ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday hailed “the best news of all” as the daily coronavirus death toll dropped to a new low of 32, the lowest since the virus hit the state in March.
COVID-19 hospitalizations also reached a new low of 1,734, with positive test rates stable at 1.8% in New York City — a positive sign, the governor said.
“We have tamed the beast,” Cuomo said. “We are now 180 degrees on the other side.”
Even as Cuomo gave the green light for some upstate regions to move into Stage 3 of reopening, he warned New Yorkers against dropping their guard.
Nearly half the states are experiencing a spike in cases and illnesses after reopening their economies, a fate that Cuomo said he wanted New York to avoid.
“New York is an anomaly. We reopened and the numbers are continuing to come down,” he said.
Health Commissioner Howard Zucker defended the state’s decision to keep sleepaway camps closed for the summer, saying it’s almost impossible to socially distance.
Cuomo chided police, racial justice protesters and other young people for occasionally wearing their face masks around their neck, instead of covering both their nose and mouth.
“This is nothing, this is like a chin guard,” Cuomo said, pulling down his mask to demonstrate. “No one told you to wear a chin guard. I say that to the protester. I also say that to the police. It is the law.”
Cuomo also ordered local governments across New York state to reform their police forces by April 1, 2021 — or face a cut-off of state funding.
“You need to bring the community and redesign your police force. People are not happy they want change,” Cuomo said. “And you know what? You have nine months to do it.”
The governor said every community should start its own process of demanding change from their municipal governments, assuring he would not “second guess” whatever plans municipalities enact.
“The formula is: demonstrations, legislation and legislation,” Cuomo said. “Show the outrage show the frustration then do something about it.”
©2020 New York Daily News