New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took another swipe at Donald Trump on Saturday by channeling Abraham Lincoln saying there’s ‘no time for politics’ as he announced the state’s death rate has dropped to the lowest since April 1.
Speaking in his daily press briefing, Cuomo said he had some ‘good news’ for New Yorkers as he revealed that daily deaths, hospitalizations, intubations and ICU admissions continued to fall.
As the nation’s crisis epicenter seems to have reached its peak, Cuomo announced that 504 people died from coronavirus Friday, the lowest death toll since April 1 and far lower than the state’s peak of 806 on April 7.
The governor went on to make a series of thinly-veiled digs at Trump, in which he recited Lincoln’s famous quote – ‘a house divided itself cannot stand’ – and reminded him ‘that’s why we’re called the “United” States.’
Cuomo said Saturday in his daily briefing that 504 people died from coronavirus in new York Friday, down from the state’s peak death toll of 806 on April 7
In Saturday’s update, Cuomo warned that although the falling death toll is promising, New York still has some dark days ahead as ‘540 families’ still lost their loved ones in a single day, including 36 across the state’s nursing homes.
‘It’s not as high as it was but still 540 people died yesterday,’ he said.
‘It’s 540 people, 540 families.’
Total hospitalizations are also down from around 18,000 to almost 16,000 and emergency rooms are less crowded, Cuomo continued.
‘We increased hospital capacity by 53 percent’ and that capacity is now falling, he said.
Cuomo said the figures show that New York has gone past its peak and is now on a curve down to where it was late-March when cases and deaths started to rise.
‘We’re down now for several days. The statisticians will say have we hit the apex?’ he said.
He added: ‘If you look at the past three days you could argue we are past the plateau and starting to descend which is very good news.’
The number of people being intubated when they come into the state’s hospitals has also fallen which Cuomo said is ‘very good news’.
‘The probability is about 80 percent won’t come off ventilators when they go on them so [the fall in numbers] is very good news,’ he said.
ICU admissions have also fallen, Cuomo said, before adding that he does ‘not know why we include this’.
But there was still some ‘sobering news’ he said.
‘We still have about 2,000 people yesterday who were new admissions to hospitals or new COVID diagnoses,’ he said. ‘That is still overwhelming.’
Nursing homes continue to be a big concern, however, with Cuomo citing these ‘the single biggest fear’ because they cluster a lot of ‘vulnerable people in one place’.
Nursing homes will be ‘top of the list’ for testing when the state reopens, he added.
After several weeks of locking heads with Trump, Cuomo went on to make yet another thinly-veiled dig at the president and his response to the pandemic telling him ‘there’s no time for politics’ while Americans are dying.
‘The emotion in this country is as high as I can recall… and on every level this is a terrible experience,’ he said.
‘It’s disorientating, it threatens you to your core… It makes you reflect on your whole life, it’s mentally very difficult… economically it’s disastrous.
‘But in the midst of this there is no time for politics. How does the situation get worse? If you politicize it.’
Cuomo reinforced his previous claims that he is not politically motivated and is not planning to run for president.
‘I’m not running for anything, I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be governor of New York state until the people kick me out,’ he said.
After several weeks of locking heads with Donald Trump, Cuomo made yet another thinly-veiled dig at the president and his response to the pandemic telling him ‘there’s no time for politics’ as Americans are dying
Cuomo channeled Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand’ as he pleaded with the US to unite in its fight against the pandemic
‘I have no political agenda and I’ve stayed 100 miles away from politics just so people know.’
In a rousing speech, Cuomo channeled Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand’ as he pleaded with the US to unite in its fight against the pandemic.
‘The house can also not stand up and rise against a situation as bad as we’ve seen since World War Two,’ Cuomo said.
‘That’s why we’re called the “United” States and the “United” is key.’
When pressed about his opinion on Trump’s actions this week – including backing protesters calling for an end to lockdown – Cuomo remained fairly tight-lipped.
He pointed out that Trump said he would leave the decision around reopening to individual states and agreed that it should not be a nationwide reopening because different states have different levels of the pandemic.
‘[Trump] did not say this is a nationwide program that he’s asking governors to buy into,’ said Cuomo.
When asked about the risk that lack of national guidance would mean people would be able to travel between states with different degrees of lockdowns, Cuomo admitted this is a ‘downside’.
