It’s farewell for now.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after 111 straight days of daily briefings on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, signed off on Friday, saying “over the past three months we have done the impossible.”
Mr. Cuomo delivered brief remarks from his executive office, without the usual government officials by his side or reporters in the audience.
“After 111 days of hell, they all deserve a break,” he said. “We all do.”
He cautioned that COVID-19 isn’t over, even as hospitalizations fall to their lowest levels since March.
“We have to monitor the local infection rates,” he said. “Local government’s must ensure compliance and do tracing. We have to watch out for a second wave. We have to watch for possible infections coming from other states. And many people need help to get their lives back to normal.”
Mr. Cuomo said while he’s ending the daily briefings, he will hold updates when necessary.
The governor said he “incredibly proud” of the state’s response and said it was never a choice between saving lives and reopening the economy.
“It was always right to do both,” he said. “Today we are seeing the virus spreading in many places. More people will die and it doesn’t have to be that way. Forget the politics. Be smart. Open the economy intelligently and save lives at the same time. That’s what we showed worked in New York.”
The latest data from the State Department of Health shows 385,760 New York residents tested positive for COVID-19. There have been about 3.2 millions tests done. A total of 24,661 residents have died since March.
There were 79,000 tests conducted on Thursday — the highest single-day total — with less than 1% confirmed positive.
Long Island remains on track to begin Phase 3 of reopening Wednesday as restaurants resume limited indoor service. New York City begins Phase 2 on Monday.
Mr. Cuomo thanked the members of his team who were with him throughout the past three months as well as his three daughters. And he also thanked all the people who watched his briefings through Facebook, Twitter and the governor’s website.
“To the 59 million viewers who shared in these daily briefings, thank you,” he said. “Thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt. Than you for believing in me and giving me support.”
The governor described the last three months as “climbing a mountain — the Mount Everest of social challenges.”
“Forty-two days up the mountain and 69 days down the other side,” he said. “Every step, every day hurt and was hard. It was frightening and sad but I really believe we will be the better for it.”
Watch the full remarks below: