New York, experiencing more coronavirus deaths and infections than any other U.S. state, is showing tentative signs of slowing the spread of the virus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, while the health crisis deepened in hard-hit New Orleans and elsewhere.
The rate of hospitalizations in New York has slowed in recent days, Cuomo said, with numbers he called “almost too good to be true.” But he said much more work needed to be done.
New Orleans, where large crowds celebrated Mardi Gras a month ago, was on track to become the next U.S. epicenter, with the world’s highest growth rate in coronavirus cases.
Cuomo announced new “density-control” steps he said sought to contain the virus, with New York City, home to more than 8 million people, closing some public streets to vehicles and opening them instead to pedestrians to facilitate “social distancing” to avoid infections.
At a news conference, Cuomo said the city also would ban basketball and other contact sports in parks, first on a voluntary basis as long as people comply.
“Our closeness makes us vulnerable,” said Cuomo, who has emerged as a leading national voice on the coronavirus.
Cuomo said more than 30,800 people had tested positive for the virus in his state and more than 17,800 in New York City alone. The state has reported 285 deaths and roughly half the country’s reported infections. The state was among the earliest to close non-essential businesses and take other measures to keep people apart to prevent infections.
Hospitalizations were doubling every two days as of Sunday, but by Monday the trend showed hospitalizations were doubling every 3.4 days, and by Tuesday the rate was 4.7 days, Cuomo said. This evidence suggested such “density-control measures” as closing businesses and limiting gatherings, while burdensome, may be working, Cuomo said.