Apr 1, 2020
Andrew Cuomo New York Coronavirus Briefing Transcript April 1
Andrew Cuomo: (00:00)
I think everybody knows everyone. To my far right, Dr. James Malatras. To my right, Dr. Howard Zucker. Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, Robert Mujica, budget director, numbers maven extraordinaire.
Andrew Cuomo: (00:16)
Overall, the numbers continue to go up. We’re still on our way up the mountain. The number of testing has increased. I’m very proud of this. More you test, the more positives. I understand that. But the more you test, the more good you’re doing. The number of tested is up 15,000, 220,000 total people now tested. Positive cases are up to 7900. Total cases, 83,712. Down to one county that now doesn’t have a COVID case. That’s what you’re going to see going all across the nation. “Well, we’re a rural area. We’re not going to get it.” Oh, really? Go visit upstate New York if you want to talk about rural areas. We have rural areas. Just the way it’s gone through rural New York, it will go through rural America.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:12)
Total numbers. 83,000 tested positive. 12,000 people currently hospitalized. That’s up 1200 people, 3000 people in ICU. 6,000 patients discharged. That’s up 1,167. People go into the hospital, they get better, they leave the hospital. Most impacted states, new York is at 83,000, New Jersey is at 18,000. That’s Governor Phil Murphy, who’s been a great partner to me, a great partner to the people of this state. Governor Ned Lamont also in Connecticut has been a great partner. We’ve done a lot of great work as a region, which is very unusual. Those lines between states often become walls. Not with Governor Murphy, and not with Governor Lamont. We’re working together and we’re going to work cooperatively with New Jersey, because they have a real problem. California is ticking up. Michigan’s ticking up. Florida is even ticking up, Massachusetts. But no one is anywhere near where we are, right? 83,000 compared to 18. Number of deaths, 1900, up from 1550. That number will continue to go up.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:36)
That is people who have been on ventilators for a period of time. If you go on a ventilator, there’s roughly only a 20% chance that you will come off the ventilator. The longer you’re on the ventilator, the lower the chance you come off. We’re still looking for a curve. We’re still looking to see where we hit the plateau. Total number of new hospitalized, again, you see the number goes up and down, but the overall trajectory of the number is up. Change in ICU admissions, bounce here, bounce there, but the overall number is still up. Change in intubations, same thing. The line is basically a line that is going up. Change in number of discharged, line is going up. Why? More people going in, more people treated, more people coming out.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:38)
Everyone asks the same questions, and they’re all good questions. When is this going to be over? What happens? How does it end? People want answers. I understand people want answers. I want answers. But the answer is, nobody knows for sure. Anyone who goes on cable TV or network TV and says, “This is what is going to happen,” it’s not true. Nobody knows what’s going to happen. I understand the need for closure, the need for control. We’re at a place we’ve never been before, we’re out of control. I need to know. I need to know. Nobody can tell you. What you do know are facts. Facts are funny things. What you’re now getting are subjective facts. People who are optimists want to interpret it one way. People who are pessimists want to interpret the other way.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:43)
People who bring their own subjective agenda, tend to interpret the numbers a different way. For me, facts are facts. The facts that we offer the people of this state and the people of this country, they’re not pessimistic facts or optimistic facts. They are not interpreted facts. They are just the best information we have as of this time. I think that is empowering, and in some ways, relaxing. As I’ve mentioned to you who’ve worked with me, I say to my team all the time, I’m interested in your opinion, but I’m interested in your opinion second. I’m interested in the facts first. Give me the facts un-jaded by your opinion. Because once a person has an opinion, or once a person wants a certain outcome, and they look at the facts through that filter, then you can interpret facts differently. Just give me the straight facts.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:50)
Sergeant Joe Friday, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Just the facts. No opinion. There’s something empowering to that. We look for the facts to projection models. That’s how we gauge what we do. We follow the projection model. Every day you get additional data, they run that data into the model, and they refine the model. Basically we then have a composite model, because you have many different people out there with many different models. We use McKinsey, which is a consultant to the state, for this purpose, to basically look at all the models and come up with a composite model. If people wonder, “Well, where do you get these numbers, Governor? How do you decide what you’re going to do?” We have a model, we have a projection, and that’s what we follow. By the way, even more maddening, the model changes the more data that comes in. Because they started with assumptions and presumptions. Then the more data that comes in either affirms or discounts their presumptions that they started with. They refine the model over time. The model changes, and the numbers change. But what we’re looking at now is the apex, top of the curve, roughly at the end of April. Which means another month of this. The apex, the recent number is you could need 110,000 COVID beds. What does that mean? Beds for COVID people, as opposed to other people who are in the hospitals for other reasons. 37,000 ventilators. That is our current model. That model is based on minimal impact from social distancing. Meaning what? One of the great variables is, how effective is the social distancing? Are people doing it? Are they complying with it? To what extent, and how effective is it?
