Each day since COVID-19 stepped up its march across the United States, I log onto Facebook and watch my governor’s live message to New York State. Gov. Cuomo has the gargantuan task of protecting American’s largest city, and its five densely populated boroughs and suburbs. He also must address his constituents north of NYC, including Westchester County, which saw the country’s first containment zone, as the epicenter of NY’s outbreak. This is where much of my family lives.
With heightened concern, I watch Gov. Cuomo throw everything he can possibly toss at this ever-changing health crisis. He wields the power of his office with messages like this about the coronavirus:
“You’re either ahead of it or you’re behind it,” he said. “And if you are behind, you never catch up. Government is this big slow machine with big gears that turn very slowly. If you don’t get that machine up and running beforehand, you can’t start it on time.”
Not only does he seem to be in his element as a leader, I find his action-packed NYer-style messages comforting. Will NY “flatten the curve” any faster than the rest of country? Only time will tell. But when Gov. Cuomo says, “panic is the most dangerous virus”, I find myself taking a long deep breath.
On Monday, Gov. Cuomo told reporters, “This is a national problem, and there are no national rules.”
The coronavirus has rapidly transformed into a gravely difficult political challenge, as all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, have detected coronavirus infections. State by state, America’s leaders are grappling with how to communicate to their constituents about the highly contagious virus.
A few of our Moms Clean Air Force team praised their state lawmaker’s response — and we’ve listened carefully to what our colleagues across the country are listening for from their leaders.
Celerah Hewes, Moms Clean Air Force New Mexico State Organizer:
New Mexico’s Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has been sending frequent communications about COVID-19 and posting updates on social media since she declared a statewide public health emergency on March 11. In the last week, she has issued five executive orders authorizing up to $3,250,000 of additional funding for emergency response and disaster relief efforts, including funding to benefit families and children impacted by school closures. In addition, Congresswoman Deb Haaland held a tele-Town Hall on COVID-19 (what it is, what to expect, and what to do) on Tuesday, March 17th. The New Mexico Department of Health website is up to date with the latest information about COVID-19 in the state, including numbers of tests issued, positive test results, best practices for avoiding exposure, and hotlines to call for assistance.
Tracy Sabatta, Moms Clean Air Force Ohio State Organizer:
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and the Director of the Ohio Department of Health Dr. Amy Acton have demonstrated strong leadership in responding to the spread of the coronavirus. Ohio has a strong, prestigious medical establishment respected the world over. Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton hold regularly scheduled press conferences 7 days a week to inform Ohioans on confirmed cases of the virus, testing progress, available resources, and new policies designed to reduce risk of exposure. The transparency and science-based activities of the DeWine Administration have been recognized nationally, and are expected to protect Ohioans to the greatest extent possible. Information is available on a newly designed website or via hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.
Heather McTeer Toney, Moms Clean Air Force National Field Director:
My mayor in Oxford, Mississippi, Robin Tannahill has been amazing. She’s is in a tough position of balancing closure of a major university and supporting small business in a town that relies on the University of Mississippi. She’s providing daily updates via social media and the news. The city is encouraging businesses to limit exposures by offering alternatives such as curbside service. Local community groups and churches are assisting in the distribution of food to school age children and the elderly.
How’s your state lawmaker addressing COVID-19?