New York virus death toll worse than official count: study

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The death toll from New York’s coronavirus could be thousands of deaths worse than the city and state count, according to analysis released Monday by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Between March 11 and May 2, about 24,000 more people died in the city than researchers would normally expect during this period, according to the report.

This represents approximately 5,300 more deaths than those attributed to the coronavirus in the official counts during these weeks.

Some of these excessive deaths could be deaths from COVID-19 that have not been counted because someone died at home, or without health care providers realizing that they were infected, said researchers from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

It could also be a ripple effect of the health crisis, they wrote. Public fear of contracting the virus and enormous pressure on hospitals could have caused delays in people seeking or receiving life-saving care for unrelated conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.

“Monitoring excess mortality is important to understand the contribution to the mortality rate from both COVID-19 disease and the lack of availability of care for non-COVID conditions,” said the report.

The report highlights the challenges authorities face in quantifying the human toll of the crisis. Coronavirus deaths are believed to be underestimated worldwide, largely due to the limitations of testing and the different ways in which countries count deaths.

As of Sunday, New York City has recorded nearly 14,800 laboratory-confirmed deaths and almost 5,200 probable deaths where no test was available, but doctors are safe enough to put the virus on the test. death certificate.

In its analysis, the report released Monday indicates that the 5,293 excess deaths are in addition to confirmed and probable deaths.

Here are other developments related to coronaviruses in New York:

SLOW REOPENING OF THE UPSTATE

Several areas of northern New York that have shown progress in controlling the coronavirus epidemic are set to resume economic activity by the end of the week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.

On Friday, three regions in the north of the state met all the criteria for opening certain businesses: the southern part, the Mohawk Valley and Finger Lakes. Other areas in the north of the state are progressing and may follow soon after.

The relaxation of the closure rules will be gradual. Construction and manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and fishing can resume, as can retail stores, but only with curbside pickup. Customers will not be able to enter stores.

In addition, landscaping and gardening companies and drive-ins can open across the state, the governor said. Cuomo said the state is also relaxing restrictions on low-risk outdoor activities such as tennis.

Reopening regions still need to work on logistics, such as the creation of regional “control rooms” to monitor the effects of the reopening.

“This is the next big step on this historic journey,” said Cuomo, a Democrat, in his daily briefing.

The virus killed 161 people in New York on Sunday, he said, its lowest total since near the onset of the crisis in mid-March.

Cuomo has closed most workplaces and prohibited people from meeting in groups of any size from March 22, while New York has become a hotspot for a global pandemic.

Cuomo said last week that parts of the state could gradually reopen if they meet seven conditions related to hospitalization patterns and the ability to test and find people who may have the virus.

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CONTACT TRACERS

New York is about to launch its training plan for the huge body of disease detectives it plans to deploy to track people who may have been exposed to the virus.

The effort, seen as a key element in preventing the outbreak from spreading again, will likely involve the hiring of several thousand people without public health training.

And since it’s impossible to bring huge groups of people together in one location for a contact tracing training camp, training will take place through a five- to six-hour online course to be launched on Monday.

“There’s this whole discussion about using technology in one way or another. But basically, it’s a pretty human activity, “said Josh Sharfstein of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who developed the course with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable foundation of former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg .

When a person is newly infected with the virus, the tracers will be responsible for identifying all the people who may have been in contact with this person, for contacting them and for advising them on how to quarantine.

Bloomberg is putting $ 10.5 million through its foundation to help the state roll out its tracing plan.

Cuomo has made it mandatory to reopen at least 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents.

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THE SURVIVOR OF THE SPOKEN VIRUS

A man who was the second person in New York to be officially diagnosed with COVID-19 said he did not suspect he had the virus when he went to the emergency room and woke up from a coma. weeks later without remembering his time. to the hospital.

“So it’s like three weeks of my life is gone and I’m sleeping for everything,” said Lawrence Garbuz, a lawyer for New Rochelle, on NBC’s “Today” program in his first interview on Monday. televised.

Garbuz, 50, was the first New Yorker to be publicly identified as having contracted the virus without having traveled abroad. Her case quickly became linked to an epidemic in New Rochelle that prompted the governor to close schools and places of worship.

Garbuz’s wife Adina Garbuz said she and her husband originally thought he had pneumonia, but it continued to get worse. He is now fully recovered.

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ARRESTS IN A BIAS ATTACK

A man and woman are accused of trying to remove the masks from people who gathered in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Police said Clelia Pinho, 46, and Paulo Pinho, 35, approached three men on Sunday, masking their faces and making anti-Semitic remarks falsely accusing Jews of the coronavirus epidemic.

The two men were arrested for aggravated harassment as a hate crime. Information about their lawyers was not immediately available.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the attack “unacceptable” and said on Monday: “We do not accept prejudice in New York. We do not accept hatred in any form. “

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Associated Press editors Marine Villeneuve, Karen Matthews and Michael Hill contributed.

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