Marking the 51st day since COVID-19 arrived in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo continued reporting a decline in hospitalizations and deaths on Monday while telling New Yorkers this is a reason to “build back better.”
According to Cuomo, the resolve demonstrated after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012 led to improvements in Lower Manhattan and Long Island that made both areas stronger and better than before tragedy struck.
“Since we are going to have to go through all of this and it’s not going to be fast, let’s at least make this a moment when we look back we can say, ‘Wow, we went through hell but look at the lessons we learned and look how much better we made this place from this incident,” Cuomo said. “We went through 9/11 … We were smart enough to say, how do we build it back better? You look at downtown Manhattan now, it is better than it was before 9/11.”
With an infection rate between 0.9 and 1.2, there are currently 16,103 hospitalizations statewide with 1,380 new cases and 478 deaths since Sunday. This inexorably led to the topic of protests against stay-at-home orders across the nation by protesters who choose to believe the virus is a hoax.
“You don’t need protests to convince anyone that we need to get back to work,” Cuomo said. “Go tell the families of the 400 people who died yesterday. But some people you just can’t do anything with.”
Again Cuomo asked for federal funding to the state budget or 20 percent cuts would be made to schools, local governments and hospitals.
President Donald Trump said Monday that testing is the responsibility of state governments. Cuomo did not disagree.
Testing alone, according to Cuomo, does not include the national supply chain “quagmire” of obtaining the supplies for testing, which is the aspect Cuomo is the federal government for assistance on, he said.
The state will put in place a statistical model based on population and infection rates to initiate randomized antibody testing across the state.
Frontline workers need hazard pay, Cuomo said, as well as a 50 percent bonus for their labor during a major epidemic.
But the governor also recognized that many frontline workers do not have the same choice as white, middle-class New Yorkers in that they have no choice between risking their lives to put food on the table or staying home.
This story first appeared on amny.com.