May 2, 2020

Andrew Cuomo New York COVID-19 Briefing Transcript May 2

Andrew Cuomo Briefing May 2
RevBlogTranscriptsAndrew Cuomo TranscriptsAndrew Cuomo New York COVID-19 Briefing Transcript May 2

Governor Andrew Cuomo held his daily New York coronavirus press conference on May 2. He said New York’s daily coronavirus deaths remain “obnoxiously high.”


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Andrew Cuomo: (00:00)
Pleasure to get out of the state Capitol, tell you the truth, and talk to the people who are actually doing the work. I am a Queens boy, so it’s coming back home for me. Corona Queens was called Corona Queens before the coronavirus. There was no connection between Corona Queens and the coronavirus. Let me introduce my colleagues who are here from my far left, Pat Foye, who is the chairman of the MTA, to my immediate left Sarah Feinberg, who runs the New York City Transit Bureau, to my right, Gareth Rhodes, who is Deputy Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services but has been with me for many years and is now helping on this up in Albany.

Andrew Cuomo: (00:49)
Today is Saturday. I know that because it’s on the slide, otherwise I may not have known that. But I follow the days by what’s on the PowerPoint. Everybody talks about this is uncharted waters that we’ve never been here before, and that’s true. But even when you are in uncharted waters, that doesn’t mean you just proceed blindly. You get whatever information that you can because you want to stay informed. Even in the old days when sailors would sail into uncharted waters, this is before GPS and radar and depth finders, they would throw out a piece of lead with a rope, the lead would fall to the bottom, and they would call back to the captain how deep the water was.

Andrew Cuomo: (01:42)
The levy even had on the very bottom a piece of wax that would pick up what was on the ocean bottom, whatever, sand, rocks, etc. So the captain could tell basically where he was. So unchartered waters doesn’t mean proceed blindly. It means get information, get data the best you can, and use that data to decide where you’re going. So especially in this situation, we have so much emotion. You have politics. You have a personal anxiety that people feel, social anxiety, social stress. Let’s stick to the facts. Let’s stick to the data.

Andrew Cuomo: (02:27)
Let’s make sure we’re making decisions with the best information that we have. So we do a lot of testing, a lot of tracking to find out where we are. We test number of hospitalizations. Every night, we find out how many people were in the hospital the day before and we’ve been tracking that. Good news is that number is down a tick again today. The net change in hospitalizations is down a tick. Intubations is down, which is very good news. The new cases walking in the door, the new COVID cases, the number of new infections was also down a little bit, 831.

Andrew Cuomo: (03:14)
It had been relatively flat at about 900 every day, which is not great news. Yesterday was 831. We’ll watch the see what happens with that. The number that I watch every day, which is the worst, is the number of deaths. That number has remained obnoxiously and terrifyingly high and it’s still not dropping at the rate we would like to see it drop. It even went up a little bit, 299 to 189 the day before, so that is bad news. 276 deaths in hospitals, 23 in nursing homes. As everybody knows, nursing homes are where the most vulnerable population is and the highest number of the most vulnerable population.

Andrew Cuomo: (04:15)
But again, use the data, use information to determine actions, not emotions, not politics, not what people think or feel, but what we know in terms of facts. We’ve been sampling all across this state to determine the infection rate, so we know if it’s getting better or if it’s getting worse. And we’ve done the largest survey in the nation testing for people who have antibodies. If somebody has antibodies, it means that that person was infected. That’s what the antibody test does for you. It tells you that that person was infected. They’ve now recovered so that they have antibodies.

Andrew Cuomo: (05:04)
I went through this with my brother Chris. He got infected. He now has the antibody, so if you test him, he tests positive for antibodies. So we’ve been doing these antibody testings all across the state. We have the largest sample now over 15,000 people, which is an incredibly large sample. And when we started on the 22nd, we had 2,900 people surveyed at that time. We had about a 13.9%, just about 14% infection rate statewide. It then went up to about 14.9 and today it is down to 12.3. Now statisticians will say this is all plus or minus in the margin of error, but it’s a large sample.

