“We are your future,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a message to the rest of the country this week. “What happens to New York is going to wind up happening to California and Washington state and Illinois. It's just a matter of time. We're just getting there first." The governor’s harrowing message was delivered as the Empire State reported more than 37,000 COVID-19 cases, with over 15,000 cases in New York City alone.
New York has been in the national spotlight for a couple of weeks now, gaining infamy as the center of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Governor Cuomo and President Trump have also exchanged several contentious blows. Cuomo, who has been livestreaming his updates every day for New Yorkers and Americans across the country, lambasted the Trump Administration. "FEMA says, 'We're sending 400 ventilators.' What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000?" Cuomo said at a news conference. Speaking with Sean Hannity on “Fox News” on Thursday night, President Trump rejected that notion. “I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” he said. “I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes and they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”
As of now, New York’s situation is bleak. COVID-19 deaths in the state spiked to 385 on Thursday, with 100 new deaths recorded in a single day. Governor Cuomo initially projected the state would need 110,000 hospital beds at the peak of the crisis. Now he believes New York will need up to 140,000 hospital beds, more than double current capacity. The intensive care situation is worse; the state has 3,000 ICU units and may need up to 40,000. Of the total confirmed cases in the state, 5,327 people, or about 14 percent, have been hospitalized and 1,290, or 3.4 percent, are in intensive care unit.
Will the Empire State see relief with the passage of the CARES Act? Governor Cuomo is not so sure, claiming that the $3.8 billion New York will receive is “a drop in the bucket as to need,” and that a previous House bill would have given his state $17 billion. Cuomo’s budget office predicted on Tuesday that state revenue losses could be as high as $15 billion. Additionally, NYS Department of Labor received over one million calls from recently unemployed individuals in a single week, while the country as a whole reported 3.3 million jobs lost. The governor had already implemented several executive orders and moratoriums to provide relief for New Yorkers, including a 90-day pause on evictions as well as a halt on both medical debt and student loan debt collection. This week, the governor announced that utility companies will postpone rate increases that were set to go into effect on April 1.
New York is one of a handful of states that has created a new special enrollment period due to COVID-19, allowing the uninsured to sign up for a plan through April 15.