New York sees drop in new hospitalizations, deaths keep rising

View of the empty Rockefeller Center on April 09, 2020 in New York City. America's coronavirus epicenter of New York recorded a new single-day high of 799 COVID-19 deaths Thursday but Governor Andrew Cuomo said the rate of hospitalizations continued to fall. (AFP)
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Updated 09 April 2020

New York sees drop in new hospitalizations, deaths keep rising

  • Cuomo disclosed that the number of deaths increased to 799 on Wednesday, a record high for a third day
  • New York, the epicenter of the outbreak in the US, has now recorded 7,067 deaths from COVID-19

New York state saw a sharp drop in the number of people newly admitted to a hospital in the past 24 hours to the lowest level since the coronavirus outbreak began, a sign that social distancing steps were working, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday.
But Cuomo also disclosed that the number of deaths increased to 799 on Wednesday, a record high for a third day, and talked about a growing economic toll on the state that he said far exceeded the impact of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
New York, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, has now recorded 7,067 deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, or nearly half of the total across the country.
Cuomo said he planned to bring in additional funeral directors to deal with the fallout of what he characterized as a “silent explosion” that has sent “ripples through society” and represented the “same evil” that terrorized New York in 2001.
Despite the growing toll, Cuomo said business and school closures and other social distancing measures had helped drive down new hospitalizations to just 200 people on Wednesday, a third of the level a day earlier and the lowest since the crisis began. He reiterated that New York was “flattening the curve.”
He warned, however, that any relaxing of the shutdowns risked ingniting new outbreaks, noting that the deadly Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918 had come in three waves.
He said total hospitalizations were trending at about 18,000, well under the state’s current hospital bed capacity of 90,000, but stressed that more dire models had predicted that New York could see hospitalizations of 110,000 or more.
“If we stop acting the way we are acting, you will see those numbers go up,” Cuomo said. “We can’t handle the worst-case scenario.”
Cuomo said New York was grappling with a $10 billion to $15 billion budget shortfall, and outlined a plan to freeze pay raises for state employees rather than lay people off.
He said the state had 1,000 employees working to process unemployment claims, which had overwhelmed its computer systems, and was working with Alphabet Inc’s Google to develop an online program to handle the claims.
Cuomo said that while the Sept. 11 attack was devastating from a cultural, emotional and physical perspective, the economic impact was far less than what the state was currently going through.
“This was a complete shutdown for now over one month of everything,” Cuomo said.

Related


UK PM Boris Johnson locks down England as COVID-19 cases pass 1 million

Updated 31 October 2020

UK PM Boris Johnson locks down England as COVID-19 cases pass 1 million

  • Lockdown starts just after midnight on Thursday morning
  • United Kingdom has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19

LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered England back into a national lockdown after the United Kingdom passed the milestone of one million COVID-19 cases and a second wave of infections threatened to overwhelm the health service.
The United Kingdom, which has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day and scientists have warned the “worst case” scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded.
Johnson, at a hastily convened news conference in Downing Street after news of a lockdown leaked to local media, said that the one-month lockdown across England would kick in at a minute past midnight on Thursday morning and last until Dec. 2.
In some of the most onerous restrictions in Britain’s peacetime history, people will only be allowed to leave home for specific reasons such as education, work, exercise, shopping for essentials and medicines or caring for the vulnerable.
“Now is the time to take action because there is no alternative,” Johnson said, flanked by his chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, and his chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance.
The government will revive its emergency coronavirus wage subsidy scheme to ensure workers who are temporarily laid off during a new England-wide lockdown receive 80% of their pay.
Essential shops, schools, and universities will remain open, Johnson said. Pubs and restaurants will be shut apart from for takeaways. All non-essential retail will close.
Johnson’s imposition of stricter curbs came after scientists warned the outbreak was going in the wrong direction and that action was needed to halt the spread of the virus if families were to have any hope of gathering at Christmas.
Johnson was criticized by political opponents for moving too slowly into the first national lockdown, which stretched from March 23 to July 4. He fell ill with COVID in late March and was hospitalized in early April.
The measures bring England into alignment with France and Germany by imposing nationwide restrictions almost as severe as the ones that drove the global economy this year into its deepest recession in generations.
So far the United Kingdom has reported 46,555 COVID-19 deaths — defined as those dying within 28 days of a positive test. A broader death measure of those with COVID-19 on their death certificates gives the toll as 58,925.
The United Kingdom has the world’s fifth largest official death toll, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.