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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday forecasters are warning him that the spread of coronavirus is now looking like a “bullet train” as the number of confirmed cases in his state “is doubling about every three days.”
The grim outlook comes as New York is currently fighting 25,665 cases of COVID-19, which is 10 times the problem California and Washington state has.
“We have the most sophisticated people you can get doing projections on this,” he told reporters Tuesday from the sprawling Javits Center in Manhattan, which is being converted into a makeshift hospital. “And what they are now seeing is that the rate of cases, the rate of new infections is doubling about every three days. That is a dramatic increase in the rate of infection, and this whole discussion all along has been how fast does the rate of increase spread and can we slow the rate of increase.”
“We are not slowing it, and it is accelerating on its own,” he continued. “One of the forecasters said to me ‘we were looking at a freight train coming across the country, we’re now looking at a bullet train’ because the numbers are going up that quickly.”
Cuomo is calling for hospitals across the state to increase their capacity by 50 to 100 percent, citing projections showing that 140,000 beds may be needed to treat patients that could contract the sickness -- an increase from a previous projection of 110,000. The state currently has around 53,000 beds, according to Cuomo.
The apex of the pandemic in New York, he says, could arrive within 14 to 21 days.
“The inescapable conclusion is that the rate of infection is going up, it is spiking. The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought,” he said Tuesday. “That is a bad combination of facts.”
“I will turn this state upside down to get the number of beds we need,” he vowed, suggesting that SUNY and CUNY college dormitories, as well as hotels, could be converted to host patients and the medical staff assisting them.
He said the state is also calling on retirees and all other professionals in the medical field to help monitor those beds.
New York still needs 30,000 ventilators to fight the coronavirus outbreak, Cuomo added. As of now, the state has obtained just 7,000. Responding to a recent Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] shipment of 400 ventilators, he fumed: “You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators?... What are we going to do with 400 ventilators when we need 30,000?”