Coronavirus apex is close, Cuomo says — but will disease rates drop off or plateau?

Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

The greater New York City metropolitan area may finally be nearing the apex of the COVID-19 epidemic, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, but whether the statistics will start to drop or plateau for a period of time is unclear.

As of April 5, Cuomo reported that the 75 percent of people who have been hospitalized with coronavirus have been discharged, but the death toll continues at a slightly lower rate than in previous days. Hospital capacity remains the issue at hand, however.

Statewide, there are now 122,000 cases, with 12,000 discharges, including 1,700 overnight.

“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,” Cuomo said. “For all those people who look at the data, you have all these projection models, and what’s infuriating to me is that the models have been so different that it’s very hard to plan when these models shift all the time.”

Even if this is not the downstate apex that New Yorkers have been going mad about in their homes for over a month or just a brief plateau before the cases rise again, Cuomo is optimistic for the fact that the spread was slowed for at least a brief time.

The total number of new hospitalization is at 574 and that indicates a drop in ICU admissions.

Cuomo said relief to the hospitals will finally come when the 2,500 beds at the Jacob Javits Center’s temporary hospitals are finally online. Further relief will come, he noted, when hospital systems across the state begin to work as one to pool space and resources.

Widespread rapid testing will be the beginning of the return to normalcy, but statisticians will not know for a number of days whether or not the apex will be a plateau.

Cuomo addressed concerns that an executive order to move up to 500 ventilators from upstate to downstate would leave residents from those communities vulnerable. The state is only relocating them at this point for them to be moved only when needed.

“This virus will overwhelm the resources of any single community,” Cuomo said. “We won’t lose a life because we won’t share resources among ourselves. … If I’m sitting in upstate New York and I see that fire coming up, I’m going to say, let’s put out that fire before it gets to us.”

The total number of patients in ICU from COVID-19 in New York is just over 4,000, Cuomo said.

This story first appeared on amny.com.

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