When asked at the briefing on whether he was confident the worse was indeed over, the governor admitted he was not. He later explained that while he believed that the worst was over, the numbers could go back up if people were reckless.
“The worst can be over, and it is over, unless we do something reckless,” clarified Cuomo. “And you can turn those numbers on two or three days of reckless behavior.”
Cuomo explained that the state was experiencing plateaus in key areas, such as how severe the outbreak is and the number of new cases. However, the governor said that even if this meant that the outbreak had reached its apex in the state, there were still more weeks of suffering to come. (Related: A warning to the world? New York now scrambling to address Coronavirus outbreak.)
The governor also noted how many people were still dying of the virus. According to him, while the number of deaths was “basically flat,” it was still “flat at a horrific level of pain grief and sorrow.”
Despite having more than 5,000 virus-related deaths in New York, the governor said that most of the main measures of the outbreak's severity were either leveling off or decreasing. The state's one-day death toll of 671 deaths was the lowest it had been in a week. This total has been below last week's peak of 799 for the past 4 days.
Meanwhile, the number of hospitalized patients, 1,958, was the lowest it had been in two weeks. As part of this, the number of intubated patients had also dropped in two of the past three days.
The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus has also dropped. On Sunday, this number was only 6,337 -- the lowest it has been in almost three weeks. As of reporting time, the state currently has 195,031 coronavirus cases, with 106,673 of them in New York City.
Even if the worst of the coronavirus outbreak has passed, the road to recovery will still take a significant amount of time. Cuomo, alongside New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, has emphasized that any return to a semblance of normal life in both the city and the state will proceed on phases. During these phases, the restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the virus will be eased based on measurable progress against it.
The state's economy will also take some time to recover. On Monday, Cuomo mentioned that even if he was correct that the worst of the outbreak had passed, the state's economy could easily take 12 to 18 months to return to normal.
When New York's does re-open its economy, it won't be doing so alone. Cuomo announced that he and the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Delaware and Massachusetts would be working together to develop strategies for easing restrictions. Together these seven states have recorded more than 325,000 cases and nearly 14,400 deaths, accounting for 63 percent of the nation's total.
Speaking in a conference call, the governors emphasized the importance of acting together so that the actions of one state did not end up hurting another or cause the outbreak to flare up again.
“We can put together a system that allows our people to get back to work,” stated Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut.
“The sequence,” explained Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, “is you’ve got to get people healthy first, and then you can reopen the economy.”