New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended his social distancing orders until late April Monday as the number of deaths in the state nears the 5,000 mark.
Addressing reporters in his daily news conference, Cuomo said that of the confirmed 130,689 infections his state has recorded 4,758 people have died, up from 4,159 recorded on Sunday.
Cuomo described the increase as "effectively flat" since Sunday, meaning there was not a major day-to-day increase in the rate of deaths.
"While none of this is good news, the possible flattening of the curve is better than the increases we have seen," he said, but noted that New York "is still far and away the most impacted state."
There are currently 16,837 people being treated for COVID-19 in New York's hospital system, including over 4,500 people being treated in intensive care units. In all, 13,366 people have been successfully treated and discharged, Cuomo said.
The number of daily hospital and intensive care admissions are both down, which the governor said are "good signs" that he said could potentially signal that the worst days of New York's outbreak could be ending. He cautioned, however, that no one knows when cases could decrease with various models being employed by the state showing a wide variation.
"If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a very high level, and there's tremendous stress on the health care system" he said. "If we are plateauing it is because social distancing is working so we have to make sure the social distancing actually continues."
New York Schools and non-essential businesses will be closed through April 29, Cuomo said, arguing that he will not "choose between public health and economic activity."
"There's also a real danger in getting over-confident too quickly. This is an enemy that we have underestimated since day one and we have paid the price dearly," he said.
New York is the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, with densely-populated New York City being particularly hard-hit. It comprises more than half of the state's infections.
The city has seen 67,551 confirmed infections and 3,048 deaths, according to a study being conducted by Baltimore, Maryland-based Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. leads all countries worldwide for the number of infections with Johns Hopkins data counting 338,995 confirmed cases.
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