Cuomo says New York has passed through a “hellish journey” as state reports lowest new coronavirus deaths since March

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New York reported 207 new deaths due to the novel coronavirus on Sunday, the lowest since early March, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his daily press briefing. 

The state also reached its lowest new daily case count ⁠— 521 — since about March 20, Cuomo said, adding that, “521 takes us right back to where we started this hellish journey.”

“It has been a painful period of time between March 20 and May 9,” he said.

The governor ordered non-essential workers to stay home on March 20, when there were roughly 7,000 total cases. Less than two days later, the case count reached 10,000, climbing to more than 340,792 in a matter of weeks, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

More than 25,000 New Yorkers have died, which is about 30% of total deaths in the US. The number of new deaths has been dropping for 10 straight days, as Bloomberg News reported; hospitalizations and cases that require intensive care have also declined. 

Given the declines, reopening of the state is set to begin as planned, the governor said. The lockdown is set to expire on May 15. This week, officials will be evaluating which regions can reopen based on a “uniform set of criteria,” Cuomo said.

The first set of variables will rest on the rate of the virus’ spread, while the second looks at locales’ hospital capacity, testing, and ability to monitor compliance of new rules, according to Cuomo. More information on the subject will be released tomorrow.

The governor also addressed concerns about the state’s high death count in nursing homes, where more than 5,300 have died. New rules will require the homes to report to the state’s health department when they can’t properly care for those with the coronavirus. 

Cuomo has been criticized in recent weeks for a directive on March 25 that said long-term care facilities were not allowed to deny people readmission on the basis of their diagnosis, which may have introduced more outbreaks. 

The state’s health department is looking into 85 cases of what could be a coronavirus-related illness in children, but the governor had few updates to provide on the subject.  The illness has killed at least three children in the state. 

New York’s allocated portion of the coronavirus treatment remdesivir was also discussed on Sunday. Cuomo said the state had enough of the drug for 2,900 people. 

Last week, hospital administrators had no idea how to procure Gilead’s treatment, while the federal government declined to release its plans for distribution, according to reporting by Business Insider’s Andrew Dunn, Lydia Ramsey, and Kimberly Leonard. 

On Saturday, the US Department of Health and Human Services finally released guidance saying that remdesivir would be sent to states with the worst outbreaks first.

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