'End of the beginning?' Governor invokes Churchill to suggest New York deaths may be levelling off

Governor Cuomo notes 'horrific rate' of deaths stabilising, as hospitalisation and intubation rates are down

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Saturday 11 April 2020 18:00
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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo invoked wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as the number of deaths from coronavirus in the state appeared to be stabilizing, but at a "horrific rate"
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo invoked wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as the number of deaths from coronavirus in the state appeared to be stabilizing, but at a "horrific rate"

In his Saturday pandemic briefing, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo invoked Winston Churchill as he updated the state’s grim death toll, but observed that the data implies that the impact of the coronavirus may be levelling off.

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning,” the governor said, quoting the wartime British prime minister.

Acknowledging the terrible number of lives lost per day, the governor said that the number is stabilising, but “at a horrific rate” and depicts incredible loss and pain.

For the fourth day in a row the number of confirmed deaths from Covid-19 remained steady. A total of 783 people lost their lives on Friday, compared to 777 on Thursday, 799 on Wednesday, and 779 the day before that.

The total number of dead in New York state now stands at 8,627.

The governor said that the curve of the total number of hospitalisations has flattened and may have reached its apex. The rate of hospitalisation is down significantly with fewer people seeking medical help.

Mr Cuomo noted that the distinction between hospitalisations and ICU admittance had blurred as hospitals were now functioning almost exclusively as ICU departments, but revealed that the number of intubations was down significantly.

There has also been success in stemming the spread from New York City to the surrounding suburbs — hospitalisations have levelled off in those counties as well.

The governor emphasised that what the data shows is that it is important to stay the course with the state’s stay-at-home order: “What we are experiencing is a product of our actions.”

He underlined the message of the Churchill quote, that there is still a long road ahead, and cautioned about rushing to reopen businesses and schools, noting that other parts of the world had found this led to a resurgence of cases.

“Reopening is both a public health question, and an economic question. I am unwilling to divorce the two,” he said.

“You cannot ask the people of this country to choose between lives lost and dollars gained.”

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