New York, New Jersey: first signs of coronavirus flattening

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – The governors of New York and New Jersey said on Monday that their states were showing temporary signs of a “flattening” of the coronavirus epidemic, but they warned of complacency, the number nationwide deaths in excess of 10,000 and the number of cases. reaches 350,000.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said confirmed coronavirus deaths reached 4,758 on Monday, an increase of 599 from Sunday, up from 594 in the past 24 hours. The state’s death toll rose by 630 on Friday.

Cases in the state, the US epicenter of the pandemic, have increased 7% in 24 hours to 130,680, Cuomo said. Hospitalizations, ICU admissions and intubations – the process of inserting a breathing tube for use in mechanical ventilation – had all declined, signs of “possible flattening of the curve”.

“While none of this is good news, the possible flattening of the curve is better than the increases we have seen,” Cuomo said in a daily briefing, referring to the shape of the curve when deaths are illustrated on a graph.

Timid signs of growth propelled US stocks up, with the S&P 500 index up almost 5.5%. The overall index is now down about 22% from its February 19 peak. At its March low, it was over 30% of its peak.

Cuomo warned that the numbers remain bleak and that he was not sure if the state had turned the corner, saying, “If we stagnate, we stagnate at a high level. “

In neighboring New Jersey, the state with the second highest number of cases and deaths, Governor Phil Murphy said at a briefing, “Our efforts to smooth the curve are starting to pay off. There was a 24% daily increase in positive cases on March 30 and a 12% increase on Monday.

In total, New Jersey has confirmed more than 41,000 cases and more than 1,000 deaths from coronaviruses,

Murphy warned that if the guidelines on social isolation and hand washing were relaxed, a wave of cases would overwhelm the health care system with “disastrous” results.

To prevent his state from backing down, Cuomo extended an order to close non-essential businesses and schools until April 29. He also doubled the maximum fines for ignoring social distancing at $ 1,000.

“This virus has hit our hindquarters,” said Cuomo. “Now is not the time to let go of what we are doing. “

At least one model suggested that the death rate in the United States would slow down. The University of Washington model, one of many cited by the United States and some state officials, now projects the number of deaths in the United States to 81,766 as of August 4, a drop from about 12,000 compared to a projection this weekend.

White House medical experts predicted that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die in the pandemic, even if orders to stay at home were followed.

“PEAK DEATH WEEK”

Despite the hopeful tone in New York and New Jersey, a US national health official said the country was entering what he called “week of maximum death”.

The death toll in the United States, 10,297 on Monday, was rapidly approaching Italy and Spain, the countries most killed to date, with nearly 16,000 and more than 13,000 respectively, according to a count Reuters of official data.

A healthcare worker rolls a patient on a stretcher in the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Brooklyn neighborhood of New York, New York, the United States, on 6 April 2020. REUTERS / Brendan Mcdermid

“This will be the peak of hospitalization, the peak of the week in intensive care and unfortunately the peak of death,” said Admiral Brett Giroir, a doctor and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, on Monday.

He particularly alarmed New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Detroit, Michigan.

“Whether you live in a small town in America or live in the” Big Apple “, everyone is aware of this and everyone must follow the precautions that we have defined,” said Giroir during the NBC’s “Today” show.

More than 90% of Americans are subject to residence orders issued by state governors, while eight states are still keen to impose such restrictions.

In Michigan, the governor has stated that three major health systems have less than three days before the exhaustion of face shields and less than six days before the exhaustion of surgical gowns.

Some drugs that hospitals must give to patients when they use ventilators are also low, said John Fox, president of Beaumont Health, one of Michigan’s largest healthcare systems.

“NEED FOR HEROES”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said a shortage of health professionals was replacing the city’s lack of equipment as the city’s primary need and called an additional 45,000 people in April.

“Increasingly, the challenge is going to be the staff,” de Blasio told reporters outside a surgical gown factory. “We need these supplies, but we also need heroes to carry them.”

Slideshow (9 Images)

The city has reported more than 3,100 dead and may have to temporarily bury the dead in an unspecified park, said Mark Levine, chairman of the New York City Council’s health committee.

“Soon we will start” temporary burial “. This will likely be done using a NYC park for burials (yes, you read that right). Trenches will be dug for 10 online coffins, ”Levine wrote on Twitter. “It will be done in a dignified, orderly – and temporary manner. But it will be difficult for the NYers to take. “

Levine later told Reuters that the city has yet to identify a park as a temporary burial site if necessary.

Report by Nathan Layne, Peter Szekely and Barbara Goldberg; additional reports from Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; Writing by Daniel Trotta and Grant McCool; Editing by Frank McGurty, Howard Goller and Cynthia Osterman

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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