New York state’s virus deaths jump to more than 1,900

Coronavirus deaths soared. New York City playgrounds were targeted for shutdown to help slow an outbreak projected to grow worse for another month. Overtaxed hospitals began transferring patients north of the city. And residents near one struggling hospital have become all too used to ambulance sirens. New York’s COVID-19 death count more than doubled in 72 hours to 1,941.

One month after New York discovered its first infection - a health care worker returning from Iran - the state tallied more than 83,000 positive cases. The 1,941 deaths were up from 965 Sunday morning. New York logged its first virus-related death 13 March, an 82-year-old woman with emphysema.

New York Governor closes city playgrounds to combat virus in an effort to bolster social distancing and limit the number of coronavirus-related deaths, which are approaching 2,000 in the state. He called on the city’s police force to “get more aggressive” in enforcing social distancing efforts but added that open spaces in parks would remain available for people to “walk around, get some sun.” With more than 12,000 people hospitalized, Cuomo said the latest outbreak projections show no respite this month.

Cuomo said the state was relying on models by the consulting firm McKinsey which projected a need for 75,000 beds for patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and 25,000 ventilators in the case of high compliance with social distancing meaures.

In a scenario where people didn’t adhere to those directives, the need for beds will be over 110,000 and some 37,000 ventilators will be needed. In both models the projected apex of the crisis will be at the end of this month.

Cuomo warned leaders in other regions that they, too, would be facing a similar crisis. “Look at us today, see yourself tomorrow,” the governor said.

New York has only received 4,000 ventiatlors from the federal government, well short of its need, Cuomo said. He said it was difficult for New York to purchase ventilators on its own amid fierce competition and price gouging. He reiterated his plea for the federal government to step in and act as the central purchaser.

“The only hope for a state at this point is the federal government’s capacity to deliver.”

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