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New York State Makes Impressive COVID Progress, But the Pandemic Isn’t Over Yet

The United States, as a whole, likes nothing more than to be number one. But while the nation has come up short in many areas in recent years, there are a few things at which we do excel. For one thing, we were the country with the highest number of cosmetic procedures in 2017, with over 4 million operations being performed that year. We’re also number one in military spending worldwide. We even spend more — three times as much, in fact — on healthcare than any other country. But unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped the U.S. from emerging as one of the worst in handling coronavirus cases.

For quite a while, New York City was considered the epicenter of COVID-19. But while the Big Apple has made a miraculous recovery and the state as a whole has been one of the best of the nation in terms of pandemic response, officials caution that we’re not out of the woods yet.

New York’s coronavirus infection rate is currently among the lowest in the country, so it’s easy to forget that the state’s death toll is the highest by a substantial amount. What’s more, Governor Cuomo has stressed that if New Yorkers don’t stay diligent, infection rates could very easily skyrocket once more.

One effort put forth by the state to stop the spread is continuing to add states to New York’s travel advisory. Recently, Cuomo added four more states — Ohio, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Minnesota — to the list that requires individuals who have traveled to New York from these areas to quarantine for 14 days. States are added or removed from the list depending on whether the state has a positive COVID test rate that’s higher than 1- per 100,000 residents during a seven-day rolling average or a positive COVID test rate of 10% or higher during a seven-day rolling average. Cuomo recently announced that a travel enforcement operation would be launched at New York state airports to ensure visitors are following quarantine restrictions. The governor has also issued an order that requires travelers to give authorities information about where they came from and where they’re going to avoid $2,000 fines and court summons.

And although hospitalizations in New York State did increase slightly in mid-July, both ICU patients and fatalities are on a downward trajectory. As such, Governor Cuomo is paying it forward by sharing COVID-19 resources with other states in need. The state is sending PPE and test kits to Atlanta, with potential assistance being sent to Houston and other hot-spot cities across the country. Cuomo also plans to deploy New York’s 2,000-plus contact tracers to these areas. At last count, there were 7.2 million open healthcare positions available worldwide due to staffing shortages, so it’s clear that healthcare facilities in many U.S. areas could use as much help as they can get.

Certainly, New York — and the nation as a whole — faces a long road ahead, as the first wave of the pandemic is far from over. But with luck and diligence, the Empire state could lead the way in recovery and serve as an example to all.