage of the increase," Cuomo said.
Cuomo said New York's latest contact tracing data shows 70 percent of new COVID-19 cases originate from households and small gatherings, or as he puts it, "living room spread."
"It's not just mass gatherings causing the spread anymore. The virus is now literally spreading in households," Governor Cuomo said. "When you eliminate other options for socialization, people will shift their behavior and begin joining together in their homes. We are seeing the impacts of that now, with a significant number of cases originating in households and small gatherings. I know you may think, 'I'm in my house with my family and with my friends so this is my safe zone,' but that just is simply not the case anymore. As we move forward into the winter, addressing living room spread will be one of the biggest challenges in the fight against COVID-19, and we can do it, but only if New Yorkers stay smart."