As New York phases out of its months-long lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned New Yorkers on Saturday to stay “smart” on precautions -- even warning partiers in the Big Apple not to "make me come down there" by shirking precautions.
“I say to the citizens of this state who are the ones who accomplished the impossible, they are the ones who reduce that transmission rate: You have to stay smart. Keep doing what we're doing. Don't let up,” he said at a Saturday press conference. “Don't think, 'Well, now we're reopening. Everything is fine. The weather's better. Everything is fine. I hear New York is doing well.' It is, but only because of what you are doing."
"That's been the secret from day one. You stop doing what you're doing. You'll see those numbers turn,” he said.
Later he tweeted a warning in response to a video of throngs of New Yorkers reveling in the streets with few wearing masks or social distancing: “Don’t make me come down there,”
At the earlier press conference, he said that the “news is good” from the data they are receiving as parts of the state pass through different phases of the four-stage re-opening process. In particular he pointed to data showing that hospitalizations are the lowest since March 20.
Cuomo has come under criticism for his handling of the pandemic, with critics pointing to a now-changed order that required nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients -- where the elderly, the most likely to suffer serious symptoms from the virus, were housed. Cuomo and his administration argue that it was following guidelines issued by the Trump administration.
But, Cuomo noted that as other states are seeing increases in cases and hospitalizations, there are so far no indicators that is happening in New York, even though the state was the hardest hit in the country, particularly in New York City.
“So we've done it. We have tamed the beast. We are now one hundred and eighty degrees on the other side. The best number, lowest number of deaths that we have seen since the started,” he said. “And that is the number I know turns my stomach and turns everyone's stomach in this state. This is the number that is the most painful and it is the lowest level since this started.”
But he warned New Yorkers to be cautious, and for local governments to “enforce compliance.” He also renewed calls for protesters demonstrating in the wake of the death of George Floyd to get tested amid fears that the protests could be fertile ground for COVID.
“To the protesters. I say wear a mask. It is the law,” he said.