New York just had its deadliest day since the coronavirus outbreak began

jberke@businessinsider.com (Jeremy Berke)
A man is wheeled into an ambulance in Manhattan, New York, on March 27.

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

  • New York City has emerged as the center of the global coronavirus pandemic.
  • COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, killed 134 people in New York over the past 24 hours, Gov. Cuomo said on Friday morning — the largest single-day increase since the outbreak began.
  • The state's death toll is up to 519 people, with 7,377 new cases recorded overnight, bringing the total number up to 44,635.
  • "This is an invisible beast. It is an insidious beast," Cuomo said to reporters, National Guard troops, and emergency first responders on Friday morning. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

New York on Friday had its deadliest day since the state's coronavirus outbreak began in early March. 

One hundred and thirty-four people died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in New York over the past 24 hours. That brings the death toll in the state to 519 people, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a Friday morning address at New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, a cavernous convention hall in midtown Manhattan.

"That is going to continue to go up, and that is the worst news that I can tell the people of the state of New York. New York is still the most affected state both in terms of number of cases and in terms of deaths," Cuomo said to a group of National Guardsmen, press, and others.

The death toll of the past 24 hours exceeds the increase seen between Wednesday and Thursday, when 100 patients died of the disease.

Cuomo said on Friday the state recorded 7,377 new cases overnight, bringing the total number of cases in New York up to 44,635. Of those confirmed cases, 6,481 people are hospitalized, with 1,583 in intensive care.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a news conference on March 27.

REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

New York City emerges as the global center of the coronavirus pandemic 

New York City, perhaps the center of the global pandemic, had recorded 366 deaths and 25,300 cases as of Friday. To put that death toll into perspective, New York City had 316 homicides in the entirety of 2019. 

The first recorded case in New York was on March 1, a Manhattan woman in her 30s who contracted the virus while traveling in Iran

"This doesn't attack the strong among us. It attacks the weak among us, the people we're supposed to protect," Cuomo said on Friday. "These are our parents, our aunts and uncles, a relative who is sick. Every instinct says protect them, they need us. But those are the exact people this enemy attacks." 

In New York City, nearly 20% of confirmed coronavirus patients needed hospitalization — a figure slightly higher than the national averages — while statewide, that rate was just over 14%, Cuomo said.

The death toll in the US is 1,475 people. There are 97,932 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US, according to data compiled by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Globally, the disease has infected 585,040 people and led to 26,818 deaths.

On Thursday evening, the US surpassed both China and Italy in terms of the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

The National Guard, US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in recent days transformed the Javits Center into a large temporary hospital capable of housing 1,000 patients. It is set to open on Monday. 

We're 3 weeks from the 'apex' of the crisis, Cuomo says

Cuomo said he anticipated the "apex" of the crisis — the highest need for hospital beds and medical supplies — was about 21 days out.

State officials project they'll need 30,000 to 40,000 ventilators, 140,000 extra hospital beds, and 30,000 intensive-care-unit beds, Cuomo said. New York state has 53,000 hospital beds. 

Cuomo said he directed city and state officials to construct overflow hospitals of at least 1,000 beds in the same vein as the Javits Center in all five boroughs.

The four sites the state identified for these overflow hospitals are the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, the Aqueduct Racetrack facility in Queens, the City University of New York's College of Staten Island, and the New York Expo Center in the Bronx. 

"We're looking at about 21 days for a possible apex," Cuomo said. "So we want to do everything we can to be ready for [what] could hit us in 21 days ... We are doing everything we can."

Despite the rash of deaths and uptick of cases in New York state, there is some good news. In his press conference on Thursday, Cuomo pointed to evidence that statewide social-distancing measures had proven effective.

The number of confirmed coronavirus patients admitted to the hospital is slowing day over day. On Sunday, the rate of hospitalizations was doubling every two days. On Monday, hospitalizations slowed, and the new rate meant that critical cases were doubling every 3.4 days. On Tuesday, the hospitalizations doubled every 4.7 days, Cuomo said. 

Still, the state is seeing an increase in the number of deaths because of the length of time COVID-19 patients need to be on ventilators. 

Most patients who need ventilators use them for three or four days while they recover. Many COVID-19 patients need ventilators for 11 to 21 days, with the survival rate dramatically decreasing the longer a person is on the ventilator, Cuomo said.

Army personnel at the Javits Center on March 27, which will be partially converted into a hospital for coronavirus patients.

REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

'This is a moment that is going to change this nation'

Cuomo also said that he was ordering the city to shut down nonessential construction, including office, retail, and residential building, to reduce the spread of the virus. 

"This is an invisible beast. It is an insidious beast. This is not going to be a short deployment," Cuomo said to the National Guard troops on Friday. "This is not going to be that you go out there for a few days. We work hard, and we go home. This is going to be weeks and weeks and weeks. This is going to be a long day, and it's going to be a hard day, and it's going to be an ugly day, and it's going to be a sad day. This is a rescue mission that you're on — the mission is to save lives."

Cuomo called the national effort to mobilize a variety of federal, state, and local agencies to combat the virus and assist sickened New Yorkers a "moment in history."

"This is going to be one of those moments they're going to write and they're going to talk about for generations," he said. "This is a moment that is going to change this nation. This is a moment that forges character, forges people, changes people — make them stronger, make them weaker — but this is a moment that will change character."

"So I say, my friends, that we go out there today and we kick coronavirus' ass. That's what I say," he said.

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