New York, Apr 27 (efe-epa).- The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is causing demand to skyrocket at New York food banks, state Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday at his daily press conference in Albany in announcing new emergency funding to ensure that nobody in the state goes hungry.
According to Cuomo, demand at the centers distributing food to people in need has increased by 100 percent in New York City and up to 200 percent in Westchester County, just north of the Big Apple.
It was predictable, to some degree, said Cuomo, adding that the number of people needing food assistance is nevertheless very high and something must be done to help them. He went on to announce a consignment of $25 million to support food banks and asked for the backing of charitable organizations.
In the lower income neighborhoods of New York in recent weeks long lines have been seen at food distribution centers despite the fact that local authorities have opened numerous new installations to respond to the economic difficulties many families are going through.
More than a million New Yorkers have temporarily lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus and the economic shutdown decreed to help limit the spread of the virus.
According to Cuomo, in this situation supply and demand problems in the food sector are being felt, which are resulting in a situation where although people in the southern part of the state towards New York City are needing food, in the north some dairy producers are being forced to discard milk because they cannot ship it.
Cuomo said that this was a waste, emphasizing the need to coordinate agricultural production in rural parts of the state and use that production to meet needs in other areas.
With this in mind, Cuomo announced that the state will launch an initiative to buy excess milk from the farms and work with companies producing yogurt, cheese and other dairy products so that they distribute these goods to food banks.
The New York governor at his daily press briefing on Monday also said that any easing in quarantine restrictions in the state would have to be coordinated and monitored, and would have to fit into an overarching regional – or multi-state – plan with neighboring states.
He said that he will, in all likelihood, extend the prevailing stay-home order in many parts of the state on May 15, although he is also hoping to reopen some businesses, such as manufacturing and construction, in areas of New York state with fewer cases of the virus. However, to reopen, those zones would have to meet the criteria set forth in federal health guidelines.
“We have to coordinate as a region,” he said. “So everybody in that region has to have the same policy … when it comes to testing, when it comes to tracing – and that region’s plan has to fit into our overall multi-state plan.”
Meanwhile, Cuomo also said that new hospitalizations due to Covoid-19 remained level on Monday in New York state, which has been the epicenter of the pandemic in the US, and fatalities dropped for the second straight day to 337, the lowest daily death toll since March 30.
The governor also said that he had spoken with President Donald Trump by phone on Monday about keeping temporary health-care facilities in New York running to guard against a renewed flare-up in coronavirus cases later in the year.
Health experts and political leaders, including some working at the White House, have warned that the virus could linger through the fall and winter, noting that there could be another spike in cases – and deaths – in the fall when flu season gets under way.
“We’re now talking about the possibility of a second wave of the Covid virus or Covid combining with regular flu season in September, which could be problematic again for the hospital capacity,” Cuomo said at his press conference.
“The facilities that were built, I spoke to the president about leaving them in place until we get through the flu season. God forbid we need extra capacity again,” Cuomo said.