By Keshia Clukey Bloomberg News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As the cases continue to climb in New York State, Governor Cuomo announced that New York will start using a promising yet unproven treatment for the Coronavirus.
New York state will begin using trial drugs Tuesday to combat the rise in coronavirus cases, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday.
The state has secured 70,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine, 10,000 of Zithromax, and 750,000 of chloroquine, he said during a news conference.
As of Sunday, New York's statewide total of virus cases reached 15,168, with 9,045 in New York City. There have been 114 deaths from the virus in New York state, with all but 16 of those people age 60 and older, according to Cuomo's office.
The state's hospitalization rate has decreased to 13%, with 1,974 people hospitalized. Still, the state is struggling to increase hospital beds and secure ventilators to meet the expected peak in positive cases, Cuomo said.
To help meet that demand, all elective, nonessential surgeries will stop as of Wednesday, which should increase bed capacity by between 25% and 35%, the governor said. The state currently has 53,000 hospital beds available, and at the outbreak's peak in coming weeks will need an estimated 110,000, Cuomo said.
Cuomo Sunday asked the federal government to have the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers erect temporary hospitals in Stony Brook and Westbury on Long Island, as well as in Westchester and at the Javits Center in Manhattan.
The state also will ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency to create four federal hospitals at the Javits Center with 250 beds each for a total of 1,000 beds, Cuomo said. The FEMA hospitals come fully equipped and staffed, he said.
Disaster area President Donald Trump Friday declared New York state a major disaster area, and said the federal government would assist in helping to curb the pandemic.
Cuomo Sunday called on the federal government to go a step further and use its authority under the Defense Production Act of 1950 to allocate private resources, and take charge of manufacturing of medical supplies nationally. "This state can't manage it," he said. "States across the country can't manage it."
New York is competing against other states and countries to obtain medical supplies such as ventilators, masks and gowns, he said, and that is leading to price gouging.
"If we don't get the equipment, we can lose lives that we could have otherwise saved if we had the right equipment," Cuomo said.
Parks plan Separate from federal action, the state has also worked to decrease population density, ordering non-essential workers to stay home, and asking people to only go out in public if they absolutely need to.
On Sunday, Cuomo called on New York City leaders to come up with a plan to reduce the number of people in public places, particularly parks. The plan must be submitted to the governor within 24 hours.
"We will overcome this and America will be the greater for it," Cuomo said.
"And my hope is that New York is going to lead the way forward and together we will."
Cuomo on Saturday evening released an executive order mandating 90-day mortgage relief. The state last week had sent guidance asking banks and mortgage lenders to provide a moratorium on mortgage payments for those who have lost jobs or are facing financial hardship as a result of the virus. Now they must comply with that order.
The governor's office also could soon require all voting in the state's April 28 presidential primary to be done via absentee ballot, Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, said Sunday. The office is looking into whether this can be done through an executive order, or if it will require action from the state Legislature, she said. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.