New York state recorded 540 deaths from the novel coronavirus on Friday, the lowest daily death toll the state has seen since April 1. The state, the hardest-hit in the United States, has recorded over 230,597 confirmed cases and 17,131 deaths from COVID-19 since the first report of the virus in the state on March 1.
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has extended the statewide lockdown, keeping schools and nonessential businesses closed until at least May 15. The governor also continues to urge people to stay home, and adhere to social distancing measures as these steps are essential in fighting the novel coronavirus in the state.
The U.S., with the world's third-largest population, has recorded more fatalities from COVID-19 than any other country with over 31,456 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The country has 694,296 confirmed cases, and over 58,000 recoveries as of date.
As the death toll surges at alarming rates, U.S. President Donald Trump this week assured the public that the country was past the worst of the coronavirus pandemic and that he will announce guidelines for reopening the economy soon.
"It is clear that our aggressive strategy is working," he told a news conference. "The battle continues but the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases."
Sweeping stay-at-home restrictions to curb the spread of the disease that have been in place for weeks in many areas of the country have taken a painful toll on the economy, raising questions over how the country can sustain business closures and travel curbs.