New York and other East Coast states are extending their shutdown of nonessential businesses to May 15 as officials grapple with how to reopen parts of the economy without leading to a resurgence in coronavirus cases, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
Cuomo announced the move at his daily briefing in Albany and via Twitter, saying "New York on PAUSE" will be extended in coordination with other states.
"We have to continue doing what we're doing. I'd like to see that infection rate get down even more. The New York Pause policies, the close-down policies, will be extended in coordination with other states to May 15," Cuomo said. The lockdown was previously scheduled to lift on April 30.
He reiterated his plans to work with other governors on a coordinated plan to gradually reopen commerce in the region. Cuomo is leading a working group of seven governors from the Northeast, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Delaware, who are coordinating their response to the pandemic.
"I need a coordinated action plan with the other states. So, one month, we'll continue the close-down policies. What happens after then? I don't know. We will see what the data shows," Cuomo said. "I don't want to project beyond that period."
Cuomo didn't specify if all or just some of those states will join in extending statewide quarantines. Delaware already shut down nonessential businesses to May 15, while New Jersey's order was put in place "until further notice." New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced shortly after at his daily press conference that the state's schools would be closed until at least May 15.
"That means it will not be safe to reopen our schools or start sports back up for at least another four weeks," Murphy said.
Coordinating with the other states doesn't mean they'll always be in lockstep, he said, "but we'll talk through everything first and hopefully we're not doing something that's contradictory to another state at a minimum."
Cuomo said the net change in coronavirus hospitalizations in the state fell Wednesday to its lowest level since the outbreak began. He said the number of intensive care admissions and intubations also saw a significant drop for the first time.
However, he said, 2,000 new infections are confirmed across the state every day. Cuomo also reported an additional 606 deaths for Wednesday, the lowest increase in fatalities in six days. "The good news is, it means we can control the virus, right? It means we can control the spread," Cuomo said.
The state is grappling with the worst outbreak in the U.S. with more than 214,800 of the nation's 640,200 cases. More than 31,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the U.S. with almost half of those fatalities concentrated in New York state.