May 5, 2020
Andrew Cuomo New York COVID-19 Briefing Transcript May 5
Governor Andrew Cuomo held his daily New York coronavirus press conference on May 5. Cuomo responded to Trump that, “Coronavirus is ‘not a blue state issue,'” and said of reopening New York, “How much is human life worth?”
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Andrew Cuomo: (00:06)
Masks up. Good morning. It’s a beautiful day in New York city. Pleasure to be here. Let me introduce people. We have from my far left, Dr. Jim Malatras, who’s been working with us for many years on the state side, now head of Empire State College. My daughter Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, one of three, no favorites. Her participation today will be clear in a couple of minutes. To my right, Melissa DeRosa secretary to the governor. Let’s give you some facts about where we are today.
Andrew Cuomo: (00:44)
The number of total hospitalizations is 9,600, that is a lower number than yesterday, barely. It’s basically flat. As I mentioned yesterday, the weekend reporting numbers tend to be a little erratic. Sometimes we’re not quite sure why. This whole reporting mechanism has just been in place a couple of months. First time ever every hospital has reported every day to the state, but it’s better than going up.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:16)
You see the overall total hospitalizations is down. Changing intubations is down. That’s good news. And the number of new hospitalizations is also down. This is an important number. This is how many people came in yesterday with a diagnosis of COVID into hospitals, or people who were technically in a hospital who were then diagnosed with COVID. But again, Sunday is a different day operationally for hospitals, but again, the number is down, so it is good news. This is always the worst number when we’re going through the facts of the day and it is not good news; number of lives lost 230. Technically up from yesterday even allowing for the Sunday reporting. But it is painful, painful news for all New Yorkers and we’ll remember those families in our thoughts and prayers.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:23)
There’s no doubt that we’re coming down the mountain. Only question is what trail we take, what path we take coming down the mountain. How fast does that decline continue? Does the decline continue? And that is purely a function of what we do. None of this is preordained. None of this is decided by any factor other than our own behavior. You tell me how well New Yorkers socially comply with distancing, et cetera, and I’ll tell you what that infection rate is doing. It’s that simple. And everything we have done thus far has worked and that’s why the number is coming down. But you tell me what we do today and tomorrow and I’ll tell you the infection rate in the next few days.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:11)
What we’ve said from the beginning is the key is testing and tracing and isolating. It’s very hard to do. It’s easy to say. No one has ever done this before. We’ve never put this kind of testing regimen in place. Industry-wide, we’ve never had a tracing operation that’s anywhere near this magnitude. We’ve never done isolation, quarantine. That’s never happened before. But we do what we have to do, and this is what we have to do to monitor the infection rate and to control it. And that’s what we’re doing.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:49)
We laid out a very specific reopening plan yesterday. We studied all the state’s plans, we’ve studied reopening plans of countries around the world. We incorporated all the best practices. I think we probably have the most specific plan for metrics and measuring to make these decisions. And it’s basically a mathematical formula, if you look at that reopening plan. And I think that’s the way we should do it and proceed. This is about following the data, learning the lessons, listening to the experts, following the science, and it’s about being smart.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:29)
Everybody is emotional, we’re getting more emotional. There’s more stress, there’s more anxiety, there’s more pressure on all of us. We want to get on with life. We want a paycheck, we want to make sure our job is there, but it’s still a time to be smart. We don’t act emotionally. We act based on logic and fact and science, that’s how we make policy. But we have to remind ourselves every day because the pressure is to just respond to the emotion. And there’s also no doubt that we’re going through a devastating and costly moment in history. It’s costly on every level. Number of lives lost, the economic impact, the personal impact, substance abuse has gone up, domestic violence has gone up, mental health issues have gone up. So we have paid a very high price for what we’re going through. But the hope is that we learn from it and that we are the better for it. We endured the pain, let’s make sure we benefit from the gain.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:35)
And this is also true and people can understand this as a life lesson. You get as old as I am, you go through some tough periods in life and that’s a fact, that is going to happen. You live life long enough, you will go through a difficult period. I’ve gone through more than my share, but you take those periods and you try to learn from them and you try to grow. That’s the best you can do with it. What can you learn so when you move forward, you’re the better for it. And we do that as a society also. That’s the concept of build back better. We don’t want to go through all of this and replace what was there before, replacing what was there before as a starting point. We want to replace, but we want to improve. And we want to be better for this experience, and we want to build back better. We were smart enough to do that as a country, as a state, after 9-11 we went through pain. We came back stronger. You could argue more united as a country, more United as a state, more aware of our vulnerabilities. And yes, greatest country on the planet, greatest state in the nation, it’s our opinion. But we were vulnerable to terrorist attacks. So we learned from it and we got stronger and we got better and we’ve incorporated security into our life in a way that was unimaginable before 9-11.