‘Is that a downside of a 50-state strategy? You could say that,’ he said.
Testing and contact tracing will be critical to reopening New York safely, to avoid a renewed spike in infections and deaths, Cuomo said.
‘The tension on reopening is how can we reopen and what can we reopen without raising the infection rate,’ he said.
Cuomo explained that the infection rate in New York has now fallen to one person infecting 0.9 other people, down from one person infecting 1.4 people.
The concern is that if the state reopens too soon, the rate will rise and there is a ‘very tight window’ before the rate would reach devastating levels once again.
‘When you start to reopen businesses, you put people on subways, in a retail store… you’re going to see more infections and see the infection rate rise,’ said Cuomo.
‘So how do we gauge this and calibrate that? It’s all about the testing.’
The state has approached its top 50 labs asking what they would need to double the testing.
Cuomo said: ‘They all said the same thing: They need more chemical reagents. We need the federal government to oversee the supply chain and help get labs what they need.’
He issued another plea for the government to work in partnership with states in sharing out tests that are critical to getting the nation up and running.
‘The federal government is telling companies who to give it to,’ Cuomo said.
‘We need help from the federal government, help with the supply chain, and coordination and basic partnership,’ he said.
‘I get that it’s hard… I get that in this society it’s going to be a blame game… that’s the world we live in,’ he said.
‘But we need their coordination and we need their partnership. I get that we need to fund airlines and need to fund small businesses – I get that but we ned to fund state governments too.’
His comments come as worrying research from the National League of Cities and the US Conference of Mayors this week revealed that more than 2,100 US cities across the US are bracing for huge budget shortfalls that will lead to thousands of layoffs, cuts in vital services and less cops on the streets during the coronavirus pandemic.
Almost nine in 10 cities (88 percent), ranging from smaller cities with populations of less than 50,000 residents to the biggest metropolitan areas in the country, have said they are preparing for a revenue shortfall.
More than 1,100 cities are preparing to scale back their public services, and 600 say they may have to lay off some government workers as a result of lower budgets, which could have devastating consequences on public services including police forces.
TRUMP VERSUS DEMOCRAT GOVERNORS
There’s been no love lost between New York’s Andrew Cuomo and President Trump throughout the pandemic.
But Cuomo is not alone in sparring with Trump this week.
Democratic governors from Minnesota, Washington and New York are resisting Donald Trump’s calls to ‘liberate’ their states and slammed the president for his encouragement of protesters who have flouted social distancing rules and taken to the streets to demand lockdowns end.
Trump made a series of tweets Friday in which he appeared to side with Republican protesters who are flouting social distancing rules by gathering in the streets demanding an end to lockdowns – one day after the president said he would leave the decision to reopen states in the hands of the individual governors.
He started with a ‘Liberate Minnesota’ tweet, then quickly followed it up with similar tweets for Michigan and Virginia in a show of support for the largely Republican demonstrators against the stay-at-home restrictions.
All three states that Trump singled out have Democratic governors – and are potentially swing states in the 2020 election.
Minnesota’s Democratic Governor Tim Walz clapped back at Trump’s call to ‘liberate’ the state Friday, by saying it will ‘probably take longer than a two-word tweet’ to make sure he can fully reopen it, after protesters staged an anti-lockdown rally outside his mansion.
Walz slammed Trump during a press conference Friday after the president tried to make himself the star of the ‘lockdown rebellion’ by tweeting ‘Liberate Minnesota’ on Friday as protesters carrying Trump 2020 paraphernalia descended on the governor’s official residence.
This came after Washington Governor Jay Inslee launched a scathing condemnation of the president’s show of support for the protesters and accused him of ‘fomenting domestic rebellion’ in a Twitter thread Friday.
Inslee said: ‘The president’s statements this morning encourage illegal and dangerous acts.
‘He is putting millions of people in danger of contracting COVID-19. His unhinged rantings and calls for people to ‘liberate’ states could also lead to violence.’
Democrat governors have increasingly clashed with Trump, particularly after his head-snapping week which saw him first proclaim ‘total authority’ to decide on re-opening the country, then do a total u-turn and say states ‘call the shots.’
Minnesota’s Democratic Governor Tim Walz (left) and Washington Governor Jay Inslee (right) both slammed Trump Friday over his encouragement of protesters who have taken to the streets to demand state lockdowns end