Apr 18, 2020

Andrew Cuomo New York COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 18

Cuomo New York Briefing April 18
RevBlogTranscriptsPolitical TranscriptsAndrew Cuomo New York COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 18

Governor Andrew Cuomo held his daily coronavirus briefing on April 18. He said New York appears to be “past the plateau” as deaths and hospitalizations continue to drop.

 

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Governor Andrew Cuomo: (05:25)
Good morning. Okay, let’s start with some indisputable facts today. Today is Saturday, that is a fact, indisputable. Somebody probably could dispute it, but I will stand by that factual determination. Hospitalization numbers are down. Good news. We’ve been hovering around 18,000, then we went to 17,000, and we’re now at 16,000, almost 17, 000, but that is good news. We’re down now for several days. The statisticians will say, “Are we past the apex? Have we hit the plateau and flattened for a period of time, and are we now on the way off the plateau and on the descent?” If you look at the past three days, you could argue that we are past the plateau when we’re starting to descend, which would be very good news. Again, it’s only three days, but that’s what the numbers would start to suggest, and you see that basically across the board. Hospitals will tell you that also. The emergency rooms have fewer people in them. Remember, they were at manic max capacity for a very long period of time. Remember, we increased the hospital capacity by 50%, so every hospital had 50% more, and that capacity was overwhelmed, which just reminds us of the job the hospitals have been doing. But we see that in the numbers as well as what the hospitals are saying to us.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (07:14)
You only get a three day average, which is more accurate. That is down. The ICU admissions that I don’t think is reflective of anything anymore, but we continue to include it for some unknown reason, are also down. The intubations are down, which is very good news. Again, intubation means you’ve been put on a ventilator. Probability is about 80% that you won’t come off the ventilator once you’re put on a ventilator, so that’s very good news.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (07:44)
But sobering news on the other hand, happy days are not here again. We still have about 2,000 people yesterday who were new admissions to a hospital or new COVID diagnoses. That is still an overwhelming number every day, 2,000 new. If it wasn’t for the relative context that we’ve been in, this would be devastating news, 2,000 people coming into the hospital system or testing positive. And if you notice, 2,000, we’re not at the peak, but this is where we were just about in late March when it started to go up. So, we’re not at the plateau anymore, but we’re still not in a good position. And the worst news is still tragic news. Number of deaths, 540. It’s not as high as it was. It’s still 540 people died yesterday, 540 people, 540 families, 504 in hospitals, 36 in nursing homes.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (08:58)
Nursing homes are the single biggest fear in all of this. Vulnerable people in one place. It is the feeding frenzy for this virus, despite everything we can do and the best efforts of people who are working in those nursing homes who are doing just a fantastic job.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (09:23)
Testing. Testing is the single most important topic for us to understand, I think. And it’s important that we understand it. Spoke to one of my daughters last night who shall go nameless, but she said to me, “What are they all talking about testing?” Which was sort of sobering. I think I’m communicating information and facts and my daughters are probably some of the most informed people on the situation given the hardship they endured being my daughter during this period of time. And she was like, “I don’t understand all of this about testing.” Which is, again, it’s a wake up call to me. I think we’re communicating. I think we’re putting out this information, but people have lives to live even in this crazy time.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (10:15)
But, for me, the best thing I can do in my position is to communicate facts to people so they have the information to make decisions. That’s what I’ve been trying to do since day one. Here’s the information, here are the facts, you decide and I’ll tell you what I think the course of conduct should be given these facts, but here are the facts. Right? Before you tell me what you think, just tell me the facts and then we’ll get to your personal interpretation of the facts.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (10:48)
So, facts on testing, because it is granular and it is a little boring, but it’s also vitally important. Testing is how you monitor the rate of infection and you control for it. And that is the whole tension in reopening. Everybody wants to reopen. You don’t need to hold up a placard saying, “We want to reopen.” Nobody wants to reopen more than me. Nobody wants to get the economy going more than me. Nobody wants to get on with life more than me and everybody else. We’re all in the same boat. We all have the same feelings.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (11:28)
The tension on reopening is how fast can you reopen and what can you reopen without raising that infection rate so you go right back to where we were overwhelming the hospitals? The infection rate now is one person infects .9 other people. You can’t infect .9. But it’s basically one person is infecting one person, tad less. And I don’t even know if it’s a tad less because I don’t even know that the statistics are that accurate, frankly. So let’s say one person now affects one person.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:03)
Frankly, so let’s say one person now infects one person. That’s where we are now. When that is happening, the virus is basically stable. Where we were was one person was infecting 1.4 people, and that’s when you have outbreak, widespread epidemic. We brought it down from 1.4 to 0.9. How did you do that? Those were the New York Pause policies. Close down business, close down schools, everybody has the social distance, everybody has to take precautions, masks, et cetera, but it worked and we went from 1.4 to 0.9. Wuhan says at one point they got down to 0.3, which is where you really start to see the numbers drop, but that’s where we are.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:51)
The tension is when you start to open business, you start to have gatherings, you put people on a bus, you put people on a subway, you put people in a retail store, then you’re going to see more infections. You can see that infection rate rise and then you’re going to be back to where we were. So how do you gauge this? Right? How do you calibrate it? That is all about the testing, and you have a very tight window. You’re at 0.9 now, you can only go up to 1.2 before you see those hospitalization numbers start taking off again. You’re talking about a very, very tight window that you have to calibrate, and this is all without precedent. So how do you actually do that intelligently? Well, you have to test, and testing informs the calibration.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (13:49)
What is testing? Testing is you test, you test the person to see whether they’re positive or negative for the Coronavirus. There’s also something called antibody testing, but let’s put that aside for a second. On the diagnostic testing, positive or negative, you test the person. When you find a person who’s positive, you then trace. Trace, they call them detectives. You find the person and then you interview that person and find out who they came in contact, and you follow that tree down. That’s testing and then tracing, when they talk about tracing. Trace all those contacts and then you find the people who are positive, you isolate the positive people so they can’t continue to spread.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (14:33)
