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Cuomo: COVID-19 will peak in New York State "in about 45 days"

Flickr/Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo, in his latest update on COVID-19 coronavirus in New York State, says health experts are projecting the caseload will reach its peak in about 45 days. Concerns are being raised for the availability of hospital beds that will be needed to meet the anticipated demand.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 432 new positive cases of COVID-19 identified statewide, bringing the total to 1,374 cases, including 264 requiring hospitalization.

The projected peak, according to the governor, comes from trends health experts are studying elsewhere in the world.

Cuomo stated there are an estimated 53,000 hospital beds statewide, and 3,000 intensive care units. The governor then warned that, according to the projections of health experts studying trends, there will be a need for far more beds when the state reaches its peak.

"They are expecting as many as 55,000 to 110,000 hospital beds will be needed at that point," said the governor, who added that as many as 18,000 to 32,700 ICU beds would be needed, based on projections. He then told reporters in Albany that state officials are working with local governments, the National Guard and labor unions to explore options for constructing temporary medical centers to meet the anticipated demand. On Monday, Cuomo issued an executive order to increase hospital capacity in anticipation of more cases.

He also addressed the measures already taken to curb the spread of COVID-19, specifically the closing of theaters, gyms, bars and restaurants. Cuomo suggests while no further immediate steps are under consideration, he will not rule out additional "dramatic" closings.

"I'm talking to the other governors in the other states showing that expected flow into the hospitals. It's clear we can't manage that flow," he said. "How can you reduce the flow? You reduce the spread. How do you reduce the spread? You close down more interaction among people."

He also sent a message to members of the public who have expressed frustration over those closings.

"I said to the local officials and I want to say to the people of the State of New York, if you are upset by what we have done, be upset at me," Cuomo said. "The county executive did not do this. The village mayor did not do this. The city mayor did not make these decisions. I made these decisions. These were all state ordered rules. It's not your local elected official.

"I made them because I believe they are in the best interest of the state. I know they cause disruption. I know people are upset. I know businesses will be hurt by this. I don't feel good about that. I feel very bad about that because I know we're going to have to then deal with that issue, as soon as this immediate public health issue is over. But my judgment is to do whatever is necessary to contain this virus. And then we will manage the consequences afterwards. The old expression is the buck stops on my desk. The buck stops on my desk. Your local mayor did not close your restaurants, your bars your gyms or your schools. I did. I did. I assume full responsibility."

Cuomo has not, however, pondered whether to postpone the New York State Primary, scheduled for April 28.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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