Andrew Cuomo: (05:59)
It is indicative 14 to 14.9 down to 12.3. And as you can see we test about every four or five days. We have so much at stake, so many decisions that we have to make that we want to get those data points as quickly as we can. And seeing it go down to 12% may only be a couple of points, but it’s better than seeing it go up, that’s for sure. And again, this is outside the margin of error, so this is a good sign. And it is 15,000 people surveyed, so it’s a large number. You can then start to look at where in the state, who in the state, so that will inform our strategy.

Andrew Cuomo: (06:42)
You can see it’s a little bit more male than female. Not exactly sure why that is. In New York City, you see the number one from 21 to 24 and it’s down to 19.9. So again, that’s a good sign. You will always want to see the number dropping rather than the number increasing. Within New York City, you see the Bronx is high, 27%, Brooklyn 19, Manhattan 17, Queens 18, Staten Island 19, and we’re going to do more research to understand what’s going on there. Why is the Bronx higher than the other boroughs? Statewide, you see it’s basically about flat.

Andrew Cuomo: (07:30)
This is predominantly an issue for New York City, then long Island, then the Northern suburbs, then the rest of the state. But Erie County, which is Buffalo, New York has been problematic. The racial breakdown we’re looking at to see study disproportionate impact, who is paying the highest price for this virus, what’s happening with poorer communities, what’s happening with the racial demographics overlaid over the income demographics, and also if there’s any information in different ages that could be instructive. We’re still getting about 900 new infections every day walking into the hospital.

Andrew Cuomo: (08:22)
That is still an unacceptably high rate. We’re trying to understand exactly why that is, who are those 900, where is it coming from, what can we do to now refine our strategies to find out where those new cases of being generated and then get to those areas, get to those places, get to those people to try to target our attack. If you remember, we had the first cluster in the nation, the first hotspot even before they called them hotspots was New Rochelle, Westchester and there was a tremendous outbreak in New Rochelle. We then sent all sorts of resources into New Rochelle and we actually reduced that hotspot.

Andrew Cuomo: (09:14)
So if you find a specific place or pattern that is generating infections, then you can attack it. But you have to find it first. And that’s what we’re looking at, especially on these number of new infections that are coming. And you see, if you look at the location of it, it’s not telling us much. But we asked the hospitals yesterday, we have all the hospitals on a conference call and I spoke to all the hospitals and asked them to take additional information from people who are walking into the hospitals to try to find out where these infections are coming from.

Andrew Cuomo: (09:54)
Are they frontline workers or are they people who are staying home? Are these infections that are being spread in the home? Or are they frontline workers? Which means they’re getting up every day. They’re getting on public transit, they’re going to work and maybe they’re getting it on public transit, maybe they’re getting it at the workplace. But getting more information on where these new cases are coming from. Where do you live, not just borrow, but what community within the borough? Are there different health factors that are affecting the new infection rate, comorbidities? How are they traveling?

Andrew Cuomo: (10:35)
Are they in their cars? Are they on public transportation? Is it the New York City Transit System, Long Island Railroad, etc.? So we asked the hospitals to collect that data yesterday. We’ll be getting that over the next couple of days, and that will help us again, get more information. In the meantime, we know that vulnerable populations are paying the highest price. Our seniors, our nursing homes, and our poorer communities.

Andrew Cuomo: (11:02)
Seniors, our nursing homes, and our poorer communities, they are the ones where you have higher infection rates and you have higher risk and higher exposure. We’re going to distribute today 7 million masks to just those communities in nursing homes, poorer communities, people in public housing in New York City, New York City housing authority. So we’ll be doing that today. 7 million masks is a large number. There’s about 9 million people in New York City total, so 7 million masks is obviously… will make a big difference.

Andrew Cuomo: (11:37)
We’re also funding food banks. The more this has gone on, the longer people are without a job, longer are without a check, basics like paying rent and buying food become very important. We have addressed the rent issue, the immediate, urgent need. Nobody can be evicted for nonpayment of rent. And that’s true through June. So people are stable in their housing environment.

