New York

Cuomo discusses human cost of too quick COVID-19 economy reopening

Governor notes projections of death toll are on the rise again
Mariah Kennedy Cuomo listens to her father, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, during his briefing Tuesday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Mariah Kennedy Cuomo listens to her father, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, during his briefing Tuesday.

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday again offered his familiar cautions about reopening the economy too quickly.

He noted that federal projections of infection and death through the COVID-19 pandemic recently have been revised upward because so many states are moving to reopen their economies so soon.

“The fundamental question which we’re not articulating is, how much is a human life worth?” Cuomo said during his daily briefing from New York City. “There’s a cost of staying closed, no doubt. Economic cost, personal cost. There’s also a cost of reopening quickly. Either option has a cost.”

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The governor on Monday laid out a highly detailed regime of planning that a region must undertake and statistical benchmarks that it must meet before he will allow it to reopen.

Asked Tuesday what would happen if a region misses one of its benchmarks after reopening, Cuomo said the reopening would have to be readjusted.

The state, he said, has learned from other countries that have reopened all at once and had to shut down for a second time when there is a second wave of the pandemic. He wants to avoid or blunt a second wave.

“When you accelerate the reopening, you will have more people coming in contact with other people — you’re relaxing social distancing,” the governor said. “The more people in contact with other people, the higher the infection rate of the spread of the virus. The more people who get infected, the more people die. We know that. That’s why the projection models are going up.”

Total number of COVID hospitalizations in New York have been gradually subsiding for weeks, and stood at about 9,600 statewide Tuesday morning, the governor said. In the preceding 24 hours, 230 new deaths were recorded, also a sharp decline from the peak of the pandemic.

Through Monday, 1.03 million people had been tested for COVID-19 statewide, 321,192 were confirmed positive and 19,645 have died.

The state Department of Health reported the following numbers of confirmed positive cases in Capital Region counties Tuesday:

  • Albany 1,294
  • Fulton 97
  • Montgomery 61
  • Rensselaer 339
  • Saratoga 368
  • Schenectady 537
  • Schoharie 45

Across the Capital Region, two COVID-related deaths were reported Tuesday, both in Albany County. Three more were reported in adjoining counties: one in Warren County and two in Washington County.

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