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The number of daily coronavirus deaths in New York has now been “effectively flat for two days," Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced, in a sign that the pandemic may be starting to ease its grasp on America’s hardest-hit state.
Cuomo said Monday his state reported 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 number of new hospitalizations – and new admissions into intensive care units – have also hit their lowest points in more than two weeks. But Cuomo is warning things could still change and 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,” he continued, naming Hong Kong and South Korea.
New York currently is grappling with 130,689 confirmed cases and 4,758 deaths. In a bid to lessen the impact on hospitals, Cuomo says he plans to call President Trump later today to request that the USNS Comfort, which is docked in Manhattan, to be allowed to treat coronavirus patients as well.
“If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a very high level and it’s a tremendous stress on the healthcare system,” Cuomo warned.
Cuomo also revealed that he is increasing the maximum fines for violators of social distancing rules from $500 to $1,000 -- and that non-essential businesses and schools must remain closed through at least April 29.
“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.”
Elsewhere, in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that the rate of once-sick officers returning to the ranks of its police department “has gotten very strong.”
“The vast majority of patrol officers in the NYPD are younger and very healthy people,” de Blasio said. “So the extent they have been exposed to the virus – they are coming back rapidly.”