Andrew Cuomo: (12:07)
The next basic need is food, right? And we’re operating food banks. We just funded $25 million more in food banks. All the food banks will tell you that the demand is way, way up. And we need help in funding the food banks. There are a lot of philanthropies, a lot of foundations that are in the business of helping people. Well, if you’re a foundation or a not-for-profit or a philanthropy, or a person who wants to help, we could use more funding for food banks. The state budget is also very stressed with what’s going on, so we don’t have the state funds to do what’s needed, but we would appreciate donations for the food banks.

Andrew Cuomo: (12:53)
As I said, the antibody testing has been very important and we’re going to undertake a full survey of antibody testing for transit workers. Transit workers have very much been at the frontline. We talk about essential workers, people who are out there every day running the buses, running the subways, all through this. We know that there’s been a very high infection rate among transit workers. We’ve said thank you and we appreciate what you’re doing 1,000 times, but I believe actions speak louder than words. If you appreciate what we’re doing, then help us do what we do and we’re going to be doing that with more testing and more resources. That’s going to be going on right now. And to keep our transit workers safe and to keep the public safe, the riding public, we’re going to do something that has never been done before, and that is that the MTA is going to be disinfecting every train 24 hours.

Andrew Cuomo: (14:05)
This is such a monumental undertaking, I can’t even begin to describe it to you. The New York City subway system has never been closed. It operates 24 hours a day because we have a 24 hour city. We’re taking the unprecedented step during this pandemic of closing the system for four hours at night from 1: 00 AM to 5:00 AM when the ridership is lowest. The ridership is lower to begin with; it’s down about 90% because of everything, but it’s lowest during 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM. We’re going to close it from 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM the MTA is going to literally disinfect every train, and I just viewed the operations on how they’re doing it. It’s smart. It’s labor intensive. People have to wear hazmat suits. They have a number of chemicals that disinfect, but literally you have to go through the whole train with a misting device where they spray disinfectant literally on every surface.

Andrew Cuomo: (15:15)
You know, this virus, they’re just studying it now, but there are reports that say the virus can live two or three days on some surfaces, like stainless steel. You look at the inside of a subway car, you look at the rails, you look at the bars, they’re all stainless steel. So to make sure the transit workers are safe, to make sure the riding public is safe, the best thing you can do is disinfect the whole inside of the car, as massive challenge as that is.

Andrew Cuomo: (15:45)
But that’s what the MTA is doing and they’re doing it extraordinarily well. And it’s just another sign of the dedication, the skill, the capacity of our transit workers, which is indicative of the story of New York. I mean, they are stepping up in a big, big way. And not just the cars, they’re also doing stations, all the handrails, et cetera. And it’s good and smart for the transit workers who have to work in that environment. But it’s also right for the riding public. And we want people to know who need to use the subways and the buses, because they are working, that they are safe. And the essential workers who have kept this entire society functioning have done an extraordinary job. And we want them to know that we’re doing everything we can do to keep them safe. This was a delicate balance all along. We needed New Yorkers to understand how dangerous this virus was. And we communicated that early on so that when we said stay home, people understood they should really stay home, right? New Yorkers can be a cynical bunch, and just because a governor says “stay home,” they’re not going to stay home unless they understand why they need to stay home. So we presented those facts.

Andrew Cuomo: (17:20)
But at the same time, We’re saying to essential workers after just hearing how dangerous the virus is, “And by the way, you have to go to work tomorrow.” And they did. And if the essential workers didn’t, then you would have seen a real problem. If you don’t have food on the shelves, if you don’t have power to homes, if you don’t have basic services, if the police don’t show up, if the fire department doesn’t show up, if the EMTs don’t show up, if the ambulances don’t run, if the nurses don’t show up, if the doctors don’t show up, then you are in a place where you’ve never been before. So after communicating how dangerous the situation was, the next breath was, “But frontline workers, you have to show up.” And they did. And they did, and they did their job. And that is an extraordinary, extraordinary example of duty and honor and respect and love for what they do and who they are, and love for their brothers and sisters in the community. And they demonstrated it. They didn’t say it, they demonstrated it every day when they get up and they leave their house.

