Apr 27, 2020

Andrew Cuomo New York COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 27

Cuomo Briefing May 20
RevBlogTranscriptsAndrew Cuomo TranscriptsAndrew Cuomo New York COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 27

Governor Andrew Cuomo held his daily New York coronavirus press conference on April 27. Cuomo said New York has been bailing out other states for decades. Full transcript here.


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Andrew Cuomo: (02:24)
Big Monday crowd. Hope you guys had a good weekend. Welcome back. I had a very nice weekend, not that anybody is asking. Nice weekend with the girl’s boyfriend. I like the boyfriend. If anybody asks, boyfriend is the part of the premises.

Andrew Cuomo: (02:48)
Monday. This is the total hospitalization rate. What you see is basically flat. Flat is not great, but a flat may be a reaction to the weekend. Sunday, Sunday discharges may be down, but we have the same question: How fast and how steady is the decline? We don’t want to see flat. We want to see an increase in decline, and we want to see how fast that decline goes and how low does the decline go. When does that hospitalization rate get down to a truly manageable number? When does the incoming case number get down to a manageable number?

Andrew Cuomo: (03:37)
You see, again, overall hospitalization rate is on the decline. Again, yesterday, a little less than we would like to see, but hopefully, it was a Sunday anomaly because of the weekend. Intubations is down. Number of new cases, still 1,000 new COVID cases every day. Puts it in perspective. Down a tad from where it was, but again, these weekend numbers sometimes are a little strange. Number of lives lost, 337. Still tragically high, but on the decline if you look at it over the past few days, not that that gives any solace to 337 families who are suffering today.

Andrew Cuomo: (04:29)
On testing, this has been a big topic, increasing testing. It’s been a scramble for all the states. We’re doing well on it. The testing tells you where we are and whether the infection rate is going up or going down. We’ve now tested 7,500 people statewide, so that’s a very significant number, and it gives us a snapshot of where we are. It’s just a snapshot, but snapshot, snapshot, snapshot. You look at the different pictures, and you have a movie at one point and you can track what is happening. It’s 7,500 people.

Andrew Cuomo: (05:12)
The percent statewide that’s positive is 14.9. When we tested five days ago, it was 13.9. 13.9 to 14.91, one point. Statistically, it’s in the margin of error. I’d like to see the margin go the other way, but male, female, they both went up a point. Men are still more likely to have the virus than women by a couple of points, whatever that bespeaks. I care not to speculate.

Andrew Cuomo: (05:49)
These are the regional numbers in broad strokes. Long Island, 14. New York City is up a couple of points. Westchester/Rockland is up a couple of points. The rest of the state is basically flat. This is the infection rate by region. People hear New York, they think New York City. Yes, we have New York City. We also have Upstate New York, North Country, which is a predominantly rural or suburban, and you see different situations across this state.

Andrew Cuomo: (06:32)
This is not a homogenous state, so the Mohawk Valley. 2.6%; North Country, it’s 1.2%. Capital District, 2.1. Hudson Valley, 10%, but that has Westchester and Rockland in it. Central New York, 1.37. Southern Tier. Finger Lakes. Western New York, 7.1. Western New York is the high point upstate. Hudson Valley, again, has Westchester/Rockland.

Andrew Cuomo: (06:56)
We had a significant problem in Westchester, less so in Rockland, so I think that skews that number, but when you see 1.2% in the North Country, 2.6 Mohawk Valley, Capital District, you see a much different situation than you’re looking at in New York City where you’re in the 20s. Different situations, different strategy going forward. We’re coordinating as a state. We’re coordinating with our neighboring States, but you still have to take into consideration the variations across the state, and that’s what we’re trying to navigate.

Andrew Cuomo: (07:39)
By race, you see the percent for Asians has ticked up. African Americans actually down. Latinos went up 10%. Nobody can explain what caused that jump in this survey. It’s something we’re going to watch and we’re doing more testing in lower income communities and African American and Latino communities as we’ve discussed. The age breakdown is fairly consistent with where it was. That’s where we are today in New York.

Andrew Cuomo: (08:21)
New York City, obviously, high point number of cases in the country, higher than some countries globally, and Upstate New York, a very different reality. Big question is reopening, especially for those places with less of an issue to begin with or places that have reduced their problems. I get a lot of local officials who are calling me, “We want talk about reopening, reopening, reopening.”