Tracing requires an army, literally an army. You would need thousands of people who just trace in the state of New York, right? Because any one person then leads to 10, 20 possible people who were infected, and you have to trace all through those people. You find a positive person, you isolate them. The trick with testing is not that we don’t know how to do it. We’ve done it better in this state than almost any other state, almost any other country. It’s bringing this up to scale, and these are private sector companies that are doing this. But we have done a very good job in testing, and the state has played a pivotal role in testing. You look at how New York, the number of tests we do, it’s more than California. It’s more than any other state. It’s more than any other country. So we have had great success in ramping up testing, so we know how to do it.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (15:42)
We know how important it is. We had that hotspot in New Rochelle, Westchester. It was the hottest cluster in the United States of America and we jumped on it, and we jumped on it with intense testing and it worked. You know, we still have an issue, but it’s no longer a hotspot cluster because you do a lot of testing, you take the positives and you isolate them. This is now, the challenge is now bringing this up to scale. Okay? We did 500,000 tests in a month. That’s great news. Bad news is it’s only a fraction of what you need. The more you test, the more information, the more you can reopen society. How does testing actually work? And this, again, you have to know the facts, otherwise this is all a blur and it becomes a he said/she said. There are about 30 private companies, large, private companies in the country that are even international. 30 large companies make equipment to test and they all have their own test. Okay? So you have the Acme test, this test, this test or this test. Those 30 companies have been selling their machines to local laboratories, and that’s their business. They make a machine, Roche makes a machine, they then sell it to people. You have to buy their machine, and they then sell these local labs their testing protocol because their test works on their machine. So you buy the Roche machine, you then have to buy the Roche test from the Roche corporation. You buy the Acme machine, you then have to buy the Acme test from the Acme corporation, and they sell these tests to local labs.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (17:52)
We have about 300 local labs in our state who have bought these 30 types of manufacturers and 30 types of tests. Okay? And then every time the lab goes to run that test, if I’m running the Acme test, I have to have the Acme equipment and the Acme vial and the Acme swab and the Acme reagents. What are reagents? When you take the swab, nasal swab, throat swab, you then test it with other chemicals. The other chemicals are reagents. Depending on what test you bought, they have their own reagents for every test. So the Acme test has one set of reagents, the Roche test has another set of reagents and you have to go back to them to buy these reagents.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (18:46)
So that’s the basic chain, and it gets very complicated very quickly because you have the national manufacturers who sold their machines to local labs. The local labs then need to go back to that manufacturer to run their tests, and there’s very little uniformity among the tests. So you’re trying to coordinate this whole private sector system. We have some public labs, state has a Wadsworth lab, but the real capacity is in these private labs.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (19:26)
So how do you bring this up to scale? And how do you cut to the chase on this one?We called the top 50 producing labs in the state and said, “Tell us what it takes to double your output.” Okay? And this is literally what they said, so there’s no interpretation here. Most of them come back, sometimes they talk about the equipment, nasal swab, vial. But what you see is most of them are talking about we can’t get the reagents. We can’t get these other chemicals that we need to test. Where do they get the reagents from there? They their manufacturer who made the machine in the first place. Okay? And they all say with the machines we bought, we could actually be doing more if they would give us the reagents. That’s the log jam that we are in. They bought the machine, they have the machine, they have the test, but they need the reagents to do a higher volume of tests.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (20:38)
When you go back to the manufacturer and say, “Why don’t you distribute more reagents?” They say one of two things. “I can’t get more reagents because they come from China, they come from here, they come from here. We don’t make them in the United States.” Or they say, “The federal government is telling me who to distribute it to.” And this is why I say you have the federal government involved in this situation. Rightfully so, because the federal government is saying to Acme Pharmaceutical, “Give X to California. Give Y to Chicago. Give Z to New York.” These manufacturers are regulated by the federal government, and the federal government clearly has a role in addressing this crisis, but we need two things from the federal government. We need help on that supply chain, especially when it becomes international, and we need coordination and basic partnership.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (21:41)
I get the state’s role. We have been testing. I get this is hard. I get that it’s difficult. I get that it’s never going to be perfect. I get in this society, there’s going to be a blame game and everyone’s going to say, “Why didn’t we have enough testing? It’s the feds. It’s the state.” That’s going to happen anyway, right? That’s the world we live in, and I’m not asking for the federal government to come in and do any more than they need to do, but we do need their coordination. We do need their partnership and we also need from the federal government, we need funding. I get that we have to fund airlines, we have to fund this business, we have to fund small business. Yeah, I agree 100%, but you also have to fund state governments. And by the way, when you fund the state government, you’re not funding a private business. Okay? We’re not an airline, so you don’t have an issue of should government really be giving tax dollars to this private entity?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (22:38)
When you fund the state government, you just are funding a state government to perform the functions you want us to perform, which is the reopening function. I get it, I’ll do it, but I need funding. And when you find the state government, you’re funding small businesses anyway, and you’re funding hospitals anyway, and your funding schools anyway. And you know the Republican doctrine used to be limited government and state’s rights. I’m a good distribution mechanism to small businesses and hospitals and schools because I know what’s going on in the state. But if you want us to reopen, we need funding.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (23:17)
National Governor’s Association is highly relevant because this is now all up to the governors. The National Governor’s Association is bipartisan. The chairman is a Republican. I’m the vice chairman, I’m a Democrat. I’m the incoming chair person. We did a press release yesterday saying we need funding in this next bill, we need $500 billion for the States so we can do this reopening. Federal government yesterday sent 1.5 million cloth masks to New York Sate, and I want to thank them for that. These are cloth masks that we can distribute to people to help implement our policy where if you’re in public, you have to wear a mask. It’s not a surg-

