Cuomo: Not sure if closing all businesses, keeping everyone home was ‘the best public health strategy’

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that his stay-at-home order for the entirety of New York State was “probably not the best public health strategy.”

“If you rethought that or had time to analyze that public health strategy, I don’t know that you would say quarantine everyone,” Cuomo said during a press conference in Albany. “I don’t even know that that was the best public health policy. Young people then quarantined with older people was probably not the best public health strategy because the younger people could have been exposing the older people to an infection. “

Cuomo said the smartest way forward would be a public health strategy that complemented a “get-back-to-work strategy.”

“What we did was we closed everything down. That was our public health strategy. Just close everything, all businesses, old workers, young people, old people, short people, tall people,” said Cuomo. “Every school closed, everything.”

Cuomo stressed the need for both public health and economic growth. “We have to do both,” said the governor. “We’re working on it.”

At the same time, Cuomo addressed the newly released unemployment statistics, which showed 3.3 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week. Cuomo called the news a  “terrible, frightening feeling for everyone.”

“This is going to form a new generation and transform who we are. You are not alone. Nobody is alone,” Cuomo assured the millions who are now out of work due to the pandemic.

Cuomo said he is working on developing a test which would identify coronavirus antibodies in a healthy person who had recovered from the virus, and after the antibodies showed they had had the virus and it was resolved, they would be able to return to work. Their plasma of antibodies could also be used to treat a sick person and build an immunity to the virus in them.

Addressing reports that New York hospitals were running out of personal protective equipment, Cuomo assured that hospitals had enough in stock for the immediate need, but not beyond. “We have enough PPE in stock for the immediate need, not past it, but for the immediate need.” He added that he was dealing with hospitals who have a need for PPE “today and tomorrow, that’s the kind of time frame we’re dealing with.”

Cuomo also lauded the outpouring of support those across the world were providing to New Yorkers. “You would be amazed at how many phone calls we get,” the governor added. He said that more than 40,000 medical staff and retired medical staff had volunteered to join the front lines and more than 8,600 mental health professionals had volunteered to offer free services for those dealing with stress and trauma.

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