New York officials are working on a reopening plan with five other states, including New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Delaware, as the hardest-hit state in the nation starts to see a decline in hospitalizations and in new cases.
The six governors announced on April 13 the creation of a regional advisory committee that will explore how “to restore the economy and get people back to work.”
“We cannot act on our own,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement on Twitter. “We must be smart and tactical in how our region comes out of this, or else we’ll be right back to square one.”
The plan will start with easing the isolation measures that have restricted people across all six states to remain largely at home unless they’re designated essential workers. The next phase will be increasing economic activity, in part by adding new groups to the list of essential workers.
Officials want to introduce widespread testing for the virus, as well as antibody testing, which would detect if an individual once had the virus. As many as 25 percent of patients never show symptoms but can still transmit the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, even if they’re asymptomatic or presymptomatic. Taking temperatures and asking people to wear masks and gloves will be key to the reopening plan, which will be designed by public health and economic experts, not politicians, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters in Albany.
While the six states won’t be able to be fully in sync, “to the extent we can coordinate, we should and we will,” he said, adding: “The wider the geographic area for that plan, the better. Because this virus doesn’t recognize governmental boundaries. The virus follows its own boundaries and its own guidelines.”
New York has by far the highest number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the nation, with the bulk of the patients in New York City and its environs. The once-soaring metrics stoked fear in officials, who at one point relied on projections that the state would need as many as 140,000 hospital beds and 40,000 ventilators.
The peak number of cases in the state instead proved to be far lower, indicating that concerns about the accuracy of the projections were warranted.
The state saw a slight increase in total hospitalizations overnight. The net change in total hospitalizations, or discharges versus admissions, remained under 120 for the third straight day. A drop from over 1,000 to the hundreds took place on April 4.
The three-day average increase in hospitalizations dropped to 85, the lowest in about a month.
New York reported 671 new deaths on April 12, bring the total death toll to 10,056, but the daily toll dropped by 100 or more from recent days. More than half of New York’s CCP virus deaths have taken place in New York City.
Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have all started dropping in the city, according to figures from its Department of Health.
Earlier on April 13, city officials said the number of patients in ICUs dropped 22, to 835, and hospital admissions dropped by 80, to 383. The percentage of people tested who were positive for COVID-19 dropped slightly from 59.3 percent to 58.1 percent.
Once all three metrics have been declining for a prolonged period of time, officials can think about loosening social distancing measures, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters.
Officials at the moment hope to begin moving out of the lockdown phase in June in the city, he said. “All the indicators are moving in the right direction.”
Inside the city, the group with the most positive cases is those between the ages of 18 and 44. The most hospitalizations and deaths have been among those 75 and over.