ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - Instead of the usual panel of people in front of reporters, Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his last COVID-19 briefing solo.
Saying he had given his staff the day off for the Juneteenth holiday – and because their hard work over the past 111 days earned it – the governor gave his briefing in front of a camera in the Executive Office in Albany.
The governor has given a briefing each of those 111 days and announced earlier this week that Friday would be his last – at least on a daily basis.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I will still do what I do, we just don’t have to do it every day.”
At the beginning, he said, the state had more cases per capita than any other state or any nation.
“Today we have done a full 180, from worst to first,” he said. “We are controlling the virus better than any state in the country and any nation on the globe.”
The governor said he is proud of how well the state reduced the infection rate.
“We reopened the economy and we saved lives, because it was never a choice between one of the other,” he said. “It was always right to do both.”
The governor said he thinks of the past months as if the state were climbing a mountain.
“Forty-two days up the mountain and 69 days down the other side,” he said. “Every day, every step hurt – it was hard, it was frightening and sad.”
The governor ended the string of briefings with good news: the infection rate was less than 1 percent in the 79,000 tests administered Thursday and the state had its lowest three-day average of deaths at 25.
Nearly 800 people died on one day in early April.
Cuomo said the crisis isn’t over and there’s much more to do.
“We have to monitor the local infection rate, local governments must ensure compliance and do tracing, we have to watch out for a second wave, we have to watch out for possible infections coming now from other states, and many people need help to get their lives back to normal.”