Health and Science

NY Gov. Cuomo confirms 5 new cases of coronavirus: 'This is literally like trying to stop air'

Key Points
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed four new COVID-19 cases in the state Wednesday morning and then another five cases around 4 p.m. ET.
  • The cases all stem from a Westchester lawyer who worked in Manhattan and is in critical condition in New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cuomo says.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference to discuss the first positive case of novel coronavirus or COVID-19 in New York State on March 2, 2020 in New York City.
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed five new COVID-19 cases in the state Wednesday — hours after he said that a family of four in Westchester all had the virus, bringing the state's total to at least 11.

"There was another person who has been tested who came in contact with the 50 -year-old lawyer," Cuomo said a press conference Wednesday afternoon. It was "a friend of the lawyer who spent time with and in close proximity in a number of situations. That person also tested positive, we then tested that person's wife, two sons and daughter and they all tested positive." 

The cases all stem from a Westchester lawyer who worked in Manhattan and is in critical condition at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cuomo said. His case was confirmed Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, Cuomo said his family and a neighbor all contracted the virus. Cuomo then announced, around 4 p.m., that the lawyer also passed the virus on to a friend who passed it on to the rest of his family, Cuomo said, adding that the three children all attend the West Torah Academy.

VIDEO3:0203:02
Fauci: Still too early to determine US mortality rate from coronavirus outbreak

"This is literally like trying to stop air, because somebody sneezes, it's respiratory and it's inevitable that it will continue to spread," Cuomo told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Cuomo said there "were going to be many, many people who test positive." He said local health officials are working to find out who the patients may have been in contact with, adding, "the investigation is still ongoing."

Earlier in the day, Los Angeles-area officials said they had discovered six new COVID-19 cases in the county over the last 48 hours, prompting them to declare a local emergency to help free up federal and state funding. They later confirmed the state's first COVID-19 death, bringing U.S. fatalities to at least 11.

Last week, the CDC stepped up its call for the public to start preparing for a possible pandemic outbreak in the U.S., mentioning schools and businesses may need to close.

*This is a developing story. Please check back here for updates.*