New York governor Cuomo warns of potential January financial shutdown as Covid instances rise to spring data

Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State, speaks at a press conference in New York City on September 8, 2020.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

New York’s non-essential stores could be forced to close again in January if the state doesn’t tackle escalating coronavirus cases that have soared in recent weeks to record highs not seen since the spring, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.

“Of course, a shutdown in January is possible,” said Cuomo at a press conference in Albany. “But there is a big but,” he said, spelling the word letter by letter “BUT”.

Whether the state will again impose an economic lockdown depends on what New Yorkers do in the remaining vacation and whether new Covid-19 infections decrease or increase, he said.

According to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, New York has been struggling with an average of 10,294 new infections per day for the past week, an increase of more than 7% from the previous week. That’s more new cases every day than the state did in the spring, when the hospital systems in New York City and elsewhere were overwhelmed with patients.

Cuomo didn’t say what a second shutdown would look like. He imposed another ban on indoor eating in New York City on Monday but said he wanted to keep public schools open and has not yet decided whether to close unnecessary stores.

“It’s up to us. What will happen in three weeks? What will happen in four weeks? You tell me what you are going to do in the next three or four weeks and I will tell you what will happen,” he said.

At the current rate of spread of the virus, New Yorkers should be prepared for a second shutdown, similar to the one Cuomo issued this spring when unnecessary shops and schools closed and people were told to stay home to avoid the spread of Covid -19 stop, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned.

He said it was “increasingly necessary to just break the back of the second wave, to keep this second wave from growing, to prevent it from taking lives, not to threaten our hospitals,” de Blasio said during a press conference Monday .

Cuomo urged New Yorkers to take “personal responsibility” in order to slow the spread of the virus, especially during the holiday season. The state is now concerned about what the governor calls “living room sprawl”. This is because nationwide contact tracing data has shown that nearly 74% of new Covid-19 cases are from households and social gatherings.

“Nobody knows what New Yorkers will do until Christmas or how they will behave during Christmas week,” said Cuomo. “The numbers are not predestined. The numbers reflect what we are doing.”

The governor also urged that state hospitals move into “crisis management mode,” which means that health systems must work with neighboring hospital systems to “share” the burden of patients and provide resources to hospitals in areas with high Covid-19 Transfer installments.

According to a CNBC analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project run by journalists at The Atlantic, the New York average hospitalized more than 5,400 people, an increase of more than 25% from the previous week.

“Balance the load so hospitals aren’t overwhelmed by what we’ve seen in the past,” said Cuomo.

The state has started delivering its initial allocation of Covid-19 vaccines to frontline health workers. The state has received 87,750 doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine so far and plans to receive an additional 80,000 doses in the next few days, Cuomo said.

“That goes for residents of nursing homes,” said Cuomo. New York could receive an additional 346,000 doses of vaccine from Moderna if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration clears the emergency for emergencies this week.

“Slow down the spread, manage the hospitals, give the vaccine,” Cuomo said.

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