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By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Coffin in a hearse (Image source: Public domain)
Many people have taken to watching the daily statistics of the coronavirus pandemic as they mount. It can be particularly disturbing, while it can also be temporarily exhilarating when there is a change in the numbers for the better.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added a new statistic on Monday that made it disturbing once again. There are more than 5,000 additional deaths that have not been labeled as COVID-19-related but can nevertheless most likely be attributed to the virus.
The CDC conducted a study and found that 24,172 more people died in New York City than would normally be expected between March 11 and May 2. With the coronavirus pandemic being the one glaring difference between this year's stats and last year's, those extra fatalities are being attributed to coronavirus or circumstances caused by the pandemic situation.
Additionally, the CDC's total of New York City coronavirus deaths is 5,293 higher than the official stats for the city. It showed 13,831 laboratory-confirmed deaths from the virus and a probable 5,048 COVID-19-related deaths.
Officials at CDC said the larger death toll from the agency includes fatalities that are likely to be from health problems that were caused by COVID-19 and other factors that are attributable, such as the shortage of medical care at hospitals.
The numbers that are kept by the city and state don't show the true breadth of the virus, according to the CDC report. The city and state numbers rely on official reports and don't take into consideration people who died outside of a normal health-care setting or people whose deaths weren't directly associated with coronavirus.
Earlier this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said estimates of deaths due to COVID-19 should be taken with a grain of salt.
"Counting only confirmed or probable COVID-19 associated deaths, however, likely underestimates the number of deaths attributable to the pandemic," said the report.
A spokesman for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said city officials are still trying to fully measure the correct number of losses that can be attributed to the novel coronavirus.
Still, regardless of any other possible figures or other possible ways to examine the figures, the city's official coronavirus death toll stood at 14,753 confirmed deaths and 5,178 probable deaths as of Sunday evening. The figures on Monday, which only included confirmed deaths, showed 21,640 people had died in the state from COVID-19. Additionally, 337,0555 people in the state have tested positive for the virus.
No matter how you look at these figures from the city and state, both show they are continuing to decline for both new infections and death rates. While New York is by far the state that has been affected (an infected) the most, it may be past that long-awaited peak and may finally be flattening the curve.
Cuomo has told cities to prepare for a phased reopening that will start Friday. "This is the next big step of this historic journey," he said.
The state will open regionally, with upstate communities that have reached state-issued benchmarks opening first, according to Cuomo. This includes Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, and the Southern Tier. Businesses in New York City and Long Island are expected to open at a later date.
In the phased reopening, low-risk businesses will open first. This includes recreational activities, such as drive-in theaters, nurseries, and tennis courts. These will open statewide on Friday.
Phase one includes retail businesses operating with curbside service, and construction and manufacturing resuming as well. Professional services and real estate will reopen in the next phase.
The third phase will see restaurants and hotels opening. Artistic institutions, entertainment venues, and schools will resume normal operations in the final phase. Cuomo has not provided a timeline for the separate phases.
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