Sept. 26 (UPI) -- COVID-19 cases ticked past the 1,000 mark in New York and Florida lifted restrictions on restaurants and bars to start the weekend.
"It's vital that New Yorkers continue to practice the basic behaviors that drive our ability to fight COVID-19 as we move into the fall and flu season," Cuomo said in a news release. "Wearing masks, socially distancing and washing hands make a critical difference, as does the deliberate enforcement of state guidance by local governments."
The United States also has the most cases and deaths of any single country, and is one of three countries -- along with India and Brazil -- that make up half the world's cases.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted all restrictions on restaurants and bars as cases statewide tallied 695,879. Florida has the second-highest number of cases per 100,000 nationwide, followed by Louisiana, which has 165,152 cases, data compiled by The New York Times shows.
DeSantis signed the order Friday, which allows restaurants and bars to operate without limited capacity, and suspends fees and penalties for individuals violating COVID-19 restrictions. He cited economic impact in easing the limites.
In this final phase of reopening, gyms, personal service business and retail business are also allowed to operate at full capacity.
DeSantis, a Republican, said the state state is prepared with personal protection equipment, tests and excess hospital capacity in the event COVID-19 cases increase.
New cases of the coronavirus statewide have fallen in recent months, but increased slightly this month. COVID-19 hospitalizations had been falling sharply, but the rate flattened this month.
"I'm not terribly convinced that we're ready for this right now," state Sen. Linda Stewart, a Democrat, told the Orlando Sentinel. "And if the governor wants to move forward in this fashion, we will find out in three weeks if we're ready."
Some business owners said that they would still reopen cautiously.
"The most important thing for us is for our staff and our guests to continue to feel safe," restaurateur Richard Gonzmart told the Tampa Bay Times. "We are evaluating each of our restaurants and will add some tables and seats, but not anything close to 100% capacity at this time." The leading U.S. infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told Congress on Wednesday it was possible to start seeing an effective vaccine become available for a limited number of people as soon as late October or early November with it rolling out gradually until it's available for everyone in April.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump accused the Food and Drug Administration of playing politics over plans to tighten guidelines to ensure a vaccine was safe and effective, which would likely push an authorization beyond Election Day.
Also, on Thursday, an updated outlook from the University of Washington's Health Metric and Evaluation projected 371,509 COVID-19 deaths in the United States by Jan. 1.