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New York Gov. Cuomo to close NYC playgrounds as coronavirus death rate starts to climb

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at the Jacob Javits Convention Center during the Coronavirus pandemic on March 30, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is closing all playgrounds in New York City as coronavirus deaths start to climb across the state.

“People say well when is it over, two weeks, three weeks, four weeks? This model projects you’re going to have a high death rate through July. If this model is correct, this could go through the summer,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany on Wednesday. 

He said he’s been warning residents for weeks that he would close the playgrounds and parks if people didn’t abide by new rules designed to reduce density and help curb the outbreak. Local parks will remain open so people can get outside and exercise.

“I warned people that if they didn’t stop the density and the games in the playgrounds — you can’t play basketball, you can’t come in contact with each other — that we would close the playgrounds,” he said.

The number of cases continues to climb across the state, rising by more than 10% overnight to 83,712. New York City accounts for more than half the coronavirus infections across the state at 47,439, according to data Cuomo released at the press conference. 

Cuomo said 12,226 people are hospitalized, more than 14% of all COVID-19 patients across the state, and 3,022 of them are in intensive care. 

The state is still scrambling to find enough ventilators to get the state through the peak of the outbreak, which Cuomo is now predicting at the end of April when the state will need 110,000 hospital beds for coronavirus patients.

“If you go on a ventilator there is roughly only a 20% chance that you will come off the ventilator. The longer you are on the ventilator, the lower the chance that you come off,” he said.

New York has now become the new epicenter of the outbreak in the world with more reported infections than China’s Hubei province where the coronavirus emerged in December. The death toll is expected to rise, with White House officials projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths in the U.S.

On Tuesday, Cuomo said the outbreak in the state may not peak for three weeks.

“I’m tired of being behind this virus. We’ve been behind this virus from day one,” the governor said in Albany. “We underestimated this virus. It’s more powerful, it’s more dangerous than we expected.”

CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger contributed to this article.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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