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You can’t keep New Yorkers down for long.
While millions in the city have willingly locked down for the past two months to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the mood is quickly changing.
On Saturday, several hundred people, mostly small business owners, gathered on Staten Island to protest Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s closure of businesses deemed “non-essential.”
“Stand up to them! Do not lay down for them!” Staten Island business owner Steve Margarella yelled to a cheering crowd, The New York Post reported.
“Who is going to stand with me, who is going to swing their doors open on Monday and say, ‘I’m going in? You want me? Come and get me. I’m feeding my men, I’m feeding my family. I’m paying my bills and I’m not gonna’ let you stop me.'”
He said de Blasio “has had his boots on our throats” for the past four years. And he called Cuomo “Il Duce,” which was Mussolini’s nickname.
The parking lot of Showplace Entertainment Center in Staten Island filled up with cars and motorcycles, many bearing American flags while tunes from Motley Crue and Billy Idol blared over the loudspeaker before the noon kick-off.
“We want it all opened up so we can work,” said a sign company owner who didn’t want to give his name. “80,000 died so far. If we put down another 80,000 in the six months it would take to create a vaccine, at least we would have our country. [The 80,000 people] will go down as American heroes.”
Cuomo, who has been widely praised by the mainstream media, is beginning to come under fire — for good reason.
New York state has the most coronavirus cases in the United States. There have been 27,169 COVID-19 deaths in the state, the fourth most populous in the U.S. with more than 19 million people. But California, the most populous state at nearly 40 million residents, has had just 2,789 deaths. Texas, second-most populous at about 29 million, has had only 1,121 deaths. And Florida, No. 3 on the list at 21 million and home to many elderly residents, comes in between the two, at 1,779 COVID-19 deaths.
New York state has seen more nursing home deaths from the coronavirus than any other state after Cuomo enacted a state directive that required nursing homes to take in any and all coronavirus patients. The virus then swept through the most vulnerable population.
“New York has seen over 5,300 coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes, which is about one-fifth of the nation’s total of nursing home deaths (about 26,000). The Associated Press reports an average of 20 to 25 nursing home deaths per day in the state of New York,” The Associated Press wrote Monday.
And the governor has also come under fire for what he’s doing to all the health care workers who came to the city from across the country for help. He announced last week that he’ll be sending an income tax bill to every out-of-state health care worker, to collect income taxes on any money they made from other sources while serving as volunteers in New York.
Under state law, anyone who works in New York for more than 14 days has to pay state income taxes — and Cuomo made clear he wouldn’t waive that provision.
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