NEW YORK (AP) — New York’s horrible April — among the worst in its history — is over. Only time will tell if the pandemic that made it so awful will fade in May.

“We’ve got a long way to go, but May, I think, is going to be a decisive month and a chance for us to do something great in this city,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.

When April began, the coronavirus was already raging through the state. Nearly 2,000 people were dead. Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned one model predicted as many as 16,000 deaths by outbreak’s end.

At the time, that seemed grim. Reality has been worse.

New York has been one of the hardest-hit places on the planet. Though Wednesday, the virus was believed to have killed at least 23,600 people in the state, including around 5,300 people who died before their infection could be confirmed by a lab test.

That’s nearly nine times the number of people who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Most experts agree the figure is an undercount, since it includes only deaths for which the link to COVID-19 was clear enough to be included on a death certificate.

May begins where March ended, but with hopeful news that the worst might be over. The state’s daily fatality count has declined to roughly where it was at the close of March.

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The number of people hospitalized with the virus has slid about to where it was a month ago, too, after hitting a peak in mid-April.

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This story has been corrected to show that Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “We’ve got a long way to go,” not “We’ve got a lot way to go.”