Since mid-March, 59 million people have tuned in to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefings. Most of them don’t live in New York State, which has a population of 19 million. We came to rely on him for the kind of clarity and leadership that are painfully lacking in the federal government. Friday was his final briefing. As he said, New York is on “the other side of the mountain.” I wish that were true about the country. I know I am not alone when I say I will miss his daily presence.
Final Sunday with Governor Andrew Cuomo
Today is day 110, 25 days since the civil unrest for Mr. Floyd’s murder.
I think this is a moment where this nation should be taking the opportunity to reevaluate what it wants in terms of public safety. This is about making fundamental change to the system and it’s hard. And by the way, the system is going to push back. Don’t kid yourself. When you go to change the status quo, the status quo rears up to defeat change.
On reopening, New York has been smart. Smart means, we follow the facts. We did 68,000 tests yesterday. Less than 1% positive. Lowest percent positive since we started. So that is just great news.
I want to make sure we don’t slide back. I want to make sure we don’t get careless.
This country has to wake up and smell the coffee. Some states, the numbers are going down. Some states, the numbers are going up. Why? Same country, same virus. Why?
The federal government’s attitude is an undeniable mistake when it has come to dealing with COVID. It is a political theory, a public relations theory, versus a science-based fact-based theory. We should reopen, get the economy going, government shouldn’t be slowing down the economy. Based on what fact? Based on what science? None.
You now see states that have dealt with it politically versus states that have dealt with it on a science/fact basis, and you see the virus spreading in states that have an unmanaged reopening. The number of people in those states who are getting sick is increasing. More people are walking into hospitals. They’re not walking into hospitals because they’re feeling well.
Twenty states are on the increase. And then compare that to New York where we are on the decrease day after day after day.
From the get-go, it was always going to be dependent on what we did. There was no preordained path. The projection models weren’t wrong because the projection models were really extrapolation models. The projection models never said, This is what’s going to happen in New York. The projection model said, If this is what you do, this is what will happen.
The White House knew this. March 31st, their coronavirus taskforce says, With mitigation, 100 to 240,000 deaths; if you don’t use mitigation, 1.5 to 2.2 million deaths. Then their reopening plans don’t provide for mitigation. Well then, by your own projection, what did you think was going to happen? The model that they rely on, the Gates-funded IHME model, last week, they projected 169,000 deaths by October. This week, the projection changed: 200,000 deaths.
Because of what you are doing, the number of people who are going to die by October increased 18%.
That’s why I say, wake up, America. Look at what they’re telling you. This is not rhetorical, conceptual, hyperbolic. They told you, based on what you’re doing last week, 30,000 more people are going to die.
(In New York) We are on the other side of the mountain. We started on the base and we went up and we came down, and we took that journey together and the journey is over. I hope the journey stays over. I hope there was only one mountain. This is it for me. One mountain was good.
A few weeks ago I had been thinking that I was disappointed that we didn’t get to unveil our new state seal that our legislature just changed to add the words, “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one. We did it back in April, because we thought the country needed to remember, at this time of division, that Americans are one. To remember that our nation’s founding premise and enduring promise is unity.
But then I realized in many ways we did something even better. We didn’t just put the words on our state seal. We made the words come to life. In this crisis, we were united. We were there one for another. We did act as one. It was extraordinary.
Why does government usually appeal to the worst in us rather than the best? Why do our politics today play to our fears and weaknesses rather than appeal to our strengths? Why doesn’t government challenge us to reach higher and speak to our better angels? Why can’t it motivate us by love rather than hate? Why doesn’t government urge us to realize we are members of the same community, the same family, and that we all benefit when we work together?
Isn’t that what we really showed over the past 111 days? That working together works. That the only way forward is if I protect you and you protect me. I wear a mask for you and you wear a mask for me. If you care for me and I care for you. We showed that, in the end, love does win. Love does conquer all. That no matter how dark the day, love brings the light. That is what I will take from the past 111 days.
If we could accomplish together what we did here, this impossible task of beating back this deadly virus, then there is nothing that we can’t do.
And at the end of the day, my friends, even if it is a long day, and this is a long day, love wins. Always.