Cuomo: Density Reduction May Be Working to Curb Coronavirus Spread

Governor Andrew Cuomo believes social distancing measures could be the reason why there has been a reduction in the hospitalization rate.
Todd Maisel

Governor Andrew Cuomo said March 25 that the state may be making incremental progress on slowing the wave of coronavirus cases crashing down on its overburdened hospitals.

Citing new projections, the governor claimed that the rate of hospitalization has slowed this week after the city and state took further measures to reduce density in what has become the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States.

“Given the density we’re dealing with, it spreads very quickly, but if you reduce the density you can reduce the spread very quickly,” Cuomo said.

According to the governor, as recently as Sunday, the rate of hospitalization was doubling every two days. By Monday they were doubling only every 3.4 days, and by Tuesday the rate had dropped to doubling every four to seven days.

“This is a very good sign and a positive sign,” the governor said. “The arrows are headed in the right direction.”

While the rate of coronavirus cases is growing quickly with more than 30,000 in the state, a slower rate of hospitalization would put less stress on the already precious resources in New York hospitals.

Slowing the rate of hospitalization is seen as a crucial step towards softening the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has the potential to overwhelm New York’s hospital system and cause a rash of preventable deaths.

“This is everything — slowing the hospitalization rate coming into the hospitals so the hospitals can deal with the rate of people coming in,” Cuomo said.

The governor pointed to the data as evidence that the measures taken by the state to increase social distancing — such as closing restaurants and shuttering non-essential businesses — were necessary because they yielded results.

“Yes they are burdensome,” he said. “By the way, they are effective and they are necessary, and the evidence suggests at this point that they have slowed the hospitalizations.”

The state, however, still has a huge deficit to make up in hospital beds. Officials estimate that 140,000 will be needed at the pandemic’s peak, while current hospital capacity is only 53,000.

As of Wednesday morning, there were 17,856 confirmed cases of COVID-19 citywide, according to the mayor’s office, with 4,656 of them in Brooklyn.