Andrew Cuomo: (07:08)
Hurricane Sandy, super storm Sandy devastated thousands of lives, billions of dollars in damage. We built back and we built a back better than we were before. We didn’t replace what was, we improved almost everything that we learned during that time. Our housing construction is different, our power grid is different, our infrastructure is different.
Andrew Cuomo: (07:36)
So you go through these situations and you learn, and that’s what we have to do here. We have to have a better public health system. We should never go through this again. What we went through with the hospitals, what we went through with PPE, staff shortages, that can never happen again. How we use telemedicine, we have to learn and we have to grow. It was vital to what we did here. We have to make sure we’re better at it. Our public transportation system, we’re learning. Tonight we’re going to shut down the subways for the first time in history. Why? Because they have to be disinfected. Whoever heard of disinfecting a subway car? Well, now you learn. You have to disinfect subway cars, figure out how to do it. So you can say to people who use the subways, don’t worry, it’s safe. That’s a starting point for public transportation. And one of the areas we can really learn from is education. We’ve all been talking about tele-education, virtual education, remote education, and there’s a lot that can be done. The old model of everybody goes and sits in a classroom and the teacher is in front of that classroom and teaches that class, and you do that all across the city, all across the state, all these buildings, all these physical classrooms. Why, with all the technology you have. And we’ve been exploring different alternatives with technology. We have classrooms in this state that have technology where they’re talking to students on Long Island with a teacher from Staten Island, with students from around the world, participating with technology, hearing that one teacher. And if you look at the technology, it looks like all these different students are in one classroom.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:30)
All right, well, let’s learn from that and let’s learn from this experience. We did a lot of remote learning. Frankly, we weren’t prepared to do it. We didn’t have advanced warning, but we did what we had to do and the teachers and the education system did a great job, but there’s more we can do. We’re still working on providing some students with the technology, with the tablets, et cetera. Some teachers needed training, they weren’t ready for it. Well, let’s take this experience and really learn how we can do differently and better with our education system in terms of technology and virtual education, et cetera.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:14)
And that’s something we’re actively working on through this process. So it’s not about just reopening schools, when we are reopening schools, let’s open a better school and let’s open a smarter education system. And I want to thank the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We’ll be working with them on this project. Bill Gates is a visionary in many ways and his ideas and thoughts on technology and education, he’s spoken about for years, but I think we now have a moment in history where we can actually incorporate and advance those ideas.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:54)
When this change come to a society, because we all talk about change and advancement, but really we like control, and we like the status quo and it’s hard to change the status quo. But you get moments in history where people say, “Okay, I’m ready. I’m ready for change. I get it.”
Andrew Cuomo: (11:14)
I think this is one of those moments. And I think education as well as other topics is a topic where people will say, “Look, I’ve been reflecting, I’ve been thinking, I learned a lot. We all learned a lot about how vulnerable we are and how much we have to do and let’s start talking about really revolutionizing education and it’s about time.”
Andrew Cuomo: (11:39)
One point I want to make about reopening not just in this state, but all across this nation. There’s a conversation that is going on about reopening that we are not necessarily explicit about, but which is very important. There’s a question that is being debated right under the surface and the decisions we make on reopening are really profound decisions. And the fundamental question which we’re not articulating is how much is a human life worth? How much do we think a human life is worth?
Andrew Cuomo: (12:24)
There’s a cost of staying closed, no doubt, economic cost, personal cost. There’s also a cost of reopening quickly. Either option has a cost, you stay closed, there’s a cost, you reopen quickly and there’s a cost. The faster we reopen, the lower the economic cost, but the higher for human cost. Because the more lives lost, that my friends is the decision we are really making.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:10)
What is that balance? What is that trade off? Because it is very real. If you now look at the projection models of how many lives will be lost, you’ll notice they changed recently. Why did they change? And they went up dramatically. Why? Because now they’re factoring in the reopening plans and the reopening schedules that states are announcing. The federal government’s estimate, federal government’s estimate, FEMA has increased from 25,000 to 200,000 the number of daily cases by June. Think about that increase.