Andrew Cuomo: (08:22)
Nobody knows that answer. They do different projections depending on how well social distancing works. How well people comply with it, and then how effective it is. Minimal social distancing impact is where we get the 110,000, 37,000 ventilators. High compliance with social distancing, you still have 75,000 COVID beds as opposed to 110. You are 25,000 ventilators. Okay? When I keep pushing for high compliance on social distancing, it’s because high compliance and social distancing will reduce the number. This is what they began talking about. Flatten the curve, flatten the curve, flatten the curve with social distancing. This says this is the difference between high compliance with social distancing and less compliance. If you have high compliance, you’re down to 75,000 COVID beds, 25,000 ventilators. Less, it goes up to 110 and 37. Interestingly, both are looking at the same point of apex. It’s just a lower apex.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:42)
Both models say you apex at the end of April, just a lower need at that apex. That is what we want. Because this all comes down to, at the apex, can your hospital system manage the volume of people coming into the hospital system? That’s all this is about at the final analysis. Now, there are also different models out there based on different presumptions. People studied China. People studied Wuhan. “Well, if you have the same compliance that you had in Wuhan.” Wuhan basically just locked up society. I don’t even know that if the federal government enacted the Wuhan model that the American people would comply. We have a totally different social structure, governmental structure. You have different models that project higher or lower. What we’re doing with McKinsey is studying all of them and coming up with a moderate model that is a basis for us to make planning decisions. Because I have to make decisions. I want to make the decisions off the numbers, so that’s what we’re doing.
Andrew Cuomo: (11:02)
It’s not to say that there aren’t other people with other opinions. There are many people with many opinions. Some have the apex happening sooner. Some have the apex happening later. You can find people who believe the apex will come in seven days. You can have people who say the apex won’t come for six weeks. You have that kind of range. You have a broad range on the number of beds. You have a broad range on the number of ventilators. Our course for planning purposes is a moderate model. Because in truth, the higher models, we don’t even have a chance at meeting that capacity anyway. You say over 110,000 beds, there is no possible way we could get there. In some ways, an overly aggressive estimate doesn’t even mean anything to us, because it’s just unachievable.
Andrew Cuomo: (12:12)
People ask, “Well, what’s going to happen?” Dr. Fauci said yesterday or the day before, the days blend together, estimated 100,000 Americans may pass away. Some people have said 100 to 200,000 Americans may pass away before this is over. “When is it over?” When you achieve what they call herd immunity. “How do you say 100 to 200? That’s a broad range.” Well, it goes back to the other point. Nobody really knows. But 100 to 200, you’re saying a significant amount of people lose their lives. There is a group that is funded by the Gates Foundation, thank you very much Bill Gates, that projects 93,000 Americans will lose their life by the time this is over. That model suggests 16,000 New Yorkers will pass away by the time this runs its course. When Dr. Fauci says 100,000, there are models out there that make these types of projections. What would that mean to New York? That would mean about 16,000. Frankly, that would mean that New York is only 16% roughly of the number of deaths. I don’t even understand that, since New York is so much higher right now.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:53)
But what that does say to the rest of the nation is this is not just New York. If you believe these numbers, 16,000 deaths in New York, that means you’re going to have tens of thousands of deaths outside of New York. To the extent people watch their nightly news in Kansas and say, “Well, this is a New York problem,” that’s not what these numbers say. It says it’s a New York problem today. Tomorrow it’s a Kansas problem, and a Texas problem, and a New Mexico problem. That’s why I say to my fellow governors and elected officials all across this country, look at us today, see yourself tomorrow. Let’s address it in New York and let’s cooperate to address it in New York. Because it’s going to be in your town tomorrow, metaphorically.
