Two Indian-Americans in Cuomo’s Blue Ribbon Commission to jumpstart economy

indica News Bureau-


Making plans to jumpstart the economy that is badly hit because of the coronavirus pandemic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian-American physician Siddhartha Mukherjee and compatriot higher education leader Satish Tripathias members of the commission that will focus upon these plans.

Cuomo on Sunday announced that the state’s Blue-Ribbon Commission, a 15-member body, chaired by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, will also focus on improving tele-health and broadband access using new, innovative technologies.

The will include Mukherjee, Tripathi and other eminent leaders namely Chair of Rockefeller Foundation Richard Parsons, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker and President of Cornell University Martha Pollack and IBM Chair Ginny Rommety.

India-born Mukherjee is a hematologist and oncologist and an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center who bagged the Pulitzer in 2011 for his book ‘The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.’

Tripathi is the President of University at Buffalo, State University of New York. According to his profile on the university website, Tripathi is a leader in the national higher education community and serves on the board of directors for the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

Tripathi graduated from Banaras Hindu University and holds three master’s degrees – one in computer science from the University of Toronto and two in statistics from the University of Alberta and Banaras Hindu University

Cuomo had tapped Schmidt to head the commission that will look into how the state’s economy can recover, taking into account lessons learned from the COVID19 pandemic.

It is going to be about the government working with the private sector, with businesses to jumpstart the economy, to stimulate it, to get some big projects going that get the business sector engaged and confident and believing once again.

“How do you improve the mass transit system? How about new technology for education? How about the new telemedicine? We talk about a new health care system that can do testing and tracing and has surge capacity and hospital beds. Let’s build that new public health system and let the government get ahead of it and let the government lead the way,” Cuomo said.

The novel coronavirus has hard-hit New York and the state’s economic health has deteriorated, and it faces a difficult and painful recovery without significant help from the federal government, according to the Voice of America.

In April, Cuomo said, “We are at a point financially where we have a USD 10 (billion) to USD 15 billion deficit. We have real financial problems right now.”

The northeastern state of 19.5 million people has seen a record 1.2 million unemployment claims filed in April, since the virus started spreading rapidly and the state ‘paused’ its nonessential businesses and workforce to contain the outbreak, leading to a drying up of revenue, the report said.

On March 25, the US Senate passed a USD 2.2 trillion stimulus package to address the negative economic impact of the coronavirus.

New York, which leads the nation in confirmed cases and hospitalizations, received the only USD 3.8 billion, the report added.

The shuttering of so many businesses has crippled the state’s thriving economy, which had a GDP of more than USD 1.5 trillion in 2017, according to the New York state comptroller’s website.

Despite the high number of cases in the New York State, regions across the state are gradually beginning to re-open as daily hospitalizations, ICU admissions and daily death numbers slow down.

“The total number of hospitalizations is down, that’s good news. The rolling average of hospitalizations is down, that’s good news. The intubations are down and the new cases are up a little bit on the rolling average, but all part of the decline. That’s all good news. The number of deaths ticked up, which is terrible news, but the overall line is still good,” Cuomo said, adding that 109 New Yorkers lost their lives on Sunday due to COVID-19.

On Saturday, New York reported 84 deaths from the novel coronavirus, the first time since March 24 that fewer than 100 people died in a single day from COVID-19.

“It’s not official. I don’t even know if it was 100 percent accurate. But in my head I was always looking to get under 100. And under 100 doesn’t do any good for those 84 families that are feeling the pain. But for me it’s just a sign that we’re making real progress and I feel good about that,” Cuomo had said.