New York's virus death toll falls to lowest level in weeks
NEW YORK (AP) — New York's daily coronavirus death toll dropped slightly, state leaders braced for a $13.3 billion budget hit, and residents will be receiving applications for mail-in ballots.
Details on developments in the coronavirus outbreak in New York:
New York reported its lowest number of daily COVID-19 deaths in weeks on Friday.
The state reported 422 deaths as of Thursday. That's the fewest since March 31, when it recorded 391 deaths. More than 16,000 people have died in the state from the outbreak.
“Again, this is at an unimaginable level, and it’s dropping somewhat. But it’s still devastating news,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at his daily briefing.
The total number of people hospitalized statewide continues to drop slowly, hitting 14,258, though the number of new patients coming into hospitals is basically flat at around 1,300, Cuomo said.
Though the overall trends provide some hope, the governor continued to stress that any gains could be lost quickly if social distancing restrictions are relaxed too quickly.
“How fast is the decline, how low is the decline?” Cuomo asked. “Again, the variable is what we do.”
New York expects to see a budget-busting $13.3 billion drop in tax revenue through next March amid the pandemic, Cuomo said.
Cuomo has frozen pay for tens of thousands of state workers and warned of 20% cuts to state aid for schools, hospitals and local governments.
The Democratic governor is criticizing Congress for having yet to follow through on promises of more state aid in coronavirus spending packages. For a second day, he blasted Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for suggesting states facing shortfalls could declare bankruptcy.
Cuomo dared McConnell to pass a bill allowing states to legally declare bankruptcy, saying it would signal to financial markets and other countries that the nation is in turmoil.
“Pass the law,” Cuomo said. “I dare you.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to President Donald Trump’s musing about the possible use of disinfectants or ultraviolet rays to treat COVID-19 by saying that it’s “sad when you have to correct the president of the United States” on basic science.
Trump noted Thursday that researchers were looking at the effects of disinfectants on the coronavirus and wondered aloud if they could be injected into people. He also suggested that beaming ultraviolet light “inside the body” might be an effective treatment.
Speaking to reporters Friday, de Blasio referred a question about Trump’s comments to the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, who warned that disinfectants can be harmful if ingested or applied to the skin.
“It’s sad when you have to correct the president of the United States on a matter of science and health, but I think Dr. Barbot just did a good job replying to the president, so please let the people of the city know the guidance that she is giving,” De Blasio said.
Cuomo, who met with the president this week, declined to address Trump’s remarks directly at his own briefing.
“I don’t know much about UV rays,” Cuomo said. “Not my job. Not my business.”
Cuomo said he will order state elections officials to automatically mail every New Yorker a postage-paid application for an absentee ballot. The governor had previously issued an executive order allowing residents to vote absentee in the June 23 primary election.
Villeneuve reported from Albany, and Michael Hill contributed from Albany.