New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state is launching a coronavirus testing and tracing program, in conjunction with New Jersey and Connecticut, that will be developed by Michael Bloomberg. The former New York City mayor is donating millions of dollars to help finance the program and will design the unique undertaking.
Cuomo said the program will train “an army of tracers” who will collect data on the spread of coronavirus in the tri-state area. The state has already started tracing with about 500 tracers.
He said earlier New York plans to double its testing capacity from 20,000 tests daily to 40,000. “It is an ambitious goal but it is critical that we ramp up testing,” he tweeted.
Data gathered from extensive testing and tracing is necessary to better understand the virus, and eventually re-open the state, Cuomo said.
“This is not going to be over any time soon,” he said. “We’re not going to have people lose their life because we acted imprudently.”
On Tuesday, Cuomo met with President Trump at the White House. He said the “main issue” he discussed with the president was testing, but that the also talked about state funding during the pandemic.
Cuomo said Mr. Trump agreed to waive a policy that requires the state match a portion of financial assistance from FEMA. Such a match would have cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the governor. “That would be a cruel irony for New York and an insult to injury,” he said.
Cuomo said the initial onset of coronavirus may just be its first wave, echoing a warning from Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Redfield warned in an interview with The Washington Post published Tuesday that a potentially worse second wave of coronavirus could arrive later this year when flu season restarts.
Cuomos said he is making decisions in order to prevent a second wave, or a third wave. “Don’t get cocky because you got hit by a wave and it didn’t knock you off your feet,” he said.