JAMESTOWN – New York State Senator George Borrello says Governor Cuomo’s comments that the region hasn’t lived the full pain of COVID’s wrath is incredibly insulting.
Cuomo, speaking during a press conference briefing on Wednesday afternoon in Albany, says the reason Western New York is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 activity is because residents do not fear the virus like those living in NYC.
“Western New York read about New York City, they read about Long Island, they watched it on the TV news, but the numbers were never as bad in Western New York, and you want people to change dramatically their behavior, for me to make these dramatic changes in behavior I have to believe this is real, and it wasn’t real, because it wasn’t real to me,” said Cuomo. “I get it was real New York City, but I’m in Buffalo, Buffalo is much different than New York City, and it wasn’t real to me.”
Senator Borrello believes that Cuomo was very insensitive in his comments.
“We have lost lives here, but also felt the economic pain of this COVID crisis, we watched as we’ve seen spikes in suicides, in drug overdoses and domestic violence, for him to say that we haven’t felt the pain, it is not only insulting, it is short-sighted and just wrong,” said Borrello.
Borrello believes people should have a “healthy respect” for the virus and not fear it.
He says Cuomo’s tactics of encouraging fear is a way to keep people “in line” and a sign of his failing leadership.
“The last things we need right now is to have further division between upstate and downstate,” furthered Borrello. “It is the wrong way to go about keeping our state together, he talks about New York Strong, I don’t understand how fear and division promotes New York Strong.”
Borrello says he continues to urge aids to the Governor to continue to target the virus in smaller zones so that the regional economy can stay open. He says another shutdown far out weighs the risk of COVID-19’s health impacts.
Yesterday, Cuomo announced that parts of Erie County are now listed under an “orange zone” of containment as the infection rate continues to rise. Under the new designation, residential and non-residential gatherings cannot have more than 10 people and indoor dining at restaurants and bars are prohibited.
Additionally, high-risk, non-essential businesses, like gyms, hair salons and personal care services are closed. Schools will also be forced to remote learning.
Houses of worship may still operate in-person services, but Cuomo says with fewer people.