If the coronavirus continues to surge in other states, an uptick in infections in New York is unavoidable, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today.
“You’re going to have more and more people coming here with the virus,” Cuomo said. “It’s going to happen.” And the travel advisory requiring people coming into New York from states with high infection rates can’t prevent it, the governor acknowledged.
Currently there are 16 states on the travel advisory quarantine list.
“We’re not going to prevent people from 16 states from coming into the state of New York,” Cuomo said during a press briefing today.
The best New York can do is monitor the situation closely and be smart about implementing and enforcing policies required to keep the infection rate down here, Cuomo said.
Today, the governor announced that indoor dining in New York City restaurants will not be allowed in Phase Three. The “density” of restaurants in the city, combined with the time spent in their close indoor environments — without masks while eating and drinking — all combine to create an excellent setting virus transmission, Cuomo said.
The ban on indoor dining in NYC will remain in place until “the facts change,” Cuomo said. That means viral spread across the nation stabilizes, he said, and better compliance by citizens as well as better enforcement by local government.
“New York is doing great, but I feel there are storm clouds on the horizon,” Cuomo said. The storm clouds, he said are the problems in New York City.
“Citizen compliance is slipping,” Cuomo said. “That is a fact.”
He complained that some local governments are not doing all they should to enforce the face covering and social distancing rules.
Cuomo said the state will create its own “enforcement capacity to supplement local enforcement capacity,” though he said this effort would not be statewide because the state doesn’t have the resources to supplement enforcement by the state’s 500 police departments.
People coming into the state with the virus, combined with lack of discipline will cause the virus to spread again here, the governor warned.
“That’s how we got into trouble in the first place,” he said.
New York was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. this spring. It’s current rate of positive tests is about 1%, which is dramatically lower than it was at the height of the pandemic here. It should be noted that early on, testing was restricted to people with COVID symptoms or people in close contact with confirmed COVID positive individuals. New York has incrementally loosened those standards since April. Today, in fact, the governor announced that testing is now open to all New York residents.
In contrast, other states have seen their infection rates climb. According to Johns Hopkins University, numerous states have infection rates in the double digits. Arizona has the highest rate in the country, with an infection rate of 22.9%. Florida’s infection rate is 15.6%. Nevada’s is 15.4%. Texas is currently at 14.6% and South Carolina is at 13.7%.
The infection rate for the U.S. as a whole is 7%.
The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has increased to 2,658,324. There have been 127,681 deaths in the U.S. to date, according to Johns Hopkins researchers.
A week ago, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a tri-state region 14-day quarantine for people coming to the states eight states where the infection rates are greater than 100 per 100,000 people or 10%, over a seven-day rolling average. Yesterday, eight more states were added to the travel advisory list.
The states currently on the travel advisory list are:
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