Andrew Cuomo: (14:09)
The IHME, which is a foundation model supported by Gates, which is the preferred model by the white house. When they were projecting deaths by August 4th, they projected in early April 60,000 deaths. They projected mid April 60,300 deaths, actually a little lower. Their new projection is 134,000 deaths. How did it go from 60,000 deaths to 134,000 deaths? This is the model which the white house relies on. When the director of the institute was asked why those revisions happened, the director said, rising mobility in most of you US states as well as the easing of social distancing measures expected in 31 States by May 11th, indicating that growing contacts among people will promote transmission of the Corona virus. That’s a very nice way of saying when you accelerate the reopening, you will have more people coming in contact with other people. You’re relaxing social distancing. The more people in contact with other people, the higher the infection rate of the spread of the virus. The more people get infected, the more people die. We know that, and that’s why the projection models are going up. There’s a cost of staying closed. There’s a-
Andrew Cuomo: (16:03)
There’s a cost of staying closed. There’s also a cost of reopening quickly. That is the hard truth that we are all dealing with. Let’s be honest about it, and let’s be open about it. Let’s not camouflage the actual terms of the discussion that we’re having. And the question comes back to how much is a human life worth? Do you see that projection model go from 25 to 200,000 cases from FEMA? You see the number of deaths go from 60,000 to 134,000. How much is a human life worth? That’s the real discussion that no one is admitting openly or freely, but we should. To me, I say cost of human life, a human life is priceless. Period.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:03)
Our reopening plan doesn’t have a trade off. Our reopening plan says you monitor the data, you monitor the transmission rate, you monitor the hospitalization rate, you monitor the death rate. If it goes up, you have a quote unquote “circuit breaker.” You stop. You close the valve on reopening. But it is a conversation that we should have openly. Hard conversation, painful conversation, controversial conversation. Yes, all of the above, but it’s also the right conversation, because those are the decisions we’re making.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:48)
Also, as we’re going through this, it’s important that our leadership be factual and productive and united, because this is a time when government has to work. Government on all levels has to work. The federal government has to work, and it has to work now better than it has worked in the past. All the craziness that we’ve watched in Washington, all the politics that we’ve seen in Washington, all the dysfunction that we’ve seen in Washington. Now it is unacceptable, because what government does today will literally determine how many people live and how many die.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:41)
That’s not hyperbolic and that’s not overly dramatic. That is just the fact. That federal government has to be able to pass legislation. To pass legislation, it has to be on a bipartisan basis. You have the Congress. The House is controlled by Democrats. The Senate is controlled by Republicans. Unless you get a bipartisan agreement, you’re not going to pass legislation. If you don’t pass legislation, the federal government does not work. If the federal government doesn’t work, it makes it virtually impossible for state governments to work. If I can’t work, then local governments can’t work.
Andrew Cuomo: (19:24)
This is not something that a state can control. Well, the governors are in charge. The governors are in charge. I can only be in charge to the extent I have the resources and the means. And that comes from the federal government, not just for New York, but for every state in this country. So that federal government has to work. The legislation that they pass is important, and they have to pass legislation. And that only happens on a bipartisan basis. There was no choice. Well, just the Democrats can do it. Well, just the Republicans can do it. They cannot. It takes two to tango. It takes two Houses to pass a bill, and one is Democratic and one is Republican. So the facts are important.
Andrew Cuomo: (20:20)
President gave an interview as reported in the New York Post. Blue state coronavirus bailouts are unfair to Republicans. Bailouts. This is the topic of whether or not the federal government should provide aid to state governments. And it’s been a discussion for weeks. Federal government has passed legislation in the past that helped airlines, helped small businesses, help hotels. Great. Great. They haven’t provided any aid to state and local governments. Well, why is that important? It’s the state and local governments that fund police, fire, education, teachers, healthcare workers. If you starve the states, how do you expect the states to be able to fund this entire reopening plan? Well, the governors are in charge. But the states are in dire financial circumstances because our economy suffered when all the businesses shut down.
Andrew Cuomo: (21:38)
So the debate now is, well, it’s the blue states that have the coronavirus. Okay. New York they call a blue state. California they call a blue state. The Republicans are saying, “We don’t want to give money to the blue states.” First of all, this is not a blue state issue. Every state has coronavirus cases. And it’s not just Democratic states that have an economic shortfall. Republican states have an economic shortfall. Well, it’s the mismanagement of blue states for decades that they now want us to bail out. That’s just not a fact. It is not a fact. First of all, no blue state was asking for a bailout before this coronavirus. I wasn’t asking for anything from the federal government before the coronavirus. And by the way, the federal government wasn’t giving New York anything for years. Everything they were doing was negative to New York.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:54)
Then comes the coronavirus. Our economy stops because we shut it down. Now we have a $13 billion deficit because we stopped the economy. So what we’re asking, every state is asking. Because of the coronavirus, we need financial help in restarting the economy. And that’s what we’re asking for from the federal government. How do you call that a bailout, which is such a loaded word. Such a rhetorical, hyperbolic word. It’s a bailout. There’s no bailout. Because of the coronavirus, this nation has been impacted, and states have been impacted because the states make up the nation, and we need financial help because of the coronavirus situation. And this is not any mismanagement by the states. If anything, the mismanagement has been on behalf of the federal government, and that’s where the mismanagement has gone back decades.
