New York governor extends shutdown to May 15

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday extended the state's shutdown order until May 15, citing data showing conditions were improving but insisting on the need to maintain vigilance.

The governor pointed to falling rates of hospitalization and patients admitted to , but said infection rates would have to decrease significantly before the economy could begin re-opening.

"I would like to see that infection rate get down even more," Cuomo said at his daily briefing, reporting that 606 more people had died in the US's COVID-19 epicenter, the lowest daily toll in 10 days.

"I don't want to project beyond that period," he said. "One month is a long time."

The announcement came on the eve of the implementation of a directive mandating New Yorkers wear face coverings in where they cannot stay six feet (about two meters) apart.

In a hopeful sign, Cuomo said New York state—where at least 11,586 people have died from COVID-19 and well over half a million have tested positive—would donate 100 ventilators each to hard-hit New Jersey and Michigan and 50 to Maryland.

"We understand about sharing resources like we've never understood before, and we understand about sharing among states and how good people were to New York when we needed it," Cuomo said.

Slashed NY budget

Earlier Thursday New York Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a frank appeal to the White House for , as he unveiled a severely cut for the city where coronavirus has slashed revenue.

His $89.3 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 is $6 billion less than his initial proposal in January.

De Blasio said the city estimates a massive drop in tax revenue due to the coronavirus shutdown: $7.4 billion over the current fiscal year and the next.

"That is a horrifying figure," the mayor said.

"No New Yorker is responsible for this horrible crisis, but New York has borne the brunt—we are the epicenter," de Blasio continued.

"I made clear to the president his hometown needs him," the mayor of America's economic engine continued. "Anyone who wants that national recovery, better take care of the places that will have to build this recovery."

"Will the president speak up?" de Blasio asked.

"If President Trump raises his voice, the Republican Senate will follow, period."

Like Cuomo, de Blasio also said "it would be a huge mistake" to re-open the city that has most of its more than 8 million residents sheltering at home "too early."

His proposed included keeping the city's outdoor pools closed for the summer, which he estimated could save New York $12 million.

© 2020 AFP

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