New York’s COVID-19 clusters still have lower infection rates than some states: Cuomo

(Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

By Emily Davenport

Though New York is dealing with clusters of new cases of COVID-19, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the state is still having more success in keeping the numbers down compared to other states in the country.

On Oct. 11, New York State had a 1.05% COVID-19 infection rate, excluding the Red Zones, with New York City having a 1.1% infection rate specifically. 878 New Yorkers were hospitalized for COVID-19, with 185 in the ICU and 86 intubated. A total of 12 New Yorkers died of COVID-19 that day.

New York’s Red Zones have an infection rate of 3.7%. Cuomo said that even though this might be high compared to other areas in New York, these microclusters still have lower infection rates than some states, particularly in states that have been following President Trump’s stance on COVID-19.

“The president has been promoting politics of denial since day 1, even after he had COVID. And it’s a disgusting denial when you see the number of lives lost,” said Cuomo. “There are some states that followed the politics of denial and turned it into science fiction, saying ff you test less, you will find fewer cases, and if you find fewer cases, you have less of a problem. That’s almost a laughable concept, but you are now seeing it in the numbers.”

A chart sent to reporters outlined states with high populations as well as their testing and COVID positivity rates. In the past 7 days, New York performed over 800,00 tests and had a 1.17% positivity rate. Meanwhile, states like Florida and Texas, where their testing rates have significantly decreased, are reaching infection rates of 11.7% and 7.6%, respectively.

Screenshot (Courtesy of the Governor’s Office)

“How can your testing numbers be going down? Our testing numbers are going up bc this was about ramping up testing, getting state labs sophisticated on how to do testing,” said Cuomo. “In the beginning, we could only do 500 per day. Now we do 120,000 per day. You ramp up. You would have to purposely ramp down the number of tests. Why would you do that?”

Cuomo said that part of the problem with these states is that they aren’t collecting data that is accurate because they aren’t testing as much. When compared to New York, Cuomo says that New York is having the exact opposite happening — even with more testing, New York has been staying within a 1% infection rate.

Even with the microclusters of COVID-19 cases throughout New York, such as the ones in Brooklyn and Queens, those areas are still pulling in lower infection rates than some of these other states.

“Our strategy is to identify these microclusters — we do more testing that any other state so we have more data,” said Cuomo. “We are obsessive of getting incoming case numbers from hospitals. You map those cases and find the greatest predominance of cases. That is a microcluster. It’s not a nationwide hotspot, it’s a nationwide cool spot compared to other states. It’s because we are this diligent that we keep the numbers down.”

Cuomo told reporters he believes that the country could be dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks for a year.

“It’s realistic to say at least for a year you will be dealing with COVID, and that might be an optimistic scenario,” said Cuomo. “You will still have COVID outbreaks for a year, you’ll still be needing to manage COVID, and how you do it is very important because that is the difference between a cluster and community spread.”

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