Apr 10, 2020
Andrew Cuomo New York COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 10
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York held a coronavirus press conference on April 10. He talked about the possibility of a “second wave” of COVID-19. Read the full transcript here.
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Andrew Cuomo: (00:04)
Good morning. Everybody knows the people with us today, Dr. Jim Malatras from my right, Dr. Howard Zucker health commissioner to my left. Melissa de Rosa, secretary to the governor. To her left, Robert Mehika. To our friends celebrating Good Friday today, I wish them a good Good Friday. To our friends celebrating Passover, I wish them the best. Let’s give you an update on where we are. To use an overused term, we are cautiously optimistic that we are slowing the infection rate. That’s what the numbers say. That’s what the data suggests to us. Change in total hospitalizations is down, not relative to yesterday, but when it’s average, the three day average on the hospitalizations, you see a dramatic decline in those numbers. And that’s obviously very good news. Change in ICU admissions is actually a negative number for the first time since we started this intense journey. That means there are fewer people in the intensive care unit statewide than there were. And again, that’s the first time we’ve seen a negative number, so that’s good.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:23)
The three day average of that is down. Change in intubations is a little tick higher than it’s been in the past few days, but it’s still overall down. The three day average is also down. The bad news is we continue to lose a tremendous number of lives and endure great pain as a state, 777 lives lost. I understand intellectually why it’s happening. It doesn’t make it any easier to accept. What’s happening is the number of people who came in two weeks ago when we had those very high hospitalization rates, either you get treated and get better and get discharged or you stay in the hospital and probably wind up on a ventilator.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:19)
And the longer you’re on a ventilator, the less likely you will come off the ventilator, and that’s what’s happening now. These lives lost are people who came in at that height hospitalization period and we’re losing them. The numbers is lower than yesterday for those who can take solace in that fact. As someone who searches for solace in all this grief, the leveling off of the number of lives lost is a somewhat hopeful sign. The number of total lives lost, 7,844, four people, just to put this in perspective, I lived through 911 as many New Yorkers did who are of somewhat advanced age, and I believed 911 was the worst situation that I was going to deal with in my lifetime.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:27)
And to put it in perspective, 2,753 people lost their lives on 911. We’re at 7,844. So in terms of lives lost, that this situation should exceed 911 is still beyond my capacity to fully appreciate to tell you the truth. We’ve been watching a spread to the suburban communities around New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland. That seems to have stabilized. We have a couple of hotspots in Suffolk County that we’re watching. But overall, we’ve been very aggressive in the suburban communities in jumping on those hotspots. And the percentage of growth in upstate New York and the suburban areas around New York City has basically been stabilized and flat. So that’s good news too. So overall New York is flattening the curve, and we have to flatten the curve because when they showed us the projection models of what the statisticians projected the curve would do, we have no capacity to meet those projections.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:50)
In other words, Columbia University, who is projecting the highest case load, said we needed 136,000 hospital beds in New York City when we started, was just several weeks ago, 136,000 hospital beds in New York City. We only have about 33 to 36,000 hospital beds in New York City, so that was obviously distressing to say the least. McKinsey had projected we would need 110,000 hospital beds. They had a second scenario, which they considered their moderate scenario, which was 55,000 hospital beds statewide. And again, we didn’t have that capacity, even on the moderate scenario. The Gates funded IHME suggested we needed 73,000 beds. We didn’t have that either. So none of these projections were in any way comforting to us. The actual curve is much, much lower than any of them projected. And well, what’s the variance? How do you come up with an actual curve that is so much different than what those experts predicted. First in fairness to the experts, nobody has been here before. Nobody. So everyone is trying to figure it out the best they can.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:26)
There is no model to track against. Second, the big variable was, what policies do you put in place? And the bigger variable was, does anybody listen to the policies you put in place? I’m governor of the state of New York. You can announce a policy. That doesn’t mean anyone is going to follow it. You can announce a policy, we’re going to close down all businesses, everybody must stay home. And if people don’t follow it or they don’t take it seriously or they believe you’re being premature or you’re being political, they wouldn’t follow it. And then what do we do? What, do you arrest 19 million people or ticket 19 million people? So the big variable was, what policies do you put in place? And the bigger variable, does anybody care? And does anyone follow it? And all these social distancing, stay at home, nobody has ever done this before.
