Unveiling bad news is becoming second nature to government leaders, so it is no surprise to hear that a COVID-19 resurgence in New York is inevitable, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said before expanding the two-week isolation mandate for travelers to 10 additional states, or more than half the nation.
Doing the math is relatively simple. It is a certainty that coronavirus cases will increase in New York as infections and hospitalizations continue to rise in 40 states and Puerto Rico, the governor said Tuesday.
The state’s COVID-19 transmission rate is 1.02, meaning every infected New Yorker will infect 1.02 other people. The virus slows or stops spreading with transmission rates under 1, or spreads quickly when one person infects more than one other person.
We’re on a knife-edge between turning a corner on the pandemic or finding ourselves smack in the middle of a new and costly shutdown.
The numbers are not encouraging.
As of now, sadly, out-of-state travelers are the greatest threat to New York’s low coronavirus infections and transmission numbers. Cuomo expanded his order Tuesday to require visitors from 31 states to self-isolate for two weeks, adding Alaska, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Virginia and Washington to the list.
A possible resurgence is tightening its grip on the Northeast, including New York state.
The expanded quarantine will help slow the state’s COVID-19 infections, but it is flawed because the state cannot enforce quarantining travelers who enter New York by vehicle or train.
The only way to beat back community spread of the coronavirus is to follow health guidance we’ve been encouraged to follow for months: Wear face coverings, practice social distancing and wash hands regularly and thoroughly.
If we don’t, we could be in for another four months of closed businesses and stay-at-home orders.
That is a grim outlook nobody wants to face.