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NYC Coronavirus Deaths Exceed 3,200, Topping Toll for 9/11 Attacks

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 By : Marina Villeneuve & Lori Hinnant

New York state recorded 731 new coronavirus deaths Tuesday, marking the biggest one-day jump in the outbreak, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The state’s death toll since the beginning of the outbreak is now 5,489 deaths.

“That’s 731 people who we lost. Behind every one of those numbers is an individual. There’s a family, there’s a mother, there’s a father, there’s a sister, there’s a brother. So a lot of pain again today for many New Yorkers,” Cuomo said at a briefing at the state Capitol.

The alarming death number comes even as new hospital admissions have dropped compared to last week. Cuomo said the latest death tally reflects critically ill people hospitalized before this week, calling it a “lagging indicator.”

A member of the health staff team wearing a protective suit to protect against coronavirus, transfers a patient into an ambulance at the Severo Ochoa hospital in Leganes, outskirts of Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, April 7, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

State and city officials are cautiously optimistic the surge is beginning to level off.

Looking at New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak, more people have now died from the coronavirus than perished in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center. At least 3,202 people have been killed in the city by the virus, according to a new count released by city health officials Tuesday.

The deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil killed 2,753 people in the city and 2,977 overall, when hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 2001.

The coronavirus has again made New York ground zero in a national tragedy and the center of a crisis that is reshaping Americans’ lives, liberties and fears.

9/11 transformed society. … You had a sense of vulnerability that you never had before, which I feel to this day,” Cuomo said during a coronavirus briefing last month. “There was a trauma to 9/11. But as a society, as a country, we have been blessed in that we have not gone through something as disruptive as this.”

The coronavirus death toll has mounted over the course of just a few weeks. The city recorded its first on March 13, less than two weeks after confirming its first infection.

But in an encouraging sign, he reported that the average number of people newly hospitalized each day is dropping, as is the number of those receiving breathing tubes, indicating that measures taken to make people keep their distance from each other are succeeding.

A man reads a newspaper with the headline: ‘PM in intensive care’, outside St Thomas’ Hospital in central London as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care fighting the coronavirus in London, Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Johnson was admitted to St Thomas’ hospital in central London on Sunday after his coronavirus symptoms persisted for 10 days. Having been in hospital for tests and observation, his doctors advised that he be admitted to intensive care on Monday evening. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

And alarming as the one-day increase in deaths might sound, the governor said that’s a “lagging indicator,” reflecting people who had been hospitalized before this week. Over the past several days, in fact, the number of deaths appeared to be leveling off.

And alarming as the one-day increase in deaths might sound, the governor said that’s a “lagging indicator,” reflecting people who had been hospitalized before this week. Over the past several days, in fact, the number of deaths appeared to be leveling off.

“You see that plateauing — that’s because of what we are doing. If we don’t do what we are doing, that is a much different curve,” he said. “So social distancing is working.”

Across the U.S., the death toll reached about 11,000, with around 370,000 confirmed infections.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in intensive care with the virus.

In London, the 55-year-old Johnson, the world’s first head of government known to have fallen ill with the virus, was in stable condition and conscious at a hospital, where he was receiving oxygen but was not on a ventilator, said his spokesman James Slack. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was designated to run the country in the meantime.

A healthcare worker attends to a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit (ICU) at the General University Hospital in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, April 7, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

“We’re desperately hoping that Boris can make the speediest possible recovery,” said Cabinet minister Michael Gove, who is among scores of British officials in self-isolation.

“The prime minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits. He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and is breathing without any other assistance,” said Slack.

He said Johnson was not receiving mechanical ventilation or “noninvasive respiratory support.” He would not give details of what form of oxygen treatment the prime minister was getting.

“It was a shock yesterday to hear the news of his going into intensive care,” said Gove, who is in isolation at home after a family member showed mild coronavirus symptoms. “All of us just want him to pull through — he is the leader of our country. He is a big-hearted, generous-spirited guy. who believes in public service. We are rooting for him.”

Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, is herself recovering from coronavirus symptoms.

Raab said “the government’s business will continue” despite the prime minister’s hospitalization.

The deterioration of Johnson’s health took many in Britain by surprise. On Monday afternoon, he tweeted that he was in good spirits and thanked the National Health Service for taking care of him and others with the disease.

The government faced calls Tuesday to be more transparent about Johnson’s condition amid concerns it had underplayed how serious it was.

It’s not common for details about the health of British prime ministers to be made public, except at times of crisis. Even then, information has sometimes been scanty. When Winston Churchill suffered a debilitating stroke in 1953, the government kept it secret until Churchill recovered.

Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth II was being kept informed about Johnson’s condition. Buckingham Palace said the monarch “said they were in her thoughts and that she wished the prime minister a full and speedy recovery.”

Customers wear face masks as they line up to enter a supermarket keeping social distancing following the government’s measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday a complete lockdown over the upcoming Passover holiday to control the country’s coronavirus outbreak, but offered citizens some hope by saying he expects to lift widespread restrictions after the week-long festival. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

The queen’s son, Prince Charles, who tested positive for the virus but has recovered, and grandson Prince William also sent messages of support.

Japan’s prime minister made the emergency declaration after a spike in infections in Tokyo, but it was a stay-at-home request — not an order — and violators will not be penalized. Despite having relatively few infections and deaths, Japan is a worrying target for a virus that has been killing the elderly at much higher rates than other age groups.

In some European hot spots, as in New York, authorities were hoping that the outbreak was turning a corner, based on slowdowns in new deaths and hospitalizations.

In Spain, one of the hardest-hit countries, new deaths Tuesday rose to 743 and infections climbed by 5,400 after five days of declines, but the increases were believed to reflect a weekend backlog. Authorities said slowing the contagion will be a long process and were confident in the downward trend.

Italy’s commissioner for fighting the COVID-19 virus appealed to Italians ahead of Easter weekend not to lower their guard and to abide by a lockdown now in its fifth week.

Citing data that shows that pressure on Italian intensive care wards is easing, Domenico Arcuri said that ’’the cruel reality is stronger that algorithms.”

’’Don’t ever forget even for an instant that this invisible, strong and unknown virus has taken 16,523 lives through yesterday,” Arucuri said, reciting the figure repeatedly. ‘’I beg you, in the next hours and days, do not cancel this number from your memory.’’

New coronavirus cases were also slowing in France and Portugal. To keep up social distancing, Paris banned daytime jogging just as warm spring weather settled in.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that if Americans continue to practice social distancing for the rest of April, “we will be able to get back to some sense of normalcy.”

In this May 23, 2018 file photo, a stone proclaiming “The City of New York Potters Field” is displayed on Hart Island in New York. On Monday, April 6, 2020, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that officials are exploring the possibility of temporarily burying coronavirus victims on Hart Island, a one-mile, limited access strip off the Bronx borough of New York that has long served as the city’s potter’s field. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

“I want the American people to know there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and we feel confident that if we keep doing the right thing for the rest of this month, that we can start to slowly reopen in some places,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

One lockdown exception in the U.S. was Wisconsin, which asked hundreds of thousands of voters to ignore a stay-at-home order to participate in its presidential primary Tuesday.

The lines were particularly long in Milwaukee, the state’s largest city and a Democratic stronghold, where just five of 180 traditional polling places were open. Many voters across the state did not have facial coverings in line with public health recommendations.

The U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was cautiously optimistic, saying that in New York, “what we have been doing has been working.”

Stocks climbed in early trading on Wall Street on Tuesday as markets around the world piled on even more big gains following their huge rally a day earlier. The S&P 500 index rose 3% in the first few minutes of trading and added on to Monday’s 7% surge, following encouraging signs that the coronavirus pandemic may be close to leveling off in some of the hardest-hit areas of the world.

China, the first country to go into lockdown and among the strictest, reported no new deaths over the past 24 hours for the first time since it began publishing statistics on the virus that emerged in December in the city of Wuhan. Many experts, however, have been skeptical of China’s virus figures. The final travel restrictions in Wuhan are being lifted Wednesday.

Worldwide, more than 1.3 million people have been confirmed infected and over 75,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. The true numbers are almost certainly much higher, because of limited testing, different rules for counting the dead and deliberate underreporting by some governments.

For most people, the virus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. But for some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause pneumonia. Close to 300,000 people have recovered worldwide.

One of the main models on the outbreak, from the University of Washington, is now projecting about 82,000 U.S. deaths through early August, or 12% fewer than previously forecast, with the highest number of daily deaths occurring on April 16.

Here are other coronavirus developments in New York:

HOSPITAL SHIP INFECTION

A crew member of a Navy hospital ship sent to New York City for the coronavirus outbreak has tested positive for the disease.

The USNS Comfort crew member tested positive Monday and was being isolated, the Navy said in a prepared statement. The positive test will not affect the 1,000-bed hospital ship’s mission to receive patients, according to the Navy.

The Comfort has treated about 40 non-COVID-19 patients since arriving in the city last week, prompting complaints it was doing little to help overburdened hospitals in the area.

President Trump said Monday he agreed to take COVID-19 patients aboard the ship after speaking with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Federal officials say emergency patients will now be seen on the ship, whether or not they have the virus, though the ship can only isolate only a small number of patients. (Associated Press)

 

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