The Empire State’s gradual reopening from the coronavirus shutdown may unfold region by region, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, as another 481 deaths were tallied but hospitalization numbers continued to show improvement.
“Just like some states will reopen before other states … it’s also true across the state,” Cuomo said during a press briefing at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.
“There’s one state, yes, but there are regional economies within the state.”
Cuomo illustrated the point with a map of the state carved up into 10 distinct areas — including New York City, Long Island and the “Mid-Hudson,” to the Big Apple’s north.
“When you say ‘New York,’ people think ‘New York City,’ one of the densest places on the globe,” he said. “You also have upstate New York, where in some counties you have more cows than people.”
The governor did not commit to a timeline or concrete benchmarks that would determine when a given region can reopen, but said they could include hospital capacity and infection rates, as well as the input of local elected officials.
To get the most accurate picture possible, Cuomo also continued to stress the importance of expanded testing with help from the federal government, a point he said he planned to raise at his Tuesday afternoon meeting with President Trump.
He unveiled the tentative plan for the future as the state’s coronavirus statistics continued to trend in the right direction.
Though 481 more New Yorkers died in the 24-hour period ending at midnight Tuesday, raising the total to 14,828, it marked a second straight day below 500 fatalities.
Total hospitalizations continued their steady decline, sitting at 16,076 in the same period, down a hair from 16,103 the day prior, on the strength of further declines in the number of new daily hospitalizations.
Still, Cuomo offered a sobering perspective.
“We have to remember, our calculus of ‘good,’ our definition of ‘good’ has changed here,” he said. “Good is now ‘not terrible.’”
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