Andrew Cuomo: (24:11)
Senator Moynihan, God rest his soul. New York Senator, great man, said decades ago that New York has been continually shortchanged by the federal government. Why? Because we have always given them more money than they gave us back. Right. How does the federal government work? The federal government collects taxes and puts it all in a pot and then takes money from that federal pot and gives it back to the states. Every year New York State has put more money into that federal pot than the federal government has given back. Every year for decades, and that is just the fact.
Andrew Cuomo: (25:02)
Also, you want to try to divide, divide, divide. The facts are, it’s the Democratic states, which happen to have now high coronavirus content, which actually have put in more money than the Republican states who are now saying, “Why should we bail out the Democratic states?” The Democratic states have been supporting them for years. New York, every year, $29 billion more paid in that it gets out. New Jersey, also a high coronavirus state, $18 billion more every year then it gives out. Massachusetts, Connecticut, California.
Andrew Cuomo: (25:47)
And then you look at the Republicans who now say, “Well, we don’t want to help the Democratic states.” They are actually the states that have been taking more every year. Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky. Senator Mitch McConnell, he’s Kentucky, $37 billion more every year. Alabama, Florida. Everything’s about Florida. Why? Because it’s a swing state and we’re in an election year. I get it. Florida gets $30 billion more every year than it puts in. What are you talking about? Fairness, equity, bailout.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:27)
You look at where we’ve been over the past five years, we’ve paid it in $ 116 billion more than we get back. You want to be fair, just give New York back the money you took and it’d be $116 billion. Who gives and who takes? We know those facts and we know the numbers. But look, this whole discussion that Senator McConnell is raising, that some senators are raising, this is counterproductive and it will lead to defeat for all of us. You need a bipartisan bill to pass. You go down this path of partisanship and politics, you will never pass a bill. If you never pass legislation, you’ll never get this economy back on its feet. So you go down this path of division, you will defeat all of us, because we’re all in the same boat. There is no separating us. It’s still the United States of America.
Andrew Cuomo: (27:49)
This partisanship, we have to turn the page. I know it’s how Washington operates. I know it’s how Washington has been operating for many years. But we have to stop, and we have to change, and you do need a totally different mindset. It can’t be it’s you versus me. It has to be we, right? We the people. If you don’t get back to we and you think about a collective interest, you’re going to defeat us all. Because it can’t happen. You have to get out of this Democrat, Republican. It’s red or blue. It’s not red or blue. It’s red, white and blue. This coronavirus doesn’t pick Democrats or Republicans. It doesn’t kill Democrats or Republicans. It kills Americans. The virus is less discriminating and more of an equalizer than the lens that we’re viewing the virus through. And if we can’t get past this now, when can we ever get past it?
Andrew Cuomo: (28:58)
You have a national crisis. You have a national outbreak, a national epidemic killing thousands of people. You can’t put your politics aside even now, even today? Families have fights. Yes, family have fights. Somebody’s going to die, and the family is still going to carry forward these silly fights from years ago. Nobody even remembers how this started. If there’s ever a time to come together, it’s at a moment of crisis. This is a moment of crisis. We always understood. The great ones always told us that it won’t work this way. A house divided against itself cannot stand. You want to be a leader? You want to go down in the history books as someone who stood up and did the right thing? Well then remember what made us great in the first place, and that’s what a great leader would do.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:08)
Also, last point, each of us must do our part. Talk about government, government, government. Yeah. Government has a lot to do. I understand that, fully. Citizens also have a role to play. You know who’s going to keep yourself? You’re going to keep yourself safe. You know it’s going to keep your family safe? You’re going to keep your family safe. You know who’s going to keep each other safe? Each one of us keeps the other safe. Every person has a responsibility here, social responsibility, and that’s what wearing a mask is all about. Just wear a mask. It’s the smart thing to do. It’s also the right to do. Right thing to do. In all this complexity there is still a right thing. You still know what’s the right thing to do and the wrong thing to do. Maybe right thing is a New Yorker expression. I don’t think so. You know what the right thing to do is. Nobody has to tell you what the right thing to do is.
