ALBANY — Five regions of upstate New York entered Phase 4 reopening Friday.
It’s the final designated stage of removing the extensive restrictions placed to slow the spread of COVID-19, but far from the last step — there’s still no indication when gyms, malls, movie theaters and other large-gathering venues will be allowed to reopen, nor any decision on what schools will need to do two months from now.
In a conference call with reporters Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo highlighted the progress New York has made in three months and contrasted it with the rapidly worsening situation in so many other states.
Cuomo said the worry about a second wave of the pandemic this autumn is premature — “This is all the first wave that’s causing tumult in the country.”
There’s concern that these states’ residents will spread the disease back to New York.
But there’s also compassion for the people and hospitals and local health agencies that are now starting to go through what downstate New York endured three months ago.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control counts 5,302 newly confirmed cases in New York state in the last seven days.
In the same period, it counts 38,556 in California, 35,582 in Texas, 31,048 in Florida and 22,106 in Arizona.
New York was testing positive at a weekly rate of 1.1% two weeks ago and 1.1% one week ago, according to John’s Hopkins University.
Between weeks, California jumped from 4.6% to 5.6%, Texas from 9.1% to 12.7%, Florida from 8.2% to 13.4% and Arizona from 17.4% to 23.2%.
New York state last saw a 23% positive test rate on April 26.
Cuomo said New York would reach out to Texas, Florida and Arizona to offer equipment, knowledge and personnel as needed.
He also took another shot at the idea COVID-19 isn’t dangerous.
“What’s going on in this country is now frightening and revealing at the same time,” Cuomo said.
“We had two theories that were put forth for this country during coronavirus. One theory, which came from the White House, was this is all going to be fine, it’s going to go away, reopen the economy right away, get back to life as normal.
“The second theory was this is not a political situation, it’s not an ideological situation, it’s a public health crisis, and deal with it as such.
“The two theories were tested in the laboratory of reality.”
Here are some statewide COVID-19 data for the most recent seven-day period, June 19-25:
- 422,354 diagnostic tests administered;
- 4,666 positive test results;
- 1,220 patients hospitalized on June 19;
- 951 patients hospitalized on June 25;
- 128 reported deaths.