New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) revealed this week that “shocking” new data indicates roughly two-thirds of recent coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the state involve patients who had apparently been infected at home, CNBC reports.
As the nation’s epicenter of COVID-19 cases, the Democratic governor has advocated stay-at-home guidelines meant to reduce the spread of the highly communicable virus within the Empire State.
“These people were literally at home”
Acknowledging the economic toll associated with such lockdowns, Cuomo has cautioned New Yorkers that the “human cost” of relaxing those restrictions and exposing more people to the virus could be even steeper, according to the Associated Press.
The new findings he announced on Wednesday, however, appear to belie the presumption that citizens are safer at home.
“If you notice, 18% of the people came from nursing homes, less than 1% came from jail or prison, 2% came from the homeless population, 2% from other congregate facilities, but 66% of the people were at home, which is shocking to us,” Cuomo said, according to CNBC.
Noting that most of the patients were either unemployed or retired, he said other aspects of the study were also surprising.
“We thought maybe they were taking public transportation, and we’ve taken special precautions on public transportation,” the governor said, adding that only about 4% of those admitted to the hospital had recently used the city’s transit system, Fox News reported.
“These people were literally at home,” Cuomo reiterated.
“Government has done everything it could”
Shifting his attention to further reducing the spread as the state’s mounting death toll begins to trend downward, Cuomo also stressed the importance of individual responsibility.
“Much of this comes down to what you do to protect yourself,” the governor said, according to CNBC. “Government has done everything it could. Society has done everything it could. Now it’s up to you.”
He emphasized wearing face masks, using hand sanitizer, and keeping a distance from those in high-risk groups.
Since social distancing and stay-at-home orders have widely been in effect for months in New York and across the U.S., however, the data Cuomo presented this week might be enough for some leaders to reconsider the conventional wisdom about this unconventional virus.