NY Gov. Cuomo says he won’t sacrifice human lives to reopen the economy: The argument is ‘absurd’

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KEY POINTS
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday he’s not willing to trade people’s lives to reopen the state’s economy, saying it’s “absurd” to argue over how many deaths are worth reopening the state.
  • An additional 231 people died from Covid-19 in the state Wednesday, he said. The daily number of deaths has been declining, but it’s been a slow drop, and the number is still “painfully high,” Cuomo said at his daily press briefing.
  • Cuomo’s remarks came after President Donald Trump acknowledged on Tuesday that reopening parts of the country’s economy now would inevitably cost some Americans their lives but said the benefits outweigh the costs.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that he’s not willing to trade people’s lives to reopen the state’s economy, saying it’s “absurd” to argue over how many deaths are worth reopening the state.

“This is not a situation where you can go to the American people and say, ‘How many lives are you willing to lose to reopen the economy?’ We don’t want to lose any lives. You start to hear these, to me, what are absurd arguments,” Cuomo said at his daily press briefing.

An additional 231 people died from Covid-19 across the state on Wednesday, he said. While the daily number of deaths has been steadily declining, it’s been a slow drop, and the number of people dying every day from the coronavirus is still “painfully high,” Cuomo said.

NYS Lives Lost chart 200507
Source: State of New York

Cuomo added that the rate of hospitalizations related to Covid-19 in New York start increasing over age 51, which is “not really old.” He’s not going to authorize any activities in the state unless he’s willing to participate in it himself, and he will continue to make decisions based on facts and data versus emotion and politics, he said.

“I don’t care if a person is old; I’m old,” Cuomo said. “We’ll figure out the dollars, and we’ll figure out the economic impact, but we’ll protect people in the meantime, and we’ll protect their health.”

New York is now “on the other side of the mountain” as the daily number of hospitalizations, rate of new infections and deaths related to Covid-19 have continued to decline, Cuomo said. However, state officials were hoping for a faster drop in the number of hospitalizations.

Monday marked the first time the number of coronavirus deaths in New York fell below 300 since March 31. The state recorded its deadliest day on April 10 when 799 people died.

Cuomo said the state’s “PAUSE” order is set to expire on May 15 and indicated that manufacturing and construction in some regions may be allowed to resume after that date.

The Empire State governor’s remarks came after President Donald Trump acknowledged on Tuesday that reopening parts of the country’s economy now would inevitably cost some Americans their lives but said the benefits outweigh the costs.

“It’s possible there will be some [deaths] because you won’t be locked into an apartment or house or whatever it is,” Trump told ABC’s David Muir in a rare network news interview. “But at the same time, we’re going to practice social distancing, we’re going to be washing hands, we’re going to be doing a lot of the things that we’ve learned to do over the last period of time.”

Trump said that people “are dying the other way too,” saying that an increased number of Americans have died from drugs and suicide due to unemployment.

There is currently no documented epidemic of suicide, although experts say it’s likely that a mental health crisis is looming.

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