Governor Cuomo Suggests Number of New York COVID-19 Deaths Dropping Over Past Few Days

New York reported fewer deaths and hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients on Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo shared during his latest coronavirus update.

Over the past few days, "the number of deaths has been dropping for the first time," Cuomo said, opening his latest televised press conference with the state's most recent COVID-19 statistics. He acknowledged, however, that further observation would be required to determine whether the recent downturn was just a "blip" or indicative of a forthcoming pattern.

.@NYGovCuomo: "Number of deaths is up. That's the bad news…but the number of deaths over the past few days has been dropping for the first time. What is the significance of that? It's too early to tell."

Full video here:

— CSPAN (@cspan) April 5, 2020

New York has been considered the epicenter of the nation's outbreak for weeks, with more than 122,031 coronavirus cases and more than 4,159 deaths recorded statewide as of Sunday morning, up from 3,565 on Saturday. More than half of the state's cases have been diagnosed in New York City, with 67,551 total cases confirmed.

During his Sunday briefing, Cuomo said 594 new deaths had occurred statewide since the previous day, denoting a small decrease in fatalities over a 24-hour period as compared to 630 new deaths reported on Saturday. On Friday, 562 new deaths were reported. New York also reported fewer hospitalizations on Saturday than it had in days prior, with 574 new admissions reported on April 4. As Cuomo reviewed at the start of Sunday's address, there were 1,095 new hospitalizations on Friday and 1,427 on Thursday.

"You could argue that you're seeing a slight plateauing in the data," Cuomo said, though he mentioned a timeline for the outbreak's imminent apex—which the governor has discussed during past briefings—remained unclear.

"We could be very near the apex, or the apex could be a plateau and we could be on that plateau right now," he explained, noting that various projection models have yielded a range of results.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo holds daily press briefings to share the most recent COVID-19 updates. During his April 5 conference, Cuomo discussed the possibility of a "slight" plateau in the outbreak's trajectory. Noam Galai/Getty

During Saturday's coronavirus briefing, Cuomo expressed frustration about the variations in apex projection models, especially considering the state's limited resources amid the pandemic. "We're getting closer [to the apex], depending on whose model you'll look at. They'll say four, five, six, seven days. Some people go out 14 days," he said. "But our reading of the projections is we're somewhere in the seven-day range—four, five, six seven, eight day range. Nobody can give you a specific number, which makes it very frustrating to plan."

Despite more than 16,000 current COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Sunday, Cuomo was optimistic about an increased number of discharges reported since Saturday. Though he estimated the state would not require as many additional hospital beds as previously suggested, the governor still emphasized that additional resources would be necessary for New York's healthcare system to manage the outbreak.

"The number of beds doesn't really matter any more," he told reporters. "We have the beds. It's the ventilators, and then it's the staff."

In his briefing Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said there has been some good news. "We thought as early as tonight there was the possibility of running out of crucial equipment like ventilators," he said. "Now I can tell you – and this is certainly good news here – we have bought a few more days here. We believe now we can get to Tuesday or Wednesday with the supplies that we have."

He also said that the city still needs 1,000 to 1,500 ventilators to cover Wednesday through Sunday, as well as 45,000 more medical personnel.

Meanwhile in neighboring New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy tweeted Sunday that his state has a current total of 37,505 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 917 deaths.

As of 1:00 PM, #COVID19 statewide stats:
• Positive Tests: 37,505
• Deaths: 917

For updates:

— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 5, 2020

At least 1.2 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the virus' initial discovery last December, according to Johns Hopkins University's global tracker. On Sunday, cases identified in the United States accounted for roughly 25 percent of the global total, with more than 312,200 positive tests reported—the most, by significant margins, of any country worldwide. Of those who have contracted the illness, upwards of 8,500 U.S. residents people have died, while 15,000 have recovered.

Updated 4:17 PM ET