Andrew Cuomo: (14:58)
If we learn how to do it right here, or learn how to do it the best we can, because there is no right, it’s only the best we can, then we can work cooperatively all across this country. The other thing this model says, people say, “Well, when is it over? Two weeks, three weeks, four weeks?” This model projects, you’re going to have a high death rate through July. If this model is correct, this could go through the summer. Now, other people talk about getting back to work, starting the economy, April, May, June. This model says it could go on through July. Now the questions become nuanced. “Well, could you still be dealing with the virus and get the economy up and running and get people out of their homes?” Yes. I think there are…
Andrew Cuomo: (16:03)
… out of their homes? Yes. I think there are ways to do both, not picking between human life and the dollar bill because no one is going to pick a dollar bill over human life, but can you come up with a public health strategy that is consistent with people getting out of their homes and starting to get back to work? Yes, you can. My opinion is the best way to do that is to come up with a rapid testing procedure where people can test, they know who’s positive, they know who’s negative and they know who can go back to work and come up with the test quickly and they’re starting, that is readily available, that people can do at home so you can take the test, know where you are and we can start ending this terrible situation that we’re in.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:11)
Also, you come up with testing and rapid testing, not only do you get up and get the economy running, you end the anxiety. The anxiety is what is most oppressive here. Not knowing, not knowing if I’m positive, if my friend is positive, if my loved one is positive, not knowing when this is going to end, the anxiety of dealing with this isolation day after day after day is like a bad Groundhog movie. Day after day after day, when does it end? How does it end? I don’t know. I’m out of control. I think the testing is going to be the best mechanism to try to work through that. On the good news front, we have new testing available in New York. Regeneron, which is a great New York company has created 500,000 testing kits at no charge. Thank you, Regeneron, and they are distributing them across the state. Corning, another great company has donated 100,000 tubes and $500,000 at reduced costs so we can do more tests.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:21)
New York is very aggressive on testing. We have been from day one and we think that has helped us slow the spread of this virus. My favorite topic, young people must get this message and they still have not gotten the message. You still see too many situations with too much density by young people. They can get it, they’re putting their lives at risk. This can kill young people, rare circumstances, but it can. But you get infected, you give it to someone else. So think about somebody else and I’ve said this 100 different ways. The compliance is still not where it should be. You saw the models on the differential in the compliance versus major compliance and minor compliance. So we’re going to take more dramatic actions. We are going to close down the New York city playgrounds. I’ve talked about this for weeks. I warned people that if they didn’t stop the density and the games in the playgrounds, you can’t play basketball. You can’t come in contact with each other, that we would close the playgrounds. I’ve spoken to speaker Johnson from New York city who feels very strongly about this and did from day one. We agreed initially, with the mayor that we would try compliance and the mayor was going to try to use the NYPD to enforce compliance, social distancing in playgrounds. It is still a problem. We’re working with the speaker, we’re working with the mayor, but we’re going to close down the city playgrounds and leave the open spaces available. So use the open space in a park. Walk around, get some sun. Great. No density, no basketball games, no close contact, no violation of social distancing period. That’s the rule.
Andrew Cuomo: (20:36)
Other good news, we are working with all the hospitals in the state to do something they’ve never done before, which is to act as one to cooperate, to share supplies, share staff support one another, shift patients among hospitals, which really has never happened to any great extent. The hospitals have been very cooperative and I want to thank them very much. In this war, we must plan forward for the next battle. Meaning, we have been behind from day one. This virus has been ahead of us from day one. You don’t win a war that way. The next battle is the apex. The next battle is on the top of the mountain. You see that curve? You see a curve? I see a mountain. The next battle will happen at the top of that mountain. That’s where it is going to be joined and that’s where the enemy either overwhelms our healthcare system or we are able to handle the onslaught of the enemy at the top of that mountain, and that’s what we’re planning for every day.
Andrew Cuomo: (21:51)
But I want to offer you a different perspective that I’m starting to think about and I think all should start to think about. As a society, beyond just this immediate situation, we should start looking forward to understand how this experience is going to change us or how it should change us because this is going to be transformative. It is going to be transformative on a personal basis, on a social basis, on a systems basis. We’re never going to be the same again. We’re not going to forget what happened here. The fear that we have, the anxiety that we have, that’s not just going to go away. When do we get back to normal? I don’t think we get back to normal. I think we get back, or we get to a new normal, right? Like we’re seeing in so many facets of society right now. So we will be at a different place.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:03)
Our challenge is to make sure that transformation and that change is positive and not negative. Let’s make sure we’re taking the positive lesson and not the negative lesson. You could get wary of intimacy and contact and density. Social distancing, don’t go near anyone. What a terrible thing to live with as a human being. What a cruel torture. Isolate yourself from other people. Be afraid of hugging someone. Just think how emotionally and personally repugnant that concept is, right? We crave human connection and now, we’re being told that could be dangerous. You can’t kiss, you can’t hug, you can’t hold hands. So how we come out of this and making sure that it’s positive and not negative, how do we learn from this and how do we grow from this? Right? Society life, you will get knocked on your rear end. You will deal with pain, you will deal with death, you will deal with setback. You would deal with suffering.
Andrew Cuomo: (24:31)
Question is, how do you get up? Well first, do you get up and second, if you get up, how do you get up? Do you get up smarter? Do you get up wiser, or do you get up bitter, and you get up angry, and you get up fearful? We are in control of that and we have to start think about that. We also have to be smarter from what we went through. How do you make the economy more resilient? What happens when something like this happens again, and something like this will happen again? “Oh no, this is a once in a lifetime. Never again.” Something like this will happen again. We’re seeing it in the environment, we’re seeing it with floods, we’re seeing it with hurricanes. Something like this will happen again. You can’t just turn off the economy like a light switch. How do governments work together? You can’t figure it out on the fly; what the federal government, they does what the state government does, what the local governments do. Figure it out before. Learn the lessons from this.
