Though New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has received mostly rave reviews for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, some are criticizing him for taking a “victory lap” in touting the state’s progress in combating the virus.
Cuomo has stepped up television appearances after doing COVID briefings on a daily basis, talking about how New York has “turned the corner,” “climbed the mountain,” and “tamed the beast” in regards to the virus, including a spot on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon this week.
The Monday night, July 13 "Tonight" appearance marked the first time Fallon produced the show from NBC's 30 Rockefeller Center studio since the pandemic began.
Some have responded harshly to Cuomo's flood of TV show appearances, noting that tens of thousands of people have died during the pandemic.
CNN’s Jake Tapper noted that “no other state has lost as many lives” thus far as New York.
“NY state has lost more than 32,000 lives to COVID-19,” Tapper posted on Twitter. “So while it's great that the numbers have gone down, it's perplexing to see crowing, Cuomo going on Fallon, etc. No other state has lost as many lives, not even close. New Jersey is next with 17,000+
“Yes, this has been a major challenge for every leader, but New York's leaders do not have a success story to tell. It's been about missteps and late actions.”
Tapper made note of the poster Cuomo unveiled on Fallon’s show this week, which takes shots at the federal government while detailing the steps New York has taken during the outbreak, including an ode to Cuomo’s family and staff.
“There are many New York citizens put off by the crowing and the poster sales,” he said. "It’s great that the number has gone down, and I hope to God they stay there. But New York's leaders were late and made many mistakes; it's been an absolute tragedy.”
Dr. Sanjay Gupta was on CNN on Tuesday, July 14, and also expressed surprise that Cuomo has been so outspoken about the state’s response to COVID-19.
"I'm a little surprised by that poster, I got to tell you, because I think, if anything, what this virus has taught us is that we need to have a significant amount of humility,” he said. "This virus surprises us over and over again. There's no place in the country that's not vulnerable.
“I think that we should have learned, I think we have learned, that victory laps are not the thing to be doing, because we're not through this by a long shot, sad to say, even in New York.”
Cuomo said that a new study by The Truth About Insurance has named New York the most responsible state in fighting COVID-19, ahead of New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Rhode Island.
South Carolina, Kansas, Idaho, Ohio, and Indiana were deemed the least responsible in handling the pandemic.
Though he has drawn some criticisms in the media, Cuomo issued a statement on Wednesday, July 15 after being named “the most responsible state in fighting COVID-19.”
“The last 137 days have been hell for New York as we were the epicenter of this pandemic,” he said. “However, New Yorkers stood as one, acted responsibly and - as many other states in this nation are now grappling with new spikes of this insidious virus - the beast, for now, has been brought to bay in this state.”
Cuomo said that the state has used data and science to drive this fight and fuel its re-opening strategy, “but make no mistake, this distinction is shared by every single New Yorker who did the right thing these last months, ignored the politics, socially distanced and wore a mask.”
"Together, we climbed this terrible mountain and came down on the other side, but we can't stop now,” Cuomo said. “We must remain disciplined and we must remain New York Tough. We've come too far to go back to where we were."
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