New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo admonished people protesting the state’s lockdown and accused them of putting his life at risk by not wearing face masks.
Cuomo held a press conference on Saturday morning and said the lockdown protesters did not have a “right” to put his health at risk by protesting his shutdown order without wearing face masks.
“I’m not going to put dollar signs over human lives. I’m not going to do that. Not for my family and not for yours,” Cuomo said, according to WGRZ. “But I understand their point of view, and I understand the First Amendment. You have an argument, you’re going to make your argument, God bless America.
“You don’t have a right to jeopardize my health. You want to jeopardize your health, God bless you. You don’t have the right to jeopardize my health. The mask is not about your health. The mask is about my health, and my children’s health,” Cuomo added.
Cuomo initiated a statewide shutdown in response to the coronavirus on March 20. Cuomo has extended his stay-at-home order to May 15 but is warning that parts of the state, New York City in particular, may stay locked down for much longer until areas reach certain thresholds Cuomo released this week. The governor has also ordered that wearing masks in public is mandatory.
“Stopping the spread is everything,” Mr. Cuomo said in a briefing last month announcing his order on masks. “How can you not wear a mask when you’re going to come close to a person?”
Protesters have organized by the hundreds in New York, protesting the lockdown that has kept many businesses across the state from operating. Cuomo has admitted that keeping his state under a stay-at-home order is “not a sustainable situation,” but has yet to signal that the lockdown will lift in any part of the state soon.
“Close down everything, close down the economy, lock yourself in the home. You can do it for a short period of time, but you can’t do it forever,” Cuomo said, according to The New York Times.
By the numbers, New York is the state hardest hit by the virus in the U.S. with over 330,100 cases and 25,400 deaths. New York City alone is responsible for roughly half of that total figure with 171,700 cases and an estimated 13,700 deaths, according to city health department data.
Since the virus outbreak began in mid-March, over 1.1 million New Yorkers have filed for unemployment insurance, a rough approximation of how many workers have lost jobs or been furloughed because of the virus and Cuomo’s shutdown order, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.
The flood of new claims has swamped the state’s labor department, though, and the agency’s processing system is struggling to keep up. The bottleneck may be obscuring the real toll on the state’s employment situation as many more workers may not be counted because their claims were not received.
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