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Cuomo Uses Hundreds of Handmade Masks To Decorate Briefing Backdrop Instead of Distributing Them

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Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York revealed a decorative display on Wednesday made from hundreds of hand-made protective masks sent to the state in hopes of preventing public health resource shortages.

Cautiously optimistic the hard-hit state may finally have seen the worst of the ongoing pandemic, Cuomo took a moment during his daily news conference to applaud citizens across the nation for coming together and donating whatever they could to aid New York’s coronavirus response effort.

“America was when I said, ‘We need help in our emergency rooms and hospitals,’ and 95,000 nurses and doctors from across the nation said, ‘We will come to New York to help,'” Cuomo said. “That’s America. That’s who we are and that’s who we have shown ourselves to be in the middle of this crisis.”

“The crisis brings out the best and the worst? Yes! And the best of America is beautiful,” he said.

According to Cuomo, nothing better exemplified that than the display he was about to unveil: a collage of donated medical masks pinned to the wall.

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“That’s a self-portrait of America,” the governor said. “You know what it spells? It spells love. That’s what it spells. You have to have to look carefully, but that’s what the American people are saying.”

The governor followed up on Twitter shortly after his address, assuring the public “good homes” would be found for the masks.

Still, the display was met with mixed responses on social media.

While some suggested the moment had been “moving” or even tear-inducing, others raised concerns that the now-punctured masks could have been distributed to those still in need of them, alongside the thousands of others Cuomo said had been donated.

“Cuomo just unveiled a….canvas?…quilt?….wall hanging? made of cloth masks shipped to New York by good samaritans,” Brooklyn-based reporter Amanda Ottaway said. “It’s not clear why they have not been distributed to people yet.”

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Video producer, podcast host and Brooklyn native Chris Wade also poked fun at the display, lofting similar criticisms.

“[D]idn’t we joke on monday’s ep that Cuomo was putting the masks he got in the mail straight into the trash? Well, basically,” Wade wrote.

As hospitalizations and confirmed coronavirus cases began to skyrocket when the pandemic first took root in the United States, Cuomo was quick to stress New York’s outsized need for personal protective equipment and ventilators, attacking President Donald Trump on occasion for allegedly not doing enough to aid in the state’s resource procurement.

In March, the governor scoffed at the federal provision of 400 ventilators.

“Four hundred ventilators? I need 30,000 ventilators,” Cuomo said at a news conference in March. “You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators? You’re missing the magnitude of the problem.”

Do you think this is a distasteful display considering some Americans are still in need of masks?

He would later exercise more drastic rhetoric, Politico reported, telling federal officials they would have to “pick the 26,000 people who are going to die” if more resources were not sent.

New York was hardest-hit despite strict social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home protocol, seeing 23,384 deaths and 299,691 confirmed cases as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins.

It seems, however, that in spite of these staggering numbers, the state has more than fulfilled its need for public health resources, able earlier this month to provide 150 ventilators to Maryland and Michigan.

The Western Journal reached out to Cuomo’s office for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He has since covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal, and now focuses his reporting on Congress and the national campaign trail. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.




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