CUOMO: New Stimulus Package Must Put State and Local Governments First

NEW YORK (TURKISH JOURNAL) – By Janet Ekstract – In his daily briefing on Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made it clear that any new stimulus package from the Trump administration has to make financial provisions for state and local governments. Cuomo commented: “The first stimulus bill was woefully inadequate, was not even what was represented to us, initially.” He pointed out that every single state budget has been “decimated” by the coronavirus pandemic. The governor said the New York state budget just “collapsed” and added that if you want to restart the economy then the federal government will need to help state and local governments with the financial support they need to get back on their feet. The governor said: “I’m sending off a letter to Congress to let them know that it was not fair to New York in the first stimulus package.”

Meanwhile, the governor explained that New York is still the most “heavily impacted” state in the nation and that New Jersey now finds itself in a very difficult situation as positive cases rise. He added that he is working with the New Jersey governor on strategies. The most pressing issue Cuomo said is the fact that healthcare workers are getting sick, they’re stressed and they worry about bringing the virus home to their families. He said that ventilators have been received from Oregon, California and China and that protective gear is adequate right now. The governor said patients are being shifted between hospitals and that with 2,500 beds at Javits Center and 500 beds on the ship ‘Comfort’ – the 3,000 beds is a “welcome overload relief.” He said when New York started, it had a system of 53,000 hospital beds and there are 93,000 beds now, which he said is enough at the moment.

Cuomo commented that what happens in New York City definitely affects New Jersey and Connecticut because he said the three states operate as a “tri-state” area. His goal is to have all three states operating in a regional collaboration on schools, the economy and on healthcare issues. “This is not a light switch that we can just flick one day and everything will go back to normal,” the governor emphasized. He said he spoke to the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut about coming up with a “regional approach on restarting the economy.” Cuomo posed the universal question: “How do you get back to work, it’s going to come down to testing.” Currently, he said there are 15-minute coronavirus tests but those tests need to be made commercially available and “brought to scale.” Cuomo related that there are new antibody tests in the works and said: “We are interested in working with private companies to bring this capacity to scale and bring it to scale quickly.” The governor explained: “We have a special test in our lab that we are going to have to get approved and we will ask other labs to do the same.” He said that the test measures two types of immunoglobulins in the body. The reason this test is crucial he said, is because it tests for the second immunoglobulin that your body makes once a person gets over the virus and that would indicate whether a person is still contagious or not.

The governor said that though Monday saw the largest single day increase in the number of deaths from the virus, daily ICU admissions are “way down and that’s good news.” He said the bad news is that so far 5,489 New Yorkers lost their lives and that there’s “a lot of pain again today for many New Yorkers and they’re in our thoughts and prayers.” He commented: “We’re projecting that we’re reaching a plateau in the total number of hospitalizations.” Cuomo mentioned that some communities in New York City have more health issues than others so it puts them more at risk. Social distancing must continue, the governor insisted and said: “Now is not the time for large religious gatherings.” Cuomo concluded that its only been 37 days and he realizes how frustrating the stay-at-home orders are for everyone. Despite this situation he said: “Social distancing is working – that’s why you see those numbers going down.” Cuomo added: “New York PAUSE is working, we have to keep doing it. I know it’s hard, it’s about we and it is not about me. Whatever you do will affect others on a major scale.” Cuomo said he understands how difficult it is not to be able to go out when you want to. But he had some sage advice to offer about that when he said: “When you feel that need, I have to do this, it’s not about ‘me,’ it’s about ‘we.’ My health is in your hands and your health is in my hands.” The governor’s final caveat: Don’t get complacent. We have to stay disciplined. We have to stay smart. We have to stay safe.”

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