New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus officially eclipsed the number of those killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11, health officials said on Tuesday.
At least 3,202 people have died in New York from COVID-19, according to the count released by the city. The deadliest terror attack on US soil killed 2,753 people in the city and 2,977 overall, when hijacked planes slammed into the twin towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001.
New York state recorded 731 new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, its biggest one-day jump yet, for a statewide toll of nearly 5,500, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
But in an encouraging sign, he reported that the average number of people newly hospitalised each day is dropping, as is the number of those receiving breathing tubes, indicating that measures taken to make people keep their distance from each other are succeeding.
And alarming as the one-day increase in deaths might sound, the governor said that's a “lagging indicator,” reflecting people who had been hospitalized before this week. Over the past several days, in fact, the number of deaths appeared to be leveling off.
“You see that plateauing — that’s because of what we are doing. If we don’t do what we are doing, that is a much different curve," he said. "So social distancing is working.”
Across the US, the death toll reached about 11,000, with around 3,70,000 confirmed infections.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that if Americans continue to practise social distancing for the rest of April, “we will be able to get back to some sense of normalcy.”
“I want the American people to know there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and we feel confident that if we keep doing the right thing for the rest of this month, that we can start to slowly reopen in some places,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
One lockdown exception in the US was Wisconsin, which asked hundreds of thousands of voters to ignore a stay-at-home order to participate in its presidential primary on Tuesday.
The lines were particularly long in Milwaukee, the state’s largest city and a Democratic stronghold, where just five of 180 traditional polling places were open. Many voters across the state did not have facial coverings in line with public health recommendations.
The US government’s top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was cautiously optimistic, saying that in New York, “what we have been doing has been working.”
Stocks climbed in early trading on Wall Street on Tuesday as markets around the world piled on even more big gains following their huge rally a day earlier. The S&P 500 index rose 3% in the first few minutes of trading and added on to Monday’s 7% surge, following encouraging signs that the coronavirus pandemic may be close to leveling off in some of the hardest-hit areas of the world.
Worldwide, more than 1.3 million people have been confirmed infected and over 75,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. The true numbers are almost certainly much higher, because of limited testing, different rules for counting the dead and deliberate underreporting by some governments.
For most people, the virus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. But for some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause pneumonia. Close to 300,000 people have recovered worldwide.
One of the main models on the outbreak, from the University of Washington, is now projecting about 82,000 U.S. deaths through early August, or 12% fewer than previously forecast, with the highest number of daily deaths occurring on April 16.