With coronavirus deaths continuing to decline in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed hope Sunday that the state is approaching a level where fatalities are perhaps not eliminated but are very few.
There were 56 COVID-19 deaths in New York on Saturday, “which in this absurd reality we live in is very, very good news,” Cuomo said. While noting a slight uptick in the three-day average of new coronavirus hospital admissions, Cuomo said the number is declining overall.
Officials say nearly 24,000 people in the state have been killed by the virus, but that the true count is likely higher. The state's figure doesn't include another 5,800 deaths that New York City officials are attributing to the virus in that city.
Cuomo devoted most of his daily coronavirus briefing Sunday to discussing the ongoing protests against police brutality which, while mostly peaceful, have spurred violent outbursts that left police cars burned, businesses vandalized and hundreds of people arrested from New York City to Buffalo.
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He speculated that the unrest might have been enhanced, in part, by pent-up frustration and agitation over coronavirus lockdowns.
Cuomo said that dentists statewide can reopen Monday.
The governor said that dentists’ offices will be subject to state guidance on best practices for safety and social distancing. The move comes as the Cuomo administration slowly eases restrictions on economic activity in the state, region by region and industry by industry.
In preparation for New York City entering the first phase of easing lockdown restrictions on June 8, Cuomo said Saturday he'll focus this week on providing more testing and more supplies like masks to neighborhoods where infection rates remain high.