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New Covid-19 cases declining but still high

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The number of new Covid-19 cases continues a steady decline in Seaford and Wantagh, in line with trends seen across the state. But Levittown has seen sharp spikes, and new cases are still “unacceptably high,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

From April 21-May 2, Seaford reported a total of 22 new cases; Wantagh, including North Wantagh, had 21; and Levittown, with its significantly larger and more diverse population, reported 111.

Altogether, Nassau County has seen more than 5,200 new cases in the same period, with 339 fatalities.

The number has been declining, however. From Wednesday to Friday last week, neither Seaford nor Wantagh reported any new cases, although the number did climb from Friday to Sunday.

Reporting has been inconsistent, because the county receives its numbers from the state, creating a lag between actual test results or hospital admissions and published data. In addition, state and county methods of counting residents have not been consistent, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

While Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue a steady decline, the state is still seeing nearly a thousand new cases a day.

For the first time in weeks, the number of overnight deaths dropped below 300 last week — to 289 from 306, from Thursday into Friday, a 5.5 percent decline. New hospitalizations were also down.

The governor said social distancing practices, as mandated by the state, have prevented an estimated 100,000 Covid-19 cases, which he said would have overrun hospitals and caused many more deaths. It was unclear how that figure was calculated.

“Our past actions changed the past trajectory,” he said.

Today’s actions will determine “the number of sick tomorrow,” Cuomo said — hence the need to keep school buildings closed and to continue social distancing.

Of the virus, the governor said, “The enemy is on the run.”

Now, however, state officials must determine more precisely why the state is still seeing so many cases a day. So state and local health officials are drilling down, looking at new cases by county.

The five counties that make up New York City continue to lead, with New York County (Manhattan) being hardest hit. They are followed by Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Rockland counties.

Nassau accounted for roughly 10 percent of the statewide total.

State health authorities are also looking at who is becoming infected, and why New Yorkers had exponentially higher rates of contagion than in other heavily populated areas. Nassau and Suffolk counties, with a combined population of roughly 3 million have more confirmed cases than California, with a population of nearly 40 million. New York City, with 9 million, has more cases than Germany, with a population of roughly 84 million.

The governor wondered if contagion was higher among essential workers, or whether the workplace played significant role in who got infected. Authorities were also investigating the part played by public transportation.

Those are some of the questions the state is seeking to answer, Cuomo said.

In the meantime, people should continue wearing their masks in public and keep up social distancing to protect others, he said.