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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.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

1 dead after pickup truck hits Pride spectators in Florida

Police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

A driver in a pickup truck hit spectators at a Pride festival in Wilton Manors, Florida, killing a man and leaving another person hospitalized Saturday, authorities said.

Details: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told reporters police had "apprehended the driver" and that the vehicle missed a parade car carrying Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) "by inches."

Updated 9 hours ago - Sports

Uganda Olympic team member tests positive for COVID in Tokyo

The Uganda National boxing team's Catherine Nanziri (L) and others arrive for check-in at Entebbe international airport in Wakiso, Uganda on Friday, ahead of their departure to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Badru Katumba/AFP via Getty Images

A Uganda Olympic team member tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan late Saturday, officials said.

Why it matters: Japan's government has faced criticism for vowing to host the Tokyo Games next month as coronavirus cases rise. The Ugandan team is the second to arrive in Japan after the Australian women's softball players, and this is the first COVID-19 infection detected among the Olympic athletes, Al Jazeera notes.

Updated 13 hours ago - World

In photos: Brazilians rally against Bolsonaro as COVID deaths top 500,000

A June 19 protest in São Paulo, Brazil, against the administration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has railed against precautionary health measures despite the soaring COVID-19 death rate and cases. Photo: Rodrigo Paiva/Getty Images

Demonstrators took to the streets in at least 22 of Brazil’s 26 states to protest President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic — as deaths from COVID-19 in the country surged past 500,000 Saturday, per AP.

The big picture: Brazil has the world's second-highest coronavirus death toll and third-highest number of reported cases. Only 12% of the country's population has been vaccinated against the virus, AP notes.