Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a new interview that New York would never again be crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic, promising, “I’m not going to shut it down again, you can count on that.”
“I’m going to protect the health of New Yorkers, but I’m also protecting the economy,” she told John Catsimatidis, host of “The Cats Roundtable,” in an interview out Sunday.
“I’m not going to shut it down again, you can count on that.”
Hochul’s comments came after New York City health commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan revealed Friday the five boroughs will soon shift to a “medium-risk” level due to an increase in cases driven by the highly contagious Omicron subvariant.
“In the next few days, likely by early next week, we’re going to be entering a new level of risk, moving from a low-risk environment to a medium-risk environment on the basis of cases,” he explained on NY1.
The five boroughs are currently considered a “low” risk for community spread, but health officials say the new subvariant of Omicron, BA.2, as of Wednesday accounted for about 80% of the state’s infections.
As of Friday, the COVID-19 positivity rate in New York City measured on a seven-day average was 4.46% — up from 1.46% at the same point in March. Statewide, the seven-day average positivity rate was a slightly higher 4.68% — a significant increase from the 1.85% reported March 19.
Meanwhile, Hochul said she’s working closely with Mayor Eric Adams to ensure that Big Apple tourism isn’t affected by the city’s surging crime rate.
“We are seeing an increase in cases and people are getting anxious, and that might affect whether people come at this time, but they will not stay away because of the crime issue,” she declared in the WABC interview, less than a week after a gunman in Brooklyn opened fire on a crowded rush-hour train in Brooklyn.
“We are going to lean hard on this. I’m working with the mayor. We now have relationships with the mayor‘s office that didn’t exist for a decade,” she added, in reference to the hostile relationship between disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“So we roll up our sleeves, we work with our law enforcement to get the job done, while respecting the rights of individuals, which is important to us as well.”
In March, major crimes increased by 37%, NYPD statistics released earlier this month showed. In the subway system, major felonies reported have risen 68% so far this year, according to NYPD data. Robberies underground have surged by 72%, felony assaults have spiked by 28%, and grand larcenies have increased by 110%, department stats show.
In the Sunday interview, Hochul continued to tout the key accomplishments of the belatedly passed state budget — saying she is “really proud” of the measures signed into law, including tweaks to progressive pre-trial policies.
“We talked about keeping the core value of bail reform because, at one time, two people accused of the same low-level crime, one went home, and one went to jail waiting for a trial. We knew that was unfair,” she explained. “But some of the more serious offenses, like gun possession offenses, were left out of being bail eligible. … We stopped that. We [now] have gun charges back under the coverage of the bail laws. They can either be arrest-eligible or bail-eligible. We fixed that.”
“I know a lot of people running for office say we didn’t do anything. Well, they ought to look at the law and know what we accomplished,” she added. “I’m really proud of this.”
Asked about why New Yorkers should vote for her in the upcoming primary and general elections, Hochul pointed to her work ethic and ability to connect with New Yorkers across the state.
“Because I’m the hardest-working person they are ever going to meet. And I fight like hell for them every single day,” she told Catsimatidis.
“I’m rough and tumble, I know how to get the job done, and I’m out there in communities, I know this state — having been lieutenant governor — I know it better than anybody. I know the problems of the people, I know the streets of New York, and I’m going to continue doing what I’ve done my whole life, which is fight for people.” -NY POST