Cuomo calls for bonuses for coronavirus front line workers


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Monday called on the federal government to pay bonuses to front line workers who don’t have the “luxury of staying home.” 

Cuomo, during his daily press conference, said health professionals, first responders, transit workers, grocery store employees and other essential workers should receive 50 percent bonuses over what they’re being paid to work during a pandemic. 

“We all say ‘boy they did a great job, the health care workers did a great job, the police — they’re heroes,’” Cuomo said. 

“Yes, they are, but you know? Thanks is nice but also recognition of their efforts and their sacrifice is also appropriate. They are the ones carrying us through this crisis and this crisis is not over,” he continued.

More than 470 people died of COVID-19 in New York on Sunday, the lowest single-day toll in more than two weeks. The three-day average in the state’s number of hospitalizations of patients is also down. While those are encouraging signs, Cuomo said, it is still too soon to relax physical distancing measures and reopen the economy. 

Cuomo noted that people of color are disproportionately contracting COVID-19, partially because they’re exposed to it more through their jobs. 

“The economy did not close down. It closed down for people who, frankly, had the luxury of staying home,” he said. 

“All those essential workers have to get up every morning to put food on the shelves and go to the hospitals to provide health care under extraordinary circumstances,” he added.

Preliminary data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week showed that 30 percent of COVID-19 patients are African American, even though they make up 13 percent of the population. 

Because of social inequities, people of color are also more likely to have underlying health conditions like diabetes and asthma that increase the risk of serious illness from COVID-19. 

Congressional Democrats are pushing for hazard pay for essential workers in the next coronavirus response bill. 

Tags Andrew Cuomo Coronavirus New York

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