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Cuomo envisions ‘new normal,’ warns N.Y. coronavirus crisis will only be over ‘when we have a vaccine’

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 4/15/2020 Denis Slattery

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo laid the groundwork Wednesday to begin “building a bridge” toward a “new normal" and outlined a gradual reopening of economic activity amid the coronavirus crisis.

The governor again said New York will need federal help to ramp up testing and the tracing of potential infections in the coming months as the state eases it’s strict stay-at-home orders and allows some businesses to reopen.

“Where we’re going, it’s not a reopening in that we’re going to reopen what was. We’re going to a different place, a better place, a new normal,” Cuomo said. “We are moving to a more challenging place, but potentially a better place.”

The state will first begin determining which groups of businesses are essential to the economy and which companies are able to protect employees and the public from further spreading the virus.

Other steps will follow, Cuomo said, before going on a long soliloquy about bridge-building that centered on his experience replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge with a new span named after his father, the late governor Mario Cuomo.

After a public back-and-forth with President Trump over who has the authority to kick start the economy, Cuomo said federal help will be crucial to expand testing.

“The more testing, the more open the economy,” Cuomo said. “It’s all a calibration to the public health, but it’s going to be a gradual increasing of economic activity.”

First responders and law enforcement will get priority for antibody testing, the governor added, noting he recently spoke to Patrolman’s Benevolent Association leader Pat Lynch about the NYPD’s needs.

The NYPD on Tuesday said 6,372 officers were out sick, which accounts for 17.6% of the department’s uniformed workforce.

Lynch immediately applauded the governor’s comments.

“Priority testing for police officers will provide important intelligence about how this virus has spread and who is still at risk,” he said in a statement. “It will also ensure that we are not silently spreading the disease to our colleagues or the communities we serve.”

Cuomo cautioned that any steps toward reopening will be gradual and emphasized the fact that he doesn’t see an end to the pandemic until there is a coronavirus vaccine.

“It’s over when we have a vaccine," he said. "It’s over when people know I am 100% safe and I don’t have to worry about it. When is that? When we have a vaccine. When do we have a vaccine? 12-18 months.”

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