Andrew Cuomo: (18:42)
So God bless them all. But we also have to do what we have to do to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep them safe. And this heroic effort on cleaning the subways is part of that. And we will continue it, because we are New York tough. But “tough” doesn’t mean just tough. It means smart, it means united, it means disciplined, and it means loving. You can be tough and you can be loving. They’re not inconsistent. Sometimes you have to be tough to be loving. And that’s what New York is all about. Questions, comments?

Speaker 1: (19:22)
Governor, given that the homeless will have to be leaving the subway system, what resources, what actions is your administration taking to provide, hotel rooms, funding, any other resources to make sure they don’t just move the problem from one area to another?

Andrew Cuomo: (19:41)
Look, the homeless… I’ve worked with the homeless community since I was in my twenties. I ran a not-for-profit. I was the largest provider for homeless families in the country. I then went to Department of Housing and Urban Development, which for the federal government is in charge of homeless programs. Came up with a whole new program to help the homeless nationwide and implemented that. Did more for the homeless than ever before. So my knowledge of helping the homeless, I think, is sufficient.

Andrew Cuomo: (20:11)
And I know there’s a lot of politics about helping the homeless. You do not help the homeless by letting them stay on a subway car and sleep on a subway car in the middle of a global pandemic when they could expose themselves or others to a virus. That does not help the homeless. I mean, it is common sense.

Andrew Cuomo: (20:36)
To the extent people need a safe, clean, decent place and shelter, we should provide that. Even more to the extent people need services and help with an underlying issue, mental health services, substance abuse, job training, et cetera, we should provide that. So the notion of, “Well, you should let everyone sleep on the train and just stay on the train, the homeless, because that’s good for them.” It’s not good for them. We owe them more, and we owe them better.

Andrew Cuomo: (21:01)
We are funding an unprecedented amount in housing and services for the homeless. Part of what the problem has been, has been connecting a homeless individual with those services. That is the difficulty. Because homeless people who have an underlying issue or have been homeless for a period of time, it’s not as simple as saying, ” Come with me. I want to help you. Come, I’m going to bring you to a community group residence.” That connection is very difficult. It’s not that we’re not funding services, we’re not funding housing. You have to get that homeless person to a position where they trust and they’re accepting.

Andrew Cuomo: (21:47)
I think this actually poses an opportunity to engage homeless men and women who have been sleeping on trains, some of them for years, for years, now to disinfect-

Andrew Cuomo: (22:03)
Four years. Now to disinfect, you have to get the people off the trains, you have to engage homeless men and women with the appropriate skill set. And I think it’s actually an opportunity to get them off the trains and actually connect them to the services they’ve needed.

Speaker 2: (22:20)
Yes sorry governor there’s been talk of using FEMA money, emergency aid from HUD to pay for hotel rooms for the homeless, especially the street homeless, have you taken any actions to make those sort of resources available?

Andrew Cuomo: (22:36)
We have funding for local governments. It’s up to the local government to decide the best strategy, but I think there’s an opportunity here. Yes.

Speaker 3: (22:44)
I have a picture that our editor took this morning about 9:30 this morning on an F train at West 4th. And unfortunately there were three men sleeping in the car, spread out. I mean, do you realistically think that with this increased outreach, because you pushed them out in the middle of the night, can we see an end to that do you think realistically? Or is that-

Andrew Cuomo: (23:08)
Well let’s separate the issues. Can you end all homeless people? No, I don’t believe you will. I would like to say yes, but I don’t believe you will. You always had a certain number of people who were homeless for one reason or another going back decades. I mean, not like it is today, but you always had some people who for one reason or another wanted to get away from society, drop out of society, had an issue that they were dealing with. I don’t think you’ll help everyone 100% but I don’t know that that’s the real question. You help as many people as you can and this will be the first time that I can remember that every homeless person by definition has to get off that train at one point. To disinfect the trains, everyone has to be off the train. And I think that’s an opportunity to actually engage homeless people and find out what they need and try to link them up with the services and the help. Will you help everyone? No, but you help everyone that you can. Yes.

