Andrew Cuomo Says He Hasn't Been Able to See His Mom & Daughter During the Coronavirus Pandemic

"I constantly say to myself, 'What else should I be doing? What else could I be doing?' " the New York governor told Rolling Stone in a new cover story

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t been able to visit his mother and one of his three daughters while he’s been helping guide the state through the coronavirus pandemic that’s battered the greater New York City area.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Cuomo was asked, “What’s been personally hardest for you?”

“I haven’t been able to see my mother. I’m not with one of my daughters. That on a personal level is very taxing,” he said. Family matriarch Matilda Cuomo, the widow of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, is 88.

The younger Gov. Cuomo shares daughters Cara, Mariah and Michaela with ex-wife Kerry Kennedy.

The 62-year-old New York leader appears on the cover of this month’s Rolling Stone after his coronavirus response in a state that is now the epicenter of the epicenter of the pandemic (plus his run-ins with President Donald Trump) catapulted him into the national spotlight.

Cuomo’s conspicuously candid and cool-headed communication style — with daily press briefings and meme-able slide presentations — has drawn wide notice even while observers debate the wisdom of parts of the state’s strategy, especially in the early days.

Andrew Cuomo and his mother
From left: Matilda and Andrew Cuomo. Andrew Cuomo/Instagram

The respiratory illness struck N.Y.C. particularly hard, according to a New York Times tracker following the latest data.

The novel virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, has killed at least 9,385 people since the state confirmed the first coronavirus death in mid-March and it’s infected more than 188,000 others across the state, with the vast majority of cases concentrated in and around the city.

Neighboring New Jersey has some 61,000 confirmed cases of the virus. No other state has more than 26,000 cases.

“I constantly say to myself, ‘What else should I be doing? What else could I be doing?’ ” Cuomo told Rolling Stone. “People are dying every day, and I don’t know what else to do. And I know that tomorrow more people will die. And I don’t know what else to do. And that is a terrible weight, and just an oppressive burden.”

Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo/Instagram

Cuomo’s younger brother, the CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, said late last month that he had contracted the virus.

It is the great equalizer,” the governor told reporters afterward. “I don’t care how smart, how rich, how powerful you think you are, I don’t care how young, how old. This virus is the great equalizer.”

Cuomo’s mother’s age makes her more vulnerable to the virus.

Late last month, he introduced “Matilda’s Law” — a state order designed to help protect people over 70 years old and those with pre-existing conditions that compromise their immune systems. Both groups are at higher risk from the pandemic, health experts say.

“The measure requires this group of New Yorkers to stay home and limit home visitation to immediate family members or close friends in need of emergency assistance,” according to the governor’s office.

Federal health officials are projecting at least tens of thousands of deaths nationwide because of the virus, though those numbers are always in flux.

Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told the Today show that he believed social distancing had possibly lowered the death toll from hundreds of thousands to about 60,000.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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