Watch Now: Cuomo Speaks on Coronavirus

In a trio of television appearances on Thursday morning, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo repeated broad themes that have become familiar to New Yorkers in this first week of widespread social isolation.

He emphasized that New York’s hospitals would soon be swamped by patients with coronavirus, overloading a health care system without sufficient beds or medical equipment.

He stressed that the state is on a wartime footing.

And he continued to dismiss the idea of a shelter-in-place measure that he has insisted will cause more panic than anything else.

“I am not going to imprison anyone in the state of New York,” Mr. Cuomo said on CNN. “I am not going to do martial law in the state of New York. That is not going to happen.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio has over the past several days continued to float the idea of shelter in place in New York City, a measure that has been taken in Italy and the Bay Area in California, where residents are still allowed to leave home to exercise or shop.

But Mr. Cuomo has called shelter in place a “buzzword” that evokes the era of fallout shelters and the dangling threat of nuclear war.

“Communicate what you mean without using terms that nobody understands,” he said.

Mr. Cuomo reiterated on Thursday that the virus will overwhelm New York’s health care system. “The question is now to what extent and with what consequence?” he said on “The Today Show.” “That is what we are dealing with.”

He also railed against the fact that a growing number of celebrities and athletes have been tested for the coronavirus, even as tests remain elusive for many people, including health-care workers and those with underlying diseases.

Eight entire teams in the N.B.A. have been tested, and high-profile people, from politicians to the Hollywood elite, have secured testing.

“If someone is getting priority, that is 100 percent wrong,” he said on “The Today Show.”

Elon Musk, the entrepreneur who runs Tesla and SpaceX, offered to turn to making ventilators if there is a shortage — and Mayor de Blasio said he would take them.

In a Twitter exchange with the journalist Nate Silver, Mr. Musk said “Tesla makes cars with sophisticated HVAC systems. SpaceX makes spacecraft with life support systems. Ventilators are not difficult, but cannot be produced instantly.”

He asked which hospitals had ventilator shortages.

“New York City is buying!” Mr. de Blasio tweeted to Mr. Musk. “Our country is facing a drastic shortage and we need ventilators ASAP — we will need thousands in this city over the next few weeks. We’re getting them as fast as we can but we could use your help! We’re reaching out to you directly.”

Ventilators, pieces of respiratory equipment that help the sickest patients breathe, are crucial to the fight against coronavirus. Governor Cuomo said of them Thursday morning, “In this war, ventilators are what missiles were in World War II.”

Mr. Musk has played down the danger of the coronavirus in both public and private statements.

On March 6, he tweeted that “the coronavirus panic is dumb.” On Friday, BuzzFeed reported, he sent a companywide email to SpaceX employees that said they were more likely to die in a car crash then from the virus.

The first to die was Grace Fusco’s daughter Rita, last Friday. Then came her eldest son, Carmine, just yesterday.

Hours later, last night, Ms. Fusco, mother of 11, grandmother of 27, matriarch of a sprawling family in central New Jersey, died from the coronavirus at age 87 at her home in Freehold — unaware that it had taken two of her children.

Four of Ms. Fusco’s other children who contracted the virus are hospitalized, three of them in critical condition, a relative said.

Nearly 20 other relatives are quarantined at their homes, praying in isolated solitude, unable to mourn their deep collective loss together.

“If they’re not on a respirator, they’re quarantined,” said the relative, Roseann Paradiso Fodera. “It is so pitiful. They can’t even mourn the way you would.”

The virus’s toll on the Fusco family accounts for three of the five deaths in the state.

As of Wednesday, 2,382 people in New York had tested positive for the coronavirus, an increase of more than 1,000 since Tuesday. Mayor Bill de Blasio said later in the day that 1,871 people in New York City had tested positive, compared with 814 on Tuesday.

Mr. Cuomo attributed much of the jump to an increase in testing. Of the 14,597 people to be tested so far, nearly 5,000 were tested on Tuesday.

In New Jersey, officials said on Wednesday that another 162 people had tested positive for the virus, raising the state’s total of confirmed cases to 427. Officials also said there had been three more deaths linked to the virus, bringing New Jersey’s total to five.

Officials in Connecticut said on Wednesday that a man in his 80s who had been hospitalized at Danbury Hospital had died from the virus, the state’s first known death linked to the virus.

In the past week, as testing has expanded and more people have gotten sick, the number of people to test positive for the virus in New York State has increased 42 percent a day on average.

On Tuesday, Mr. Cuomo said that cases of the new coronavirus in New York City would peak in the next 45 days.

If that happens, the number of patients requiring hospital care would substantially outstrip the available supply of beds, according to a Harvard analysis.

