States relax more rules, but could return to stay-at-home orders if coronavirus cases surge

White circles are drawn on the lawn to indicate safe social distance during the coronavirus pandemic at Domino Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on May 17, 2020 in New York City. COVID-19 has spread to most countries around the world, claiming over 316,000 lives with over 4.8 million infections reported.

NEW YORK (AP) — Five people died Saturday from the coronavirus in New York state, the lowest daily death toll the state has reported since March 15.

Saturday's total compared to 13 fatalities the day before as the number of fatalities caused by the virus continues to plummet in the state. During the peak of the pandemic in April, nearly 800 people were dying a day from coronavirus.

“We are on the exact opposite end,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

New York still leads the nation in COVID-19 deaths with nearly 25,000, according to the state’s official tally, which doesn’t include people who likely died of the disease.

Meanwhile, fewer than 900 patients were hospitalized Saturday for COVID-19, down from a peak of over 18,000 in April.

The governor cautioned that the numbers could spike again if New Yorkers let down their guard down and fail to follow social distancing and mask-wearing requirements.

“I’m now afraid of the spread coming from other states because we are one country and people travel,” Cuomo said. “I’m afraid the infection rate in the other states will come back to New York and raise that rate again.”

Confirmed daily infections in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 40,000 on Friday, prompting officials in Texas and Florida to reverse course and close down bars in their states again.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar stressed that “the window is closing” for the U.S. to take action to effectively curb the coronavirus.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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