Coronavirus: Lack of new virus hotspots fuels debate on when to ease restrictions

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A lack of new hotspots in the coronavirus pandemic appeared to be holding Tuesday, fueling a debate about how soon authorities could start scaling back social restrictions and reopen economies.

While concerns remained over the virus’ fresh spread in places like Japan and Indonesia, nowhere was currently undergoing the explosion in hospitalizations and deaths that were seen earlier in China, southern Europe and parts of the United States.

Even in New York — where deaths passed 10,000 on Monday — Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared the “worst is over if we can continue to be smart.”

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“I believe we can now start on the path to normalcy,” he said.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus in New York has almost flattened at just under 19,000, once discharges and deaths are taken into account. That’s a relief after weeks of increases raised fears New York City hospitals would be overwhelmed.

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Dr. Sebastian Johnston, a professor of respiratory medicine at Imperial College London, said it appeared that COVID-19 illnesses had peaked in much of Europe,

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