Over the last month, New York has become the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic in the U.S., with the state accounting for nearly 40% of the nation’s total confirmed cases — more than 141,000 of the more than 374,000 cases thus far, according to the latest CDC data. With the state, and particularly New York City, being the “front line” of the battle against COVID-19, information coming out of the area is particularly helpful in understanding some of the crucial metrics related to the virus, including who is most at risk.
According to the most recent data from the New York City Department of Health, a vast majority of those who have died and tested positive for COVID-19 had a serious underlying condition before infection.
In its daily updated reports on total cases and deaths in the city, New York’s Health Department specifies what constitutes a serious underlying condition, including: diabetes, lung disease, cancer, immunodeficiency, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, kidney disease, and GI/liver disease.
According the most recent data from the department (updated April 6, 9:30 a.m.), almost two-thirds (65.6%) of the people who have died after testing positive for coronavirus have been confirmed to have one of those specified underlying conditions, while just 1.9% of the people who died after testing positive were confirmed to have “no underlying conditions.” Just under one-third (32.6%) of those who died after testing positive are listed as “underlying conditions pending,” in other words doctors have not yet determined whether or not they had an underlying condition prior to being infected.
The data shows that 1,623 of the 2,475 who have died after testing positive in the city had a serious preexisting condition; 46 have been confirmed to have had no underlying conditions; while 807 are listed as “underlying conditions pending”:
New York City’s Health Department says that the city has confirmed a total of nearly 68,000 cases as of April 6, with over 15,000 of those cases requiring hospitalization.
Of the total hospitalizations as of April 5 (14,205), 46% have been 65 or older (24% 75+, 22% 65-74), 37% have been 45-64, 16% 18-44 and 0.7% 0-17. About half of the confirmed cases for those 75 and older required hospitalization, as did 38% of those 65-74, 23% of those 45-64, 9% of those 18-44, and 9% of those 0-17.
While the total number of deaths is grim, Gov. Andrew Cuomo highlighted some hopeful signs on Monday, noting that the death rate in the state has been “effectively flat for two days,” while the number of hospitalizations and intensive care admissions hit their lowest points in more than two weeks. “While none of this is good news, the possible flattening of the curve is better than the increases that we have seen,” Cuomo said in reference to the latest fatality numbers.
In a social media post on Monday, the governor highlighted a graph showing that the state’s hospital bed situation is far better than models had projected they would be. “Early projections (in orange [and] blue) showed we would need 55K to 110K hospital beds,” the Democratic governor tweeted (post below). “The purple line shows where we are. We are tracking better than the initial models, which is good news. Social distancing appears to be working. We must keep it up.”
Despite the positive developments, however, the governor has continued to warn against letting up on the stringent social distancing measures he has mandated, announcing on Monday that he has doubled the amount of the fine for those authorities deems to be violating the orders. “Today I am increasing the maximum fine for violations of state-mandated social distancing rules from $500 to $1000,” Cuomo tweeted. “This is an enemy we have underestimated since day one. This is not the time to be lax. We need to [stay home] and stay properly distanced.”
Early projections (in orange & blue) showed we would need 55K to 110K hospital beds.
The purple line shows where we are.
We are tracking better than the initial models, which is good news.
Social distancing appears to be working.
We must keep it up. pic.twitter.com/voCNzVv8do
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 6, 2020
Today I am increasing the maximum fine for violations of state-mandated social distancing rules from $500 to $1000.
This is an enemy we have underestimated since day one.
This is not the time to be lax. We need to #StayHome and stay properly distanced.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 6, 2020