(CBS NEWS) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Saturday granting death benefits to the families of police officers, public health workers and other front-line workers who have died of the coronavirus.
“You gave your lives for us, we will be there for your families going forward,” Cuomo said as he signed the legislation at his daily briefing on the virus.
The bill passed by state lawmakers this past week provides an accidental death benefit that is more substantial than the regular death benefit that public workers’ families receive. Dozens of police officers, public health workers, transit workers and paramedics have died of COVID-19 in the months since New York became the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States.
Cuomo said 67 people died of COVID-19 in the state on Friday, the same number as Thursday and a steep drop from the height of New York’s outbreak in April when more than 700 people were dying of the virus daily.
Speaking in the Bronx, Cuomo said he will focus this week on providing more testing for the coronavirus and more supplies like masks to neighborhoods in the outer boroughs of New York City where infection rates remain stubbornly high.
Cuomo said he is working with the leaders of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to make sure the agency is prepared for when New York City enters the first phase of loosening coronavirus restrictions on June 8. “They have another week of work to do and they will be ready,” he said.