New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned there is an ‘alarming’ surge of hospitalizations across all regions of the state, making it a challenge to shift resources to ravaged areas, as another 150 New Yorkers were hospitalized with the virus Tuesday.
Speaking at his press briefing Wednesday, Cuomo said the state is entering a ‘dangerous’ period in its fight against the virus, as hospitalizations hit 3,925 Tuesday and another 69 people died.
Of the 3,925 people hospitalized with the virus Tuesday, 742 were in ICU – an additional 24 from the previous day – and 373 were intubated – up by 25 in a single day.
In some parts of the state, hospitalizations have increased by more than 200 percent in the last three weeks alone, with fears mounting of a dark winter ahead.
The positivity rate reached 4.63 percent statewide, while in the hotspot areas it stood even higher at 5.88 percent.
The governor blamed what he called ‘living room spread’ for the surge, insisting it is not mass gatherings but intimate events in households with friends and family that is behind a staggering 70 percent of all cases.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned there is an ‘alarming’ surge of hospitalizations across all regions of the state making it a challenge to shift resources to ravaged areas, as another 150 New Yorkers were hospitalized with the virus Tuesday
Cuomo warned that every region of the state has seen an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the last three weeks, a marked difference from the first wave that devastated New York but was localized to only a handful of regions.
This poses a major concern as the state is unable to send resources from less-affected areas to help the most hard-hit regions.
‘We can see the same basic curve on every region of the state,’ he said.
‘The first time around we had a New York City, downstate, Long Island, Westchester problem. That was actually beneficial in a way because we could bring resources from upstate to help downstate.
‘We don’t have that option here because you see that the increase is statewide.’
Data from the last three weeks shows Western New York, Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes and Long Island are the biggest regions of concern with hospitalizations surging by more than 200 percent each in the last three weeks.
Hospitalizations increased 262.39 percent in Western New York, 231.43 percent in Mohawk Valley, 213.14 percent in Finger Lakes and 212.79 percent in Long Island.
‘Those are alarming percentages,’ Cuomo warned.
By contrast, New York City – once the virus epicenter of the world – has recorded a 120.9 percent increase in hospitalizations over the last three weeks.
Cuomo warned that every region of the state has seen an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the last three weeks, a marked difference from the first wave that devastated New York but was localized to only a handful of regions
Meanwhile, the Southern Tier and the North Country had the lowest increases with 12.1 percent and 17.39 percent respectively.
Cuomo said New York City had the highest number of new hospitalizations with 642 more patients admitted in the last three weeks followed by Long Island with 366.
However, he said it is important to look at the population of the areas, pointing out that ‘hospital capacity is roughly relative to the population… so New York City has more hospital beds’.
‘If you adjust for population you see Long Island is very high, Western New York is very high, Mid-Hudson is very high,’ he said.
The state will now focus on the percentage increase in hospitalizations as the key metric in the fight against the virus, Cuomo said.
Cuomo pinpointed much of the blame for the spike on ‘living room spread’ saying 70 percent of cases can be traced to small gatherings in households.
‘It’s not mass gatherings, it’s not what it was,’ he said. ‘It’s literally living room spread which when you think about it is understandable.’
The governor explained that people have shifted their social habits due to restrictions in public places and this has sent more people into the homes of friends and family where the virus spreads.
‘People change their socialization patterns. We’re social beings we like to be with each other,’ he said.
‘Where did you socialize? We went to the restaurant and we sat around and we talked and we had fun. Okay that doesn’t work anymore.
‘We went to the bar and we sat down and we talked to each other and we had fun. Okay well that doesn’t work anymore. Okay then come to my home and we’ll socialize in my house.’
He added: ‘When you eliminate those other options, socialization isn’t going to stop especially in the holiday season.
‘That concept of living room spread is hard to communicate because the whole orientation is I’m in my house with my family and with my friends. This is my safe zone I’m siting in my living room, of course I’m safe this is my best friend Jesse he would never get me sick.’
Cuomo said this idea of small gatherings driving the virus spread is the ‘one thing’ both Republicans and Democrats can agree on as he urged New Yorkers to work together to tackle the outbreak.
‘The Trump administration’s CDC says you should not be in a gathering besides your immediate household with whom you are normally with,’ he said.
‘Trump’s CDC and Biden’s COVID advisory team say the same thing. The one thing Trump and Biden agree on is this concept of spread in small gatherings.’
Cuomo insisted that while ‘the bad news is we have another mountain to climb’, the ‘good news is the goal-line – the vaccine – is in sight’.
The governor said New York will receive the first doses of the vaccine for 170,000 New Yorkers on December 15 if all safety approvals go through.