By Robert Pozarycki
Despite their profound political differences, Governor Andrew Cuomo was quick to offer get-well wishes to President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on Friday after they were diagnosed with COVID-19.
The president announced early Friday morning that he and the first lady tested positive for the illness after senior adviser Hope Hicks was diagnosed with it on Thursday. The Trumps are now in isolation in their White House residence with what has been described as mild symptoms; no specific symptoms were listed by White House officials.
During an 11:30 a.m. conference call with reporters, Cuomo expressed optimism in the president’s condition, noting that Trump is scheduled to be on a call with governors across the country in the afternoon. Since that call is still on the agenda, he interpreted it as a sign the president is at least well enough to be working.
“Politics is politics, and we can disagree on policy issues, but on a human level, the president grew up in New York, from Queens. I know the first lady, I’ve spoken with her. So I sincerely wish them the best for a speedy recovery,” Cuomo said. “The president is supposed to be on that call [with the governors], which would be good news because it would mean he’s working, and the symptoms are mild.”
However, Cuomo later reported on WCBS 880 that Trump did not participate in the call — and that Vice President Mike Pence, who tested negative for COVID-19, ran it in the president’s absence.
“[O]n that briefing, the vice president got on the briefing call and said that the president asked the vice president to do it because the president has announced that he has tested positive for COVID,” Cuomo said. “He didn’t have any further comment than that. The vice president did the briefing.”
Cuomo told WCBS 880 there was no new information about Trump’s condition.
As the president convalesces, Cuomo continues to grapple with the surge in COVID-19 cases across hot spots in upstate Rockland and Orange counties, as well as in Brooklyn and Queens.
New York has paid particular attention this week to 20 ZIP codes where COVID-19 clusters have formed; the average infection rate in these locations is 6.4%. Beyond the hot zones, Cuomo noted, the infection rate for the rest of New York state is 1.03%.
The Brooklyn and Queens hot zones include areas of Borough Park, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Midwood, Windsor Terrace, Sheepshead Bay, Gerritsen Beach, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Rego Park and Forest Hills. City and state agencies have poured additional resources into many of these locations, including contact tracers, masks, hand sanitizer and literature, to inform the public to take additional precautions.
Cuomo repeated his earlier call this week that local governments must step up enforcement of the mask-wearing order that he signed back in April — and if they don’t, the state will pursue fines against the agencies. On Wednesday, he had also called upon local police to assign officers to a state-controlled task force if local governments weren’t willing to get the job done.
The statewide COVID-19 report for Oct. 1 found that 648 New Yorkers remain hospitalized with COVID-19, with 146 of them in intensive care and another 65 intubated. Seven New Yorkers died of the illness.
This story first appeared on amny.com.