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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said that he understands the economic toll that lockdowns and social distancing are taking, but even if the rate of infection in the state is starting to drop, it’s too early for residents to let their guard down.
There have been more than 1.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The virus has killed more than 74,000.
In the United States, there have been 380,698, including 11,902 deaths, according to the most recent figures.
The area in and around New York has been the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States.
“One of the reasons the rate of infection is going down is because social distancing is working. We have to continue the social distancing,” Cuomo said. “Schools and nonessential businesses will stay closed until April 29. I know that’s a negative for many, many reasons. I know what it does to the economy. But as I said from Day One, I’m not going to choose between public health and economic activity.
“Because in either event, public health still demands that we stay on pause with businesses closed and schools closed. Whether we’ve hit the apex, or whether we haven’t hit the apex, you’d have to do the same thing,” Cuomo added. “There’s also a real danger in getting overconfident too quickly. This is an enemy we have underestimated from Day One, and we have paid the price dearly. Well the numbers may be turning: Yay, it’s over. No, it’s not.
“Other places have made that mistake. Hong Kong has made the mistake, South Korea has made that mistake. We are not going to make that mistake,” the governor said. “The weather is turning, people have been locked up, we’ve been talking about cabin fever. Now it’s a nice day, I’m going to go out, I’m going to take a walk. Now is not the time to do that. Frankly, there has been a laxness on social distancing, especially over this past weekend, that is just wholly unacceptable.
“Look, people are dying. People in the health care system are exposing themselves every day to tremendous risk, walking into those emergency rooms. And then they have to go home to their family and wonder if they caught the virus, and they’re bringing it it home to their family. If you don’t — if I can’t convince you to show discipline for yourself, then show discipline for other people,” Cuomo said. “If you get infected, you infect someone else, you go to an emergency room, you put a burden on all sorts of other people you don’t know and who, frankly, you don’t have the right to burden with your irresponsibility.
“And people, especially in New York City, the level of activity is up. Partially the weather, a nice day, I understand. People have been locked up for a long time. But now is not the time to be lax,” he added. “And it is a mistake. We all have a responsibility. We all have a role in this. We said that from Day One.”
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