New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday there are signs the hard-hit state is reaching the apex as the number of people who died from coronavirus has remained flat for the second day in a row. New hospitalizations are also down, as well as ICU admissions, he said.
All these signs suggest a "possible flattening of the curve," he said.
To keep the current trend going, Cuomo said schools and non-essential businesses will remain closed until April 29, extending his original order by 9 more days.
Cuomo said that it's unclear if New York is currently at a plateau — meaning the current rates will continue for a while — or is at a peak that will start declining. He warned that the health care system, which he said is "running at redline," cannot to maintain this level for long.
He said hospitals are "beyond capacity" for ventilators. He said hospitals are discussing every day shifting staff, ventilators and PPE to where they are needed most throughout the state. He thanked states that have sent ventilators, and he promised that once the worst is over in New York, "we will be there for every other state like they have been there for us."
"People can't work any harder, the staff can't work any harder and staying at this level is problematic," Cuomo said.
Cuomo said the flattening numbers are a result of social distancing. But he warned that if people "get reckless" and stop following social distancing guidelines, those numbers will increase.
"We have been behind on the virus since Day 1 and this virus has kicked our rear end and we underestimate this virus at our own peril," Cuomo said.
He also ordered more aggressive enforcement of social distancing and increased the amount of potential fines for violators, saying the good weather had led to more people being outside.
"No one has the right to be reckless in our own behavior," Cuomo said. "Now is not the time to be playing frisbee in the park. ow is not the time to be going to a funeral with 200 people. Yes I understand grieving, I understand religious services can help with the grieving process, I understand it's hard not to do that, but as a society, the risk is too great. Enforce the law."