What there is to know
- More than 24,000 lives in the three states have been lost to date, although NY announced its lowest toll (367) on Sunday since March 31.
- 13.9% of people in the first New York antibody study tested positive, which means they had the virus and have recovered; that means up to 2.7 million people could have been infected across the state
- Nationally, deaths crossed a grim threshold of 50,000 on Friday, according to estimates from NBC News; the total number of cases in the United States has exceeded 900,000
When can states reopen and how do they do it safely? This is the question that governors, mayors and newly created working groups are trying to answer.
Home stay orders in all three states are still in effect for a few weeks – and could be extended – but everyone’s question is when can businesses reopen and where can people return to life daily.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state would comply with the CDC’s recommendation to hold a major reopening until regional and regional hospital rates drop for 14 days.
Northern New York State and northern State face different challenges, Cuomo points out, with the northern state facing the majority of coronavirus positive cases. The reopening of the New York center “will require multi-state and regional coordination,” he said on Sunday.
“Downstate is obviously the most complicated situation; this is New York City, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, the surrounding suburbs. Multi-state coordination is vital because the New Jersey, Connecticut and New York region is fundamentally very mixed. People come and go, they live in one place, work in another, so coordination is important, “said Cuomo.
The first phase of a reopening strategy for New York will begin with the construction and manufacture of labor, said the governor. Before moving on to the second phase, which focuses on additional essential staff at low risk of spread, Cuomo indicates that two weeks will be necessary between each phase to monitor its effects.
“One caveat is that there is nothing you can do in a region that would increase the number of visitors to that region,” Cuomo warned. “It is possible that you are opening something in Syracuse or that you are opening something in the north of the country, where you are now seeing license plates from Connecticut, New Jersey, people from downtown coming from this region because people have been locked up and they are looking for an activity. “
Cuomo has not provided a reopening schedule beyond suggesting that New York State could begin slow reopening as early as May 15, the deadline for its “pause” order, and will likely begin proceedings reopening before New York State.
Downstairs in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced another set of plans, but still focused on reopening businesses. De Blasio said city action will be determined by daily health measures.
In addition to expanding the tests and developing a team of contact tracers, de Blasio creates a handful of advisory boards as well as two working groups all focused, in one way or another, on an effort to recover and reopening. The mayor of Blasio has said he wants a roadmap by June 1 on how to rebuild New York.
“I want to be clear, there is no on / off switch here,” he said on Sunday. “It’s a series of clever and careful moves, and then you test each of them along the way to make sure there’s no flashback. And then when you see that things work, you go to the next step. “
At this point, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said he was not even able to consider the next steps, adding, “We need to see more progress and more slowdown before we can start these considerations. “
In a press briefing on Sunday, Murphy said that when they plan to reopen the state, they will analyze the problems in each of the state’s three regions. his administration has not decided whether they will reopen based on the region.
“Although we have not made a decision on this, we will act as one state, recognizing that you have density problems in the north that you simply do not have in the south,” said Murphy .
Murphy recognized three positive signs in New Jersey: the positive test curve flattened, hospitalizations began to drop, and the use of intensive care and ventilators also declined. “But we are not out of the woods yet,” he warned.
The updated IHME modeling, widely supported by the Gates Foundation, predicts that the three states will ultimately see more deaths over a longer period than expected. It now incorporates New York “probable” death reports (5,102) and data compiled by the New York Times.
The latest series of models has also accelerated the timeline that New York and New Jersey may begin to relax restrictions on social distancing. Assuming that strong containment strategies, such as contact tracing, isolation and crowd control, remain in place, these states could ease restrictions after May 27. Connecticut, which has barely surpassed its peak, according to the IHME, appears a little later, after June 9.
New York added 367 people to the coronavirus death for a total of 16,966, not counting the suspected deaths, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday.
The 367 deaths represent a sharp drop from the 437 daily deaths reported on Saturday. Cuomo says the number of new people who have been hospitalized with the virus, another key measure, has also fallen to just over 1,000.
More than 24,000 people have died in the region – 16,966 in New York, 5,938 in New Jersey and 1,862 in Connecticut. Brooklyn is now perhaps the deadliest county in America, according to the latest state data. Murphy added another 75 deaths to New Jersey’s growing toll Sunday.
Nationally, more than 900,000 cases of coronavirus were reported, while the three states crossed 400,000 cases on Saturday. On Friday, the country reached a dark milestone of 50,000 dead, according to estimates from NBC News.
A report summarized by NBC News said that to track the virus, the United States may need up to 100,000 contact tracers, a group of workers who call people who test positive and ask them about their past trips and interactions with them. other people.
Tracing involves isolating all people who test positive and asking them about recent “close contacts”, which health officials define as people who have spent 15 minutes or more within six feet of a infectious person.
Although specific plans have not been made, the state and city plan to hire thousands of tracers in the coming weeks. The task will not be easy for the national epicenter of the coronavirus, where more than 280,000 New Yorkers have already tested positive.
