Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday ended a remarkable streak of 111 days briefing New Yorkers and, if the numbers are true, a good part of the nation, about the COVID-19 pandemic and how we were coping with it.
To put this in some perspective, the governor’s consecutive-day string is nearly double Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak in 1941. Another perspective: More than 59 million viewers tuned into the governor’s 111 days of coronavirus briefings since March 1. New York’s population is about 20 million people.
It was Cuomo’s farewell tour and greatest hits package rolled into one as he recalled the best moments of his presentations and recapped in images the state’s experiences with the virus. It was clever and the emotions rang true.
His final message Friday to New Yorkers and Americans was this: We must remain united throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“By reducing the infection rate, we saved over 100,000 people from being hospitalized and possibly dying,” Cuomo said. “I am so incredibly proud of what we all did together. We reopened the economy and we saved lives. It was never a choice between one or the other. It was always right to do both.”
Cuomo said coronavirus briefings will be held as needed, but they no longer require daily updates as New York’s virus metrics have continued to decline while gradually restarting the economy.
Local officials must remain vigilant in enforcing the state’s mandated social distancing and mask orders, Cuomo said, as well as business restrictions and guidelines to maintain the state’s lowest COVID-19 infection rate in the country at 0.77% and prevent a second wave, which is still a possibility.
“I will still do what I do,” Cuomo said. “We just don’t have to do it every day and let’s hope it stays that way,” he said.
We sincerely hope so, too.