Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday got a prominent and powerful validator for his COVID-19 strategy: Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The nation's top infectious disease expert endorsed the governor's efforts to control the spread of the virus, videoconferencing into a news conference in New York City.
The virus is once again surging throughout the United States and in New York, though the state, Cuomo has pointed out, has one of the lowest positive rates in the country.
Fauci in large part attributed this to New York being hit hard by the pandemic early on and implementing restrictions to control the spread.
"You recovered from that - was after you got hit badly, your baseline level went way, way down and very, very low, and then you did things which were the appropriate way to avoid getting, resurging," Fauci said.
"So the bad news and it's painful for me to see it from a distance to my place of birth, but you guys got really slammed and then you rebounded. And you rebounded in a way that you kept your test positivity low because you did the prudent things that you need to do. I was following it from here in Washington and I was seeing that whenever it looked like things were getting a little out of hand, you'd tighten the rope a little bit and then when things went back, you eased up a little bit. So I'm not surprised that your infection rate is really low because I think you were doing the right things after you had a really serious hit in the beginning when you were there in the late-winter, early-spring."
Cuomo on Monday outlined a plan to expand hospital capacity and potentially further restrict indoor dining if a region's health care network is overwhelmed.
Both Fauci and Cuomo are also in synch on another key concern: Making sure enough adults who are healthy enough to do so take the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available. Fauci expects that will be sometime around April, with the effort lasting through the spring.
And both are hoping for a public education campaign that especially focuses on communities of color having access to the vaccine.
"That's what I'm hoping for, and that's the reason why it's so important to extend ourselves out to the community, particularly to the Black, African-American, Latino, the people who are undocumented, the people who we really need to get vaccinated," Fauci said.