Gov. Andrew Cuomo says a new study proves how effective wearing masks are from protecting New Yorkers from getting infected with COVID-19.

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On Wednesday during his COVID-19 briefing, Cuomo said the hospitalizations rate is down while new COVID hospital cases are flat across the state.

He announced 231 New Yorkers died from the illness since the last count, bringing the statewide total to 20,828.

He said officials tested 25 downstate health care facilities for COVID antibodies. The percentage of healthcare workers with the antibodies are mostly lower than the general population percentage. This surprised Cuomo because many medical professionals interact with COVID-19 patients every day.

Hospital Antibody Testing Results

  • Westchester: 6.8%
  • New York City: 12.2%
  • Long Island: 11.1%

General Population Antibody Testing Results

  • Westchester: 13.8%
  • New York City: 19.9%
  • Long Island: 11.4%

Cuomo says these findings should show everyone how important it is to wear masks.

"It shows how important the masks, the gloves and the sanitizer are. Those masks work. If they work for front line workers, they're going to work for people in their day to day lives," Cuomo said during his COVID-19 briefing from Westchester County.

Cuomo also announced the state will extend the moratorium on evictions for those facing COVID-related hardship for an additional 60 days. The mandate was gonna expire in June but has now been extended until August 20.

The evictions ban until Aug. 20 applies for residential and commercial renters, Cuomo said. The rent money will eventually have to be repaid, but he didn't announce when the owed rent money will have to be paid.

He also announced renters facing a COVID-related money issue can use their security deposit as payment and repay the deposit over time.

Cuomo understands the state must reopen, but his concern is figuring out how to reopen while also saving lives.

"We have to reopen, get the economy running and we have to protect public health. This is not a situation where you can go to the American people and say how many lives are you willing to lose to reopen the economy," Cuomo said. "I understand I'm going to die. I just don't want to die now or next week and I don't want to die because I contact the COVID virus unnecessarily."