The state of New York now has the most coronavirus cases in the world, overtaking Spain to have more cases than any individual country outside of the United States.
As Reuters reported, the state on Wednesday reported a total of 149,316 confirmed cases of the virus -- overtaking Spain with 146,690. Italy, which weeks ago had become the world's epicenter of the outbreak, had a total of 139,422 cases at the same time on Wednesday.
The continued surge in cases in New York state helped push the United States to the highest total in the world, becoming the first country to surpass the 400,000-mark and recording just more than 417,000 cases on Wednesday.
Both Italy and Spain have seen a slight downturn in the number of reported cases and deaths after several weeks of strict lockdown efforts, the report noted. Italy first instituted its lockdown measures on March 9 and Spain put its policy in place on March 14, Reuters reported. New York first recommended that residents stay at home and ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses on March 20.
Numbers continue to rise across New York. As the New York Times reported, deaths in the state rose to new highs for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, reaching a total of 770 people. As the report added, more people have died after contracting coronavirus in New York and New Jersey -- a total of 7,772 by late afternoon on Wednesday -- than in the rest of the United States combined.
Despite the rising numbers in the state of New York, especially in the epicenter downstate, local leaders have started to express some optimism that the outbreak might be slowing. Governor Andrew Cuomo said that hospitalization figures show that the curve of the virus's spread is starting to flatten across the state.
"That death toll probably will be this high, or near this high or even higher for the next several days," Cuomo said, adding, "We are flattening the curve, thank God, thank God, thank God."Cuomo has taken a number of measures to bring more needed medical supplies and equipment to the New York City area, including an executive order allowing the state to redistribute things like ventilators from areas not hit as hard by the virus to regions where the needs are more critical.
In his daily address on Wednesday, Cuomo said that he was not sure when New York could start to ease its lockdown measures, saying it would depend on things like when widespread testing is available.