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Gov. Cuomo mandates all New Yorkers wear masks in public as COVID-19 death toll reaches 11,568 statewide

State News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — 752 New Yorkers died over the past 24 hours due to COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during Wednesday’s daily briefing.

Also Wednesday, Gov. Cuomo announced he would be issuing an executive order that will require all New Yorkers to have masks or mouth/nose covering while in public. The governor says he will allow a three-day notice for residents to prepare to comply, and this order will go into effect Friday.

“Any situation in public where you can’t maintain six feet of social distancing, you must wear a mask,” Gov. Cuomo said.

The governor says at this time there will be no penalties for those who don’t comply, but it remains a possibility if people don’t follow the rules.

“Possibility of a penalty, but I don’t want to go to a penalty yet,” Gov. Cuomo said. “If people don’t follow it, we could do a civil punishment. Local governments should start to enforce it, and people will enforce it.”

Of the 752 deaths, 707 of the people were in hospitals and 45 were in nursing homes. Tuesday’s death toll brings New York’s total to 11,568, as of Wednesday afternoon.

Despite the increase in deaths, the governor says that hospitalization trends show the curve of the virus’ spread is flattening. That said, the governor said that we are not out of the woods.

“A reality check; there are still some 2,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York each day,” Gov. Cuomo said. “‘We’re out of the woods,’ no we’re not. We’re in the woods. The good news is, great news is, that we can control the spread.”

As the pandemic wages on, many are wondering when the restrictions on normal life will come to an end.

“When is this over? In my opinion it’s over when we have a vaccine,” Gov. Cuomo said.

While a federally approved vaccine could be more than a year away, the governor says advanced testing and treatment could help bring things back to normal, but even those avenues have roadblocks.

“To do the testing you need testing equipment, you need swabs, you need viles, and you need all of these things at a capacity; that does not now exist,” Gov. Cuomo said.

The governor says bringing testing to scale will require federal help.

“Everyone is in the same position, and we have to be clear on the who does what between the federal government and the state government, the state cannot develop national testing,” Gov. Cuomo said. “All this to say, it is very hard to bring this to scale quickly and we need the federal government to be part of this.”

The governor continues to urge the importance of social distancing, and says masks are required while in public, by executive order.

“If you’re going to be in public, and you cannot maintain social distancing, than have a mask and put the mask on,” Gov. Cuomo said.

Tuesday the governor addressed some of President Donald Trump’s tweets that were critical of governors and states working independently from the federal government, Cuomo insisted that this is not the time for conflict.

“The worst thing we can do all of this is start with political division and partisanship,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The best thing we have done, is work together.

On Tuesday, Cuomo also reiterated his stance on no large gatherings, this in response to a questions on a vigil in the City of Rochester that went against social distancing recommendations and drew nearly 200 people.

Gov. Cuomo’s recommendations for social distancing include keeping six feet apart, no groups larger than 10, and wearing face masks in public.

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