Coronavirus deaths in New York surged by 731 on Monday, the biggest single-day jump in COVID-19 fatalities since the outbreak began a few months ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
The jump in fatalities comes even as the number of intensive care admissions starts to decline, giving the state some needed breathing room to ramp up supplies and staff to handle an expected wave of cases over the next few weeks, he said. Earlier in the day, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the number of coronavirus patients being placed on ventilators in recent days has been better than expected, giving the city precious time to secure necessary supplies for a wave of patients expected to hit local hospitals in the next few weeks.
So far, 5,489 people in the state have died from the coronavirus, accounting for roughly half of all deaths in the U.S. “Behind every one of those numbers is an individual, is a family, is a mother, is a father, is a brother, is a sister. So, a lot of pain again today,” he said at a press conference in Albany.
The number of deaths is a lagging indicator of the number of hospitalizations, Cuomo said. Those people were admitted to hospitals at the peak and weren’t successfully treated, Cuomo said, adding that they were placed on breathing machines, and “the longer you are on a ventilator the less likely” you will survive.
New York is the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, with more than half the cases in the state in New York City, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Cuomo said he plans to issue several executive orders later Tuesday, including one that formalizes $1,000 fines for people who aren’t following social distancing rules.
New York state health officials said they expected to have a breakdown of COVID-19 deaths by race this week. Hospitals don’t provide that information to the state, they said, so officials had to obtain it from coroners. The virus “kills vulnerable people. That’s what it does, and it does that very well,” Cuomo said.
De Blasio also said people of color and people in lower-income communities, which historically have had more health problems, are getting hit disproportionately harder by the coronavirus. The city hasn’t released race data for the outbreak, but de Blasio said the city plans to do so later this week, although he warned that the data wasn’t preliminary.
“The extent of that disparity we’re still fully trying to understand. And the data we’ll give you will help us understand, but it will not be the final word, because … it is preliminary and imperfect in the middle of a crisis,” he said. “The ethnicity data in a crisis atmosphere where health care is being provided rapidly to everyone that can be reached, that’s been less of a focus.”