Apr 22, 2020 - Health

Cuomo says Bloomberg volunteered to help develop "tracing army"

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has volunteered to develop a contact tracing program to help the tri-state area, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Cuomo has previously said contact tracing — tracking down people who have interacted with coronavirus patients — is a key component to the "phased reopening of the economy" when the outbreak is under control in New York.

  • But Cuomo also conceded that the state is far from where it needs to be in terms of its capacity to conduct contact tracing.

The big picture: The shortfall in contact tracing is nationwide, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens, and neither the federal government nor most state and local governments have concrete plans to drastically increase contact tracing.

  • A Johns Hopkins report estimates the U.S. would need to add about 100,000 new health care workers to get it up to speed.

What he's saying: Cuomo said he's spoken to the governors of Connecticut and New Jersey about plans to develop and train a "tracing army."

"Mayor Michael Bloomberg has volunteered to help us develop and implement the tracing program. ... As governor, I worked with Mayor Bloomberg. He has then developed an organization, he works with mayors all across the world, literally, in providing them guidance. 
"He has tremendous insight, both governmentally and from a private-sector business perspective in this. Remember, his company, Bloomberg, they went through the China closedown, open up. They went through the European closedown, open up. ... it is going to require a lot of attention, a lot of insight, a lot of experience and a lot of resources. 
"We're also going to be partnering with Johns Hopkins and vital strategies in putting together that tracing operation."
— Gov. Cuomo at a press briefing Wednesday
Go deeper