New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus rose past 3,200 Tuesday, eclipsing the number killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson lay in intensive care, believed to be the first major world leader hospitalised with the virus.
The twin developments came even as the crisis seemed to be easing or at least stabilising, by some measures, in New York and parts of Europe, though health officials warned people at nearly every turn not to let their guard down. After 76 days, China finally lifted the lockdown on Wuhan, the city of 11 million where the outbreak began.
At least 3,202 people have died in New York City from COVID-19, the city reported. The deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil killed 2,753 people in the city and 2,977 overall, when hijacked planes slammed into the twin towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001.
New York state recorded 731 new coronavirus deaths, its biggest one-day jump yet, for a statewide toll of nearly 5,500, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
“A lot of pain again today for many New Yorkers," he said.
But in an encouraging sign, the governor said hospital admissions and the number of those receiving breathing tubes are dropping, indicating that measures taken to force people to keep their distance from one another are succeeding.
And alarming as the one-day increase in deaths might sound, the governor said that’s a “lagging indicator,” reflecting people who had been hospitalised before this week. Over the past several days, in fact, the number of deaths in New York appeared to be leveling off.
“You see that plateauing — that’s because of what we are doing. If we don’t do what we are doing, that is a much different curve,” Cuomo said. “So social distancing is working.”
Still, 6-foot social distancing has become impossible at times in the city's subway system.
With service drastically reduced, essential workers are encountering some busy trains as they head to their jobs. Photos taken in Brooklyn showed riders sitting or standing within a few inches of each other, some not wearing face masks.
Across the U.S., the death toll topped 12,000, with around 380,000 confirmed infections. Some of the deadliest hot spots were Detroit, New Orleans and the New York metropolitan area, which includes parts of Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut. New Jersey recorded over 1,200 dead, most of them in the northern counties where many residents commute into New York City.