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1:15 p.m. Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced steps to launch a widespread testing effort to contain the spread of coronavirus but he warned that states will be unable to expand capacity on their own without any federal assistance.
On Thursday, President Trump said states would decide when to reopen with guidance from the federal government. But the question of funding and help with rolling out what would be millions of rapid diagnostic and antibody tests is still up in the air.
The issue has riled Cuomo, who on Friday delivered his most blistering assessment of the White House to date.
"The federal government cannot wipe their hands of this," Cuomo said, during his daily press briefing.
He noted that demand for testing components has once again outstripped supply, which similar to ventilators, mostly originates in China.
"I don’t do China relations," he added. "I don't do international supply chains."
Without a coordinated approach, he said states and the federal government will wind up in "mayhem," bidding against each other for testing materials.
Once again, Cuomo assailed the federal $2 trillion stimulus package for failing to address the state's budget shortfall, which he said could be as much as $15 billion.
"Don't pass the buck without passing the bucks," quipped Cuomo. (In a political gag borrowed from his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo, he attributed the line to the fictional character A.J. Parkinson.)
The National Governors Association, for which Cuomo serves as a vice chairman, has written a letter to Congress asking for $500 billion in federal aid to offset “drastic state revenue shortfalls.” Cuomo said the money would be allocated according to each state's need.
In the absence of funding, Cuomo said the state would nevertheless begin mobilizing the state's roughly 300 laboratories and hospitals that perform virology testing. He said he was issuing an executive order directing all public and private labs to coordinate with the state Department of Health to conduct coronavirus testing.
The indicators continue to show that infections are flattening. The three-day average of the net change in hospitalized virus patients, fell by more than 400, the largest amount since the crisis began.
But Cuomo noted that the number of new patients with COVID-19 admitted to hospitals has remained steady at about 2,000 per day.
The number of daily recorded deaths rose slightly to 630 on Thursday, after having fallen to 606 the day before. It had been the lowest daily death toll in 10 days.
Cuomo outlined a measure by which New York would begin to gradually restart the economy, setting a rate of infection, also known as the R-naught, of between .9 and 1.2 as the conditions by which the state would allow businesses to reopen.
President Trump, who is known to regularly watch Cuomo's press briefings, immediately shot back on Twitter.
"Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking!" Trump tweeted. "We built you thousands of hospital beds that you didn’t need or use..."
Although Cuomo has tried to temper his remarks about the president, when asked about the tweet, he launched into lengthy tirade.
"If he’s sitting down and watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work," he cracked.
He also said the same projections that the president was now criticizing New York for relying on were the same as those used by the White House coronavirus task force.
"Didn't you read your own CDC projections?" he said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The national health agency on March 13 estimated that between 2.4 million to 21 million could be hospitalized from coronavirus. Under a best case scenario, the CDC projected that 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die. As of Friday, more than 30,000 people in the U.S. have died from the disease.
Experts that have modeled the crisis had projected that New York would need between 55,000 and 136,000 beds. Preparing for the worst possible case, the state had set out to double the capacity of hospitals across the state and sought 40,000 ventilators, a number which Trump ridiculed in hindsight.
Referring to the lack of federal funding for states, Cuomo said, "Why don't you show as much consideration to states as you did to your businesses and airlines."
On Tuesday, the Trump administration said it had reached an agreement with major airlines on a $25 billion bailout after flights were halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cuomo has made concerted efforts to thank the president for providing federal support in the way of helping build a 2,500-bed field hospital at the Javits Center, sending a Navy hospital ship, along with military medical personnel and other critical supplies.
But on Friday, he appeared to have reached the tipping point.
"How many times do you want me to say thank you?" he said. "I'm saying thank you for you doing your job. That's your role as president."
He later added sarcastically, “Thank you for participating with a modicum of responsibility in a national crisis.”
