By: Hellen Zaboulani
When the pandemic hit, shortly after claiming New York as the epicenter of the virus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched his live daily coronavirus briefings. He soon understood that his words were being watched not only by New Yorkers. “People were watching the briefings not only across the country but across the world,” Cuomo writes in his upcoming book ‘American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic’. “I was deluged with phone calls, e-mails, texts and letters from every state in the nation and countries I have never even visited. It was remarkable and touching. Across the country, people were expressing their support in any way they could. People sent baked goods, poems, prayers.”
As per a recent article in the NY Post, as “citizens from all walks of life reached out,” Cuomo was truly fazed when “the Fonz” gave him a call. “I mentioned to someone that I was a fan of the Fonz from ‘Happy Days,’ ” writes Cuomo, “and the next thing I know, Henry Winkler called.”
The governor says that other celebrities also got in touch, including Robert Redford and Winston Churchill’s granddaughter, Edwina Sandys. Cuomo also noted that he heard from a retired farmer in Kansas, who watched the briefings and was moved to donate his only spare N95 mask, gifting it to a New York doctor or nurse. The farmer has since then been identified as Dennis Ruhnke, and he ended up giving a commencement speech at Kansas State, his alma mater. The school even granted Ruhnke a degree after hearing that he’d been compelled to leave the college in order to take care of his family farm after his father’s passing. “I called Mr. Ruhnke to congratulate him and his humility overwhelmed me,” Cuomo writes.
Cuomo’s book, which comes out Tuesday October 13, “tells the riveting story of how he took charge in the fight against COVID-19 as New York became the epicenter of the pandemic, offering hard-won lessons in leadership and his vision for the path forward”, as per the book’s description on Amazon. On Monday, before his book release, he told Today, that in his 320-page book he shares his thoughts about the possibility of another shutdown, acknowledges some of his own mistakes, and criticizes President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic. “It’s incredible how little we have learned in seven months,” says the governor.