Health and Science

New York Gov. Cuomo: 'The worst is over if we continue to be smart' about coronavirus

Key Points
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York is "controlling the spread" of the coronavirus.
  • He also said the state's death toll from Covid-19 has topped 10,000.
  • More than 670 new deaths recorded in the state on Easter Sunday, fewer than the previous day.
New York Gov. Cuomo on coronavirus: 'I believe the worst is over if we continue to be smart'
Gov. Cuomo on coronavirus: 'I believe the worst is over if we continue to be smart'

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday the state is "controlling the spread" of the coronavirus, and it appears that "the worst is over ... if we continue to be smart going forward."

At the same time, Cuomo revealed that the death toll from Covid-19 in New York — which is the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States — has topped 10,000 people.

Cuomo called the death tally a "horrific level of pain and grief and sorrow."

But he pointed to a flattening of the daily death toll, the flattening in the net number of hospitalizations and a drop in the number of people on ventilators as evidence that radical measures such as the shuttering of nonessential businesses have helped to contain the virus.

He said the death toll for Sunday was 671, versus 758 on Saturday.

"We're controlling the spread," Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany. "The worst can be over, and is over, unless we do something reckless."

"You can turn those numbers on two or three days of reckless behaviors," he said. 

Cuomo said he will make an announcement later Monday about plans for reopening the state in conjunction with some other governors.

He said he and governors from Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island have been talking "for the past couple of days, about coming up with, how do we come up with a reopening plan? And can we work together on a reopening plan?"

The new deaths recorded in New York state on Easter Sunday brought the state's total 10,056, Cuomo said.

"For me, I'm Catholic, Easter Sunday is the high holy day in many ways ... and to have this happen over this weekend is really really especially tragic and they're all in our thoughts and prayers."

He noted that the state's total number of fatalities from the virus dwarfed the 2,753 deaths in the terrorist attacks in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.

But Cuomo noted that the daily number of new deaths has dropped a bit from some recent days, when new fatalities had topped 750 people each day.

In pointing to the hospitalization rate and the use of ventilators dropping, Cuomo said, "the curve" of the spread of the coronavirus in the Empire State "continues to flatten."

Still, he added, "about 2,000 people per day are walking in [to hospitals] or being diagnosed with Covid, so you're still increasing the hospital population." 

Those increases are being largely offset by hospital discharges, he added.

"The net is what we talk about because we've always been worried about lack of capacity in the hospital system," he said.

Cuomo lauded the "heroic efforts of health-care workers, police officers, transportation workers who showed up to drive those trains and buses every day" in helping the state flatten the spread of the coronavirus.

The governor later hedged when reporters pressed him on his claim that the worst was over.

"I'm not confident that the worst is over," he said. "The numbers suggest a plateauing, slight increase, but a plateauing which is what the experts have talked about. That's what the numbers say."

Cuomo was also asked about President Donald Trump's apparent attack Sunday on Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who is a leading expert in the White House's response to the virus.

Trump had retweeted a Twitter message that contained the comment "#FireFauci."

"I think Dr. Fauci is great, I think Americans trust him. He's been very helpful to me as governor," Cuomo said.

"As crazy as things get in this world and in crazy Washington, I can't imagine that that would ever happen," the Democratic governor said.

Fauci said in a television interview Sunday that "obviously" more lives could have been saved if efforts to contain the spread of the virus were implemented earlier.

But he added that "there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then."

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