Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’ll end the popular daily briefings on the coronavirus pandemic that began more than three months ago, as New York state faced a “tsunami” of coronavirus cases that threatened to overwhelm hospitals.
The last regular briefing will be held Friday. The change reflects the steep decline in infections and hospitalization rates in New York.
Speaking Wednesday, Cuomo described the past three months as a “long journey into a dark night,” but also said it’s time to begin a transition: “We’re going to turn the page on the immediacy of this crisis.”
Much of the focus has now pivoted to economic recovery, though Cuomo has cautioned that regional “lock-downs” could be reinstated, if infection rates rise again.
More than 24,000 New Yorkers have died so far during the pandemic. New York City became the epicenter of the national effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Cuomo’s daily appearances, distributed widely on social media, turned the Democrat himself into a national figure as millions of Americans tuned in.
They often offered a kind of counterpoint to national coronavirus briefings offered by President Donald Trump. At times, the two men sparred openly.
“Governor Cuomo should spend more time “doing” and less time “complaining”,” Trump tweeted in mid-April. “Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking!”
That tweet appeared while Cuomo was holding a live televised briefing. Asked about Trump’s criticism, Cuomo jabbed back: “If he’s sitting home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work.”
On Wednesday Cuomo again used the platform to accuse the Trump administration of warning states too late about the growing danger of the coronavirus.
New York is no longer the national hotspot for COVID-19, as the number of infections and hospitalizations continue to plummet. The latest daily death toll of 17, recorded on Tuesday, puts the state well behind California and Florida.
“This is great, great news compared to where we’ve been,” Cuomo said. “I hope people learn from what we accomplished in New York.”
All parts of New York state have now begun a phased reopening of the economy, which suffered devastating job losses from the pandemic.