New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a battle plan Monday for the state to attack the coronavirus pandemic and while boasting to reporters his push for mask-wearing has helped curb the number of cases in the state, neither he nor his aides on the dais – including state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker – wore face masks.
“What worked in the spring, and the reason you’re wearing a mask today, is because we told the truth, and New Yorkers responded,’’ the governor said the Manhattan news conference.
Cuomo, who did most of the speaking at the session, was surrounded by state troopers, spokespeople, his photographer, reporters and other aides – all who wore masks. The news conference was attended by about two dozen people in total, the report said.
Cuomo’s plan called for immediate emergency measures to try to stave off another disastrous bout of the coronavirus as the number of cases and hospitalizations grow.
The panel’s use of no masks defies the precaution from that CDC warning on its website, “There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away.
“These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation,” the website said.
As the second wave of coronavirus grew at the beginning of the month, Dr. Emily Landon, the University of Chicago’s executive medical director for infection prevention and control, said studies have shown ventilation indoors is usually not enough to control the spread of the coronavirus without mask-wearing.
Eyewitnesses said the room is relatively small and the number of journalists was limited because there isn’t enough space for more than a dozen or so reporters to safely distance.
“I think they all should be wearing masks,” Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat, said.
“I think the governor — especially with his platform and recent popularity — he has a responsibility to lead by example,” he added.
Vivian Zayak, whose mom died in a Long Island nursing home April 1, said, “This is disgusting and infuriating. His inner circle doesn’t wear masks while he cracks down on everyone else to wear masks.
At his briefing Monday, the governor noted nearly two-thirds of the state’s recent COVID-19 cases stem from “spreader’’ small gatherings.
The governor’s head of communications, Peter Ajemian, told The New York Post in an e-mail Monday, “We follow and exceed all health guidance to ensure the safety of our briefings – period.”
“They all wore masks when entering and exiting the briefing room and couldn’t be socially distanced,” Ajemian added.