A coronavirus patient in Queens. Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

There's some hope the wave of coronavirus cases in New York City, the hardest-hit area of the country, is starting to plateau.

The big picture: Deaths keep rising, but hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions and intubations have mostly been stagnant or declining in recent days.

What they're saying: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that social distancing measures appear to be helping drive down the number of coronavirus patients who need serious hospital care, but that trend "still depends on what we do, and what we do will affect those numbers."

  • However, new data released Tuesday night by city officials throws a wrench in some of the optimism. Hospitalizations appear to have risen, although it's unclear whether that includes delayed reporting.

Many New York City hospitals are still struggling to care for the influx of patients, but hope this week will be the turning point.

  • "It looks like it's flattening," Steven Corwin, CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian, told Axios. His hospital system was treating 2,300 COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday, 630 of whom were on a ventilator in an ICU. "We'll really know in another three or four days whether that trend continues."

Yes, but: Health care workers are continuing to work with limited protective gear, and the extraordinary caseload has stretched doctors, critical care nurses, respiratory therapists and other essential hospital staff.

  • Corwin said he is less concerned now about the supply of N95 masks and surgical masks and more concerned about protective gowns, which are in short supply due to a gown recall from Cardinal Health earlier this year and slow production from China.

The bottom line: Even if coronavirus cases are close to peaking in New York, this is far from over. A lot of hardship and death is still to come, both in New York and in other places that have not practiced aggressive social distancing.

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Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 19,497,292 — Total deaths: 723,854 — Total recoveries — 11,823,105Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 4,994,276 — Total deaths: 162,381 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid.
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

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