Coronavirus | Restrictions eased while virus deaths decline in New York

 thehindu.com  05/23/2020 19:34:46 

New Yorkers experiencing cabin fever after two months of coronavirus quarantine received an unexpected reprieve when Governor Andrew Cuomo eased the states ban on gatherings in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

But beachgoers faced inclement weather Saturday that dampened crowds.

A look at those and other coronavirus developments in New York:

New York state on Saturday reported its lowest number of daily coronavirus deaths  84  in weeks in what Mr. Cuomo described as a critical benchmark. The daily death tally peaked at 799 on April 8.

Reducing the states daily death count to fewer than 100 seemed almost impossible several weeks ago, the governor said. That figure, considered a lagging indicator, has remained stubbornly high even amid other signs of encouragement.

In my head, I was always looking to get under 100, Mr. Cuomo said. For me, its a sign that were making real progress. The number of hospitalized patients also continued to fall, dropping to over 4,600.

Mr. Cuomo announced that the Mid-Hudson region  the area along the Hudson River north of New York City and south of Albany  is set to begin reopening on Tuesday, and Long Island could follow suit Wednesday.

Mr. Cuomo signed an order late Friday allowing people to assemble in groups of as many as 10 as long as they stay at least 6 feet from other people and wear masks when they cant maintain that distance.

The surprise order came hours after the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging earlier rules allowing gatherings only for religious services and Memorial Day commemorations. The NYCLU argued the Constitution requires the same right be extended to people gathering for other reasons.

Mr. Cuomos move could clear the way for New Yorkers to picnic together in parks and backyards  if they dont get too close to their friends.

They can also head to New York City beaches this weekend, but they shouldnt expect to get in the water, and theyd better be wearing a mask.

While beaches elsewhere in the region will be open for swimming, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said swimming is not allowed at the citys beaches and may not be all summer.

Ive been really clear about the beaches; they are closed for swimming, Mr. de Blasio said Friday at his daily coronavirus briefing. There will not be lifeguards. People are not supposed to go to the beach to swim. The danger of swimming without lifeguards on duty was made clear Friday when a 24-year-old man drowned off Rockaway Beach in Queens.

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