Lessons From New York

The state has crushed the curve. Other governors need to pay attention.

Andy Slavitt
Medium Coronavirus Blog
5 min readJul 14, 2020


Credit: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

There are successful examples of cities and states taking on Covid-19. And there is one story like no others: New York.

New York did not get off to a good start. In fact, it was the example of what not to do. California acted six days earlier than New York did when they had cases hit. The mayor clearly didn’t take it seriously, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo was slower to act.

So some thought it was unfair that Cuomo drew such high praise for his handling of the crisis. He earned it for one reason. He talked to people.

At the time, he was doing what Angela Merkel, Jacinda Ardern, Katrin Jakobsdottir, and others around the world were doing and sharing:

  • This situation is going to be difficult
  • I know it will be hard for you
  • Here’s what we need to do and why
  • We will pull through this

There’s something else. He didn’t lie. He didn’t sell. He didn’t pat himself on the back or avoid responsibility. We had that already. He told the hard truths. He showed data. He asked for help. He demonstrated some empathy and some effort. And the country needed that.