Cuomo: COVID-19 Death Projections Double as States Quickly Reopen
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says a COVID-19 model often cited by the White House has doubled it’s projected death total because many states are reopening too quickly.
On Tuesday, Cuomo said the question being debated about reopening is "How much is a human life worth?" There's a cost of staying closed. There's a cost of reopening quickly, he notes. Either option has a cost. He believes the faster we reopen the lower the economic cost, but the higher the human cost, because more lives will be lost.
"Human life is priceless. Our reopening plan doesn't have a tradeoff. You monitor the data. If it goes up, you stop," Cuomo said. "Look at the data. Follow the science. Listen to the experts. Be smart."
Cuomo noted an updated COVID model often cited by the White House has dramatically increased it’s projected death total.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimates the pandemic will claim about 135,000 lives in the U.S. by August, in part because many states are easing social distancing guidelines.
Cuomo says the projection model has doubled the number of expected deaths because reopening has been accelerated across the nation.
"Why, because now they are factoring in the reopening plans that states are releasing," Cuomo said.
On April 7, the IMHE projected 60,000 thousand deaths by early August. On May 4, the model projects 134,475 deaths in the U.S. by August 7.
"Rising mobility in most U.S. states, as well as the easing of social distancing measures expected in 31 states by May 11 indicating growing contacts among people, will promote transmission of the coronavirus," IHME Director Christopher Murray said on the increase in projected deaths, according to Cuomo.
Cuomo said the federal government must work "better than ever" to save lives and pass bipartisan legislation.
On Monday, Cuomo announced businesses will reopen in four phases. Phase 1 includes construction, manufacturing, and select retail with curbside pick-up. Phase 2 retail, real estate, and finance. Phase 3 will allow restaurants and hotels to reopen. Phase 4 includes entertainment venues and schools. Cuomo previously said each phase will last two weeks.
Cuomo announced regions will be allowed to start the reopen process on May 15 if a number of guidelines are met. As now, the Hudson Valley doesn't meet the metrics to start reopening.
Cuomo said on Tuesday during his COVID-19 briefing, the rate of hospitalization is "basically flat" across the state and the number of new COVID hospitalizations is down.
He confirmed 230 people died from the virus, slightly up from Monday, bringing the statewide total 19,645.
He says we must reimagine education. New York State will work with Bill Gates to summon experts to develop a blueprint to reimage education in the new normal.
"As we prepare to reopen we have the opportunity to reimagine and build back our education system better," he said.
Cuomo said we have endured the pain and hopes we benefit from the gain.