We’re doing it, Queens. We’re beating the horrible coronavirus. Now we just have to stay the course, be sure not to waver in our resolve, continue to bear the tremendous difficulties that have reshaped our lives so greatly, so swiftly — and we will win. This is no time to go wobbly. Our lives depend on not doing that.
We’re losing a tremendous number of those lives every day. On Tuesday we lost 779 statewide, the highest daily number yet, bringing the total to 6,268 since the COVID-19 pandemic began. But, as counterintuitive as it seems, other developments occurring simultaneously give us reason to hope that we are indeed at or very near the apex of the crisis, that sometime soon we will have turned the tide.
As Gov. Cuomo points out in his must-see, fact-filled daily virus briefings, the deaths are a lagging indicator of where we are in the battle against the virus. Many are people who have been in the hospital for a week or two, connected to a ventilator, who just couldn’t be saved. Each loss is horrible, but we always knew the death rate would rise.
What’s not rising over the last several days is the number of people being admitted to the hospital due to the virus. It went from 1,427 last Thursday to 358 Sunday. The number given intensive care fell from 395 last Friday to 89 Monday. New intubations dropped from 351 Friday to 69 Monday. If those numbers continue to fall, or even just level off where they are, victory is within our grasp.
But the only way to keep going in the right direction, the only way to ensure we can achieve a new normalcy (too much has been changed forever to say we can ever “go back to normal”), is to keep doing what we’ve been doing. Cuomo on Monday extended his stay-at-home order another two weeks, until the end of April. It must be adhered to. Still no eating out, no getting a haircut, no going to the gym, no visiting the grandparents. It’s terrible, it’s taking a tremendous toll on our economy and our psyche, but it’s the only way. To relax our vigilance too soon in the face of this unseen enemy would be to lose our battle against it.
Our position today may be like that of the World War II Allies when, after the first British victory against the Nazis, Winston Churchill said, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” The Allies did not waver. They did not let their guard down. They did not celebrate prematurely. They fought ever harder. They won. We can do that too.