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COVID-19: Cuomo says rate of increase in Westchester slows; calls Senate bill inadequate for NY

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Even though Westchester County has 4,691 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as announced this morning by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Cuomo told an Albany news conference that the number could have been a lot higher by now and reflects progress in slowing the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 Cuomo coronavirus
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “We have dramatically slowed the increase.”

“We have dramatically slowed what was an exponential increase,” Cuomo said, describing Westchester as having been the hottest cluster of the disease in the U.S. “We have dramatically slowed the increase.”

He said statewide, evidence shows that the efforts at social distancing including keeping businesses closed has helped slow the number of people requiring hospitalization.

He cited statistics showing that while the number of hospitalizations was doubling every two days as of last Sunday, by Monday the rate of doubling had slowed to 3.4 days and by yesterday the number of hospitalizations was doubling every 4.7 days.

COVID-19 CuomoHe said that 3,805 people currently were in hospitals with 888 patients requiring intensive care. He said there still was a critical shortage of ventilators and repeated his urgings that the federal government send the ventilators it has on hand to New York and adopt a policy of rolling deployment, where they are sent to locations where they are needed and then moved to the next location as people again can start breathing on their own.

Cuomo reported there are a total of 30,811 confirmed cases in New York state, with 968 in Rockland, 638 in Orange and 153 in Dutchess. New York City had 17,856 cases detected. There have been 285 deaths recorded in New York state.

Cuomo said that it is anticipated that 140,000 people in New York will develop cases so severe they require hospitalization.

Cuomo said that as of yesterday, 28% of all the testing done in the U.S. for the virus have been performed in New York.

COVID-19 Cuomo

Cuomo reported that a total of 6,175 mental health professionals have signed up to offer their services for free via a new hotline to people who need help coping with the current situation. The hotline is: 1-844-863-9314.

He said that another 10,000 responses have been received from retired or otherwise former medical personnel who want to volunteer to help in the crisis, bringing the total to 40,000.

Cuomo was highly critical of the $2 trillion economic passage proposed in the U.S. Senate, saying that it is wholly inadequate for New York state.

“The response to this virus has probably already cost us $1 billion, it will cost us several billion dollars when we’re done. New York City only gets $1.3 billion from this package. That is a drop in the bucket,” Cuomo said. Cuomo said that a bill the House of Representatives had prepared would have given New York state $17 billion. The Senate version gives New York only $3.7 billion.

“If we don’t get more funding from the feds I don’t know how we write the budget,” Cuomo said.

Commenting on an unspoken rule in politics that you don’t criticize the members of your own political party against the background of Democrat leader Sen. Chuck Schumer having been a major author of the Senate bill, Cuomo said, “This is not a time to play nice in the sandbox.” He continued, “If you are hurting the people of the state, I’m going to do everything I can to defend them. We need more federal help than this bill gives us.”

Cuomo said he told the state’s delegation in the House this morning, “This doesn’t do it.” He said the House needs to make adjustments.

This afternoon, Cuomo’s office issued  a statement saying, “Based on initial reports, New York state government gets approximately $3.1 billion.  As a percent of our total state budget — 1.9% — it is the second lowest amount in the nation.  Literally 48 states get a higher percentage in funding than New York state.  For example, South Dakota gets 17.9%.

“This is despite the fact that New York state is incurring the greatest costs as we have the highest number of cases in the country.  New York state has 30 times the number of cases as Texas’s 1,031.  The gross political manipulation is obvious.  For example, Wyoming, which only has 40 confirmed COVID-19 cases, is getting 17.1 percent of their budget as a payment from the federal government.

“Compounding this inequity is the fact that New York state contributes more to the federal government than any other state in the nation.  It is just another case of politics over sound policy.”

The governor also introduced a couple of videos urging state residents to stay home by actors Danny DeVito and Robert DeNiro.

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