New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appeared on The Daily Show Wednesday night to discuss the coronavirus pandemic in his state. Cuomo reiterated that New York had successfully “flattened the curve” of the virus through social distancing measures and that both the death rates and hospitalization rates in the state were in decline.
“We lost about 474 people yesterday, which is a horrific number, but the only good news is that it’s less than the previous numbers of people we lost,” he told host Trevor Noah. “And the hospitalization rate is coming down — we have about 16,000 people in hospitals. So the numbers are all in decline, that’s the good news. How long does it take until that number gets to a small enough level where you can sleep at night and not worry about it? Could be two weeks, could be three weeks, could be six weeks.”
Cuomo stressed the importance of keeping New York under lockdown until the virus is contained, noting the tight cause-and-effect between people going outside and interacting with each other and patients getting admitted to hospitals. He couldn’t specify what the “manageable number” of coronavirus patients needs to be in order to begin reopening the state and restarting the economy, but he described it as a “low-level constant.”
Noah asked Cuomo what a reopening of New York could look like, citing different European countries who were slowly beginning to reopen businesses.
“It has to be phased in, it has to be slow and building,” Cuomo said, “and watch the infection rate as you start to open up the valve to reopen. As you increase the flow, keep your eye on that infection rate. We’re going to have the most aggressive testing program ever done, just to monitor that infection rate.” Decisions on what businesses to open first would be based on a matrix: how essential the business is, and how high a risk it would be to reopen.