April 6 (UPI) — The number of coronavirus deaths in the United States passed the 10,000 mark Monday, even as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said cases there were leveling off, a decline he attributed to intensive social distancing.
Though he strongly cautioned against getting complacent, Cuomo said it appears New York was at or nearing the apex of the caseload curve due to a slight drop in the daily number of coronavirus hospitaliations and deaths. He said the curve is plateauing, although at a very high level.
“It could still go any way,” he warned. “It is hopeful, but it’s also inconclusive and it still depends on what we do.”
New York reported about 600 new deaths and 8,600 additional cases Monday.
Nationwide, more than 352,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus and more than 10,300 have died, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University as of Monday afternoon.
Cuomo said New York’s healthcare capacity is at maximum capacity and cannot operate that way for much longer. He said he plans to ask President Donald Trump to allow the USNS Comfort to accept coronavirus patients, rather than act strictly as an overflow for non-COVID-19 patients.
Cuomo also extended statewide lockdown orders to keep schools and non-essential businesses closed until at least April 29.
Earlier, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and praised two companies at the industrial park for producing much-needed surgical gowns for front-line medical workers.
Fashion designer Lafayette 148 New York and military equipment maker Crye Precision have been producing a reusable surgical gown and have enlisted workers at the naval yard to make 19,000 this week — and as many as 320,000 by the end of April.
“It is is inspiring to see how quickly people figured out a way to do something that was needed and not just do it in a small way but do it in a very big way,” de Blasio said.
The mayor the city’s hospitals expect to use 2.5 million gowns this week, adding, “We have to find more surgical gowns urgently.”
New York City hospitals received 600,000 N95 industrial face masks from the federal government, de Blasio said, specifically thanking White House adviser Jared Kushner. He also reiterated a call for a “national enlistment structure” for medical personnel wishing to help in New York City and other treatment locations, saying the city will need 45,000 additional front-line health workers this month.
In Michigan, the death toll rose past 600 on Monday, with a total caseload approaching 17,000. Officials said 80 percent of the cases are located in the Detroit area’s three counties of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said state healthcare providers are “running dangerously low” on personal protection equipment. The Beaumont Health system of hospitals, she said, will run out of N95 masks in three days and face shields will run out even sooner.
“We’re making some progress, but we need more [protection equipment] to continue fighting the virus,” she said.