New York City already has a few hundred disease detectives, but those already in place are overwhelmed by the thousands of new daily cases reported by the state and city. De Blasio says that 5,000 to 10,000 additional tracers would be needed in the city to prove effective.
“You can’t really keep track of the contacts of the way things are currently going on in New York. We need to control the virus much better, ”said Dr. Bruce Farber, doctor of infectious diseases at Northwell Health.
Some experts have suggested using data from smartphones to facilitate contact tracking.
Antibody test responses
Preliminary results from the state’s first antibody study suggest that up to 2.7 million New Yorkers may have been infected with a coronavirus, more than 10 times the number of confirmed cases. Less than two months ago, there were no known cases here. How did the virus spread so quickly and so radically?
It was here long before New York City reported its “first” case on March 1, possibly as early as the end of January, according to researchers at Northeastern University. They donated their model data to the New York Times, which reported that nearly 11,000 people may have been infected in the city by the time Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio jointly announced our “patient zero.”
“The horse had already left the barn” when the nation closed, Cuomo said on Friday. He cited research on the number of flights (13,000, carrying more than 2 million people) from Europe, the second hottest area in the world after China, to New York and New Jersey between January and March.
Knowing this now, “It was like watching a horrible train wreck in slow motion,” said Cuomo. “We closed the front door but left the back door wide open. “
The study found that 21% of NYC samples were positive for the antibody, which means that they had COVID-19 at some point and recovered. This is the highest positivity rate of all the regions tested in this first round; Long Island had the second highest positivity rate (16.7%). In total, of the 3,000 people randomly sampled at 40 sites in 19 counties, 13.9% had antibodies.
Although preliminary data suggests a much more common infection, it does mean that New York’s death rate is much lower than previously thought.
Considering the 271,000 cases confirmed so far by the state, the mortality rate could reach 6%. With 2.7 million cases, this would be around 0.5% – much less, although still much higher than the seasonal flu.
Cuomo was quick to warn, however, that the death toll was higher than even the state’s official report – it counts deaths in hospitals and nursing homes, but not deaths at home or other “probable” cases. In other words, the death rate is still difficult to determine correctly.
The sample size from the first antibody study was also relatively small. People were hastily recruited from malls and grocery stores, which meant they were healthy enough to be in public. Acknowledging that some of the data points were inaccurate, Cuomo says that more people will be tested over time.
“We will have an increasingly large sample. But I want to see snapshots of what’s going on with this rate, “said the governor. »Is it increasing, is it stable, is it decreasing? And it can really provide us with data to make decisions. “
Preliminary results from the antibody survey revealed that fourteen percent of New Yorkers were positive for the antibody. Sarah Wallace reports.
Knowing how many people have antibodies could potentially help shape a policy of reopening parts of the state, the governor said. He predicts that New York’s revenues will drop by $ 13.3 billion in the next state budget, largely due to the pandemic. With the state’s PAUSE directive due to expire on May 15, Cuomo announced Friday that he would decide to extend it in about a week. Linked in this executive order is the plight of the New York schools.
Antibodies do not guarantee a safe return to work or to class, by the way. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease specialist in the country, says it is safe to assume that someone who has antibodies will be immune to re-infection, based on experience with past viruses. However, there is no evidence for this new coronavirus. Even though antibodies grant this precious immunity, it’s unclear how long it would last, says Fauci. Three months? Six months? The search for answers is underway in laboratories across the country and around the world.
Dr. Craig Spencer, a Manhattan emergency doctor who survived Ebola and was a prominent social media voice during this crisis, quickly pointed out the limitations of Cuomo’s initial study.
“It means that many of us in New York have been infected. But that’s not surprising news – we’ve seen high levels of cases for more than a month, “Spencer tweeted. “It means the virus is ALWAYS spreading to New York. This means that the MAJORITY of us is always very sensitive! This means that we still # have to stay with you. “
For the time being, representatives of the three states continue to make the latter point. To date, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have seen nearly 400,000 confirmed virus cases, with the Empire State accounting for the lion’s share (271,590). New Jersey eclipsed the 100,000 mark on Friday, reaching 102,196, while Connecticut, which saw a curve a little later, reported nearly 24,000.
Neither New Jersey nor Connecticut has yet attempted an antibody study like Cuomo’s, which the Governor of New York has previously described as the most “aggressive” in the nation. It is safe to assume, however, that their actual case totals are also considerably higher than the reported figures, given the limits of testing capacity and awareness in some hard-hit communities.
The study of Cuomo’s antibodies reflected higher positivity rates in communities of color, reflecting the racial disparities evident in the overall number of cases in New York and across the country. Both the governor and de Blasio have expanded their reach, opening new central test sites and channeling masks and other supplies into NYCHA facilities to equip people for self-protection. The mayor also wants the city to start testing up to 10,000 tests per week and will open three more NYCHA test sites next week.