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COVID-19 Rained Grief on New York in April; Will May Be better?

NEW YORK  — New York's horrible April — among the worst in its history — is over. Only time will tell if the coronavirus pandemic that made it so awful will fade in May.

When the month began, the virus was already raging. Nearly 2,000 people were dead. Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that one model predicted as many as 16,000 deaths once the outbreak was over.

At the time, that seemed grim. Reality has been worse.

Though Wednesday, the virus was believed to have killed at least 23,600 people in the state, including around 5,300 people who died before their infection could be confirmed by a lab test.

That's nearly nine times the number of people who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Most experts agree the figure is an undercount, since it only includes deaths where the link to COVID-19 was certain enough to be included on a death certificate.

May begins where March ended, but with more hopeful news that the worst is over. The state's daily fatality count, which peaked with 799 deaths on April 8, has declined to roughly where it was at the close of March, with 306 people deaths Wednesday.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus has slid to approximately where it was one month ago, too, after hitting a peak in mid April.

On Wednesday a navy hospital ship that had steamed to New York City to assist with the pandemic departed. A temporary hospital, set up in Manhattan's main convention center, is close to closing, too, as the city's hospitals have proven able to handle the load of patients.

But while other parts of the nation have started to lift restrictions on social interaction, New York City is still ratcheting down. On Thursday, Cuomo announced that the city's subway system would curtail overnight service to make it easier to disinfect trains, amid fresh fears that bringing people together on public transit helps the virus spread.

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