Freeze on collection of medical or student debt, aid for New Yorkers

COVID-19 Recovery Will Take Time




New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to temper any enthusiasm being garnered by talk of returning to a life of normalcy any time soon.

“If people tell you the pandemic is over — they’re wrong,” he said. “You’re not going to hear any day soon that it’s over. It’s going to be incremental.”

Cuomo said testing is a key – getting 600 labs in the state to blend into the system is the first challenge – then the data can be calibrated.

For the first time amid the pandemic, the governor pointed Friday, April 17, to what he described as an “undeniably” positive trend: hospitalizations are declining. They’ve shown net decreases for days, but Cuomo wanted more time and more data before determining it was more than an anomaly.

Aid For New Yorkers

The National Governors’ Association has asked the federal government for $500 billion in aid — but that doesn’t mean all states are equal, Cuomo said. Sates are hemorrhaging money fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, but some more than others. New York has been especially hard hit.

“The allocation should be proportional to need,” Cuomo said. “You know where the COVID cases are. Allocate to where the problem exists.”

In the last round of financing the governor said the distribution was uneven: “Some states got $20 per case and others $200.”

Cuomo blamed the country’s senators, who lobbied for more than they deserved, he said.

Repayment Suspended

Cuomo and New York Attorney General Letitia James renewed a 30-day freeze of the state’s collection of medical or student debt. During this 30-day period, the Office of the Attorney General will reassess the needs of state residents for another possible extension. Additionally, the office will accept applications for suspension of all other types of debt owed to New York.

County Lagging Behind

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone briefed reporters on the situation here on April 16 and the numbers indicate the county is about a week behind the rest of the state as far as reaching the peak of the pandemic. There were 24,483 confirmed cases, up 960 from a day earlier. Hospitalizations were up 22 from a day earlier, and 31 more patients had to be placed in intensive care.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com