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The mayor warned that April would be bad. Now it’s here.
In March, as the number of coronavirus cases in New York City grew and the death toll mounted, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that April would be worse. He repeatedly invoked April 5 as a “demarcation line” after which the city could expect a huge surge in virus patients.
On Wednesday, with Mr. de Blasio’s crucial date just four days away and city data putting the number of virus-related deaths at 1,374, he went into detail about the supplies the city still needed to contend with the coming wave:
To help ensure that supplies go where they are needed, Mr. de Blasio said that James P. O’Neill, the former police commissioner who is now an executive with Visa, was returning to oversee operations and logistics related to the virus outbreak.
Mr. de Blasio said New York would continue to have a great need for supplies well after Sunday. By the end of April, he estimated, the health care system would need 65,000 additional hospital beds to accommodate new virus patients, as well as the people to staff them.
To meet the expected demand, the city’s public hospital system plans to convert all of its facilities to intensive care units, officials said, adding that supplies and personnel were crucial to increasing the number of I.C.U. beds.
Patients who do not have the virus will be sent to large-scale temporary hospitals, like the one set up at the Javits Convention Center, or to hotels that are being converted into temporary medical facilities. So far, the city had secured 10,000 beds from 20 hotels, officials said.
“This goal is within reach,” Mr. de Blasio said. “It’s going to take a herculean effort, but I’m confident it can be reached.”
Nearly 400 New York deaths put the region past 2,000.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said early Wednesday that 391 people in New York State had died of the virus since Tuesday, bringing the state total to 1,941 and the total for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to 2,381.
As the crisis has grown more dire across the country, Mr. Cuomo’s message — delivered at briefings that have become a daily staple of the national news and raised his political profile — has broadened in perspective.
On Wednesday, the governor again emphasized the regional coordination between his state, New Jersey and Connecticut, before noting that the virus was spreading more rapidly in other states, including California, Michigan and Florida.
And he urged Americans even in states that had not yet been hit hard by the virus to take it seriously. He cited projections from a group founded by the Gates Foundation that the death toll would reach 16,000 in New York and 93,000 nationwide.
“This is not just New York,” he said. “If you believe these numbers — 16,000 deaths in New York — that means you’re going to get tens of thousands of deaths outside of New York.”
Other developments on Wednesday:
Confirmed cases in New York State: 83,712, up from 75,795.
Currently hospitalized in New York State: 12,226, up from 10,929.
In intensive care in New York State: 3,022, up from 2,710.
In New Jersey: There were 22,255 cases, up from 18,696, and 355 deaths, up from 267.
In Connecticut: There were 3,557 cases, up from 3,218, and 85 deaths, up from 69. Among the newly dead, Gov. Ned Lamont said, was a 6-week-old infant.
The latest projections for the state put the peak of the outbreak at the end of this month.
The governor said all city playgrounds would close.
At his briefing, Mr. Cuomo expressed frustration with those who continued to ignore social-distancing guidelines in New York City.
He insisted that the city’s police officers had “to get more aggressive” in enforcing the rules. Mr. Cuomo said that he was prepared to legally require social distancing if necessary, but that it was absurd that even had to consider that.
“How reckless and irresponsible and selfish for people not to do it on their own,” he said. “I mean what else do you have to know? What else do you have to hear? Who else has to die for you to understand you have a responsibility in this?”
As a start, he said, all of the city’s playgrounds would be shut down.
Mr. Cuomo said that he had spoken to Mr. de Blasio and Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker, about trying to enforce the social-distancing rules with the help of the police, but that the problem had persisted and more drastic action was necessary.
The governor’s announcement came a day after the mayor closed 10 city’s playgrounds where people had continued to gather in crowds that violated social-distancing rules.
“He really thought it was an abundance of caution issue to go ahead and move across the board in terms of playgrounds,” Mr. de Blasio said of Mr. Cuomo on Monday. “And I respect that.”
