New York Gov. Cuomo says state saw its biggest single-day increase in coronavirus deaths on Thursday

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that 2,935 New Yorkers have died from the coronavirus so far with 562 new deaths over the last 24 hours — a 23% jump and the single-biggest daily increase in deaths in the state since the outbreak began a few weeks ago.

“The curve continues to go up,” Cuomo said at a news conference in Albany, referring to the number of new COVID-19 cases across the state. There are 102,863 confirmed cases across New York, a 10% jump overnight, according to charts presented at the news conference. New York City alone accounts for 57,159 total cases, up 5,350 over the last 24 hours. 

The Jacob K. Javits Conference Center, where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has built a temporary hospital, will be fully dedicated to coronavirus patients, Cuomo said. It was originally designed to handle other patients to free up hospital beds across New York City. Cuomo also said he’s signing an executive order that will allow the state to take whatever personal protective equipment, including medical masks and gloves, and ventilators from public or private organizations the state needs to treat CV-19 patients. 

“I’m not going to let people die,” Cuomo said. “I’m not going to get into a situation where I know we are running out of ventilators and we could have people dying because there are no ventilators, but there are hospitals in other parts of the state that have ventilators that they’re not using.”

Healthcare workers wheel the bodies of deceased people from the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Brooklyn, New York, April 2, 2020.

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

Cuomo again called on the federal government to help obtain more ventilators, which are in short supply across the U.S. He said doctors are using one ventilator split between two patients, using BiPAP machines and anesthesia machines as makeshift ventilators because some hospitals have already run out. 

“New York is in crisis. Help New York,” he said. “No state can get the supplies they need. No state can get the PPE they need. No state can get the ventilators they need. The market has literally collapsed.”

He said Alibaba founder Jack Ma and President Michael Evans have “been very helpful to us” in helping to find medical supplies. Paying to fight the outbreak is straining the state’s coffers. 

“The budget was difficult because the state has no money,” Cuomo said.

The federal government sent Navy hospital ship the USNS Comfort on Monday to New York City to help relieve local hospitals by treating non-COVID-19 patients. As of Thursday night, there were just 20 patients on the Comfort, which, with 1,000 patient slots, is the largest hospital ship in the world.

“I’m going to speak to the secretary of Defense,” Cuomo said when asked about the very low number of patients on the Comfort. “I know they’re not taking COVID-positive patients. But they said that from day one, to be fair.”

Unlike President Donald Trump and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, state health officials aren’t telling residents to wear masks, scarves or bandanas while they are outside because there’s no data to support that they protect people against the coronavirus, said New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. The World Health Organization has said the masks are most effective if worn by people who are sick by keeping them from spreading it to other people. 

At the same time, Cuomo said, “The masks couldn’t hurt, unless they gave a wearer a false sense of security.”

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence said at a press briefing Thursday night that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will issue new nationwide guidance “in the next several days” about wearing masks in public to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

— CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger contributed to this article.

Correction: There were 562 new deaths in New York state over the last 24 hours. The original story misstated the number of new deaths.

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