Andrew Cuomo: (07:21)
So the statisticians had to come up with a premise on how many would comply, and we’ve actually exceeded that. But we have to keep doing it. People tend to think, well this is a natural trajectory of the disease. There is no natural trajectory. The trajectory is the trajectory that we create by our actions. The natural trajectory would see that line continue to go up. It would continue to go up and up and up until you develop herd immunity where you would see many, many more infections. So we did that. We are doing that. And that’s why we have to stay the course. I said to someone this morning, you tell me how we behave today and I will tell you the infection rate two days from today or three days from today. What we do today will determine the infection rate two or three days from now.
Andrew Cuomo: (08:29)
So what we’re doing is working. Stay with it. Even though it is a grind and even though it is difficult, we have to stay with it. We have to stay with it operationally on our hospital system where we’re coordinating statewide and what we call the surge and flex system. We have 50% additional capacity on our hospital system. We’re sharing equipment all across the system. We have to continue helping people who are struggling every day. Food assistance is a real issue for people. We’re going to add $200 million to provide more than 700,000 low income households more funding for food, basic food, continue to help our medical workers who are the front line soldiers in this battle and have done a phenomenal job. I know I say it all the time, but every day they’re out there doing truly the Lord’s work. We’re going to provide additional housing.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:34)
I want to thank all the companies that have come forward to be part of this effort. Airbnb is contributing funding to provide housing for our healthcare workers. 1199 SCIU is working with Airbnb, and they’re providing their members with additional benefits. We have hotels that are coming forward and offering free hotel rooms. So we thank them all very much. Last night as a signal of our thanks to the workers who are out there every day, we lit up our landmarks in the New York City area and in Niagara Falls, blue in their honor, and that’s a nice symbolic tribute. What’s even better is to take action that shows our gratitude. Saying it is nice, doing it is even better. And after 911, Congress created a victim’s compensation fund. I’ve been working with our congressional delegation. We think the federal government should set up a hero’s compensation fund to compensate our health care and other frontline workers for what they did here.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:50)
Saying thanks is nice. Actually providing assistance is even better. The big question is going to turn to when do we reopen, especially in places like New York where we’re going to see the numbers now starting to change the natural trajectory, the human movement is going to be okay, now let’s reopen. I need to get out of my house, I’ve been cooped up. Cabin fever. I need funds. I have to work. And that’s going to be the next question, next issue that we have to deal with. What I say on that question, again, none of us have been here before. So let’s learn from what has happened so far and let’s learn from what we have been seeing over these past few months so it informs what we’re doing going forward. First of all, the key to reopening is going to be testing. I’ve said that from day one. It’s not going to be a light switch where you flip this economy like you flip a light switch. It’s not going to be everybody goes back next Thursday. It’s not going to happen that way.
Andrew Cuomo: (12:03)
… Going to be everybody goes back next Thursday. It’s not going to happen that way. It’s going to be a gradual phased process and it’s going to be reliant on testing. Testing of antibodies, testing for diagnostic results and testing on a scale that we have not done before. Now, New York state has been very aggressive on testing and our state lab has been very aggressive on testing. Our state lab is now developing an antibody test, which is a fast and not invasive test. Right now the State Department of Health can do 300 tests a day. By next Friday, they’ll be able to do 1,000 tests, 2,000 tests the following week. That’s great. Sounds like a lot, but 2,000 tests are still a drop in the bucket and I’m proud of how New York’s advanced on testing. You look at how quickly New York state has moved on testing and how many tests we have done.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:09)
We’ve done a higher percentage of tests in New York state than other countries have done. New York state far exceeds what this nation as a whole is doing on testing. Even with our high capacity and high performance on testing, it’s still not enough. It’s not enough if you want to reopen on a meaningful scale and reopen quickly. The testing front is going to be a challenge for us. Well, why can’t New York just develop more tests and do more testing? How do we get New York State Department of Health to scale? That’s an issue that we’ve been working on. It’s harder than it sounds. You need certain reagents so you can do the testing. You need certain materials so you can do the testing and it’s very hard to get these reagents right. You’re in a situation where countries all across the globe are trying to do the same thing.
