On Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered a sobering press conference on the toll that coronavirus has taken on his state, particularly New York City. As he spoke about the increasing number of residents who are succumbing to COVID-19, he compared the pandemic to the damage done by 9/11. Specifically, how the death toll had, as of Wednesday, almost tripled the number of lives lost in the 2001 terrorist attack.
"The news isn't just bad. The bad news is actually terrible," Cuomo said in the clip, via CNN. "Highest single-day death toll yet, 779 people. When you look at the numbers on the death toll, it has been going steadily up, and it reached a new height yesterday. The number of deaths will continue to rise and those hospitalized for a longer period of time pass away. The longer you are on a ventilator, the less likely you will come off the ventilator."
Cuomo, who's previously lashed out at FEMA over their response to the crisis, mentioned a conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci about the "lagging indicator" that indicates more deaths will come even as hospital admissions for COVID-19 go down. While the governor stated that he understands "the facts and logic of it," he admits it's "still incredibly difficult to deal with."
"Every number is a face, right? And that's been painfully obvious to me every day. But we have lost people, many of them frontline workers, many of them healthcare workers, many of them people who were doing the essentials functions we needed for society to go on, and they were putting themselves at risk. And they knew they were."
The governor, who's handling of the situation has been generally held in high regard, also spoke about the "vulnerable people who this vicious predator of a virus targeted from day one."
"This virus attacked the vulnerable and attacked the weak. And it's our job as a society to protect those vulnerable, and that's what this has always been about from day one, and it still is about. Be responsible, not just for yourself, but to protect the vulnerable. Be responsible, because the life you risk might not be your own. Those people who walk into an emergency room every day and put themselves at peril, don't make their situation worse."
"Just to put a perspective on this," Cuomo concluded. "9/11, which so many of us lived through in this state and in this nation, 2,753 lives lost. This crisis we've lost 6268 New Yorkers." He then added that he's going to "direct all flags be flown at half-mast in honor of those that we have lost to this virus."