Speaker 4: (24:22)
Governor, [inaudible 00:24:22] but many people are calling for rent strikes [inaudible 00:24:31].

Andrew Cuomo: (24:33)
If somebody can’t pay the rent now and they don’t pay the rent, they cannot be evicted by the landlord, period. You cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent. I did what’s called an executive order, but it’s basically a law. So a landlord cannot evict a person for nonpayment of rent. If you can pay the rent, you should pay rent. I’m not saying don’t pay if you can pay, there’s a morality in this, but if you can’t pay and many people can’t pay because of economic circumstances, you cannot be evicted and that is a law that is in place through June. And then come June, we’ll see where we are and we’ll figure it out.

Speaker 5: (25:23)
Governor, back to the subway, can you describe more how it’s going to work? How many more employees or police officers are going to be needed and what about essential workers that need to travel between 1:00 AM and 5:00 AM, is there any sort of help for them?

Andrew Cuomo: (25:39)
We have a chairman Pat Foye with us and Sarah who runs the transit bureau, so I’ll turn it to them to give you some more details.

Pat Foye: (25:49)
Well, let me start with the alternative service plan and Sarah will talk about the program of closing the subways from 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM. What we are going to do. Well, let me say this, step back. When the pandemic began, we’d reached out to the hospital association, to labor unions, and to trade associations to get data on where their employees lived, what hospital they went to, what food preparation facility, as an example, they went. We did that in early March. As a result, we have very granular data as to the number of passengers that travel from 1:00 AM to 2:00 AM we know that in the period from 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM, approximately 10 to 11,000 of our customers travel.

Pat Foye: (26:35)
What we have done in connection with the announcement, the governor’s announcement earlier in the week in Albany about closing the subways, I and a bunch of my colleagues have reached out to the AFLCIO, to the transit workers union, to New York state and New York City, to the hospital association, 1199, 32-BJ, the building trades, grocery stores, and grocery store unions. That’s a partial list and we’re getting very granular data about where their employees or members travel from and to, and we are going to, to the extent we can tailor service to accommodate their needs and I’ll turn to Sarah in terms of the alternative service program.

Sarah Feinberg: (27:19)
Sure, so thanks. So like Pat said, 10 to 11,000 of our riders travel between 1:00 and 5:00 AM over the last several weeks. We know which subway stops they use. We know a lot of origin and destination information. Look, we’re going to prioritize best service. We’re a public transportation agency and so we want to prioritize best service. So we’re going to be running a lot of buses. In most places, the subway headways we’re about 20 minutes, so we’re going to have bus service that matches the subway headway. So if you were depending on the subways, we’re going to try to match bus service so that you have a similar wait and commute. We’re going to have a website and additional details that we provide in the next couple of days, but people should know that if they were counting on the subway, bus service will be provided, taxi and livery service as an option, and for hire vehicles are an option.

Sarah Feinberg: (28:13)
Look, we’re not going to leave behind the folks who need to use the system overnight to go to hospitals to go to medical centers to go to their jobs. We’re going to make sure we take care of them, but we have to do everything we possibly can to make sure that our workforce is safe and to make sure our riders are safe. And so we’re going to take this time overnight and then through the day to make sure that we clean every single car. So on the cleaning, we have a team of 900 cleaners already, so heroes, essential workers who show up day in and day out and do some really difficult work in really difficult moments. Those folks are going to be working, and then we’ve also got additional folks that we are bringing on as contractors to make sure that we can get this all done.

Sarah Feinberg: (28:57)
So for those who are riding the system during the day, they’re going to see an uptick and a lot of cleaners that they probably didn’t see before. So you ride the train to the end of the station or to the end of the line, you get out at a end of the line station instead of just going off onto the platform and going upstairs, one of the things you’re going to see this week is a whole bunch of cleaners boarding that train immediately starting disinfection work right then. That’s going to be happening during the day, so people are going to see that that hasn’t happened as much before. And then we’ve got cars in yards, cars on layup, and then cars in the system and so that cleaning is going to be happening 24 hours a day with the goal of cleaning every single car every day. Some cars will get cleaned more than once.

