Coronavirus News: New York provides death benefits for public heroes who died from COVID-19

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that state and local governments will provide death benefits for public heroes who died from COVID-19 during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We want to make sure we remember them and thank our heroes of today," Cuomo said. "They did extraordinary service to allow us to continue doing what we're doing."

Cuomo thanked several frontline workers who showed up for their honorable services during his press conference at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City for a Memorial Day tribute and his daily coronavirus briefing.

"I know that I feel a grave responsibility to our frontline workers, our essential workers who understood the dangers of this COVID virus, but went to work anyway because we needed them to," he said. "We needed the nurses and the doctors to perform phenomenal service in the hospitals. We needed the police, the fire department, the EMS to show up. We needed the frontline workers in grocery stores to show up, so others could stay home and be safe."

Cuomo said the state's pension fund will pay for those benefits for New York public, county and state employees.

He called on the federal government to step up as well, and dedicate federal funds and hazard pay to essential workers.

"I also believe the federal government should be doing the same, honoring the front line workers, showing Americans that we appreciate what you did," Cuomo said. "That you showed up when it was hard, that you worked when it was hard."

Cuomo said it would be a way for the federal government to say "thank you" to those essential workers.

"It's a way of showing Americans that when there is a next time and there is a next time, that we truly appreciate those people who show up and do their duty," the governor said.

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