New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will receive an Emmy Award, usually awarded to those who work in the television industry, for their use of the medium in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, one of the organizations that awards Emmy Awards, said Cuomo’s award, the Founder’s award, is “in recognition of his leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world.”
Previous winners of the award include Oprah Winfrey and former US Vice President Al Gore.
Cuomo said Friday that the recognition is “flattering” and that “it is flattering to the people of [New York]”. He joked that the reporters at the press conference “helped hone my presentation and acting skills.”
In the early months of the pandemic, when New York City was the center of the global pandemic, Cuomo’s popularity soared as people across the country tune in to his daily televised press briefings. His approval ratings rose to 77%, a record in his almost 10 years as governor, and he even developed a global following, especially compared to the chaotic briefings given by Donald Trump.
“He represents the kind of leadership that we should have in the presidency and we don’t have it,” said Jackie Speier, a congresswoman from California. New York Times in March.
But as the pandemic progressed, some of Cuomo’s fame and popularity waned. Instead, the governor began to come under fire for a directive he implemented in March that guided nursing homes, which eventually saw more than 6,600 deaths, about a quarter of all deaths in the city, to accept patients who had or they were suspected of having Covid. 19.
Cuomo amended the order in May, but at the time, nursing homes were admitting more than 6,000 Covid-positive patients, according to the state health department. While reports have said that nursing home staff, not other patients, were the leading cause of spread in nursing homes, some public health experts and nursing home executives have expressed skepticism about such research.
Then on Wednesday, the governor angrily lashed out at a news conference when a reporter asked Cuomo about the news that New York City public schools would be closing after a recent spike in cases in the city.
“Let’s try not to be obnoxious and offensive in your tone,” Cuomo told the reporter. When a fellow reporter said the question was valid, Cuomo replied, “Well, I really don’t care what you think.”
Some critics on Twitter, including some Democrats, are criticizing the recognition, saying it ignores the problems the state has experienced during the pandemic under Cuomo.
Max Berger, consultant and Democratic organizer, in Twitter posted caustically: “This award makes sense because Cuomo is not actually a competent and empathetic governor, he just plays one on television.”
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