Andrew Cuomo: (31:09)
The right thing to do is to wear a mask, because it’s not about you. It’s about my health. You wear a mask to protect me. I wear a mask to protect you. And wearing a mask is not the greatest intrusion. I do not understand why people think it’s such a burden to wear a mask. And, look, 99% of the people do it. It’s the 1% of the people who don’t do it, right? That’s who we’re talking about. We were talking about this last night, and I was expressing my frustration why some people just don’t get it. And what this has been about from day one, this whole exercise, and where I started this on day one, all these things we’ve done. Nobody’s doing these things …
Andrew Cuomo: (32:03)
Nobody’s doing these things because government told them to do it. Right? I’m the first governor in the history of the state of New York to say, “We’re closing businesses,” to say, “You must be quarantined.” No governor has ever said that. How do I enforce that? I can’t. I can’t. How do you enforce making 19 million people stay at home? I can’t.
Andrew Cuomo: (32:33)
I said from day one I can give the facts to New Yorkers, but then New Yorkers have to decide and agree that it makes sense given the facts, and agree to do it. And New Yorkers have agreed to do it. All of these things, closing schools, closing businesses, stay at home, socially distancing. So now wear a mask.
Andrew Cuomo: (32:55)
And I was saying last night, I don’t understand why this wear a mask is so hard. Mariah suggested it may be the way I’m communicating it. I’m just not effectively communicating. Don’t laugh. Well, first of all, this is a common refrain in my house from my daughters, that it’s me and my lack of ability to communicate effectively. It’s a fair statement. And I’m guilty. I have no doubt I am guilty. I am a bad communicator and that I haven’t been communicating the rationale for wearing a mask effectively, so I’m open minded, I understand my weaknesses and my flaws. I’m a work in progress. We’re all a work in progress. I’m trying to get better.
Andrew Cuomo: (33:45)
So Mariah’s suggestion is, look, why don’t we ask New Yorkers to produce an ad that the state could run on explaining to New Yorkers why they should wear a mask, and the context and the rationale and the health reasons and the social responsibility and it’s not that big a deal. Maybe there’s a better way to communicate it than I have been communicating it. Again, 99% of the people are doing it and it’s great. We’re talking about that 1%. So maybe I just haven’t been persuasive or effective enough in my communication skills.
Andrew Cuomo: (34:29)
So I said to Mariah, “Great idea.” We’ll ask New Yorkers, produce an ad, 30 second ad. They submit it. Mariah’s going to be an unofficial advisor with the Department of Health. Pick the five best, put them online, let New Yorkers pick the best ad. State will run that ad. It’ll say on the bottom, “Produced by whoever won the competition.” They’ll get a lot of acclaim. They’ll go on to be big creative experts and maybe we’ll have an ad that communicates this better than I have been able to communicate it to date.
Andrew Cuomo: (35:14)
So I’m excited about that and Mariah is going to help on that and take it on as a project and I’m excited about that. At no cost to the people of the state of New York, she will be a volunteer. The boyfriend can try to put in, he could submit a possible ad for consideration. The boyfriend will lose but he could submit an ad because I’m still governor. And that’s what we’re going to do. Mariah, do you want to add anything or did I explain it clearly in my flawed communication modality?
No, I think you covered it. We’ll be providing more information in the next few days, but if you are interested, you can go to WearAMask.NY.gov.
Andrew Cuomo: (36:06)
Melissa, anything else you need?
Andrew Cuomo: (36:09)
See, sometimes I communicate. Sometimes I communicate effectively, but you’re not alone in criticizing my communication skills. Many of the people in this room would agree with you. And we are New York tough, smart, united, disciplined and loving. Questions?
Reporter 1: (36:25)
Governor, can you comment on, it looks like there’s some new reporting regarding nursing homes and it would increase the total by about 1700 in terms of total deaths. Does that count towards the official tally? Are they in a different category? How is that being reported out?
Andrew Cuomo: (36:38)
I’ll ask Jim and Melissa to explain this because I don’t know the details, frankly. You have two categories: Confirmed deaths and then probable or presumed deaths. And they list numbers in both categories. Some people combine the two confirmed deaths and presumed deaths and have one number. Some people keep them separate and then they’re often reported separately or they’re reported together, but that has been going on for a while. But Jim, is that accurate?
That’s accurate, Governor. Like we’ve reported it in the past, we asked the nursing homes to provide updated information. They originally provided about 3,100 total deaths. The confirmed deaths of those were actually 2100. That gets then added to the official count. We are counting both the presumed and confirmed but the confirmed deaths are the one we’re running in the official tally. Other localities are submitting unconfirmed deaths but we want to confirm those things as much as we can, but now we’re putting up both categories so people can clearly see because some of the facilities were reporting both together and it was difficult to tease out. So we’ve asked them report clearly that line of both confirmed and presumed.
Reporter 2: (38:02)
And specifically, Isabella Geriatric Center, which is something we drew attention to this week, they issued a statement saying there had been 98 deaths, but the official reporting shows less than that, something in the sixties. Does it not count hospital deaths? In other words, if someone goes from a facility to a hospital, is that then counted differently?