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:03)
… Our policy where, if you’re in public, you have to wear a mask. It’s not a surgical mask. It’s a cloth mask manufactured by the Haynes Corporation, I believe. But we’re asking people to wear masks. And this is going to be very helpful, because we don’t have additional masks to distribute to the public.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:21)
Last point, personal opinion. This is not a fact. This is just my opinion. You can throw it in the garbage. The emotion in this country is as high as I can recall. People are frustrated. We’re anxious. We’re scared. We’re angry. We’ve never been through this before. And, on every level, this is a terrible experience. It’s disorienting. It threatens you to your core. It makes you reflect on your whole life. It’s mentally very difficult. It’s emotionally difficult. Economically, it’s disastrous. I mean, the market goes down. Your retirement funds go down. You’re not getting a paycheck. It is as tumultuous a time as we have ever seen.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (25:22)
But, in the midst of this, there is no time for politics. How does this situation get worse and get worse quickly? If you politicize all that emotion. We cannot go there. That’s why I work so hard. When anyone raises any political agenda to me, I work so hard to distance myself from it. I’m not running for anything. I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be Governor of the State of New York until the people kicked me out. And then I’m going to go spend time with my family and that’s that. So I have no political agenda. And I’ve stayed a hundred miles away from politics, just so people know that there is no possibility of a political distortion here. Because it’s no time for politics.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (26:20)
And, look, if you have partisan division splitting this nation now, it’s going to make it worse. Abraham Lincoln, “A house divided itself against itself cannot stand.” 1858. Where did Abraham Lincoln get it from? “If a house is divided against itself, the house cannot stand,” Mark 3:25. Okay, so this is accepted wisdom, Let us say. House cannot stand. Not to mention, a house cannot rise up from the greatest challenge it has seen since World War II. This is no time and no place for division. We have our hands full as it is. Let’s just stay together and let’s work it through. That’s why we’re called the United States. And the unity was key. Going back to Abraham Lincoln, it was always about the unity. Going back to the framers of the Constitution, it was always balanced of power to ensure unity. And we need that unity now more than ever before. Questions?

