Cuomo: 'Good signs' suggest 'possible flattening of curve' in NY

New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNYC resending absentee ballots to roughly 100,000 people New York City reports uptick in COVID-19 cases as schools try to reopen Will winter bring a new round of COVID-19 outbreaks? MORE (D) suggested Monday the state may have flattened the curve of the coronavirus outbreak, but cautioned that it is too soon to tell.

Deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, have stayed flat for two days, he said, while the total number of new hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions are down.

"Those are all good signs and again would suggest a possible flattening of the curve," he said during his daily press conference.

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To flatten the curve of an outbreak means to slow the rate of infections and prevent an influx of patients from overwhelming hospitals and the health care system, potentially leading to fewer deaths.

Still, the state is in crisis.

There are more than 130,000 confirmed cases in New York, including almost 5,000 deaths. The state reported 599 of those deaths Monday, a small drop from the 630 on Saturday.

Cuomo added the state could be "very near" the apex, or peak, of the outbreak, but it would take a few more days to know for sure.

"We could still see an increase, so it is hopeful, but it's also inconclusive," he said of the data.

Cuomo said it's not clear if the outbreak is plateauing, meaning the rates of infection will continue for a longer period of time, rather than dropping after reaching a peak.

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If it is plateauing, "we are plateauing at a very high level" and there is "tremendous stress on the health care system."

Hospitals are already running at maximum capacity, he said. The state continues to look for more capacity to treat patients, and Cuomo said Monday he would ask President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE to shift the use of a Navy hospital ship docked in New York harbor to treat coronavirus patients.

The USNS Comfort had originally been set as a facility for patients without the coronavirus, but Cuomo said there is not a large need to treat patients without COVID-19.

Despite positive signs in the data, Cuomo said it is crucial people continue following social distancing measures.

He said the state would double the maximum fine for violating social distancing rules to $1,000.

“It’s not about your life,” he said. “You don’t have the right to risk somebody else’s life.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said Monday that the rate of infections also appears to be slowing in his state. As of Monday, confirmed cases were increasing at a rate of 12 percent daily. On March 30, the daily increase in cases was 24 percent.

“This means that our efforts to flatten the curve are starting — and I say starting — to pay off, even with the lag time in getting testing result back from the labs," Murphy said.

There are more than 41,000 confirmed cases in New Jersey, including 1,000 deaths.

--Updated at 5:44 p.m.