Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday reported 779 new coronavirus-related deaths in New York - the state’s highest single-day total amid the outbreak - while saying that social distancing measures appear to be “flattening the curve” elsewhere.
Wednesday was the second consecutive day Mr. Cuomo reported a new single-day high in coronavirus-related deaths in the state after the increases had been flat for a few days.
“The bad news isn’t just bad — the bad news is actually terrible,” Mr. Cuomo said. “That death toll probably will be this high, or near this high, or even higher, for the next several days.”
He said the current death toll is following a spike in hospitalizations from about two weeks ago and that people who were put on ventilators then and didn’t get better are now passing away.
Mr. Cuomo said he is directing flags to be flown at half-staff in memory of people who have died as a result of the virus.
The numbers brings New York’s total death toll to 6,268, out of a population of nearly 20 million people.
There are more than 149,000 positive coronavirus cases in New York and there have been more than 365,000 tests.
In the U.S., there are more than 402,000 cases and more than 12,900 deaths, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.
The governor also reported that trends in hospitalization rates are declining and that if they continue to do so the system should stabilize over the next few weeks.
“We are flattening the curve because we are rigorous about social distancing etcetera,” Mr. Cuomo said. “There’s no doubt that we are now bending the curve.”
Mr. Cuomo acknowledged that there could be an undercounting of people who have died from the virus, since people who die in their homes might slip through the cracks in the numbers the state is receiving.
“I think that’s a very real possibility,” he said. “We’re looking at other models, because right now most of the data we have comes from hospitals and major institutions, nursing homes. So there could be a deviation — no doubt about that.”
The governor also said the state plans to boost unemployment benefits by an additional $600 and extend the period covered from 26 weeks to 39 weeks.
“The federal government says they will reimburse us for it, but people need money now in their pocket,” he said. “So New York will be doing that immediately.”
He also said that via executive order, all New York voters will be able to vote absentee in the June 23rd primary elections.