Coronavirus: New York 'on other side of plateau' as daily death toll falls again

19 April 2020, 20:09

NYC's bravest salute the healthcare professionals combatting COVID-19 at Coney Island Hospital
NYC's bravest salute the healthcare professionals combatting COVID-19 at Coney Island Hospital. Picture: PA

By Megan White

New York is “on the other side of the plateau,” governor Andrew Cuomo has said, after the state’s daily coronavirus death toll dropped again.

He said 507 people died on Saturday, down 43 from the previous day, showing social distancing practices are working to stem the spread of the virus.

The number of people entering hospitals with Covid-19 symptoms also fell, down by more than 750 to 16,213.

Nearly 14,000 New Yorkers have died since the state's first coronavirus case was reported March 1, according to state data.

The US’ total death toll is almost 40,000, with 747,000 confirmed cases.

Mr Cuomo and mayor Bill de Blasio maintained their warnings that people in New York City and the rest of the state need to stay vigilant to curb the spread of the virus.

The governor said on Sunday: "We showed that we can control the beast and when you close down, you can actually slow that infection rate, but this is only half-time.

"We still have to make sure that we keep that beast under control, we keep that infection rate down, we keep that hospitalisation rate down as we all get very eager to get on with life and move on."

The death toll does not include more than 4,000 New York City deaths that were blamed on the virus on death certificates but were not confirmed by laboratory tests.

Officer Mahoney, right, checks the temperature of all people entering the 32nd precinct of the New York Police Department
Officer Mahoney, right, checks the temperature of all people entering the 32nd precinct of the New York Police Department. Picture: PA

Police and park officers will be out in force to break up outdoor gatherings that pose a risk, with violators facing potential fines of up to 1,000 US dollars (£800), the mayor said.

The city is encouraging people to send authorities photos when they spot the gatherings.

"We do not want to see this disease boomerang," Mr de Blasio said.

"We do not want to see it come back with a vengeance."

The mayor had harsh words for Queens-born US president Donald Trump, claiming both he and vice-president Mike Pence have ignored his comments on the stimulus funds.

"Right now you are failing to protect the very people you grew up around," Mr de Blasio said of Trump.

"When New York City is in need, where are you?"

Meanwhile, the number of New York Police Department officers calling in sick is declining.

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They said 5,324 uniformed members - about 15 per cent of the force - were off sick on Saturday - down from a high of 7,155 officers (about 20 per cent) on April 9.

So far, more than 2,000 members of the NYPD have returned to work full duty after recovering from a positive test for the coronavirus, police officials said.

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