Researchers considered three scenarios for an outbreak of that duration in the city, assuming that cases ramp down as quickly as they peak.

In the moderate projection — in which an astonishing 40 percent of the city’s adults will be sickened by the virus over the next three months — making room for all the patients requiring hospital care would mean emptying or adding more than three times the number of beds typically occupied in the city’s largest hospital “referral region.”

That is an area that includes most parts of the city outside the Bronx.

The projected shortfall is even more dramatic for patients who need critical care. To meet the projected need, city hospitals would have to either empty or add more than 11 times the number of intensive-care beds that are currently occupied.

The state’s health commissioner, Howard Zucker, said his office was aware of the high number of cases in Borough Park and was investigating it as a possible cluster, or interconnected group of cases that can be traced to the same source. Such a group emerged in New Rochelle this month.

“There’s two possibilities,” Dr. Zucker said. “There’s a lot of testing that’s going on or potentially one or more individuals that have been infected. So that’s something that’s new on the radar and we’re investigating that.”

A spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio said late Wednesday that the city’s health commissioner had reviewed the Borough Park cases and had not found a common link among them.

“At this time, she does NOT believe there is any cluster,” the spokeswoman, Freddi Goldstein, said on Twitter.

On Friday, Liz Baldwin, a librarian at the New York Public Library, was told that she wouldn’t be coming to work for at least the next two weeks.

She did not think long about what to do next — recently, a friend in China had told her about the couriers of Wuhan, who, on scooters and bikes, helped keep a locked-down city supplied and fed.

“I thought, you know, I can do that,” she said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

She posted on Instagram and Twitter asking if anyone might be willing to help. They were.

On Wednesday morning, Corona Couriers counted more than 30 volunteers; by the end of the day, that number had exceeded 50.

Courier groups are sprouting up in dense communities around the country. An operational Slack room is used to coordinate the groups and many of those in it have a background in social work and volunteering.

Among members, there is extensive discussion about safety, hygiene and “what it means to have a no-contact service,” Ms. Baldwin said.

The couriers work for free, asking only for the cost of what’s delivered. “This is a mutual aid project,” Ms. Baldwin said.

Initial requests for help came from friends and neighbors in Brooklyn; this week, a Brooklyn branch of the Democratic Socialists of America added Corona Couriers to a growing list of mutual aid organizations, and the couriers started fielding requests from across the borough.

Last week, Daniel Szymczyk, a student and former bike courier, knew he wouldn’t be tending bar for the foreseeable future, so he started asking around about ways to help.

Someone forwarded his information to Corona Couriers. He’s been delivering all week.

Inmates in New York City’s jail system with underlying medical issues, including those with pre-existing conditions, could be released in the coming days in a bid to stem the coronavirus from spreading in its correction facilities, Mr. de Blasio said late Wednesday.

In an interview on WCBS radio, Mr. de Blasio said that inmates who were being held on “minor” charges might also be released. The city has about 5,400 inmates in custody.

The push to identify inmates who could be released came as city officials announced that a person in custody at the sprawling Rikers Island jail complex was infected, raising fears that the virus could circulate in its close quarters.

The mayor’s office is working with the city’s five district attorneys on the plan, which could involve the release of inmates who are over 50 and have health problems, according to city officials.

Officials with the district attorneys’ offices are trying to identify inmates considered safe to be released and those who are not, according to two people briefed on the plan.

The city could release inmates who are being held on parole violations, the people said, although doing so would require the state Board of Parole’s approval. Judges might also have to sign off on the release of some inmates.

“Defense attorneys are free to make whatever applications they like to the court,” a spokesman for the state court system said. “Judges will rule on those individual judicial determinations, on a case-by-case basis.”

In the radio interview, Mr. de Blasio said that “we’ve got to balance here public safety with the very real concern about health in the jails.”

As The New York Times follows the spread of the coronavirus across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, we need your help.

We want to talk to doctors, nurses, lab technicians, respiratory therapists, emergency services workers, nursing home managers — anyone who can share what they are seeing in the region’s hospitals and other health care centers.

Even if you haven’t seen anything yet, we want to connect now so we can stay in touch in the future.

A reporter or editor may contact you. Your information will not be published without your consent.

Jonah Engel Bromwich, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Alan Feuer, Michael Gold, Christina Goldbaum, Matthew Haag, John Herrman, Corey Kilgannon, John Leland, Jesse McKinley, Andy Newman, Azi Paybarah, Jan Ransom, Margot Sanger-Katz, Nate Schweber, Liam Stack, Alex Vadukul and Michael Wilson contributed reporting.

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