With 600 new hospitalizations and 232 deaths in the previous 24 hours from the coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday it was “shocking” to learn that a large majority of these were among those who had been adhering to stay-at-home orders.
Data from up to 100 hospitals across the state showed that 66 percent of patients — from a pool of 1,000 recent hospital admissions — had been self-isolating for the most part and still contracted the coronavirus. Nearly half of the cases were Hispanic or African-American, Cuomo said during his Wednesday press briefing.
The governor said his focus, as well as that of health experts, have been on new case numbers, which are concentrated in downstate areas like the New York City metro area, Long Island, and the Lower Hudson Valley.
“You still have 600 new cases that walked in the door yesterday. A week before that we still saw 1,000 new cases every day. Where are those new cases coming from? Because we’ve done everything we can to close down,” Cuomo said. “So what we’ve done over the last few days is we’ve asked hospitals, look at just those new cases who are coming… Where are those new people coming from, and what can we learn from those new people to further target and refine our strategy?”
Up to 84 percent of those new patients reported that they were staying at home, according to Cuomo, while only 17 percent were working outside their home. The Cuomo administration expected a high number of essential workers, which was not the case.
“We thought maybe they were taking transportation, and we’ve taken special precautions on public transportation, but actually, no. Because these people were literally at home,” the governor said. “Two percent car services, nine percent were driving their own vehicle, only four percent were taking public transportation. Two percent were walking.”
This revelation followed a historic decision ordered by Cuomo and organized by the MTA to close the subways every day between 1 and 5 a.m. for extensive disinfecting. Transportation worker deaths have increased from 33 in early April, to 109 as of Tuesday night with the New York City Transit system, the largest in North America, swiftly being deemed the culprit for the spread.
Cuomo said the recent data from hospitals means that the spread ultimately boils down to how individuals protect themselves with face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer, even for the occasional trip outside the home for those not traveling to a job every day.