Andrew Cuomo: (25:42)
Telemedicine and tele education, we have to close the schools. Well, why weren’t we ready with a tele education system? Why weren’t we better at telemedicine? Why didn’t we have that capacity? Rather than having people wait in all these lines that come in to get the same basic diagnosis and the same basic advice, why don’t we have medical supplies made in this country? Why are we shopping in China for basic medical supplies? Why don’t we yield our medical research to these types of threats and challenges, which we know are on the horizon? We know these viruses are changing. We know that they mutate. Why don’t we get ahead of it? You still have to run society. Let’s talk about first responder capacity. We now have first responders who are getting sick and the workforce is dropping. Well, that was inevitable, right? That was going to happen.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:51)
What’s the backup to that situation? And let’s talk about societal stability and engagement at times of crisis. You can’t just tell everyone, “Go home and lock your doors and sit on your couch and order takeout for the foreseeable future.” That’s not who we are. It’s not even a mental health issue. It’s just it’s our personal health issue. It’s how we relate to one another. We’re not built to be isolated for long periods of time and not have human contact. So how do we deal with that? These are the types of questions that we have to start to think through, but not today. That is the next challenge, I believe. That is what we’re going to have to about a soon, but for now, one crisis at a time as they say. We are planning to handle with the current crisis, preparing for the battle on the mount, which is what we are doing every day and that’s what we are doing.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:14)
Not only are we doing it, but we have to succeed at it. Government process is very good at saying, “Well, we’re trying. We’re working on this. We’re doing our best. We’re doing our best.” Winston Churchill, “It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” Tad harsh, goes with that expression, which I think you could say tad harsh. Handsome, but a tad harsh, but it’s true and that’s what I say to my team every day. This is beyond best efforts. This is beyond, “I’m working very hard.” We have to get this done. We have to succeed. We have to find a way. We have to make it happen because too much is at stake.
Andrew Cuomo: (29:11)
Last point on a personal note, my brother Christopher, as I told you yesterday, tested positive for the coronavirus. He’s at home. He’s doing fine enough. He has a fever, he has chills, symptoms of basically a very bad flu, but I think this is illustrative in a number of ways. First of all, anyone can get this disease; relatively young people, strong people, people who take a lot of vitamin pills, people who go to the gym a lot. Anyone can get this disease. There is no superhero who is immune from this disease. That goes for New Yorker, as well as a Texan, as long as well as a Californian. Anyone can get it. No one can be protected from it. I couldn’t protect my own brother. With all he knows and as smart as he is, he couldn’t protect himself. So anyone can get it and everyone has to be protected.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:33)
I understand the data. I understand 80% self resolve, 20% going to the hospitals. Christopher’s not in a category that is problematic. By all the data, he should have it, will have it for a period of time and he will then resolve. If he has bad symptoms of going to the hospital, he’ll be treated and he’ll be released. That’s what all the numbers say. Even though that’s what all the numbers say, when he told me he had the coronavirus, it scared me. It frightened me. Why? Because we still don’t know. We still don’t know. Even if there’s just a 1%, 2% chance, it’s frightening. It is frightening. Frightened mate, and I deal with all sorts of stuff and I’ve seen all sorts of things and it frightened me. Why? Because we’re talking about my brother, talking about my little brother. This is my best friend. Talk to him several times a day. Basically, spend my whole life with him and it is frightening on a fundamental level, and it’s…
Andrew Cuomo: (32:03)
… is frightening on a fundamental level and it’s frightening because there’s nothing I can do and I’m out of control and there’s nobody who can tell me. And Dr. Zucker can’t tell me anything, and Tony Fauci can’t tell me anything because nobody really knows. And this situation is the same situation for everyone, for everyone. So yes, I’m frightened for my brother. I’m worried about my brother as everyone is worried about everyone in their family and everybody they love.
Andrew Cuomo: (32:39)
I take solace in the numbers and the facts because you can’t divorce yourself from the facts, otherwise you go to a place of irrationality. But we’re emotional beings and as an emotional being, it is frightening and it is unknown and it is threatening and it is scary and people are dying. He is going to be okay. I believe that. He’s in his basement and I sent him over a book that could be helpful, Beginner’s Guide to Striped Bass Fishing. I hope he picks up some tips from that. But I also want to say to him, because I want him to know, he found out yesterday morning that he had coronavirus. He did his show last night. He did a show last night from his basement. What a gutsy, courageous thing to do.
