Most of New York State’s new COVID-19 hospitalizations are actually from people who were staying home and not going outside, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
The preliminary data that led to his announcement comes from 100 New York hospitals and involves about 1,000 patients, he said during his daily briefing.
Specifically, 66 percent of new admissions were from people who had been sheltering at home, with the second highest number being from nursing homes, with 18 percent.
“If you notice, 18 percent of the people came from nursing homes, less than 1 percent came from jail or prison, 2 percent came from the homeless population, 2 percent from other congregate facilities, but 66 percent of the people were at home, which is shocking to us,” Cuomo said.
“This is a surprise: Overwhelmingly, the people were at home,” he added. “We thought maybe they were taking public transportation, and we’ve taken special precautions on public transportation, but actually no, because these people were literally at home.”
He continued to say that almost 84 percent of the hospitalized cases were people who were not going to work through car services, personal cars, public transit or by walking, and a majority of them were either retired or unemployed.
Overall, nearly 73 percent of the admissions in New York were of people over age 51.
Gov. Cuomo says the data shows that those who are hospitalized are mostly from the downstate area in or around New York City, are not working or traveling and are not essential employees. In addition, a majority of the cases in the city are minorities, nearly half of them being African American or Hispanic.
He added that state health officials initially thought a high percentage of hospitalized people would be essential employees, explaining, “Much of this comes down to what you do to protect yourself. Everything is closed down, government has done everything it could, society has done everything it could. Now it’s up to you.”
New York State’s hospitalization rate has continued to decline, according to the governor, although he said it is doing so at a “painfully slow” rate. About 600 infected people are still entering the hospitals there every day.
“I was afraid that it was going to infect my family no matter what I did. We’re past that,” Cuomo said at a press conference on April 13, when the initial thinking was that isolation would slow the spread of the virus. “If you isolate, if you take the precautions, your family won’t get infected.”
Cuomo cautioned that the daily statistics, including the number of deaths, will likely end up being much higher than what has been reported, and that the state has been documenting at-home deaths.
“I think that the reality is going to be worse,” Cuomo warned.