Those get reported in the hospitalization deaths. The Isabella situation, they reported 60 but in actuality it’s 21 confirmed deaths and the remaining being presumed, which we’ll have to officially try to confirm one way or another. So it is in line with keeping with what they were sending before but we’ve asked those facilities to update, which they have.
Andrew Cuomo: (38:39)
Just to be clear, I would take all of these numbers now with a grain of salt. Look, we’re just saying the confirmed deaths, you know what that means. What does a presumed death mean? Right? We presume it. How do you presume it to be coronavirus? Also the at home deaths, non-hospital, non-nursing home deaths, just at home deaths, when do you actually get all the numbers on those and how do you confirm all those deaths as attributed to Coronavirus? So I would just have a caveat with all of these. I think they’re going to change over time.
Reporter 3: (39:20)
Governor, when you look at these nursing home deaths, why weren’t steps taken earlier to protect such a vulnerable population? As you look back now and knowing that this virus was going to be around for awhile, are there things or mechanisms that can be done differently so when people are sick in the nursing homes, they go to the hospital and stay in the hospital?
Andrew Cuomo: (39:43)
Well first, your basic point is right. The nursing homes, we said from day one are the most vulnerable place because it’s old people, senior people who are the vulnerable population in a congregate setting. And that’s how this nation was introduced to the virus with the Seattle nursing home. Right? And it was true around the world also. What can you do better going forward? I don’t know. It’s something we’re studying. We’re also doing an investigation with the Attorney General to look at it. We did some very harsh things here that frankly I wasn’t even comfortable with. But the health experts insisted no visitors to a nursing home for two months. No visitors. How do you do that? Because all it takes is one person to walk in, test the staff, PPE, you do everything you can. But if there’s anything else we can learn from and do, we will do.
Andrew Cuomo: (40:59)
You have people who get sick in the nursing home, sometimes they’re transported to a hospital. That’s up to the experts in the nursing home, if that’s helpful. If they’re in the hospital, we also need hospital beds, right? It’s not like we can turn hospitals into nursing homes. Once a person is better, the person has to go somewhere. They don’t have to go back to the nursing home by the way. The way the nursing home operates, they make a determination if they can provide the best care for the person. If the nursing home says, “I can’t provide care for this person,” then the nursing home must transfer the resident or call the Department of Health and say, “This person should be referred somewhere else. I can’t take care of this person.” We have COVID-only facilities that can take people from nursing homes.
Andrew Cuomo: (42:05)
The nursing home has to make the decision. So if the hospital calls and says, “I want to send back a person who had COVID but is now better to the nursing home,” if the nursing home doesn’t think they can take them, they shouldn’t. And all they have to do is say, “No,” and tell the Department of Health and that person will go somewhere else. So it really comes down to that nursing home has to know what its limits are, who can provide care for and who can’t provide care for. And we have alternatives but we have to get it from that nursing home first. Melissa, do you have anything to add on that?
No, actually. Jim, do you want to speak to that?
I think the governor said it. We’ve had really aggressive measures in New York State. No visitors from the outside was a pretty aggressive measure. 12 hour temperature checks on all staff, PPE requirements for all staff. And as the governor said, the rules from the federal government and the state are clear. You have to do separate cohorts for COVID positive versus COVID negative, not only for the residents but also for the staff. And if you cannot do the regulations state specifically, NYC are 487.4 and 488.4, cannot admit residents who are symptomatic unless the facilities licensure certification require onsite clinical staff capable of attending to the medical needs of symptomatic COVID residents pursuant to the instructions. So it’s clear and we’ve made many facilities available for COVID-only. It’s up to the facilities to call us to make sure we can make that transfer happen.
Reporter 4: (43:36)
What does the nursing home staff do if they’re not able to get PPE in the nursing home?
We’ve been working directly, to state, this is a residential requirement for the facility themselves, but facilities that have had difficulty, we have provided hundreds of thousands, if not millions of PPE to nursing homes all across the state, including downstate. Hundreds of thousands of gloves, hundreds of thousands of goggles, face masks, gowns. So we’ve been working to back those. Something that’s not actually a requirement of the state to do, but given the crisis, we have been providing that material as well to those facilities.
