Long Island has the second highest percentage in the state for new daily hospital admissions due to COVID-19, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his briefing on Wednesday morning.
Together, Nassau and Suffolk Counties account for 18 percent of the patients hospitalized over a three-day period, part of the governor’s mandate last week that hospitals start submitting data that may help to drill down on why coronavirus cases continue to climb, despite a vast economic shutdown. While hospitalizations statewide are on a gradual decline, Suffolk’s hospitalizations were up for the second straight day on Tuesday.
Manhattan has the most amount of new cases, 21 percent. To no one’s surprise, the majority of new cases are predominantly downstate.
Other initial findings in the compiling data are that the people newly infected are not essential workers and are people who not working or traveling. Cuomo said it had been thought data would show essential workers, like nurses, doctors, and transit workers, were the ones recently coming down with the virus.
“Much of this comes down to how you protect yourself,” Cuomo said from the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in Manhasset. “Are you wearing the mask, are you using hand sanitizer . . . It comes down to personal behavior.”
The data also shows that those hospitalized are predominately older, predominantly already dealing with health problems, and predominantly minority.
The study of the 1000 patients showed most are over the age of 51. Initially, those most vulnerable were said to be over the age of 60, and while 20 percent are between the age of 61 to 70 and 19 percent between 71 and 80, those in the 51 to 60 age bracket made up 14 percent of those affected.
Those in the hospital with COVID-19 overwhelmingly have a co-morbidity, like diabetes or a previous respiratory condition — 96 percent, the data shows. They are also predominately minority, especially in the New York City boroughs. Of the patients studied over the last three days, 52 percent are men and 48 percent are female.
The statistics also show that 66 percent are people living at home, while 18 percent are in nursing homes and four percent are in assisted living facilities. Two percent of the people afflicted are homeless, and less than one percent come from jails or prison.
The death toll climbed another 232, rising to 25,260 on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Cuomo also cautioned that the total number of deaths could be higher as experts now believe the novel coronavirus arrived in the United States much earlier than originally thought. Cuomo said tests are being run for those who died in November and December. Also, at-home deaths may not be included in the overall figures so far.
“I think we’re going to find when all this is said and done that the numbers are going to be much different,” he said.
Late on Tuesday, it was announced the Democratic presidential primary is back on in New York State on June 23. U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan reinstated the election on the basis that it would be unconstitutional, even though presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang have withdrawn from the race.
The State’s Board of Elections voted last week to cancel the presidential primary, even with state and congressional primaries taking place.
Cuomo said Wednesday that absentee ballots are the “best way” to vote in the primary, noting that people should not have to exercise their civic duty by putting their health at risk.
Asked if county Boards of Elections are prepared, Cuomo said he has not heard otherwise. Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor, said the governor’s office is working closely with the local boards and, if necessary, their work could be supplemented with help from the National Guard. She also cautioned: “There is a very real possibility that certain elections won’t be called on Election Night.”
As the state continues to look toward reopening, the governor said the state must find new, innovative solutions to help those in need. He announced that Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive officer and executive chairman at Google, will lead “a blue-ribbon commission that will reimagine how our new state can Build Back Better.”
Schmidt, speaking by video conference, said the commission would focus on Telehealth, remote learning and broadband. “We need to look for solutions that can be presented now and accelerated,” he said.
On Tuesday, Cuomo announced that the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation is providing assistance in the endeavor of reimagining New York, especially when it comes to improving remote education.