The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s former chief believes that if New York would have acted sooner, the estimated death toll from the coronavirus pandemic could have been drastically reduced.
In New York, which is currently the epicenter for the virus in the US, the total death toll sits at 6,268 – more than double the number of people who died in 9/11.
The total number of infections is 149,316 – an increase of 10,480 from the number New York Gov Andrew Cuomo gave Tuesday morning. It marks a larger increase than in previous days, when there were fewer than 9,000 new cases.
On Wednesday, the CDC’s former head, Dr Thomas R Frieden, told The New York Times that had the state put out widespread social-distancing measures at least a week earlier, the estimated death toll may have been reduced by 50 to 80 per cent.
On Wednesday, the CDC’s former head, Dr Thomas R Frieden (pictured), said that had New York put out widespread social-distancing measures at least a week earlier, the estimated death toll may have been reduced by 50 to 80 per cent
While the number of cases in New York per day have been declining more than 779 people died between Tuesday and Wednesday
There are more than 422,000 cases in the US with the majority coming out of New York state
‘Flu was coming down, and then you saw this new ominous spike. And it was Covid. And it was spreading widely in New York City before anyone knew it,’ Frieden said.
‘You have to move really fast. Hours and days. Not weeks. Once it gets a head of steam, there is no way to stop it,’ he added.
But California was actually the first state to mandate such measures on March 19 that included locking down the state and closing schools and restaurants and bars, limiting them to only takeout and delivery options.
When California Gov Gavin Newsom gave the order, the state had 675 confirmed cases.
On that same day, March 19, New York state had more than 4,100.
New York City shutdown schools on March 16 despite Mayor Bill de Blasio being reluctant to do so.
He then announced the shutdown of restaurants and bars that went into effect on March 16 at 8pm.
But the state didn’t issue a stay-at-home order until March 22.
The Times also revealed that as early as March 12, New York City’s health commissioner Dr Oxiris Barbot warned officials that up to 70 per cent of the city’s population could eventually get infected.
De Blasio and Cuomo have pushed back against such claims, telling the Times that that facts about the virus and its spread are ever-evolving.
It was revealed that as early as March 12, New York City’s health commissioner Dr Oxiris Barbot warned officials that up to 70 per cent of the city’s population could eventually get infected. But Mayor de Blasio (right) and Gov Cuomo (left) have pushed back against such claims
The Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center employees transport deceased patients to refrigerated trucks on Wednesday in Brooklyn
Paramedics transport a patient to the Emergency room at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, in Brooklyn on Wednesday
But New York City eventually became the epicenter following the state’s shelter-in-place order.
The city was forced to bring in the US Navy’s hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, which initially took non-coronavirus patients.
This week, the ship began accepting patients suffering from the virus.
Across other parts of the Big Apple, the Javits Center and Central Park have been turned into field hospitals for the sick.
On Wednesday, Cuomo ordered flags around the state to fly at half-mast in honor of those who have died from COVID-19 after recording the state’s deadliest 24 hours which claimed 779 lives.
Cuomo, speaking at his daily briefing in Albany, said there was a ‘mix’ of emotions that came with the fact New York has flattened the curve of new infections and new hospitalizations while the death toll keeps ticking up.
It will continue to rise, he said, as more people who entered the hospital 10 days ago or two weeks ago and who needed ventilators, fail to recover.
Cuomo said, however, that the rate of hospitalizations is down and continues to decrease which shows social distancing is working.
He however said the state was ‘by no means out of the woods’, and that now was the time to be ‘more vigilant’.
‘What we have done and what we are doing is actually working and it’s making a difference. We took dramatic actions in this state. It is working,’ he said.