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Cuomo outlines New York's massive contact tracing plan

Cuomo on plans for a COVID "tracing army"
Cuomo outlines plans for a "tracing army" to fight coronavirus 05:00

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo detailed the state's plan to trace all coronavirus cases during his daily press briefing on Thursday. He said the system aims to trace the whereabouts of everyone who tests positive for the virus, then notify anyone they came in contact with while infected. 

According to the governor, 4,681 people tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday. 

"That is an overwhelming scale to an operation that has never existed before," he said. 

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, is leading the operation. He joined Cuomo's briefing via video on Thursday.

Cuomo said they will train 30 "contact tracers" for every 100,000 people in an affected area. If that estimate is reached, New York could need anywhere from 6,400 to 17,000 tracers statewide. "It will require, under any scale, a tracing army," he said. 

Employees in the state's health department, as well as other government employees who are currently working from home, will be recruited to become tracers, according to the governor. 

"This problem is bigger than any one of us, but it is not bigger than all of us," he said.  

NYC subways to close during overnight hours

Cuomo said New York City subways will shut down between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. starting Wednesday, May 6, in order to clean the public transit system on a daily basis. He said the missing train service will be supplemented by alternative transportation in the form of buses and for-hire vehicles that will be provided at no cost to essential workers. 

Homeless population a growing health issue in New York City's subway system 02:14

The MTA is now cleaning its network of trains and buses every 72 hours. On Wednesday, Cuomo said he had requested that the agency ramp-up its cleaning to every 24 hours, saying he expected it to produce a plan to accomplish the undertaking by Thursday.

He said on Wednesday that disinfecting the transit system is necessary so essential workers can safely get to work. "We have to be able to do it as a society, we have to," he said.

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