John: (27:37)
Governor, your mask order took effect last night. I know you addressed this a little bit the other day, but you’re currently not wearing a mask. Do you fear that there’s a, “Do as I say, not as I do,” kind of aspect to this? And what would you say to somebody who’s sitting at home saying, “Well, the governor is not wearing a mask, why should I?”

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (27:56)
When I am in public and I’m walking the dog down the street and there is a place where I could come in contact with other people and I can’t maintain social distancing, I am wearing a mask. If I’m walking through the backyard alone and nobody’s around me, I don’t wear a mask. Wear a mask in public, if you are in a situation where you could encroach on other people without maintaining social distancing. That’s when you wear a mask. Here, I’m not going to come any closer to you than I am. There is no possibility that you and I, John, violate the social distancing guideline. I’m socially distanced from Howard. I’m socially distanced from Melissa. I’m not in public. I’m not staying in your home. In public, that, I think, is a small inconvenience that has a tremendous benefit for people. And you want to go walk the dog with me? I’ll walk the dog with you. I wear a mask and my daughter wears a mask. Dog doesn’t wear a mask. I’ve not heard any data that suggests pets should wear a mask. So Captain’s not violating anything. But, we’ll walk the dog, I wear a mask. Not as attractive as your mask, by the way. You have a very stylish, fashion forward one.

