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Slight rise in N.Y. hospital admissions; NYC mayor defends enforcing rules

By
Don Jacobson
The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly in formation past the Empire State Building in New York City on Tuesday as a tribute to front-line health and emergency workers. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The U.S. Navy's "Blue Angels" and U.S. Air Force "Thunderbirds" fly in formation past the Empire State Building in New York City on Tuesday as a tribute to front-line health and emergency workers. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 29 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday nearly 18,000 New Yorkers have died of the coronavirus so far.

At his daily briefing, Cuomo said the latest daily toll was 330 and is continuing a steady decline, as are other key indicators like ICU admissions and intubations. New York has seen about 295,000 cases since the start of the pandemic.

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New hospitalizations, however, saw a slight uptick.

"We don't want to see 1,000 new cases every day," he said Wednesday. "We'd like to see that in the low hundreds."

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The United States has 1 million cases and the national death toll is around 58,500, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been nearly 116,000 recoveries.

Cuomo criticized Republicans in the U.S. Senate for voicing opposition to giving state and local governments more aid in the next relief bill -- particularly Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Florida Sen. Rick Scott, saying they're "playing politics" while ill Americans are dying.

McConnell's office has referred to the proposed aid as "blue state bailouts."

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"You have human suffering, you have people dying," Cuomo answered. "You can't stop the politics even in this moment? ... You still want to play your politics?

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"That's what this is about and that's why it is so disturbing on a fundamental level."

Earlier, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his decision to use police officers to break up a gathering of hundreds who'd gathered in Brooklyn to mourn the death of a prominent orthodox Jewish rabbi.

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Police responded to the neighborhood Tuesday night where as many as 2,500 were congregated. Photos posted online showed hundreds standing close together in violation of social distancing rules. With de Blasio in attendance, police broke up gathering. There were no arrests, but New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said a few were cited for various minor offenses.

"My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed," de Blasio posted to Twitter. The post drew some angry responses that accused him of singling out the Jewish community.

De Blasio acknowledged he was angry when he made the post and said he "regretted" if his some found his words offensive.

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"That was not my intention," he said. "It was said with love, but tough love, anger and frustration."

The mayor reiterated, however, that coronavirus restrictions will be enforced.

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"I have no regrets about calling out this danger and saying we're going to deal with it very, very aggressively," he said.

Also Wednesday, White House infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said a second wave of the virus is "inevitable" and the United States could be in for a "bad fall and a bad winter" if rules are ignored and countermeasures truncated.

Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said last weekend the United States could see a substantial resurgence by the virus late this year if states reopen too soon. The key, he said, is widely expanding testing.

"We're going in the right direction," he told CNN. "But we need to continue to partner in a very active collaborative way with the states, we need to help them the same way they need to do the execution."

In New Jersey, the number of hospitalizations keeps falling. Fewer were reported Wednesday, according to a state count. Ventilator usage and the number of patients in critical or intensive care were also down.

Gov. Phil Murphy has said he'll use the figures as benchmarks to help determine when New Jersey will begin lifting restrictions.

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In Georgia, health officials reported a 3 percent rise in cases as Gov. Brian Kemp considers whether to lift a statewide shelter-in-place order. There have so far been more than 25,000 cases in the state.

Kemp, who allowed some businesses to reopen this week, is expected to decide Wednesday whether to extend his stay-home order, which expires Thursday.

"Data continues to trend in the right direction," he tweeted.

Los Angels Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday that all city residents would be able to receive free coronavirus testing, as previously only residents with symptoms, essential workers and those who work in nursing homes and other institutional settings could be tested.

Same- or next-day testing will still be prioritized for people with symptoms and frontline workers will also receive priority.

COVID-19 pandemic alters life in New York City

Mannequins with face masks and designer clothing fill a window at a Diane Von Furstenberg store in New York City on September 8, 2020. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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