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Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that the city's efforts to reduce density may be working. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

BY BEN VERDE

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that the state may be making incremental progress on slowing the wave of coronavirus cases crashing down on its overburdened hospitals.

Citing new projections, the governor claimed that the rate of hospitalization has slowed this week, as the city and state take further measures to reduce density in what has become the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States.

“Given the density we’re dealing with it spreads very quickly, but if you reduce the density you can reduce the spread very quickly,” Cuomo said.

According to the governor, as recently as Sunday, the rate of hospitalization was doubling every two days. By Monday they were doubling only every 3.4 days, and by Tuesday the rate had dropped to doubling every 4.7 days.

“This is a very good sign and a positive sign,” the governor said. “The arrows are headed in the right direction.”

While the rate of coronavirus cases is growing quickly with more than 30,000 in the state, a slower rate of hospitalization would put less stress on the already precious resources in New York hospitals.

Slowing the rate of hospitalization is seen as a crucial step to softening the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has the potential to overwhelm New York’s hospital system and cause a rash of preventable deaths.

“This is everything — slowing the hospitalization rate coming into the hospitals so the hospitals can deal with the rate of people coming in,” the governor said.

The governor pointed to the data as evidence that the measures taken by the state to increase social distancing — closing restaurants, shuttering non-essential businesses, and encouraging social distancing — were necessary because they got results.

“Yes, they are burdensome,” he said. “By the way, they are effective and they are necessary, and the evidence suggests at this point that they have slowed the hospitalizations.”

The state, however, still has a huge deficit to make up in hospital beds. Officials estimate that 140,000 will be needed at the pandemic’s peak, while current hospital capacity is only 53,000.

As of Wednesday morning, there were 17,856 confirmed cases of COVID-19 citywide, according to the mayor’s office.

This story first appeared on brooklynpaper.com.

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