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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Reports 'Largest Single-Day' Increase In Deaths

Patients are brought into Wyckoff Heights Medical Center by staff wearing personal protective gear due to COVID-19 concerns on Tuesday in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
Patients are brought into Wyckoff Heights Medical Center by staff wearing personal protective gear due to COVID-19 concerns on Tuesday in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 731 more people died on Monday due to the coronavirus, marking the largest single-day increase in fatalities in the state since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The latest surge brings the total number of deaths in New York to 5,489 — nearly half of all deaths caused by the virus in the U.S. — and comes even as the three-day average of hospitalizations and intensive care admissions are dropping, Cuomo said.

"Behind every one of those numbers is an individual, is a family, is a mother, is a father, is a brother, is a sister. So, a lot of pain again today," he said at a press conference in Albany.

Cuomo called the death rate a "lagging indicator," adding that current data suggests New York is in the apex of the outbreak and officials are projecting the state is reaching a plateau.

As a result, he said: "We have to start planning restarting life."

"We are not there yet. This is not a light switch we can just flip one day and everything goes back to normal," Cuomo noted.

But said he is engaged in discussions with the Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy to develop regional strategies for how to do that.

An essential component of restarting life and the New York economy will be dependent on the ability to test for those who have developed antibodies, the governor said.

The New York State Department of Health has developed antibody testing and is working with the FDA to bring it to scale, but suggested that may be impossible without the help of private companies.

Cuomo said he plans to issue several executive orders later Tuesday, including one that doubles fines for those who violate social-distancing mandates, increasing the penalty from $500 to $1,000.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.