Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday crowed to reporters that his push for mask-wearing helped curb New York’s COVID-19 cases — while his entire panel of aides sat in the closed room without ever putting theirs on.
“What worked in the spring, and the reason you’re wearing a mask today, is because we told the truth, and New Yorkers responded,’’ the governor said at the more-than-hourlong Manhattan press conference.
Cuomo wasn’t wearing a mask at the time, nor were his five top aides on the dais, including state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras.
But the governor’s spokespeople, photographer and state trooper detail had masks on, as did all of the reporters in the room, which held about two dozen people in total.
The briefing was held by Cuomo to announce immediate emergency measures the state is taking to try to stave off another disastrous bout of the coronavirus amid surging cases and hospitalizations.
The panel’s flaunting of what would seem to be a no-brainer precaution comes after the CDC has warned on its website, “There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away.
“These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation.”
As coronavirus cases soared in the beginning of November, Dr. Emily Landon, the University of Chicago’s executive medical director for infection prevention and control, said studies have shown ventilation indoors is usually not enough to control the spread of the coronavirus without mask-wearing.
“So it seems that limiting indoor gatherings where people don’t wear masks is a key part to preventing COVID transmission — and it is,’’ she said at a press conference, according to video posted to ABC.
Cuomo was speaking most of the time at Monday’s presser, and he and his people were 6 feet apart.
But the room is so tight that video and photography recently had to be pooled because there just wasn’t enough space for more than a dozen or so reporters to safely distance.
Vivian Zayak, whose mom died in a Long Island nursing home April 1, seethed to The Post that Monday’s presser was an example of blatant “hypocrisy” by Cuomo.
“This is disgusting and infuriating,’’ she said. “His inner circle doesn’t wear masks while he cracks down on everyone else to wear masks.
“It’s a continued slap in the face to nursing home families and residents of New York who have to abide by these rules and restrictions.’’
A Queens pizzeria owner added of Cuomo, “Lead by example, Il Duce!”
The man said he and his workers wear masks all day around hot ovens.
“I’m more than welcome to have the governor and his top people stand by our 600-degree oven for 10 hours with their masks on,’’ the man said. “They couldn’t wear masks for a press conference? They really suck.”
Some of Cuomo’s panel of aides and experts at his near-daily coronavirus briefings have typically worn their masks at times during the briefings.
The governor said Monday that nearly two-thirds of the state’s COVID-19 cases stem from “spreader’’ small gatherings.
Also with him at the press conference were state budget director Robert Mujica, Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa and state Department of Financial Services honcho Gareth Rhodes.
When the governor was called on the carpet by a reporter in early October for not wearing a mask himself, he replied, “The rule is 6 feet social distancing.
“Do you want to change the rule? If there’s new data, then we should come up with a new law.’’
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to questions from The Post about Monday’s situation.