New York Governor Andrew Cuomo avoided the topic of hospitalizations in the state and the possibility of increasing restrictions on bars and restaurants during his briefing on Wednesday. Instead, he spoke positively about the vaccine which should be approved this week, and the need for a federal aid package from Congress, which is currently being negotiated.

A Vaccine is Coming

New York is expected to start the vaccine next week with 170,000 vaccinations which will target nursing home patients and workers there. Cuomo said that if the Pfizer vaccination is approved on Thursday, 6 million doses will be available nationwide with half shipping immediately, and the other half 21-days later for the second dose.

Governor Cuomo displayed a map of New York showing how the vaccine will be distributed. The Mohawk Valley region, which includes Utica and Rome, will receive 4,200 vaccinations in this first wave. The number of vaccine's is determined based on nursing home population.

Cuomo previously stated that he will get the vaccine himself live on television, in an effort to boost confidence in the inoculation.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo addresses the public during his COVID-19 daily briefing on Wednesday, (Governor.ny.gov)

Federal Aid to States Like NY is Essential

Cuomo said that the federal aid package currently being negotiated in congress is essential for New York and if Washington doesn't provide enough funding, tax increases, layoffs and cuts in aid are going to happen .

"Without federal aid," he said,. "There will be a layoff of several thousand government  workers,  dramatic Tax increases that would hurt families and hurt the economy, layoff 7,000 MTA workers and the raising of MTA fares, as well as a large increase in government borrowing. Cuomo added that cuts in aid would include a 20-percent cut in promised aid to schools. He said that so far, no aid has ben held back from schools, but if the federal aid doesn't materialize

 

Cuomo added that the distribution of these funds must not go through the legislature where it can be used in a political way.  "The distribution should be carried out by me," said Cuomo. "It's supposed to be about who got hurt from COVID," he added.

During previous negotiations on a stimulus bill, Congressman Anthony Brindisi disagreed and said that any federal funding should not go through Governor Cuomo, and should instead go directly to the schools and municipalities. He said that the funding needs to go to the businesses and schools that have been hurt by COVID-19. Brindisi's opponent, former Representative Claudia Tenney also believed the money should go directly to those in need.

Cuomo said the aid is essential and deserved after incorrect information was given to the states at the beginning of the year in regards to the virus. He said that the federal government either got it wrong back in February and March, or they withheld information from us. "New York was ambushed. We had no idea. We had no warning," said Cuomo. He said while the federal government was saying the virus was coming from China, it was actually coming into New York by the thousands from Europe.

 

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