Andrew Cuomo: (44:13)
Everybody wants to point to the nursing homes now. We knew the nursing homes were going to be a target and whatever we do, they will be a target. Those nursing homes, and I’ve spoken to a number of them and staff, they are doing phenomenal work. We lost 230 people yesterday. We didn’t lose 230 people to Coronavirus because we didn’t do everything that we could do. We have the best healthcare system on the planet, I believe, and our people are doing everything they can do. We have the equipment, we have the staff, they’re doing everything they could do. Still, 230 people died. In a nursing home, that Coronavirus, if it figures out a way to get in there, and all it takes is one person, one staff person who doesn’t have a temperature, who’s not symptomatic. One facility person, one person who comes to work on the air conditioning system. All it takes is one person to bring that virus in there. And you do everything you can, but at the same time you can’t do everything. Right?
Reporter 5: (45:28)
And governor, when you’re on talking about reopening, what do you say to people who say the metrics that you laid out yesterday are unrealistic and it will keep places like New York City closed for a very long time, possibly until there’s a vaccine? And to the end of re-imagining, what do you see the subways looking like and how can you social distance on a subway?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:48)
Yeah. The first on the metrics. The metrics, we didn’t create any metrics. Those are all best practices. Most of the metrics are CDC metrics. The main metrics are from the Federal CDC, so they’re all reasonable and come from reliable sources, “Experts,” in the field. To the extent there are experts in this field because as we’ve learned, the experts have also been wrong. But they are metrics and they are measurements. And the alternative is, well, I don’t want to follow any measurements even if they are the safe, sane measurements because I want to reopen. Yeah, I understand that. That’s the emotion over the logic. Right?
Andrew Cuomo: (46:43)
So the question would become do you want to reopen even if it is not safe to reopen? And that’s the question I pose. And that is the question that we’re dealing with in society. Okay, more people will die. I want to reopen anyway. Okay. How many more deaths are you willing to sustain to reopen quickly? 100 more deaths? 500 more deaths? Because there is a cost of reopening. There’s a cost of staying closed. There’s a cost of reopening too quickly. So let’s be honest about it, it’s a trade off. And say to the American people and say to the people of the State of New York, we can reopen tomorrow if you want to reopen. This is how many more people will die. IHME model says they adjusted it from 60 to 134,000 nationwide based on what 31 states are doing. If you’re okay with that, you’re okay with that. When will we reopen? When it’s safe. You tell me how fast that line comes down, how fast the decline, I’ll tell you when we reopen.
Andrew Cuomo: (48:03)
… The line comes down, how fast is the decline? I’ll tell you when we re-open. It depends on what we do. And that’s where we are. When will the subways re-open? Well the subways are open. You mean when will the re-open on the nighttime service?
Speaker 2: (48:18)
No, no. Re-imagining the subways.
Andrew Cuomo: (48:18)
Oh, the re-imagine. You can take precautions on the subways.
Speaker 2: (48:23)
Andrew Cuomo: (48:24)
But, you can social distance now on a subway because the ridership is down 92%. But when the subway is up and running, I don’t think it would be possible to stay six feet apart. You could wear masks, you could do sanitizer, I don’t know what the car capacity would go down to with six feet apart.
Speaker 3: (48:43)
When do you expect New York City and down state areas to hit all seven of the metrics? And what happens if a region re-opens, meets all the criteria, but then regresses in one of the seven metrics, do the restrictions go back into place? What happens?
Andrew Cuomo: (49:00)
Yeah, look, you’ve seen that in countries around the world. They re-opened because there’s pressure to re-open. The numbers went sky high, and they backtracked. That’s not ideal, it’s better than seeing the numbers go through the roof, but it’s not ideal. The ideal is you re-open in a controlled format that when those numbers start to tick up, you’ve been watching the numbers, and then you adjust your re-opening. What we’ve seen in other countries, it was binary. They opened, and then they closed. More intelligent I think with retrospect, a moderated modulated re-opening so you can watch those numbers. And you turn the valve, you watch the flow, and you watch the dials. As soon as you see the dials move, slow down on the flow.
Andrew Cuomo: (49:58)
When do we hit the metrics in New York City? I don’t know. Nobody can tell you. It depends how fast the decline continues, and how we control the spread of the virus. It’s all in our control. You tell me our behavior. Our behavior is a direct co-efficient of the rate of infection. It’s what you do today. You don’t wear a mask, you wind up infecting someone. So we’re in total control of that number. We don’t even know the rate of decline. You can factor out by the current rate, but we don’t know how low it’s going to go. That’s why we watch the numbers everyday.
Speaker 4: (50:47)
Governor, this President specifically said the Democrat led states, “Have been mismanaged over a long period of time.” What’s your reaction to that? What role do you want the President to try to get to to tango? And have you considered waiving the state tax on emergency workers who volunteered to come here from out of state?
