New York's coronavirus death toll just topped 1,000, but Gov. Cuomo warns that 'thousands' will die

mmcfalljohnsen@businessinsider.com (Morgan McFall-Johnsen)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at the Javits Center, which will be partially converted into a temporary hospital during the outbreak of the coronavirus, in New York City, March 27, 2020.

REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

  • New York's coronavirus death toll passed 1,000 on Sunday night, with a total of at least 1,026 people dead, according to Associated Press.
  • New York City reported on Sunday evening that its death toll had risen to 776. At least 250 cases have been confirmed outside of the city, according to AP.
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that "thousands" will die in the state, which he called the "epicenter" of the US's COVID-19 outbreak — the world's largest.
  • Cuomo extended the state's lockdown by another two weeks. Accessible point-of-care testing could allow states to lift these restrictions, officials say.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

New York's COVID-19 death toll has passed 1,000, and officials expect many more people to die before the outbreak passes its peak.

New York City reported on Sunday evening that its death toll had risen to 776. At least 250 additional cases have been confirmed outside of the city, bringing the state's death count to at least 1,026, according to Associated Press.

An updated number of statewide deaths is expected to be reported on Monday, according to AP.

At least 237 people in New York died from the coronavirus from Saturday to Sunday, the state's largest single-day death count since the outbreak began. 

In total, over 59,000 people have been infected in New York — 8% of all the world's COVID-19 cases.

"I don't see how you look at those numbers and conclude anything less than thousands of people will pass away," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press briefing on Sunday.

Dr. Howard Zucker, the state Commissioner of Health, confirmed the governor's estimate and added that the death rate so far was hovering around 1%.

"New York is the epicenter," Cuomo said. "We are going to make it through this. We have made it through far greater things."

New York's lockdown has been extended another two weeks as the 'apex' approaches

A man crosses a nearly empty 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus in New York City, March 25, 2020.

REUTERS/Mike Segar

Cuomo announced that he would extend the "PAUSE" program by more than two weeks — until at least April 15 – meaning "the nonessential workforce is directed to continue to work from home," he said in a tweet.

Cuomo said a decision about whether or not to keep the order in place will be made every two weeks after that — an indication that the governor doesn't see April 15 as the end of the PAUSE program. He enacted the policy on March 20.

"Every day is a new day and we'll see what happens day to day," Cuomo said.

In New York City, hospitals are beginning to run out of both space and protective equipment. The city has built a makeshift morgue to deal with the spike in deaths, and Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned that half of New Yorkers will likely get infected.

Cuomo said on Friday that he anticipates the "apex" of the crisis — the highest need for hospital beds and medical supplies — is about three weeks away.

A 'return to normalcy' could come with accessible testing

Healthcare workers prepare a drive-thru testing station run by the state health department, for people who suspect they have the coronavirus, in Denver, Colorado, March 11, 2020.

Jim Urquhart/Reuters

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US's top infectious-disease expert, pointed to widespread, rapid testing as a sign that lockdowns could lift.

"I think it's going to depend a lot... on the availability of those rapid tests that you can get really quickly, 15 minutes or so, where you'll know right away," Fauci said in an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. "So that when you identify someone who's infected, that person doesn't go out into society for a few days, infect a bunch of people, and then you bring them back because the test is positive."

Cuomo said New York's timeline depends on a testing scale-up.

"People ask, 'When is this over?'" he said. "You tell me when they come up with an inexpensive home test or point-of-care test that can be brought to volume. I think that's probably when you see a real return to normalcy in the workforce."

The US government has been criticized for its low testing capabilities, after errors and delays plagued the development of its diagnostic coronavirus test. Testing in the US is finally beginning to become more widespread, resulting in a surge of confirmed cases across the country. But experts say it came too late to contain the virus' spread.

Abbott has received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration for the fastest available molecular point-of-care test for the coronavirus.

Courtesy of Abbott Laboratories

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new COVID-19 test that delivers positive results in five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes.

The new test runs on Abbott Laboratories' ID NOW platform, which is the most common point-of-care test in the US.

After the new ID NOW COVID-19 test received FDA approval, Abbott announced that it would ramp up its production to make 50,000 units per day as early as next week. According to a spokesperson from the medical device company, the tests will be available beginning on April 1.

"When we get those tests out that you can do right away, rapid point-of-care, and do it, then I think we're going to be closer [to lifting restrictions]," Fauci said.

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