COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York State have reached the “lowest level since we started,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo during his daily briefing on Wednesday, with a number of 1400. The number of deaths in the past 24 hours was 17.
“The only way I could feel better is if that number ever becomes zero,” he stated. “We’ve gone from the worst infection rate in the country, to the best infection rate in the country.”
Long Island is on track to begin Phase 3 of the New York Forward reopening plan on Wednesday, June 24. Phase 3 includes restaurants at a limited capacity, and personal care businesses such as nail salons, tattoo parlors, and spas. New York City is on track to enter Phase 2 on Monday.
The governor noted that there were close to 60,000 coronavirus tests conducted yesterday, and less than one percent tested positive. The state has one of the lowest levels of infection in the U.S. “Think about what the people of this state accomplished,” said Cuomo.
He stated that the federal government is making a mistake by urging states to open too quickly, and those states will suffer real consequences. There are “20 states where you have the COVID virus increasing,” said Cuomo. Many states, such as Florida and Texas, have seen an increase in COVID-19 numbers in recent days.
“If those states are going up they could spread the virus to New York. What happens when those people get on planes and fly to New York?” said Cuomo. “That’s how we got here to begin with.” He reiterated that the virus spread to New York this winter, over the months of January, February, and March, when over 3 million people flew from Europe to New York City.
A model provided by the White House estimates there will be 149,000 COVID-19 related deaths by August.
“New York has climbed the mountain” said Cuomo. The governor will end his daily COVID-19 briefings on Friday, and proceed with briefings as needed.
This is a “once in a lifetime fiscal emergency,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone during his daily press briefing on Wednesday. A meeting held by the Suffolk County Legislator’s Budget Committee where there was a presentation from the Executive Budget Office and the legislator’s non-partisan budget review office, revealed that Suffolk County is facing over a $800 million budget hole over the next three months. The budget must be prepared and submitted in September. Suffolk is asking the federal government for $1 Billion in relief.
“We send, from Long Island, billions of dollars more to Washington than we ever get back,” said Bellone.
“This was a national emergency, we were the hardest hit region in the country,” he said, comparing it to a natural disaster like a category five hurricane. “What we’re asking Washington to do is give us back a little of our money, a fraction of what we give to Washington every year.”
He said that without federal help, the burden would rest on the “shoulders of taxpayers” and would mean layoffs, lags in payroll, and higher taxes.