New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Monday that the number of daily coronavirus deaths in his state has been “effectively flat for two days,” which he said may signal the pandemic is beginning to wane.
New York had 599 new deaths, up from 594 on Sunday but down from 630 on Saturday.
“While none of this is good news, the possible flattening of the curve is better than the increases that we have seen,” Cuomo said.
The governor also said the number of hospitalizations and intensive care admissions have also hit their lowest points in more than two weeks. But Cuomo warned there is a “real danger in getting overconfident too quickly.”
“This is an enemy that we have underestimated from day one and we have paid the price dearly,” Cuomo said. “‘Well, the numbers look like they may be turning, yay it’s over’ — no it’s not.
“And other places have made that mistake,” Cuomo said, citing Hong Kong and South Korea.
“If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a very high level and it’s a tremendous stress on the healthcare system,” Cuomo warned. He also said the maximum fines for violators of social distancing rules have been doubled to $1,000.
“I know that’s a negative for many, many reasons,” he said. “I know what it does to the economy, but I’m not going to choose between public health and economic activity. Because in either event, public health still demands that we stay on pause with businesses closed and schools closed.”
Cuomo said Sunday that deaths from the coronavirus had dropped for the first time in New York, but said the state’s health care system is still under extraordinary pressure.
A total of 4,159 New Yorkers have now died of SARS-CoV-2 out of 122,031 confirmed cases, said Cuomo, who said “the coronavirus is truly vicious and effective.”
“It’s an effective killer,” he said.
Still, the governor suggested that New York might be hitting the virus’s peak, which could mean a leveling off. “The apex could be a plateau and we could be on that plateau now,” he said, adding the trajectory would become more clear in the coming days.
In another bit of good news, the number of new hospitalizations dropped by nearly half on Sunday to a level not seen in more than a week. A total of 574 new hospitalizations were reported Sunday, compared to 1,095 on Saturday. The Sunday number was just more than a third of admissions for the virus from Friday, when 1,427 were hospitalized.
The last time fewer than 600 people were hospitalized was March 22.
“That’s partially a function of more people being discharged,” Cuomo said. “And that’s great news.” Cuomo said 74% of those hospitalized have been discharged.
Cuomo also announced the federal government “is deploying approximately 1,000 personnel to New York State, including doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians and therapists, to help the state’s overwhelmed hospital systems. The first 325 personnel will be deployed to the New York City hospital system today,” his office said in a statement.
“This is war time,” he says. “This is a war.”