What there is to know
- The entire state of New York is now in Phase IV, the final leg of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s reopening; New York City has taken a modified approach from the last two phases to indoor activities
- Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have chosen to proceed cautiously with the reopening in New York; the governor recently threatened to cancel it if compliance and enforcement does not improve
- COVID cases continue to rise in at least 40 states; 31 of them are now on the list of three states with quarantine restrictions
New York City says it has potentially averted more than 5,000 new cases of COVID through its test and trace program, possibly saving thousands of lives, depending on the number of symptomatic contacts found in interviews .
Could he have saved even more?
According to Dr Ted Long, head of the city’s testing and traceability program, the tracers were able to identify and reach more than 2,137 symptomatic people they might not otherwise have known and help them isolate quickly. Considering the rate of transmission, this potentially prevents more than 5,000 new cases, Long said.
Since New York City has confirmed more than 220,000 cases of COVID, more cooperation may be needed to maximize the program’s full potential. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to discuss this further in his daily briefing on Thursday.
Last month, the city said it could not reach a third of all contacts granted to it. The patients did not give the phone numbers of all the people they were in contact with; in cases where they did, the city was able to reach 97%.
Contact tracing is one of the four key tenets of New York’s (and the nation’s) COVID strategy – and will likely only become more important as the war continues. Out-of-state travel has already been linked to new groups in various parts of the state and in neighboring New Jersey. With cases on the rise in 41 states, tangled connection networks are spreading more and more complexly across the country than ever before.
The state of California surpassed New York in terms of diagnosed COVID cases on Wednesday and now leads the country on that metric. Florida has reported more cases in a single day than New York has ever done, even at the height of its crisis in April.
New York still leads America in the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths by far, tripling more than the number now confirmed in California, though its numbers have hovered around 25,000 since it eclipsed that milestone earlier this this month.
Death is a lagging indicator, meaning California and Florida are both likely to suffer from a devastating increase in the coming weeks. In April, New York was losing nearly 800 people a day. Daily deaths are now in one or double digits, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo reporting a pandemic low of two deaths earlier this week.
Cuomo has long said that face coverings are one of the most critical virus-fighting tools. The evidence only increases to support his point; The governor says new data shows up to 40,000 American lives could have been saved if everyone wore masks.
He said it was a good first step when President Donald Trump, long opposed to masks, changed his tone on masks this week, but wants a stronger engagement – a national mask mandate by executive order, as he and Governor Phil Murphy have done statewide. level in New York and New Jersey.
“The health experts advising the White House have said 40,000 more Americans will die because we don’t have a mask policy, I mean, unbelievable as that is. If you can sign a piece of paper it will save the lives of 40,000 people. Americans, why don’t you do that? Cuomo said Wednesday.
The governor also once again called on the federal government to step up testing, saying the delays in testing were a “serious problem”. From day one, Cuomo preached the importance of testing: find the positives, isolate them, and treat them. And the faster you do it, the better your chance to contain the spread of the virus.
He traveled to Savannah, Georgia, and offered to help parts of Texas and other states with their testing strategies. A number of states and cities helped New York when it needed it in April. But his motives are not only altruistic.
“Unless you solve this problem everywhere, you don’t solve it anywhere,” said the governor.
More than half of the United States is now on the list of three states with quarantine restrictions, a joint effort by the three governors to mitigate the risk. Travelers to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut from these hotspot states must self-isolate for 14 days.
At least 21 states have already suspended or canceled their reopenings entirely amid the latest record wave that devastated the country. New York City and New Jersey have suspended indoor dining indefinitely, given evidence of increased risk from confined spaces in other states. The city has also delayed the return of indoor activities like shopping malls and museums for the same reason.
There’s no new timeline for these reopenings – and Cuomo says he thinks some states need to close completely again now.
America has lost more than 141,000 people to the virus to date and has confirmed nearly 4 million cases. Both tolls are higher than in any country in the world.