COVID-19: Encouraging signs from NY, hospitalisation rate slowing down


New York, March 26 The White House coronavirus task force pointed to early signs that social distancing norms in the US are beginning to work, with the number of new cases in the high risk New York area relatively "constant" instead of curving sharply upwards.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed 192 people in New York City alone and more than 900 people across the US. The total US caseload has crossed 62,000 as on March 25 end of day in the US.

"You will see in New York City, the number of cases per day has been relatively constant over the last three days as the number of new cases per day", Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus co-ordinator, said at a Wednesday evening briefing.

Birx said that these numbers are clearer to interpret now because the testing backlog has been reduced significantly.

In his daily briefing, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shared data that show the reduction in density plan is working.

Last Sunday, New York hospitalisations were doubling every two days, by Monday that rate slowed to every 3.4 days and by Wednesday, it came down to every 4.7 days, according to Cuomo.

Birx urged Americans "not to let up for a moment" as the 15 day mark nears for the first test case of social distancing guidelines.

"This is a real call to every person in New York City in the New York metro area to continue to follow the White House social distancing guidelines", she said.

Four counties - New York City, Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau County - account for the maximum cases in the New York metro area.

Along with a few counties in New Jersey, 56 per cent of new cases are still coming from the New York metro area, Birx said.

Birx explained that the hospital cases in New York will continue to rise but the encouraging sign is that they are not rising any more than a "consistent day over day rise",

Birx said the increase in hospital cases are a reflection of the infection rate before the full mitigation efforts were put into place.

New York is reporting an infection rate of 1 in 1000 compared with around 0.2 per cent per 1000 in the rest of the states.

The Trump task force is urging anyone who has been in the New York area to self quarantine for 14 days to ensure that the virus does not find new seeding spots in the community.

Florida became the first state to require people coming from New York to self-quarantine for 14 days. Governor Ron DeSantis said that anyone flying in from the city and surrounding areas will face criminal penalties if they do not self-quarantine.

With its warmer climate, Florida is a favourite retirement spot for people from the colder northern states and 20 per cent of its population is over 65 - the age group most susceptible to Covid-19 - compared to 16 per cent nationally.

New York currently accounts for 31 per cent of people succumbing to Covid-19, according to data from Birx and New York Governor Cuomo.