Andrew Cuomo: (08:50)
Know what you are doing before you do it. Those are words to live by. I don’t know who said it, but it is a true axiom. We want to un-pause. May 15th is when the pause regulations expire statewide. I will extend them in many parts of the state, but in some parts of the state, some regions, you could make the case that we should un-pause on May 15th, but you have to be smart about it. We all have to be smart about it. As we said, there is no light switch where you flick a switch and everybody goes back to doing what they’re doing. We have to take these circumstances into consideration. We have to learn the lessons, we have to move forward, and we have to be smart because if you are not smart, you will see that infection rate go right back to where it was. We’ll be right back to where we were 58 days ago, and nobody wants to do that.

Andrew Cuomo: (09:56)
What I want to say to my regional colleagues is be smart. ” Well, we want to reopen.” Well, have you thought through reopening? We have a couple of weeks, but start thinking through what it means to reopen. First question is do we meet the CDC guidelines that say you reopen when you’ve seen a decline in numbers for 14 days? Second, we’ve talked about, on the reopening, bringing back construction and manufacturing as the first two industries, but how do you bring them back, and what precautions are going to be in place? What precautions do you want those businesses to institute when they start? Part of this is on business.

Andrew Cuomo: (10:42)
You know your business. I don’t know your business. I don’t know how you do business. How do you incorporate into how you do your business and where you do your business the precautions that we want to take going forward. How do you do social distancing? How do you do monitoring? Are you going to take the temperature of people who walk in the door, et cetera, and that’s for government, but it’s also a question for business.

Andrew Cuomo: (11:09)
Healthcare capacity. You want to reopen a region. What is the healthcare capacity in that region? How many beds will you have available if that number goes up? How many ICU beds will you have available, and are you contemplating what’s going to happen when the flu season kicks in September where we could potentially now be dealing with COVID cases on top of flu cases. You have to test for both and possibly have hospital capacity for both.

Andrew Cuomo: (11:44)
Do we have testing in place, and is testing ready to go because testing is one of the main monitors. Do we have a tracing system in place? We all talk about testing, tracing, isolating. That has to be in place. Test people. You then trace the contacts. You find the positive people, and you isolate them, but you need a tracing system. This is something we’ve never done before. That system has to be in place.

Andrew Cuomo: (12:16)
When we isolate people, where do they go? Isolation. Once you find the person who’s positive, basically you can say to the person, “Look, you can go home, but then you run the risk of infecting those people in your house, or we could put you in an isolation facility. We have a hotel, et cetera, that we can put you in for two weeks, but you have to locate those facilities first.”

Andrew Cuomo: (12:44)
We have to coordinate as a region. There was no one county in a region, it’s a region, and these are the Regional Economic Development Council regions that have worked together, but we have to coordinate that region so everybody in that region has to have the same policy when it comes to schools, when it comes to transportation, when it comes to testing, when it comes to the tracing, and that region’s plan has to fit in to our overall multi-state plan.

Andrew Cuomo: (13:14)
No attractive nuisances. Attractive nuisance is a legal concept where you have a potentially dangerous situation that actually attracts people, normally children, to it. We can’t open an attraction that might bring many people from outside the region, and then overwhelm people in that region. You have a lot of pent-up demand. We have seen this before where when we’re not coordinated, we have New York people going to Connecticut because Connecticut has parks or waterside access that’s open. We don’t want to create a situation where people flood an area because they’re looking for something to do. Then we need a regional-

Andrew Cuomo: (14:03)
They’re looking for something to do and then we need a regional control room, I call it. We have to be monitoring what happens when we start to reopen and that entire region has to have a control room function where we’re watching what’s happening. For those friends who are more graphic, we’re going to turn the valve on reopening, turn it a little bit, start to reopen, and then you watch the dials. What are the dials? Hospitalization rate, which we know now. We’ve been watching that. What does the antibody testing tell you? Antibody testing is important because it tells you the people who were infected, the infection rate, and now resolved because they have antibodies. What is the diagnostic testing, which is different type of testing, tell you? Positive and negative or what’s happening on the diagnostic testing? Those dials will give you the fourth dial, which is the infection rate, what’s called the RT rate, the rate of transmission, so turn that valve a little bit for a region, watch those four gauges very carefully every day, see what’s happening on those gauges.

Andrew Cuomo: (15:26)
You can either close the valve, open the valve a little bit more or leave the valve where it is, but when I talk about the regional control room, that’s what I’m talking about. Getting that data in to one central place where everybody agrees on the numbers and everybody agrees on what we do, the next step. We have medical centers that were built. I spoke to President Trump about this this morning. When we were worried about the lack of capacity in the hospital system, the federal government was good enough to send in the Army Corps of Engineers. They did a phenomenal job in building beds quickly. We built a number of facilities. We’re now talking about a possibility of a second wave of the COVID virus or COVID combining with the regular flu season in September, which could be problematic again for the hospital capacity, so the facilities that were built, I spoke to the President about leaving them in place until we get through the flu season.

