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A month after New York’s 1st virus death, toll hits 10,000

April 13, 2020 Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — New York’s coronavirus death toll topped 10,000 only about a month after the state recorded its first fatality, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

The state tallied 671 new deaths on Sunday. It was the first time in a week the daily toll dipped below 700. Still, the governor noted people are still dying at a “horrific level of pain and grief and sorrow.”

Hospitals are still getting 2,000 new patients a day, Cuomo said.

New York has now reported 10,056 deaths since early March, with more than half of them in the past week.

“This virus is very good at what it does. It is a killer,” Cuomo said during a state Capitol news briefing.

As a hopeful sign, Cuomo said the number of people hospitalized with the virus has flattened to just under 19,000.

State and New York City officials see plateauing hospitalizations as a hopeful sign for the coming weeks. The governor said the state’s tenuous progress will likely continue as long as people continue to follow stay-at-home restrictions.

“The worst can be over, and it is over unless we do something reckless,” Cuomo said. “And you can turn those numbers on two or three days of reckless behavior.”

Problematic testing

New York City is in danger of running out of swabs for COVID-19 tests and is urging medical providers to continue testing only patients who are gravely ill, the city health department said in a memo to health care providers.

“As the swab supply continues to decline, there is a real possibility hospitals will completely run out,” the April 11 health alert said. “At this time, providers are reminded to only test hospitalized patients in order to preserve resources that are needed to diagnose and appropriately manage patients with more severe illness.”

The warning came amid repeated pleas from New York City and state officials for the federal government to provide widespread testing in order to move to a containment phase in the coronavirus outbreak.

“If the president of the United States or anyone else wants a recovery — and we all want it, right? But if you’re serious about it, you can’t do it without widespread testing,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a City Hall briefing Monday.

The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, said the city “won’t be able to get this over the finish line, if you will, if we don’t have the supply that the mayor is calling for or the assistance of the federal government.”

Through Sunday afternoon, 462,000 people in New York have been tested for the virus, according to state figures. Of those, nearly 189,000 had tested positive.

Because of rationing, just 44 percent of tests conducted in the state have been done in New York City, even though the city represents 74 percent of the state’s fatalities from the virus.

Lack of testing capability, partly due to rationing of personal protective equipment for the people who would have to administer tests, has also stopped officials from doing widespread testing of hospital and nursing home staff who might be passing infections to each other and to patients.


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