Gov. Andrew Cuomo has finally changed his tune and announced Monday he’ll reopen New York’s economy soon because the cost of businesses remaining closed is ‘too high’, even as COVID hospitalizations surpass what they were during the March shutdown.
‘We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass,’ Cuomo said Monday during his televised ‘State of the State’ address.
‘The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open. We must reopen the economy, but we must do it smartly and safely,’ he added.
The Democrat said he’s planning the state’s ‘economic resurgence’ and will use COVID-19 testing to allow restaurants, art centers and theaters, which would include Broadway, to reopen,
However, it’s not clear when these reopening plans will actually start.
Cuomo’s new stance comes as New York has recorded more than 1.26million virus cases and more than 31,000 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
On January 10 New York recorded a total of 8,645 hospitalizations, a number near the level of hospitalizations the state recorded back in late March, the same month Cuomo shut down the state due to the pandemic
And the state isn’t out of the woods yet.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has changed his tune and announced Monday he’ll reopen the New York’s economy soon
On Monday a total of 8,645 COVID hospitalizations were reported in New York state.
That’s similar to the number of hospitalizations the state recorded back in the early days of the pandemic. On March 29, 2020, just two weeks after Cuomo declared a state of emergency and shut down the state, 8,503 hospitalizations were recorded.
Also on Monday 13,714 new coronavirus infections were reported and the number of new infections has increased dramatically in December and January compared to earlier in the pandemic, a sobering sign that the virus is far from gone.
The New Year has already seen 136,000 people in the state test positive since January and nearly 8,900 new COVID patients have entered hospitals, as per NBC New York.
These graphs by the COVID Tracking Project show how new COVID cases in New York first peaked in May then went down over the summer, only to surge again starting in November
Current hospitalizations in New York are more than they were back in March when Cuomo initiated the shutdown, but he now says the state needs to reopen to save the economy. These COVID Tracking graphs show how New York’s hospitalizations and deaths rates have formed a U-shape – they peaked in May, then went down in the fall, only to rise against in the winter
The vaccine rollout has been slow in New York. A view of a long line of people waiting for the Moderna vaccine at a vaccination site at South Bronx Educational Campus, in the Bronx borough of New York City on Sunday above
Also on Monday Cuomo opened up the state’s vaccine eligibity to essential workers and individuals over the age of 75. A member of the NYPD gets vaccinated above at the Queens Police Academy on Monday
‘We are hurt, we are frustrated, we are in mourning, we are anxious. We are shocked that an invisible enemy could reach such death and destruction especially in this, the most wealthy and powerful nation on earth,’ Cuomo said in his televised address.
Also on Monday Cuomo opened up the state’s vaccine eligibity to essential workers and individuals over the age of 75.
He is also launching a new public health corps that will bring 1,000 fellow to help the vaccine rollout.
So far New York has only used about half of its roughly one million vaccine doses.
Cuomo also said in his speech New York doesn’t have enough doses for roughly four million eligible New Yorkers until mid-April, according to the state’s allotment of 300,000 vaccines per week.
Reopening soon: The Democrat said he’s planning the state’s ‘economic resurgence’ and the plan is to use COVID-19 testing to allow restaurants, art centers and theaters to reopen, However, it’s not clear when these reopening plans will actually start
Broadway has been shut down since March. Speaking on reopening theaters Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s lead infectious disease expert, said over the weekend Broadway could reopen by fall of 2021 or when New York has reached herd immunity
The restaurant industry has struggled immensely amid the pandemic with restrictions on indoor and outdoor dining. Customer’s dine in an enclosed outdoor dining tent while tables and chairs on the street remain vacant on December 30 in New York City
No customers: Eateries are struggling to make ends meet at diners stay at home due to the cold and bans on indoor dining
A creative solution: People dine inside plastic igloos outside the Tap Room on the East Side on December 26 in New York City
The state has seen its unemployment rate pick up over the winter months despite the restaurant industry being severely crippled amid indoor and outdoor dining bans.
