Nearly two years of COVID-19 has convinced New York Gov. Kathy Hochul that masking is just as normal as lacing up your sneakers.
The Democratic governor addressed the timeline for removing mask mandates in New York schools Friday, during a press conference at the Brookhaven National Lab.
“My daughter had a meltdown about having to put sneakers on to go to kindergarten,” Hochul said. “She got used to wearing sneakers in school. They adapt better than adults do.”
Hochul’s assertion has received criticism on Twitter, including from Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin.
“Andrew Cuomo 2.0 is somehow even worse than the original,” Zeldin tweeted. “She just doesn’t get it at all. Enough! After you and I FIRE Kathy Hochul this November 8th, on Day ONE, ALL COVID related vaccine and mask mandates END.”
As several Long Island officials pushback on Hochul’s mandate, she called out politicians who are letting policy get in the way of saving lives.
“I find it phenomenally disappointing that people are willing to play politics with children’s lives,” Hochul said. “Schools are safe and why are they safe? Because people have been wearing masks. Kids are wearing masks and they’re adapting to it. Not something we’re going to keep much longer, we know we don’t have to, but this has kept children safe and in a learning environment.”
New York’s statewide mask mandate is currently in effect through Feb. 1. The height of the Omicron variant in the state appears to be on a downslope, as New York last reported 10,264 cases Tuesday. That’s the lowest reported amount since mid December.
“I will tell you about Feb. 1 on Jan. 31. I really do need to wait until that time,” Hochul said. “Trend is looking good and I’m an optimist, but I saw a very good trend just in early November, and then everything changed.”