Sep 16, 2020
Andrew Cuomo COVID-19 Announcement Transcript September 16
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave a coronavirus announcement from Long Island on September 16. Read the transcript of his remarks below.
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Andrew Cuomo: (00:00)
I think you all can appreciate that. You know it’s been a bizarre summer when this is the first time we’ve been on the border all summer, first time I’m on the boat which is saying something for me. We have a lot of great friends here today and it’s a good day. I want to start by acknowledging Commissioner Basil Seggos who is doing a great job. We have Kelly Cummings who is the Director of Operations who just makes things happen and that’s so important especially now. We have our great Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, sporting her Islanders mask, go Islanders, what a game last night. We’re going to do it. We are going to do it. I believe it, that’s the New York spirit. Let’s thank Captain Nick [Dionisio 00:00:52] and the Atlantic Pearl for hosting us today. Thank you very much Captain. We have my colleagues from Albany, we have Senator John Brooks, Senator Gaughran, Senator Kaminsky, Senator Kaplan, Senator Martinez and Senator Thomas and Assemblyman Steve Englebright. Thank you all very much for being out today.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:15)
Let me talk about even in this setting, we’re still dealing with COVID obviously. Today is Day 200 that we’ve been dealing with COVID since it started. We are the most advanced state in the nation in terms of doing testing. People talk about COVID, how are we doing. In New York, we know how we’re doing because we have data. We have more numbers than any state, more numbers than any nation on the globe pro rata. Yesterday we did about 75,000 tests statewide. To give you an idea of what 75,000 tests means, when we first started COVID, we had the capacity to do 500 tests per day, 500. We’re now up to 75,000 tests. No one had ever talked about testing like this before and many of the other states are still struggling because frankly they haven’t been able to come up to speed the way we have. But 75,000 tests, statewide the infection rate was .87% which is very good. We had four New Yorkers who we lost yesterday from COVID, 483 who are hospitalized, which is just about where it was, 138 people being ICU which is actually down a couple which is good news. Long Island, the infection rate was 1.3% yesterday.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:57)
Our calibration now between managing COVID and opening businesses, right? That’s an ongoing tension. We’re opening businesses all across the state. We have precautions, we have regulations on opening businesses, but every business wants to be open. Movie theaters want to open, concert theaters want to open. New Yorkers want to get back to life, normal life. Yes I understand, but we’re not yet at a point where we can get back to normal life. That is just the fact. They talk about the new normal. We still have to manage COVID. While it’s not a crisis the way it was, it’s not a crisis the way it was, because we managed it. Had we not done what we are doing, it would have been a crisis. You look at these other states where you see the infection rate going through the roof, what’s the difference between those states and New York? The virus is the same, it’s just that we are managing it and we are informed and we’re taking the tests and we’re disciplined.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:18)
What is the calibration between opening businesses and managing COVID? It’s actually as simple as math. It is a mathematical equation. We don’t want to see the COVID infection rate go over 1% for any period of time. So calibrate the economic activity, open as much economic activity as you can to go up to that 1% infection rate. 1% means one person is actually infecting one other person. That is a rate of spread that you can manage. That’s what 1% means. So keep opening up economic activity to get right up to that 1%. You want to drive from here to Pennsylvania as fast as you can. Fine, the speed limit is 55 miles an hour. Do 55 miles an hour all the way. Do [inaudible 00:05:38]. So we are right up at that limit of 1%. Why don’t you open more movie theaters, open more concerts? You’re at 1%. Why don’t you increase restaurant percentages? You’re at 1%. It’s not like we have a margin of error here, my friends. We are right up against it, and that’s the smart calibration on managing COVID. So do as much economic activity as you can without going back into an outbreak crisis.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:45)
By the way, if you go back into an outbreak crisis, you know what you do then? You have to close down the economic activity that you opened. That’s what happened in all these other states. We’re going to increase economic activity right away, let’s get back to normal. Bang, the infection rate went right back up, they had to close everything back down. That is the last thing we want to do, but when people say we want to get back to normal, we want to do more, we are doing as much as we can and still managing the infection rate and you’ll see on a day to day basis. Yesterday being over 1%, I didn’t sleep last night. You do not want to be over that 1% for any prolonged period of time and that’s why today being back at Point .87 is actually good news for us.
Andrew Cuomo: (07:47)
Another point about COVID. COVID was a trauma for this country. COVID was like being at war. I don’t know that we’ve even fully appreciated all the effects of the trauma that we’ve gone through. There’s going to be PTSD from COVID. This was frightening. This was a science fiction movie come to life, right? You have seen people struggling with it. People struggle with it psychologically. Next week we’re going to be talking about the mental health consequences of COVID. We are so much in the middle of it right now, we’re dealing with it every day, every day, every day, we haven’t really taken a moment to step back but you tell me what the effect on schoolchildren is going to wind up being. You tell me the effect of the increase in domestic violence, the increase in substance abuse that we know has been going on. So COVID yes, deal with it today, but this is a profound transformational moment in society, and there are a lot of lessons from COVID.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:10)
One of the lessons to me about COVID is it shows you how dangerous denial is. Well COVID, who would have known? Anyone who was paying attention would have known. That’s who would have known. We had the SARS outbreak in 2002. A coronavirus from China that came from a wet market, that was 2002, SARS. We had Ebola, we had Zika, we had H1N1, we had Dengue, we had MERS in 2012, a coronavirus that came from China. What did we do? Nothing. Nothing, and then we have COVID. It’s not that it came out of the blue. It’s that we denied all the warning signs.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:35)
We knew we needed a public health emergency response that we didn’t have in this country, but warning, warning, warning, and then COVID happens and now it’s undeniable. That is a dangerous pattern in [inaudible 00:10:57]
Andrew Cuomo: (16:59)
It says yes, there are things that are hard and complicated and difficult but we can still do them and this is a time when everything we’re doing is hard and complicated and difficult. Opening schools is hard and complicated and difficult. Fighting COVID is hard and complicated. Regulating the economy is hard and complicated, but we are New Yorkers and we thrive on hard and complicated.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:30)
New York is a community of people who took on a tough place and a tough community and they rose to the occasion. We did it during COVID. No community rose to the occasion like New Yorkers rose to the occasion. We went from the highest infection rate in the nation to the lowest infection rate in the nation. That’s what the history books are going to say. That happened for one reason, because New Yorkers stepped up and were disciplined and were loving and believed in community and cared for one another. That’s why New York has made the progress it’s made in COVID. It’s not over, there’s more to do, we’re still wary, but God bless New Yorkers and God bless the state of New York and thank you all for being here and let’s give a big round of applause to our [inaudible 00:18:35]