Andrew Cuomo: (16:37)
God forbid we need extra capacity again. I don’t want to have built, ask the federal government to build capacity then take it down and then wind up in another problem area. Javits Center we have to think about, because the Javits Center is in the Javits Convention Center. It has 2500 beds, so it’s a great facility but it’s also in the convention center. You can’t reopen the convention center obviously when it’s with the hospital beds in it. Westchester County Center, the same issue. It’s also the Westchester Convention Center. So question mark on those facilities when we take them down or how we take them down. I’m going to speak to the County Executive in Westchester County, George Latimer about that. But Javits will be on hold for both those facilities now until we decide. But again, anticipate an issue in the future and make sure we’re ready.

Andrew Cuomo: (17:40)
But I want to thank, again, the Army Corps of Engineers did a fantastic job and President Trump got it done and he got it done very quickly. So those facilities … Javits, over 1000 people went through Javits. We didn’t need the whole facility, but a thousand people is a large number of people. On Saturday we expanded our diagnostic testing criteria for frontline workers, essential workers, et cetera. We’ll be opening additional drive through testing sites for those people this week. People can’t just show up at a drive through center. You have to call first, make an appointment so we can handle the flow. We’re also very concerned about making sure we get testing to our essential workers and our frontline workers. We’re going to be doing a survey of New York City Fire Department and New York City Police Department this week, 1000 and 1000 respectively, just to find out again with the antibody testing, what is the infection rate? NYPD was out there every day and they paid a terrible toll. The attendance rate is now good again. Many were out sick, but we want to know exactly where those frontline workers are. If they have been infected we want to make sure people are getting help and we want to know exactly what happened. We’ll also be doing 3000 healthcare workers. These are hospital staff, nursing staff, doctors who are in the emergency rooms to find out their situation and we’ll be doing 1000 transit workers. These are the bus drivers, the train operators who keep the public transit system working and we want to do testing to find out how they’re doing. We’re seeing a tremendous demand in food banks, which is predictable in some ways, but the numbers are very, very high and we need to address it. A 200% increase in Westchester, 100% increase in New York City, 40% on Long Island, 40 to 60% across upstate New York.

Andrew Cuomo: (20:08)
So we’re going to commit $25 million for emergency funding for those food banks. I’m also asking philanthropies to help. Many philanthropies said they wanted to help and step up. This is, I would say, the number one thing they can do to help and if they are interested, please let us know and we’ll supplement the state funding with philanthropy’s funding. We also have an issue across upstate where because the markets are so roiled, some farm cooperatives are actually dumping milk because the market can’t consume it. This is just total waste to me. We have people downstate who need food. We have farmers upstate who can’t sell their product. We have to put those two things together. It’s just common sense, but we have to make that marriage between product upstate and need downstate and we’re going to launch a special initiative to do that. We’re also immediately to stop this dumping of milk, going to work with industries in our state who can use the milk and get it to people who need it.

Andrew Cuomo: (21:28)
So I want to thank these companies who will be working with us to buy the excess milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, and then we’ll give it to the food banks that are downstate. When it comes to reopening and I talked about what I’m going to speak with the regions about, but I don’t want to just do reopening. We have to use this moment to re-imagine and be smart and grow. This is one of those moments. If you look back in history, sometimes it takes a crisis to wake people up and it takes a crisis to change the body politic to actually accept change because change is hard to make, and if you look at the instances in the past where we’ve had significant problems, you’ll see we were normally smart enough to learn and to grow from them. So re-imagine New York means don’t replace what was, building the largest innovation in the federal government.

Andrew Cuomo: (22:37)
Even Superstorm Sandy that we went through 2012. I was part of that. It was devastating. But New York is better for it. We have a power grid that’s now better. We raised all our electric stations, we changed our infrastructure along the waterfront, we built houses back to different codes. So it’s that process that we have to go through here. What did we learn? How do we change? How do we improve? We talked about tele-education. Yeah, we went through it. We had to go through it, but it didn’t go as well as it could have gone. We didn’t have any notice, but let’s learn the lessons. Let’s do better. Telemedicine showed great potential. You don’t have to go to the doctor’s office. You can do a lot by telemedicine. How do we learn that? Public transportation, we’re still learning.