In April the state’s unemployment rate was 15.3 percent but it rose to 8.4 percent in November.
In his speech Cuomo repeated calls for federal aid for state and local governments, noting the state is facing a COVID-related budget hole of $15billion.
However, he proposed new measures to raise money including legalizing cannabis and online sports betting, which could bring in $300 million in annual revenue after several years.
Speaking on reopening theaters Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s lead infectious disease expert, said over the weekend Broadway could reopen by fall of 2021 or when New York has reached herd immunity.
Hundreds of NYC vaccine appointment slots go UNFILLED as city demands candidates answer 51 questions to get a shot and Cuomo warns even priority groups will have to wait up to 14 weeks
New York City failed to fill hundreds of appointments to receive the Covid-19 vaccine despite Governor Andrew Cuomo warning that people could expect a 14-week wait for a shot, with a hard-to-use online registration portal being blamed for the slow sign-ups.
Who can get vaccinated under Phase 1B?
More than four million New Yorkers became eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines when the state moved into Phase 1B, including:
- Individuals 75 and older
- First responders
- Public safety officers
- Teachers and other school staff
- In-person college instructors
- Childcare workers
- Grocery store workers
- Transit workers
- Individuals living and working in homeless shelters
- Corrections officers
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer highlighted glaring issues in the city’s process to sign up for a vaccine appointment in a Twitter thread late Sunday after the state dramatically loosened eligibility requirements and opened up two mass vaccination sites in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
Stringer said when he checked the sign-up website, which can only be accessed after creating an account on a separate site, there were over 200 slots available for January 12 at one of the sites.
He pinned the large number of vacancies on both the ‘bewildering’ complexity of the sign-up process – which includes a 51-question gauntlet rife with technical issues – and on city officials’ failure to mobilize people to seek appointments.
‘The @NYCHealthy site for signing up for a COVID vaccination is complex, burdensome, and buggy,’ Stringer tweeted.
‘It will present an obstacle for too many people — particularly seniors — trying to sign up. This is a major problem.’
‘We should be #1 in vaccinations in the nation from day one — and we should be using every tool at our disposal to vaccinate as many New Yorkers as possible as quickly as possible,’ he added.
It wasn’t clear by Monday evening if the city had worked out the glitches in vaccine registration site. Stringer’s office didn’t return a message from DailyMail.com. The city’s and the state’s health departments also didn’t return messages.
New York state moved into Phase 1B of its vaccination plan on Monday, allowing for residents over the age of 75, teachers, transit workers and police to begin receiving shots in addition to healthcare workers.
The new phase also broadened the types of healthcare workers that can receive the vaccine to include anyone who interacts with the public, such as licensed practical nurses, pharmacists, dentists and podiatrists.
Cuomo, who had previously been adamant that all healthcare workers should be inoculated before the state moved on to other categories, announced the changes at a press conference on Friday in the face of criticism from medical providers who have been forced to throw out vials of the vaccine that expired before they were able to distribute them.
Even with the new measures, New Yorkers’ path to receiving the coveted vaccines is still mired in hurdles like the ones Stringer pointed out on Sunday.
On Friday, Cuomo said he was working with the incoming Biden administration and hoped that New York’s supply from the federal government ‘dramatically increases’ once the Democrat takes office on January 20.
Without such an increase in vaccine supply, Cuomo said, New York would take another 47 weeks, or nearly a year, to reach herd immunity levels.
The New York Department of Health is setting up 20 mass distribution sites throughout the state over the next several weeks.
Two sites opened in New York City on Sunday, one at the Brooklyn Army Terminal and another at the Bathgate Contract Postal Station in the Bronx.
Another three will be open on Wednesday, Cuomo said, at the Jacob K Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, the Westchester County Convention Center and the State Fairgrounds in Onondaga County.