Pat Foye: (29:43)
Governor, can I make one additional point?

Andrew Cuomo: (29:44)

Pat Foye: (29:45)
This program is possible only based on Mayor De Blasio’s commitment and Commissioner [inaudible 00:29:50] commitment to a robust and sustainable police presence in terms of closing the stations on a 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM period. Mayor De Blasio Zoomed into the governor’s meeting in Albany earlier in the week, and affirmed that robust and sustainable, and it’s both robust and sustainable. That is going to make police presence and NYPD and MTA police department presence that will make this program possible.

Sarah Feinberg: (30:15)
That’s right.

Andrew Cuomo: (30:17)
Yeah, and look, just to be totally straightforward about it, this has never been done before. You’ve never closed the subways from one to five. You’ve never tried to disinfect trains. You’d never tried to disinfect every train, every 24 hours. So nobody has been here before. And whenever you do something different, there’s always opposition. There’s always someone who raises the other side, especially in New York. We love to argue about everything. And so yes, we’re closing the trains. Yes, they’ll have service, but somebody may have to take a bus instead of a train. It’s the lowest period of ridership in a time when you have the lowest ridership in probably a century. But you’ll still have people who have to take a bus instead of a train and they’ll be inconvenienced, except we had no option. I’m not going to say to essential workers, “You need to come every day. The food workers need to come. The nurses need to come. The doctors need to come. And by the way, I don’t know if I can tell you for sure that the trains and buses are clean.”

Andrew Cuomo: (31:36)
I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to ask essential workers, “Please leave your home so others can stay at home. Come work in a grocery store, work in a hospital, put yourself at risk. And I can’t even tell you that the buses and the trains are clean.” I can’t ask the transit workers, who are seeing a high rate of infection, who are dealing with some of the most difficult circumstances they ever have, “I need you to come work on the buses and the trains, but I don’t know that the buses and trains are clean.” I’m not going to do that. No New Yorker is going to do that.

Andrew Cuomo: (32:15)
You know, New Yorkers, we live by the right thing, quotient, the right thing. Do the right thing, the right thing. What is the right thing? It’s hard to describe, but you know it when you see it. And to do the right thing, the essential workers are doing the right thing by us. They’re showing up. They’re putting themselves at risk. We have to do the right thing by them. The trains and buses should be clean. For the transit workers, for the riding public, for every essential worker that gets on them. Period. End of story. Well, how do we do that? We’ll figure out how to do it and it’s going to be hard, but it’s the right thing to do and it’s never been done before. But we’ll step up and we’ll do it and look, everything we’re doing here has never been done before.

Andrew Cuomo: (33:03)
Up and we’ll do it. Look, everything we’re doing here has never been done before. How do you do 15,000 tests? It’s never been done before. Yeah, I know, but we have to do it. How do you come up with a tracing system to trace all the positives? You need thousands of tracers and, by the way, there are no tracers really, now. I know. We’ll figure it out. We’ll do it.

Andrew Cuomo: (33:24)
That’s the story of where we are in this moment. We are called upon to do things that we’ve never done before, and either we do them and we rise to the occasion or we fail, and we’re not about failing in New York. We’re not. We’re about rising to the occasion. We did after 9/11, we did have to Superstorm Sandy, and we’re going to do it here, too. Sir.

Speaker 6: (33:50)
Governor, yesterday, in Commack, Suffolk County, there was a rather large demonstration, people who want the economy and the state to reopen. They were blatantly ignoring social distancing. There were about 300 people. They were also, many of them, refusing to wear masks around one another.

Speaker 6: (34:08)
Two questions. One, what message do you have to people who are doing things like that, ignoring social distancing, either in demonstrations, or at parks, beaches, things like that? Then, two, we noticed that Suffolk police were there, but they weren’t doing anything to enforce social distancing. What do you want to see happen when it comes to enforcement on things like that going forward?

