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NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday his “NY PAUSE” initiative is being extended to May 15 in order to continue slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus in New York.

While COVID-19 hospitalization and ICU admission rates continue to slowly decline in the state, Cuomo said the key to seeing real progress toward “reopening” the economy is to slow the infection rate more than we already have.

“The pause has worked,” Cuomo said. “However, we are not there yet. We have to continue doing what we’re doing,” he asserted.

Just last week Cuomo had extended “PAUSE” through the end of April. This new extension pushes it another two weeks.

Explaining how the infection rate works, Cuomo said if one person infects one more person, the rate of spread is considered stable, but this could still be problematic.

However, when an infected person passes the virus to two or more people, that is when it is considered an outbreak, as the increase in cases is exponential.

Conversely, if one person is found to infect less than one person on average, the virus is thought to be on the decline. This is the ideal scenario and shows social distancing measures are working.

According to the governor, social distancing and mitigation efforts like “NY PAUSE” have helped decrease New York’s infection spread rate from between 1.2 and 1.45, to currently about 0.90, slightly less than one.

By extending “PAUSE” in New York, the goal is to push infection rate even lower, ensuring the outbreak is under control and we can begin to consider reopening the economy.

Comparatively, Cuomo pointed out that China’s strict mitigation efforts in Wuhan helped the region shrink their spread rate from between 2.0 and 3.0 at the peak, to an impressively low 0.30.

Watch Cuomo’s Thursday press conference in full below: