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State to add funeral directors as N.Y.'s death toll surpasses 7,000: Governor Cuomo


Without offering specifics, Governor Cuomo said at his Thursday news briefing that additional funeral directors would be brought in to aid with final arrangements for the hundreds of New Yorkers who are dying of the coronavirus. Overnight, he said, 799 people had succumbed to the disease, bringing the total who have died in New York to more than 7,000.

 Cuomo spoke of the coronavirus as a “silent killer.” “9/11 was supposed to be the darkest day” for New York in a generation, he said. The pandemic, however, has killed more than double the number in New York than the World Trade Center terrorist attacks of 2001.

In Nassau, 633 people have died and 20,148 have tested positive since the first reported case here March 5, County Executive Laura Curran said Thursday.

“Our hospitals and health care workers continue to be stretched to the limit,” she said.

 There were continued positive signs, however. Some 2,353 people are now hospitalized in Nassau, but the hospitalization rate is declining, Curran said. Overnight, there were 16 new hospitalizations, which was a lower number than the previous day, she said.

 The hospitalization rate has declined for four straight days, she said, potentially indicating a plateau of cases.

 Four hundred and fifty-five people are on ventilators here.

To maintain the plateau, both Cuomo and Curran said, people must continue to practice social distancing and stay at home unless they are essential workers.

Rapid testing for coronavirus on a mass scale could allow people to return to work, Cuomo said he believes. He warned, however, that the virus may come in waves. He noted that the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 struck in three waves. And already, he said, there are scattered reports, including in The Los Angeles Times, that Wuhan, China, may be experiencing a second wave of infections.

A secondary infection wave could come, he said, if the virus were to mutate into a new form, potentially infecting those with immunity to the first virus.

There is an emotional toll the pandemic has had on many people, the governor said. Those in need of help can call the state’s Emotional Support Hotline at (844) 863-9314.