A Few Hopeful Signs as US Braces for 'Horrific' Few Weeks

Things could be starting to turn around in Europe
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2020 12:40 AM CDT
Updated Apr 6, 2020 6:21 AM CDT
Some Positive Signs in Europe as US Braces for 'Horrific' Few Weeks
Wearing his personal protective equipment, emergency room nurse Brian Stephen leans against a stoop as he takes a break from his work at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, Sunday, April 5, 2020, in New York.   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Two of the country's top health officials warned Sunday that the US is heading into a likely "shocking" week, possibly "the hardest and the saddest ... of most Americans' lives." President Trump echoed those words later Sunday, per CBS News, warning at a press conference, "The next week and a half, two weeks, I think they're going to be very difficult ... The US will reach a horrific point in terms of death, but it will be a point where things will start changing for the better." As for that glimmer of hope at the end of his sentence, there were indeed positive signs emerging both in the US and around the globe, even as the US saw one of its highest-yet daily death tolls at 1,212:

  • Italy: The AFP reports Italy, which has the highest death toll of any country at 15,887, on Sunday saw its lowest daily death toll since March 19—525. While that could be a sign the tide is turning, the civil protection service chief said, "This is good news but we should not let our guard down."

  • Elsewhere in Europe: The death toll has been declining each day for three consecutive days in Spain; Sunday's number was 674. France saw its lowest daily death toll in a week.
  • New York: The AP reports that 594 deaths were reported in New York on Sunday, down from 630 the day prior. That decrease, coupled with the fact that ICU admissions and intubations were also down and hospital discharge rates were up, could be a good sign, but officials were tempering expectations, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo warning it could simply be a "blip," per NPR. "We could either be very near the apex, or the apex could be a plateau and we could be on the plateau right now,” Cuomo said. “You can’t do this day to day. You have to look at three or four days to see a pattern.”
  • New York City: NYC, specifically, also saw a slight dip in the daily death rate, and Mayor Bill de Blasio's comments on the matter echoed Cuomo's. "I see a few signs that are a little hopeful, for sure," he said. “But I think it’s early to be able to declare [a turning point]. Let’s hope and pray, but we’re not quite there yet.” He added that the city's supply of ventilators had so far outlasted earlier projections, though thousands more are still needed.
  • Washington state: Speaking of ventilators, Washington, one of the first states in which an outbreak emerged, now says it is able to return more than 400 of the 500 ventilators it received from the federal government so they can be used in harder-hit states like New York. The infection and death rates have been slowing in Washington after the governor issued a stay-home order. The federal government and other states are also sending ventilators to New York, whose health care system continues to be overextended.
  • "Hopeful": US coronavirus czar Dr. Deborah Birx said it was "extraordinarily hopeful" to see the recent news coming out of Europe, indicating countries like Italy and Spain are "coming across their apex." She said she hoped to soon see a "stabilization" of cases in New York and other big cities in the US.
(But we're not there yet, and Birx on Saturday warned that over the next two weeks, you should stay away from even grocery stores and pharmacies if possible.)

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