Here’s what Governor Cuomo had to say today.
Most of what he has to say is well known and just repetitive so I won’t bother with it such as “what are all the testing technologies available?” There’s also some general whining that I’m not going to put here. So what’s new and relevant?
New hospitalizations are still high but they have excess capacity since they’re doing a lot better treating people.
I added this because, personally, I hate the talk of going to a “new normal.” Governments generally don’t give you a lot of choice in what that new normal actually will wind up being!
I’m glad the governor is finally making a bigger deal out of the simple fact that testing is hard. If you base reopening on testing virtually everyone in the state, the logistics for doing that are massive — and he doesn’t have any idea how to do it. His answer, of course, is that that’s what the federal government needs to solve. That’s certainly true to a certain degree but the federal government doesn’t know how to do it either! You simply can not call massive testing into existence because you’d like it!
As the governor also noted, it’s a bit of a race to see whether we get to a vaccine or a collection of treatments before you scale up testing and tracing. Like everyone else, the easy answer is to do it all and that the federal government should do it.
So here’s the rub and the governor didn’t have much additional to say other than “it’s a big problem.” If you test everyone, who’s going to contact a positive person and then try to figure out everyone that they’ve had contact with over the last week or so. We know how they did it in South Korea:
Seoul says it is building on lessons learned from an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2015 and working to make as much information available as possible to the public. It has embarked on a massive testing program, including people who have very mild illness, or perhaps don’t even have symptoms, but who may be able to infect others.
This includes enforcing a law that grants the government wide authority to access data: CCTV footage, GPS tracking data from phones and cars, credit card transactions, immigration entry information, and other personal details of people confirmed to have an infectious disease. The authorities can then make some of this public, so anyone who may have been exposed can get themselves – or their friends and family members – tested.
As I’ve harped on, you have to work this backwards. “Is the government going to enforce individual quarantines and how will that be done?” If you have an answer for that you can ask, “if we we’re committed to a mandatory quarantine, then what are the means by which we will do contact tracing?” If you can’t answer this, then there’s no reason to go to the next question which is “how do we test everyone?” because testing is irrelevant if you don’t do the other two things!
Again, because this is such a large and possibly insurmountable problem, the governor needs the federal government to solve it.
Governor Cuomo has issued and Executive Order to wear masks. The irony, of course, is that not very many weeks ago, wearing a mask would have gotten you arrested!