Telethon raises $115M for New Yorkers impacted by COVID-19

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NEW YORK (AP) — Tina Fey shed tears after announcing that more than $115 million was raised toward supporting New Yorkers impacted by COVID-19 during a virtual telethon.

“Thank you, thank you,” said a tearful Fey, the host of the Rise Up New York! event Monday evening. The Emmy-winning actress along with other A-list celebrities from Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Lopez and Michael Strahan asked for donations to help relief and recovery efforts.

“Our city is under attack, but we’ve been here before,” Robert De Niro said. “In the last 20 years, both 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. You can take your best shot but you cannot break our spirit.”

The one-hour benefit was presented by the New York-based poverty fighting organization, Robin Hood, and iHeartMedia.

Robin Hood said all the donations will provide support for food, shelter, cash assistance, mental health, legal services and education.

“If you had breakfast today, you are better off than 2 million of your neighbors who woke up hungry,” Fey said.

Mariah Carey performed her 1992 song “Make It Happen.” She sang while her backup singers and pianist performed on separate screens to the upbeat tune.

“We can make it through this together,” Carey said.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Cynthia Erivo, Idina Menzel, Ben Platt and others performed a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s classic song “New York, New York.” Lopez introduced PS22 Chorus, a collection of New York elementary school students who sang Andra Day’s “Rise Up.”

“New York, I know your strength,” said Lopez, a New York native.

Spike Lee shared encouraging words that sports would return someday soon. Streisand and Audra McDonald showed the same optimism about New York City’s Theater District coming back “stronger than ever” after being closed due to the pandemic lockdown.

New York Giants greats including Strahan, Eli Manning, Phil Simms and Justin Tuck announced an opportunity through a sweepstakes for one fan to play a game of touch football with the players in their own backyard and get a Super Bowl ring. The winner of the sweepstakes and three friends will have a chance to play against the players.

Other musical performances included Sting’s “Message in a Bottle” and Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life.”

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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