From the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo:
March 24, 2020.
I want to be clear: We are not willing to sacrifice 1-2% of New Yorkers to this virus. That’s not who we are. My mother is not expendable. Your mother is not expendable. We will not put a dollar figure on human life. We can have a public health strategy that is consistent with an economic one. No one should be talking about social Darwinism for the sake of the stock market. The first order of business is to save lives.
Photo of the Day: The National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center seen on March 20, empty of visitors. (Photo by Kevin Coughlin)
Here’s what else you need to know tonight:
1. We have some new facts about the pandemic that are not encouraging — and I want to make sure you understand them so we react accordingly. Unfortunately, the increase in the number of cases in New York is continuing — in fact, the rate of increase has gone up. We are now forecasting that the “apex” of the virus in our state — the point when we have the most cases — could be as soon as 14 to 21 days from now. New York State is doing everything we can on every level to slow the spread and flatten the curve, but we need your help. Please stay at home and follow our protocols.
2. I’m asking the federal government to send more ventilators to New York. The state has procured about 7,000 ventilators but we still need at least 30,000 more. The federal government must distribute ventilators from their stockpile to our state, where there is the greatest need. We need them now — it will be the difference between life and death. After New York gets past the apex of this pandemic, I will transport the ventilators myself wherever they are next needed.
3. New York State is distributing health care supplies to help frontline workers combatting COVID-19 in New York City, Long Island and Westchester. The state is deploying 339,760 N-95 masks, 861,700 surgical masks, 353,300 gloves, 145,122 gowns and 197,085 face shields to the hospitals in the greatest need in these regions. This disbursement is on top of the one million N-95 masks that the State purchased and sent to New York City and the approximately 500,000 N-95 masks that the State purchased and sent to Long Island last week.
4. We are continuing to find new ways to build a health care staff reserve to meet surge capacity. The State Department of Financial Services is requesting that health insurance companies disclose the number of nurses and doctors who work for them (for example, to process claims). This is so the state can reach out to those employees and ask them to temporarily serve in the field during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
5. It is clear that the Coronavirus pandemic will have a real impact on “gig-economy” workers. They deserve protections now, which is why I am asking the federal government to provide unemployment assistance to New York’s “gig-economy” workers, farmers, independent contractors and others. I also signed an Executive Order waiving the 7-day waiting period for workers to claim unemployment insurance if you have been put out of work due to COVID-19. Learn how to file an unemployment insurance claim here.
Tonight’s “Deep Breath Moment”: Feeling cooped up? At 12pm tomorrow, the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is giving a virtual “Orchid Show” while the Garden remains temporarily closed. Join the Facebook Watch Party here.
If you would like to receive to New York State’s Coronavirus Updates by e-mail click here.
Ever Upward, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo