NYC virus deaths exceed 3,200, topping toll for 9/11 attacks

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus officially eclipsed the number of those killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11, health officials said Tuesday. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in intensive care with the virus.

At least 3,202 people have died in New York from COVID-19, according to the count released by the city. The deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil killed 2,753 people in the city and 2,977 overall, when hijacked planes slammed into the twin towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001.

New York state recorded 731 new coronavirus deaths Tuesday, its biggest one-day jump yet, for a statewide toll of nearly 5,500, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

But in an encouraging sign, he reported that the average number of people newly hospitalized each day is dropping, as is the number of those receiving breathing tubes, indicating that measures taken to make people keep their distance from each other are succeeding.

And alarming as the one-day increase in deaths might sound, the governor said that’s a “lagging indicator,” reflecting people who had been hospitalized before this week. Over the past several days, in fact, the number of deaths appeared to be leveling off.

“You see that plateauing — that’s because of what we are doing. If we don’t do what we are doing, that is a much different curve,” he said. “So social distancing is working.”

Across the U.S., the death toll reached about 11,000, with around 370,000 confirmed infections.

In London, the 55-year-old Johnson, the world’s first head of government known to have fallen ill with the virus, was in stable condition and conscious at a hospital, where he was receiving oxygen but was not on a ventilator, said his spokesman James Slack. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was designated to run the country in the meantime.

“We’re desperately hoping that Boris can make the speediest possible recovery,” said Cabinet minister Michael Gove, who is among scores of British officials in self-isolation.

Japan’s prime minister made the emergency declaration after a spike in infections in Tokyo, but it was a stay-at-home request — not an order — and violators will not be penalized. Despite having relatively few infections and deaths, Japan is a worrying target for a virus that has been killing the elderly at much higher rates than other age groups.

In some European hot spots, as in New York, authorities were hoping that the outbreak was turning a corner, based on slowdowns in new deaths and hospitalizations.

In Spain, one of the hardest-hit countries, new deaths Tuesday rose to 743 and infections climbed by 5,400 after five days of declines, but the increases were believed to reflect a weekend backlog. Authorities said slowing the contagion will be a long process and were confident in the downward trend.

Italy’s commissioner for fighting the COVID-19 virus appealed to Italians ahead of Easter weekend not to lower their guard and to abide by a lockdown now in its fifth week.

Citing data that shows that pressure on Italian intensive care wards is easing, Domenico Arcuri said that ’’the cruel reality is stronger that algorithms.”

’’Don’t ever forget even for an instant that this invisible, strong and unknown virus has taken 16,523 lives through yesterday,” Arucuri said, reciting the figure repeatedly. ‘’I beg you, in the next hours and days, do not cancel this number from your memory.’’

New coronavirus cases were also slowing in France and Portugal. To keep up social distancing, Paris banned daytime jogging just as warm spring weather settled in.

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