New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that no victim of the coronavirus has died because the state could not provide health care for them, even as New York posted its highest number of deaths in one day.
“You can’t save everyone. This virus is very good at what it does, and it kills vulnerable people,” Cuomo said at his daily briefing providing updates on the outbreak. “The question is, are you saving everyone you can save? And there the answer is yes, and I take some solace in that fact.”
“Our health care system is operating. I don’t believe we’ve lost a single person because we couldn’t provide care,” the Democratic governor continued. “People we lost we couldn’t save despite our best efforts.”
A record 731 New Yorkers died between Monday and Tuesday, Cuomo reported. He cautioned that the death rate is a “lagging indicator,” meaning that those who died are often sick for weeks before they pass. More than 138,000 people in the state have been infected with the respiratory illness, with 8,157 new positive cases on Tuesday, the lowest rate in a week. The number of patients being hospitalized and moved to intensive care has dropped as well.
The governor warned Thursday that New York state only had enough ventilators for six days and was considering how to increase the supply. The state released 400 ventilators to New York City a day earlier. Cuomo has worked to get as many ventilators as possible to the city, which has emerged as the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak with nearly half the total deaths in the country. On Friday, the governor issued an executive order allowing the state to take ventilators and personal protective equipment from hospitals and transfer them to places that need them.
New York has also received medical equipment from other states and countries, including Oregon and China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated.