To the Editor:

Governor Cuomo has no motivation to open state and every motivation to keep it closed. There will be deaths in the future – whether state is open or closed — but by keeping it closed and fighting with President Trump he can thrust blame on another party. Mr. Cuomo can say ‘I am keeping you safe while evil Mr. Trump is making us open — if only he gave us more billions!’ Mr. Trump can say ‘look at NY he is burning all your money so his state can wear slippers not another penny!’

Mr. Cuomo has set up arbitrary, one-size-fits-all, county guidelines which cannot be applied for both rural and dense populations. Does an absolute criteria applicable to Hamilton County, pop. 4575, make sense to be applied to Suffolk County, pop. 1,487,901? Of course not — unless you never want the county to open. All criteria must be normalized for each counties population.

Furthermore, a rigid guideline of ‘decline in xxx criteria’ is absurd considering the statistical noise inherent in real world measurements. For example reported hospitalizations in Suffolk County went down for 13 days straight till May 4 — when they increased by 4. Shockingly the next day they went up by an additional 18, widely reported in local media, including RiverheadLOCAL. Not mentioned is May 6 they dropped by 62. All measurements must be averaged over a multiday interval.

Now, New York has 62 counties. Averaging the population of these 62 counties yields 316,000 — rounding this to 300,000 is a reasonable metric to base absolute criteria on — any absolute number stated in these guidelines must be ratio-metric to 300,000, the average county size.

Guidelines stated were:

  1. New hospitalizations: A 14-day decline in hospitalizations, or fewer than 15 new hospitalizations a day (on a three-day average).

Averaging over a three day interval hospitalizations have decreased since April 13, nearly a month ago. New hospitalizations have only been reported starting 5/6 – 43, and reported 5/7 31. Using a criteria of 75 new hospitalizations (5X 15, since Suffolk is 5X the average county size) we are there.

  1. Hospital fatalities: A 14-day decline in hospital deaths, or fewer than five hospital deaths a day (on a three-day average).

Suffolk County is averaging 18 hospital deaths/day. Using a criteria of 25 hospital deaths/day, new hospitalizations (5X 15, since Suffolk is 5X the average county size) we are there.

  1. New hospitalizations, adjusted per capita. For every 100,000 residents, fewer than two new hospitalizations a day (on a three-day average).

Now the criteria is different than that stated in 1 – and again, new hospitalizations have only been reported starting 5/6 – 43, and reported 5/7 31 – but using a criteria of 30 deaths/day (15X 2 since we are 1.5 million) we are 1 shy. Few days we will be below 30/day.

  1. Hospital bed capacity. A hospital bed capacity of at least 30%.

We have 3,207 beds – 817 hospitalized or 25%. We are there.

  1. ICU bed capacity. An ICU bed capacity of at least 30%.

Now 301 in ICU with a capacity of 601 as of 5/7. As of 5/6 there was a capacity of 610 – as of 5/4 there was a capacity of 651. If ICU Capacity is a criteria why are we decreasing ICU beds? This falls to you, Mr. Bellone – why are you allowing the decrease in ICU Beds?

  1. Testing. For every 1,000 residents, at least 30 residents tested per month (on a seven-day average of new tests per day).

We are testing 49/1000 over 30 days. We are there.

  1. Contact tracing. At least 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents.

Again, this falls to you, Mr. Bellone. I have seen no advertisements for contact tracers, and this morning (May 10) I heard you talk on WBAB ‘We are discussing contact tracing.’ You are the County Executive of Suffolk County. You, and only you, can fight for this county and its residents, and frankly I don’t see you doing any fighting. I voted for you before but honestly I am not going to vote for a county executive that won’t fight for the residents of this county.

I am not saying May 15 wide-open have a party – but certainly small business can be opened, manufacturing at 50% capacity and construction can be opened May 18. If Walmart, Home Depot, Stop and Shop can be open now there is no reason why the above-mentioned business critical to Suffolk’s economy can’t be opened on May 18.

Not all businesses are ’essential’ but everyone’s paycheck is essential.

Clint Brown
Stony Brook

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