Gov. Cuomo Announces Michael Bloomberg Will Partner With New York to Develop Coronavirus Testing, Tracing Program

 

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will partner with the state to develop a program for testing and tracing coronavirus patients, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

“We have to put together a tracing army,” Cuomo said at a daily coronavirus press conference in Albany. “This is going to be a massive undertaking. [The] good news is, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has volunteered to help us develop and implement the tracing program.”

Cuomo added, “Michael Bloomberg will design the program, design the training, he’s going to make a financial contribution. He has tremendous insight both governmentally and from a private sector business perspective in this.”

Cuomo said that he had spoken with the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut about developing a tri-state program, and highlighted the fact that Bloomberg’s business empire includes operations in China and elsewhere. “Remember, his company, Bloomberg, they went through the China close-down, open-up. They went through the European close-down, open-up. So he’s had quite a bit of experience in this area.”

Melissa DeRosa, a secretary to the governor, said Bloomberg would contribute more than $10 million to the effort. The Democratic billionaire spent more than $1 billion on a brief campaign for his party’s presidential nomination earlier this year.

At a press conference just hours before Cuomo spoke, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said his city was seeking to develop its own program. The mayor previously set a benchmark testing 100,000 patients weekly. Cuomo said he was aiming to increase the state’s capacity to 40,000 daily, and insisted any effort by New York City would be coordinated with the state.

“You cannot trace somebody within the boundaries of New York City,” Cuomo said. “We’ll coordinate everyone. This is a monumental undertaking.”

A study published by Johns Hopkins University estimated the United States will require as many as 100,000 “disease intervention specialists” in the field, at a cost of approximately $3.6 billion. To date, New Yorkers have suffered more than 250,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus — representing 30 percent of the national total — and more than 20,000 deaths.

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