The coronavirus has killed more people across New York in a single day than ever before — and the worst is yet to come, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Saturday.
The state’s death count surged past 3,500 — including a total dead of more than 2,600 in New York City by Saturday night — reflecting “an all-time increase” of 630 lives lost in a 24-hour span, Cuomo said at a daily briefing.
The number of infected across the state jumped by close to 11,000 to more than 113,000 — with more than 63,000 of those in the city.
But as troubling as the numbers are, the “apex” of the crisis — the point where the numbers hit their peak, and then begin to decline — remains about a week away, the governor said.
“I call it the battle of the mountaintop because that’s what it’s going to be,” Cuomo said.
“I want to get on the other side of that apex, and just slide down that mountain.”
Current mathematical models project the apex as anywhere from four to 14 days away, but regardless, “we’re not yet ready for the high point,” in terms of beds, staff, and equipment, including ventilators, he added.
President Trump promised welcome relief Saturday — 1,000 military doctors and nurses who will help treat the sick of New York City, where the streets remained hauntingly empty, lined with boarded-up businesses.
Still, “This will probably be the toughest week, between this week and next week,” the president said, as the number of US coronavirus cases topped 311,000, and the total national death toll climbed beyond 8,400.
Meanwhile, just 15,000 people have officially recovered nationwide.
“There will be a lot of death, unfortunately,” the president warned.
The mounting deaths are causing a backlog at area crematories, requiring family members who already couldn’t be present at their loved-ones’ bedsides to wait ten days or more for remains.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said John Vincent Scalia, owner of Staten Island’s John Vincent Scalia Home for Funerals, which in recent weeks has seen 19 COVID-19 cases and counting.
“We handled 50 World Trade Center funerals, but I’ve never been through anything like this.”
The city remains hardest hit statewide — the epicenter of the epicenter — but a surge is also being seen on Long Island.
Nassau had more than 13,000 cases, by Saturday a 1,300 jump from Friday.
Suffolk had more than 11,000 cases, a 1,200 jump from Friday.
“The shift is undeniable,” Cuomo said, calling Long Island the state’s newest COVID-19 hotspot.
Meanwhile, more than 11,000 infected people were hospitalized in the Big Apple, and there were only 500 ventilators to spare in all of the state by midday Saturday.
Mayor de Blasio said the city alone needed at least 400 more ventilators or else it would run out as early as Sunday.
“We think at some point next week we could have 5,000 people on ventilators,” de Blasio said Saturday night on CNN.
GM and Ford were racing to manufacture thousands more, but health experts told the Washington Post that may amount to too little, too late, given the projected delivery dates of between mid-April and mid-May.
Fortunately, immediate donations of the much-needed breathing machines are being promised by an unlikely assortment of sources — from China to Oregon.
Billionaire Alibaba founders Joe Tsai — owner of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center — and Jack Ma are contributing 1,000 ventilators that the Chinese government will be flying to JFK later Saturday, Cuomo said.
“It’s a big deal and it’s going to make a significant difference for us,” Cuomo said.
On CNN Saturday night, Tsai’s wife said their total contribution will grow to 2,000 ventilators — valued at more than $50 million — alongwith 170,000 goggles and 2.6 million masks.
An additional shipment of 140 ventilators is heading to New York from Oregon, the governor said, calling that donation “just astonishing and unexpected.” He added, “140 ventilators will make a difference.”
A total of 85,000 health care workers have so far answered calls to volunteer to help out in New York, Cuomo said, including 22,000 from out of state.
On Pier 90 on Manhattan’s West Side, where the Navy’s 1,000-bed hospital ship USNS Comfort is docked, several ambulances came and went throughout the day Saturday, yet only some two dozen patients were on board.
Several were COVID-19 patients brought onto the ship, which was meant to handle only non-coronavirus cases, Fox News reported.
Those “few” patients tested positive only after arriving at the ship, but while still isolated from the non-COVID-19 patients on board, a Navy spokeswoman told The Post.
“They were isolated immediately upon arrival and received care for the entirety of their time aboard the ship” before being transferred to the Javits Center, which is treating COVID-19 patients, said the spokeswoman, Lt. Marycate Walsh.
Infection swamped cops and robbers alike. Citywide, 251 inmates out of a total population of 4,300 were infected, or 5.8 percent of all inmates, officials said.
A total of 1,775 cops and 260 civilian NYPD employees were reported infected, officials said.
Still, the NYPD kept working to catch social-distancing scofflaws citywide.
More than a dozen partygoers were busted at Mango Jamaican Cuisine in The Bronx Friday night, and wild Facebook video showed Brooklyn teens brawling outside a Brownsville, Brooklyn apartment Thursday night.
“This is like some ‘World War Z’ s–t!” a voice behind the camera yelled.
Additional reporting by Olivia Bensimon, Larry Celona, Rosemary Misdary, Georgett Roberts, Julia Marsh, Ruth Weissmann and Mary Kay Linge
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