With 149,000 cases, New York state becomes world’s top coronavirus hotspot
State now has more patients than any country outside America; Governor Cuomo says epidemic appears to be stabilizing: ‘We are flattening the curve’
With over 149,000 coronavirus cases, the state of New York on Wednesday registered more cases than any single country outside the US.
Also Wednesday the US recorded nearly 2,000 coronavirus deaths for a second day in a row, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University as of 8:30 p.m. The record-breaking figure of 1,973 deaths (slightly higher than the previous day’s toll of 1,939) brings the total number of US fatalities to 14,695.
The US is now second in the world in total number of deaths from the virus, with the toll exceeding that of Spain, which has suffered 14,555 deaths, but not yet surpassing Italy, whose toll stands at 17,669.
The total number of US cases was at some 430,000, with the state of New Jersey at a far second to New York with 47,000 cases, followed by Michigan (20,000) and California (18,000).
The latest New York patient numbers put it past Spain’s 148,000 and Italy’s 139,000, and far beyond that of China — the point of origin of the virus — with 81,000.
The state recorded a new single-day high for coronavirus deaths on Wednesday but Governor Andrew Cuomo said the epidemic appeared to be stabilizing.
Cuomo said 779 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll in New York state from COVID-19 to 6,268. The previous high of 731 was set on Monday.
The governor said that despite the rise, the hospitalization rate was continuing to decrease because of social confinement orders.
“We are flattening the curve,” the governor told reporters.
He added that if the rate continues to go down the hospital system will stabilize over the next two weeks, which will “minimize” the need for temporary hospitals.
Field hospitals have been set up in Central Park, at the home of the US tennis center, in a convention center and on a US navy ship to deal with the influx of patients.
Cuomo said the death toll was high because people put on ventilators when hospitalization rates soared in previous weeks were now passing away.
On Monday, the governor extended the state-wide shutdown of schools and non-essential businesses until April 29.
He again implored residents to continue to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.
“It’s not a time to get complacent. It’s not a time to do anything different than [what] we’ve been doing,” Cuomo said.
“We are in the midst of it. We’re not through it. It’s not over,” he added.
COVID-19 has killed almost 13,000 people in the United States.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said this week that New York’s death toll could be higher because many deaths occurring at home are not being counted.
Meanwhile, preliminary data released Wednesday showed that New York’s Latino and African-American communities were dying of COVID-19 at a higher rate than whites.
In multi-ethnic New York City, Hispanic people made up 34 percent of deaths while comprising 29 percent of the population.
Black people represent 28 percent of fatalities while comprising 22 percent of the population.
Whites make up 27 percent of the death toll and are 32 percent of the Big Apple’s population.
“It always seems that the poorest people pay the highest price. Why is that?” Cuomo asked.