New York’s coronavirus deaths dropped to 367 Sunday, the lowest in almost a month, as Governor Andrew Cuomo sketched out a phased-in reopening that begins with construction and manufacturing. That could start as soon as May 15, he said, probably upstate before the New York City area.

The governor’s briefing -- filled with technicalities and conditions for restarting the state -- was a sharp contrast to the depths of the virus outbreak in New York. On April 9, a record 799 people died. Total fatalities are now 16,966, even as new hospitalizations and intensive care cases continue to fall.

“There is no doubt that, at this point, we’ve gone through the worst,” he told reporters in Albany. “And as long as we act prudently going forward, the worst should be over.”

It was the first time Cuomo spoke in detail about reopening -- a massive and complicated undertaking after the governor on March 20 shut down most business, schools and locked down a state of 18 million people.

After construction and manufacturing, he said businesses would reopen based on how essential they are. He didn’t give any firm dates but set two markers: He has officially declared the state closed until May 15th, and new hospitalizations would need to have dropped for two weeks.

Hospitalizations on Sunday dropped to 1,087, the ninth consecutive drop. The state also reported 5,902 new cases on Sunday, down from 10,553, for a total of 288,045.

Pause to Assess
He said there would be a two-week pause after the first re-openings to assess progress, which would be monitored by new hospitalizations, new cases and testing for antibodies that show whether a person had contracted the virus.

He said the measure would be that one person infects no more than one other.

He said that opening New York City was far more complicated than more sparsely populated areas upstate -- and more connected to Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Cuomo stressed it would take a re-imagining of workplaces, schools and public spaces to contain the virus.

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