Andrew Cuomo: (14:14)
Federal government has something called the Defense Production Act, DPA they call it, which I’ve been saying from day one is a very powerful tool for the federal government to use when they need to secure a product in the defense of this nation. This is in the defense of this nation. The federal government has used it effectively. They’ve used it in this situation more as a point of leverage than anything else. Basically saying to a company, “We need you to do this. We do have the Defense Production Act that we could use,” but we need an unprecedented mobilization where government can produce these tests in the millions. New York State Department of Health is doing several thousand. We have 9 million people. We want to get back to work. You need more than several thousand tests per week if this is going to happen anytime soon.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:21)
Private sector companies on their own, I don’t believe will be able to come to scale. We’re working with the private sector companies. They have the tests, but they don’t have the capacity to come to scale. You’re going to need government intervention to make that happen and the federal government is in the best position to do that. New York state offers to be a full partner with the federal government. We do have the largest number of cases in New York. New York is an economic engine. I can’t do it as a state. If I had a Defense Production Act in the state, I would use it. I would use it. I don’t have that tool. The federal government does. Any way we can partner with the federal government to get these tests up to scale as quickly as possible, we are all in. I’d like to operate as a coalition with New Jersey and Connecticut because we are the Tristate area.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:27)
I’ve spoken to Governor Murphy of New Jersey. I’ve spoken to Governor Lamont of Connecticut. They would join in a testing coalition, so I asked the federal government if you are willing to step in and use the federal powers, New York state, New Jersey and Connecticut would partner with the federal government and let’s get the testing up to scale quickly so we can start to build that bridge to reopening the economy. Second on reopening, you need a federal stimulus bill. You need a federal stimulus bill. They passed a couple already, but you need a fair federal stimulus bill that is not a political pork barrel bill, right? You know where the cases are. You know where the need is. I understand the political dynamics of the US Senate, but this is not a time to be passing bills that really are to make sure your home state gets enough funding.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:37)
That’s not what this is about. This is about helping the country come back and focusing on the need. When I said the bills were unfair to New York, the passed bills, it’s not because I’m just advocating for New York. Look at the need, look at where the cases are, look at where the damage has been done. The federal government is trying to address that damage. You know where it’s been done. Look at the chart on where the cases exist. Look at the number of deaths, the number of cases, the number of hospitalizations and help those places come back and come back quickly. That’s what the stimulus bill is supposed to be doing. Also, let’s make sure we’re learning from what we just went through and are going through, okay, because there are lessons that I think we all should be aware of over the past few months and before you take a step forward, let’s make sure we know what we’re stepping into. A question that I’ve had from day one and when you look back at this, where were the horns that should have been triggered back in December and January?
Andrew Cuomo: (19:03)
Where were the warning signs? Who was supposed to blow the whistle? The president has asked this question and I think he’s right. The president, his answer is the World Health Organization should have been blowing the whistle. I don’t know enough to know if that’s right or wrong, but I know the question is right and sometimes the question is more important than the answer. How did this happen? I mean, I still want to know how this happened because the warning signs were there and if you don’t know the answer, then how do you know it’s not going to happen again? Right? Fool me once. January, you go back and look at the headlines in January and you see questions and you see warnings. Now, they were all over the map, but we saw what was happening in Asia. We saw what was starting to happen in Europe. Where were the international experts saying, “Well, if this is happening there, this is what we should expect to happen in the United States or prepare to happen in the United States.” January, February, you still had sources in this country saying basically there’s nothing to worry about. How did that happen and did we really need to be in a situation where the United States winds up with a higher number of cases than the places that went before? We sat here and we watched China. China winds up having 84,000 cases. We wind up having 474,000 cases. I mean, how does that happen? We saw South Korea, they wind up with 10,000 cases. Italy, where we saw a collapse of the whole health system winds up with 143,000 cases.