Andrew Cuomo: (33:46)
And we talked about it. And in some ways this can be very instructive, I think, to many people because everybody wants to know, well, what happens if you get coronavirus? All right, he did. And he does the show every night. Maybe some nights he won’t be able to do it, but he does a show every night.
Andrew Cuomo: (34:09)
So what’s the positive? Show the country what it means to have coronavirus. And that information, that experience can be helpful to people. And that’s why he did the show last night. “Okay. I have coronavirus, but you know what? Here I am. I’m doing my show. I didn’t fall over. I didn’t collapse. It’s not any death sentence. Here I am. I’m doing my show.” Kudos to him. My pop would be proud. I love you little brother. And even though this isn’t a flattering picture, I did not pick this picture with your mouth open, but it is suitable in some ways. Any questions, comments?
Speaker 2: (35:03)
What is the policy for posthumous testing of suspected cases?
Andrew Cuomo: (35:11)
If you could repeat that please because I missed it. Also, let’s do any questions on coronavirus. If you want to do questions on budget or anything else, let’s do them at the end. But I’m sorry, I didn’t hear your question.
Speaker 2: (35:22)
What’s the state’s policy or procedure for posthumous testing of suspected coronavirus cases?
Andrew Cuomo: (35:29)
What’s the state’s policy for posthumous coronavirus testing? I have no idea. Do you know?
Dr. Howard Zucker: (35:39)
So this is based on a clinical picture, right? So if someone died as a result of respiratory illnesses, the person would be tested to be sure and try to figure out what happened to them. Because there are contacts that that person has been exposed to.
Speaker 3: (35:53)
So does that include people that tested positive for coronavirus or also people who had coronavirus-like symptoms?
Dr. Howard Zucker: (36:03)
So when we hear, we know those who have died and if they’re tested at the time of autopsy, those are included in the deaths.
Speaker 4: (36:11)
Governor, can you confirm that there were some patients who were moved from New York City to Albany Medical Center and with also Ellis Hospital as well last night?
Andrew Cuomo: (36:20)
Were there patients who were moved, coronavirus patients moved from New York City to Albany Med? Yes. And we’ve talked about, this is one state, this is one family of New York. This is one family of the United States of America by the way. We support one another in two ways. Staff from upstate hospitals would be going to downstate hospitals because one of the real critical situations are staff shortages and staff exhaustion. So upstate staff will come help the downstate hospitals and downstate hospitals who are at overcapacity can transfer patients to upstate.
Speaker 4: (37:06)
Is it safe to move COVID patients?
Andrew Cuomo: (37:10)
It depends on the patient. But if they’re in a place where the hospital can’t treat them, then it’s better to move them and be in a hospital setting where they can get treated.
If we’re doing this now, does that mean that the downstate hospitals are full? I know that the DOH has data on beds including ICU beds. Can you make that available? And also if you said 110,000 beds for COVID, what is the total capacity? Is it still 140,000?
Andrew Cuomo: (37:43)
About 140. 110 for COVID would suggest you have 30,000 non-COVID patients. We tried to bring down the non, we tried to bring down the patient count by mandating no elective surgery that was non-critical. So people are not going to the hospital right now to have a hip replacement unless they really need it. They’re not going in for any type of elective surgery so it brought the number of patients down so we could get more COVID patients in. The transfer from New York City, the New York City hospital to Albany Medical was more of a one off situation which had been individually arranged. We are now, Department of Health is now coordinating all transfers. And you’re right, the first step is transfers within the system. So downstate New York, you have the health and H and H system transfer among the 11 H and H hospitals to balance load, balance capacity and transfer among the private hospitals the balance load. Then transfer among those two systems and then worst case scenario transfer upstate.
How much capacity is left between H and H and the private hospitals in the, I guess Long Island and Westchester, too.
Andrew Cuomo: (39:11)
Yeah. When they are not at capacity now, it depends on how fast that curve goes up. We monitor it on a daily basis and that’s the $64,000 question, Jimmy, is when you get to the apex you will be over capacity. Any of those models, by the way, say you are over capacity, you are over 100% by any model at the apex.
Speaker 5: (39:38)
Who determines, Governor, what is the criteria for moving patients from New York City into upstate hospitals? Do they have local connections or is that just the medical-
Andrew Cuomo: (39:45)
It’s going to be, right, the transfer that happened was basically a one-off because they were hospitals that had preexisting agreement. But what will happen going forward, the battle on the mount will be capacity. You fill all the downstate hospitals and you’re over capacity on all the downstate hospitals. You then have Javits Center as a relief valve. You have that ship, The Comfort, as a relief valve, but they only take non-COVID patients. You try to transfer to Long Island. If Long Island is at capacity, then you move upstate. It’s a pure capacity issue, pure systems management issue.
