Cuomo signs bill giving death benefits to frontline worker families as COVID-19 cases hit all-time low

Photo via Flickr/Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York State’s COVID-19 numbers are at an all-time low, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.

During his daily coronavirus briefing, Cuomo stated that hospitalizations, intubations and new COVID-19 cases are at new lows statewide. On May 29, 67 people died as a result of the virus.

“I want New Yorkers to take note of what we’ve done,” said Cuomo. “When New Yorkers come together and are informed, understand the challenge, the facts – we did the impossible.”

New York City is set to start phase one reopening on June 8, the last of the New York regions to do so. However, Cuomo acknowledged that there is still work to be done in the city before June 8 arrives.

According to Cuomo, there are ten hotspots in New York City that have the highest rates of COVID-19 cases compared to the rest of the city:

These areas, Cuomo noted, are known for being low-income and minority areas, and that COVID-19 has killed more people of color throughout the country. As a result, the state will be adding one more testing site per ZIP code.

“We need to address the inequality in the healthcare system,” said Cuomo. “Many more people of color died of the COVID virus than white people. There is a disparity and inequality across the country and it needs to be addressed.”

During the briefing, Cuomo spoke about how crucial the frontline workers have been to New York’s COVID-19 response. Cuomo noted while getting choked up that frontline workers are modern-day heroes.

“I was saying to the people of this state, ‘This is dangerous, stay home, protect yourself, protect your family,’ and in the same breath, I was saying to the frontline workers, ‘Not you! You have to go to work tomorrow morning!'” said Cuomo. “And I was saying to myself, ‘What happens if they don’t?’ What happens if the frontline workers say, ‘This is dangerous, I’m afraid, I’m going to stay home like everyone else.’ What would have happened?”

“They put their lives at risk to serve others. And in that moment, they were not black frontline workers, they were not white frontline workers, they were not Latino frontline workers,” Cuomo added. “They were just Americans. They were New Yorkers. They were linked by the commonality of humanity. They gave their lives because we asked them.”

To respond from the strength of the frontline workers, Cuomo signed a bill during the briefing that gives death benefits to all of the families of frontline workers who gave their lives in service during this pandemic.

“It is the least we can do to say thank you, and we honor you and remember you,” said Cuomo. “You gave your lives for us. We will be there to support your families going forward.”

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