New York coronavirus deaths hit record high three days in a row; hospitalizations down

New York coronavirus deaths hit record high three days in a row; hospitalizations down

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo opens his daily coronavirus briefings with the good news: Hospitalization rates are down, the rate of ICU patients fell to a new low, and the curve of cases is starting to flatten.

Then the bad news, which has gotten increasingly worse over the past three days: a new record number of deaths.

New York's death toll reached 799 on Wednesday, surpassing the 779 who died the day before and the 731 who died April 6, the governor said Thursday.

Cuomo then put the unprecedented fatalities in perspective: New York has lost 7,067 people to coronavirus so far.

On 9/11, 2,753 people died in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo showed this slide Thursday, April 9, 2020, on how the number of deaths from coronavirus compared to those who died on 9/11

Data released on New York coronavirus deaths:Most had these underlying illnesses; 61% were men

The growing number of deaths, mainly in New York City and its suburbs, has gotten so drastic that Cuomo said the state is working to bring in more funeral home directors to help.

"If you ever have told me as governor that I would have to take these actions, I couldn’t even contemplate where we are now," Cuomo said.

He added, "9/11 was supposed to be the darkest day in New York for a generation," and now the coronavirus has swept through New York worse than any state in the nation with the same randomness and "same evil as 9/11."

A woman wears a face mask as she passes flags flying at half-mast outside the World Trade Center on April 09, 2020 in New York City.

Cuomo said the increasing number of fatalities is largely the result of people who have been sick succumbing to the virus. At the same time new hospitalizations are lessening, as is the rate of new ICU patients.

New York's hospitalizations due to coronavirus were at 18,279 on Thursday, well below initial projections.

"All of this data suggests that we are flattening the curve so far, and the numbers are going down so far," Cuomo said.

But the Democratic governor offered two stern messages: Social distancing and limiting work only to essential businesses needs to continue, as does preparations for potentially a second or third wave of the virus.

"So far, our efforts are working," he said.

"They are working better than anyone could have projected they would work. That is because people are complying with them."

The state will start a program to link up charitable organizations and nonprofits with communities in need of help, he said.

And Cuomo said there are no immediate plans to end the stay-at-home order that runs at least through April 29.

"I'm not going to say to anyone this is where we are going to be in three week or four weeks," Cuomo said.

"I have no idea"

Follow Joseph Spector on Twitter: @GannettAlbany

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