For the first time this month, New York's daily death toll from COVID-19 has dropped below 400, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Speaking at his briefing Sunday, Cuomo said that 367 New Yorkers died from the respiratory illness the day before — less than half of where it was at the height of the outbreak.
New hospitalizations also dropped to about 1,000 on Saturday.
Cuomo described the latest numbers as "only not terrible news compared to where we were." He referred to Saturday's death toll from the disease as "horrific."
"There is no relative context to death. Death is death. 367 people passed. 367 families," Cuomo said in his briefing.
Cuomo largely attributed the decline to the efforts of New Yorkers adhering to social distancing, saying his role was to provide "facts" to New Yorkers who were willing to act responsibly.
"Government really can't act unless the people fully support the action. What we have done here, government couldn't do. It was a function of what people did," Cuomo told reporters.
With the number of new daily infections on the decline in New York, Cuomo also detailed a rough plan to reopen the state's economy. He described a multiphase approach with certain sectors opening sooner than others. In determining how this plan would roll out, Cuomo cited a series of factors, including federal guidance suggesting states document a decline of cases for 14 days before reopening.
As we look forward there will be multiple levels of decisions.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 26, 2020
Government will set the criteria for a phased reopening.
Businesses will reimagine their workplaces & protocols.
Individuals will make decisions on their own health.
We will build back better.
The governor said the main metrics guiding how the state reopens include rate of hospitalizations and test results for antibodies and the virus itself. Ultimately, Cuomo said, the infection rate would have to remain low for the rollout to function.
"If we keep the infection rate below one person infecting one person, that is where the infection rate continues to drop, that is where you'll see the curve dropping," Cuomo told reporters. "So we have to stay there."