Cuomo: Social Distancing Measures Appear to Be Working

Cheryl Sanders
March 26, 2020

Infection rates in the US are now increasing more quickly than in any other country.

The new estimates are "troubling and astronomical numbers", the governor said.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said fellow New Yorker Jared Kushner, who is a senior advisor to father-in-law President Donald Trump, has been "extraordinarily helpful" in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's a drop in the bucket", he said.

The moves came after Dr Deborah Birx, part of the White House coronavirus taskforce, said on Tuesday that about 56% of all the cases in the USA, and 60% of new cases, are in the NY metro area.

"We are starting to see new cases across Long Island that suggests people have left the city".

"It's incredible that this has to be said: Letting thousands of people needlessly suffer and die is wrong".

He assured the state that he is doing everything he can on every level to slow the spread and flatten the curve.

"What we're studying is what is the high point of that line, what is the apex of that line?" Citing those restrictions and New York's success in becoming a leader in testing people for the coronavirus, Cuomo said, "In many ways, we have exhausted every option available to us".

Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis. So far, the results are not encouraging.

"The only way we can obtain these ventilators is from the federal government", Cuomo said.

"We were looking at a freight train coming across the country - we're now looking at a bullet train", the governor said, repeating a comment he said originally came from one of his state's health forecasters. "But the current projection is that could be in 21 days". Additional beds are coming from an array of efforts: hospitals in the state boosting existing capacity; opening new facilities with the help of FEMA and other federal agencies; converting college dormitories to makeshift hospitals; and a U.S. Navy Ship, Comfort, which is en route to the state.

Cuomo and President Trump have both expressed optimism that the drug could help treat people suffering complications caused by coronavirus. They want to go out and get some air.

They're also exploring "splitting" each ventilator to serve two patients each, a method used in Italy.

"It's hard to perform, it's experimental", Cuomo said. Another option, he said, would be for the government to use its stockpile of roughly 20,000 ventilators.

Hackett said Ford is working closely with General Electric and also with companies in Great Britain. New York, California and Washington state were given such status previously. The federal government sent the state 4,000 earlier this week but nationwide supplies have been completely depleted. "I mean, have we really come to that point?"

"They have to be following the presidential guidelines", said Birx.

New York City, densely packed home to more than 8 million people, had 157 deaths and some 15,000 cases of coronavirus, almost one-third the US total and more than half the country's new cases on Tuesday, despite imposing strict limits on travel, socializing and work.

Sherman added that the group put a report together to "answer the question about what to do in the event of a case surge that creates a situation where ventilators needed to be rationed".

Trump has tried to maintain a note of optimism even as health officials say the pandemic has yet to peak, telling a White House news conference on Tuesday that "America will again and soon be open for business". "New York is going first".

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