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In spring 2020, New York City became the acknowledged epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. To keep residents informed, Governor Cuomo conducted a streak of 111 daily press briefings reporting critical information about the status of the pandemic in the State at large, and New York City in particular. We show that through these briefings Governor Cuomo introduced an audience of New Yorkers and others to concepts basic to data-driven decision making such as data, science, models, and projections, and in so doing claimed that his decisions were unrelated to politics or whim. But we further suggest that data-driven decision making is not always immune from politics and human frailty in government. We conclude that basing policy decisions on data requires that policymakers insure the creation of a resilient and trustworthy health care data infrastructure to function as the scaffolding upon which policy making takes place.


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