COVID-19 Update March 26, 2020

The state reports 37,258 confirmed cases and 385 deaths statewide, as of Thursday morning, including 21,393 cases in New York City, 5,944 in Westchester County, 3,914 in Nassau County, 2,735 in Suffolk County, 1,197 in Rockland County, 751 in Orange County, 190 in Dutchess County, 171 in Albany County, 139 in Monroe County, and 134 in Erie County. (City and State 3/26/2020)

The U.S. COVID-19 death toll surpassed 1,000, with 1,046 deaths as of 8 a.m. CDT March 26. Nationwide, 69,197 American cases have been reported. Worldwide, 487,648 COVID-19 cases and 22,030 deaths have been reported, while 117,749 people have recovered from the illness.

Governor Cuomo’s Daily Press Conference

  • Governor scouting additional sites for overflow, 1,000 plus overflow in each of the downstate counties, in addition to simultaneously increasing current facility capacity.
    – Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland
  • Approved splitting of ventilators.
    – Converting anesthesia machines into ventilators.
  • Shifting load from downstate hospitals to upstate hospitals, and expanding upstate hospital capacity
  • Lost revenue estimated between $10B and $15B.
  • Fed Stimulus Bill:
    – Unemployment insurance, and small businesses addressed
    – Does not help governmental losses, Governor described this portion as a failure, and irresponsible.
    -NYS gets $5B, only for COVID-19 expenses.
    – Does not know how much revenues are down, do not know the forecast for economic activity, nor additional federal response.
    – State will adjust down revenue projections if needed.
    – Adjust the budget through the years to reflect the actual revenue, and adjust spending down accordingly to match the actual revenue. This will be on a yet-to-be determined schedule. (Moe Auster, Senior VP MSSNY Govt. Affairs)

Frontline Physicians: Are You Available for Media Interviews?
If you are a MSSNY member on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic (ideally in emergency or critical care) and are able to make yourself available to do press interviews, please contact Julie Vecchione at or 516.488.6100 x340.

Are You a Retired Physician Who Has Signed Up to Serve? Call us!
Are you a retired MSSNY member that has heeded the call to come out of retirement to serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic? If so and you’re able to make yourself available to do press interviews, please contact Julie Vecchione at or 516.488.6100 x340.

NGS Medicare Will Receive Claims for Telemedicine
NGS Medicare can receive claims for telemedicine now. CMS has provided instructions to the Medicare contractor. (Regina McNally (VP Socio-Medical Economics)

MSSNY Members’ Telemedicine Directory: Are You Interested?
As we continue to confront the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak, and helped by laws ensuring health insurance coverage, a significant number of physicians have incorporated telehealth into their medical practices.

With this growth is a need for physicians to be able to refer their patients to different specialists who may also have incorporated telehealth into their practices. MSSNY is examining the logistical and legal challenges of creating a telehealth “referral” directory. If such a telehealth specialty directory were to be created, would you be interested in being part of such a directory?

If you would like to be part of this directory, please email Steve Sachs at Please include your full name and email address.

Cuomo Blasts Federal Relief Package as ‘Terrible’ for New York
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the emergency deal struck between the U.S. Senate and the Trump administration for coronavirus relief “would be really terrible” for his state, even as his fellow New Yorker, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, called the package a negotiating victory.

Cuomo, who has consistently criticized New York’s allotments of federal aid during the pandemic, said during a press briefing on Wednesday that New York would get roughly $3.8 billion from the $2 trillion package, “a drop in the bucket as to need.”

Schumer’s office characterized the deal differently, saying New York would receive more than $40 billion when totaling unemployment insurance, hospitals and transportation funding. That includes $5.8 billion to local governments in the state — about $1.4 billion for New York City and about $500 million to Long Island.

“Like all compromise legislation, this bill is far from perfect — but it now does much more for this state, its people and its future than where we began,” Schumer said in a release.