Jesse: (29:38)
Govenor, you’re talking about unity today. But President Trump has been encouraging, implicitly and explicitly, some Republican states to kind of move ahead with reopening plans. Beaches are reopening in Florida today. There’ve been protests in State Houses around the country. What do you make of that sort of piecemeal approach? And considering that people travel, could travel from Florida to New York, from Texas to New York, et cetera… Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of trying to stamp this out?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (30:04)
Look, I think no one should inject politics. And that’s why Jesse… Do as you say. You know how hard I’ve worked and how many times I’ve said, taking myself totally out of contention for any possible political position, just to make sure nobody could say there’s a political angle to this. And I can’t speak for anyone else. I can speak to my relationship, what I’m doing in this state, how I’m working with other officials for myself, and how I’m trying to work with the federal government. I think the President’s point of, there are different states in different positions… And once you say it’s up to the governors, which is what he said, you’re going to get potentially 50 different paths forward. And that’s what he said. That is his model. He did not say this is a nationwide program that he’s asking governors to buy into. He said it’s up to the governors. So what I do here in New York may very well be different from what the Florida governor decides to do.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (31:16)
And your point is well taken. Well then can they drive to New York to Florida, Florida to New York? Yes, they can. And is that a downside of a 50 state strategy? You could argue that’s a downside. There’s no perfect way to do this. I’m trying to do it as a region. Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, et cetera. I’m trying to do it as a region because I think that’s better. But, yeah, when you do individual strategies, the tension with that, and I think the rationale for the President, is you have different problems in different states. And I think the President leaving it to the states was not just right and legal and constitutional. I think he’s right that it’s different in different places. Look, when we look at this state and we talk about reopening, we’re going to talk about different strategies in different parts of the state because the numbers dictate the strategy. And you have different numbers in different parts of this state.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (32:28)
You raised the countervailing point, which is that, “Well, yeah, but then somebody could drive from place to place.” Yeah, I understand that and that’s what we’re trying to balance with the regional approach. I don’t want people going to New Jersey or Connecticut versus New York. And how do we coordinate that? But you do have different situations based on numbers.

Jesse: (32:47)
And on that issue, upstate/downstate, there’s a lot of cries from people upstate saying, “Look, we don’t have that high rate of infection.” How soon could you consider that sort of regional approach where, say the Albany district or Utica or even farther flung places, might have different policies schools might open, etc.?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (33:06)
That will be a factor for sure. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In this part of the world we are barely stabilizing our public health system now. You’re not seeing a total overload of the emergency rooms. That doesn’t mean happy days are here again. And the first priority is life and death and public health. So we’re not at a point where we’re going to be reopening anything immediately, but we are planning. And in the planning phase, yes, different numbers would suggest a different strategy balanced by, your point, people are mobile. And not only are people mobile, you could create unintended consequences. You opened one area, but you don’t open another area. And now I can drive to that area and I can go to a restaurant. I can go to a bar. I can go do whatever I want in that area. Yeah, you could now create an unintended consequence of where you have a flood of people there. They opened the beach in Jacksonville, I think it was, but some beach in Florida, and the whole beach was filled. Yeah, because you have all this pent up demand. You open a beach, people will drive from everywhere to go to a beach. It was a little closer, I might drive to the beach. So you have to factor all of this in and that’s why it’s a very complicated equation.

Speaker 1: (34:53)
Govenor, a number of state legislators and including Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie have said recently that they can and should remotely continue the legislative session. Some taxpayers are saying, “Hey, it’s their job.” Do you agree that they can? And if so, does that mean there’s hope for something like recreational marijuana at a time [when the state really needs revenue 00:35:11]?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (35:13)
Look, I think, first of all, it’s totally up to them. Different branches of government, legislative and executive. I spoke with the Speaker yesterday. I speak with the Speaker often. And he’s working. I can tell you that. From a taxpayer’s point of view, if they think their Assembly person or Senator isn’t working because they’re not here, they have to think again. They’re working. They’re working probably harder than they normally work because you have all those constituents in that area with all these issues calling them. And their phone is ringing off the hook and they’re calling me. So I can tell from how much I’m talking to them. I’m talking to them much, much more than usual. So they’re working. In terms of passing legislation remotely. They can do that. That’s up to them. As far as getting into a very complex issue that…

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:03)
As far as getting into a very complex issue that requires real analysis and real data and trying to do that on Zoom conferences. I don’t know that that’s the best way to do it, but that’s up to them also.

Speaker 3: (36:17)
Governor, marriage bureaus are closed right now. Is the state doing anything to help people get marriage certificates?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:22)
Marriage bureaus?

