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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday he is enlisting former Google CEO Eric Schmidt to help reimagine the future of technology in his state as it battles the coronavirus outbreak.

The move is part of Cuomo’s push to rethink and improve sectors of New York – like its health care and transportation systems – as the state emerges out of the pandemic. It comes following announcements of partnerships with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on education and Michael Bloomberg on developing coronavirus testing and tracing.

“On a larger scale, how do we really use new technology in the economy of tomorrow? And that is the lesson we are all learning – work from home, telemedicine, tele-education – it's all about technology,” Cuomo said Wednesday. “Probably the best mind in this country – if not on the globe – to do this, is, I believe a true visionary especially in the field of technology and that’s Eric Schmidt.”


Cuomo stressed that while his state is going through this "reopening exercise," he wants to make sure "we don’t miss the opportunity in the moment – and the opportunity is that we went all through this, let’s learn the lessons and let's take this moment in history to actually improve from where we are and to build back better.”

The governor announced a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday to explore “smart, innovative education alternatives” because the “old model of our education system where everyone sits in a classroom is not going to work in the new normal.”

The New York State United Teachers Union – which represents more than 600,000 professionals – panned that announcement however, even though schools are closed in New York state for the remainder of the academic year.


“Remote learning, in any form, will never replace the important personal connection between teachers and their students,” it said in a statement obtained by the New York Post.

Cuomo on Wednesday also announced that the state suffered an additional 232 coronavirus deaths.