Andrew Cuomo: (23:33)
How do we clean and disinfect a public transportation system on a daily basis? I mean, just think about the scale of that undertaking. How do you do it? And we’re still trying to figure it out. And then how do you have a better public health system? Because we were not ready for this. Our health system was not ready for any public health crisis that would demand more capacity or more coordination. So let’s learn from that and let’s have a society that is more social equity. You look at the people who paid the highest price for this crisis. They were the people who were in the least good position to pay. The poorest among us always pay the highest price. Why is that? Why do the lower income communities see this disease in higher proportions? Why were the essential workers who had to show up disproportionately African American, Latino?

Andrew Cuomo: (24:47)
So is life going to be different? Yes, life is going to be different, but different in this case can mean better if we’re smart about it, and when we’re finished going through this, we should be tougher and smarter and more resilient and more unified and better than before. Last point, AJ Parkinson, great quote, “I respect elected officials who aren’t typical politicians.” Elected official does not have to be a politician. Politician has bad connotations to politicians, the word politician. You can be an elected official. It’s not a typical politician, not a go along get along kind of guy. Not a make no waves kind of guy. Kentucky governor Andy Beshear stood up, said to his senior Senator in the state, Mitch McConnell, that Mitch McConnell was wrong on saying he wouldn’t provide funding to state and local governments and wrong in saying states should go bankrupt.

Andrew Cuomo: (25:52)
It is hard for a governor, especially Andy who is a relatively new governor, to stand up to a senior official and speak truth to power. That is hard. It takes guts, takes courage and you don’t get that from a typical politician. So what warms my heart to see an elected official who is not a typical politician. Thank you, Governor. Questions? Comments?

Speaker 1: (26:19)
Governor, are you confident that the President will use the Defense Production Act to make more chemical reagents and swabs?

Andrew Cuomo: (26:26)
I don’t know exactly what the President has said about using the Defense Production Act. I know he’s used it in some situations. I don’t know if he said that he’ll use it for swabs or reagents.

Speaker 1: (26:40)
What do you make of the models that appear to have overestimated hospitalizations but appear to have sadly been more accurate when it comes to lives lost particularly when it comes to New York?

Andrew Cuomo: (26:49)
Look, we’ve said all along, every projection model showed many more people being infected. CDC model, Coronavirus White House Taskforce model, Cornell Wild model, Columbia model, McKinzie model, they all showed a higher projection rate. They were not wrong. We changed reality. We changed reality. They said the curve was going to go like this. We changed reality. We shut down. We closed schools. We closed everything, and the reality was the number was much, much lower, which is a beautiful thing and a good thing, and a testament to the intelligence of the people of this state and this country. So were they wrong? No. You changed reality. And the reality was much more beneficial. And hundreds of thousands of people who they projected would get infected if we did nothing, was basically their projection, were infected.

Andrew Cuomo: (28:01)
Basically their projection were in affected.

Speaker 2: (28:04)
[inaudible 00:28:04] specifically about the 16,000, there were estimates that that’s how many people lives New York would lose. That seems to have been accurate. I was just wondering what…

Andrew Cuomo: (28:11)
Yeah, I have not studied those projections so I just don’t know.

Speaker 3: (28:14)
Governor, Mayor De Blasio today said that the city is going to opening up about 40 miles of streets near parks as well. Just wondering what’s your reaction was to that idea?

Andrew Cuomo: (28:24)
Yeah. I had said early on that you have to be realistic about the situation of people. You have people in a very dense urban environment and well stay at home, stay at home, but you can go out, go for a walk, get some air, et cetera. Go out for a walk in New York City, but social distance, this is almost an oxymoron, right? It’s very hard to walk down a sidewalk in New York City and maintain social distancing. I had said New York City should open streets because remember New York City, the traffic is way down, way, way, way down. I don’t know the percentage, but it’s like night and day.

Andrew Cuomo: (29:06)
You look at pictures of New York City, you see one or two cars going. So open streets. And I spoke to the city council speaker about it and the mayor and we did open streets and there was a program that was operational. Apparently they have a disagreement about how it works. I said figure it out. If they can’t figure it out I’ll get involved. But you need to have streets that are open. You have less traffic, you need streets open so people can walk and socially distance. You can’t do that on the sidewalk and there has to be a way to close streets because you have no cars. You have no cars, you don’t need as many streets. This is direct proportionality.

Speaker 4: (29:58)
Governor, you said you spoke to Donald Trump this morning, the President, correct?

