Some famous landmarks in New York were lit red, white and blue Thursday night in recognition of the nationwide effort against COVID-19. New York is the epicenter of the pandemic sweeping across the United States.
READ MORE: Even as coronavirus deaths mount across Europe, New York and other hot spots, the U.S. and other governments are beginning to envision an exit strategy and contemplating a staggered and carefully calibrated relaxation of the restrictions designed to curb the scourge.
"To end the confinement, we're not going to go from black to white; we're going to go from black to gray," top French epidemiologist Jean-François Delfraissy said during a radio interview.
At the same time, politicians and health officials emphatically warn that while deaths, hospitalizations and new infections may be leveling off in places like Italy and Spain, and even New York has seen encouraging signs amid the gloom, the crisis is far from over, and a catastrophic second wave could hit if countries let their guard down too soon.
New York's governor said Friday that he is "cautiously optimistic" that the hardest hit U.S. state is starting to see a flattening in the number of new coronavirus infections, even as the death rate continues to remain dramatically high.