Speaker 3: (36:22)
Yeah.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:22)
I think the divorce rate is going up. Marriage rate is going down, divorce rate is going up. What are we doing about marriage bureaus? Why didn’t somebody think about that, Howard?

Melissa: (36:32)
We actually have thought about it. We are today signing an executive order allowing people to get their marriage licenses remotely, and also allowing clerks to perform ceremonies over video. So if that’s an avenue people want to go down, it will be available to them.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:47)
Video marriage ceremonies. There’s now no excuse when the question comes up for marriage. No excuse. You can do it by Zoom. It’s yes or no.

Speaker 4: (37:02)
Your honor, your administration announced recently that it has begun the process of going to release older prisoners who are nearing the end of their sentence on certain crimes.

Speaker 4: (37:13)
Can you speak to how many prisoners that’s actually going to release from the state prison system?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (37:17)
Yeah. Melissa, do you have those numbers?

Melissa: (37:18)
Yeah.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (37:18)
A range?

Melissa: (37:18)
Yeah, so earlier in the week, DOCs made the determination in consultation with the second floor, that prisoners who are over 55 years old who had 90 days, or less on their sentences who were not found guilty of a violent felony, or a sexual assault offense, would begin the process of getting let out of prison. These are people who were going to be let out in the next 90 days anyway. They served the entirety of their term and they were not a threat to public safety. I think that that number is a little over 200 but I can get you the precise number after this.

Speaker 4: (37:49)
Will this be a rolling release whereby when people reach the age of 55 they will become eligible for a release, or is this one time?

Melissa: (37:56)
If they fit that criteria, then yes. [crosstalk 00:37:58] It’ll roll forward throughout this current emergency.

Speaker 4: (38:02)
And Governor, can you please speak to how many tests are being performed on state prisoners? It seems like there aren’t as many tests being given to the state prisoners. Can you speak to that?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:15)
Yeah. There are not enough tests being performed on any group anywhere in the state. Okay? There are enough tests being performed in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, North Country, Long Island, Westchester. Not for prisoners, not for the black and brown population, not for healthcare workers. Not for police officers. That’s true across the board. That’s why we have to bring testing to scale across the board, because it’s true for everyone.

Speaker 4: (38:47)
It seems like the numbers in the prison system are just so low and with the way that this disease spreads so quickly through the prison system. Is that a concern to you that the numbers [crosstalk 00:02:56]?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:56)
Any congregate setting is a concern. Greatest concern are the nursing homes. That is the number one congregate concern. Prisons are also a concern, but nursing homes by far and away are the number one longterm, really devastating consequence of this disease. So to the extent you want to argue prioritization, yeah it would be congregate care, nursing homes, prisons, obviously hospitals. Number one at the top of the list is nursing homes. Let’s take two more questions.

Speaker 5: (39:39)
Can you just address going off of what you’ve just said. The communication yesterday was about residents in nursing homes who’ve been diagnosed with COVID, or suffered a loss related.

Speaker 5: (39:47)
What is the expectation for communication to loved ones with residents in nursing homes if staffers test positive? Because people are telling us that they’re not getting any communication still, even after everything that you guys said yesterday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (40:00)
Yeah. Let’s remember, nursing homes are privately run facilities for the most part. A nursing home will have rules of operation when a person went into that nursing home. We have basic regulations of nursing homes. We don’t get into a fine detail of what a nursing home does in their policy of communication with family members and what family members do. They communicate with and they talk to only the immediate family, et cetera. I think we release probably more than any other state in terms of nursing home data. I don’t know anyone else who is doing… They may be, I’m not a nursing home data expert, but I don’t know what else we could release, beyond number of deaths per nursing home, that doesn’t violate healthcare privacy. If there is a complaint that a nursing home is non- responsive, then we will talk to that nursing home and follow up. [crosstalk 00:41:06] But I don’t know that we have any state regulations on this.

