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Can't stop economy forever, looking whether young people can resume work sooner: NY Guv

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Press Trust of India  |  New York 

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday said there is a need to ensure "economic viability" and pivot to a more functional economy, saying he is looking into whether young people and those immune to the virus can resume work sooner.

His statement came as the total number of deaths due to coronavirus crossed 15,000 globally. Over 341,300 cases have been registered in 174 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December.

"There has to be a balance or parallel tracks that we're going down. We're talking about public health, we're talking about isolation, we're talking about protecting lives. There also has to be a parallel track that talks about economic viability," Cuomo said at a press conference.

"I take total responsibility for shutting off the economy in terms of essential workers. But we also have to start to plan the pivot back to economic functionality. You can't stop the economy forever," he said.

Cuomo added that there is a need to think about whether everyone stays out of work and for how long.

"Should young people go back to work sooner. Can we test for those who had the virus, resolve and are now immune. And can they start to go back to work," he said, referring to a theory of risk stratification, which states that it is important to isolate the vulnerable people and not isolate everyone.

"And if you isolate all people, you may be actually exposing the more vulnerable people by bringing in a person who is healthier and stronger and who may have been exposed to the virus... Can you get to a point where the healthy people who are most likely not going to be affected can go to work," the Governor said.

He underscored that studying the numbers across the countries of people that have been infected, it has been established that the survival rate for those who have been infected is 98 per cent.

"A lot of people get it. Very few people die from it. So how do we start to calculate that," he said.

Cuomo has implemented the New York State on PAUSE executive order, a 10-point policy to assure safety for everyone.

It includes a new directive that all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions effective at 8 PM on Sunday and temporarily bans all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason.

When in public, individuals must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others and young people should also practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations.

He said the state has implemented New York Pause and "we have to start to think about New York forward" that will require thinking about how to restart or transition to a restart of the economy.

"And how do you dovetail that with a public health strategy. As you're identifying people who have had the virus, and have resolved, can they start to go back to work. Can younger people start to go back to work because they're much more tolerant to the effect of the virus. You turned off the engine quickly. How do you now start or begin to restart or plan the restart of that economic engine," he said.

Cuomo said New York has tested 78,000 cases and as on Sunday, about 25 per cent of all the testing nationwide is being produced in New York.

New York state has about 20,000 positive cases state-wide. Currently 13 per cent of the cases are hospitalised and of this, 24 per cent require ICU and ventilator facilities.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 23 2020. 23:16 IST