“The hospitalization rate does suggest that’s it’s coming down,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters in Albany.
Only 84 patients were admitted to intensive care units in the last 24 hours, the lowest number seen since the middle of March.
If New York has reached the peak of hospitalizations and new cases, the plateau is significantly lower than nearly every model predicted. One projection officials were aware of, from Columbia University, said New York City alone could need 136,000 hospital beds on the most serious day, while other models estimated as many as 110,000 beds would be required across the state.
Instead, New York has about 18,000 patients in hospital beds, and it saw the lowest daily increase of hospitalizations since March 18. The number of ventilators needed—once projected to be as high as 40,000—has also reached nowhere near the upper estimate. Cuomo’s office has yet to answer queries about how many ventilators the state now needs.
New York did see 799 new deaths on April 8, the largest single day increase. Deaths are a lagging indicator, with many patients succumbing after spending weeks on ventilators.
Most patients who have died have been 70 or older. Many had at least one underlying health condition, including hypertension, diabetes, or cancer.
Social Distancing, Tests
The drop in hospitalizations doesn’t mean social distancing measures can be loosened, Cuomo said, warning of a possible “second wave.” The state has been on lockdown since last month, with increasingly harsh measures, including fines being raised for violating the governor’s executive order and playgrounds being shut down.
Businesses deemed nonessential were forced to close, and people are largely at home, with rare trips only for essential purposes such as getting groceries.
Antibody tests currently being developed, which will be able to detect past infections, will enable people who have already had the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, or who are immune, to return to work, the governor said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference on April 9 that some of the city’s restrictions could be lifted in May.
“I think it’s going to be a long, tough April. … May might be easier than what I originally feared it would be,” he said at Gracie Mansion.
Still, the mayor also said loosening restrictions could lead to the virus spreading rapidly again.
New York is the most affected state in the nation. It has the most cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Officials waited weeks to implement measures, such as stay-at-home orders, and encouraged New Yorkers to attend a Chinese New Year celebration in March.