Virus Toll in N.Y. Shows Signs of Leveling Off: Live Updates – The New York Times

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For days, New York officials have sought indications that the coronavirus was nearing a peak in the state — the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic — and might start leveling off.

And for days, the death toll climbed faster and faster, by 200, then 400, then 630 people in a single day.

But on Monday, for the second day in a row, officials found reasons for hope even as hundreds of people continued to die and thousands were clinging to life on ventilators: an apparent flattening in the death toll.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reported on Monday that 599 New Yorkers had died since the day before, when the state recorded 594 virus-related deaths.

The daily increase in the number of patients who are hospitalized and of those who are on ventilators has slowed considerably, too, even as their raw numbers grow each day.



Coronavirus Stats Suggest a ‘Possible Flattening of the Curve,’ Cuomo Says

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said that despite some encouraging signs, residents should continue to practice social distancing.

Total number of hospitalizations are down, the I.C.U. admissions are down and the daily intubations are down. Those are all good signs, and again, would suggest a possible flattening of the curve. The number of discharged is down. But that reflects the overall reduction in the numbers. Big question that we’re looking at now is: What is the curve? If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a very high level, and there’s tremendous stress on the health care system. And to say that this health care system — which is at maximum capacity today right — this is a hospital system where we have our foot to the floor, and the engine is at red line. And you can’t go any faster. And by the way, you can’t stay at red line for any period of time because the system will blow, and that’s where we are. We are at red line. Control what you can, do what you can. The challenge is to make sure that we don’t lose anyone who could have been saved if our health care system was operating fully.

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said that despite some encouraging signs, residents should continue to practice social distancing.CreditCredit…John Minchillo/Associated Press

Mr. Cuomo said the data suggested that the spread of the virus in New York was nearing its apex, but he emphasized that the state remained in a dire, unsustainable state of emergency.

“If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a very high level and there is tremendous stress on the health care system,” he said.

And he added that it remained extremely important for New Yorkers to abide by rules on social distancing. He called the failure to do so “unacceptable,” and said that the nice weather over the weekend had tempted far too many people into lax behavior.

“Now is not the time to slack off on what we’re doing,” he said.

Here were the latest numbers from the day:

  • Deaths in New York State: 4,758, up 599 from 4,159 on Sunday morning.

  • Confirmed cases: 130,689, up from 122,031 in New York. In New York City, 72,181, up from 67,551.

  • Hospitalized in New York State: 16,837, up 2 percent from 16,479 on Sunday. It was the third straight day of single-digit percentage growth, after a long period when hospitalizations were growing 20 to 30 percent a day.

  • In intensive care: 4,504, up 2 percent from 4,376 on Sunday. The day-over-day increase, 128, was the smallest in at least two weeks. Last week, the number of people in intensive care beds, which have ventilators, was growing by more than 300 people a day.

Even if the infection curve is flattening, the virus’s daily toll remains horrific.

New York City reported a one-day total of 219 deaths on Monday morning, bringing the city’s death toll to 2,475. Before the virus outbreak, the average death rate in New York City was 158 people a day, meaning the virus is now killing considerably more people in the city than all other causes combined.

Mr. Cuomo asserted that New York had done all it could to prevent the loss of lives that could have been saved.

“Have we saved everyone?” he said. “No. But have we lost anyone because we didn’t have a bed or we didn’t have a ventilator, or we didn’t have health care staff? No.”

In a notable shift from previous weeks, when he pleaded for more ventilators from the federal government and other states, he said New York was now adequately stocked.

“We don’t need any additional ventilators right now,” he said.

State officials said on Monday that its June Regents examinations for high school students would be canceled. Many high school students in New York State take the exams, which help determine graduation eligibility, in June.

It was not clear whether the August Regents, which give students a second chance to qualify for a state diploma, would also be canceled. The Board of Regents, led by chancellor Betty Rosa, is expected to announce more details about the August exams and how the changes will affect graduation requirements on Tuesday.

The state had already canceled standardized exams planned for the spring for students in grades three through eight.

New York City schools had been scheduled to closed starting Thursday through the end of next week for Passover, Good Friday, and spring break. Students are now expected to continue their remote learning during that time.

The state has said that remote instruction must continue, regardless of whether districts like New York City had spring break scheduled.

The teachers union sent out an email on Friday berating the city for making teachers work on major religious holidays. The city’s education department and the union subsequently struck a deal that gives teachers four extra days off that can be used for religious holidays.

With the number of city residents dying of the virus outpacing the system’s capacity to handle them, officials are considering temporarily burying people in mass graves in a park, the chairman of the City Council’s health committee, said on Monday.

“It will be done in a dignified, orderly — and temporary — manner,” the chairman, City Councilman Mark Levine, wrote on Twitter. “But it will be tough for NYers to take.”

Mr. Levine said “temporary interment” could “avoid scenes like those in Italy, where the military was forced to collect bodies from churches and even off the streets.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said no such plan had been put in place.

“If we need to do temporary burials to be able to tide us over to pass the crisis and then work with each family on their appropriate arrangements, we have the ability to do that,” he said when asked about Mr. Levine’s comment later on Monday.

But he said the city was “not at the point that we’re going to go into that.”

