During his daily coronavirus press conference on Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed the “human cost” of states reopening their economies, ABC News reported. Cuomo stated that while opening businesses may be good for the economy, the benefit comes with a huge cost — one that the United States needs to decide if it’s willing to pay.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 5, 2020
“The faster we reopen the lower the economic cost — but the higher the human cost. How much is a human life worth? That’s the real discussion that no one has admitted openly or freely,” he said. “But we should. To me, I say the cost of human life — a human life is priceless.”
Cuomo’s comments come in the wake of reports that some states are seeing sharp spikes in coronavirus cases and deaths after reopening. According to The Hill, Tennessee reported its highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases after loosening restrictions, with Texas and Florida seeing similar spikes. Several public health experts expressed their concerns that reopening states would lead to spikes in infection and death rates, but many states moved forward with their plans anyway.
Cuomo said that New York is working on a plan to reopen the state, but he stressed that the plan would be based on what the data has to say about infection rates, the number of hospitalizations, and the number of deaths, ABC News reported. The governor stated unequivocally that if any of these numbers spiked in New York after such a move, the state would “close the valve on reopening.”
Later in the press conference, Cuomo stated that managing the pandemic in New York would require a concerted bipartisan effort on the part of the local, state, and federal governments. He reiterated his assertion that the federal government hasn’t provided New York with enough support or funding. He also urged federal officials to come up with legislative solutions to the problems that state and local officials are running into while trying to manage the pandemic.
“If you don’t pass legislation, the federal government does not work. If the federal government does not work it makes it virtually impossible for state governments to work. If I can’t work, then local government can’t work.”
According to CBS News, Cuomo also emphasized that the solutions to these problems wouldn’t come if governments kept politicizing the pandemic. He urged Democrats and Republicans to stop employing an “Us vs. Them” mentality and focus on a “We” mentality instead. He emphasized the point by saying that the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t “kill Democrats or Republicans — it kills Americans.”