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NY Eyes One Month Stretch of Virus Infection Rate Below 1% as Officials Warn of Holiday Spike

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New York enters Labor Day weekend completing 29 straight days of recorded coronavirus infection rates under 1%, Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed Saturday.

The governor delivered the state's daily COVID-19 metrics with another stern warning to keep public safety top of mind and prevent the loss of month's of improved hospitalization numbers and statewide infections.

"New York went from one of the worst situations in the country to one of the best: Our state has gone 29 straight days with an infection rate remaining below one percent," Cuomo said in a release.

Included in his update: the deaths of two more New Yorkers. So far, the coronavirus has been attributed to the deaths of at least 25,350 people in the state.

"As we celebrate this Labor Day Weekend, we must all continue to wear masks, socially distance, wash our hands and stay New York Tough," the governor concluded.

Andrew Siff and Brian Thompson have team coverage of the pandemic.

Public health officials are urging people not to make the same mistakes they did over Memorial Day and July Fourth. With another weekend holiday synonymous with backyard parties and other crowded gatherings, the fear that a spike in coronavirus infections feels inevitable.

Governors throughout the Northeast have discouraged people from traveling out of state this weekend. Visitors from 33 states and territories must quarantine for 14 days after arriving in New Jersey, New York or Connecticut.

“I look upon the Labor Day weekend really as a critical point," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert. "Are we going to go in the right direction and continue the momentum downward, or are we going to have to step back a bit as we start another surge?”

In New York City, once the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., Jennifer Bolstad of Brooklyn picked up the keys to a rented minivan with plans to drive with her two children to Maryland this weekend to visit family she hasn’t seen in a year.

“I monitored the quarantine list pathologically, and they are finally a place I can visit,” she said, referring to the list of states that New York has advised are safe to travel to. “I think a lot of people are going stir-crazy and are going somewhere this weekend and possibly not be as cautious as they should about not bringing their germs back with them.”

Fellow New Yorker 30-year-old Heather Poole and her fiance, Jason Goldrosen, decided to pack up some bedding along with the makings for s'mores and head to a tiny home on the property of a brewery for the long weekend about two hours north of the city. She figures it will be one last blast of freedom before she is cooped up again this fall.

"It’s kind of a way to enjoy the outdoors and be able to walk outside and not run into a lot of people or feel the need to wear a mask the second you walk out your door,” she said.

The outbreak is blamed for about 187,000 deaths and almost 6.2 million confirmed infections in the U.S., by far the highest totals in the world. Cases of COVID-19, which spiked from about 20,000 per day to around 70,000 during the summertime surge in the South, are now down to about 40,000.

Worldwide, the number of deaths has topped 870,000, with more than 26.4 million infections.

Pat Eaton-robb, Thalia Beaty and Carla K. Johnson of The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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