NEW YORK: The United States' COVID-19 epicentre of New York recorded a new single-day high of 799 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday (Apr 9) but Governor Andrew Cuomo said the rate of hospitalisations continued to fall.
Cuomo said 799 people died in the last 24 hours, outdoing the previous high of 779 announced on Wednesday, but added that the curve was flattening because of social confinement measures.
"We had a 200-net increase in hospitalisations, which you can see is the lowest number we've had since this nightmare started," Cuomo told reporters, adding that intensive care admissions were also at the lowest yet.
COVID-19 has killed more than 16,100 people in the United States, and the number of confirmed cases has grown to more than 450,000, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University.
New York is bearing the brunt of the United States' deadly coronavirus pandemic, accounting for around half the number of deaths across the country.
On Monday, Cuomo extended the state-wide shutdown of schools and non-essential businesses until Apr 29 to help stop the rate of infections increasing again.
"We are flattening the curve by what we are doing," he said on Thursday, adding, "We have to keep the curve flat."
Cuomo warned that there could be a second wave of infections and said it was too early to say when the city might be reopened again.
"I'm not going to say to anyone 'this is where I think we'll be in three weeks or four weeks or five weeks.' I have no idea," Cuomo admitted as he reported good news on the state's hospital capacity.
Temporary field hospitals were established at a convention centre, in Central Park, on a military ship and at the home of the US Open tennis, to deal with an influx of patients.
Cuomo said New York state now had 90,000 hospitals beds, up from 53,000, and just 18,000 residents currently hospitalised.
On Thursday, a spokeswoman for Manhattan's vast Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, told AFP it would no longer be turned into a temporary hospital.