Andrew Cuomo: (30:01)
Yes sir.

Speaker 4: (30:02)
About what time was that? Ballpark?

Andrew Cuomo: (30:04)
Oh, I don’t know.

Speaker 4: (30:07)
I ask because at about 10, about an hour ago, he posited about poorly run states, in all cases Democrat run and managed, looking for bailout count. Did you discuss, first of all, federal monies coming down to the state of New York and second of all, how do you feel about him referring to that as a bailout?

Andrew Cuomo: (30:26)
No, I didn’t discuss that with the President. Look, first I believe, and I said at the time, I was consistent, the last bill that they passed that only did small business help and everybody supported small business help, should have included state and local. Now when you say state and local, there’s no personality to state and local. I get that. Don’t say state and local. Say what the state and local governments fund; police, fire, teachers, hospital workers. Funds small business but also fund police, fire, school teachers, and hospital workers. How can you exclude them when you’re talking about priorities? Yes, small business is a priority, so are police, fire, school teachers, and hospital workers. I don’t know why they passed the bill without including that at the time. And I said that. I said it to my congressional delegation. Everybody said, Oh, don’t worry. Don’t worry. That’ll be in the next bill. Yeah. But that was the third time they said that’ll be in the next bill.

Andrew Cuomo: (31:49)
And pardon me for being suspicious about Washington politicians, but don’t worry, don’t worry. When I hear them say, don’t worry, I worry deep inside. They pass the small business bill as soon as they pass it, by the way, before they even pass it, they turn around and say, Oh, and I don’t want to do state and local. And forget the police and forget the fire and forget the school teachers and forget the healthcare workers, which is a totally different tune than they said just two days before when they’re actually trying to pass the bill. Because if they had said that before, they would have never passed the bill. We are where we are now. Bail out, this is not the time to be talking about dollars and cents among members of a community that are trying to be mutually supportive and help each other because helping each other is the way we actually all advance. Right? This is not the time to be saying, “Well, you put in a dollar more than I did or I put in $5 more than you did.” Right? It’s anachronistic to the concept of community and sharing and mutuality and sharing benefits and burdens, right? I’m wearing a mask to protect you. You’re wearing a mask to protect me. That kind of sharing and mutuality is repugnant to this bailout, you got this much, I got this much. But if you want to go to who’s getting bailed out and who paid what, nobody would be bailing out New York state. New York state has been bailing them out every year for decades. If you want to do an analysis of who is a giver and who is a taker, we are the number one giver. The number one giver.

Andrew Cuomo: (34:15)
Nobody puts more money into the pot than the state of New York. We’re the number one donor state. And if you want to look at who happened to be the donor states, who were the giver states, they are the same states that they’re talking about now. Who were the taker states? Kentucky, Southeast part of the country. And by the way, I understand we’re one nation. You put into the pot what you need. I put in what I need. You take what you need, you take what you need and that’s the way it’s always been. But if you actually want to call for an accounting, which I think is repugnant to this time, and I don’t think it’s constructive and I don’t think it’s healthy, but if you want to call for an accounting, you’re making a mistake because you lose. If we do an accounting, you lose. And you happen to be 180 degrees wrong in what you’re suggesting.

Speaker 4: (35:33)
So that phrase bailout is not helpful, you would say?

Andrew Cuomo: (35:36)
I would say, first, at this moment in time when people are working together and people are sharing and people are sending ventilators across the nation to be helpful and 60,000 people are volunteering to help New York state and they are showing love and they’re showing unity and they’re showing mutuality and community. That is such a beautiful moment, right? And it tends to happen after a crisis. We saw it after 9/11, people just come together. We’re Americans first. We’re not Democrats, we’re not Republicans. We’re not East coast. We’re not West coast. We’re not Northern, we’re not Southern. We’re just Americans.

Andrew Cuomo: (36:13)
That is such a beautiful special moment to now say in the middle of that moment, who owes what to whom? What? You want to talk about money now? This is not about money. It’s about working together and helping and sharing and people are dying and it’s about grief and it’s about comfort. It’s not about money, but if you want to make it about money, you’re making a mistake because you’re going to lose on a tally sheet and it’s not even going to be close, but you want to tally up who owes what to whom? Go ahead. It’s not even close.

Speaker 5: (37:01)
Is this a turnaround from what you said last week?

Andrew Cuomo: (37:03)
Let’s go next.

Speaker 6: (37:04)
Governor, where do casinos fit on phase reopening? Would you consider those an attractive nuisance?

