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Slight glimmer of hope in New York as death count rises near 4,200

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                A woman wearing a mask walks on Roosevelt Avenue Saturday in the Queens borough of New York.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A woman wearing a mask walks on Roosevelt Avenue Saturday in the Queens borough of New York.

NEW YORK >> A slight dip in new coronavirus deaths in New York over the last 24 hours may be a slight glimmer of hope that the spread is slowing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today as overall fatalities in the state climbed to nearly 4,200.

Cuomo said it was too soon to determine whether the pandemic had reached its apex.

“We could either be very near the apex, or the apex could be a plateau and we could be on the plateau right now,” Cuomo said.

The state reported 594 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday — a small decrease compared to the 630 new fatalities announced the day before. ICU admissions and intubations were also down, the governor said, while the discharge rate from hospitals was rising.

Cuomo sounded cautiously optimistic even as he urged New Yorkers to remain vigilant and continue adhering to the strict social distancing policies in place.

“The coronavirus is truly vicious,” he said. “It’s an effective killer. People who are very vulnerable must stay isolated and protected.”

Here are the latest coronavirus developments in New York:

OVERBURDENED HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

The governor said the state’s health care system remained over capacity. More than 122,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and at least 16,000 people remain hospitalized.

“The operational challenge for the health care system is impossible,” Cuomo said. “It’s not an exercise. It’s not a drill. It’s a statement of reality.”

The federal government was deploying 1,000 doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians and therapists to New York, including 325 scheduled to begin arriving in New York City as early as Sunday.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated his call for a federal enlistment of health care workers, citing an anticipated “huge growth” in the number of COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.

He told CNN Saturday night the city is going to need 45,000 doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists to get through the crisis.

“It’s going to be very tight going into next week,” the mayor said, adding the city still needs more ventilators.

SPRING BREAK SCRAPPED

The city canceled all of spring break for its public schools and, in a controversial reversal, called for classes to be held on the start of Passover and Good Friday. School officials announced the decision Friday, saying it was important to keep remote learning uninterrupted.

The announcement roiled the city’s teachers union.

“No matter how angry and frustrated we are right now, we must focus on the most important thing, which is to get through the crisis,” Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said in a letter to his members. “I am sadly sure that there will be many more tough challenges in the days and weeks to come.”

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

1. As the coronavirus pandemic causes restrictions across the U.S., Appalachian Trail thru-hikers face the difficult decision to postpone their dreams or ignore warnings and forge ahead.

2. Hospitals are starting to line up COVID-19 survivors to donate some blood so that doctors can use it to treat the sick.

3. Thousands of workers like 22-year-old EMT Josh Allert have been thrust onto the front lines of the coronavirus emergency in New York City. Allert’s mental and physical stamina are constantly put to the test as he transports coronavirus patients around the city.

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