Gov. Andrew Cuomo at New York Medical College of Touro College & University System on May 7. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Large sections of central and northern New York state are "poised to reopen tomorrow" in the first phase of the state's easing of coronavirus restrictions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a Thursday press briefing.

Why it matters: As other states prepare to reopen, New York — the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. — can set a positive example if infection rates remain low.

What's happening: Retail stores will be allowed to do curbside pickup and low-risk businesses like gardening and landscape can reopen, Cuomo detailed earlier this week. Drive-in movie theaters and other low-risk outdoor activities like tennis will be allowed.

Where it stands: Deaths in the state have largely plateaued since last week — with significantly fewer fatalities than at the height of the state's outbreak, according to leading models from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

  • Hospitalizations and intubations have continued to trend downward in New York overall since last month.

How it works: To reopen, regions need appropriate testing and contract tracing in place, with a decline in hospitalization that lasts at least two weeks. New York City does not qualify to reopen.

  • The regions that currently qualify to reopen Friday are North County, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Souther Tier and Mohawk Valley.
  • Cuomo said that local governments in those areas need to monitor businesses and the number of people who are visiting them and whether social distancing guidelines are being followed.

Go deeper: Cuomo warns of second coronavirus wave if restrictions eased too soon

Go deeper

21 hours ago - Health

Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning

Gov. Cuomo on July 23 in New York City. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all school districts across the state can choose to reopen for in-person learning because it has so far maintained low enough coronavirus transmission rates.

Why it matters: It’s another sign that the state, once the global epicenter of the pandemic, has — at least for now — successfully curbed the spread of the virus even as infections have surged elsewhere around the country.

16 hours ago - Health

Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases

Gov. Charlie Baker at Boston MedFlight Headquarters on Aug. 4. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Friday that the state's second phase of reopening is "postponed indefinitely" in response to a modest increase in coronavirus cases.

The big picture: The state is reporting more COVID-19 deaths than most others across the U.S. outside of domestic epicenters like California, or previous hotspots including New Jersey and New York, per a New York Times database.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 19,401,935 — Total deaths: 721,906 — Total recoveries — 11,767,805Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 4,942,747 — Total deaths: 161,367 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Politics: Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases.
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.