After three bleak months, New York, the corner of the U.S. hit hardest by the coronavirus, gradually began reopening Monday in what was seen as a landmark moment in the crisis and a test of the city’s discipline.
Watch the mayor’s remarks in the video player above.
With the virus in check — at least for now — stores previously deemed nonessential were cleared to reopen for delivery and pickup, though customers cannot yet browse inside. Construction, manufacturing and wholesalers also received the go-ahead to resume work.
“It is the day that we start to liberate ourselves from this disease the day we move forward,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
New York City became the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, with more than 21,000 people dying citywide of confirmed or probable COVID-19. That is roughly 1 out of 5 of the 110,000 coronavirus deaths across the U.S.
At its peak, the scourge killed more than 500 people a day in New York City in early to mid-April. At the end of last week, the number of deaths per day had dropped into the single digits.
The number of people testing positive for the virus was down to 200 to 300 per day at the start of last week, compared with more than 6,000 a day in early April.