Governor Andrew Cuomo slammed ‘arrogant’ New York City residents for ignoring social distancing guidelines at a press conference on Sunday (pictured)
Governor Andrew Cuomo slammed ‘arrogant’ New Yorkers for ignoring social distancing guidelines on Sunday as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state surpassed 15,000.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Cuomo described his horror at visiting New York City on Saturday and seeing parks crowded with people who have been instructed to limit contact as much as possible.
‘There is a density level in New York City that is wholly inappropriate,’ the governor said.
‘You would think there was nothing going on in parts of New York City. You would think it was just a bright sunny Saturday.
‘I don’t know what I’m saying that people don’t get. I don’t know what they’re not understanding.
‘This is not life as usual. None of this is life as usual.’
Cuomo warned that the COVID-19 outbreak is on pace to last nine months and said 80 percent of the state’s 19 million residents could become infected.
He revealed that he’s asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to set up four hospitals within Manhattan’s Javits Center as the state struggles to prepare for the expected influx in COVID-19 patients.
‘This is literally a matter of life and death,’ he said. ‘[If] we get these facilities up, we get the supplies, we will save lives. If we don’t, we will lose lives. That is the simple fact of this matter.
‘From my point of view, construction can start tomorrow.’
Cuomo said he visited New York City on Saturday and was horrified to see parks crowded with people who have been instructed to limit contact as much as possible. People are seen walking through Central Park on Saturday afternoon
‘There is a density level in New York City that is wholly inappropriate,’ the governor said
Cuomo has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to set up four hospitals within Manhattan’s Javits Center (pictured)
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York state jumped to 15,168 on Sunday – accounting for nearly half of the more than 25,000 cases across the US.
The majority of those cases – 9,045 – are in New York City, where high population density has facilitated the virus’s rapid spread.
Cuomo issued a state-wide order requiring all non-essential workers to stay home on Friday. According to his visit on Saturday, Cuomo said, the message wasn’t received in New York City.
Addressing residents ignoring the order by congregating outside, Cuomo said Sunday: ‘This is just a mistake. It’s a mistake. It’s insensitive, it’s arrogant, it’s self-destructive, it’s disrespectful to other people, and it has to stop. It has to stop now.
‘This is not a joke, and I am not kidding.’
Cuomo said he’s spoken to Mayor Bill de Blasio and asked the city to come up with a plan to decrease public gatherings outside within the next 24 hours.
He said he is not at all against citizens going out to get fresh air, but insisted that they do so away from other people.
He acknowledged that the population density in New York City is higher than anywhere else in the US but said there are ways officials can conduct crowd control, such as by blocking streets to traffic to give residents more space to move.
Addressing residents ignoring official orders by congregating outside, Cuomo said Sunday: ‘This is just a mistake. It’s a mistake. It’s insensitive, it’s arrogant, it’s self-destructive, it’s disrespectful to other people, and it has to stop. It has to stop now’
A woman wearing a mask is seen at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park on Saturday
Cuomo said he’s spoken to Mayor Bill de Blasio and asked the city to come up with a plan to decrease public gatherings outside within the next 24 hours. People are seen exercising in Brooklyn’s McCarren Park on Saturday
New York state accounts for nearly half of the nation’s coronavirus cases. As of Sunday, more than 25,430 cases have been confirmed in the US and 308 people have died
Cuomo also offered new details on the state’s efforts to prepare the healthcare system for an influx of COVID-19 patients.
He said he has asked all hospitals to increase capacity by 100 percent as there are currently 53,000 beds available and data suggests some 110,000 beds will be needed by the time the outbreak reaches its peak.
The state will be waiving regulations to help hospitals meet that goal, which he admitted was ‘ambitious’, ‘difficult’ and may be impossible in some places.
A Department of Health Emergency order effective Sunday will require all hospitals to increase capacity at least by 50 percent, Cuomo said, with each strongly encouraged to meet the 100 percent goal.
The mandate also includes the cancellation of all elective, non-critical surgeries, which Cuomo said could free up ’25 to 35 percent more beds’.
‘Hospitals are not happy about it because elective surgeries are a major source of revenue, but this is not about money, this is about public health,’ Cuomo said.
He said it is likely that efforts within hospitals alone will not meet the demand for beds, so the state is taking additional steps to convert existing residential facilities such as hotels and nursing homes so they can treat COVID-19 patients.
Cuomo said the state is moving forward with plans to erect four hospitals within the Javits Center in Manhattan, which could hold up to 1,000 patients.
The 1.8 million-square-foot center – which typically hosts auto and trade shows and other major events in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood – will be converted to house four 250-bed hospital units under the management of FEMA, Cuomo said.
The state was also looking at several other venues as possible hospital sites, including the campuses at SUNY Stony Brook and SUNY Westbury, and the Westchester Convention Center.
Cuomo said state officials are looking at several other venues as possible hospital sites, including the Westchester Convention Center (pictured)