New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday he is extending the state's shutdown – in coordination with other states – to May 15. The stay-at-home order that was issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic was set to expire at the end of April.
"What happens after then? I don't know," he said at his daily coronavirus briefing. "We will see depending on what the data shows."
Cuomo said social distancing orders have "controlled the beast" in New York, but that the state is not yet in the clear. "We have to continue doing what we're doing," he said.
The governor said he understands the unprecedented burden the order has placed on people and businesses, but stressed it is the best way to protect the public's health.
"These are some of the most life-changing policies that government has ever issued," he said.
"They are being implemented by people because people are choosing to do the right thing."
He said the tentative plan is to phase-in businesses that are the most essential, and have lowest risk of spreading the virus. "There's no light switch, it's not all businesses go back tomorrow," he said.
Single-day death toll drops
Cuomo said 606 people died from the coronavirus on Wednesday, down from 752 the previous day and 778 the day before that.
Cuomo said the majority of Wednesday's deaths – 577 – occurred in hospitals, and 29 were reported from nursing homes.
The governor said it is still a "tragic rate" of death, and that the rate of hospitalizations remains high.