News & Opinion » News

New York hits record daily death toll, but hospitalizations appear to stabilize


New York hit another record daily coronavirus death toll on Wednesday, although new hospitalizations continued their downward trend to the lowest point since the outbreak ramped up nearly a month ago.

Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed the figures in his daily news conference on Thursday, saying 799 New Yorkers died a day earlier and that 200 new coronavirus patients were admitted to hospitals across the state.

“We had a 200-net increase in hospitalizations, which you can see is the lowest number we’ve had since this nightmare started,” Cuomo said as a video monitor displayed the pertinent figures behind him.

“You’re talking about 799 lives,” said Cuomo, who added that he has to bring in additional funeral directors to deal with the masses of dead. “If you ever told me as governor, I’d have to take these actions, I couldn’t even contemplate.”

The news was two-pronged, at once reflective of devastating loss of life and hope. If the trend of lower hospitalizations were to continue and the number of patients in hospitals eventually declined, that would be a sign that the virus had passed its apex.

But the governor said it was too early to ease any of the restrictions on businesses, schools, and public gatherings.

As encouraging as the drop in hospitalizations were, they represented all of New York state and mostly reflected strides made downstate, where the virus hit early and hard.

Locally, Monroe County health officials have warned that the apex of the virus here remains a few weeks away — if physical distancing practices are obeyed.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revised his projection of the number of deaths nationally downward to 60,000.

The new projection sharply undercuts the estimate Fauci made in late March, when he said between 100,000 and 200,000 people in the United States could die from the disease caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19.

Includes reporting by Karen DeWitt, the Albany correspondent for WXXI News, a media partner of CITY.