Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday gave his final daily coronavirus briefing after 111 days and proudly told New Yorkers they had ‘done the impossible’ in controlling the virus spread.
Unlike every other briefing which has taken place in front of the media with his aides next to him, Cuomo appeared alone on Friday from his office.
He read a 12-minute speech where he reflected on the ‘frightening’ last three months and revealed that daily deaths in the state had dropped to 25, the lowest three day average since the pandemic began.
Of the more than 70,000 tests that were done on Thursday, fewer than one percent came back positive.
‘I gave everyone the day off today, I think I can handle this final briefing myself,’ Cuomo began.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave his final coronavirus daily briefing on Friday after 111 days
‘After 111 days of hell, they all deserve a break. We all do.
‘Today’s facts are more good news and I don’t even need a power point to explain them. The hospitalization number is 1284, the lowest number we have seen.
‘We conducted 79,000 tests yesterday which is a record high for us and we have the lowest weekly infection rate, less than one percent, and we have the lowest weekly average of lives lost, 25 souls each day and we will remember them in our thoughts and prayers.
‘All regions of the state have lower infection rates and the state experts have gone all over all the data and they will allow NYC to begin phase two on Monday.
In this crisis we were united. We were there for one another. We did act as one
‘But, COVID isn’t over. We still have much more to do.
‘We have to monitor the local infection rate, local governments must monitor 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 now to get their lives back to normal.
‘But for all of that, it’s clear. Over the past three months, we have done the impossible.
‘In the beginning, this virus hit us hard. It actually came from Europe after we were told that it was coming from China.
‘We had more cases per capita than any state in the country or any nation on the globe. But today, we have done a full 180.
‘From worst to first. We are controlling the virus better than any state in the country, and any nation on the globe. By reducing the infection rate, we saved over 100,000 people from being hospitalized and possibly dying. Just think about that.
‘It is an unimaginable achievement. I’m so incredibly proud of what we all did together and as a community.
‘We reopened the economy and we saved lives. It was never a choice between one or the other, it was always right to do both.
‘Today we are seeing the virus spreading in many places, more people will die and it doesn’t have to be that way. Forget the politics. Be smart. Open the economy intelligently and save lives at the same time. That’s what we showed works in New York,’ he said.
He went on to say he did not know at times if it was possible to flatten the curve like New York had done, and while first responders were to thank, it was the ‘people’ of the state who had changed the course.
He thanked his daughters for making him ‘laugh’ when he wanted to cry, and said that throughout the pandemic, he got an ‘education’ in human resilience.
He thanked the ’59 million’ viewers who watched his briefings, saying: ‘Thank you for believing in me and giving me support. Thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt. Good lord knows I needed it.’
‘We have so many people to thank… to the great people of the state who rose to the occasion, joined hands and did what they had to do,’ he said.
Cuomo shared graphs showing how New York had demolished the curve over the last 111 days
Cuomo finished his address with this slide, using his signature reminder of what day it is, as a sign off
Cuomo also shared images from around New York throughout the pandemic
The reflective video featured messages of hope from around the state since the start of the crisis
He thanked people for waving to him in the street or giving him a thumbs up, saying: ‘I can’t express how much it means to me. Your smiles lighten my soul…
‘I know this period has been incredibly hard on all of us. I thought about it every day as climbing a mountain.
‘The Mount Everest of social challenges. Forty-two days up the mountain and 69 days down the other side. Every step, every day, hurt and was hard.
‘It was frightening and sad. But I really believe we will be the better for it. I believe we are.’
‘After 62 years when I thought I had seen it all. I got an education too. No matter how dark the day, love brings the light. That is what I will take from the past 111 days.
‘It inspires me and energizes me and excites me. If we could accomplish together what we did here, there is nothing that we can’t do.
‘We will be better. It shows us how capable we are when we are at our best,’ he said.
‘If we could accomplish together what we did here, this impossible task of beating back this deadly virus, then there is nothing we can’t do.
‘And we will be better. And we will be stronger for what we have gone through,’ he said.
At the end of the briefing, he shared a video that his team had put together of poignant moments throughout the pandemic while he spoke over it.
It finished with the words: ‘New York Tough. And don’t forget, tomorrow is Saturday.’
Cuomo’s daily briefings were a source of comfort and information for millions throughout the pandemic.
Many said he was the nation’s true leader, not Trump, because of how he handled it.
The briefings always took the same format; a 30 minute presentation from him which always included a slide telling people what day it was.
He became known for it and Twitter and Instagram users particularly enjoyed weekend briefings where he’d remind them: ‘Today is Saturday.’
THE BEST CUOMO SLIDES FROM HIS 111 DAILY BRIEFINGS
Cuomo’s daily briefings became a focal point of the pandemic not just for New Yorkers but for many watching around the world.
He always shared slides that included key data about projections, along with daily hospitalization, infection and death numbers.
Pepper in there were humorous slides that lent themselves to viral memes.
Some of the most popular are featured below.