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Cuomo: 20,000 in New York test positive for Covid-19; 'life is going to be quieter'

New York has hit the pause button on just about everything. Going to work. Going to school. Nightlife. Worship.

Now, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said at his daily news briefing in Albany on the state's response to Covid-19, it's time to settle in.

"Life is going to be quieter for a matter of months," Cuomo said.

At 8 p.m. Sunday, Cuomo's executive order barring all workers at "nonessential" businesses to stay home went into effect. While not quite a shelter-in-place order, it was the latest and most drastic measure Cuomo has imposed in a fight to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

More than 20,000 New Yorkers have tested positive for Covid-19, he said Monday, with more than 5,700 new cases confirmed overnight. About 13% of the cases have ended up hospitalized. There are 621 intensive care unit patients.

"The increase in the number of cases continues," Cuomo said.

The new figures come up as the state has ramped up testing. In 10 days, New York State has increased testing from 1,000 per day to 16,000, Cuomo said.

23 more Covid-19 cases in Erie County brings total to 87

He said as testing increases, the number of positives are expected to go up. "I see it as a wave that will break at one point. The question is what is the point of the break?" Cuomo said.

Cuomo addressed a question about why there was more testing happening in the New York City area.

"You go where the need is," he said. "The majority of our cases are in New York City. You go where the numbers are," he said.

He said testing and beds will be provided wherever they are needed. "I don't care upstate or downstate," he said. "This is one state."

Cuomo said he knows people aren't happy about it, but it is the right thing to do.

"I have no second thoughts on actions that I have taken. I would make the same decisions today. I have no second thoughts on going to zero nonessential workers. It still hasn't brought down the rate down low enough."

Cuomo said he assumes there will be political fallout. He said a man told him: "There's no way this state will re-elect you."

Cuomo said, "I don't even care about that. I did the right thing. I'm proud of it."

The governor showed a gentler side Monday, urging New Yorkers to do the same. He pointed out that his daughter, Cara Kennedy Cuomo, has joined him in Albany to work as a special assistant to him, with a salary of $1 a year, just as he once did for his own father, Gov. Mario Cuomo.

That likely never would have happened had it not been for the global pandemic. "What a beautiful gift that is, right?" he said.

"Realize the time-frame we're expecting, make peace with it and find a way to help each other through this situation," Cuomo said, "because it's hard for everyone."

As everything grinds to a halt, it's also important to start thinking about to start it all back up, Cuomo said.

"At one point you have to open the valve. That is oxygen for the economy. This is not sustainable," he said.

Regarding the state budget, Cuomo said, he still wants all of the things that he previously introduced including adjustments to bail reform legislation as well as legalizing marijuana.

Cuomo also demanded New York City find a way to reduce density in parks and to pass legislation if necessary. He wants people, especially young people, to stop gathering in groups in places like parks. "You can get it," he said, "and you can transmit it."

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