The daily novel coronavirus (COVID-19) briefings that have made New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo a household name across the nation for more than three months will soon be coming to an end.
With the state recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic better than any other in the country, Cuomo announced that he will cease hosting daily briefings on the virus at the end of the workweek. The briefings were held at the State Capitol in Albany and other sites throughout the state, and once in Washington, D.C., every day, including weekends, since early March.
“These daily briefings, while fun, take a lot of time, and I’m going to finish the daily briefings on Friday (June 19), and then we’ll do briefings as necessary … and I do think they’ll often be necessary,” he said. “We’re going to turn the page on the immediacy of this crisis.
“I hope people around the country look at New York and say ‘how did they do that? How did they go from the worst situation in the country to the best,’” Cuomo continued. I hope people learn from what we accomplished here in New York.”
In New York, there are currently 1,479 COVID-19 patients hospitalized from the virus, the lowest since Friday, March 30, while 17 people died in the past 24 hours as the three-day rolling average for fatalities hit a new low at 22.
The COVID-19 infection rate in New York is currently under 1 percent of those tested.
“Think about what this state has accomplished, what the people of this state have accomplished,” Cuomo said. “If I told you 108 days ago that we would accomplish this, you wouldn’t believe it. But facts are facts.”
During what will be one of his final daily COVID-19 briefings on Wednesday, June 17 in Albany, Cuomo took a shot at President Donald Trump and the federal government.
He said they've encouraged more aggressive economic reopenings which have led to a spike and rise in cases of the virus in about two dozen states while New York continues to see numbers continue to drop.
“Look at the facts," Cuomo said. "And if you look at the facts, they’re telling you today that the federal government is making a mistake … a historic mistake.
"It’s is a fact-based, objective comment that the federal government is making a mistake in the way it is handling this COVID crisis.
“You have the conservative theory, which is just to open the door. Then you have another theory, which is to reopen based on data.”
Cuomo noted that at least 20 states that reopened more quickly than New York, without phases, have seen increases in COVID-19 cases when their economies were kickstarted.
“The states without the smart reopening plans are going up," Cuomo said. "That’s a fact. It’s not a Democratic fact or a Republican fact.
“When this started, some other states were worried about New Yorkers going to their states, now it’s the inverse.
“These policies have real consequences. This is a moment in history and they won’t be talking about a partisan divide when they write the history books,” Cuomo added. “They’ll talk about the absurd politics, but there are going to be real life and death consequences to this.”
Cuomo made note that while the federal government placed a ban on travel to and from China early on, the European travel ban wasn’t enacted until mid-March, at which point the virus had hit stateside through metropolitan airports from Europe via China, he said.
“The federal government didn’t do the European travel ban until March 16," Cuomo said, "so between January, February, March, how many flights flew into JFK and how many people came here? Three million.
“That’s why New York had the highest infection rate … it had nothing to do with New Yorkers or the blue states.
“It’s because we were misled, we were misinformed, and the virus was coming from Europe.
"That’s what caused this virus. We had the worst crisis in the nation and we were left on our own.
“It’s a lesson that will go down in the history books, and there are a lot of lessons for us to learn, but we did it, and in many ways, we should be invigorated by it.”
During his briefing, Cuomo said that in April, projections used by the federal government predicted a potential total of approximately 60,000 COVID-19 deaths. As of Monday, June 15, that projection jumped to 149,690.
“New York has climbed the mountain," he said, "and it was the highest mountain in the state of New York. ... I’m declaring it the COVID mountain, the highest in the state of New York.
“It’s not really a mountain because it doesn’t exist, but it’s a mountain to me and to many people.
“It’s a mountain that we had to climb that was unlike any other climb because it went straight up and you couldn’t see the top because it was way up in the clouds.
“It was hard, it was exhausting, and it hurt. But we climbed the mountain, and now we’re on the other side.”
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