It’s not entirely clear which portion the governor was criticizing, but Cuomo seemed to be focused on the expected state share of the expenditure relief. He said he told the state’s congressional delegation “this doesn’t do it.”

Cuomo said the state already has spent roughly $1 billion on its response and will probably spend several billion more by the time the pandemic is over. His budget office predicted on Tuesday that state revenue losses could be as high as $15 billion.

Cuomo said the previous House version of the bill would have given New York about $17 billion, and he is in conversations with representatives in the House about adjustments.

The House is expected to pass the legislation by the end of the week. (3/25 Politico)

Tail Coverage for Physicians Who Come out of Retirement

  1. Q. If I come out of retirement to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic, will it terminate my free tail coverage with MLMIC? Will I be covered for the work I am returning to do under my free tail coverage?
  2. A. If you come out of retirement to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will not terminate your free tail coverage from MLMIC, nor will it alter your ability to report claims from your expired policy. However, you will need new coverage for the work you are returning to do. You can check to see if you have this coverage from your employer or hospital, or if you would like to speak with us about providing this coverage, please call or email us.
    (Regina McNally, VP Socio-Medical Economics)

MSSNY Offers CME Programs-Registration for April 1 Medical Matters
Now Available

The Medical Society of the State of New York is pleased to be able to offer physicians’ on-line programming for Continuing Medical Education (CME). A variety of programs, including a COVID-19 update with the New York State Department of Health and our updated pain management course (free to MSSNY members) are available here.

Physicians who are new to the site will need to establish an account; and physicians who have used the site need only to login in with their user name and password. The majority of courses on the website are free to physicians.

Additionally, MSSNY hosts many “live” webinars and the next one is on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.  

Physicians can register for this program at the link below! 

Psychosocial Dimensions of Infectious Outbreaks”
April 1st @ 7:30am


MSSNY’s has expedited the presentation of the next Medical Matters webinar “Psychosocial Dimensions of Infectious Outbreaks” on Wednesday, April 1st at 7:30am. 

This program is a companion piece to the March 18th coronavirus webinar.  This program provides physicians with vital information to care for patients, staff, family and themselves during this unprecedented pandemic.

Faculty for this program is Craig Katz, MD.

Educational Objectives are:

  • Understand common human reactions to infectious outbreaks
  • Explore factors that influence how people react
  • Describe how to apply historical lessons to your own medical practice

Medical Matters is a series of Continuing Medical Education (CME) webinars sponsored by MSSNY’s Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response.  A copy of the flyer for this program can be accessed here. 

Additional information or assistance with registration may be obtained by contacting Melissa Hoffman at or Pat Clancy at 

The Medical Society of the State of New York is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The Medical Society of the State of New York designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

If you missed it last week, Medical Matters: Coronaviruses 2020: COVID-19 An Evolving Story is now available here.

The MSSNY CME website also has a number of free preparedness courses that are invaluable in this time of uncertainty and unprecedented need for preparedness.  Below is a list of just some of the courses that will assist physicians to better prepare:

Medical Matters Courses:

  • Coronaviruses 2020: COVID-19 An Evolving Story
  • Disaster Medicine Every Physician’s Second Specialty
  • Doctor Are You Ready?
  • The Importance of Resilience After a Disaster
  • Principles of Isolation and Quarantine: Epidemiology as a Decision Maker
  • Public Health Preparedness 101
  • Virtual Drill: Incident Command System & Crisis Communications

Emergency Preparedness:

  • Physician’s Electronic Emergency Preparedness Toolkit (Modules 1-4)

Please note, if you do not already have an account there, you will need to create one, this is separate from MSSNY’s home page.