Andrew Cuomo: (21:18)
I raise the question because the answer again, is less important than the question, but before we move forward, let’s make sure we’re not repeating the same mistake that we made, right? George Santayana, “Those who did not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I don’t want to repeat what we just repeated, what we just went through over this past month. What are the relevant questions? Is there going to be a second wave? Let’s look at the countries that have gone through this reopening process and what can we learn from them, right? Well, we have to start to reopen. Let’s look at what the other countries who have gone before us, what they did, what worked and what didn’t work. When you take just a cursory review, you see caution signs. Hong Kong appeared to have the virus under control. They let its guard down, the virus came back.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:23)
Hong Kong recorded the biggest rise in cases and a new wave of infections. Is that true? Could it happen here? Article yesterday, Italy has seen a bump in the number of cases. Before we take a step, make sure we are more informed and more aware than we were in the past. They’re talking about a second wave for Singapore. You go back and you look at the 1918 flu epidemic that was over 10 months. There was a first wave, there was a second wave. The second wave was worse than the first wave because the virus mutated a third peak and the whole experience was 10 months.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:15)
Well, is there any extrapolation to where we are today? I don’t know the answers. This is not what I do. It’s not what a state does, but we know the questions and we should have the questions answered before we take the step forward because yes, no one has been here before. These are totally uncharted waters, but we do know that none of this is predetermined and it is all a function of our actions. We are in total control of our destiny here. What we do will affect literally life and death for hundreds of people, so where do we go from here?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (24:03)
… to people, so where do we go from here? Excuse me.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (24:06)
First, keep doing what we’re doing. Stay home because that works. We are flattening the curve. We must continue to flatten the curve. We have to get testing to scale. That is an entirely new exercise. It’s something we still haven’t done well in this country. We need both diagnostic testing and antibody testing and we need millions and millions of them and we need them in a matter of weeks, not months. We have to be more prepared as a nation. We should never go through this scramble that we went through, with states competing against other states to buy masks from China. I mean we should just never have been here in the first place, but certainly we should never be here again. Then let’s make sure we study the waters ahead and proceed with caution before we set off on the next journey. When we talk about reopening, let’s study the data and let’s look at what has happened around the world and let’s make sure the best health minds in the country are giving us their best advice.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (25:24)
How do we go forward? We stay New York tough. New York tough means more than just tough. It means disciplined. It means unified. It means loving. It means smart. Now is the time to be smart. Now more than ever. That’s what it means to be New York tough, and we are.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (25:46)
Speaker 1: (25:47)
[crosstalk 00:25:47] used to their fullest potential and how long will they stay up and running?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (25:52)
You should have stayed with it, Bernadette. You had it for a second. You had it. For the first 10 seconds, it was all you. I’m sorry?
Speaker 1: (25:59)
Are temporary hospitals currently being used to their full potential and how long will they stay up and running?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (26:05)
The temporary hospitals are an overflow relief capacity valve. I showed you the projections which all called for a multiple number of hospital beds than we have. We took our 53,000 beds, we raised it to 90,000 beds and then we created, that still isn’t enough by some of these projection models, we then created overflow facilities, Javits, several 200-bed overflow facilities and, knock formica, we don’t have to use them if the hospitalization rates stays low.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (26:47)
They are being used to some extent. Javits is being used to some extent. The Comfort is being used to some extent. I’ve said to the hospitals a number of times, if you need relief we have it, but if the hospitalization rate stays the same, we have up to a 90,000-bed capacity in our system, fully taxed, up to the brim, but that’s an overflow capacity that I hope we don’t use if we keep this curve down.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (27:18)
Speaker 2: (27:19)
[crosstalk 00:27:19] second wave?
You can answer, that’s fine.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (27:23)
What was this?
Speaker 2: (27:23)
Do you want them around for a second wave?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (27:27)
I don’t want the second wave. I don’t want a second wave. I don’t want a third wave. I don’t want a one-and-a-half wave. I want this to be it.
