NEW YORK (AP) — New York’s daily toll of coronavirus deaths has hit its lowest point in more than two weeks, but officials still warn that New York City and the rest of the state aren’t ready to ease up on shutdowns of schools, businesses and gatherings.
Mayor Bill de Blasio warned Sunday that with the arrival of spring weather, the city will step up enforcement of social distancing rules.
Here are the latest coronavirus developments in New York:
DECLINING DEATH TOLL
As of Saturday, the number of coronavirus deaths in New York state dropped under 550 for the first time in over two weeks as hospitalizations continue to decline.
But the crisis is far from over: Hospitals are still reporting nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 patients per day, and de Blasio said 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.
“We do not want to see this disease boomerang,” he said. “We do not want to see it come back with a vengeance.”
The state logged 540 deaths Friday from COVID-19, the lowest number since April 1.
Nearly 13,000 New Yorkers have died since the state’s first coronavirus case was reported March 1, the governor said. The state total doesn’t include more than 4,000 New York City deaths that were blamed on the virus on death certificates but weren’t confirmed by a lab test.
More than 2,700 people in New York nursing homes have died, by far more than in any other state.
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.
FEWER POLICE OUT SICK
The number of New York Police Department officers calling out sick is declining.
The nation’s largest police department reported that 5,324 uniformed members — about 15% of the force — were out sick on Saturday. That’s down from a high of 7,155 officers — nearly 20% of the force — on April 9.
So far, more than 2,000 members of the NYPD have returned to work full duty after recovering from a positive test for the coronavirus, police officials said.