Governor Andrew Cuomo drew new battle lines on the “war against COVID” today — with family and small gatherings now firmly in his sights. He shared that “the really bad news is that the spread from homes and small gatherings has exploded as the places where the virus is spreading.”
He blamed the increase on reduced social options, like being able to go to bars or restaurants. Instead, people are choosing to gather at home in small groups — and that’s now become responsible for 65% of new cases in New York.
“You can’t go to a bar. You can’t go to a restaurant. What do you do?” Cuomo explained. “You start to go to people’s homes and watch the football game, play cards or listen to music. We are social beings. When you close down social venues, it’s not that we’re going to stop socializing. We’ll just find a different place to socialize. So it’s coming from these home gatherings.”
Cuomo stressed that he cannot mandate or enforce a change in these gatherings but will create an education campaign around concerns, similar to the state’s initiative around mask-wearing.
He shared that the protocols and restrictions put in place on bars and restaurants have reduced the levels of the spread — although he confirmed that the possibility of moving areas of New York City to Yellow, Orange, or Red Zone status (which would trigger further restrictions for restaurants and bars) is still an option.
The Governor stressed that new COVID-19 cases are dangerously close to overwhelming the hospital system. He is preparing to recruit retired doctors and nurses to the front lines again and create field hospitals to cope with demand.