NEW YORK, NEW YORK-MARCH 2020: A man wears a protective mask and gloves while waiting for a subway to depart a station in Manhattan. (Shutterstock)
By Denis Slattery, NY Daily News
An 82-year-old Manhattan woman already struggling with emphysema was identified Saturday as New York state’s first coronavirus death.
The unidentified victim died Friday at a hospital in New York City, according to Gov. Cuomo — who stressed the woman’s age and health as contributing factors.
“The context is very important,” the governor said. “This was an 82-year-old woman who had an underlying respiratory illness, emphysema, for which she had been hospitalized for previously. “She then contracted the coronavirus on top of the emphysema and she passed.”
New York State now has total of 524 COVID-19 cases, up 100 from Friday. Of those cases, 117 people are hospitalized, nearly 20%.
“It’s tragic,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We’re going to lose some people here, and there’s some I’m certain that could have been saved if the testing were here form the beginning.”
Cuomo cautioned that a hospitalization rate is an unreliable number as many more people have likely already contracted the illness and have yet to be tested.
The sharp increase is a result of more testing as the state’s capacity to run tests has grown since federal authorities approved New York’s request to conduct tests in-state, the governor said.
“The more tests we take, the more that number will go up,” Cuomo said. “Nobody believes there are only 500 cases of coronavirus in New York today. We believe there are thousands of people who have coronavirus, maybe tens of thousands.”