New York, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- An additional 540 residents of New York state died overnight from the Covid-19 coronavirus, a reduction of 25 percent from the previous day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday, yet the Empire State remains the hot spot of the pandemic in the United States, which leads the world in both cases and deaths.
“If you look at the past three days, you could argue we are past the plateau and starting to descend,” the governor said during his daily Covid-19 briefing. “So, we’re not at the plateau anymore, but we’re still not in a good position.”
The state accounts for more than a third of the roughly 37,000 US deaths from coronavirus, while the disease has more than 8,400 lives just in New York City.
And while Friday saw the smallest number of new fatalities in two weeks, some 2,000 people with coronavirus symptoms were admitted to hospitals in the Big Apple, a figure comparable to the situation late last month, when the pandemic was growing at an alarming rate.
Cuomo said that authorities are particularly concerned about the threat posed by Covid-19 to residents of nursing homes.
“Nursing homes are the single biggest fear in all of this. Vulnerable people in one place – it is the feeding frenzy for this virus, despite everything we can do and the best efforts of people working in those nursing homes,” he said.
The virus is very dangerous to the elderly and 2,500 of the mortal victims in New York state have been people over 65.
In planning for the rollback of restrictions on people’s movements and activity, the governor emphasized that a complete re-opening of the economy will only be possible with vastly expanded testing accompanied by tracing, which is very labor-intensive.
“The trick with testing is not that we don’t know how to do it,” Cuomo said. “It’s bringing this up to scale.”
Following Friday’s acrimonious exchange with President Donald Trump about the level of federal assistance to states dealing with Covid-19, the governor limited himself to noting that certain aspects of the problem can only be addressed by Washington.
“I’m not asking the federal government to do more than they need to. But we do need their coordination. We need their partnership,” Cuomo said, citing the example of difficulties in obtaining the chemical re-agents needed for testing.
“No one has the chemicals because everybody has been overrun with demand. And the chemicals come out of where? China,” he said.
The governor said that his complaints about Trump’s handling of the crisis were not politically motivated and repeated his denial of harboring presidential ambitions.
“I’m not running for anything, I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be governor of New York state until the people kick me out,” Cuomo told reporters in Albany.
Pundits have suggested that the Democratic Party might embrace Cuomo as an alternative to former Vice President Joe Biden, currently the presumptive nominee to challenge Trump in the Nov. 3 election.
“But in the midst of this there is no time for politics. How does the situation get worse? If you politicize it,” the governor said Saturday.
Calling for unity, Cuomo cited a famous quote from Abraham Lincoln: “a house divided itself cannot stand.” EFE