Cuomo: Testing can prevent a second wave

Governor Cuomo holding a briefing on COVID-19 response on April 8th.
Governor Cuomo holding a briefing on COVID-19 response on April 8th.
Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor Cuomo holding a briefing on COVID-19 response on April 8th.

Cuomo: Testing can prevent a second wave

The governor again looks to the federal government for more resources.
April 10, 2020

For the first time during the coronavirus crisis in New York, more people left intensive care in the past day than were admitted, Cuomo told reporters Friday. While that does not change the state response, or social distancing rules, in the near term, it is further evidence the state is entering a new phase in its pandemic response. 

The state is no longer aiming to simply limit the spread of the virus in what could be the first of multiple waves of infections. “I don't want a second wave,” Cuomo said. “I don't want a third wave. I don't want a one-and-a-half wave. I want this to be it.”

Testing will be a key factor in preventing a second wave of infections, according to Cuomo, who said that only the federal government has the resources and authority to force private industry to produce the millions of tests necessary to truly get a handle on the coronavirus, as demonstrated by South Korea’s success in limiting its spread. 

“Even with our high capacity and high performance on testing, it's still not enough,” Cuomo said. “It's not enough if you want to reopen on a meaningful scale and reopen quickly.” The experiences of Italy, Singapore and Hong Kong – which had differing levels of success in confronting early outbreaks of the virus – show that the virus can re-emerge with deadly consequences. 

Cuomo said that the state currently has enough hospital beds, medical supplies and staff. But millions of tests are needed before the state can relax restrictions on businesses and social gatherings. “That is much easier said than done,” said Cuomo, who added that efforts are ongoing to form a partnership with New Jersey and Connecticut. If and when the “new normal” arrives, Cuomo added that he wants rapid testing at medical facilities, nursing homes and other places where vulnerable people could contract the virus. 

“Now, again, how do you make private sector companies do this?” Cuomo said. “You don’t – if you’re a governor. If you're the president, you have something called the Defense Production Act that can in fund and mandate actions by private sector companies.” With President Donald Trump expected to speak at the White House this afternoon, it is an open question whether the president will make any moves to push the country one step closer to the “new normal” Cuomo is advocating. 

Zach Williams
is a staff reporter at City & State.