New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that the state's coronavirus outbreak has slowed to levels not seen since the beginning of the pandemic as the number of fatalities, rate of new infections and the daily number of hospitalizations related to Covid-19 continue to fall.
"We're basically back to where we started before this tragedy descended upon us," he said at a news briefing.
The number of coronavirus deaths topped 105 on Monday, which is about the same number of lives lost on March 26, according to Cuomo. Close to 800 people were dying every day at the height of the state's outbreak in late March and early April.
"Number of deaths on a relative scale is down dramatically from where it was in the first place but it's still painfully high," he said.
The governor also announced that the number of total hospitalizations, net change in total hospitalizations, net change in intubations and daily number of new Covid-19 hospitalizations all declined.
"Look how fast that incline is, how steep that incline is and look at how slow relatively that decline is. You can get into trouble quickly with this virus and it takes you a longer time to turn that curve and to turn that infection rate. So don't let a spike happen in the first place," Cuomo said while referencing a chart of total hospitalizations in the state related to Covid-19.
Early this month, Cuomo stated that New York was "on the other side of the mountain" as the state began to see a continuous fall in the daily metrics.
New York is now working toward reopening regions of the state in phases. Cuomo announced last week that three areas — Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley — were ready to move into phase one of the state's reopening plan. Since then, Central New York, North County and Western New York have also met the state's metrics to begin reopening this week.
Phase one allows retail stores to offer curbside or in-store pickup and for manufacturing and construction work to resume.
The Capital Region, which surrounds the state capital, Albany, hired 430 contact tracers as it prepares to begin reopening on Wednesday, according to Cuomo. The tracers are now being trained in preparation for entering phase one.
Cuomo said Long Island has been making great progress. "We were losing about 100 residents per day; we're now down to about 13 per day," he said of Long Island.
"When someone asks, Well, why did we go through all this pain for two months, three months? Because we saved lives. That's why."