NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a record 731 New Yorkers died of coronavirus in the past day and 138,000 have now contracted the virus, even as other signs pointed to the pandemic easing.
After dipping for two days, the tally rose by the highest one-day number since the state started battling the crisis.
"Behind every one of those numbers is an individual, is a family, is a mother, is a father, is a sister, is a brother," Cuomo said. "So a lot of pain again today for many New Yorkers."
Even as the death toll jumped, Cuomo said the number of patients admitted to hospitals and intensive care units has eased dramatically. There were 8,157 new positive cases in the state, the lowest figure in a week.
The Democratic governor explained that the death toll is a "lagging indicator," meaning that ailing people often die after several days or weeks of care.
He displayed charts showing that fewer New Yorkers are being hospitalized and placed into intensive care from coronavirus.
Cuomo: 'It's about we'
Cuomo praised New Yorkers for abiding by social distancing rules but reminded the state that it has been only 37 days since the first cases turned up in the state.
Even as spring arrives, he urged people to resist the temptation to leave their homes and enjoy the changing season.
"It's not about me, it's about we," he said.
The governor warned Hasidic Jews and others to avoid holding public funerals that violate social distancing rules. Police sought to disperse mourners at one rite in a heavily Orthodox neighborhood Monday.
"I understand religious observance and I understand the Orthodox Jewish community, but now is not the time for large gatherings," Cuomo said. "You do no one a service by making this worse."
The state death toll had shown signs of leveling off in recent days. It hit a high on Saturday when 640 fatalities were reported but dipped slightly to about 600 in the past two daily reports.
New York continues to account for a bit less than half of the national toll, which recently passed the grim 11,000 mark.