New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo conducts a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., after a meeting with President Trump at the White House on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call | Getty Images

Just one week before New York City, the epicenter of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, is set to ease restrictions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the George Floyd protests that rocked the city over the weekend threaten to spread infection. 

“We’re talking about roepening in one week in New York City and now we’re seeing these mass gatherings over the past several nights that could in fact exacerbate the Covid-19 spread,” Cuomo said at a news briefing Monday. 

“We spent all this time closed down, locked down, masked, socially distanced and then you turn on the TV and you see these mass gatherings that could potentially be infecting hundreds and hundreds of people after everything that we have done,” he added.

New York City has endured the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world, with the virus infecting more than 203,300 people in the city and killing at least 29,784 people so far. The coronavirus has disproportionately hit minorities harder than white people, leading to higher infection and death rates in communities of color, due to a lack of resources and scarcity of quality health care. He said it’s just another example of institutionalized discrimination in the country that fueled outrage after Floyd’s death.

“Look at what happened with this Covid infection rate, nationwide,” he said. “More African Americans infected. More African Americans dead proportionately than white Americans.”

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