Published On: Thu, Apr 30th, 2020

CUOMO: Bloomberg Philanthropies To Lead New York On Massive Tracing Program

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By Janet Ekstract

NEW YORK (TURKISH JOURNAL) – In Thursday’s daily briefing, Governor Cuomo reiterated the paramount importance of tracing to lower the spread of coronavirus infection – explaining that Bloomberg Philanthropies, the brainchild of New York’s former Mayor Mike Bloomberg will be creating a massive tracing program for New York state.  Calling attention to the gargantuan undertaking of  tracing, Cuomo said that just yesterday, 4,681 New Yorkers tested positive for coronavirus which underscores the importance of creating a major tracing program.

Bloomberg called into the briefing to outline how the program will work and to share information about several nonprofits that will assist in the tracing protocol. Cuomo said that since Bloomberg Philanthropies has extensive experience in the public health sector, they are well equipped to direct and manage such a program. Bloomberg said the tracing program requires coordination and well trained people so he highlighted that his organization has enlisted the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins University to get involved. The two nonprofits partnering with Bloomberg include Vital Strategies and Resolve to Save Lives. Bloomberg added that universities SUNY and CUNY will also be working on the staffing and recruitment of contact tracers. He said that Vital Strategies is “delivering three new smart phone apps,” with one app assisting those in quarantine.  This organization will also develop protocols for contact traces and management, Bloomberg explained. The nonprofit, Resolve To Save Lives is an organization specialized in advocacy and action centered around epidemics preparedness that has extensive experience working with international epidemics. Bloomberg said his goal is to build a “Contact Tracer Army,” and announced that he will be speaking to mayors across America to share strategies on testing and tracing. Bloomberg stressed that during times like these it’s important to remember that “we’re going to get through this,” and that New Yorkers are especially used to tough situations and that they will pull through.

Governor Cuomo lauded the partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies calling it a “great asset for the state of New York.”  The governor underscored that “we have to design new systems, new approaches to do this.” He stressed that using the “expertise and talent we have, we’ll get everyone to work together.” Ultimately, the goal is to have other states and nations learn from what New York will be doing, Cuomo commented. He added: “It will also be a laboratory to put the best systems together so we can benefit other states.” Tracing will be done on a tri-state basis he said and explained that he’s working with both Governor Lamont and Governor Murphy on the contact tracing plans.

During such a crisis situation, the governor pointed out that there’s usually one problem after another that need solving and added: “It’s like a bad game of dominoes.” Because of this, he said it’s more important that ever to “honor essential workers” by doing whatever it takes to make their lives and work a whole lot safer on a daily basis. To that end, Cuomo reiterated what he said in Wednesday’s briefing, that New York’s subway system has “rapidly deteriorated” and will need immediate attention in the form of disinfection and cleaning every 24 hours. He outlined that this includes complete disinfection of all subway stations and subway trains. Cuomo said that wherever a hand has touched something – that area needs thorough disinfection. The disinfection task is monumental, Cuomo emphasized: “It’s a task no one has ever imagined before.” He added that this will include new chemicals, new methods and new equipment so workers will need to be trained well on how to carry this out. He especially said he’s concerned due to the fact that the virus can live on certain surfaces for much longer than anyone was aware of.  He emphasized that we “honor essential workers by our actions,” and that the disinfection plan ensures that essential transport workers and others will be safe doing their jobs since they are unable to stay at home.  The governor added: “It’s a massive undertaking and the right thing to do.”

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