New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday acknowledged frustration with coronavirus stay-home orders that have kept his state’s residents largely restricted to their homes for nearly two months, but he compared them to past generations’ sacrifices during prior national crises.
“It’s been 56 long days,” Gov. Cuomo said at his daily briefing, before noting that the Spanish flu pandemic, the Great Depression and several wars lasted years. “This is a terrible experience to go through. But we will manage it, we will handle it and we will be the better for 56 days of this inconvenience. Think of it this way: What you’re doing is actually saving lives.”
Cuomo spoke as the COVID-19 death toll reached nearly 53,000 in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. That’s about one-fourth of the total deaths reported around the globe.
Small but vocal groups of protesters, and, at times, President Donald Trump, have been urging governors across the nation to reopen their economies. Rallies Saturday included one in New Mexico.
Several states are taking sharply different approaches from New York and other states continuing their lockdowns — Georgia allowed bowling alleys,and nail salons to open for business Friday. Iowa will allow elective surgeries and farmers markets to occur starting Monday.
On Saturday, Florida officials invited the public to submit comments on how to reopen the state’s economy. Some beaches have already been reopened, and Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke of gradually allowing the state’s restaurants and shops to resume business.
The first phase will be “a very small step forward,” DeSantis said at a morning press conference. “I’m not in a rush.”
New York State has been the hardest hit part of the United States by the pandemic and is unlikely to reopen its economy in a substantial way any time soon. Cuomo said the state has avoided 100,000 infections because of the sheltering-at-home orders. The number of hospitalizations in New York fell to its lowest level in three weeks, and the number of deaths daily has been declining, though he noted that there was a small uptick Friday.
There continue to be hot spots and areas of concern across the country, notably at meat-packing plants. Coronavirus infections have led to the shuttering of beef and turkey processing facilities in several states across the nation, and slowdowns at others. The reduced production could lead to shortages at grocery stores as early as next month.