Andrew Cuomo: (37:11)
Casinos, you’d have to look at the industry and how they’re going to conduct their business. You’d have to do social distancing. You’d have to have monitoring. It’s going to be difficult in the context of a casino, but depending on the casino, not impossible, but you’d have to look at it on an individual basis.

Speaker 7: (37:31)
Governor, we’re hearing about a security breach at the Department of Labor regarding unemployment benefits. Some people are messaging me saying that they’ve received mail with other people’s information including social security numbers, and I’m seeing this in other parts of this data as well.

Andrew Cuomo: (37:48)
I have not…

Speaker 7: (37:49)
Do you know of the breach?

Andrew Cuomo: (37:50)
I’ve not heard about that at all. Has anyone heard about that?

Speaker 8: (37:53)
So there were, I think it was three dozen people who, and it was a human error. It wasn’t malicious, where two pieces of paper were stuck together and sent. Those people have been contacted. The ones who have not yet will be contacted today. They’re going to receive free credit reporting and surveillance for a year and they’re making sure to process those claims as a priority. But yes, it was human error. It was not malicious and it’s being dealt with.

Speaker 9: (38:21)
Governor, I’m curious, as time goes on, I mean every day we’re getting messages from people who are losing their jobs because of this. Does this state have the money? Do we have enough money to keep paying out unemployment as more and more and more people become unemployed during the pandemic?

Andrew Cuomo: (38:44)
No. That’s why the federal government has to provide funding because we don’t have the money.

Speaker 9: (38:50)
How much do we need for unemployment?

Andrew Cuomo: (38:53)
Well, it depends on many people moving forward ask for unemployment benefits and how long it goes on, but it’s in the billions of dollars. There’s no doubt about that.

Speaker 10: (39:03)
Governor, what’s the current testing capacity in nursing homes and how does a nursing home go ahead … Because last week you said that they are doing testing in nursing homes. How do they request the testing and then also, you were talking about isolating certain facilities regarding the reopening process. Will that be available for nursing home operators to send patients that are COVID positive? A few other states like Connecticut and Massachusetts have started doing COVID only patients to take the burden off of nursing homes. One on the testing and two on the isolating.

Andrew Cuomo: (39:37)
We do that already, right? If a nursing home has a patient that they can’t handle, COVID or whatever the reason, they must refer patient out of that facility, they must. If they cannot handle, if they cannot provide appropriate care, they must transfer that person. They can transfer the person on their own or they call the Department of Health and Department of Health will transfer that person. Department of Health can transfer that person to a COVID only facility, which we have. But, it has to start with the nursing home that is the primary care provider saying, “I can’t provide care for this person,” for any one of a number of reasons. I don’t have the staff. I don’t have the PPE. I don’t have the ability to quarantine them. I have too many COVID patients. I’m too tired. It can be any reason. If they can’t provide the care, then they must transfer that person. Department of Health can put the person in a COVID only facility or whatever facility they have that’s appropriate for that person.

Speaker 10: (41:07)
Where are these COVID only facilities because last week that wasn’t an option, it didn’t seem like?

Andrew Cuomo: (41:12)
Yeah, we have had COVID facilities.

Speaker 10: (41:16)
Where are they?

Andrew Cuomo: (41:16)
We have COVID only hospitals. Downstate is a COVID only hospital. We have COVID only facilities downstate that…

Speaker 10: (41:28)
But is it nursing home specifically?

Andrew Cuomo: (41:29)
No, it doesn’t have to be a nursing home. You can take a person from a hospital, a nursing home from … The point of reference referral doesn’t matter. We have COVID only facilities.

Speaker 10: (41:41)
So there’s a facility, I’m sure you’ve heard, Cobble Hill in Brooklyn, that was requesting transfer of patients to the Javits or the Comfort because they didn’t have enough staff to handle the amount of people.

Andrew Cuomo: (41:52)
Yeah. I saw that story, and I don’t like to critique a story, but that was a little misleading. Right? A nursing home wants to transfer…

Andrew Cuomo: (42:02)
… [inaudible 00:42:00] a nursing home wants to transfer to the Comfort. Yeah. Except the Comfort is a federal facility. It doesn’t take transfers from nursing homes. It only takes transfers from hospitals. That’s why the Comfort wouldn’t take a transfer from a nursing home because this specific protocol on that specific ship said that people have to come from a hospital because when they come from a hospital, the hospital does the full workup. So when they are referred, they’re referred with a full workup. But yeah, you can’t refer from the nursing home to the Comfort. You can’t refer from a nursing home to the Marriott hotel. You can’t refer to the Hilton. Yeah, I know. But that nursing home can call any other facility or can call the Department of Health and the Department of Health will take that person and find a facility. So yeah, they can’t refer to the Comfort. I know. They can’t refer to the New York Post either. I mean, what does that mean?

