New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Arizona recount to show Trump's loss by even wider margin Former co-worker accuses Chris Cuomo of sexual harassment in NYT essay NY health chief criticized over state's COVID-19 response resigns MORE (D) on Wednesday called the coronavirus pandemic gripping his state and the nation's largest city a "transformative" experience, adding that the country is “never going to be the same.”
“We are never going to be the same; we can’t forget what happened here,” Cuomo said at his daily coronavirus briefing. "I don't think we get back to normal. We get to a new normal.”
Cuomo, who said New York's apex in the crisis could still be anywhere from seven to 21 days away, said it would be up to governments and citizens to try to ensure that the transformation would be positive and not negative.
But first, he said, the focus had to be on saving as many lives as possible and on readying New York's hospitals for the apex of the crisis. Officials have worried for weeks that the pandemic could overwhelm hospitals, which have faces fears about limited supplies and equipment.
Cuomo said “we have been behind since day one” and assured “something like this will happen again.”
He said things like tele-medicine and tele-education should have had protocols before the pandemic, and the government should work on developing contingency plans for future crisis.
“You can’t just turn the economy off like a light switch … you can’t figure it out on the fly, figure it out before,” he said.
Cuomo, whose brother, CNN anchor Chris CuomoChris CuomoThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Arizona recount to show Trump's loss by even wider margin Former co-worker accuses Chris Cuomo of sexual harassment in NYT essay Tucker Carlson says he lies when 'I'm really cornered or something' MORE, has tested positive for the virus, said he doesn’t want social distancing to last forever and warned of the social ramifications of self-isolation measures.
"What a terrible thing to live with as a human being. What a cruel torture," Andrew Cuomo said. “Isolate yourself from other people. Be afraid of hugging someone. Just think how emotionally and socially repugnant that concept is. We crave human connection and now we’re being told that that could be dangerous."
Cuomo's daily press briefings have been carried live on cable television and are increasingly watched by people around the country.
New York has a total of more than 75,000 coronavirus cases, and 1,550 deaths from the virus.
Cuomo said the way to flatten the curve remained social distancing practices that have closed businesses and threatened the economy. The U.S. is likely in a recession, and fears are growing that it could be a long and painful one.
The governor at one point called on the New York Police Department to step up efforts to keep people from congregating at city playgrounds in New York, saying he would enact a law if he had to in order to ensure people kept their distances from one another.
Cuomo also warned, as he has at previous press conferences, that other parts of the country are likely to experience what New York is now going through.
Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb earlier on Wednesday urged governors who have not issued stay at home orders to do so. He singled out Texas and Florida, warning that the latter state could be just two weeks behind New York in its trajectory of cases.