An elderly woman has died from coronavirus in Brooklyn, becoming the first fatality from the novel infection in New York City.
“The patient, an elderly woman with advanced emphysema, was admitted to the hospital last week as one of our first cases, and had been in critical condition ever since,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “We’ve known from the outset that these people are the most at risk in this pandemic, and today’s news is a sad confirmation of that reality.”
The 82-year-old woman, who died late on March 13 at Wyckoff Medical Center in Bushwick, had been suffering emphysema — a lung disease typically associated with smoking.
Governor Andrew Cuomo reiterated that senior citizens with underlying health issues are at the highest risk of suffering serious or fatal complications from coronavirus — just as they are with the common flu.
“If you were to ask the Health Department how many people in their 80s who had an underlying respiratory illness and contracted flu who passed, my guess is that would be in the dozens,” Cuomo said at a media conference call. “It’s normally not just the flu that kills you … This virus is basically pneumonia.”
The number of coronavirus cases grew by 100 Saturday, with now 524 infected patients across the state.
Cuomo said that various labs had conducted 700 tests yesterday, and he expects the number of infected patients to climb considerably as auto-testing kicks into high gear in the week ahead — making detection more widely available.
“We believe there are thousands of people who have coronavirus, maybe tens of thousands who have it,” the governor observed. “Maybe, there were tens of thousands who had it and never realized it, and resolved from it.”
— Additional reporting by Aidan Graham