'We could be very near the apex': New York sees drop in coronavirus deaths for first time

Hundreds of US military medical personnel deployed to state to assist overwhelmed hospital staff

Alex Woodward
New York
Sunday 05 April 2020 12:31
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Andrew Cuomo says New York state has a 'six day' ventilator stockpile

The number of coronavirus-related deaths in New York has dropped for the first time, though Governor Andrew Cuomo warns that the significance of the daily drop is "too early to tell."

Within the last 24 hours, 594 people have died, a decrease from 630 reported deaths from the day before. At least 4,159 people in the state have died.

Of those deaths, more than 3,500 have been reported in New York City, eclipsing the city's death toll from 9/11.

The governor cautions the latest drop may be a "blip," but daily intubation rates and hospitalisations are also down. As of 4 April, 316 people were intubated, down slightly from 351 on 3 April.

New hospitalisations also dropped, from 1,095 on 3 April to 594 on 4 April, according to the governor's office. Nearly three-quarters of all patients who have been hospitalised were discharged and recovered, he said, while newly identified cases in New York City have remained "flat" over the last few days.

He said: "We could be very near the apex ... We won't know until the next few days."

The governor added that "we're all watching a movie [and] waiting to see what the next scene is."

But Governor Cuomo said the state still is "two or three or four days" away from depleting its medical supplies and available staff.

Despite donations of ventilators, masks and other supplies, the state is "literally going day to day" with its stocks of critically needed medical equipment and personal protective gear.

Governor Cuomo confirmed that 325 US military medical personnel have been sent to the state's hospitals, following the Pentagon's announcement of hundreds of service members being deployed to New York City, which has emerged as a viral epicentre in the US, as its hospital system braces for a surge in patients.

On Sunday, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said "we will be sending up over a thousand medical professionals today, tomorrow and the next day" to assist New York hospital staff.

Secretary Esper said that the Jacob K Javits Convention Center — a massive makeshift hospital with 2,500 beds to ease the burden on local hospitals — has been established as "the largest hospital in the United States" to be run by the military.

Governor Cuomo said the state is moving to a "surge and flex" strategy that organises hospitals into one "system" and attempts to balance the patient load, rather than over-stress one area.

The state will move ventilators upstate from New York City and new viral hotspot Long Island, then back, as needed.

More than 122,031 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed across the state, roughly a third of all cases in the US..

The US total has reached 312,481, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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