Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that New York appeared to be “on the other side” of the coronavirus outbreak as he announced another drop in daily deaths and highlighted other positive trends.

“If this trend holds, we are past the high point,” Cuomo told reporters at a briefing on Long Island. “Whether or not the descent continues depends on what we do. But right now we are on a descent.”

The daily death count of 507 — in the nation’s epicenter of the Covid-19 epidemic — was the lowest since April 6, after New York weathered almost two weeks of fatalities numbering between 606 and 799, the peak from April 9. On Saturday, Cuomo reported 540 new fatalities.

New coronavirus cases also dropped on Sunday, to 6,054 from 7,090 on Saturday, for a total of 242,786, more than 10% of cases reported globally. It was the lowest number of new cases since March.

In a notably upbeat briefing, Cuomo showed the curve of total hospitalizations on a steady downward trend. He said that intubations onto ventilators also continue to drop.

Total new hospitalizations from Covid-19 fell dramatically, to 1,384 on Sunday from 1,915 on Saturday. But Cuomo said overall hospitalizations remain at a level high enough to continue stretching the state’s medical system. He said he also remains concerned about outbreaks in nursing homes, which have claimed thousands of lives.

“It’s no time to get cocky and it’s no time to get arrogant,” he said. “We still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do.”

The Democrat didn’t announce a letup in the state’s lockdown, in place until mid-May, even as President Donald Trump urges states to reopen. Some states have begun to do so on a limited basis.

The setting for Sunday’s briefing reflected the better news — and apparently a brighter and more expansive mood from Cuomo, who went so far to talk about family spaghetti dinners and his daughter’s boyfriend.

Rather than speak from the capital in Albany, he visited Northwell Heath on Long Island, New York’s largest health care provider, to thank workers for guiding the state through the crisis.

“The long and the short of it is, thank you to all New Yorkers for all the good work, to our health care workers, a special thank you to the police to fire to the transit workers,” Cuomo said.

“We thank them from the bottom of our hearts but we also know we have more to do.”

Testing, Tracing

As a next step, he said New York will begin over the next week an aggressive program to test for antibodies that indicate whether a person had the virus and has possibly developed some resistance.

He continued to say the state needed to ramp up testing and tracing of infections — and again asked for help from the federal government to do so. Testing has become a central point of the prickly relations between Trump and Cuomo, who strongly criticized the president in public on Friday.

He declined to repeat the criticism on Sunday, though, and thanked the federal government for assistance like new hospital beds.

Expanded testing is a condition for reopening and the federal government has in important role, said Cuomo.

“We have to stay smart and we have to stay united,” he said. “Now is no time, as I said, to get arrogant.”

Source: Bloomberg, April 19, 2020