Lt. Gov. Hochul tasked with taking over COVID-19 fight as delta variant surges
With less than two weeks until New York swears in a new governor, a big question is what Lt. Gov. Kathy Hogul will do to continue the fight against COVID-19.
Officials with Northwell Health say their coronavirus hospitalizations have more than doubled in the last few weeks, and right now many are hoping for clear guidance from the state to help slow the spread.
"I am well aware the circumstances in our state are frightening for people," says Hochul.
While Hochul didn't unveil any specific plans at her news conference Wednesday, she did stress the importance of vaccinations.
"More people being vaccinated is our key out of this," says Hochul. "And I'm going to be working with communities where the rates are higher in infection and the vaccination rates are lower."
Hempstead Pastor Sedgwick Easley comes from one of those communities and served on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's coronavirus task force. He says with Cuomo on his way out, there's currently no guidance when it comes to indoor masking and schools.
Easley hopes Hochul will change that.
"I hope that she's stern," says Easley. "I really hope she puts a mask mandate out. And I hope she gives us precise orders and directions of how to move forward."
Political analyst Mike Dawidziak says Hochul needs to have a strong stance against COVID-19 if she plans to run for governor in 2022.
"If she's going to be seen as somebody who can be the choice of the voters to be the governor beyond finishing out Cuomo's term it's important for her to show clear and strong leadership on this issue," says Dawidziak.
Northwell Health doctors say it's still important for people to be cautious even if there is no statewide mask mandate.