NYS Deaths Hit One-Day High of 731, But Other Indicators Show Progress

Andrew Cuomo on April 7 2020
Governor Andrew Cuomo provides a coronavirus update during a press conference in the State Capitol.
Mike Groll/ NYS Governor’s Office

Though the numbers of new COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York State continued to show promise, with three days of declining numbers, the state also saw the highest number of deaths in a single overnight period, at 731.

Governor Andrew Cuomo reminded New Yorkers that even if the pandemic is beginning to level off in the state, continued caution is needed to ensure that improvements in health indicators will continue.

“It’s only been 37 days,” Cuomo said. “The 1918 pandemic that we talk about peaked in New York for six months. It came through in three waves and peaked for six months. Thirty thousand people died in New York during that pandemic. Why? They didn’t react the way we have.”

At the same time, the governor talked about how normal economic life can resume when the numbers warrant that. Since the beginning of the crisis, he has pushed for testing, testing, testing in order to isolate confirmed cases. Now, he says the state will look toward making antibody blood testing the new normal with help from the federal government. This will determine who has built up immunity to the virus and can go back to work, Cuomo said.

“The [State] Department of Health developed an antibody testing regiment that [DOH] has approved for use in New York State,” the governor stated in his April 7 briefing. “That has to be brought to scale and DOH is going to be working with the FDA to do just that. You have 19 million people in the State of New York. Just think of how many people you would need to be able to test and test quickly.”

The 731 deaths since yesterday jumped New York’s total reported coronavirus fatalities to 5,489 — out of 138,836 reported cases. Hospitalization totals have gone from 1,294 on April 2 to 529 on April 6. More than 17,400 people remain in hospitals, but daily ICU admissions declined from 395 on April 3 to 89 on April 6.

As part of a tri-state pact with New Jersey and Connecticut, the Cuomo administration’s goal is to deploy not only the antibody testing but 15-minute testing across the region.

The governor also reported that the bed capacity on the USNS Comfort, originally brought to the city to care for non-COVID-19 hospitalizations, has been reduced from 1,000 to 500. Several days ago, Cuomo spoke with President Donald Trump and explained that the capacity opened up by the Navy ship is only needed for coronavirus, and it is now being used solely to treat the virus. Social distancing measures implemented on the ship resulted in the bed capacity reduction.