WPCNR CORONAVIRUS GOVERNOR CUOMO BRIEFING REPORT By John F. Bailey. April 18, 2020 UPDATED WITH VIDEO 3 PM:
The Federal Government controls whether New York State can double ability to test for coronavirus infections to control the pandemic effectively after New York “reopens.” This deserves to be repeated:
The Federal Government controls whether New York State can double its state labs capacity to test for coronavirus infections to control the pandemic with success after New York reopens.
The reagents “react” when exposed to the coronavirus testing samples showing the person is Covid-19 positive or negative.
These essential reagents are needed in greater supply to ramp up testing to the 2,000,000 tests a day level (the scale Governor Cuomo believes is needed for testing persons to assure a successful reopening is not compromised by infected persons coming back into work without knowing they have the virus.
The distribution of those essentials to analyze the tests and what companies get them is controlled by the federal government in Washington. (The Governor has consistently maintained that without aggressive greatly escalated testing, any reopening could quickly send COVID-19 new infections exploding again.)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in his briefing today reported he had his staff call 50 companies that conduct analysis of coronavirus testing samples in New York State to find out how how they could analyze a volume of 2 million test samples a day.
In written quotes posted on televison today (See video above), the Lab companies shown contacted all wrote they needed an extreme increase in supply of the reactants required to analyze the tests at a 2,000,000 a day level.
The conclusion implied : if the federal government holds back the reagents or does not assure a supply enough to a state, any reopening could fail and create a whole city in coronavirus lockdown, facemasked and social distancing again very quickly.
Previously the Governor had touched on the supply needs of increased testing referring to swabs, antibody testing, fingerprick blood tests, and needs for reagents. The state staff explored with the 301 labs in New York State and found that reagent supply is controlled by the federal government, which controls where they go from the manufacturers, what states get them.
The Governor speaking with one of his daughters recently asked him what is all about this testing (not a direct quote). The governor realized he needed to make the need for testing clearer, why it had to ramp up substanially in reopening, and what had to be done to ramp it up and what was the problem.
His staff found out by asking. Previously the governor had mentioned that the reagents come from China. Today he shared what the labs told them: the federal government rations the reagents out.
No reporter in the news conference asked the Governor whether the federal government has an adequate supply of reagents in a stock pile; whether the reagents could be knocked off generically by pharmaceutical companies, to ease the supply or whether the federal government would direct the reagents they have to the states that request them or hold them back and why. Yesterday Governor Cuomo said the President did not want to do more testing because it was hard to do.
The Governor said the Apex of the curve continued to flatten and the new case rate remained steady. He is concerned and so explained the fact nobody knew until today: the federal government controls the supply of the reactant chemicals needed to identify and isolate population that don’t know they have the virus and are returning to work.
The deaths Friday from Covid-19 numbered 540. The Hospitalization rate was down. The intubation rate (converting patients to ventilators) continued to go down.
In the news conference, the governor turned aside a question asking if the governor felt nursing homes were negligent in their care, resulting in the deaths of so many nursing home residents. The governor said no, that he felt the nursing homes were just “overwhelmed. Staff are getting sick. Residents are dying,” the governor explained about lagging nursing home reports and failure to respond. He said when complaints are made about nursing homes not providing information to relatives of a person in their care, the state calls the home.
The Governor did say that persons could get marriage licenses and tests online and could get married by video ceremony.
Asked about prisoners being released from prision terms, Melissa DeRosa Secretary to the Governor, said only prisoners with 90 days of their sentences remaining were being released to avoid exposure to Covid-19. The release affects 200 inmates
The Governor confirmed 7,090 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 236,732 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 236,732 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows (surrounding counties in bold face)::
|County||Total Positive||New Positive|