What data are you looking at indicating, one, a second wave, but, two, regarding testing, what is the holdup? What’s the logjam right now and what exactly do you want from the feds?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (27:48)
What happens on the testing is basically we rely on private sector companies to do these tests. Private sector companies would have to develop a test. They would have to buy, acquire the reagents to compile that test, whatever physical equipment they need, a finger, a swab, et cetera, and then package them and they’d have to have millions, and they’d have to have millions quickly. Then we’d have to figure out how to actually take those tests once you had millions of products.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (28:25)
We’ve been working with labs. We’ve been working with suppliers. That is much easier said than done. We haven’t found a private sector company that can come up to scale that quickly. They can’t get the reagents. They’re not equipped. We said a few days ago we asked private sector companies to come forward that we would invest with them to develop capacity and scale, but I don’t believe it happens without a significant partnership with government, where government comes in and says, I’m going to fund this. We’re going to do it up to scale. We’re going to form a coalition. We’re going to form a consortium. We’re going to put together the New York State Department of Health with the Connecticut, New Jersey Departments of Health. We’re going to acquire the reagents from other countries. I don’t even know that you can get all the supplies in this country. It’s not an art form per se. We have the test. There are private companies that have the test. The art form is coming up to scale that quickly. It’s the mobilization, the creation of the operation that can make millions and millions of tests, right?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (29:41)
You could use 10 million tests in New York tomorrow, just on the going back to work. By the way, I would love to see people before they go into a nursing home in the new normal, before you start visiting people in a nursing home. You take a rapid test at the front door and you get the results in 20 minutes before you walk in to visit someone. Healthcare workers, test them all. But that’s millions of tests.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (30:11)
Now, again, how do you make private sector companies do this? You don’t, if you’re a governor. If you’re the president and you have something called the Defense Production Act that can fund and mandate actions by private sector companies. Again, the private sector company would get paid. God bless them. Let them make a profit at it. But we need a tremendous mind-boggling increase in volume quickly. I don’t believe just waiting for the private sector companies to come up to scale you’re going to see it in the timeframe that you need to get it done.
[crosstalk 00:30:58] Do you know how many? You’re saying millions and millions, but how many?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (31:02)
Well, we have 19-million people in the state of New York. You’d want to start by testing everyone, right? You’d want to test people who would be going back to work, test people going into nursing homes, test healthcare workers. But, yeah, I mean in New York, what? 30-million tests you could use, as many as you can make, you can use. That’s just New York. That’s without New Jersey. That’s without Connecticut. That’s just the Tri-state area. Then you have California, I mean, just think of the numbers.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (31:34)
Doctor, do you want to speak to what goes into making these tests?
Speaker 3: (31:38)
Yeah. I think as the Governor mentioned, a lot of different reagents that are chemicals to actually prepare the test. You need to, even running the test, equipment that is specific for this. It’s a little different, some of the antibody tests than the diagnostic tests. The diagnostic tests are the ones with the swabs. We have some of the equipment there, but that also, as the governance said, needs to be scaled up.
[crosstalk 00:32:01] Governor, considering how far off the bed projections have been, do you worry about your credibility in warning people about what might be coming? Does that affect your credibility?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (32:13)
Because I relied on experts who were making a projection?
Or considering how-
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (32:18)
No, I think my credibility would be affected if I didn’t ask experts for their opinion and then do everything I can to meet those numbers that they produced. Look, you can’t go to better people than Columbia University and Cornell Weill and IMHB and McKinsey. Again, you’re asking them to model something that has never been modeled before. But that’s all you can do in any situation, Jesse, is you ask the best minds for what you should be prepared for and then you do everything you can to meet those numbers.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (33:04)
The way you lose credibility is either you’re in denial about what you’re looking at or you don’t act fast enough or you don’t achieve the goal. That’s how you lose credibility in this situation.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (33:22)
It is about, and I said from day one you, my job is to prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Those experts give you those numbers. Look, we could never even meet the Columbia number, 170-something thousand, that was out of the ballpark of possibility. We didn’t meet some of the more moderate scenarios. But that is my job: Ask the experts. It’s not what you hope, what you think, what your dream, what do the experts say, and then mobilize, operationalize to meet that. And we did that.
Speaker 4: (34:00)
[crosstalk 00:34:00] On your rhetorical question of who should have warned us, isn’t that the federal government’s job? Shouldn’t they have warned us in December and January?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (34:07)
Look. It is. You can argue, make different arguments. I think, and I don’t want to get into pointing fingers in the middle of a game, right? Let’s not get into the blame game. We’re still in the midst of this. We’re learning. These are all uncharted waters. Who should have known what when? Who should have said what when? The critics will do that after the fact, but there will be different theories.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (34:35)
The president’s point is the World Health Organization should have been more aggressive. This is not my field. I don’t know, but I’m sure there’ll be a fulsome conversation where a lot of people have a lot of theories about who should have spoken up first and some people will point to government and some people will point to international health organizations and some people will point to the scientific community and some people will say they were saying it, but they were never covered by journalists. I’m sure everybody will have a theory on who should have done what when. Some people will say, should have been more attentive to the Bible. There’ll be a lot of theories.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (35:16)
Speaker 5: (35:17)
[crosstalk 00:35:17] Fund, how would that work exactly? Will that also cover people like transit workers, janitors, grocery store clerks?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (35:25)
Who wants to take that? Melissa or Rob? On the compensation front.
