Monday brought the largest single-day death toll yet for the New York State in its battle with the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).
There were 731 new COVID-19 deaths since Governor Andrew Cuomo's last daily press briefing, he announced Tuesday.
That brings the total COVID-19 deaths in New York to 5,489 since the pandemic hit. There have been 138,836 confirmed novel coronavirus cases the state, almost three-quarters of which are located in New York City and the surrounding counties.
Despite the grim news, Cuomo says the average coronavirus hospitalizations in the state has decreased over the past three days. That news comes as a glimmer of hope that the curve is flattening and that state hospitals will get some much-needed relief in the coming weeks.
"If you look at the three-day average, it's moving down, which is good news," Cuomo said. "...Right now we are projecting that we are reaching a plateau in the total number of hospitalizations, and you can see the growth and you see it's starting to flatten."
A primary concern of the pandemic is its potential to flood hospitals with patients, overwhelming medical personnel and causing shortages in life-saving supplies.
Cuomo continued as he has over the past several weeks, insisting New Yorkers continue to take the virus seriously.
"Again, this is a projection," he said. "It still depends on what we do and what we do will affect those numbers. This is not an act of God that we're looking at, it's an act of what society actually does."
Daily admissions to intensive care and daily intubations are also decreasing, Cuomo added.
On Monday, the state increased the maximum potential fines for violations of its PAUSE initiative from $500 - $1,000.
Cuomo continues to urge New Yorkers to stay in their homes as much as possible, despite more pleasant weather, to avoid community spread.
Whether the pandemic has peaked in New York or not, officials say hospitalizations are still at unsustainable levels. If there is not a significant reduction in new cases, the medical infrastructure could still be overwhelmed.
State hospitals are mostly at capacity and cannot sustain a spike in new cases, which occurred last month in Hong Kong after the city relaxed social distancing guidelines too early.
"We're not going to make that mistake," Cuomo said Monday.
Cuomo has said that no COVID-19 deaths so far in New York can be attributed to a lack of hospital beds, supplies or staff. If New Yorkers cooperate with restrictions on social gatherings, the hope is that will remain the case.
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