Speaker 6: (40:42)
[crosstalk 00:40:42] several New Yorkers were shoulder to shoulder watching the ship come into New York. What more can the city do to make sure that that people are staying inside? Is closing playgrounds enough at this point when you have people sort of marveling at this ship, standing in close proximity to each other and NYPD not necessarily doing anything about it right away?
Andrew Cuomo: (41:03)
Yeah, look, I, we had this conversation with the city as part of the closing the playgrounds. The NYPD has to get more aggressive, period. Period. Well, it’s not a law enforcement issue. It is. And if, by the way, if you want to, if you’re going to force me into a position where I have to mandate it and make it a law, a social distancing law that would, which I think is absurd, but it has to be enforced. First, how reckless and irresponsible and selfish for people not to do it on their own. I mean, what else do you have to know? What else do you have to hear? Who else has to die for you to understand you have a responsibility in this, right? I mean, it’s just really so incredible. Especially New Yorkers who live in a dense environment and know how interdependent they are on one another. Right?
Andrew Cuomo: (42:11)
And this is a situation where one person sneezes and I get infected. So our own social responsibility, the individual responsibility, the civic duty. But beyond that, yeah, we are going to need law enforcement to get more aggressive.
Andrew Cuomo: (42:31)
A significant percentage of the NYPD and the FDNY is now calling out sick. Are there any plans to shore up the workforces of first responders?
Andrew Cuomo: (42:41)
Look, we will do whatever we have to do. If NYPD people are getting sick, they will get sick. FDNY people, firefighters will get sick. They will get sick. The backfill will come from state police. We’re working on that. State police already have total jurisdiction within New York city. Second, we could deputize police officers from upstate communities to serve in New York City if we get to that point. Now the NYPD is so large, I don’t know that we get to that point, but if we believe we don’t have the minimum personnel to police New York City, we could then go to the state police. Worst comes to worst, we could deputize other officers.
Same thing would presumably happen with-
Andrew Cuomo: (43:33)
Same thing with the firefighters.
Speaker 7: (43:35)
How many volunteer medical workers have been assigned to NY hospitals already and which ones?
Andrew Cuomo: (43:40)
How many volunteer medical? Well first the hospitals, we have a pool of about 78,000?
Speaker 8: (43:48)
It’s 82,000 right now.
Andrew Cuomo: (43:50)
We have a pool of 82,000 people who say they want to help. We then route them to the hospitals. The hospitals basically will employ them so they have to fit the needs of the hospital and the hospital has to vet them because they’re going to be in that hospital and performing services. So it’s really now at this point, as quickly as those hospitals can make those decisions is as quickly as people are being hired. We don’t have a census yet. I don’t know if we have anything anecdotal. We’ve made the population available to the hospitals. And they know the regions or the geographical locations, they know the specialties, but they want to be careful that they’re actually picking a person who’s qualified to perform the duties. Do we know? Well, let me just, do you have a number at all?
Speaker 8: (44:44)
There are three hospitals that have already contacted the portal. They are looking at about 1500 personnel and hopefully those connections by talking to the hospitals will be at least hired by Thursday when they’re in the hospitals, unknown, that has to be worked out between the hospital and the healthcare employee themselves.
Speaker 7: (45:06)
Speaker 8: (45:06)
We’re going to let them work that through and then we’ll put some of that out after they work out some of those arrangements for their own privacy.
Speaker 9: (45:13)
And has any upstate staff yet come down to New York City? You said that would be sort of a first line to have already employed hospital staff upstate come down.
Andrew Cuomo: (45:21)
Anecdotally, yes they have. We don’t have numbers yet on exactly how many.
Speaker 9: (45:26)
And why not closed playgrounds statewide? Why only in New York City?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:30)
We don’t have the same density issue in the playgrounds upstate that we’ve had downstate. If we do, I would.
Speaker 2: (45:39)
When are more temporary hospitals in New York and suburbs coming online?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:43)
When we need them. The temporary hospitals are the ultimate overflow valve and are not without difficulties in and of themselves. Right. They are really the last of the last resort. You still need staff, you still need equipment. They are really available if you max out your bed capacity. My fear is on the hospital capacity there are three components, beds which literally mean beds, staff and equipment. You will run out of staff before you will run out of beds. And you may run out of equipment before you run out of staff. That’s the situation we’re in.
Speaker 10: (46:35)
Governor, what do you make of religious charities like Samaritan’s Purse running temporary hospitals in New York City?
Andrew Cuomo: (46:41)
Anybody who can help, God bless.
Speaker 11: (46:42)
Governor, on the Federal stockpile of ventilators and other medical equipment. I don’t know if you saw the story in Politico about USC ID having issues sending our supplies to other countries while we, the federal government’s essentially sending people to go to other countries to look for supplies and some of the confusion there. The mayor of Chicago has said that she is skeptical the federal government’s being completely honest with her about the stockpile. Do you think when we speak with President Trump and other folks at the White House and the federal government, do you think they’re being completely honest and truthful with you about the stockpile?
