Some of the toplines from New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefing, which ended moments ago:
- Cuomo said the price of a ventilator has increased from $25,000 when the state began purchasing to about $45,000 today due to the spike in demand
- New York pharmacies have been asked to deliver medications free of charge
- President Trump has approved four additional temporary hospital sites with a total capacity of 4,000 additional beds
- Cuomo says 600 beds will be reserved for coronavirus patients only at three of the purpose-built sites
- The number of New York coronavirus cases increased to 52,318 and deaths to 728 – but hospitalizations dropped from 847 on Friday from 1,154 on Thursday
- Cuomo says he did not discuss a potential “enforceable quarantine” for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in reference to Trump’s comments on the North Lawn only moments earlier
The New York police department saw its third coronavirus death on Saturday, with the passing of a detective, the New York Post reported. The detective, who worked at a precinct station house in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood, was 48. An NYPD administrative aide, and a department janitor, died Thursday due to Covid-19.
On Friday, the police department said Friday that 442 uniformed, and 70 civilian, members tested positive for coronavirus. There were 4,111 uniformed employees who called out sick, comprising 11.4% of NYPD’s uniformed workforce.
Cuomo says he believes the broad distribution of a home test for people, to ensure the state is on the downside of the apex, is the most direct route toward re-opening the economy. “Get those home tests that other countries are starting to use and let people test themselves,” he says. “You could get to a point where you say … do the test, you’re negative, go to work, period.”
The governor adds that he is against raising taxes to generate more revenue in the state budget: “I don’t know how you raise taxes on people who are out of work and their business has closed because the government needs more funding. I don’t know how you do that now.”
Cuomo says he did not discuss a potential “enforceable quarantine” for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut when he spoke with President Trump earlier today. “I haven’t had those conversations,” he says. “I don’t even know what that means.”
His response to a follow-up question about Trump’s proposed quarantine on the North Lawn: “I don’t even know what that means. I don’t know how that could be legally enforceable. And from a medical point of view I don’t know what you would be accomplishing. But I can tell you I don’t even like the sound of it. Not even understanding what it is, I don’t even like the sound of it.”
He adds: “Mandatory quarantine is a scary concept because it sounds like you’re saying to people: ‘You can’t leave this district.’”
Cuomo: “I didn’t speak to him about any quarantine”
In New York, Cuomo is now being asked about Trump’s remarks.
He spoke to the president “about the ship coming up and the four sites”, he says, adding: “I didn’t speak to him about any quarantine.”
More from the White House pool about Trump’s remarks during his trip to Norfolk, Virginia about a potential quarantine for New York and neighbouring states:
President Trump touched down at Joint Base Andrews at 12.33pm. He answered questions on the possible quarantine.
“We’re looking at it,” he said on quarantine of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
“No we wouldn’t do that,” when asked about closing the New York City subway.
He said he would talk to Governor Andrew Cuomo later today.
Pool reporter Emily Goodin of the Daily Mail adds: “Please note there is a limited pool of seven traveling with [Trump] so we can employ safe social distancing practices with an empty seat in between each of us on the plane. Additionally, the pool underwent a temperature check … before boarding.”
Cuomo says they can’t have a scenario where states are competing against each other for equipment like ventilators. He suggests the federal government could act as a single purchasing agent and distribute the equipment to the states – or the states could set up a consortium on their own.
“You can’t have a situation where 50 states are competing for the same essential equipment,” he says. “This is not the way to do business. We need a nationwide buying consortium. … This is something that needs to be worked out, not just for this but for the future.”
Trump floats quarantine for New York
Here’s the White House pool report on what Trump said just now:
We’d like to see NY quarantined because it’s a hotspot – New York, New Jersey, maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut quarantined. I’m thinking about that right now. We might not have to do it but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine – short-term two weeks for New York, probably New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.”
The report adds that Trump’s helicopter departed for his trip to Norfolk, Virginia with new chief of staff Mark Meadows also on board.
Cuomo says there are 7,328 people who have been hospitalized with 1,755 people in ICUs, but notes that daily hospitalizations and ICU admissions went down yesterday. The bad news: total deaths in New York are up to 728 from 519 yesterday.
“I wouldn’t put too much stock in any one number. The overall trend is still up,” Cuomo says. “The numbers drive the policy.”
He also says New York’s department of health will begin a new test to see if individuals who were infected with coronavirus developed antibodies to the disease, saying: “It could be a big breakthrough”
While Andrew Cuomo speaks in New York, Donald Trump has been speaking about New York, in Washington:
According to Idrees Ali of Reuters, the president also said “quarantine would also be considered on New Jersey and Connecticut, would rather not do it but may need it”.
Cuomo hasn’t mentioned possible quarantine of New York yet.
The president is due in Norfolk, Virginia later, for the departure of the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship destined for New York harbour.
Cuomo told his press conference he had spoken to the president today, and Trump had approved four more emergency hospital facilities like the one built at the Javits Center in Manhattan by the Army Corps of Engineers and the national guard, which Cuomo said will open on Monday. The new facilities will be built in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
Cuomo says the federal government has authorized four more field hospitals with a total capacity of 4,000 additional beds. They will be located in the four outer boroughs of Brooklyn (the Cruise Ship Terminal), Queens (the Aqueduct Racetrack), Staten Island (CUNY Staten Island) and the Bronx (the NY Expo Center). He adds there will be a shift to coronavirus-only hospitals to further limit the risk of spread. “This is smart and we’re going to isolate 600 beds for just this treatment,” he says.
Also, the New York state presidential primary scheduled for April 28 has been re-scheduled for 23 June.
Cuomo says that local hospitals statewide must stop operating as individual institutions and start cooperating to help deal with the anticipated rush. “We need the local health systems to think more holistically,” he says. “You can have a single hospital get overwhelmed within that system. … The local health systems have to change their orientation where it’s not hospital by hospital, which is the normal culture.”
If downstate hospitals become overwhelmed, those patients may be moved upstate. He adds: “Patients can and should be moved among those local hospitals as the need requires. staff can and should be moved among those local hospitals as the circumstances require.”