On day 100 since the first coronavirus case was detected in New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo celebrated the first phase of the city’s reopening Monday by rolling into Grand Central Terminal on the 7 train.
Cuomo looked back at what he called the worst situation on the globe and applauded the effort of New Yorkers to bend the curve and recover while other states continue to spike.
“Remember, we had some dire predictions… If those essential workers hadn’t shown up, it would have been chaos… you would have seen bedlam,” Cuomo said. “It’s been exhausting dealing with the unknown, we’ve never gone through anything like this.”
But now there are two situations, he said.
It may be day 100 for COVID-19, but it is day 15 of public protests since the death of George Floyd, which did indeed bring bedlam to the streets of New York last week.
As such, Cuomo has a four-point plan to bring relief to over-policed communities.
The controversial 50-A legislation could have changes, though details were sparse whether or not it would be fully repealed. Chokeholds could be banned as proposed by the New York City Council recently as well. The state attorney general will serve as a special prosecutor on police misconduct cases, as well.
But these changes will be contingent on the state legislature doing the legwork in Albany, though Cuomo has committed to sign them into law.
While Cuomo admitted that reforms will see pushback from police unions, but that he hoped they would come to the table in discussions.
After receiving backlash from the police unions for his criticism of how the protests were handled, Cuomo emphasized that his criticisms was a management and deployment issue where none other than Mayor Bill de Blasio did not put enough cops in the streets.
“It wasn’t the protesters it wasn’t the police officers themselves, it was the management. But it’s over,” Cuomo said.
The percentage of city dwellers testing positive has dropped from 58% at its height to the current two percent, according to the state.
To monitor the reopening, the Cuomo administration will attempt to administer 35,000 tests per day, especially after the stay-at-home measures were ditched by many in order to protest on behalf of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
According to Cuomo, the notion of sanitizing a subway car seemed “impossible.”
“The subway cars are cleaner than they ever have in my lifetime,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo used California, Arizona and Texas as examples of states that are reopening without meeting the CDC requirements and said that if New York does have a resurgence, it will not be because of people reentering the subways, but because of protesters disregarding social distancing measures.
Meanwhile, the state will be establishing testing sites specifically for protesters.