Governor Andrew Cuomo held another closed-to-the-press announcement arm-and-arm with political allies who praised his efforts over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday in Rochdale, Queens.
The “Roll Up Your Sleeve” campaign is a new initiative from the Cuomo administration to encourage Black and Brown New Yorkers to get the COVID-19 vaccine as sites become widely available in their sections, but perceptions of distrust in these communities remain.
“The Black community is 27% of the population: only 19% of the people who have gotten vaccines. Latino community, 28% of the population, only 23% of the population was received vaccines. We are doing everything we can to do this equitably and fair. We are bringing the vaccines to the Black community, to the Latino community, 189 pop-up vaccine sites in communities of color,” Cuomo said.
The scandals facing Cuomo again became a topic of conversation earlier in the day after CBS’ “60 Minutes” released a report that implicated Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in allegations of pay-to-play.
Campaign finance reports obtained by 60 Minutes show that weeks before Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a partnership with Publix grocery stores to distribute the vaccine in its pharmacies, Publix donated $100,000 to his PAC. https://t.co/bS3ZBeET1W pic.twitter.com/BSUlpVbXSP
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 4, 2021
The announcement comes a day before eligibility for New Yorkers 16 years and older opens and less than a week after the governor allowed people over the age of 30 to also get the vaccine. Curfews are scheduled to lift on indoor dining as well as gyms on Monday evening, something that has provoked criticism from Mayor Bill de Blasio who believes the embattled governor is reopening businesses faster than necessary.
But Black leaders in southeast Queens expressed gratitude for Governor Cuomo’s leadership over the past year in which their communities suffered disproportionately.
Congressman Gregory Meeks, the chair of the Queens County Democratic Party, saturated the room with support for Cuomo who is under the microscope for sexual misconduct allegations being investigated by state Attorney General Letitia James and the state Assembly Judiciary Committee against him.
“We forget that the administration in Washington DC, did not have a clue, or if they did, they were not telling us the truth as to what was going on,” Meeks said. “[Cuomo] was going to doctors and scientists and as they were changing what they were saying, as they started realizing, he would come and give us that information on the spot. Information that we need to try to move forward to save lives because around the world, we did not know, we had never seen anything like this in 100 years… We owe him a deep debt of thanks and gratitude.”
While James has declined to update the press regarding the investigation, or even explain the scope of the inquiry, during an unrelated press conference in Harlem on April 1, the governor faces at least eight accusations of sexual misconduct from former and current executive chamber staffers.