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Cuomo gives final daily COVID-19 briefing, but says fight against coronavirus is not over

Headshot of Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a dark blue suit, white shirt and pink tie
Office of the Governor
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In his final daily coronavirus briefing Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s grateful that the virus is at an all-time low in New York, but he worries about rising infection rates elsewhere in the United States. 

The governor did not open his briefing to news media, and he did it without his usual PowerPoint presentation -- and without his staff. 

“I gave everyone today off,” said Cuomo, who on Wednesday declared June 19, known as Juneteenth in commemoration of the final freeing of slaves in the U.S., as a state employee holiday. “And I can handle this last daily COVID briefing alone.” 

Cuomo said the daily hospitalization rate for COVID-19, at 1,284, is the lowest level since the pandemic began in New York. Tests show the rate of the incidence of the coronavirus is at less than 1%, and the three-day average of those who died from the disease is also at its lowest point. 

“Twenty-five souls each day,” Cuomo said. “And we’ll remember them in our thoughts and prayers.” 

Cuomo credited the success in beating back the virus to the cooperation of New Yorkers in obeying stay-at-home orders and wearing masks and observing social distancing during the phased-in ongoing reopenings. New York now has the lowest rate of infection in the nation. 

Cuomo said it’s not the time, though, to let down our guard, and he said he and his staff will continue to monitor the local infection rates of the disease and watch out for a second wave of the virus. 

“COVID isn’t over,” he said. "We still have much more to do."

The governor said he is particularly worried about some other states where infection rates are on the rise. Cuomo said earlier in the week that he might impose a quarantine on visitors from states where there is a high rate of the virus, including Florida, where COVID-19 cases are spiking. But the governor did make any new announcements on that Friday.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.
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