Gov. Kathy Hochul took her COVID-awareness show on the road to Barclays Center on Tuesday, talking to both adults and children about the impending vaccination drive for kids ages 5 to 11.
The governor was introduced by John Abbamondi, CEO of BSE Global, the parent company of both Barclays Center and the Nets. Hochul began by praising Barclays for hosting vaccination events in the past, especially during the “dark early days” of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mindful that she was talking to kids as well as adults, the governor put things in simpler terms than usual.
For example, she said, “The CDC [Centers for Disease Control] Advisory Committee is meeting in Washington right now to vote on vaccinating children. Does everybody know what the CDC is?” Talking about masks, she said, “We hope that someday, you won’t have to wear those masks. That’s not to say that you don’t really look cool in them!”
Later, when introducing Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, she said, “Does everybody know what a lieutenant governor is? Brian Benjamin’s a really cool guy, and he’s a big shot!”
On a more serious note, Hochul talked about the importance of vaccination for children. “In Europe, there’s been a dramatic rise in COVID. In Britain, half of the new cases are for kids under the age of 15.”
She added that 60 percent of the school districts in the state say they will serve as COVID vaccination sites for kids, and that there will be many more pop-up sites. Barclays Center itself will also serve as a vaccination site for children — which brought her to her next announcement.
“Anyone who gets their vaccination here will receive two tickets to a game or other event at Barclays,” she said.
Throughout the news conference, she used sports phrases, like “We will not take our eye off the ball.” Benjamin, at one point, mixed metaphors, saying, “We need to get to the finish line.”
At the end of the news conference, Abbamondi gave Hochul and Benjamin Nets uniforms (calling them “the newest Nets players”), and then invited the kids onto the court to shoot baskets with the governor and lieutenant governor. Benjamin gave a fairly good accounting of himself on the court; Hochul, not as much.