ALBANY — 16,000 deaths in New York.
That was the sobering projection Gov. Andrew Cuomo displayed Wednesday as the coronavirus death toll in New York approached 2,000 and New York City hospitals started shipping patients for the first time upstate.
"This virus has been ahead of us since day one," Cuomo said at his daily briefing at the state Capitol.
"The next battle will happen at the top of that mountain" when the death total could hit its apex later this month, he suggested.
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Cuomo based his remarks off of modeling done by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates.that estimated about 100,000 deaths nationwide as the virus spreads across the U.S.
That prediction is on the low end of what federal officials have estimated, which have suggested the death total could reach 240,000 without expanded precautions.
And Cuomo even wondered aloud if 16,000 deaths in New York is a low estimate, considering about half of the fatalities in the nation have already been in the state.
Projections of deaths in New York
If those projections hold, Cuomo said, it could suggest that the virus will cripple other parts of the country the extent it has overburdened New York, where hospitals are overcapacity and deaths are rising at an alarming rate.
Between Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning, the death toll in New York jumped 25%: from 1,550 cases to 1,914, Cuomo said.
More than half of the deaths were in New York City, which reported 1,100 on Tuesday evening.
Meanwhile, about a dozen patients with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been moved from New York City hospitals to Albany-area hospitals, Cuomo confirmed.
Albany Medical Center said it took in the patients on Tuesday night.
“COVID-19 has brought a significant influx of patients to hospitals in other areas," hospital president Dennis P. McKenna said.
"In alignment with our mission, Albany Med believes it is our responsibility to help. Our dedicated, skillful and compassionate health care workers are prepared to do so.”
Cuomo said the transfer will be part of an ongoing movement of patients and staff between upstate and downstate as the state looks to better coordinate among hospitals across New York.
"It’s a pure capacity issue, a pure systems management issue," Cuomo said.
He added: "This is one state. This is one family."