As nation approaches 100,000 dead, NY continues downtrend

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the daily number of dead from the coronavirus has moved slightly above 100 again but the trend continues down

NEW YORK -- The daily coronavirus death toll increased slightly though the trend continues down, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

On Saturday, 109 people died across the state from COVID-19, the Democrat said during his daily press conference. There were 84 deaths on Friday.

The daily death toll has hovered around 100 over the past week, a significant drop from the peak in early April when the number seemed more likely to hit 1,000 than fall below 100. It peaked at 799 deaths on April 8.

Cuomo said the state was now “decidedly in the reopening phase.” And he noted that the state's curve was going down even as many places in the country were rising in deaths.

The latest tally from Cuomo came as the nation's death toll from the coronavirus was approaching 100,000 on the eve of Memorial Day.

Here are the latest coronavirus-related developments in New York:

CHILLY BEACHES

Mother nature helped social distancing Sunday, providing chilly temperatures and some clouds that discouraged heavy turnouts at state beaches.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Long Island will reopen Wednesday. He delivered his daily news conference from the shore in Wantagh on Long Island as an American flag flapped and deck chairs sat empty behind him.

State beaches were open, including Jones Beach, Sunken Meadow, Hither Hills and Robert Moses.

At Orchard Beach in the Bronx, Jessica M. Lopez wore winter gloves to face breezy conditions and cooler temperatures.

“People still make the best out of it," she said as some people nearby wore winter coats.

She said some motorists turned around rather than pay a $10 parking fee at a beach where nobody can swim, ride bikes on the boardwalk or barbecue.

Danovan Clacken of Pelham, New York, said the beach was still relaxing, even with temperatures in the 50s.

“Good to be outside. Fresh air. Just good to enjoy the outdoors," Clacken said.

Campgrounds and recreational vehicle parks were set to open statewide on Monday.

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CUOMO GREEN LIGHTS SPORTS

Professional athletes and their teams can resume training in New York state on Sunday, Cuomo said as he urged them to return to their facilities after a pause of more than two months due to the coronavirus shutdown.

Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL are discussing the resumption of their seasons with their players’ unions.

Cuomo said sports could provide relief to people still at home.

“I believe that sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena," Cuomo said. “Do it! Do it! Work out the economics if you can. We want you up. We want people to be able to watch sports.

“To the extent people are still staying home, it gives people something to do. It's a return to normalcy," he said.

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NURSING HOME CRISIS

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is now acknowledging that state health officials have been trying to count the number of coronavirus patients discharged from hospitals to nursing homes, which have been ravaged by the pandemic.

The AP compiled its own tally of the number of such patients after the state Health Department refused to release an internal survey it conducted two weeks ago. The AP counted more than 4,500 recovering coronavirus patients sent to nursing homes.

At Cuomo’s news briefing Saturday, aide Melissa DeRosa answered an AP reporter’s question about the internal survey by saying, “I don’t think there’s any information that we have that we haven’t released at this point.”

The governor’s office clarified Sunday that DeRosa was unaware of the Department of Health’s efforts. The Health Department had previously told the AP it was still validating the data collected in its survey of nursing homes.

Cuomo signed an order March 25 requiring nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients well enough to leave hospitals. That order was intended to help free up hospital beds for the sickest patients, but critics have said it may have fueled deadly outbreaks by introducing people who were still infectious into highly vulnerable nursing homes.

Cuomo, who rescinded the order May 10, has said the administration was following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.