By: Jennifer Korn
With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that New York businesses could soon be forced to shut down. As of Monday, the state has endured the highest rate of hospitalizations since mid-May. Cuomo is mandating hospitals to increase capacity by 25 percent.
The death toll in New York is now over 27,000.
Cuomo said that if hospitalizations do not stabilize in the next five days, indoor dining in New York City will close down as early as Monday and the rest of the state will be reduced to 25 percent capacity, depending on the regional hospitalization rates. New CDC guidance cites the leading spreader of the virus to be indoor dining.
“People say, well, remain consistent,” said Cuomo. “I’m not going to be consistent when the facts are inconsistent and if I see a different situation I’m going to change my opinion. “ Cuomo said the federal government must financially assist restaurants that are forced to close down.
If the hospitalization rate is projected to reach 90 percent within three weeks for any of the state’s regions, Cuomo said he will impose a complete shutdown, which includes nonessential businesses.
On Dec. 7, Cuomo discussed the state’s winter plan with Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“In this state, we have very strict regulations of when you come in and what you have to do,” said Cuomo.
Fauci agreed that the regulations imposed in the spring helped bring New York from the highest rate of infection to one of the lowest, but warned that case surges may get worse in the middle of January if public health measures are not followed.
“So, you have a surge upon a surge, and then before you can handle that, more people are going to travel over Christmas, they’re going to have more of those family and friend gatherings that you accurately said are an issue,” said Fauci.
Cuomo and Fauci also discussed the importance of the upcoming vaccine.
Fauci projected that if 75-80% of the population gets vaccinated against COVID-19, the country will be in better shape around the end of Summer 2021.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is the vaccine, and one is coming, but until then we must be disciplined,” said Cuomo. “I said that as soon as the vaccine is deemed ready and safe, I’ll be the first one to take a vaccine.”
On Monday, the positivity rate in Rockland was 4.3 percent. On Dec. 5, the statewide positivity rate was 4.71 percent.