For more information or assistance, please contact Melissa Hoffman at or

Dr. Fauci: We Should Prepare for “Inevitable” Cycle of Outbreaks
Americans should prepare for “inevitable” cyclic COVID-19 outbreaks, Anthony Fauci, MD, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a March 25 White House briefing. Viral patterns in Southern Hemisphere countries suggest a cyclical nature to the illness, meaning it could be seasonal, Dr. Fauci said. (Modern Healthcare 3/26/2020)

Outbreak updates:

  • The Senate passed a $2 trillion relief package, the largest economic stimulus bill in U.S. history, in a unanimous 96-0 vote late March 25, CNBCThe 880-page bill, which now heads to the House, provides funding for hospitals, emergency loans for small businesses, enhanced unemployment insurance and direct checks to Americans.
  • The U.S. wants the United Nations Security Council to declare COVID-19 originated in China, while China seeks recognition in the U.N.’s statement for its response to the outbreak, stalling a global resolution, four U.N. diplomats told NBC News.China’s diplomats are enraged, the diplomats said, as President Donald Trump’s administration increasingly blamed China for the pandemic. However, after reports of racist attacks against Asian Americans, the president tweeted March 23 that it was “NOT their fault” and later said that he would stop calling COVID-19 “the Chinese virus.”
  • Some hospitals are considering do-not-resuscitate orders for all COVID-19 patients, citing the high exposure risk for staff as protective equipment supplies run low, The Washington Post (Becker’s Hospital Review, 3/26)

Regulatory Timeline of COVID-19
William Rinehart, senior research fellow at the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University, created a timeline to document the major regulatory actions in response to COVID-19.(Modern Healthcare, 3/26/2020.

MSSNY Contracts DrFirst’s “Backline” for Physicians’ Telehealth
DrFirst, a pioneer in healthcare technology offers HIPAA-compliant telehealth and video conferencing as part of its award-winning care collaboration and secure messaging platform, Backline.

Backline is quick to set up and easy to use by both physicians and patients.  Initiate a video session without requiring a patient to download an app, complete a cumbersome registration process, or pay upfront before speaking with their physician. Physicians can use their PC or smartphone to engage with patients. Plus, Backline’s HIPAA security and extensive use cases make it a must-have even after the coronavirus crisis ends.

Also, please remember to add the following link to your call to action so that we can track your member registrations and to also enter the Assn Code MSSNY in the Assn box on the registration page.

Cuomo: Social Density Controls May Be Slowing Hospitalization Rate
New York’s social distancing policies may be working to slow the rate of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday, though he cautioned the numbers are preliminary.

The governor said new projections suggest that since new density controls enacted over the weekend, hospitalizations have gone from doubling every two days as of Sunday, to doubling every 3.4 days as of Monday, to doubling every 4.7 days as of Tuesday.

There were 30,811 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New York as of Wednesday morning, Cuomo said. More than 3,800 people are currently hospitalized due to the virus, including 888 who are in intensive care unit beds. Cuomo said the state currently has 53,000 of the 140,000 beds needed to treat patients when the coronavirus reaches its apex in New York — something which is now projected to occur in 21 days. It has identified a total of 119,000 beds it can use through increased capacity at existing hospitals, temporary FEMA and Army Corps of Engineers medical facilities, a Navy hospital ship and dormitories.

The governor said New York will work with hotels and former nursing homes to identify additional beds it can use for coronavirus patients.

Cuomo, who exchanged barbs with President Donald Trump on Tuesday over New York’s access to the national ventilator stockpile, said he’s working with the federal government to procure the 30,000 ventilators the state will need to treat the expected surge in Covid-19 patients. New York has 4,000 of the devices in its current system, received 4,000 more from the federal government and purchased another 7,000, he said.  (Politico, 3/25).

Loss of Smell and Taste: A New COVID-19 Warning Sign?
A pair of ear, nose, and throat doctors (ENTs) in the United Kingdom on Friday published a statement warning doctors that anosmia, or loss of sense of smell, and ageusia, diminished sense of taste, could be symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. However, the researchers qualified their comments, noting the observations are preliminary. The statement was published by Claire Hopkins, president of the British Rhinological Society, and Nirmal Kumar, president of ENT UK.

In the statement, the authors cited reports from doctors around the world who observed that anosmia was commonly reported among patients who tested positive for the virus.