New York and New Jersey report record number of coronavirus deaths and fear underestimated death toll

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – The number of cases of coronavirus in New York State alone approached 150,000 on Wednesday, surpassing Spain for the highest number of infections in the world, even if the authorities have warned that the state’s official death toll may underestimate the true toll.

A woman is loaded into an ambulance by paramedics from Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood during the coronavirus disease (COVID19) outbreak in New York, New York, United States, April 8, 2020. REUTERS / Mike Segar

On Wednesday, New York and neighboring New Jersey again reported new one-day highs for coronavirus deaths.

New York State has 149,316 cases reported, up from 146,690 in Spain, according to a Reuters report. In total, the United States has recorded more than 417,000 cases of coronavirus and 14,100 deaths.

New York officials have said that a recent increase in the number of people who die at home suggests that the most populous city in the United States may be underestimating the number of people who die from COVID-19, respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

“I think this is a very real possibility,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo during his daily press briefing.

Cuomo said 779 people had died from the coronavirus in the last day in his state and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said 275 more had died there. The two totals surpassed the one-day records reported a day earlier.

Despite the dire record, Cuomo said overall trends still look positive, with hospital rates falling in the state at the epicenter of the US epidemic.

“Every number is a face, right,” Cuomo said of the death statistics. “This virus has attacked the vulnerable and the weak and it is our job as a society to protect the vulnerable.”

Murphy has tightened New Jersey’s social distancing requirements, ordering retailers, including grocery stores, to continue operating to limit customers, ensure customers and employees wear face covers, and disinfect premises regularly.

“We have to continue to be absolutely vigilant and, if something tightens, instead of slackening,” said Murphy of the coronavirus restrictions for residents. “And I don’t say that with joy. “

Louisiana has announced 70 more deaths in the past day, matching the state’s one-day record announced a day earlier.

The administration of President Donald Trump has called for 30 days of action, including staying at least six feet (1.8 meters) from other people who have turned American life upside down, with most people staying isolated at home, schools and businesses closed and millions of people losing their jobs. Some 94% of the American population have been ordered to stay at home.

“What is really important is that people don’t turn these early signs of hope into a 30-day relaxation to stop the spread – it’s really critical,” said Deborah Birx, coordinator of the task force on White House coronaviruses.

“If people start going out and socializing again, we could see a second really acute wave” of infections, added Birx.

DEATH PROJECTIONS

The University of Washington Institute of Metrology and Health Assessment model lowered the number of projected deaths in the United States by 26%, down from 80,000 on August 4. The model is one of many that the White House task force cited.

The task force previously predicted that 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die.

The institute also increased its predicted peak in the number of deaths in the United States until Sunday, when it predicted that 2,212 people would succumb to the disease. The review advances the expected peak by four days, suggesting that the pressure on the country’s health system will ease sooner than expected.

New York mayor Bill De Blasio has estimated an undercoverage of 100 to 200 people a day who die at home but are excluded from the city’s growing number. So far, the reported number of deaths in the city has only reflected laboratory-confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19.

More than 200 people die every day at home in New York during the pandemic, up from 22 to 32 during the period March 20 to April 5 a year ago, according to city fire officials.

The city will now try to quantify the number of those who have died from coronavirus-related causes and add that to the official death toll, said the New York Department of Health.

“People are dying outside the hospital, unfortunately. It happens every day, “said Oren Barzilay, president of a union representing the city’s paramedics. “I think these numbers, these statistics on deaths in New York would increase dramatically if they tested everyone who expired.”

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Authorities in various states have released data showing that the health crisis has had a disproportionate impact on African Americans, reflecting longstanding racial inequalities in health outcomes in the United States.

De Blasio said that there are “obvious inequalities” in the way the coronavirus affects the population of his city, although the disparities have been less pronounced than in some other jurisdictions. Data released Wednesday showed that Hispanic residents are dying at more than double the rate of non-Hispanic whites and slightly exceeding the mortality rate of African Americans in the city.

Reports by Peter Szekely, Doina Chiacu, Susan Heavey, Maria Caspani, Brad Brooks, Nathan Layne, Lisa Lambert, Stephanie Kelly and Gabriella Borter; Writing by Daniel Trotta and Will Dunham; Editing by Scott Malone, Alistair Bell and Bill Berkrot

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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