New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wears a protective mask when he comes to speak in a report following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manhattan, New York City, USA, 2020 on July 13.
Mike Segar | Reuters
New York is reopening a temporary field hospital on Staten Island to help manage the influx of coronavirus patients as the New York City district faces an escalating epidemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
“Staten Island is a problem,” Cuomo said at a news conference. There were 91 people in hospital with Covid-19 on Staten Island until Sunday, a threefold increase from three weeks ago, Cuomo said.
The 100-bed field hospital was one of many in New York that opened in the spring when it cut back on a wave of coronavirus infections that overwhelmed its hospital system and killed roughly 800 people a day. However, these emergency facilities remained largely unused, Cuomo said.
“It was a planned emergency facility in the spring. We didn’t use it, we need it now,” he said.
Across the state, he said, Covid-19 hospital care has jumped 122% in the past three weeks, he said from 1277 to 2724 on Sunday. At this rate, the state plans to have thousands of people hospitalized in the coming weeks.
This is before taking into account the upcoming holidays, which could accelerate the problem, the Democratic governor warned.
“There are dangerous times we’re in,” Cuomo said. “Before we get to Thanksgiving, we’re in the wrong time.”
New York reports roughly 5,144 new Covid-19 cases per day, based on a daily average, according to a CNBC analysis compiled by Johns Hopkins University. This is an increase of more than 15% from a week ago. At the height of the pandemic, the state saw about 10,000 new cases a day.
The Cuomo has already ordered the closure of restaurants and bars licensed by the State Alcohol Authority at 10 p.m., although these may take off at the sidewalk in due course. He also squeezed people gathering inside, forbidding the gathering of more than 10 people in a private home.
However, the state faces “bad synergy” where many residents are beginning to feel “Covid fatigue,” and the likelihood of an upcoming vaccination has caused some people to let go of their guards. Now the United States is entering the winter months when people gather for the holidays.
“It’s a toxic cocktail of dynamics and facts,” he said.