A commuter crosses 42nd Street in front of Grand Central Terminal during morning rush hour, Monday, March 23, 2020, in New York…
A commuter crosses 42nd Street in front of Grand Central Terminal during what is typically morning rush hour, in New York, March 23, 2020.

NEW YORK - New York’s governor said Monday that he is beginning to explore how the state will restart its economy, once the worst of the coronavirus pandemic has passed.   

“I am very proud of the measures we have taken to address this public health crisis,” Andrew Cuomo told reporters in the state capital, Albany. “But I am also very aware that it is unsustainable to run this state – or run this country – with the economy closed down.”   

In 2017, New York had a GDP of more than $1.5 trillion, accounting for 8% of the national total, according to the New York State Comptroller’s website.   

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference alongside the National Guard at the Jacob Javits Center that will house a temporary hospital in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, in New York, March 23, 2020.

The state of 19.5 million is entering its first full week in which non-essential businesses are shut down and many residents are anxious about how long they may be cut off from work and paychecks.   

Cuomo said he is appointing two individuals from the private sector to start planning how New York will restart business and economic activity once the situation has stabilized.  

“We implemented New York Pause – which stopped all the essential workers — we have to start to think about New York Forward,” the governor said. “How do you restart — or transition to a restart of the economy — and how do you dovetail that with a public health strategy?” 

As coronavirus cases statewide crossed the 20,000 threshold Monday with 157 deaths, it is unlikely things will return to business as usual anytime soon. New York is hardest hit among the 50 U.S. states, and it is feared the worst is yet to come. 

The governor said that he and other state officials are working non-stop to scale up hospital capacity and procure urgently needed medical supplies, including thousands of ventilators and millions of surgical masks and gowns.  

Earlier Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a radio program that the city, where the overwhelming majority of the state’s COVID-19 cases are, desperately needs more ventilators.  

“Our supply of ventilators in our public hospitals is really being stressed,” de Blasio said. “We can get through this week, but we cannot get through more than this week unless we get a resupply quickly.”    

Officials have said the state needs about 30,000 ventilators to get through the crisis.  

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