Bernadette: (43:09)
Right, but the patient is sick. Why does it matter if it’s a federal facility or a state facility?

Andrew Cuomo: (43:13)
Because it’s a ship that the federal government was operating and the protocol on that ship was they come from a hospital so the ship knew what they were dealing with. Go ahead, Jesse.

Bernadette: (43:26)
Nursing homes take patients all the time that are there through Medicaid.

Andrew Cuomo: (43:28)
I know, but the protocol on that ship was it had to come from a hospital, but who cares about just that ship if the point is that nursing home should have referred that patient and should have told the Department of Health, “I can’t handle these patients.”

Bernadette: (43:51)
They were. And that’s why they made … because they needed more medical staff. And so the problem was-

Andrew Cuomo: (43:58)
No, just whatever reason they want, they call the Department of Health and they say, “You take Bernadette. I can’t handle her.” And the Department of Health takes her. Now when the Department of Health takes Bernadette, they no longer get paid for Bernadette. Oh, money. Go ahead.

Bernadette: (44:18)
So, could a nursing home, sorry Jesse, could a nursing home patient go to a hospital then? So, if a nursing home is over capacitated, they can’t handle their patients, could a patient be transferred back to a hospital and the hospital could then care for this person?

Andrew Cuomo: (44:33)

Bernadette: (44:34)
That can happen?

Andrew Cuomo: (44:35)

Bernadette: (44:35)
Have you guys gotten requests for that?

Speaker 11: (44:39)
Not yet.

Bernadette: (44:40)
Not yet?

Speaker 12: (44:40)
Would the nursing homes be open to regulatory scrutiny if they told the state that they can’t care for people?

Andrew Cuomo: (44:42)
Let Jesse … We just did one.

Jesse: (44:43)
No, no. Please go ahead.

Speaker 12: (44:48)
Yeah. I was just bouncing off of Bernadette’s point, just if New York, if nursing homes were to tell the state that they can’t handle a patient or they don’t have enough PPE or for whatever reason, are they opening themselves up to scrutiny from state regulators and-

Andrew Cuomo: (45:00)
Not at all. They’re opening themselves to scrutiny if they don’t do that. If you keep a patient and you get paid for that patient and you can’t provide adequate care for that patient, then you have a problem.

Jesse: (45:16)
On the issue of antibody tests, you reported today that 25% basically of New York City residents are coming up positive on that. Is that-

Andrew Cuomo: (45:24)
What was the number?

Jesse: (45:29)
About 25%. Is it safe to extrapolate from that that over two million New York City residents had been exposed to this and recovered? What does that information give us? What does those results give us?

Andrew Cuomo: (45:37)
Yeah. Saying 25%, by this survey, 25% of the New York City population had the virus and now has the antibodies.

Jesse: (45:47)
What does that say about the death rate? What does that say about the severity of the crisis?

Andrew Cuomo: (45:50)
Much, much lower. Well, the death rate is much, much lower because it changes the denominator. This is what we talked about last week. You take the number of people who passed away and we never knew what the denominator was. So if you want to know what is the death rate by percentage of those who were infected who passed away, yeah, it changes the denominator and we had it down to 0.5%.

Jesse: (46:19)
One more thing. Just on the issue of antibody testing, the World Health Organization said on Friday, “There’s currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.” What do you make of that?

Andrew Cuomo: (46:33)
Yeah. Well as we talked about last week also, you get different opinions on whether or not you can get infected again. Remember at one time, the conventional thinking was once you have the antibodies, you’re immune, you can’t get infected, so you can go back to work, et cetera. Now they’re saying, “We’re not so sure that you’re immune. You may be immune but you may not be immune.”

Jesse: (46:56)
Doesn’t that complicate and change your calculations about how to reopen the state and even your approach to antibody testing?

Andrew Cuomo: (47:02)
Well the antibody testing does something else for us. Well the antibodies testing does two things. One, what is the infection rate? Which it tells you with a two week lag because you know what percent were infected. Two, it tells you who can donate convalescent plasma, that it tells you. The third, the theory you’re referring to is, well now you have the antibodies, you can go back to work. We’ve never deployed that and I don’t know what that was really going to do for you anyway because what percent … You actually made this point a couple of weeks ago. What percent are actually going to have had the infection and can you really restart an economy on that small a number? And now it’s saying, if you believe the World Health Organization, you can’t even say for sure those people won’t get reinfected.

