Governor Cuomo of New York holds a press conference lauding the decreasing state death toll and criticizing Trump’s response, Ava DeSantis reports.
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo opened this morning’s press conference with the latest data on hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in New York State. “Total number of hospitalizations: 817, that is the lowest number since March 18,” he said. “We’re down to nine [lives lost].” This is “great, great news.”
The numbers defied the expectations of health experts, who predicted death tolls to rise due to reopening. Experts told Reuters in late June that states’ reopening without maintaining social distancing guidelines is responsible for the nationwide increase in COVID-19 cases. In the last week of June, the United States reported 5.605 deaths, which was a 35% increase from the previous week’s COVID-19 death toll. In New York State, Cuomo described the opposite trend “the numbers have actually declined since we started reopening.”
Cuomo attributed New York’s success largely to his executive orders mandating mask-wearing in public, closing non-essential businesses, allowing uninsured COVID-19 positive patients hospital treatment, and mandating social distancing. The success of these orders, said Cuomo, is proof that his emergency powers should stay in effect until the COVID-19 crisis passes.
The governor was asked about appropriate benchmarks to end the state of emergency, to revoke the state of emergency powers before April 2020.
“I don’t believe there’s any governor who’s had their emergency powers revoked in the middle of an emergency. If the executive orders go away, you know what that means. You don’t have to wear a mask. You don’t have to socially distance. All businesses automatically reopen. Every business. Movie theaters, Broadway, everything automatically reopens. Hospitals don’t have to take people who have COVID unless they can pay,” Cuomo responded.
The governor said he has not yet made a decision on school reopening. This decision will occur after an evaluation of each school district’s plan for reopening during COVID-19.
Cuomo said New York will also look into new technology to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For example, the state will invest in new HVAC filtering technology because “I think there’s a real possibility that we could actually have a positive contribution here.”
Cuomo contrasted the success of New York State’s COVID-19 response to the increase in U.S. cases overall, attributing the latter to Trump’s denial of the seriousness of the pandemic. “If we are in a state of denial,” said Cuomo, “you’re going to see that curve continue to go up.”
He addressed the President directly, imploring him to ‘just wear the mask.’
“So, Mr. President,” Cuomo began, “don’t be a co-conspirator of COVID. Do one simple thing. Acknowledge to the American people that COVID exists. It is a major problem. It’s going to continue until we admit it, and each of us stands up to do our part. If he does not acknowledge that, then he is facilitating the virus. He is enabling the virus. How did this become a political statement? This is common sense. And let the President start by sending that signal very simply, just wear the mask. I’ve been asking him to do it for weeks. Just wear the mask and say to the American people: ‘This is real and it’s a problem, and we have to do our part.’”