WXXI AM News

NY again reaches highest-ever daily death toll from virus, but hospital rates continue to stabilize

Apr 9, 2020

Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday.
Credit Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the highest daily death toll yet, saying that 799 New Yorkers died on Wednesday of the coronavirus.

“You’re talking about 799 lives,” said Cuomo, who said he has to bring in additional funeral directors to deal with all of the dead.

“If you ever told me as governor, I’d have to take these actions, I couldn’t even contemplate, ” Cuomo said.

The trend of fewer people being admitted to hospitals with the virus continues downward, with 200 people being admitted Wednesday. Cuomo said that’s the lowest number since the “nightmare” began.

But he said it’s not time to ease any of the restrictions on businesses, schools and public gatherings. He says the social distancing is likely the reason why the numbers are starting to go down.

The governor said changes will be made later Thursday to the state’s unemployment website and phone system, in hopes of ending what Cuomo admitted is the “infuriating” instances where jobless New Yorkers are faced with long wait times or  constant busy signals when they try to file for unemployment.

His chief of staff, Melissa DeRosa, said the system will be shutting down between 5 and 7 p.m. Thursday to reboot what is hoped will be a better system.

“It’s streamlined, there are fewer questions,” said DeRosa, who added the new system will require one of the 1,000 people now at the call centers to call back the applicant within 72 hours if any additional information is needed.  

DeRosa says over 800,000 New Yorkers have filed claims for unemployment, and about 600,000 have been processed.

Once someone is successfully signed up for unemployment, the benefits will be paid retroactively to the day when the person lost their job.