Coronavirus News: A path in phases will guide NY state's recovery

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As New York's coronavirus numbers continue to trend downward, some less hard-hit areas might be able to open construction and manufacturing businesses with precautions in May, Governor Cuomo said on Sunday.

"Nobody is giving anybody a date. But short-term, the numbers are on the decline, everything we have done is working. The rates are all dropping," Cuomo said.

However, he also pointed out the state still had 1,000 new hospital cases on Saturday and 367 more deaths. That was the lowest single day increase since March 31.

Cuomo reiterated that the fundamental reason for the decline in the rate of infections is a "pure function" of the actions of New Yorkers across the state.

"The federal guidance from the CDC is before you start reopening the state, the regional hospital rate must be in decline for 14 days. The federal government leaves it up to the states, but they also give guidance. In this case, I think the CDC guidance is right," Cuomo said.

Cuomo explained that New York state will reopen in coordination with the existing regional coalitions.

The New York On Pause measure, which shut down non-essential businesses statewide, expires on May 15. At that point, officials will assess what regions have seen a decline for 14 days.

"That's when we start the conversation to get to phase 1 in that region," Cuomo explained, which is said would allow some construction and manufacturing businesses to reopen with certain precautions left in place.

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NY Gov. Cuomo says reopening NYC and surrounding areas is more complicated

Phase 2 would allow businesses to reopen based on an assessment of how essential they are and how much risk would be involved.

Businesses will need to do the analysis themselves, Cuomo said adding that it is essential for businesses to be creative and strategize, given this new normal.

Some businesses may need a new economic model. For example, what sports can be played without an audience, or without selling seats?

A two week period between each phase will be implemented to monitor the effects of the phased reopening, and take action should the rate of infection increase again.

"Then we are going to leave two weeks between phases so we can monitor the effect of what we just did. Take an action, monitor. Two weeks, that is according to the experts, the intubation period of the virus. You can see if you had an effect where you increased the rate of infection, which you would see in hospitalizations, testing, etc. Everyone understands the overall risk that you start to increase activity, infection rate goes up, two weeks to do that monitoring," Cuomo explained.

While some manufacturing and construction businesses could open upstate as soon as May 15th, the New York City area faces a more complex recovery.

The numbers in the Tri-State area have been much higher than elsewhere and anything done will need to be coordinated with other states.

Cuomo acknowledged it will not be feasible to keep New Yorkers completely cooped up inside their apartments through the summer.

"You can't tell people in a dense, urban environment through the summer months, we don't have anything for you to do, stay in your apartment with the three kids. That does not work. There is a sanity equation here also that we have to take into consideration," Cuomo said.

He added that special attention must be given to lower income communities who will need more assistance though this crisis. It is crucial that philanthropy organizations, in partnership with the state, continue to assist in at-risk communities.

Although pressed, the Governor still would not commit to closing schools through the end of the academic year.

"Schools are necessary for a large-scale business reopening. You cannot really get to a maximum phase two without opening schools," Cuomo explained.

Cuomo insisted that it is critical to use the lessons to make New York and society in general better than it was before.

"We have to do it intelligently, this is the definition of intelligence in this context. I don't want to just reopen. We learned a lot of lessons here. Painfully, but we learned a lot of lessons. How do we take the lessons we learned, take this pause in life, and say, when we reopen, we are going to be better for it? And we are going to reimagine what our life is and we are going to improve for this pause," Cuomo said,


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