Virus deaths in N.Y. hit new one-day peak, but hospitalizations are slowing.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Tuesday that 731 more people had died in New York State, the largest single-day increase in deaths since the crisis began. The grim tally followed two days in which the numbers appeared to have leveled off.
The governor emphasized that death was a lagging indicator in the fight against the virus, and pointed to a falling rate of hospitalizations and said that the state was still projecting that the spread of the virus was plateauing.
Here are the statistics from his morning briefing:
Deaths in New York State: 5,489, up by 731 from Monday morning.
Confirmed cases: 138,836 statewide, up from 130,689 on Monday.
After two days with fewer deaths, the region hopes for a third.
One day does not make a trend. Nor do two.
But officials in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are looking at the numbers on the coronavirus outbreak and seeing signs that the virus’s ghastly toll may be starting to ease.
Still, the authorities have asked citizens to stay vigilant. Thousands more will die before the outbreak comes to an end and the spread could begin again if restrictions on social distancing are not observed.
All three states reported death tolls on Sunday and Monday that were lower than the ones they reported Saturday, the first time that has happened since the outbreak began.
In New Jersey, the drop was considerable — after three days in a row with triple-digit death tolls as high as 200, the state reported that 71 people had died of the virus on Sunday and 86 on Monday.
In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday the data suggested that virus in New York at least was nearing its apex, but that the state remained in a dire, unsustainable state of emergency.
“If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a very high level,” he said. “And there is tremendous stress on the health care system.”
Around the country, experts and officials say that deaths from the virus are being undercounted because of inconsistent protocols and limited resources.
In New York City, the head of the City Council’s health committee, Mark Levine, wrote on Twitter that people are dying at home at about 10 times the normal rate, presumably because of the virus, but that not all the deaths were being counted as virus deaths.
But there are other indications that the outbreak is slowing down. In New York, the number of virus patients who are hospitalized has been growing at a slower and slower rate: It has gone from increasing by 20 or 30 percent per day to increasing by less than 10 percent per day lately.
The number of patients on ventilators, too, is still growing, but much more slowly.
Governor Cuomo insisted that the state’s progress could continue only if New Yorkers continued to follow the social distancing rules that are credited with helping stem the outbreak.
“We get reckless,” Mr. Cuomo said, “you will see these numbers go up again.”
A crew member on a Navy hospital ship in New York has tested positive for the virus.
A Navy spokeswoman said the discovery of an infected crew member would not affect the Comfort’s mission in New York. “It does not affect the ability of the Comfort to receive patients at all,” Elizabeth Baker, the spokeswoman, said.
As of Tuesday, there were more than 50 patients on board, she said, meaning most of the Comfort’s beds still remained unused.
De Blasio urges focus on feeding New Yorkers in need.
Mayor de Blasio said on Tuesday that, along with the struggle to halt the spread of the coronavirus, New York City was increasingly focused on helping the growing number of people who were unemployed and unsure of where their next meal would come from.
“There’s a new front opening up and we have to be there for people who need food,” the mayor said.
According to a Siena College Research Institute poll published on Monday, 49 percent of city residents are worried about putting food on the table.
A separate survey by the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, published today, found that for more than half of New Yorkers, the virus and its response had hurt their household’s ability to get the food they need. Eighteen percent said their ability to procure food was reduced “a lot.”
Mr. de Blasio said that in the last three weeks, city programs had served 2.6 million meals to New Yorkers who needed food — “and that is just the beginning.”
He cited a projection had showed that at least 500,000 New Yorkers had either lost their jobs or soon would.
New York says that for now, it has enough ventilators.
It had been a constant refrain through the weeks of the outbreak.
Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio had both repeated daily that the city and state faced a desperate need for ventilators to help virus patients in intensive care keep breathing.
But on Monday, both said that, for the moment, that need had been met.
Mr. de Blasio said Monday night on NY1 that after receiving another 500 ventilators from the state, “The situation related to the number of I.C.U. beds and ventilators has appeared to change meaningfully.”
He said the city now had enough ventilators to last through the end of the week.
Mr. Cuomo said earlier on Monday that the state had received ventilators from California, Oregon and elsewhere, adding, “We don’t need any additional ventilators right now.”
The pressure is easing in part because the number of virus patients on ventilators in New York, while still increasing, is not increasing as rapidly as it was last week.
How gig workers are surviving the shutdown.
In New York, the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak, the lucky ones work at home.
But that’s often not an option for the 1.4 million New Yorkers who freelance, work project to project or find gigs through apps like Lyft and Wag. Much of their work has evaporated, and they may not be entitled to unemployment benefits or be covered by health insurance.
From a caterer whose event-based business lost the next two months of bookings, to a production assistant hoping his food-delivery gig allows him to keep paying the bills, workers have had to adjust their routines — sometimes drastically — as they cope with economic uncertainty.
“It’s tricky because there’s no foreseeable income,” said Yulan Grant, 26, who had been working as an art handler and DJ. “No one knows when the museums and galleries will be open again. We just don’t know when the clubs will be open or especially in New York, if they will able to survive being closed for more than a month.”
‘You can feel the surge happening,’ a Long Island official says.
While early signs indicate that the coronavirus outbreak may be slowing in New York City, a nearby suburb is facing a surge.
Steve Bellone, the county executive in Suffolk on Long Island, said this morning that “the battle really is shifting to Long Island.”
“We’re seeing it in the numbers and you can feel the surge happening,” Mr. Bellone said on CNN.
Three weeks ago, Suffolk County, which has more than a million residents, had not reported a single virus-related fatality, Mr. Bellone said. “Yesterday that number soared well past 200,” he said.
Suffolk County now has a higher rate of infection than New York City, with nearly 1,000 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. The city has 815 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents.
“I’m having conversations I never imagined having in this position,” he said, including with the governor about the capacity of its morgue and the number of body bags the county will need.
Donating to E.M.T.s and other ways to help
The anxiety and isolation resulting from the virus outbreak can feel crippling at times. But for New Yorkers who want to do something constructive, there are ways to help.
The nonprofit EMS FDNY Help Fund provides financial support to the city’s emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Like doctors and nurses, these emergency services workers are on the front lines of the crisis, and they have been responding to constant calls over the past several weeks.
Putting in multiple long shifts for pay that hovers just above the city’s minimum wage, these workers could use a lift, union leaders say.
“Our members working are 16 hours a day, 17 hours a day, and a lot of them are sleeping in their cars afterward because they’re scared of brining the virus home to their families,” Vinny Variale, the president of the Uniformed EMS Officers Union and an FDNY lieutenant said on Thursday. “Anybody that can help, we really need it.”
Donations to the EMS FDNY Help Fund, which fire officials and multiple unions have endorsed, can be made here. then
In addition, fire officials have called for donations to the FDNY Foundation — a nonprofit affiliated with the department that opened a Covid-19 fund earlier this week. A spokesman for the department said donations will be used “to help FDNY families who have Covid-19 illness, death, or who are impacted in any way.” Donations can be made here.
And on Monday, Mr. Cuomo also announced the creation of what he called the “First Responders Fund,” which is accepting donations here.
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Reporting was contributed by Jonah Engel Bromwich, Alan Feuer, David Gonzalez, Jeffery C. Mays, Andy Newman, Azi Paybarah, Michael Schwirtz, Matt Stevens and Michael Schwirtz.