New York Governor Andrew Cuomo held his final daily coronavirus briefing on Friday, capping more than three months of press conferences in which he gave updates 7 days a week on COVID-19's spread in the state, measures to fight it, and its subsequent decline.
Cuomo appeared by himself on Friday, telling viewers that he gave his staff their first day off in 111 days. "I can handle this last daily COVID briefing alone. After 111 days of hell, they all deserve a break," he said.
The governor, who appeared without his usual PowerPoint slide presentation, shared more positive coronavirus data. Statewide, 1,284 people are hospitalized from the virus, and 79,000 tests were conducted on Wednesday alone. The state also hit two weekly lows this week: less than 1% of New York residents are infected with the virus, and an average of 25 people died from the virus every day this week.
"When this started 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," he said. "We are controlling the virus better than any state in the country and any nation on the globe."
New York City is expected to enter its second phase of reopening on Monday.
According to the governor, by reducing the infection rate, the state saved "over 100,000 people from being hospitalized and possibly dying."
"Over the past three months we have done the impossible," he said.
Cuomo cautioned, however, that "COVID isn't over," and noted that the state still has to watch out for a second wave, and possible infections coming from out of state. He urged other states to take New York's lead, and reopen "intelligently."
, which could lead to a resurgence nationwide.
"We reopened the economy and we saved lives. Because it was never a choice between one or the other, it was always right to do both," he said. "Today we are seeing the virus spread in many places. More people will die, and it doesn't have to be that way. Forget the politics, be smart."
Cuomo said he will still hold coronavirus press conferences as needed: "I will still do what I do, we just don't have to do it every day."