The death rate in coronavirus-ravaged New York, the worst-hit in the US, has dropped with 367 deaths on Saturday compared with 437 on Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday. Transmission rates, as well as death rates, would dictate how and when the state reopens, he said in his daily media briefing, stressing that asking public to remain in their homes indefinitely with nothing to do through the summer would be impossible.
"There's a sanity equation here," Cuomo said, pointing to reports that domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and mental health problems have already increased.
He offered some details on a phased reopening plan.
Noting that the CDC's official guidelines say that states need to see a decline in coronavirus numbers for 14 days before considering reopening, Cuomo said that the final decision is up to state Governors.
New York continues to see a decline in new hospitalisations, and cases, he said, adding that the state is back to the level last seen on March 21 before dramatic increases began as the virus spread.
There were still 1,000 new coronavirus cases since the day before, Cuomo said, adding that the number is only good compared to the previous overwhelming amount.
Discussing the reopening, he said the state is considering a phased reopening dependent on regional analysis and monitoring the number of hospitalisations, number of positive antibody tests, and positive diagnostic tests.
Cuomo said that Upstate NY and Central NY will likely begin the phased reopening sooner, likely after May 15, while Downstate NY is more complicated due to the need for coordination with other states and regions.
The phased reopening Cuomo outlined included two phases. The first phase would see construction and manufacturing jobs with low risks open first. The second phase would see additional essential businesses open dependent on those businesses' individual plans to mitigate risks from the virus.
However, Cuomo stressed that there must be no attractions or openings that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.
New York City has reported 17,126 deaths so far - nearly a third of the total US fatalities which range above 54,500 so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center.