A new report bolstered by Dr. Thomas R. Frieden – the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under President Obama – estimates that if New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a stay-at-home order earlier, the death toll in the Empire State would have been far lower.
As much as 50 to 80 percent lower, in fact.
“Flu was coming down, and then you saw this new ominous spike. And it was Covid. And it was spreading widely in New York City before anyone knew it,” Frieden told the New York Times. “You have to move really fast. Hours and days. Not weeks. Once it gets a head of steam, there is no way to stop it.”
According to the Times, Frieden added “that if the state and city had adopted widespread social-distancing measures a week or two earlier, including closing schools, stores and restaurants, then the estimated death toll from the outbreak might have been reduced by 50 to 80 percent.”
The Times piece analyzed how delays in isolation measures damaged New York’s success in battling the virus, concluding that if Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio had acted sooner, the state’s confirmed cases would be significantly lower.
California and Ohio, for example, closed their schools several days earlier than New York, despite having significantly fewer cases.
So far 6,268 New Yorkers have died from coronavirus. Most of them in New York City.