Tom Swarbrick 10pm - 1am
New York records fewer than 100 coronavirus deaths for first time in two months
23 May 2020, 18:54
The state of New York has recorded fewer than 100 coronavirus-related deaths for the first time since 24 March.
Speaking at a briefing on Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed 84 people died with Covid-19 on Friday.
It represents the first time the state, which has been the epicentre of the USA's coronavirus outbreak, has had a daily tally drop below the 100 mark in two months.
Mr Cuomo acknowledged that the figure is still "a hideous number" but urged it is "a sign that we're making real progress."
New York is still reporting the most cases in the country, but the tally is a significant reduction on the peak of 590 deaths recorded on 7 April.
The governor said: "I had a conversation with a health care professional once and I said what number should I be looking for to get down to as the bottom number on the deaths? And the doctor said, 'If I were you, I would look for 100. You want to be below 100'."
Mr Cuomo said the healthcare worker told him he could "breathe a sigh of relief" if the tally dropped below 100.
"You need something in life to shoot for, you need something to aim for... and in my head I was always looking to get under 100, and we're under 100.
"It doesn't do any good for those 84 families that are feeling the pain, but for me it's just a sign that we're making real progress and I feel good about that."
The number of deaths in the state has been hovering around the 100 mark for the past week. On the 17th of May it was at 106, then on the 18th it dropped to 105, on the 19th it rose to 112, then dropped back down to 105 on the 20th and rose again to 109 on the 21st.
There have now been almost 340,000 deaths from coronavirus worldwide, while 5.26 million people have been infected.
The USA remains the global epicentre in terms of deaths, with 96,283 recorded at the time of writing. The country has also seen 1.6 million confirmed cases of the disease, more than anywhere else.
Mr Cuomo said the mid-Hudson region of New York could reopen beginning Tuesday and Long Island could start reopening on Wednesday.
He also applauded those who went to the beaches Friday, saying they followed safety measures.
Elsewhere, North Carolina reported its highest one-day increase of infections with 1,107 cases, according to the state's Department of Health and Human Services.
“This is a notable and concerning increase. As we head into a holiday weekend, please practice the three Ws -- wear a face covering, wait six feet apart, and wash your hands frequently," NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said in a statement.
"When it comes to our health, we need to work together to protect our families, friends and neighbours.”
Meanwhile, the drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been promoted as a Covid-19 treatment by President Donald Trump, offers no benefit to patients hospitalised with coronavirus, according to a new study.
Experts found that hydroxychloroquine was linked to an increased risk of death and heart arrhythmias among people severely ill in hospital with coronavirus.