Speaker 6: (41:09)
Not a regulation, but we do work on the issues of communication between the nursing homes and the residents and their families.

Speaker 5: (41:15)
[crosstalk 00:41:15] So generally are you finding that nursing homes are not reporting fully, or under reporting? Or keeping information because they’re afraid of the stigma that’s associated with [crosstalk 00:41:25] They don’t want to be that nursing home that has those high numbers that you see.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:27)
I hear you. I don’t know if that’s what it is, because their numbers are gone and come out. Any nursing home that thinks they’re going to sit there and people are not going to figure out how many people passed away in that nursing home, they’re kidding themselves. I’ve spoken to a number of nursing homes. I think more than anything they’re overwhelmed.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:44)
They’re overwhelmed, they have staff shortages, staff are getting sick. The residents of the nursing home are under tremendous pressure. They haven’t seen loved one, they haven’t had any visitors. Everyone’s under emotional distress, because you have a large number of people dying. And you’re in a nursing home and everybody knows everyone and people are dying.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (42:11)
And then you have the state coming in saying, “You must report this, you must report this. I want this report by five o’clock.” And they’re saying to me, “With all due respect, governor, I’m taking care of people’s lives. And you’re saying, “Do paperwork.”” And I’m saying it’s not really doing paperwork. It’s important that people know and people are concerned. But you have to see the dynamic of the situation. I don’t think that there’s anything nefarious. I think it’s just the dynamic. Last question.

Speaker 7: (42:37)
What’s the status of the antibody testing effort? Have we gotten federal approvals to scale that up? How much progress have we made on that?

Speaker 6: (42:44)
So we are working with both the private sector as well as our own lab where we’re working on antibody testing and we’re getting information. I had sent a letter down to the FDA about one of the companies, and we’ll see where that comes. They’re reviewing that at that point. That will help us scale up once we find out about that.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:03)
[crosstalk 00:43:03] Last question, last question. Josefa.

Josefa: (43:03)
At this point, how many nursing home residents have actually been tested. Yesterday you had mentioned that they were going to increase testing at nursing homes. How would that happen? How would we do that?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:14)
Well, I don’t know that we would know. Nursing homes conduct their own tests. Again, they’re private facilities. They’re private run facilities. We would have to do a survey of nursing homes and ask the nursing homes, “How many tests have you performed? How often have you performed them?” But it’s not a question that we would normally ask.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:35)
We don’t perform testing by and large in nursing homes. If there’s a problem, we do. But there are about 600 nursing homes and they do their own testing, which is another complication on this testing world. They also contract for tests, right? Nursing homes are contracting for tests. Hospitals are contracting for tests. Private corporations are contracting for tests. The Acme Corporation, I want to go back to work, they are calling labs saying, “I want to buy testing, because I want to test my employees.” So you have all these sources coming into these testing sites. [crosstalk 00:44:19] I have to go to work.

Jesse: (44:20)
… testing diagnostic or antibody. How can you be certain that the Arnot is 0.9?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (44:28)
Well, we have more testing than anyone else and this is from the hospital data that we get, which they extrapolate out. What other data goes into it?

Speaker 8: (44:39)
Hospitalizations, death rate is how we extrapolate out…

Jesse: (44:41)
And are you guys worried at all about, there have been reports of people becoming reinfected with CV after seemingly recovered. This is coming out of South Korea and other locations. Have you seen cases like that in New York?

Speaker 6: (44:53)
We haven’t seen cases like that in New York. We’ve heard about the report in South Korea. There are some questions about the validity of that and we’ll continue to look into that.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:01)
I think it was a small sample and I don’t know if they were saying reinfected, Jesse, or the virus was reactivated. I don’t know what the distinction is, but [crosstalk 00:45:09]. Yes. Yes.

Speaker 5: (45:11)
Governor, green lighting on life or death procedures that will take hospitals if they’re barely at 50% capacity, have you thought about that?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:18)
I have not. But I will. And I’ll talk to you about it tomorrow. Thank you.