Coronavirus Death Toll Rises in New York Despite Signs of Progress

Governor Andrew Cuomo cited some encouraging data, but conceded that “we still have more work to do.”
Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo/ Mike Groll

Although the COVID-19 curve in New York is flattening, deaths are up and Governor Andrew Cuomo is reminding New Yorkers to maintain social distancing.

The governor said in his daily coronavirus briefing that social distancing and other protective measures are helping the state make strides in efforts to curb the virus, as evidenced by new numbers showing that new hospitalizations in the state dipped from 1,427 new admissions on April 2 to 586 on April 7.

“What we have done and what we are doing is working and making a difference,” Cuomo said.

Furthermore, Cuomo noted that hospital capacity has increased by 50 percent since the state went on PAUSE and started enforcing social distancing. The governor stated that the hospital system should begin to stabilize as long as the number of cases continue to decrease. He also pointed to data showing that hospitals are beginning to release more patients than they are taking in.

However, despite some positive developments, Cuomo reiterated that New Yorkers must not relax social distancing.

“We still have more to do,” said Cuomo. “We’re not out of the woods yet.”

A daily high of 779 coronavirus-related deaths were tallied in New York on April 7 compared to 731 deaths on April 6 and 599 on April 5. In total, New York State has confirmed 6,268 coronavirus deaths, prompting the governor to order that all flags be flown half-mast to honor those who have died.

Like in other regions, new data from the state’s health department is also showing significant racial disparities in coronavirus deaths: In New York City alone, Hispanic folks make up 34 percent of the city’s COVID-19 deaths and Black individuals to this point represent 28 percent of deaths citywide. In response, Cuomo is ordering the state’s health department to team up with Northwell Health and SUNY Albany’s Dr. Havidan Rodriguez to increase research efforts to explore why minority communities are more affected than others.

The governor also announced he would sign an executive order allowing New Yorkers to vote via absentee ballots for the June 23 primary contests. Although the Democratic presidential primary will not matter since former Vice President Joe Biden is the only candidate remaining, the executive order also applies to local races slated for the same day.

During his press conference, Cuomo also announced that all unemployed New Yorkers will receive an additional $600, and unemployment insurance coverage will be extended from 26 weeks to 39 weeks.