City Expands Testing To Five Additional Community Clinics Targeting Vulnerable New Yorkers
11:00 a.m. The city is opening 10 new walk-in testing facilities for coronavirus aimed at reaching those at greatest risk of dying from the disease, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday.
Three locations—H+H Gotham Health in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, H+H Gotham Health in East New York, Brooklyn and Vanderbilt Health Center in Vanderbilt, Staten Island, opened today.
Two other city-run facilities—Syndeham Family Health Center in Harlem and H+H Queens Hospital in Jamaica—will open on Monday.
Those seeking to get tested for coronavirus should call 311 and make an appointment. The city will prioritize those who are 65 and older with preexisting health conditions as local residents.
As part of a partnership with One Medical, a membership-based primary care practice, five additional testing sites will open by next Monday. Those facilities will provide testing for seniors (65+) with preexisting health conditions, frontline healthcare workers and other essential employees. Those seeking to make an appointment can call 1-888-ONEMED1 or visit onemedical.com and use the code NYCCARE30.
Together, all 10 testing sites are expected to perform 6,900 tests per week.
During his press briefing, Mayor de Blasio continued to implore President Trump to help New York City expand its testing capacity.
"That is the pathway to getting back to normal," he said.
The mayor also announced that all city-permitted events would be canceled through May. The city had already canceled such events for April. SummerStage, a concert series inside Central Park and other areas of the city, and the Brooklyn Half-Marathon, have traditionally been held in that month.
The cancelations would not affect farmers' markets or any related essential services related to food.
New Racial Data From NYC Shows Blacks As Having The Highest Death And Infection Rates
In non-hospitalized cases, blacks in New York City are infected with coronavirus at nearly twice the rate as whites, according to the city's latest preliminary racial data.
The statistics, which were released on Thursday evening, support the growing evidence across the country that the virus has disproportionately hurt blacks more than any other racial group.
"It confirms a deeply disturbing story which is the profound inequality that is being reflected and exacerbated by this pandemic," said Mark Levine, the Manhattan City Council member who chairs the health committee.
Earlier this month, the city showed data revealing that blacks and Latinos were being killed by coronavirus at twice the rate of whites. But while the early indications were that Latinos were dying at the highest rate, the new statistics, which now accounts for 88 percent of deaths, shows that blacks have the highest death rate.
Blacks, who make up 22 percent of the city's population, represent about 33 percent of coronavirus deaths. Latinos, who make up 29 percent of the city’s population, account for about 28 percent of those deaths.
In the city's initial report, Latinos had made up 34 percent of the deaths. But the data at that time represented only 63 percent of reported deaths in New York City.
In both non-hospitalized and non-fated hospital cases, blacks had the highest rate of infections, at 335.5 people per 100,000 and 271.7 people per 100,000 respectively. By comparison, whites had infection rates of 190.4 people per 100,000 and 114.5 people per 100,000 respectively.
Asians had the lowest infection rates and death rates.
In non-fatal hospital cases, blacks and Latinos are infected at roughly twice the rate as whites, but blacks are the most likely to be infected.
Health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, attributed the disease's deadlier impact on blacks to the inequity of the healthcare system that has led them to be at higher risk for underlying medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and asthma. Those are the very maladies that increase the risk of death from the virus.
Last Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the disease had revealed "systemic racism and discrimination in the system."
He added: "My question is, let's learn from this moment, right? And what do we learn that we can change and make this place better for having gone through this hell?"
The state has since opened five new testing facilities intended to serve mostly minority communities in Queens, Brooklyn and the South Bronx.
On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new $10 million advertising and outreach campaign to target 88 zip codes hardest hit by coronavirus.
Unequal access to testing has also an issue, according to Levine. He pointed to analysis of the city's data by the New York Post that showed that the bulk of testing has been done in zip codes that are wealthier and with a higher proportion of white New Yorkers.
Following on the state's plan, the city is also expanding testing in neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the disease.
"We need to prioritize low-income communities first as we expand testing," Levine said.