NEW YORK CITY (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a briefing from New York City Thursday to give an update on the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts.
“Numbers are still numbers, facts are still facts. Even in this crazy time,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We are affected and affected can mean infected.”
The governor said Thursday marked 208 days since the coronavirus arrived in New York state. He announced that the infection rate statewide Wednesday was 1.02%. He also said that 500 New Yorkers were hospitalized with the virus, 145 in the ICU, 72 intubated, and that there was two deaths Wednesday.
The governor said schools and increased autumn activity continue to present new challenges at keeping infection rates low.
“We’re entering the fall, and the fall is going to bring a new set of challenges,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The congregate nature of schools is challenging. Government is great at making plans, but can you implement the plan? We need to monitor school districts very carefully.”
The governor went through the state’s online school report card on COVID-19, showing how it works and what people can expect when they log on.
COVID-19 school report card demo
“We’re going to have a COVID report card for every school in the state,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I encourage everyone to look at this if you want to see how your school is doing. If there’s a cause for concern, be concerned. The website has positive cases by date, of student, and staff, by district, and testing results every 24 hours. It won’t always match perfectly, but the goal is transparency.”
The governor also said he was going to set up a task force that would look into how a COVID vaccine would be implemented across the state, admitting it would be a massive undertaking.
“I think the way we have handled COVID is a model for this country,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I want New Yorkers to do the same for vaccines.”
The governor said his goal is for New York to become the first COVID-free state in the nation.
Gov. Cuomo then blamed the federal government for its handling of pandemic, saying that the US daily death rate has far surpassed that of other nation’s around the globe.
Earlier Thursday, Gov. Cuomo and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released a joint statement to call for a Congressional oversight investigation into President Donald Trump’s administration and its “politicization of government functions that have impeded the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“It is an inarguable fact that the United States has had the worst response to the COVID-19 virus of any nation in the world. Nearly 7 million Americans have tested positive for the virus, and more than 200,000 Americans have been killed by it — both more than any other country. The unprecedented and unacceptable scale of this tragedy is the direct result of President Trump and the federal government’s deceit, political self-dealing, and incompetence.
“Rather than turning to the advice and direction of public health experts and career public servants, President Trump instead put the health and security of the American people in the hands of political appointees whose first priority was securing the reelection of their benefactor, with predictably tragic results.
“Last week’s revelation that the White House blocked a Department of Health and Human Services plan to utilize the U.S. Postal Service to ship five life-saving masks to every household in the country, free of charge, in April was heartbreaking. Imagine the lives that could have been saved if every household were provided masks at such a crucial time.
“Even more dangerous, the nation learned last week that political appointees at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — over the strong objection of CDC scientists — published the indefensible guidance that said people without symptoms did not need to get tested for COVID. Coupled with the agency’s abrupt reversal earlier this week on guidance related to the airborne transmission of the virus, it’s increasingly clear that the President and his advisers are trying to undermine the credibility of experts whose facts run counter to the administration’s political agenda.
“As a country, we cannot allow this type of politically-motivated decision making to take root. Logic dictates that COVID won’t be the last public health challenge we will face, and we can’t afford to again respond by playing politics, instead of listening to the science and facts. Congress must immediately conduct an oversight investigation into the Trump administration’s response to this pandemic, including the actions at HHS and the USPS the public learned about over the past week. Especially in light of Bob Woodward’s reporting, the question of, ‘What did they know and when did they know it?’ cannot be left to the history books to answer. Our future health and economic security depends on holding the Trump administration accountable today.”
Regarding the Breonna Taylor Case, the governor said more should have been done for justice.
“Breonna Taylor’s death was murder,” Gov. Cuomo said. “If a person was murdered, then there was a murderer. That’s how it worked. The underlying police action should have never happened in the first place.”
The governor announced Wednesday that a New York-developed COVID-19 saliva swab test received emergency use approval from the FDA. The governor said this would help expedite testing for the virus statewide.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.