Andrew Cuomo: (34:30)
Look, this is a highly politicized time, right? We know that. Having nothing to do with COVID. It was highly politicized before that. Everything was Democrat, Republican, left, right. That was the environment that we were living in. I’ve worked very hard to keep politics out of this situation. We have to make a lot of tough decisions here. We have to make them fast. The worst thing that could happen is politics collides with what we’re trying to do. Take even today, we’re cleaning trains. If you want to take a partisan, politicized view to that, people will argue just because now they’re supposed to, because it’s politics. I’ve stayed a hundred miles away from politics. For myself, I’ve made it clear that I have no political agenda whatsoever, because people are always ready to look at a politician and say, “Well, this is in their personal interest.” I have no personal interest. I’m not going anywhere. I’m here until they fire me. Okay? So, I have no political interest, and I think that’s been very helpful.

Andrew Cuomo: (35:42)
But, having said that, I understand people’s frustration with the economy not being open. I get it. I want to see the economy open for myself, for my family. And, by the way, the state has a tremendous financial problem, and the faster the economy comes back up, the better our financial situation. So, I feel it. I get it. I disagree with people who say, “Open the economy, even though you know there’s a public health risk.” I disagree with that. I’m not going to put dollar signs over human lives. I’m not going to do that, not for my family, not for yours, but I understand their point of view.

Andrew Cuomo: (36:27)
I understand the First Amendment. You have an argument. You want to make your argument. God bless America. You don’t have a right to jeopardize my health. You want to jeopardize your health, God bless you. You have no right to jeopardize my health. The mask is not about your health. The mask is about my health, and my children’s health, and your children’s health. That’s why you have to wear a mask.

Andrew Cuomo: (36:59)
If you’re in a situation where you can, stay six feet apart. I’ve said to law enforcement all across the state, enforce the mask executive order. I said, “The state police will help you enforce it if you can’t enforce it.” So, I believe it should be enforced, because it’s reckless, it’s irresponsible, and it’s not about your life, it’s about other people’s lives, and you don’t have a right to do that.

Speaker 7: (37:27)
How confident are you in New Yorkers heeding your words? The next few days are supposed to be beautiful, people will be out. How confident are you that New York will stay strong in all this?

Andrew Cuomo: (37:38)
I believe in New Yorkers. I’m a lifelong New Yorker. We have many New Yorkers who’ve moved here, and that’s great. I was born here, bred here, I’m going to die here. I have been so impressed with what they have done. We communicated the facts, but they have closed down in a way that is just remarkable. You see that curve that dropped in the projections of the number of cases. That curve didn’t drop. New Yorkers grabbed that curve and bent it down. That’s what happened. That number was going like this. That’s why all the projections were wrong. New Yorkers grabbed it, pulled it down. They changed that curve because they stayed at home, they closed, they wore masks, et cetera. At the same time that New Yorkers understood how dangerous it was, essential workers, TWU, food workers, nurses, doctors showed up for work. Beautiful, beautiful. With masks and compliance, people do it. It’s extraordinarily high, the compliance. I believe, with the warm weather, people come outside. You can’t stay indoors all the time, right? So, people will come outside, and that’s great. Go for a walk, but just respect the social distancing and wear the masks. New Yorkers are doing it. They’re doing it all across the state.

Andrew Cuomo: (39:15)
Okay, I’m going to go to work. Thank you guys very much. Thank you for being here.

Speaker 6: (39:19)
What is your response to Ralph Nader’s call for a stock cut that’s increased taxes on stock buybacks?

Andrew Cuomo: (39:24)
Ralph Nader’s call? I haven’t even heard his call.

Speaker 6: (39:27)
Would you categorically rule out raising taxes on the ultra wealthy?

Andrew Cuomo: (39:32)
I don’t even know… I haven’t heard Ralph Nader’s call. Thank you to the FDA and all the workers who are doing a great job. Thank you very, very much for what you’re doing. Every New Yorker is in your debt. God bless you. Thank you.

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