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N.Y. deaths set another daily record; Mayor sees NYC lockdown going into June

By
Don Jacobson
A New York City Police Department officer rides on horseback near Radio City Music Hall In New York City on Sunday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
A New York City Police Department officer rides on horseback near Radio City Music Hall In New York City on Sunday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 9 (UPI) -- The state of New York set another single-day record with nearly 800 coronavirus deaths, and New York City's mayor said shelter-in-place orders could last into June.

A total of 799 people died Wednesday from COVID-19, bringing the state's total to more than 6,200 since the pandemic began, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an update Thursday.

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It was the third consecutive day in which a new high in deaths had been established.

"We're in a battle, right, but this is about a war," Cuomo said. "This virus is very, very good at what it does. We lost more lives yesterday than we have to date."

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New cases in the state, meanwhile, continued to level off, which the governor attributed to strict lockdowns and social distancing measures, especially in the epicenter of New York City.

He urged that restrictions not be lifted anytime soon despite their economic toll, or, he warned, the number of cases will "shoot through the roof" again.

"Before you start talking about restarting the economy, you're going to have to address the damage that is done to society today, which is intense," he said.

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His assessment came hours after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city's lockdown orders could last throughout April and May possibly into June.

De Blasio said the city is facing a tough month of April but could move onto the "next phase" afterward if New Yorkers keep working diligently to keep the pandemic in check.

Business and school closures will last "through April and certainly through much of May," he added.

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"I would love it if some change could happen in May. But it may not be until June."

De Blasio said he is using three metrics to determine when to relax the restrictions -- the level of new COVID-19 hospital admissions, intensive care unit admissions and the percentage of people who test positive.

New York is the U.S. epicenter of the outbreak and has reported 4,260 deaths so far, state health officials said. There are about 432,600 cases and 14,800 deaths in the United States, according to John Hopkins University. Experts at the school say 24,200 have recovered so far.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed optimism Thursday that the U.S. economy could reopen as soon as next month, depending on how President Donald Trump feels about the "medical issues."

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Mnuchin told CNBC that Trump could make the required moves as soon as next month.

The administration, Mnuchin said, is doing "everything necessary" so that U.S. businesses and American workers can be back in business and have the liquidity they need to operate in the interim.

News reports said Thursday the White House is preparing a second coronavirus task force to focus on economic recovery. The Labor Department said 6.6 million more Americans filed initial unemployment claims last week.

White House health adviser Anthony Fauci told NBC's Today the upward trajectory of U.S. deaths could soon flatten and begin to decline. He said he expects around 60,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States instead of the 100,000 to 240,000 estimated previously by the White House.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley on Thursday disputed comments by members of the White House coronavirus task force that characterized the city as a potential pandemic hot spot.

Vice President Mike Pence and Deborah Birx, the federal coronavirus response director, each made statements this week that Philadelphia could become a trouble spot, but Farley said the city's caseload appears to be stabilizing.

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"The numbers still continue to rise, but just in the past two to three days, for the first time I'm starting to feel a little more optimistic," he said.

Philadelphia has about 5,000 cases so far, but Farley said daily additions continue to decline.

U.S. copes with COVID-19 pandemic

Bass Pro Shops marketing manager David Smith (R) carries a box of donated face masks into Mercy Health in Chesterfield, Mo., on May 13. The company is donating 1 million FDA-approved ASTM Level 1 Procedure Face Masks to healthcare workers and first responders working on the front lines of the pandemic. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

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