Andrew Cuomo: (47:18)
I don’t know what they have in the stockpile. I only know what I read. And look, I was in the federal government. I don’t even know, is there one stockpile? Are there multiple stockpiles? I don’t know. Do I think the federal government has enough in the collective stockpiles, enough in their possession to meet the need? I don’t know, but I pray that they do because that is the only option. I cannot buy a ventilator for $1 million. Well, maybe for $1 million I could buy a…
Andrew Cuomo: (48:02)
Well, maybe for a million dollars I could buy a ventilator. But you cannot buy ventilators. Remarkably, in a real cruel twist of fate, China is the main manufacturer for all these things. It all comes back to China. Where do we get the masks? China. Where do we get the gowns? China. Where did we get the gloves? China. Where did we get the ventilators? China. I don’t know how we got into this position. And then, China is selling to the world, literally. A state, and every governor will tell you this, they’re trying to buy, I’m trying to buy, I’m calling everyone I know, but it all comes back to China.
Andrew Cuomo: (48:49)
And then you have the federal government that is also buying. So really, the only hope for a state at this point is the federal government’s capacity to deliver. That’s why the Defense Production Act came up weeks ago. Right? The Defense Production Act gives the President of the United States power to say to a company, you make this. The whole discussion was about ventilators. Look, you have a shortfall on gowns. American companies can make gowns. They’re not like wedding gowns. They’re like paper gowns. Make the gowns, make the gloves, make the masks.
Andrew Cuomo: (49:36)
Why are we running out of these basic supplies?
We need to maybe rethink some systems. Does this make you more of an advocate for something like either a universal basic income or maybe a single payer essentially managed health system, which is kind of what you’re doing now?
Andrew Cuomo: (49:54)
I don’t know, Jimmy. I think it’s even more basic than that. How do you keep the economy running? See, no system will work if the entire economy is closed down. Universal basic income, who’s supposed to pay, if nothing is working.
Speaker 12: (50:16)
The federal government just increased unemployment to 600.
Andrew Cuomo: (50:20)
Yeah, they’re just printing money. But, there’s only so long you can print money. You can keep the printing press running, but ultimately there has to be some revenue being generated somewhere. How do you have a resilient economy? How do people really work from home? If you could plan it and design it and you had anticipated this moment, what would we have done differently? That’s my point. I don’t have the answers. I’m just saying, today, we have to pose the questions. Right now we’re in the middle of the crisis and we’re treating this hospital management problem.
Andrew Cuomo: (51:00)
That’s what we’re all doing. We’re all trying to manage hospitals. That’s what this has come down to and enforcing social distancing. That’s it. But, we have to start to think about, this is going to be over at one point and what did we learn and what should we learn and how does it change us and how does it transform us and what do we want to take from this that’s positive? I have not thought through any of that because I’m still preparing for the critical engagement on the battle on the top of the mountain. Let’s take one more question.
Andrew Cuomo: (51:37)
Who hasn’t asked a question? Sir?
Speaker 13: (51:38)
Yeah. Thank you. I have a question regarding the [inaudible 00:51:41] model that you showed us and the numbers are high compliance social distancing. So do you have the numbers with low compliance of social distancing and if so, I mean I guess the end up April apex would be delayed by how much?
Andrew Cuomo: (51:59)
The apex is not delayed, interestingly enough. Jim, do you want to speak to this while I look for the slide?
Right. The apex, the timing is still the same. It’s the severity of the spread. This is all about social distancing, so it’s limiting the exposure to as many people as possible. So the more you can distance from one another, the less exposure there is and that’s what they’ve modeled. So factoring in things that states and others are doing to socially distance, we could project that lower level if people comply with those orders and rules. It can come down considerably. And as the governor said with McKinsey, we’re working with many different organizations.
Imperial College has a model, Cornell University, we’re working with the folks from the University of Washington and it is sort of coalescing around this concept that if you can socially distance, the number does come down dramatically into the range that the McKinsey model has showed today. But it changes from day to day based on the actual information coming in. If you don’t do anything to mitigate this, the spread of course becomes more intense. It’s quick, it’s rapid, so the apex remains the same. The intensity of the spread is just greater, so there’s more of a healthcare need at the same time.
Speaker 14: (53:16)
What’s your response to the President Trump’s calling last night that states should be asking federal government for ventilators instead of bedding?
Andrew Cuomo: (53:26)
The states, I’m asking them for ventilators. See this slide. It says we need 37,000 ventilators. I have asked the federal government numerous times for ventilators. They have sent the state a total of 4,000 ventilators. Yeah. Let’s do the budget. Let me make just, again. We have closed state playgrounds on your question before. Somebody’s question. We closed state playgrounds already, so now we’re going to close the city playgrounds. Also on the budget. As a general comment, I’ve done, I’m very proud of how many budgets we’ve done this.
Andrew Cuomo: (54:14)
This will be over a decade of budgets. They’ve been on time. They’ve been balanced. That hasn’t happened in like 60 years in this state. It never got budgets done on time. This is a particularly difficult budget because there is no money and there’s much fear and there’s much stress. We had to do the budget while dealing with this coronavirus situation. So I just want to applaud my team. Normally doing a budget is the number one function for the state staff. For the entire year, that’s it. You do the budget and everybody works on the budget. Here, we had to do the budget and work on the coronavirus crisis and they did both and I just want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know how. It’s almost inconceivable and Melissa and Rob and Beth and the whole team and the same is true on the legislative side. I’ll tell you the God’s honest truth. This is a tough, tough budget. And I want to thank Speaker Carl Heastie and his staff and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins and Shantelle. They’ve really done a magnificent, magnificent job. We have a conceptual agreement with the leaders on the budget.
Andrew Cuomo: (55:42)
They are going to go to their members today and talk to them about the agreement. And if the leaders are successful in their conferences, then we will pass the budget.
Speaker 15: (56:01)
$ 250 million distressed hospitals fund within that, that counties would have to kick in about 30% for if for hospitals in their borders. How is that going to work? Why put that on counties?
Andrew Cuomo: (56:13)
Yeah, let’s not, I don’t want to get into …
Speaker 15: (56:14)
Hospitals that serve regions.
Andrew Cuomo: (56:16)
I don’t want to get into specifics in the budget because we have an agreement with the leaders. The leaders are briefing their individual senators and assembly members. I’d rather let the leaders go through the budget with their assembly members and senators first before they hear about it from me in a press conference. So I don’t want to make any specific comments on the budget.
My understanding is that you’re not doing any big broad based tax increase and also I’ve heard that the overall state operating spending may go down. Is that true? Are we actually reducing spending? Can you talk about the decision to do that rather than maybe raise taxes and raise spending?
Speaker 16: (56:56)
All right. So the governor submitted a budget that was about $105 billion to state operations. We, in the absence of $10 billion in revenues that we’ve projected or so, it’s either going to be tax revenues or federal funds. You would lose, you’d have to take it down the budgets at 95 billion. What we have said is that over time we’re going to look and see if revenues come in. Then we will put those revenues into the respective spending areas as proposed by the governor. If they do not, then we will have to make those reductions and you would reduce the budget.
Speaker 16: (57:32)
Overall, it would go down. In the absence of the 10 billion, the budget would go down by about 6.7%.
What about borrowing? Are we doing short term borrowing for cashflow? Is there any longterm borrowing that you’re anticipating to sort of bond something out for many years to cover a bad year of operations?
Speaker 16: (57:50)
We have no choice but to issue short-term borrowing to bridge the gap from the tax filing date change. So when we moved the tax date, when the federal government moved the tax date from April 15 to July 15, that results in virtually no revenue coming in during that period. We still have expenditures during that period. So for that period of time, we have tools to get. We have some reserves and then temporary borrowing to bridge that gap.
Andrew Cuomo: (58:17)
Let me say this, I really don’t want to get ahead of the leaders presenting to their conferences. But I’ll tell you, I think it’s remarkable to get the budget done in this situation with everything that’s going on. Also, this budget is a robust budget. This budget, when we did the state of the state, we had a lot of policy ideas, a lot of reforms for this state that would help many, many New Yorkers and make this state once again, the progressive leader on the environment, on social justice, economic justice, racial justice, and all of those items are still in this budget.
Andrew Cuomo: (59:10)
So it’s not that we said, well, because we’re busy, we’re going to scale back and I applaud the Assembly and the Senate. With everything going on, we did not scale back our efforts or our ambitions to advance this state to greater heights. And you look at this budget, you would never know that anything else was going on. It will be as productive a legislative session as we have had. The numbers in the budget are going to be a little different with this caveat, but the budget is basically going to say on the numbers, look, we can’t spend what we don’t have.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:00:01)
If money comes in during the course of the year, we’ll spend it. If we actually lose money, we have to adjust it and that’s life and that’s every family situation and we’ll deal with it together. That’s it. I have to go to work. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Speaker 17: (01:00:21)
[inaudible 01:00:21] about the city workers who haven’t been paid today [inaudible 01:00:27].
Andrew Cuomo: (01:00:30)
The controller, yes. The controller could have paid them yesterday. We’ve gone through this situation before. He chose not to. He must pay them the moment it passes.
Speaker 18: (01:00:43)
Andrew Cuomo: (01:00:44)
You’ll have to wait and see the budget.