Do ‘almost two people’ die of coronavirus every hour in New York?

Daily Mail reporters Maxine Shen, Jennifer Smith and Chris Pleasance declared that almost two people die from coronavirus every hour in New York City in a Saturday news story.

To justify this claim they determined that “between the hours of 10am and 6pm on Friday, 14 people died from coronavirus — the equivalent of almost two people every single hour.”

The New York Post looked at the same data and determined that “New York City’s accelerating coronavirus death toll tops one an hour.” Reporter Julie Marsh wrote that “coronavirus killed city residents at a rate of more than one per hour on Friday.”

“Between just 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., 14 people in New York City died from the virus, pushing the Big Apple’s total death toll to 43,” she reported.

“The toll had been 29 prior to Friday’s jump in deaths.”

“It was the first time that the city’s single-day toll had hit double digits,” Marsh noted.

She quoted New York Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot who said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we get to a day when we have double-digits new people dying every day,” at a City Hall press conference Friday afternoon.

The first death in New York from coronavirus occurred last Saturday, March 14. The current number of deaths reported, according to a Saturday afternoon update by Governor Andrew Cuomo is 45. Given the rate of infection in the city, that number will no doubt increase by the end of the day, but there has been no single day since the first death was reported, where 48 people or even 24 people have died.

Friday’s death toll of 14 in eight hours could have been an anomaly — it’s difficult to speculate on all the factors that may have led to this jump, but there is no reason to assume this will happen every day. Should the media and state officials create more panic by extrapolating the city’s death toll beyond the current tally and daily average?

Last Saturday The Daily Mail ran a sensationalized story declaring that 500,000 people in the US are currently infected with coronavirus, based on a prediction by Dr. Marty Makary, professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University. One week later 22,076 cases were reported nationwide on Saturday, with 280 deaths.

The media won’t hesitate to spread misinformation and lies, sometimes with political motives, even during a pandemic. Coronavirus is deadly and the public needs facts, not reckless speculation.

New York’s coronavirus cases jumped to over 10,356 by Saturday morning, officials said. “New York City is the most  dense environment,” said Cuomo. “This virus spreads in dense environments,” he added.

City leaders, doctors and the federal government are moving quickly to minimize the number of deaths. Officials announced Saturday there is an impending shortage of supplies, hospital beds and ventilators. They expect the number of confirmed cases to climb considerably in the coming weeks.

The Trump administration issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the state on Saturday. President Donald Trump described this move as an “unprecedented action.” The designation will allow the city to quickly receive more emergency federal aid.

Cuomo also announced plans to send 1 million N95 masks to New York City and 500,000 to Long Island. State officials will be buying 6,000 ventilators to increase the number available for those affected.