New York now has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than Iran and France. Late Wednesday night, the Senate passed a spending package aimed at mitigating the economic harms of the pandemic, but governor Andrew Cuomo argued that the bill does not provide enough money to his state’s emergency medical efforts. The legislation allocates $3.8 billion to New York, but Cuomo says the state faces a budget shortfall as high as $15 billion. Nonetheless, Cuomo indicated that the city’s partial lockdown has been effective, saying in a briefing that “the evidence suggests that the density control measures may be working.”
Meanwhile, U.S. jobless claims soared to an unprecedented 3.28 million Thursday morning. Nonetheless, the U.S. continues to enhance its ability to combat the pandemic. States that had previously lagged in testing, including California, saw dramatic increases in testing on Wednesday. Louisiana and Massachusetts also saw massive spikes. With those states relatively early in their outbreaks, robust testing may enable them to elude the plight of New York.
On Tuesday, the U.S. administered fewer tests than on Monday, but Wednesday’s numbers indicate that the drop-off was likely a blip. Nearly 75,000 patients received COVID-19 tests on Wednesday. The U.S. has now tested more people than South Korea. Adjusted for population size, domestic diagnostics still lag, but the growth is encouraging. Testing grew by an average of 19 percent a day from last Wednesday, March 18, to yesterday, March 25. If those numbers continue to grow, states may be able to roll back social-distancing measures and implement alternative measures, such as the “test and trace” strategy that has been successful in South Korea.
While the outbreak in Washington has abated, New York is in a state of emergency. Gruesome reports have come out of Elmhurst Hospital, a public medical facility in Queens, where 13 patients died in just 24 hours. While federal efforts to combat the virus have been broad so far, measures more narrowly targeted to specific outbreaks would likely be more effective.