April 20 (UPI) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday the coronavirus arc appears to be “on the descent” in his state, where the death toll has fallen below 500 for the first time in two weeks.
Cuomo said the latest daily tally was 478 — the fewest since early April and the fourth straight day of decline — which took New York’s overall total to more than 14,000 deaths. He said there were 1,380 new hospitalizations.
The governor cautioned, however, that although the wave of cases is now ebbing it’s still unknown how quickly the downward curve will unfold.
“The question is, how long is the descent, and how steep is the descent?” he said. “Nobody knows. Just as nobody knew how long the ascent was, nobody can tell you how long the descent is.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that large public events scheduled for June, including the iconic Pride Parade, have been canceled. He’d previously ruled out such gatherings through May.
“I’m now reporting today that we will cancel city permits for June events as well,” he said. “It is not a happy announcement, but it’s one we have to make.”
De Blasio reported a “mixed bag” of statistics on the coronavirus spread in the United States’ largest city, which is presently the national epicenter. The number of patients in intensive care and those testing positive both decreased, he said, but the number of hospital admissions went up.
The mayor said New York City deaths increased by 528 Sunday, and urged President Donald Trump to send more help.
“Right now, Donald Trump is not doing anything to help my city back on its feet,” he told MSNBC. “How am I going to have a restart of my economy if my city is going broke?”
In Washington, D.C., it appears a request from Democrats for $150 billion for state and local governments will not be part of a compromise to break a partisan stalemate on passing another round of federal aid.
Agreement on another relief package is expected in Congress Monday. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said it will include $300 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which ran out of money last week. Another $50 billion is included for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for expanded coronavirus testing, he said.
Mnuchin and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, however, assured Republicans that additional state and local government funding and a boost in food assistance funding — both sought by Democrats — will not be in the package.
In Pennsylvania, organizers are planning more rallies to oppose stay-at-home orders intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
A group called Reopen PA said members will circle the Capitol building in Harrisburg on Monday, pass out bumper stickers and encourage drivers to honk their horns in support.
“Our government needs to hear from us, and they need to hear from us loud and clear, to reopen the state,” group co-founder Matthew Bellis told KDKA Radio in Pittsburgh.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced a phased-in reopening plan last week, but supplied few details and no timeline.
Many other states have also seen similar protests, including Maryland, Virginia, Indiana, California, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Utah, Washington state and Colorado.
“We don’t think that there’s any reason we can’t protect the elderly and the vulnerable from this virus and still get our small businesses back up to work,” demonstrator Paul Brockman told WBAL-TV in Baltimore.
“If I get sick, then I am going to bear the consequences of my getting sick,” activist Andy Lyons told WTHR-TV in Indianapolis. “If anybody else gets sick, they bear the consequences of their free choice without government coercion to do so. That’s what this is about.”
Pharmaceutical firm Novartis announced Monday that it’s received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to conduct a large randomized trial of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, for possible use to fight COVID-19.
The clinical trial will include 440 patients at more than a dozen U.S. sites, it said. Enrollment will be begin within weeks. Novartis said it’s committed to reporting results as soon as possible.
Also Monday, Georgia-based distributor ANC/Accelerate said it’s delivered more than 35 million face masks and units of hand sanitizer to retailers, governments and medical facilities over the last 30 days. It said they were sent in more than 800 trucks through dozens of distribution centers for “speed and agility.”
Protesters rally to reopen Maryland amid pandemic
A man holds a copy of the Constitution as he yells from his vehicle in downtown Annapolis, Md. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo