ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday extended the state shutdown of non-essential businesses and services until May 15 because of the new coronavirus, and says at that point data and science will decide what is the next step and when the state can reopen.
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“I don't want to project beyond that period. That's about one month. One month is a long time,” the governor said during his daily coronavirus press briefing. “People need certainly and clarity so they can plan.”
Under the governor’s PAUSE declaration — which stands for Policies, Assure, Uniform, Safety and Everyone — 100 percent of the state's non-essential workforce is ordered to stay home or work from home, and people are asked to remain indoors with some exceptions, such as to pick up takeout food or get groceries, medicine, or exercise.
Grocery stores, pharmacies, delivery services, social services, health care operators, banks, gas stations, and media organizations have remained in operation.
OVER 12,000 DEATHS IN NEW YORK STATE
The total number of statewide hospitalizations have now dipped below 18,000, Cuomo said, and ICU admissions are also down statewide.
But, new cases keep cropping up in big numbers. And the number of deaths remains very high from day to day, with hundreds of New Yorkers dying.
Cuomo said 606 people statewide lost their lives to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. It's only the second dip below 700 daily deaths in last nine days.
Citywide, as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, there were 117,565 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an estimated 30,903 hospitalizations, and 11,477 deaths (7,563 confirmed and 3,914 probable).
The borough-by-borough breakdown of confirmed cases, with some fluctuation in the numbers:
- Queens: 36,220 confirmed cases
- Brooklyn: 31,279
- The Bronx: 25,638
- Manhattan: 15,539
- Staten Island: 8,822
Cuomo reported New York state had seen, as of midnight Wednesday, 222,284 confirmed coronavirus cases and 12,192 deaths (the state is currently not including probable COVID-19 fatalities in its death count, although Cuomo says it is considering it).
“The bad news is 2,000 people walked into a hospital yesterday for the first time with the disease, and the worst news is 600 people died yesterday from the disease,” the governor said Thursday. “That is still continuing at a really tragic, tragic rate.”
The governor said New Yorkers will have to continue social distancing even though the state has "controlled the beast" when it comes to spread of coronavirus, maintaining his belief the state has passed the apex of the pandemic.
Cuomo stressed the importance of his executive order instructing New Yorkers age 2 and up to cover their faces with a mask or cloth covering when in public. He said the mandate has been extended to operators and passengers of public, private and for-hire transportation systems.
"This is government saying, stay in your house, don't touch another person, wear a mask,” Cuomo said. “These policies, which are difficult, which are life-changing, they are being implemented by people because people are choosing to do the right thing."
The governor said the infection rate in New York state is 0.9 percent, based on how many people an infected person spreads disease to.
In Wuhan, China, where the outbreak is believed to have began, the rate decreased to 0.3 percent.
Cuomo said, in the past 30 days, 500,000 New Yorkers have been tested for the coronavirus across the state.
The governor also announced the state is sending another 100 ventilators to New Jersey, one day after he announced New York would send 100 to Michigan and 59 to Maryland. That follows weeks of frantic concerns that the state wouldn’t have enough.
This story included reporting from Zack Fink.
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