Cuomo: Virus deaths down but it’s only ‘halftime’

National News

NEW YORK (AP) — The coronavirus death toll in New York dropped again, a sign that Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday meant the state was “on the other side of the plateau” and that ongoing social distancing practices were working to stem the spread of the virus.

Cuomo said 507 people died on Saturday, down 43 from the previous day. Hospitalizations and other medical indicators are trending downward.

But Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio maintained their warnings that people in New York City and the rest of the state need to stay vigilant to curb the spread of the virus.

“We showed that we can control the beast and when you close down, you can actually slow that infection rate, but this is only halftime,” Cuomo said Sunday at a briefing.

“We still have to make sure that we keep that beast under control, we keep that infection rate down, we keep that hospitalization rate down as we all get very eager to get on with life and move on.”

The drop in the death toll in New York reported Sunday prompted Cuomo to say, “We are on the other side of the plateau.”

But both Cuomo and de Blasio said the crisis was far from over, cautioning that the temptation for cooped-up New Yorkers to take advantage of the spring weather presents new challenges to keep the outbreak in check.

Police and park officers will be out in force to break up outdoor gatherings that pose a risk, with violators facing potential fines of up to $1,000, the mayor said. The city is encouraging people to text authorities’ photos when they spot the gatherings.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with underlying health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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