At around 5 p.m. that day, Sammy Frisz was pushing his giggling 22-month-old son on a swing at Mauro Park in Queens, when a city parks employees put a padlock on a nearby gate and told Mr. Frisz he had to leave through a different gate because the playground was being closed.
Mr. Frisz, a municipal worker explained that a family friend who had died of the virus had already exposed Mr. Frisz, his wife and his son. They said they were three days into a 14-day self-quarantine.
Mr. Frisz’s wife, who asked that her name not be used because of her job, said in a telephone interview that the closing of the playground would make it difficult for her to do her job.
“This is the last thing holding our sanity and our ability to keep our jobs together,” she said. “If we’re all cooped up in a little, tiny place, those of us with young children will go crazy, go bonkers, how am I supposed to work from home?”
An equipment shortage may soon force hard choices on doctors.
One patient had lymphoma and heart failure. Another was 85 years old with metastatic cancer. A third was 83 and had dementia and lung disease. All were critically ill with the coronavirus, and, a doctor said, all were hooked up to ventilators in recent weeks at a major Manhattan hospital.
But soon, patients such as those might not receive similar aggressive treatment. As people with the virus overwhelm New York City hospitals, doctors have stepped up pressure on state health officials to give them a rare and unsettling power: the right to withhold care from patients who are not likely to recover.
Dwindling supplies mean there might not be enough ventilators or other items for everyone, and many doctors say they are growing increasingly uneasy with treating every patient equally. They believe medical workers soon might need to make difficult choices about treatment.
“Usually, the standard is to intubate and do CPR and do all those things,” said Dr. Angela Mills, the chief of emergency medicine services at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. “There’s no question about it; that will not most likely be sustainable.”
A New York developer is the friend the president says has the virus.
For another time on Wednesday, President Trump somberly described a personal connection to the coronavirus as he discussed the effects of the pandemic at his daily briefing with his virus task force.
Sometimes he has referred to a friend who has the coronavirus and other times to friends. His aides have repeatedly declined to identify whom the president has been talking about.
But three people familiar with the matter said he was describing Stanley Chera, a New York City real-estate developer who has known the president for many years and had decamped to Deal, N.J., a few weeks ago as the coronavirus spread.
But it was unclear whom else Mr. Trump might have been referring to when he said he has other friends who are also ill.
Mr. Chera, 78, became sick at some point in Deal, and was rushed to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital, according to two of Mr. Chera’s friends. Two of those friends said Mr. Chera was in a medically induced coma. But it is unclear whether he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
A changing New York, by the numbers.
Businesses are closed. Makeshift hospitals are popping up in parks. Parents are plugging into Zoom meetings as their children, sometimes a few feet away, remotely attend school.
Everyday life in the city has been upended by the coronavirus. To help you understand how, here is some data collected from the city’s toll-free 311 hotline:
More than 1,000 social-distancing complaints in just two days. Hardly anyone had even heard of social distancing until a few weeks ago. On Saturday, March 28, the city’s 311 system recorded its first complaints about people failing to keep six feet from others. Two days later, daily complaints had climbed to 776.
Bikes lanes are clearer. With car traffic way down, complaints about blocked bike lanes dropped from 1,259 in January to 838 in March and slowed to a trickle in recent days, sometimes fewer than 10 per day.
Complaints about food workers jumped. In the first two months of the year, the 311 system logged 251 complaints about food workers, often that a worker was sick or touching food with their bare hands. In March, the number of such complaints jumped to 358.
More people are home and annoying their neighbors. The number of people complaining about “loud music” or a “party” at someone’s home jumped from 13,000 in February to nearly 17,000 in March. Complaints about loud televisions are also up, from 494 in February to 598 in March.
Officers shot an armed man who said he had the virus and wanted to die, the police said.
New York City officers shot a man early Wednesday who later told them he had tested positive for the coronavirus and wanted them to kill him, the police said.
