N.Y. Virus Deaths Hit New High, but Hospitalizations Slow: Live Updates

New Jersey also experienced a new one-day high in coronavirus-related deaths. The governors of both states still saw reason for hope.

Virus deaths hit a one-day peak, but hospitalizations are slowing.

Five weeks into the coronavirus outbreak, officials in New York and New Jersey, the two states hit hardest by the pandemic, hoped that the number of virus-related deaths had reached a peak and would flatten or drop for a third straight day.

It did not happen.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Tuesday that 731 people had died of the virus since Monday, the state’s highest one-day total yet by more than 100.

“Behind every one of those numbers is an individual, is a family, is a mother, is a father, is a sister, is a brother,” Mr. Cuomo said at his daily briefing in Albany. “So a lot of pain again today for many New Yorkers.”

New Jersey’s toll also hit a new one-day high on Tuesday, with 232 people dying of the virus since the previous day, Gov. Philip D. Murphy said. On Sunday and Monday, deaths in the state were in the double digits.

More people have died in New York and New Jersey, by far, than in any other state. The two states together account for more than half of the virus-related deaths in the United States. New York’s toll was 5,489 as of Tuesday; New Jersey’s was 1,232.

“It’s almost unfathomable, folks, when you think about it,” Mr. Murphy said.

Still, both governors said there were signs that the virus’s spread was slowing.

Mr. Cuomo described death as a lagging indicator in the fight against the virus: People are often ill with it for a long time before they die, he said. By other measures, he said, the curve of infection was flattening in New York, even as the number of critically ill patients kept rising

The number of virus patients in hospitals increased 4 percent since Monday, the fourth straight day that it had grown 7 percent or less after growing at least 20 percent a day for weeks.

The number of patients on ventilators in intensive-care units increased, too, but at the smallest one-day rate in weeks, up 2 percent since Monday.

As of Tuesday, there were nearly 4,600 patients on ventilators in New York, far fewer than pessimistic projections in recent weeks had said there might be. That has helped keep the state from exhausting its supply of ventilators.

Mr. Cuomo, whose PowerPoint presentations have become an essential feature of his briefings, displayed a bar chart of hospitalizations that showed them clearly leveling off in recent days, with days in the near future labeled “projected plateau?”

For the number of people in hospitals to stop increasing, he said, New Yorkers must continue to vigilantly practice social distancing and other behavior that reduce the virus’s spread.

“To the extent that we see a flattening or a possible plateau, that’s because of what we are doing and we have to keep doing it,” the governor said.

Mr. Murphy said that while it appeared the curve of infection “may finally be flattening,” New Jersey residents needed to continue to stay inside or six feet away from one another.

Here are Tuesday statistics from New York and New Jersey:

New York:

  • Deaths: 5,489, up 731 from early Monday.
  • Confirmed cases: 138,836 statewide, up from 130,689 on Monday. In New York City, there were 76,876 cases, up from 72,181.
  • Currently hospitalized: 17,493 people statewide, up from 16,837.
  • In intensive care: 4,593, up 89 from 4,504 on Monday.

New Jersey:

  • Deaths: 1,232, up from 1,000 on Monday.
  • Confirmed cases: 44,416, up from 41,255.
  • Currently hospitalized: 7,017.
  • On ventilators: 1,651.

New Jersey closes parks and forests. New York has yet to follow.

Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey on Tuesday ordered all state and county parks and state forests closed after what he said were many reports of people gathering too closely while they were outside.

“We’ve seen far too many instances in our parks where people are gathering and socializing in groups,” Mr. Murphy wrote on Twitter. “We need to #FlattenTheCurve.”

“I do not take this action lightly,” the governor wrote. “Some of my fondest memories with my own children are beautiful spring days in parks playing soccer and enjoying our family. But my focus, and my sole mission in life right now, is the health of every New Jersey family.”

Mr. Murphy also said that schools in New Jersey would remain closed until at least May 12 and that assessment requirements for students set to graduate from eighth and 12 grades would be waived.

“This will ensure that no student is left behind or unduly penalized due to these extraordinary circumstances,” he said.

Mr. Murphy’s extension of school closings until mid-May came a day after Mr. Cuomo said schools in New York would remain closed until at least April 29.

The New Jersey’s governor’s order on the state’s parks also went further than Mr. Cuomo has gone, even as New York’s governor on Monday strongly criticized New York City residents who flooded parks over the weekend.

“Now is not the time to be lax,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Now is not the time to be playing Frisbee in the park with your friends.”

