Samantha Giambalvo, a traveling nurse from Alabama who has been working in New York since April 6, and other colleagues wave as firefighters and residents show appreciation for healthcare workers at NYU Langone Medical Center amid the COVID-19 outbreak in New York, the United States, May 9, 2020. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)
New York state and local governments will provide death benefits for those frontline workers who died from COVID-19, said Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday, also the country's annual Memorial Day.
He began with a moment of silence to honor the fallen veterans of the United States, including those who lost their lives to COVID-19.
"I personally feel a grave responsibility to our frontline and essential workers who understood the dangers of this virus, but went to work anyway because we needed them to," said Cuomo.
He noted that those covered by the benefits include public health care workers, police workers, EMS workers, fire department workers, among other frontline workers who got infected with the virus while working during the pandemic and finally succumbed to it.
"And we're going to make sure that every government in the State of New York provides death benefits to those public heroes who died from COVID-19 during this emergency," he added.
Cuomo also called on the federal government to provide dedicated federal funding for hazard pay to frontline workers "as a way of saying 'thank you.'"
The briefing was held at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, an aircraft carrier docking by the west side of Manhattan, to mark the special day.
Long Island and Mid-Hudson in New York state are ready to restart the economy later this week, and the governor has said he expects New York City to follow suit in early June.
The state now allows gatherings with up to 10 people following the governor's order last Friday. On Monday, New Yorkers held small ceremonies and car convoys to honor Memorial Day instead of parades as they traditionally did.
The state lost 96 people to COVID-19 the previous day, and other major indicators such as total hospitalizations and net change in hospitalizations kept trending down.
Another 1,249 cases were confirmed, bringing the state's total to 362,764 as of Monday afternoon, state data showed.