Cuomo, in reference to the possibility of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, told reporters Wednesday, “I don’t know that we ever get back to zero” new COVID-19 cases.
“I don’t think we return to normal. I don’t think we return to yesterday,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany. “I think if we’re smart, we achieve a new normal.”
When talking about a reopening plan, Cuomo said the state would proceed with caution, and it was unlikely everything would reopen at once.
“It's not just going to be about Broadway theaters,” the governor said, after the suspension of Broadway performances was extended to June 7 on Wednesday. Cuomo said that schools and other essential services would be reopening first. “Before you go to a play, there are many other questions to ask.”
Though the state logged its highest single-day death toll due to the virus Tuesday, with 779 deaths, Cuomo said New York’s stay-at-home order appeared to be “flattening the curve.”
However, Cuomo said it is a “real possibility” that number is an undercount due to those dying at home who have not been counted as coronavirus deaths.
In New York City, the FDNY recorded as many as 200 deaths at home daily in recent weeks, far more than the average 25 deaths at home before the pandemic. Those who die at home are not tested for coronavirus postmortem.
Cuomo said the rate of new COVID-19 infections requiring hospitalization was on the decline and added that some hospitals in the state are releasing more patients than taking in new ones.
"If the hospitalization rate continues decreasing, the system should stabilize over the next couple of weeks," the governor said.
Cuomo said that the recent spike in deaths was due to a spike in hospitalizations “10 days ago or so.”
"The number of deaths will continue to rise as those hospitalized for a longer period of time pass away," Cuomo said.
“I went through 9/11 and I thought I would never see anything like that again,” the governor said. “This literally eclipses that… it’s almost unimaginable to me.”
Cuomo ordered all flags on state property to be flown at half-mast to pay tribute to those lost to the virus.
New York state has 149,316 coronavirus cases as of Wednesday afternoon, over a quarter of the U.S.’ 404,352 cases and nearly 10,000 more than all of Italy. The state has suffered 6,268 of the nation’s 13,929 deaths.
Fox News' Marta Dhanis contributed to this report.