Yeah, so the way it worked similar to what they did for 9/11. It’d be all workers who were impacted by the pandemic. It would include all essential workers. They’re required to show up. They’re required to work. It would include first responders, but it would also include the essential workers that were working.
Speaker 6: (35:46)
[crosstalk 00:35:46] federal fund. That would have to be a federal …
Yes, the federal government is how it was done last time. It’d be a similar thing. But all of those workers put themselves at risk, presumably there would be a presumption that it was related to those activities.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (35:59)
Excuse me, one second. Because I gave Jesse only half an answer-
Andrew Cuomo: (36:03)
… One second. I just wanted to, because I gave Jesse only half an answer. What the statisticians will say is they were right. They said we could flatten the curve if we took certain actions and if people complied with those actions. They will say that’s why the curve is flatter. Your rejoinder would have to be as a provocative journalist, “Well, how do you know it would have hit your projection?” And they’ll say, “I believe it would’ve had you not done the close downs, the New York pause, had you not been so diligent on compliance. We believe the infection rate would have hit our model and it did not hit our model because of the New York pause and the compliance, et cetera.” That would be their point. They will say, their model always said what you did, Jesse, if you can flatten the curve, if you put certain policies in place and people actually adhere to them, they did say that, you’ll then be left with a question that is unanswerable. Well, if none of those policies were put in place, would you have hit those numbers? Nobody will ever know.
Speaker 8: (37:27)
[crosstalk 00:01:33]. Governor, what’s the status of the PPE and ventilators? Is the state still trying to acquire more of them?
Andrew Cuomo: (37:38)
We’re okay right now. We’re okay.
Speaker 8: (37:40)
So we’re not trying to get more PPE?
Andrew Cuomo: (37:43)
Well, PPE you need every day. We have a stockpile where we are now relatively comfortable. Remember what we’re saying to these hospitals, they’re all uncomfortable. If you ask any hospital, “Do you have enough PPE?” They will say no. It’s like asking a budget director, does he have enough revenue? They will never say yes. The end, these hospitals are accustomed to having one month or two month stockpile. They’re now looking at several days of a stockpile, so they are all uncomfortable. But we only have several days for any hospital, and we do have several days for every hospital, and we do have a supply that’s coming in. So compared to how we have been operating on this new dire circumstances, we are relatively comfortable with ventilators and PPE if, big if, big I, big if, if the hospitalization rate stays down, which will only happen if we continue to do what we need to do.
One second. If I could just make one caveat, Josepha. There are certain hospitals that we get anecdotal reports on that are continuing to operate under the crisis conservation guidelines on PPE where they ask people to wear PPE for days at a time versus what the ordinary protocol is, and as we’re hearing those reports, we are reaching out to the hospitals and making sure they have the supply that they need so they don’t have to operate that way.
Andrew Cuomo: (39:23)
Excuse me one second. Just Melissa’s point is well taken. Every day we have a call with all the hospitals and every day they tell us if they need something that day and whatever they need that day we get them. So we do it on a daily basis right now.
Joe Specter: (39:42)
The decision that closed golf courses yesterday, what was the rationale for that and could people still walk on the golf course? Can they take out a few clubs. I mean, what’s the-
Andrew Cuomo: (39:53)
What are the full requirements on golf courses? Joe Specter wants to know being he’s a golfer. Who knows the full … Can you walk on a course with clubs if you don’t hit a ball? It’s a good question. We’re going to have to litigate it. Joe wants to know, can he walk the course with clubs if he’s not hitting them,
Yeah, there’s no golfing. It’s an extension of there’s no basketball, there’s no tennis. There is no any of these things. We’re encouraging people to stay home to the extent that people are getting out and doing exercise. We don’t want there to be a situation where there’s caddies, where there’s group activity. If you’re golfing, there’s not just two people golfing. There’s someone running the golf course and it’s counter to the other messages that we’re sending. So yes, ESD made the decision to close golf course.
Andrew Cuomo: (40:36)
Well, I would argue if I were you, I would say I’m hiking the golf course. You could I’m hiking the golf course because hiking is allowed. So I would say I’m hiking the golf course, that’ll stymie them, Joe.
