After today, we’re going to have to find someone else to tell us when it’s Saturday.
More importantly, we’re going to have to find someone else to keep us up to date and on task when it comes to dealing with the deadly coronavirus.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo today is ending his daily press conferences after three straight months of keeping the state and the nation informed about the status of the crisis.
Every single day since the crisis started in early March, Cuomo appeared on TV with inspiring consistency, PowerPoint charts and messages over his shoulder, key staffers sitting on either side of him, ready to field questions to relay to a concerned public craving information and comfort.
While the national government was fumbling with a response and while President Trump was fabricating a rosy picture of a dark situation, promoting false cures, spreading misinformation, bragging about his success and scolding people on the front lines, Cuomo stood out for his composure, his grasp of the seriousness of the crisis, and his consistent and detailed account of the progress the state was making against the virus.
We saw every day how the crisis quickly got worse; how sharply the curve for new cases, hospitalizations and deaths rose; how long it took before it leveled off; and how slowly it turned downward.
We’ve often said that information is power, and Cuomo empowered the people with his statistics and updates on the response.
His press conferences quickly became a model for local governments and other states in how to deliver news about the crisis and keep the public informed and engaged.
Some might mock Cuomo’s folksy stories about his family or his dorky slogans and messages of inspiration.
Some who’ve seen him deal with the press on a regular basis might question the sincerity of his mostly kinder, mostly gentler treatment of them with a national audience.
And you almost had to laugh whenever he said something political, then followed it up by saying how this wasn’t about politics. A tiger can’t change its stripes.
And many rightly have questioned some of his handling of the crisis, particularly the controversial decision to place former covid patients in nursing homes, his initial delay in closing schools and shutting down the state, his extensive use of executive power and his quickly-rescinded order to have the National Guard confiscate medical equipment from upstate to serve downstate.
He hasn’t been perfect by any stretch. And he’ll ultimately have to answer for those decisions.
Now with the crisis reaching manageable levels, thanks in large part to the governor’s consistent messaging, it’s time for Cuomo to direct his attention to other matters.
But when New Yorkers and Americans needed a leader to be strong, decisive, comforting and informative at this unprecedented time of turmoil, Gov. Cuomo and his daily updates served the citizens well.
Oh, and in case you need reminding, tomorrow is Saturday.