Friday, June 19, 2020

The 111th Day

This morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo held his last daily COVID-19 briefing, 111 days after the crisis began. There were no reporters present, and, instead of being flanked by Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor; Howard Zucker, commissioner of health; Robert Mujica, budget director; and the many others who have appeared with him during the 110 previous briefings, the governor was alone in his office in the State Capitol. He explained that for state government employees June 19--Juneteenth--was now a holiday.

The presentation was a celebration of what has been achieved in the past 111 days. Speaking of the curve of the virus outbreak, Cuomo recalled that it took 42 days to go "up the mountain" and 69 days to come back down, but New York, which once had the worst rate of infections, now had the lowest rate of infections in the country. "If we could accomplish this together--beating back this virus," said Cuomo, "there is nothing we can't do." He spoke of New York leading the way on a number of issues, chief among them police reform.

Cuomo made reference to a change in the state seal, which happened without much fanfare back in April. To the state motto "Excelsior"--"Ever upward!"--has been added a second motto, "E pluribus unum"--"Out of many one." Of the motto, Cuomo said New York "didn't just put words on the state seal," the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic "made the words come true."

The entire briefing, which ended with a video recounting the 111 days of the state's response to the pandemic, can be viewed here.

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