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New York reports highest daily death toll, but top health officials remain optimistic

On Tuesday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he does not expect the country’s death toll to reach numbers projected by the White House coronavirus task force and other computer models. 

“I feel a lot more optimistic, again, because I’m seeing mitigation work,” Adams said.

Last week, the task force projected a range of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths. Based on the most recent model cited by White House, new projections range from 49,431 to 136,401 deaths in the U.S. for the first wave of the virus, which is expected to last into the summer.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut reported lower death tolls over the weekend, according to Reuters. New York, the state hit hardest by the virus, saw its death toll plateau at around 600 per day.

“The growth that we have seen day-by-day seemed to be constantly going up, seemed to be sustained at a high level,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in an interview with NY1 on Monday. “Now we’ve actually seen it begin to pause and start the other way. Again, we’ll need a series of days to be able to see if we really have a trend here. But something has started to change.”

On Tuesday, however, New York saw its highest daily death toll at 731. Though, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo stated that death rate is a lagging indicator and hospitalizations have gone down, according to the New York Times.  

Health authorities have given credit to the guidelines put in place by state governors and the administration for mitigating the spread and impact of the virus. CDC director Robert Redfield echoed his support while speaking with KVOI radio in Tucson, Arizona.

“If we just social distance, we will see this virus and this outbreak basically decline, decline, decline. And I think that’s what you’re seeing,” Redfield said. “I think you’re going to see the numbers are, in fact, going to be much less than what would have been predicted by the models.”

Gov. Cuomo also emphasized the positive effects of social distancing practices.

“To the extent that we see a flattening or a possible plateau, that’s because of what we are doing, and we have to keep doing it,” Cuomo said on Tuesday.

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