• New York and New Jersey recorded highest death tolls for the second day in a row
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered to lower the American flags to honor the dead
  • Gov. Phil Murphy expanded safety measure orders at essential establishments

New York and New Jersey's coronavirus death tolls are setting new records as both states report the highest single-day highs for the second day in a row. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo, D-NY., ordered U.S. flags to be lowered at half-mast to mark the latest record. In the last 24 hours, 779 New Yorkers have lost their fight against coronavirus.

"Just to put perspective on this, 9/11, which so many of us lived through in this state and in this nation, 2,753 lives were lost," the governor said. "I'm going to direct all flags to be flown at half-mast in honor of those we have lost to this virus." 

half-mast-3418870_1280 U.S. flags in New York and New Jersey are flying at half-mast to honor those who have died againt coronavirus. Photo: Scholie/Pixabay

New Jersey, on the other hand, had 275 new deaths, raising its total death toll to over 1,500. The state has been flying their flags at half-mast since last week. 

"It’s almost unfathomable when you think about it," Governor Phil Murphy, D-NJ., said. “We honor their legacies as we grieve with their families. We need to continue doing all we can to slow the spread of the coronavirus.”

Some 8,000 residents in the tri-state area have died due to COVID-19, and over 200,000 are positive for the virus. Cuomo, however, saw some encouraging signs as hospital admissions have declined this week compared to the last. Fewer patients have also been needing ventilators. 

The governor said New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., is flattening the curve. However, he added people should still observe social distancing. 

"If we stop what we are doing you will see that curve change. We have to be disciplined going forward," Cuomo said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio supported the governor's call and reminded residents not to "double down" on the safety measures that are currently in place, such as social distancing. 

"It tells us this has been working," de Blasio said. "But it doesn't tell us when it's going to end."

Murphy, on the other hand, announced new orders for its essential and non-essential establishment. The governor ordered non-essential construction work in New Jersey to wrap up last Friday evening, while essential stores are limited to have just 50 percent of customers and staff at any given time. Anyone going to these essential businesses must also wear face masks. 

New Jersey is the second state with the highest number of cases at 47,437 as of press time.