For the third straight day, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo grappled with the emotions that come along with drastically different statistics of the coronavirus.
Hospitalization rates and intensive care admissions are down.
And the number of deaths continue to rise.
New York State lost 799 lives Wednesday, the third straight day that the state recorded a daily high. The state's total deaths as of Thursday afternoon stood at 7,067 in the 39 days since the first Covid-19 case was reported in New York State.
"You're talking about 799 lives, the highest number ever," Cuomo said during his daily coronavirus briefing in Albany. "It’s gotten to the point, frankly, where we are going to bring in additional funeral directors to deal with the number of people who have passed.
"If you ever told me that as governor I would have to take these actions, I couldn't even contemplate where we are now."
Cuomo also presented numbers that continued to be encouraging in the overall battle against the virus, evidence that the curve was indeed flattening in that the projection of the highest number of hospitalizations that the state would face was trending downward.
Total hospitalizations, the three-day hospitalization rate, intensive care admissions and daily intubations were all down dramatically, the governor said. In a common refrain this week, Cuomo discussed the difficulty in seeing deaths rise – because those are a result from previous weeks' higher hospitalization numbers.
"We understand and all the experts have said ... you will see the deaths increasing after the hospitalizations," Cuomo said, "because the deaths increase the longer a person is in the hospital, the longer a person is on a ventilator.
"I understand the scientific concept, I understand the data. But you’re talking about 799 lives."
Cuomo sited early projections in which the state would be facing up to more than 100,000 people being hospitalized due to the coronavirus. New York has 18,000 people hospitalized right now.
"We can’t handle those worst-case scenarios," he said. "It is essential that we keep that curve flattened because we don’t have an option."
The governor continued to be adamant that the social distancing measures need to continue to be followed in order to minimize the spread of the virus.
He attributed the reduced hospitalization rates to the extreme steps that the state and its residents have taken insofar as staying at home, keeping social distance when in public and practicing good hygiene.
"We are flattening the curve by what we are doing, and we are flattening the curve so far," he said. "That is good news. So now we can relax? No, you can’t relax. This is all a direct consequence to our actions. If we stop acting the way we are acting, you will see those projections go up.
"So far our efforts are working. They’re working better than anyone projected they would work. That's because people are complying with them. ... New Yorkers are doing that. They’re acting responsibly and diligently and we are saving lives by what people are doing today. Our expression is 'New York Tough,' because every day is tough on many, many levels. But every day that we are 'New York Tough,' we are actually saving lives."
Cuomo called again on Washington to assist New York in helping the state rebound from the drastic effects the pandemic has caused to its economy and health care system.
Cuomo said that federal stimulus promised $6 billion to New York and he claimed that after reviewing the legislation that it was "really about $1.3 billion" and also disqualified funding for a third of New York's Medicaid recipients.
"We need the federal government to be responsible, and we need the federal government to pass legislation that helps," the governor said. "We have to stabilize state and local governments throughout this country."
Cuomo said he had spoken to Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand about the matter.
"This is no time for politics," he said. "This is a time to enact the legislation that actually addresses the need. ... I get how the political process works in Washington. Not here and not now my friends."