New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the number of coronavirus cases in his state is doubling every four days now — a marked decrease from early on in the outbreak, when it was doubling every 2 1/2 days.
"It's still doubling, and that's still bad news, because that still means you're moving up towards an apex," Cuomo said at a press conference on Friday. "But there is good news in that the rate of the increase is slowing."
New York has had more than 44,000 positive cases and 519 deaths — by far the largest number of any state in the U.S., which Cuomo attributes to the density of New York City and the fact that it welcomes travelers from all over the world. He has imposed sweeping restrictions, including banning all nonessential gatherings to try to contain the virus.
Cuomo, speaking at a Manhattan convention center that has been converted to a hospital, said the state is trying to dramatically ramp up its number of hospital beds. The state currently has 53,000 beds and is projected to need 140,000 at its apex. Cuomo says that apex could come in 21 days.
"We're looking far and wide. Very creative, aggressive and finding all the space that we can possibly find and converting it to be ready in case we have that overflow capacity," he said.
Cuomo said the state is asking hospitals to increase capacity up to 100 percent. State officials have also scouted sites for new temporary emergency hospitals.
"I'm going to ask the president today if he will authorize another four temporary hospitals for us — I want to have one in every borough," the governor said.
Cuomo said state officials are also looking at dormitories, hotels and nursing homes downstate to convert into hospitals. He said they've planned out when the new hospitals can come online so that it happens before the apex hits.
"This is going to be one of those moments they're going to write about and they're going to talk about for generations," he told a group of National Guard troops assisting with increasing medical capacity.
"You'll shed a tear, and you should, because it will be sad," he said. "But you will also be proud. You'll proud of what you did. You'll be proud that you showed up."