25,000 CASES IN NY STATE: Coronavirus could peak in 14–21 days, rate of new infections doubling every 3 days: Cuomo

1010 WINS Newsroom
March 25, 2020 - 10:19 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the rate of coronavirus infections in the state is increasing like a "bullet train" and is now doubling every three days.

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Cuomo said the infection rate is accelerating in New York and that the state could be just two weeks away from a crisis of cases.

"That is a dramatic increase in the rate of infection," Cuomo said at the Javits Center. "The curve is actually increasing."

Cuomo said that officials initially thought 110,000 beds would be needed, but that projection has been increased to 140,000 hospital beds. He said 40,000 people could be in intensive care.

"We are not slowing it. And it is accelerating on its own," the governor said. "One of the forecasters said we were looking at a freight train coming across the country. We’re now looking at a bullet train."

Cuomo said the number of cases could peak in just 14 to 21 days instead of in May, as previously forecasted.

"The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought," Cuomo said.

The governor said the state now has 25,665 cases—up from 21,689 cases Monday. That includes 4,790 new cases.

There are now 14,904 cases in New York City, including 2,599 new cases.

So far 210 people in the state and 131 in the city have died from coronavirus, according to officials.

The number of people tested has surged to 91,270, which includes 12,906 newly tested patients.

Cuomo said 38,390 have been tested in New York City, with 5,387 tested since Monday.

Cuomo warned what is happening in New York could happen to other states like California.

"New York is the canary in the coal mine," he said. "New York is first. After the curve breaks in New York, let's all rush to whoever is second and whoever is third. Let's all rush to help each other."

Cuomo said the federal government isn't doing enough to help the state, especially when it comes to life-saving medical equipment. He cited the number of ventilators sent by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"FEMA is sending is 400 ventilators," he said. "400 ventilators? I need 30,000 ventilators. You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators?"

The governor said the federal government is "missing the magnitude of the problem."

"Where we are today, you will be in 2 weeks—3 weeks—5 weeks. We are your future," Cuomos said. "I'm not asking you to help New York to help New York. I'm asking you to help New York to help yourselves."

Cuomo also responded to President Donald Trump, who said Monday that he wants to reopen the country for business in weeks, not months, and claimed, without evidence, that continued closures could result in more deaths than the pandemic itself.

"We can’t have the cure be worse than the problem," Trump told reporters. “We have to open our country because that causes problems that, in my opinion, could be far bigger problems."

Cuomo responded: "No American is going to say how much a life is worth."

Less than an hour after Cuomo's press conference, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted that a senior Trump administration official told her a stockpile team is working to get 4,000 ventilators to New York state over the next 36 to 48 hours—a fifth of the ventilators in the stockpile.

On Monday, FEMA began building four large field hospitals at the Javits Center as part of a massive, 1,000-bed medical center that will treat coronavirus patients.

Some 320 federal staff will work at the 250-bed facilities, which are each about 40,000 square feet.

"All systems are go here as you can see behind me," Cuomo said Monday. "The material has already started to arrive. We'll start erecting the equipment upstairs. Luckily, Javits has plenty of space."

Capacity at the convention center could eventually be expanded to 2,000 patients, Cuomo said.

The Javits Center medical center is in addition to four sites selected by the Army Corps of Engineers that will create temporary hospitals in downstate New York with total capacity up to 4,000. They will be built at SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury and Westchester Convention Center. 

The governor said the state has 53,000 hospital beds but is projecting it will need 110,000 beds.

On Monday, Cuomo ordered hospitals in the state to increase their capacity by 50 percent.

"If that all works that takes us from 50,000 to about 75,000 beds," Cuomo said, admitting that still wasn't enough.

The federal government has deployed 339,760 N-95 masks, 861,700 surgical masks, 353,300 gloves, 145,122 gowns and 197,085 face shields to New York state, with many state supplies already located at the Javits Center, Cuomo said.

The true number of New Yorkers with the virus is unknown. Even though the state is now testing 16,000 people a day, many more ill people are being told by their doctors not to seek either a test or treatment, but to ride it out at home if their symptoms are not severe.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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