Deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic have reached a plateau, perhaps for the first time.
A somber Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference Monday, April 13, discussed how difficult the previous day had been for him.
“For me, I’m Catholic, Easter Sunday is the high holy day in many ways,” he said. “To have this happen over this weekend is really especially tragic, and they’re all in our thoughts and prayers.”
Cuomo was referring to the 671 deaths the state reported on what is arguably the Christian faith’s most joyous day. But instead of hosting an egg hunt at the executive mansion, a tradition started by his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo, he was instead visiting a rehab center that lent ventilators to New York City.
“I think you can say the worst is over,” Andrew Cuomo said, but warned if people let up on social distancing and other measures, the novel coronavirus could have a second wave.
There were 731 new deaths statewide from April 6 to 7, making it the largest single-day increase in deaths since the pandemic hit New York. It followed four successive days in which casualties ranged from 562 to 630, and numbers have since dropped daily. While Cuomo called the latest “terrible” and “painful,” with the state death total reaching 10,056, it was also the first time in a week the daily toll dropped to under 700.
He announced April 13 a multi-state plan to reopen in phases.
“We’re on the path to normalcy,” Cuomo said, although adding there is no timeframe currently. New Jersey, Connecticut, and other so-called turnpike states have coordinated efforts.
He also issued an executive order designed to bring the death rate down. All workers who interact with the public — in supermarkets, for example — will be required to wear face masks. Cuomo said the stabilization of the death rate is “good news,” but the flattening is “at a horrific level,” higher than health officials anticipated, but lowering day-to-day nonetheless.
He also said he will order employers who still have their businesses open and are interacting with the public to provide workers with some sort of face covering. The most prevalent change will be in supermarkets and other food stores. Cuomo acknowledged the order is similar to the New Jersey law enacted earlier this week, but customers there have to wear masks as well now.
More Protection Delivered
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the federal government delivered 200,000 N-95 masks after he personally reached out to the White House.
“President Trump delivered,” Bellone said. There were 3404 hospital beds and 771 intensive care unit beds in Suffolk County as of March 12. As it appeared, the rate of illness that required hospitalization took a downturn.