Cuomo book on NY pandemic outbreak short on state missteps

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a ceremony to unveil the statue of the patron saint of immigrants, Mother Frances Cabrini, in Battery Park Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo condemned the federal government’s coronavirus response and lauded his own leadership efforts in a new book released Tuesday that offers a few new details — but not many — about New York’s battle against the pandemic.

The Democrat’s book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” delivers a retelling of his efforts to contain the virus as it ravaged his state in spring.

In it, Cuomo describes trying to placate President Donald Trump in order to get needed hospital beds, ventilators and other supplies for New York. He detailed the state’s success at rapidly ramping up testing capacity and his worry that New Yorkers wouldn’t heed calls to stay at home to help avoid a catastrophic surge in hospitalizations.

Cuomo also addresses a frequent criticism of his leadership style: that he is overly controlling.

“You show me a person who is not controlling, and I’ll show you a person who is probably not highly successful,” he wrote.

As for his mistakes, Cuomo concedes only a few. Among them, he said, he waited too long to mandate that New Yorkers wear masks.

Other problems with New York’s virus response get less ink, including the state’s struggles to help nursing homes acquire enough protective gear or staff. Cuomo said Republicans have unfairly politicized the thousands of patient deaths at New York nursing homes.

“We have seen how the virus is confronted and defeated,” he said. “New York didn’t do everything right. But there are lessons we can learn that will lead to victory.”

Much of the material in the book would be familiar to anyone who closely followed his daily press briefings at the height of the outbreak, which Cuomo praised as a model of transparency.

Cuomo hasn’t disclosed how much he was paid to write the book, which was published by Crown. He has said he intends to donate some proceeds to charity.

The book’s release comes amid a pandemic that is still sickening New Yorkers by the thousands.

Citing a spike in new infections, Cuomo last week reinstated restrictions on businesses, schools and religious gatherings in certain virus hot spots. More than 900 virus patients were in the hospital statewide on Monday, the highest total since June.

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