The number of patients hospitalised with coronavirus in New York fell for the first time today, leading to hopes that the virus may have reached its peak in the state.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo said that total of 18,697 people were hospitalized across the state, down from 18,825 a day earlier and the first decline recorded since the outbreak began.
Cuomo said the decline was evidence that the city was at the “apex” of the epidemic, but warned that it was too statistically small to judge fully.
He urged caution against relaxing stay-at-home restrictions too quickly, saying that “we could lose all the progress we made in one week” if the city reopens too quickly.
New York is the worst affected city in the US, with nearly half of the total deaths across the entire country.
Today the city’s death toll increased by 778, up from 671 yesterday.
Cuomo also pushed back on claims by US president Donald Trump that he had total authority over the reopening of public entities like schools and businesses, comments that have met with considerable opposition from state governments around the country.
On Trump’s comments, which some governors have described as against the constitution, Cuomo said: “The first point is: he does not have total authority”.
“The statement cannot stand”, he added.
However, he went on to say that Trump was clearly “spoiling for a fight” over the issue but that he would not indulge him:
The president will have no fight with me. I will not engage in it.”