Aides to Mr. Cuomo said on Tuesday that there was no imminent plan to follow Mr. Murphy’s lead.

A crew member on a Navy hospital ship in New York tested positive.

A crew member aboard the Navy hospital ship Comfort tested positive for the virus, and several others are in isolation, the Navy said on Tuesday. It was the latest setback in the ship’s troubled mission to New York to help in the pandemic response.

News of the infection came after President Trump agreed to requests from officials in New York and New Jersey to allow the Comfort to accept virus patients.

The 1,000-bed ship, which arrived last week to great fanfare, was supposed to relieve pressure on New York’s overburdened hospitals by taking patients with nonvirus ailments. But bureaucratic hurdles combined with a sharp decline in hospitalizations unrelated to the virus, resulted in few patients being transferred to the ship.

A Navy spokeswoman said the discovery of an infected crew member would not affect the Comfort’s mission. “It does not affect the ability of the Comfort to receive patients at all,” Elizabeth Baker, the spokeswoman, said.

As of Tuesday, there were more than 50 patients on board, she said, meaning most of the Comfort’s beds were still unused.

De Blasio urges focus on feeding New Yorkers in need.

Mr. de Blasio said on Tuesday that, along with struggling to halt the virus’s spread, New York City was increasingly focused on helping the growing number of people who were unemployed and unsure of where their next meal would come from.

“There’s a new front opening up and we have to be there for people who need food,” the mayor said.

According to a Siena College Research Institute poll published on Monday, 49 percent of city residents worry about putting food on the table.

A separate survey by the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, published on Tuesday, found that for more than half of New Yorkers, the virus and its effects had hurt their households’ ability to get the food they need. Around one in five said their ability to procure food had been reduced “a lot.”

Mr. de Blasio said that in the past three weeks, city programs had served 2.6 million meals to New Yorkers who needed food “and that is just the beginning.”

He cited a projection that showed at least 500,000 New Yorkers had either lost their jobs or soon would.

‘You can feel the surge happening,’ a Long Island official says.

While there are early signs that the virus outbreak may be slowing in New York City, a nearby suburb is facing a surge.

Steve Bellone, the county executive in Suffolk County, on Long Island, said early Tuesday that “the battle really is shifting to Long Island.”

“We’re seeing it in the numbers and you can feel the surge happening,” Mr. Bellone said on CNN.

Three weeks ago, Suffolk County, which has more than a million residents, had not reported a single virus-related fatality, Mr. Bellone said. “Yesterday that number soared well past 200,” he said.

Suffolk County, with nearly 1,000 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, now has a higher rate of infection than New York City, which has 815 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents.

“I’m having conversations I never imagined having in this position,” he said, including with the governor about the capacity of its morgue and the number of body bags the county will need.

Donating to E.M.T.s, and other ways to help.

The anxiety and isolation resulting from the virus outbreak can feel crippling at times. But for New Yorkers who want to do something constructive, there are ways to help.

The nonprofit EMS FDNY Help Fund provides financial support to the city’s emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Like doctors and nurses, these emergency services workers are on the front lines of the crisis, and they have been responding to constant calls over the past several weeks.

Putting in multiple long shifts for pay that hovers just above the city’s minimum wage, these workers could use a lift, union leaders say.

“Our members working are 16 hours a day, 17 hours a day, and a lot of them are sleeping in their cars afterward because they’re scared of brining the virus home to their families,” said Vinny Variale, the president of the Uniformed EMS Officers Union and an FDNY lieutenant. “Anybody that can help, we really need it.”

Donations to the EMS FDNY Help Fund, which fire officials and multiple unions have endorsed, can be made here.

In addition, fire officials have called for donations to the FDNY Foundation — a nonprofit affiliated with the department that opened a Covid-19 fund earlier this week. A spokesman for the department said donations will be used “to help FDNY families who have Covid-19 illness, death, or who are impacted in any way.” Donations can be made here.

And on Monday, Mr. Cuomo also announced the creation of what he called the “First Responders Fund,” which is accepting donations here.

Are you unemployed because of the coronavirus outbreak?

More than 800,000 residents the New York region, including New Jersey and Connecticut, have applied for unemployment benefits in the last two weeks as the coronavirus pandemic has brought the economy to a virtual standstill.

Reporting was contributed by Jonah Engel Bromwich, Maria Cramer, Jim Dwyer, Alan Feuer, Michael Gold, David Gonzalez, Jeffery C. Mays, Jesse McKinley, Andy Newman, Azi Paybarah, Michael Schwirtz and Matt Stevens

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