New York ’as terrible as it gets’ with COVID-19
Coronavirus deaths in New York have reached a "terrible" milestone as a plan to reopen the hard-hit region is set to be announced today.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo revealed that another 671 people died statewide from coronavirus overnight, bringing the state's total death toll to 10,056 - accounting for about half of all US fatalities - as of Monday morning local time.
"The terrible news is as terrible as it gets," Mr Cuomo said, referring to the tally surpassing the 10,000 mark.
While it was the first time in a week the daily toll dipped below 700, the governor noted people were still dying at a "horrific level of pain and grief and sorrow".
"This virus is very good at what it does. It is a killer," he said.
The flattening of the curve has fuelled hopes that New York will ease restrictions on business and movement over the coming weeks.
Mr Cuomo told reporters he was working on a plan - in conjunction with authorities in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island - to gradually reopen the economy and will make another announcement regarding that in a few hours.
"I believe we can now start on the path to normalcy," he said.
"The optimum is to have as co-ordinated a regional plan as you can."
But he also reiterated that he was "not confident that the worst is over".
"The numbers suggest a plateauing … if we do something stupid you will see those numbers go right back up tomorrow," Mr Cuomo said.
"You can turn those numbers on two or three days of reckless behaviour."
Hospitals are still seeing 2000 new patients a day across the state, which is now the COVID-19 global epicentre. While admissions remain significant, they are lesser than previous tallies - and with fewer intubations.
We are in a situation that never has occurred before.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 13, 2020
Reopening the economy is a delicate balance.
The objective is to ease isolation & increase economic activity without increasing the infection rate.
We must do it slowly & intelligently & with every precaution.
New York mourns the 671 people we lost yesterday.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 13, 2020
We lost them on Easter Sunday. And that acute pain is deeply felt by all of us.
Mr Cuomo said no one will be able to declare the crisis over until a vaccine is available in 12-18 months.
"I want it to be over tomorrow but that's not reality," he added.
"As much as we want it to happen and we want it to happen now, it is a delicate balance.
"And remember, none of this has been done before."
Any plan to reopen society MUST be driven by data and experts, not opinion and politics.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 13, 2020
We will learn from the warning signs from other countries.
We will take every precaution.
We will work together as a region.
One member of the Federal Reserve board warned the process to reopen could take 18 months.
"This could be a long, hard road that we have ahead of us until we get to either an effective therapy or a vaccine," Neel Kashkari, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, told CBS on Sunday.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, Robert Redfield, said Monday that he expected the reopening to play out "community by community, county by county" but that the US would first need to "substantially augment our public health capacity to do early case identification, isolation and contact tracing".
"There's no doubt that we have to reopen correctly," Dr Redfield told NBC.
"It's going to be a step-by-step, gradual process. It's got to be data-driven."
Originally published as New York 'as terrible as it gets'