New York, the nation’s coronavirus epicenter, might be experiencing a “flattening of the curve,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said at his daily news briefing Monday.
The state reported 599 new deaths, on par with Sunday’s death count of 594. Both numbers are slightly lower than the death count reported on Saturday, 630 — the highest one-day toll in New York since the pandemic hit the state.
A total of 4,758 New Yorkers have died of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
“The death toll has been “effectively flat for two days,” Cuomo said. “While none of this is good news, the possible flattening of the curve is better than the increases we have seen.”
The total numbers of intubations, hospitalizations and ICU admissions are also down, the governor said, all “good signs.”
But Cuomo was only cautiously optimistic, saying that officials still don’t know what these numbers mean for the city’s long-term management of the disease. Other cities and countries around the world reported similar patterns, only to experience new sharp increases.
It remains unclear whether the city’s apex will come at a sharp peak, a gradual curve or a long plateau.
“If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a very high level,” Cuomo said. “And there is tremendous stress on the health-care system.”
The governor warned New Yorkers that there is danger in underestimating the disease and letting their guards down. As the weather warms, Cuomo said, there has been a laxity in social distancing “that is just wholly unacceptable.”
He announced an increase in the maximum fine for defying his stay-at-home order to $1,000, from $500. Cuomo also said he will extend closures of schools and nonessential businesses to April 29.
“If I can’t convince you to show discipline for yourself, show discipline for other people,” he said. “This virus is a deadly enemy.”