ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday predicted a second wave of coronavirus cases, arguing in a TV interview that he and other U.S. leaders must prepare for a resurgence as they eye lifting restrictions on everyday life.
“If we’re not expecting a second wave or a mutation of this virus, then we have learned nothing,” Cuomo, whose state has seen the most cases in the U.S., said in a morning interview on MSNBC. “I think this is one of the new normals now in public health, like we go through the environment, like we’ve gone through the economy. That is why it is such an important period for government.”
Evidence has emerged in recent days that the caseload in America, even in hotspots like New York City, may not reach the worst-case scenarios envisioned by early modeling projections. Cuomo said that’s attributable to the public’s adherence with social distancing efforts imposed by governments.
“Our compliance has worked, our closedown has worked,” Cuomo said. “That has dropped the number of new hospitalizations — and we hope that continues — and our behavior will determine that.“
That’s led some to begin agitating for the country to move away from some of the unprecedented actions taken to curtail the virus’ spread. President Donald Trump said Thursday that he would like parts of the country that have been less affected by the outbreak to resume business operations by May.
That may not be feasible for places like New York, where the daily death toll Thursday hit a record for the third day in a row with nearly 800 residents dead across the state. Cuomo has said the ability for widespread testing is a prerequisite for the economy to come back.
“You have to have millions and millions of tests, frankly, faster and better than we have done to date,” he said.
Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday the federal government is considering issuing Americans certificates of immunity from the coronavirus that would allow some people to resume their regular lives.
The United States has been woefully behind on the testing matter since the outbreak began, and there’s little evidence that it has the capacity to ramp up to needed levels on the timeline proposed by Trump and others.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday he believed the country’s largest city could begin to loosen some of its restrictions by late May or early June, but that’s based in part on testing reaching a scale far beyond what’s currently available.
“We would need more testing, and we don’t have it yet,” he said at a Thursday press conference. “If we could get widespread testing, it would start to change the entire strategy.”
Cuomo said it would be nearly impossible to return to normal without the availability widespread testing of potential new coronavirus cases and antibody screenings for people who were infected but have since recovered.
“I don’t see it happening,” he said.