BROOKLYN — New Yorkers were offered a tiny glimmer of hope on Sunday: The rate of people being discharged from the hospital is going up, while the numbers of deaths decreased slightly for the first time since the crisis began.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a press conference Sunday, ventured cautiously that the state could be nearing the apex of the coronavirus crisis, which has so far sickened at least 122,000 people and killed 4,159. But he also emphasized repeatedly that any data suggesting the state’s COVID-19 crisis is plateauing could be a blip.
“We’re very near the apex, or the apex could be a plateau, and we could be on that plateau right now,” said Cuomo. “We won’t know until we see the next few days, whether this goes up or it goes down.”
Over the weekend, the wail of ambulances was near constant across New York City (which accounts for over 50% of total COVID-19 cases) and the number of deaths statewide still remained at stunning highs. Nearly 600 people died from COVID-19 just since Saturday, a slight downturn from the record 630 deaths counted in the previous 24 hours.
And Cuomo says the rate of new cases in New York City (4,245 just since Saturday) has finally started to slow down somewhat. Meanwhile, they’re concerned about a shift to Long Island, where they’re watching a growing number of cases.
Cuomo has also been ringing the alarm bell for weeks about the state’s desperate lack of ventilators, needed to help severely ill COVID-19 patients breathe. Last week, he warned that New York was days away from running out of ventilators altogether, even after some health workers had figured out how to split the machines to accommodate two patients at the same time. On Saturday, he announced that the Chinese government was facilitating a donation of 1,000 ventilators purchased by Brooklyn nets owner Joe Tsai. Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown also donated 140 ventilators to New York.
In addition to medical supplies, Cuomo has repeatedly stressed the need for medical personnel to care for COVID patients. During Sunday’s presser, he said that the federal government will deploy 1,000 medical personnel to the state — 325 of whom will help out in New York City’s hospitals. That’s in addition to the 1,000 medical military personnel who President Donald Trump deployed to New York City by executive order on Saturday.
Cover: A healthcare worker is seen in front of the container morgue at the back of the Brooklyn Hospital Center as Covid-19 pandemic in New York, United States on April 3, 2020. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)