Governor Cuomo said at his noon briefing that he had heard nothing about such a possibility.

“I have heard a lot of wild rumors but I have not heard anything about the city burying people in parks,” Mr. Cuomo said.

After the mayor and governor weighed in — and after Mr. Levine’s comments caused a panic among some New Yorkers — the councilman wrote on Twitter that what he was describing was a contingency plan and that “if the death rate drops enough it will not be necessary.”

In an interview, Mr. Levine, who represents Upper Manhattan, declined to identify which park or parks might be used, but he said, “I presume it would have to be a large park with some inaccessible areas that are out of the way of the public.”

Temporary burials are part of a 2008 plan prepared by the city medical examiner’s office to deal with a pandemic. “Tier One” of the plan involves storing bodies in freezer trucks and easing restrictions on crematories. The cityhas already taken those steps.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy announced on Monday that there had been 3,663 new confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey since the day before, bringing the state’s total to 41,090. He also said there had been 86 new deaths, bringing New Jersey’s total to 1,003.

Mr. Murphy arrived at the news conference where he delivered the numbers wearing a face mask, which he removed before speaking.

“Our protocol has been that when we’re in any setting with more than a modest amount of folks, we’re going to wear our masks, including for press conferences, both coming in and leaving,” he said.

Mr. Murphy identified several of those who had died of the virus, including Collette Lamothe-Galette, a senior program officer at the Nicholson Foundation who had worked for many years at the state Health Department.

“Collete was raised in Newark, educated at Yale and dedicated her life to eliminating health disparities and improving the health and well being of vulnerable populations across New Jersey,” Mr. Murphy said.

The governor also cited a member of Jersey City’s City Council as among those who had died.

“Literally I just learned, not many moments ago, of the passing of a good friend, Jersey City Councilman Michael Yun,” Mr. Murphy said. “He was a respected leader not just in Jersey City, but in Hudson County.”

The governor shared data showing that while the number of positive case results continued to rise, there had been a decline in the growth rate over the past week, from 24 percent day-over-day on March 30 to about 12 percent as of Monday.

“This means that our efforts to flatten the curve are starting — and I say starting — to pay off, even with the lag time in getting testing result back from the labs,” Mr. Murphy said.


“Every day.”

“And every day.”


That was the call-and-response outside Harlem Hospital Center on Monday, as dozens of nurses protested for more personal protective equipment.

On the sidewalk out the hospital, the names of health care workers who died after treating coronavirus patients were written in brightly colored chalk.

The Manhattan hospital has been inundated with virus patients, including some who were transferred from hospitals in Queens and the Bronx.

But the hospital staff has been stretched thin and critical workers have been provided with little protective equipment, nurses said. The hospital has only a small number of respiratory therapists, and staff members get one N95 mask to wear for five 12-hours shifts, said Sarah Dowd, a staff nurse who helped organize the protest.

“We deserve better,” she said, reciting a list of demands that includes at least one mask a day for hospital workers, and more nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists.

The Harlem nurses were joined by counterparts from other public and private hospitals in the city. The protesters held signs that read, “Patients before Profits” and “Who Will Care for You When We Are Dead?”

Foluke Fashakin, a nurse who was at Harlem Hospital, said that nurses were wearing the same equipment to treat those who were infected and those who were not.

“We are not comfortable with this kind of system,” she said.

New York City will end a pilot program that had closed some streets in each borough to vehicles, officials said on Monday.

A spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio said that the initiative, which was started to create more space for pedestrians, required 80 city police officers to shut each six- to seven-block stretch.

Officials decided after a two-week trial that not enough people were taking advantage of the program to justify it, according to the spokeswoman, Jane Meyer.

Mr. de Blasio had said on Sunday that he wanted to continue testing the program because bad weather might have discouraged people from going outside during the two weeks it was in effect.

Scott Stringer, New York City’s comptroller, lashed out at President Trump on Monday over his response to the coronavirus outbreak, blaming the president for the death of his mother, Arlene Stringer-Cuevas.

“Donald Trump has blood on his hands, and he has my mom’s blood on his hands” he wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Stringer faulted Mr. Trump for the fact that the 1,000 beds on a Navy hospital ship sent to New York amid the crisis were reserved for patients were not infected with the virus.

Ms. Stringer-Cuevas, 86, died on Friday. She was the first woman to represent Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood on the City Council.

Mr. Stringer, who called his mother a “a genuine trailblazer” in announcing her death, described the difficulty of mourning with restrictions in place.

“Perhaps the thing I struggle with the most is, how do you mourn at a time where you can’t connect with people?” he said.

Crime has plummeted in New York City and across the state since the governor announced a stay-at-home order more than three weeks ago, data released on Monday shows.

In New York City, the number of felony and misdemeanor cases dropped a collective 43.3 percent from March 18 to March 24, compared with the same period in 2019, according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

All other regions in the state experienced an even greater decline over the same period: a drop of nearly 69 percent in misdemeanors and felonies.

The number of felonies specifically dipped 33 percent in New York City and 60 percent in the rest of the state.

Reporting was contributed by Jonah Engel Bromwich, Joseph Goldstein, Matthew Haag, Elizabeth A. Harris, Andy Newman, Eliza Shapiro, Liam Stack and Katie Van Syckle.