New York: New York state, the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, has reported nearly 300,000 coronavirus cases, while its daily death toll fell to the lowest since early March, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
In his daily briefing, Cuomo said on Wednesday that with 4,585 additional cases, the state’s overall tally reached 299,691, and the daily death toll fell to 330, the lowest since early March.
An antibody survey has shown that at least 10 per cent of police officers and first responders in New York City had been infected with COVID-19 and recovered.
The survey was conducted with 1,000 New York City Fire Department (FDNY) officers and 1,000 New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers from across all five boroughs, according to Cuomo.
Preliminary results show that 17.1 per cent of FDNY officers and emergency medical technicians and 10.5 per cent of NYPD officers have COVID-19 antibodies.
Same tests were conducted with 1,000 transit workers in the state on Wednesday, and more will be done by race and gender in the future to further determine the spread of COVID-19 infections, said the governor.
Meanwhile, the capacity of the daily diagnostic testing has increased to 30,000 in the state, halfway to Cuomo’s goal of doubling the capacity from 20,000 per day to 40,000 per day.
“We know testing is key to re-opening New York. It is the indicator that will show if we are keeping the infection rate down throughout the re-opening process,” said Cuomo.
He has directed the Metropolitan Transit Authority to issue a full plan by Thursday on how it will clean and disinfect every subway train every night, as the conditions of the system deteriorated during the pandemic.
Media reports showed that many New York City subway trains have become homeless shelters, with trash scattered around and homeless people sleeping on the seats, while thousands of essential workers in the city still need to commute by public transit.
To support healthcare workers and first responders on their mental health, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday a new program in collaboration with the Department of Defense (DoD) and other local health agencies.
The program, which includes elements of DoD’s combat stress management and resilience program, is expected to be available by the end of this month.
The program builds upon the city’s existing “Help Healers Heal” program, which offers frontline healthcare workers direct mental health support in the form of a 24/7 behavioral health helpline staffed by psychiatrists and psychologists.
“Our frontline heroes are fighting a war on two fronts,” said de Blasio.
“They have been through so much to protect their fellow New Yorkers, and we will not allow them to shoulder the mental toll of this pandemic alone. To those who are struggling: your city hears you, we see you, and help is on the way.”
The US currently accounts for the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, as well as deaths.
As of Thursday morning, the country recorded 1,039,909 cases, with 60,966 deaths, according to the latest tally by the Johns Hopkins University.