The number of deaths tied to the coronavirus has continued to decline in New York, even as much of the state marches toward fully reopening the economy, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Saturday.
"All the news is very, very good news," he said during his daily news briefing. "We are now 180 degrees on the other side."
Mr. Cuomo reported that the state's death toll, numbering 32 on Friday, was the lowest figure recorded since the beginning of the pandemic "when this nightmare began." "We did it," he said. "We have tamed the beast."
Mr. Cuomo expressed concern that New York's progress was not being replicated across the nation. More than 20 states, he noted, have had their number of coronavirus cases rise. California, Florida and Texas are reporting thousands of new cases a day.
"This is a frightening time," Mr. Cuomo said. "We thought that we were past it. Well, the beast is rearing its ugly head. Half the states are seeing an increase. New York is exactly the opposite."
This week, as many as 400,000 workers began returning to construction jobs, manufacturing sites and retail stores in New York City's first phase of reopening. Other parts of the state have moved on to more advanced stages of reopening, Mr. Cuomo said. The Western Region is scheduled to move to Phase 3 on Tuesday, and the Capital Region is expected to enter Phase 3 on Wednesday.
Increased testing has also shown that the virus is spreading at a slower pace than it did three months ago, when as many as 800 people were dying a day, Mr. Cuomo said.
Across the Hudson River, Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey announced 103 new virus-related deaths, bringing the state's toll to 12,589.
While some officials in states seeing increases attribute the rise to increased testing, and the number of cases per capita in Texas and Florida remains low, some health experts see worrying signs that the virus is continuing to make inroads.
"Whenever you loosen mitigation, you can expect you'll see new infections. I think it would be unrealistic to think that you won't," Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said in an interview on ABC News's "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. "The critical issue is how do you prevent those new infections that you see from all of a sudden emerging into something that is a spike, and that's the thing that we hope we will be able to contain."