New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says frontline workers should be given federal “hazard pay” during the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking at his daily press briefing, Governor Cuomo said healthcare staff and police officers were among workers who he thought should be given additional money by the US government.
He went on to praise cleaning staff and delivery drivers for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
:: Listen to Divided States on Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Spreaker
“‘Thanks’ is nice, but also recognition of their efforts and they’re sacrifice is also appropriate,” he said.
“They’re the ones who are carrying us through the crisis and this crisis is not over.”
Mr Cuomo said that 40% of frontline workers in New York are people of colour and deserve to be paid more.
More from Covid-19
Coronavirus: Fears for vulnerable children as thousands miss first day of new school term
Coronavirus: US oil price plunges below zero for first time in history as pandemic hits demand
Coronavirus: Cath Kidston deal spells shop closures and job losses
Coronavirus measures are ‘paying off’ in Russia as two million tests take place
Coronavirus: GPs say people could be ignoring early warning signs of cancer due to fears of COVID-19
Coronavirus furlough scheme: 140,000 firms apply for help to pay a million workers
“If you look at who they are and the equity and fairness of what has happened, I think any reasonable person would say we should right this wrong,” he said.
The United States currently has over 750,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 40,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Stay-at-home orders have been imposed by leaders in 42 states, including New York, which has seen the highest number of cases, as political leaders try to prevent the virus spreading further.
Earlier on Monday the Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio said all non-essential events in the city would be cancelled until the end of June.
The lockdowns have not met with universal support however, with protests taking place in several states against the strict new measures.
President Trump has even appeared to encourage people to break the rules, calling on his supporters to “liberate” states from lockdown.
Speaking at the briefing, Governor Cuomo said he understood why people were angry about the situation.
“You don’t need protests to convince anyone in this country that we have get back to work and we have to get the economy going and we have to get out of our homes. Nobody,” he said.
But, he added, lifting the restrictions had to be done carefully in order to prevent further outbreaks.