The episode began around 4 a.m., when two officers answered a 911 call about a man with a knife at the corner of Zerega and Westchester Avenues in the Bronx, the police said.
When the officers arrived, they encountered a man with a knife and what appeared to be a gun, the police said. The man menaced the officers and when he did not comply with their orders to drop the weapons, they shot him in the torso, the police said.
The man, 55, was taken to Jacobi Medical Center in stable condition, the police said. He was in custody there on Wednesday, the police said.
When officers interviewed the man at the hospital, he told them he had tested positive for the virus and hoped that they would kill him, Terence Monahan, the chief of department, said.
“He said that he was looking to commit suicide by a police officer,” Chief Monahan said, adding that the man said he had learned he had the virus Tuesday night.
“He’s overweight, diabetic and he thought that he was going to die anyway,” Chief Monahan said the man told officers. “So he wanted the police officers to take his life.”
The police have not confirmed that the man tested positive for the virus, officials said.
How to get masks to the medical workers who need them.
For people in the New York area who have respirator-type N95 masks or other medical-grade surgical masks at home, there are several ways to get them to people who really need them right now: local medical workers
New Jersey’s hospital morgues are filling up.
New Jersey’s health commissioner said on Wednesday that morgues at some hospitals were beginning to reach their capacity. The state is working on sending refrigerated trucks to some hospitals to hold the excess bodies, the commissioner, Judith Persichilli, said.
New Jersey reported at least 89 virus-related deaths in 24 hours, officials said, its biggest one-day increase so far.
More than 22,000 people have tested positive for the virus, and in seven hospitals in northern New Jersey had to turn ambulances because of overcrowding.
“It looks like the surge is beginning in the northern part of the state,” Ms. Persichilli said. “We’re beginning to feel the real stress and strain.”
Some of the backup at the morgues is a result of lags in transferring bodies to funeral homes, which had been waiting to retrieve the deceased until virus test results came back for people who died before results were in. State officials have told funeral homes they no longer need to wait.
More people in homeless shelters are getting the virus.
Coronavirus continues to spread through New York City’s homeless shelters, where it has now infected over 120 people and killed five men, city officials said Wednesday.
People have tested positive in 68 different shelters. The virus has circulated most quickly in shelters for single adults, where dormitory-style quarters and shared bathrooms leave little room for distancing.
The city has set up four locations to isolate sick people and those who have been exposed to them. As of Tuesday, 190 people were at those locations and 38 people were in the hospital. Another 13 living on the street or in unstable housing had tested positive.
Grim milestones mark the pandemic’s second month.
As the second month of the coronavirus outbreak begins and the nation braces for the worst of it, the virus’s toll in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut is already devastating.
Thirty-one days after the region recorded its first case — a Manhattan woman in her thirties who had traveled to Iran — the number of confirmed cases of the virus passed 100,000 on Wednesday.
Deaths in the region attributable to the virus, which have climbed 30 percent each day on average for the past week, passed 2,000 on Wednesday, with another 391 deaths reported in New York State and 91 reported in New Jersey. The death toll in the region stood at 1,941 in New York, 355 in New Jersey and 85 in Connecticut.
In New York, the hardest-hit state in the country, the numbers of people hospitalized, on ventilators, testing positive or dead of the virus have all begun to increase a little more slowly in recent days.
But they were still increasing every day, and officials expected it would be several weeks before the virus began to ebb.
People in and around New York who have died of the virus include
Reporting was contributed by Anne Barnard, Jonah Engel Bromwich, Larry Buchanan, Johnny Diaz, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Michael Gold, Joseph Goldstein, Maggie Haberman, Andy Newman, Jugal K. Patel, Azi Paybarah, Brian M. Rosenthal, Michael Rothfeld, Edgar Sandoval, Nate Schweber, Anjali Singhvi, Matt Stevens, Nikita Stewart, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Tracey Tully and Benjamin Weiser.