New York Gov. Cuomo says state won’t return to ‘normal’ as daily coronavirus deaths reach new high

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that the coronavirus outbreak could “stabilize” within weeks if the state maintains strict social distancing policies, even as he announced the highest daily death count yet and said life for New Yorkers will never be the same.

“I don’t think we return to normal. I don’t think we return to yesterday,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany. “I think if we’re smart, we achieve a new normal.”

The governor offered a glimmer of hope that the state’s stringent policies — closing nonessential businesses and requiring residents to stay home — are helping to slow down the spread of the virus.

Those social distancing measures are working, he said: “It is flattening the curve.”

If those rules are maintained, he said, there’s reason to believe the health “system should stabilize over these next couple of weeks.”

The coronavirus pandemic continues to hammer the Empire State, new figures showed. New York reported 10,453 new cases Wednesday, comprising 4,927 positive tests in New York City and 5,526 in the rest of the state.

Half of all tests in two New York City boroughs – Queens and The Bronx – came back positive, the state reported.

Cuomo said the state appears to be flattening the curve of the outbreak, referring to a line chart that projects the growth in new cases over time. But he quickly added that would only last if people continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines. 

“If we stop what we are doing, you will see that curve change,” Cuomo said.

The bad news, he said, “isn’t just bad. The bad news is actually terrible.”

Cuomo announced that 779 people had died from the virus since the last count, marking the state’s highest daily death toll yet.

New York is the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States, with 140,386 confirmed cases and more than 5,489 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.