New York, the state hardest hit by the new coronavirus, reached a milestone in its fight against the contagion this week as it drove down death and hospitalization rates to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic.

A two-month lockdown, strict social-distancing rules and a steep learning curve at hospitals have led to a steady drop in deaths related to the virus over the past month, with a three-day rolling average this past week of about 74 deaths a day. It was a return to levels last seen on March 22, and far from…

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