© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Cuomo Warns NYers To Take Precautions Against COVID-19 On Thanksgiving

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

As the Thanksgiving holiday week begins, New York state officials are recommending that dinners and other gatherings be limited or even cancelled to prevent a further rise in COVID-19 transmission.New York’s rate of the virus has been creeping up all fall, though the state is still at a significantly lower rate than most of the rest of the nation. 2.74 percent of all tests were positive on Saturday. 30 people died of the disease, and 2,562 were in the hospital.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says the weeks between now and January 2 are a “dangerous period” for New Yorkers, as pressure to participate in social interactions intensifies during the holiday season. Cuomo, who has already limited indoor gatherings to 10 people or fewer, says we’ll know by early December whether or not New Yorkers were careful over Thanksgiving, and took precautions like mask wearing and social distancing.

“People get infected, you need an incubation period for the virus. They then start to get sick, they then start to show up at the hospital,” Cuomo said. "So, December 1, December 10 you'll see the results of Thanksgiving weekend."

The governor says the winter holidays — Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s — will be another trigger point for spread of COVID-19 . He says safe behaviors can mean all the difference between a low or moderate trajectory of the virus and a “terrible spike," which he says will lead to more hospitalizations and deaths.

“I would not be shocked if they said on January 10, January 15 we're up at 7, 8, 9, 10 percent. That could very easily happen if we are irresponsible. It could even be higher if we're irresponsible,” Cuomo said. “It's purely a function of what we do.”

He says even though two major pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Moderna, are on track to produce doses of a reliable vaccine, it will, at first, be limited to the most vulnerable groups. He says it will be at least another six months before enough people receive the vaccine to achieve “critical mass” and allow normal life to resume. And Cuomo says a future vaccine can’t do anything about rising rates of the virus right now.
Cuomo also warned that many regions of the state are headed toward more economic restrictions in the coming days, including portions of Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island, Rochester and Syracuse, as the positivity rates in those regions are rising. But the governor did not declare any new zones or intensify any existing ones on Sunday. 

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.