The number of people who died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours in New York State trended down ever so slightly – 777 reported Friday – down from an all-time single day high of 799 on Thursday.
Hospitalizations from the new coronavirus are also going down. There are fewer people in intensive care units.
"That's the first time we've seen a negative number," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday at his daily briefing in Albany.
It shows, he said, that all of the sacrifices New Yorkers are making are working – that the state is flattening the curve and slowing the spread and impact of the pandemic.
Still, Cuomo said, 777 lives lost in one day is a "staggering" number.
For perspective, he talked about New York's death toll in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks – 2,753 lives lost.
"I believed 9/11 was the worst situation I was going to deal with in my lifetime," he said.
The death toll for New York State from Covid-19 now stands at 7,844, Cuomo said.
"That this situation should exceed 9/11 is still beyond my capacity to fully appreciate," he said.
But with numbers far lower than early projections of what the virus could wreak on the state, the governor was asked if his response had been overkill. Early estimates had said the state would need as many as 136,000 hospital beds to accommodate Covid-19 patients. As of Friday, 18,569 were in use by people sick with the virus.
Cuomo said he believes that had New Yorkers not stayed home and practiced social distancing, that the toll would be far worse.
He said there was no way to know when those projections were made about whether people would abide by new policies.
"The statisticians, when they did their curve, didn't know how New Yorkers would respond, whether they would comply. ... They didn't know how unified New Yorkers can be and how responsible they can be," Cuomo said, his voice filled with emotion. "That's what they didn't do. That's what they couldn't count in those models."
Cuomo said the next big question will be when things can reopen, when things can start going back to normal.
Cuomo said the key would be testing on a massive scale – both for the virus and for the antibodies – and he called on the federal government to enact the Defense Production Act to compel manufacturers to start these tests by the millions so that people can get back to work faster.
He also called on the federal government to create a heroes compensation fund, similar to the fund created to help first responders following Sept. 11.