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NYC Coronavirus update: Two newest patients in intensive care, mayor says

The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, January 29, 2020. (Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/Handout via REUTERS)

Two more patients in New York City patients have contracted coronavirus and are now hospitalized in intensive care units, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.

“There are two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York City. One new patient is a man in his 40s, and one new patient is a woman in her 80s,” de Blasio said in a Twitter thread.

Citing the Mayor’s office, The Wall Street Journal reported the man resides in Manhattan, while the woman is from Brooklyn.

Neither patient traveled to a coronavirus hot zone, nor had contact with any other confirmed coronavirus patient in the New York City area, de Blasio added. This is indicative of what the Centers for Disease Control describes as “community transmission” — meaning that the patients likely picked up the illness from someone who already had it.

But both of the new coronavirus patients are in the hospital in intensive care, de Blasio added. The city’s Health Department “detectives” are now tracking down individuals who have had close contact with them for isolation and testing.

Nevertheless, de Blasio repeated a mantra uttered by public officials since the outbreak began: There will be more coronavirus cases, but the public should not be alarmed.

“We are going to see more cases like this as community transmission becomes more common. We want New Yorkers to be prepared and vigilant, not alarmed,” the mayor tweeted. “We are taking the same decisive steps in every case to shut transmission down: isolate and test each suspected case, trace close contacts, and isolate and test them as well.”

De Blasio further called upon the CDC to make more coronavirus testing kits available.

“Our single greatest challenge is the lack of fast federal action to increase testing capacity — without that, we cannot beat this epidemic back,” he added.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo reported there are 22 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York State, including the new cases detected in New York. This is double the total reported just a day earlier, but Cuomo said that’s because of a new round of test results that came in overnight.

“The number [of coronavirus] will continue to go up. It must, because we are continuing to test more and more,” Cuomo said. “The more you test, the higher number you will have. As we’re testing more, because that is a good thing, you’ll see the number going up.”

Eight additional patients in the New Rochelle area, where there’s an outbreak connected to a Manhattan attorney hospitalized earlier this week, and another individual on Long Island also tested positive. They are now convalescing at home, the governor noted.

Despite the increasing number, the governor reiterated that the public should not suffer “undue anxiety” over coronavirus’ spread because most New Yorkers who become infected are at low risk of serious illness.

“It’s a matter of opinion that most informed sources say you will see a significant spread of the virus through the population,” Cuomo added. “The most important point of all of this is, “So what? What does it mean?” The “so what,” 80% of the people who get it will self-resolve, will never know they had it, like the flu.”

However, seniors, individuals with compromised immune symptoms and others with pre-existing health conditions are at the highest risk of becoming ill. 

Symptoms of coronavirus infection resemble the flu, and include fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. If you or a loved one experiences these symptoms, stay home from work or school and seek medical care immediately.

The public is urged to take precautions such as washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitizer.

Click here for additional information on the coronavirus.

This story was updated at 12:58 p.m. on March 5.

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