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NEW YORK - New York state governor said Wednesday the state could see as many as 16,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.
Referring to a model done by experts funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 93,000 Americans could succumb to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
"That model suggests 16,000 New Yorkers will pass away by the time this runs its course," Cuomo said. He said projected death rates will remain high through July.
But with New York accounting for nearly half of all the confirmed virus cases in the United States and more than 1,900 deaths already, Cuomo expressed skepticism that his state would only be about 16% of all U.S. deaths.
"I don't even understand that, since New York is so much higher right now," he said.
Cuomo said the projections should be a warning to other states that the virus is not just a "New York problem."
"If you believe these numbers, 16,000 deaths in New York, that means you are going to have tens of thousands of deaths outside of New York," he said.
The White House has placed the potential national toll even higher. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump delivered the news that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die.
Cuomo urged states to coordinate and cooperate to fight the virus.
New York State continues to prepare for a peak of virus cases later this month.
"The next battle is the apex. The next battle is on the top of the mountain," the governor said, pointing to the curve on a diagram that the surging numbers form. "That's where the enemy either overwhelms our health care system or we are able to handle the onslaught of the enemy - at the top of that mountain - and that's what we are planning for every day."
Cuomo said robust testing in his state and practicing social distancing has helped to slow the spread of the virus. But he urged people, especially the young, to do better at staying home.