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Death rate falls in New York amid fears Covid-19 could 'boomerang'


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Peaceful: A raccoon walks in an almost deserted Central Park in Manhattan. Photo: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

Peaceful: A raccoon walks in an almost deserted Central Park in Manhattan. Photo: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

AFP via Getty Images

Peaceful: A raccoon walks in an almost deserted Central Park in Manhattan. Photo: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

New York's daily toll of coronavirus deaths has hit its lowest point in more than two weeks, but officials still warn that New York City and the rest of the state aren't ready to ease up on shutdowns of schools, businesses and gatherings.

Mayor Bill de Blasio warned yesterday that with the arrival of spring weather, the city will step up enforcement of social-distancing rules.

As of Saturday, the number of coronavirus deaths in New York state dropped under 550 for the first time in more than two weeks as hospitalisations continue to decline.

But the crisis is still far from over.

Hospitals are still reporting nearly 2,000 new Covid-19 patients a day, and Mr de Blasio said the temptation for cooped-up New Yorkers to take advantage of the spring weather presents new challenges to keep the outbreak in check.

Police and park officers will be out in force to break up outdoor gatherings that pose a risk.

Violators are facing potential fines of up to $1,000 (€919), the mayor said.

The city is encouraging people to text the authorities with photos when they spot the gatherings.

"We do not want to see this disease boomerang.

"We do not want to see it come back with a vengeance," he said.

The state logged 540 deaths on Friday from Covid-19, which is the lowest number since April 1.

Nearly 13,000 New Yorkers have died since the state's first coronavirus case was reported on March 1, the governor said.

The state total doesn't include more than 4,000 New York City deaths that were blamed on the virus on death certificates but weren't confirmed by a lab test.

More than 2,700 people in New York nursing homes have died, by far more than in any other state.

The number of New York Police Department officers calling out sick is declining.

The nation's largest police department reported that 5,324 uniformed members - about 15pc of the force - were out sick on Saturday.

That's down from a high of 7,155 officers - nearly 20pc of the force - on April 9.

So far, more than 2,000 members of the NYPD have returned to work full duty after recovering from a positive test for the coronavirus, police officials said.

Irish Independent