What you should know
More than 34,000 people in the tri-state area have died from COVID-19, although authorities admit that the actual number is likely higher; other indicators such as infection rate and total hospitalizations continue to decline slowly New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “PAUSE” order expires Friday; three regions meet their criteria to start reopening. Mayor de Blasio does not expect nonessential businesses to reopen in New York City before June New Jersey’s closing order will also expire on May 15; Gov. Phil Murphy says he hopes to have some “tough dates” later this week, but shared new data that says NJ is now the hardest hit state.
NEW YORK – New York City is expected to surpass a bleak milestone of 20,000 deaths in the next 48 hours, nearly a quarter of the lives the virus has claimed in the United States, as the tragic extent of the pandemic has never been can fully understand.
With two days to go before Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “PAUSE” order is lifted in New York, and two days before the New Jersey shutdown expires, people are tentatively allowing themselves to think of a post-crisis world.
At the same time, other scary images have collectively been etched into our minds in the past two months: impromptu morgues outside New York City hospitals; U-Haul refrigerated trucks outside funeral homes; the nurses’ faces imprinted by the marks on the masking bands long after removing them. One last look at loved ones through a virtual lens, a strange livelihood in their hands until they die.
Across the metropolitan area, flags were ordered to be raised at half-staff indefinitely, a grim tribute to the lives the virus has taken and will take.
In the past two months, New York State has confirmed 21,835 virus deaths. It has averaged approximately 358 deaths per day since it first reported March 14, though this week’s daily numbers have dropped below 200. New York City reports another 5,136 probable virus deaths in addition to the 14,800 confirmed by the state; Combined, those counts hit a tragic 19,936 in New York City.
Even that may not fully capture the extent of the pandemic tragedy in New York City. A new CDC report finds that an additional 5,293 “in excess” deaths in New York City are not categorized as confirmed or probable by COVID-19, but may in some way be attributable to it.
The agency report highlights the jarring sense of uncertainty that has millions of New Yorkers as fearful as they are eager to resume a more normal daily life. This virus has proven mysteriously adaptable, affecting even the world’s best scientists and health experts. To some extent, Cuomo says that uncertainty has slowed progress. There’s so much we don’t know, he says.
Asymptomatic people can transmit it. Antibody immunity is unproven. The virus cannot greatly prevent children, as previously believed. Instead, it can manifest itself in a much more discreet and life-threatening way. About 100 cases of a new pediatric inflammatory syndrome possibly related to COVID-19 have been identified in New York. Most cases involve children under the age of 9; At least three children have died, two more deaths are under investigation.
For months, New York has been the most affected state in the United States, losing one person every few minutes to the virus. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said Tuesday that current trends indicate his state may now be the hardest hit, reporting more deaths and new cases per 100,000 residents than anywhere in the country. New Jersey has lost 9,508 people to the virus, more than it has lost in all of its combined wars. Connecticut’s figure is 3,041 as of the last report.
As other states begin to reopen, some to an extent that defies the guidelines of top health experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, warned Capitol Hill Tuesday that such actions may causing avoidable “suffering and deaths”. Those states not only risk losing their own people, but also trigger an outbreak that could spiral out of control and turn elsewhere.
Painfully aware of the sacrifice that has had to emerge on the other side of the peak of the crisis, and equally aware of the rising and catastrophic costs of the pandemic, tri-state leaders say their reopens will be powered by science.
Governors have put forward clearly defined and data-driven plans to get their states back on track, and regionally coordinated programs that harness their collective power to better protect them in the future.
Right now, three of New York’s 10 regions, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, and Finger Lakes, meet the seven metrics required to enter Phase I reopening on Friday. The regions of central New York, the north of the country and the capital have marked six of the seven boxes, although Cuomo said Tuesday that the latter had lost some ground on the hospital capacity metric in the last 24 hours, a signal how vulnerable the regions are to minor setbacks at any given time. (See the complete guide to reopening the state here).
State of Each Region in New York
Murphy said he expected to share some “tough dates” for New Jersey later this week, but added, “Let’s not force ourselves to do that,” suggesting that his state may not be ready to begin its reopening when its closing directive expires on Friday. . On Monday, he outlined the main components of the return path, including a nearly five-fold acceleration in testing for June and a robust contact-tracking program backed by a centralized data-sharing platform. Meanwhile, certain business sectors in Connecticut are set to resume on May 20 under Lamont’s guidelines.
Simon Property Group, the country’s largest mall owner, says it plans to reopen half of its national retail outlets by June. Nearly a dozen in the tri-state area, primarily New York, could see limited reopens in the coming weeks. It is one thing to reopen. Getting people through the door in these uncertain times is another completely different challenge.
More than half a million infections have been confirmed in the tri-state area, although the virus is likely to have infected those who were never tested much more. New York State has reported 338,485 cases of the virus to date. New Jersey and Connecticut respectively had 140,743 and 34,333 cases from the latest reports from their governors.
New York City alone has reported nearly 190,000 cases. But with nearly 1 in 5 New York City residents testing positive for antibodies to the virus in a limited state survey, the actual number of those infected at one point likely exceeded 1.6 million.
Nationwide, the virus has killed more than 83,000 people and infected nearly 1.4 million.