The former epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has transformed itself into a national leader of coronavirus control and containment.
On August 24, Governor Cuomo of New York announced that his state’s COVID-19 positive rate had remained below 1% for the 17th straight day. This major milestone was joined by other important achievements, including that the state’s COVID hospitalizations dropped to 403, a new low since March 16.
“In New York we didn’t just flatten the curve, we bent it—and the numbers continue to stay low, demonstrating our data-driven phased reopening continues to work,” Governor Cuomo said. “Yesterday we had the lowest test positivity rate, lowest hospitalizations and lowest ICU patients since the middle of March.”
Governor Cuomo Celebrates Achievement
Governor Cuomo announced that New York’s low infection rate is proof that reopening can occur successfully.
“This shows that protecting public health and reopening our economy aren’t mutually exclusive if done the right way, and record-high testing doesn’t equal more positive tests.”
Of the 94,849 test results reported to New York State on August 22, only 653, or 0.69 percent, were positive. That rate improved even more on August 24, when only 0.66 of New Yorkers tested positive.
Four deaths were reported in New York on August 22 due to COVID-19, with another 7 reported on August 24. This brings the total to nearly 25,300 since the pandemic began and marks a sharp decline in deaths since April and May, when the daily death rate surged near 1,000.
However, Cuomo made it clear to New Yorkers that the fight isn’t yet over, and that the state’s success is thanks to diligence, precaution, and effort. “New Yorkers have driven this recovery and I urge everyone to stay New York Tough—wear masks, socially distance and stay disciplined. This thing isn’t over yet.”
Updates on NYC Reopening
Encouraged by the state’s low positivity rate, New York City is cautiously moving ahead with much anticipated reopening efforts.
The American Museum of Natural History, for example, will finally reopen to the public on September 9. Guests will wear masks, stand further apart, and apply hand sanitizers regularly. All exhibits will remain one-way. “We have to re-imagine and re-engineer the museum visit,” explained museum President Ellen Futter. “We want to fulfill our civic mission. And we think that our mission has never been more important.”
The Museum of Modern Art opens August 27, while The Metropolitan Museum of Art plans to welcome guests again starting August 29. Visitors should expect reduced hours, reserved tickets, and no access to movie theaters or food courts.
“It’s true that it will be less crowded. It also will be more intimate and it may give people a different view of things. I don’t think that will diminish in the least the sense of the visit,” said Futter.
Some New York schools also plan to welcome students back using a hybrid schedule. New York City, the largest in the country, with 1.1 million students, currently leads the way in this effort.
“Here is going to be a moment to bring back our schools and address what everyone’s been through,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “It’s been tough.”
Only time will tell whether the safety protocols used in these reopening measures will help keep New York’s infection rate low, or whether the state will experience another spike despite its precautions.