A Series of Reassuring and Oddly Endearing PowerPoints from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo’s response to coronavirus may be imperfect, but his daily presentations are my coping mechanism.

As of Monday, there are nearly 40,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States. More than half of them are in New York, making it the epicenter of America’s rapidly developing pandemic. Though New York Gov. Cuomo has long been resistant to ordering a shelter-in-place, last week he issued an executive order advising New Yorkers to “stay home as much as possible,” banning large gatherings and shutting down nonessential businesses.  On Monday morning, Gov. Cuomo instructed hospitals to increase capacity by at least 50 percent and requested retired medical professionals temporarily come out of retirement to assist overburdened frontline medical workers. 

Throughout all of this, Cuomo is emerging as a national source of guidance. His daily coronavirus press briefings have become “appointment viewing”  for New Yorkers and beyond (I stream them from California). Each one runs about an hour, and typically involves Cuomo, with the help of his signature PowerPoint slides, running through the numbers of confirmed cases and hospitalizations, a summary of actions the state is taking to “flatten the curve,” and reassurances that New York—and the country at large—will only be a better place after all of this is over. Then he takes questions from journalists, who sit in chairs strategically placed at least six feet apart. 

His calm authority is in direct contrast to President Trump’s tantrum-esque responses to the press when asked about the pandemic, leading one media columnist to describe Cuomo as “The Control Freak We Need Right Now.” Some corners of the internet are even debating whether the tough-talking Queens native, known for bullying his dissidents and most recently, using prison labor to manufacture hand sanitizer, is hot. As Rebecca Fishbein wrote for Jezebel, “when I stream his presser on the governor’s website—every day around 11:30 a.m., complete with a PowerPoint presentation—I feel comforted. I feel alive. I feel protected. I feel… butterflies.”

This is neither the time nor place to litigate whether Cuomo is hot, but it’s worth highlighting how his PowerPoints, complete with reassuring platitudes and some strategic clip art, are oddly charming and a tiny source of comfort while the country scrambles to address a deadly pandemic. Here are a few of my favorite slides:

 

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.