Jesse: (47:58)
The point is not necessarily that people that have antibodies would be able to necessarily return back to work.

Andrew Cuomo: (48:02)

Jesse: (48:03)
That theory’s not operational anymore.

Andrew Cuomo: (48:05)
No. I mean there’s a theory. It’ll go person by person, but you’d have to make your own calculated risk. You had it. You have the antibodies. My brother Chris, he had the antibodies. Maybe you’re immune. Yeah. Maybe you’re not immune.

Speaker 13: (48:23)
Governor, the State Board of Elections today just now has voted to cancel the presidential primary, removing Bernie Sanders from the ballot. Was this the correct move?

Andrew Cuomo: (48:32)
I’m not going to second guess the Board of Elections. I know there are a lot of election employees, employees of boards of elections who are nervous about conducting elections, but I’ll leave it up to the Board of Elections.

Speaker 14: (48:47)
Governor, how has the science evolved on wearing facial covering in recent days? We went in a fairly short period from facial coverings, inconclusive, to a mandating it being one of the better things you can do. So if the science does support it and has evolved, is the state indirectly responsible for the spread by not issuing that mandate maybe 30 days earlier when we started the response?

Andrew Cuomo: (49:12)
Look, when we do the retrospective, all of these things, you could argue, why didn’t we do them a long time before? Why were we shaking hands? Spread all sorts of viruses and diseases, shaking hands. Why didn’t you wear a mask starting last year? You used to see pictures of all the people in China wearing masks. Why didn’t we do it? I mean, it helps with the flu. It helps with the common cold. It helps with everything. And we did it more aggressively than just about any other state. We mandated it as soon as people said … Well, if you remember when it started, everybody was ambivalent, CDC, all the experts. We have a whole world of experts. All the experts were ambivalent about a mask early on. And then they said basically a mask couldn’t hurt. Well, I said, a mask couldn’t hurt and it might help, so why not do it? And now they’re even more emphatic that a mask helps. So I’m glad we did what we did.

Speaker 15: (50:23)
Governor, on more than one occasion now you’ve said nursing homes lose money once they lose a patient. Are you saying that nursing homes are more interested in their profits than taking care of their residents?

Andrew Cuomo: (50:34)
No, not at all.

Speaker 15: (50:36)
Could you elaborate as to what your thinking is behind that remark?

Andrew Cuomo: (50:39)
No. Those are just the facts of the situation. If they can’t care for a patient, they have to transfer the patient.

Speaker 16: (50:47)
Governor, there are reports that golf courses, golf clubs are allowing golfers out on the course while driving carts. Are you concerned about that? And we’ve even heard reports that there are newspaper advertisements that are offering greens fees with carts. Should there be more monitoring? Should there be fines?

Andrew Cuomo: (51:06)
I thought we said no carts. Does anybody remember?

Speaker 17: (51:11)
We said no carts. That’s right.

Speaker 18: (51:12)
And so if people are violating the guidelines, then that should be reported up to ESD for enforcement.

Andrew Cuomo: (51:18)
And if they’re-

Speaker 16: (51:19)
[inaudible 00:51:19] regarding that somebody report that?

Speaker 18: (51:21)
They’re not supposed to be using carts and if they are doing it in violation of the directive, it should be reported and there can be civil penalties.

Andrew Cuomo: (51:27)
And if they’re doing it in an advertisement, that is really not smart.

Speaker 19: (51:32)
Governor, Bill’s training camp starts in July. Given the multi-phase plan that you have now, is holding an event like that in July in western New York feasible?

Andrew Cuomo: (51:43)
I’ll tell you the end of June. Let’s take one more. Go ahead.

Speaker 20: (51:47)
Is there a possibility that having those temporary hospitals at Stony Brook and Old Westbury will make students more reluctant to either attend or return to campus knowing that they needed to use it at some point?

Andrew Cuomo: (51:57)
No, I don’t think so.

Speaker 21: (52:01)
In terms of unemployment, do you know when we would be out of money? Do you know when we would need the federal help just for unemployment?

Andrew Cuomo: (52:07)
We are out of money now. We are now running a $10 to $15 billion deficit, so we’re out of money now.

Speaker 18: (52:15)
And for your context, we’ve paid out as of Friday, $3.1 billion in unemployment already as of this past Friday.

Speaker 22: (52:21)
Governor, can New York raise taxes?

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