New York's Cuomo warns against 'blindly' reopening states

NEW YORK, May 2 (Reuters) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday pushed back against what he called premature demands that he reopen the state, saying he knew people were struggling without jobs but that more understanding of the coronavirus was needed.

As governors in about half the United States partially reopen their economies over this weekend, Cuomo said he needed much more information on what the pandemic is doing in his hardest-hit state before he loosens restrictions.

"Even when you are in unchartered waters, it doesn't mean you proceed blindly," he said. "Use information to determine action - not emotions, not politics, not what people think or feel but what we know in terms of facts."

Georgia and Texas are leading the way in letting businesses shuttered by the pandemic begin partially reopening. Leaders in those and several other states where the coronavirus has had less of an impact are under pressure to allow people to return to work as government data released this week showed 30 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits since March 21.

Cuomo pointed to the roughly 900 new coronavirus cases hospitals in New York are still reporting daily, and the fact that officials do not know where those infections are coming from, as reason enough to keep the Empire State shutdown.

The governor also released the preliminary results of a statewide antibody survey of about 15,000 people showing that 12.3% were previously infected with the virus.

It confirmed the results of another test with a smaller sample size released about 10 days ago showing that one in five New York City residents has had the virus, with the Bronx bureau seeing the highest number positive for antibodies at 27.6%.

As of Saturday, the number of known infections nationwide had climbed to more than 1.1 million, including about 65,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

As testing increases across the country, so does the number of cases. North Carolina on Saturday posted a record number of new cases with 551 infections, as did Puerto Rico, with 182. Iowa hit a record for the second straight day. Overall in the United States, there were 34,000 new cases on Friday, the highest daily total since April 24.

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