Joe Specter: (40:52)
We’ve heard a lot about, there’s way more bodies being buried in Hart Island than there had been in the past. What do you know about Hart Island? Do you know if any COVID- 19 positive people had been buried there?
Andrew Cuomo: (41:03)
I know Hart Island. I know nothing about Hart Island and burial of COVID people.
Joe Specter: (41:12)
Andrew Cuomo: (41:12)
I’m normally not briefed on Hart Island, but I can inquire for you and we’ll get back to this. Let’s do someone who hasn’t asked a question.
Speaker 9: (41:22)
How is the antibody test administered that you’re working on right now?
Speaker 10: (41:27)
So right now it’s a blood test, just like any other blood tests, but we’re working on a way to do a finger stick or a heel stick, very much like we do newborn screening tests, and use that blood spot as a test.
Speaker 9: (41:42)
How much longer will [inaudible 00:41:43] 800 people a day, and how many people does it look like we’re going to be losing now?
Andrew Cuomo: (41:46)
The projections suggest … Well, first, we didn’t lose 800 people today, right? 777. The healthcare … What they have done in healthcare in this state is amazing. And the numbers of loss are staggering. The numbers of lives they saved are also just staggering. They’ve saved tens of thousands of lives, right? We hope that we have seen the worst. We don’t know because the infection rate is purely in our control. You tell me what New Yorkers do today, I will tell you what happens to the infection rate in two days and three days. And we are in control of how many people die. We are all in control of that. It is a consequence of the actions that we take. We will determine how many people live and die. Let’s think of it that way. Also with that, I forgot to do something. We have a short video that we produced that Melissa can talk about on this stay at home message.
For the last six weeks we’ve done a number of social media campaigns to drive home the point that the personal decisions that we’re all making today have a direct impact on the lives of other New Yorkers, and as an extension of the who I stay home for campaign that we launched a few days ago, we asked New Yorkers to share with us personal private photos of how they’re spending their time at home and let us see into their lives, and they were incredible. They show New York tough at its defining moment and we wanted to share them with you. So there’s a one minute short video that cuts them all together, if you want to play that.
Speaker 11: (44:33)
(singing). You need to stay home. It’s all they’re asking us to do. It’s not that hard.
Andrew Cuomo: (44:53)
That’s beautiful. The statisticians, when they did their curve, did not know how New Yorkers would respond and didn’t know whether or not New Yorkers would comply and they didn’t know how unified New Yorkers can be and how responsible they can be and how caring they are and how they rally for one another. That’s what they didn’t know and that’s what they couldn’t count in those models. They couldn’t count the spirit of New Yorkers and the love of New Yorkers to step up and do the right thing. That’s what they couldn’t figure out on their computers. Let’s take one more. Someone who didn’t ask yet.
Speaker 12: (45:36)
What is the state doing for [inaudible 00:09:39]?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:38)
I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the question.
Speaker 12: (45:46)
What is the state doing for minority group who are the more effected by the COVID?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:54)
One of the positives I think we can find in all of this, and there are lessons to learn. There’s no doubt many, many lessons, but one, I don’t think anyone is surprised that we have a higher incidence among the African American, Latino community. Luckily the disparity in this state is not nearly as bad as we see in other places in the country, but there’s no doubt there’s systemic racism in our society still, and there’s systemic structural inequality in our healthcare system. We are going to do more testing in African American, Latino communities. We opened more sites yesterday. We want to find out more information than we’ve ever found out before. We have the state university of New York at Albany that’s going to be working with Department of Health and Northwell to find out why. Why, first of all. They’ll say, “Well, more co-morbidities in the system.”
Andrew Cuomo: (47:00)
They’ll say, “People had less access to healthcare.” I also believe it’s partially because you have more African Americans and Latinos in the public sector workforce. More of them were essential workers. They had to go to work. They didn’t have the luxury of staying home, frankly, they didn’t have the luxury of going to their second home. They didn’t have the luxury of going to stay with their sister in some other place. They had to go drive the bus and they had to drive the train and they had to go to the hospital because of the healthcare workers. So let’s understand it. Let’s learn about it, but then let’s fix it. Let’s fix it, and let’s use this as a moment to understand the injustice and remedy it. Thank you very much. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.