While saying that progress had been made in the fight against COVID-19, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo cautioned not to expect early reopenings of businesses and resumption of normal activities throughout the state.
“The good news is we’re finally ahead of this virus. For so long we were playing catch-up. We have shown that we can control the beast,” Cuomo told a news conference today at Marist College in Poughkeepsie.
Cuomo said that having passed the apex of the outbreak and seeing smaller numbers in new cases, new hospitalizations, new intubations and new deaths does not mean that he’s ready to move toward a quick wholesale reopening of the state.
When asked by a reporter whether the improvement in statistics means people can expect a surprise announcement on May 15 when the current NY PAUSE restrictions expire, Cuomo replied, “I think the nicest surprise could be that we are acting reasonably and responsibly based on the facts and based on the data. I get the emotion. Everybody would like to see everything reopened tomorrow, me first and foremost,” Cuomo said. “We are now in control and we now have the virus on the run because we have been smart and because we have been disciplined.”
“Upstate New York numbers are dramatically different from downstate,” Cuomo said. “We’ll be talking about construction, manufacturing, reopening in upstate. In downstate, I don’t believe those numbers are going to change dramatically enough to make a difference in the next few days.”
Cuomo said that his decisions will be based on the numbers and not on the politics. “I don’t want hundreds of more people go into the hospital because of a ‘whoops,’” he said.
Cuomo pointed out that a lot still needs to be learned about the virus, including whether some people have been correct in their belief that children were largely immune from its effects.
“While rare, we’re seeing some cases where children affected with the COVID virus can become ill with symptoms similar to the Kawasaki disease or toxic shock-like syndrome that literally causes inflammation in their blood vessels,” Gov. Cuomo said. “This past Thursday a 5-year-old boy passed away from COVID-related complications and the state Department of Health is investigating several other cases that present similar circumstances.” There are 73 suspect cases.
“We thought children could be vehicles of transmission, a child could get infected and come home and infect a family. But, we didn’t think children would suffer from it,” Cuomo said. “Caution to all people who again may have believed their children couldn’t be affected by COVID. This information suggests we may want to revisit that.”
Cuomo announced that he has extended the window for abuse victims to file claims under the Child Victims Act. The window is extended through Jan. 14, 2021, due to courts being affected by the pandemic. The Child Victims Act increases the amount of time for bringing an action against the perpetrator of a sex crime against a child. It allows victims of child sexual abuse to start a civil lawsuit any time before they reach age 55. It also opened up extra time for victims whose claims were barred because a time limit had expired extra time to file a case.
Statewide there have been a total of 21,045 COVID-19 deaths according to statistics obtained Friday afternoon from the state Department of Health, with 216 new fatalities yesterday. There have been a total of 1,316 deaths in Westchester. Rockland saw 437 of its residents fall victim to the virus. There have been 56 deaths in Putnam. There were 307 deaths in Orange County and 100 deaths in Dutchess.
New York has had 330,407 people test positive for the virus. There were 30,905 cases identified in Westchester, 12,349 in Rockland, 1,074 in Putnam, 9,402 in Orange and 3,277 in Duchess.