The coronavirus has now infected more than 200,000 people across New York state as the Covid-19 outbreak begins to slow and the country continues to ramp up its testing capacity.

New cases across the state rose by 7,177 on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 202,208, according to New York State Department of Health data gathered as of midnight. Some 10,834 people have died so far, including one child under 10 years old and six kids between 10 and 19, according to the data. One of the kids had diabetes, but the rest didn’t have any underlying medical conditions, the data shows. 

The state has tested 499,143 people, according to the data, running 20,786 of those tests on Monday. That means that of those tested, 40.5% have tested positive. 

On Friday, confirmed cases in New York surpassed 161,807, overtaking that of Spain, Italy, France and Germany. The state has more reported cases than any country outside the U.S, according to Hopkins. 

The virus now appears to be slowing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday. He pointed to a flattening of the daily death toll, the stabilizing of the net number of hospitalizations and a drop in the number of people on ventilators as evidence that radical measures such as the shuttering of nonessential businesses have helped to contain the virus.

“We’re controlling the spread,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany. “The worst can be over, and is over, unless we do something reckless.”

However, Cuomo later backed off when reporters pressed him on his claim that the worst is over.

“I’m not confident that the worst is over,” he said. “The numbers suggest a plateauing, slight increase, but a plateauing which is what the experts have talked about. That’s what the numbers say.”

On Monday, the governors of New York, New Jersey and four other Northeastern states announced a regional working group to coordinate plans to reopen parts of the economy as soon as it’s safe to do so. Calling the region the “Covid corridor,” the governors said they would carefully weigh the public health risks before allowing companies to resume operations.

March 20 lock down

The virus has spread rapidly over the past month throughout the state, especially in New York City, which accounts for 110,465 cases, according to the state, which is more than half of all of the state’s confirmed cases.

The state has been largely shut down since March 20, when Gov. Cuomo ordered nonessential businesses to keep 100% of their workforce at home and he implemented stringent social distancing restrictions. The same day that Cuomo announced the new measures, confirmed Covid-19 cases across the state surged by 2,950 to 7,102. 

As cases in New York rose in the days leading up to Cuomo’s March 20 announcement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed him to approve such measures. Cuomo repeatedly said he would not approve a shelter-in-place order for New York City, adding that “the panic is a bigger problem than the virus.”

San Francisco Bay area officials announced the nation’s first shelter-in-place order on March 16, when there were just 470 confirmed cases across the state of California.

Scarce testing

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier Tuesday plans to purchase 100,000 coronavirus test kits per week from a mix of local contractors and a Carmel, Indiana-based company as the city works to identify more Covid-19 cases. In announcing the deal, de Blasio criticized the federal government for failing to adequately ramp up testing.

“If the federal government can’t figure it out, then get out of the way and let us at the local level get this done,” de Blasio said. “But support us. Get us the components. Get us the help so that we can do this rapidly and protect ourselves.”

Broad testing will help health officials identify pockets of transmission as the city seeks to gradually lift social distancing restrictions that were implemented to curb the spread, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said. 

Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Monday the U.S. has drastically ramped up its testing capacity in recent weeks as the spread of the virus appears to slow in several hot spots around the country, including Detroit, Philadelphia and Louisiana. The U.S. has now processed nearly 3 million tests so far, up from roughly 300,000 tests about three weeks ago, Birx said. She said the Trump administration is continuing to increase the country’s capacity to test for Covid-19.

“As these epidemics decrease, you can use more testing for surveillance,” Birx said at a White House news briefing.

President Donald Trump Trump added Monday that “per capita testing in New York is higher than anywhere else in the world.”

However,  not everyone in the U.S. who needs to be tested is able to receive one and many states are forced to ration testing due to a lack of supplies, local and state officials have said. De Blasio said earlier Monday that the city still has to prioritize who receives testing because supplies, from kits to swabs, remain scarce.

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