Cuomo calls COVID-19 pandemic the ‘Challenge for this generation’

Staff Reports Posted 22 March 2020 at 2:44 pm

Photo by Mike Groll/Office of Governor: Andrew M. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update today during a briefing in the Red Room at the State Capitol in Albany.

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo today called the coronavirus pandemic a defining challenge for this generation. The governor said Americans will overcome the challenge by working together.

“They talk about the greatest generation, the generation that survived World War II,” Cuomo said. “Dealing with hardship actually makes you stronger. Life on the individual level, on the collective level, on the social level. Life is not about avoiding challenges. Challenges are going to come your way. Life is going to knock you on your rear end at one point. Something will happen. And then life becomes about overcoming those challenges. That’s what life is about. And that’s what this country is about.”

The governor today announced the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state increased by 4,812 since Saturday to 15,168. New York has more than half of the 29,192 cases in the entire country. The 114 deaths in NY from the virus are about 30 percent of the 374 in the U.S.

Cuomo said the pandemic could last 4 to 6 months, or longer, maybe even nine months. It’s uncertain when it will be reined in.

“This is not a short-term situation,” Cuomo said. “This is not a long weekend. This is not a week. The timeline, nobody can tell you, it depends on how we handle it, but 40 percent, up to 80 percent of the population will wind up getting this virus. All we’re trying to do is slow the spread but it will spread. It is that contagious. Again, that’s nothing to panic over. You saw the numbers. Unless you’re older with an underlying illness, etcetera, it’s something that you’re going to resolve but it’s going to work its way through society.”

The governor announced today he accepted the recommendation of the Army Corps of Engineers for four temporary hospital sites in New York State in an effort to address imminent capacity issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cuomo visited the four sites – the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, and locations at SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury and the Westchester Convention Center – on Saturday, and New York State is ready for the Army Corps of Engineers to begin construction immediately. Hospitals at the SUNY campus sites will be constructed indoors with outdoor tent support and the dormitories on the campuses will be used for healthcare staff to stay while working at the sites.

Cuomo also announced that FEMA will erect four additional federal hospital facilities within the Javits Center, in addition to the temporary hospital to be constructed by the Army Corps. Each of the four federal hospitals will have 250 beds and come fully equipped and fully staffed by the federal government.

The governor also announced that the state is continuing to quickly identify sites to repurpose existing healthcare facilities to be used as temporary hospitals.

“America is America because we overcome adversity and challenges,” Cuomo said. “That’s how we were born. That’s what we’ve done all our life. We overcome challenges and this is a period of challenge for this generation. And that’s what has always made America great and that’s what going to make this generation great. I believe that to the bottom of my soul.”

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