New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wears a protective face mask as he arrives to speak during a daily briefing following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., July 13, 2020.
Mike Segar | Reuters
New York will reopen a temporary field hospital on Staten Island to help treat an influx of coronavirus patients as the New York City borough faces a worsening outbreak, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.
“Staten Island is a problem,” Cuomo said during a press briefing. There were 91 people hospitalized with Covid-19 on Staten Island as of Sunday, a near threefold increase from three weeks ago, Cuomo said.
The 100-bed field hospital was one of many New York opened in the spring as it fought back a wave of coronavirus infections that overwhelmed its hospital system and killed roughly 800 people every day. However, those emergency facilities largely went unused, Cuomo said.
“This was a planned emergency facility in the spring. We didn’t use it; now we need it,” he said.
Across the state, Covid-19 hospitalizations have jumped 122% over the last three weeks, he said, from 1,227 to 2,724 on Sunday. At that rate, the state projects thousands more people will be hospitalized in the upcoming weeks.
That’s before taking into account the upcoming holidays, which could accelerate the problem, the Democratic governor warned.
“These are dangerous times that we’re in,” Cuomo said. “Before you get to Thanksgiving, we’re already in a bad period.”
New York is reporting roughly 5,144 new Covid-19 cases every day, based on a weekly average, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That’s a more than 15% increase compared with a week ago. At the height of the pandemic, the state was seeing around 10,000 new cases a day.
Cuomo has already ordered restaurants and bars licensed by the State Liquor Authority to close at 10 p.m., though they can operate for curbside pickup past that time. He has also cracked down on people congregating inside, banning gatherings of more than 10 people in a private residence.
However, the state is facing a “bad synergy,” where many residents are beginning to feel “Covid fatigue” and the likelihood of a forthcoming vaccine has led some people to let down their guard, Cuomo said. Now, the U.S. is entering the winter months, when people will gather for the holidays.
“This is a toxic cocktail of dynamics and facts,” he said.