Andrew Cuomo: (51:08)
Yeah. We’re not in a position to provide any more subsidies right now because we have a $13 billion deficit. So there’s a lot of good things I would like to do, and if we get federal funding, we can do. But it would be irresponsible for me to sit here looking at a $13 billion deficit and say I’m going to spend more money when I can’t even pay the essential services. If we don’t get money from Washington, we can’t fund schools at the rate we want to fund them. So, we are in dire financial need.
Andrew Cuomo: (51:53)
What would I want to say to the President? I get the politics of the Senate. I get Republican partisan politics. I get Democratic partisan politics. I governed this state for over eight years with a Democratic assembly and a Republican Senate. I understand the polarization. I dealt with it year, after year, after year. But we got the job done. We passed the budget on time every year. That doesn’t happen by playing to the politics, it happens when you rise above the politics. The President, in my opinion has to be the reasonable one here. He has to be the compromiser. He will not pass a piece of legislation without the House, without the Congress. That will not happen, and you cannot ask the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Pelosi and our Democratic delegation from this state to pass another piece of legislation that doesn’t take into consideration the needs of this state.
Andrew Cuomo: (53:14)
We went through this on the last bill they passed. I said to my congressional delegation, “They’re not going to fund state governments,” “Oh yes, they said they will. They will, they’ll be reasonable.” I said, “I don’t believe it.” They passed the last bill, didn’t have any state and local funding, and you know what? Now they’re saying they won’t do it. The congressional Democrats cannot pass a bill that forces them to savage their own states. They can’t. So, the President is looking at a scenario where he either is reasonable and bridges the gap, or they will not pass any legislation. Then he will have failed, and this nation will suffer. That is what the President is looking at.
Andrew Cuomo: (54:08)
We’ll get there. Go ahead [inaudible 00:54:14] because you’re a little impatient.
Speaker 6: (54:16)
Why has the health department not been flagging cases of Kawasaki Syndrome? My college Melissa Russo has been reporting on this, it’s a COVID like syndrome that impacts children. Nassau County has 17 cases in the ICU, I think 40 cases overall. The state health department has not been providing an update on this, we’re wondering where that stands.
Andrew Cuomo: (54:34)
Yeah. Melissa, Jim, do you know?
Speaker 7: (54:36)
I know that this is something that Dr. Zucker has been looking into and Melissa has been sharing her reporting with me directly, and we’ll have something on that tomorrow.
Speaker 6: (54:43)
Just as a quick follow up on the MTA, can you assure commuters that 24 hour service will resume?
Andrew Cuomo: (54:51)
Can you assure me? Yes. When, is the question. You tell me when the global pandemic is over, I’ll tell you when the 24 hour service resumes. You go first.
Speaker 6: (55:01)
Does that mean when there’s a vaccine?
Andrew Cuomo: (55:03)
No. It’s just when the pandemic is not problematic to this extent.
Speaker 4: (55:11)
To follow up on the question regarding the President. He’s also griping in the New York Post in terms of the fact that the two Senators, Senator Schumer and Gillibrand have not called it. We see this from the President from time to time, it becomes personal for him. How much of what you think what’s going on now is personal for him versus politics? Do you think there’s some his feelings being hurt? We hear a lot about that. You’ve managed him pretty well, your relationship with him, so just your reaction to that. To him saying-
Andrew Cuomo: (55:41)
It’s all of the above. First on the mismanagement of the state. This state was doing very, very well before coronavirus. Lower taxes, highest number of jobs in history, we were doing great. I wasn’t asking for a nickel from the federal government, and we weren’t getting anything from the federal government. So, it has nothing to do with decades of mismanagement. The only decades of mismanagement really is on the federal side with that inequity for decades. New York state has been subsidizing the federal government for decades, that is a numerical fact. It’s not an opinion, it’s not rhetoric, it’s not hyperbole, it’s a fact. They’re numbers. They’re numbers. We put in more than we get out. That’s that on that issue.
Andrew Cuomo: (56:36)
I don’t even think the President started this fight, I think this is the Republicans fight. This is the Republicans in the Senate are saying, “We come from Republican states, why should we give any money to Democratic states?” Which is just a really selfish, narrow, isolationist, divisive, partisan, opinion. If New Yorkers took that stand, then nobody should have paid federal taxes for the past 30 year because we were giving them money and there was no crisis, it was just an annual… We are a relatively rich state, so we give Florida $30 billion every year. So, that’s where it started. The President now articulated that theory in the Post. If he is adopting that theory, that he also believes we shouldn’t help Democratic states deal with the coronavirus fallout, I think it is partisan, it is divisive, and it is self defeating because the Democrats in the House cannot be fooled again. And they cannot pass a bill that doesn’t provide help to the people they represent. The congressional members from New York cannot pass another bill that does not provide help to the people they represent. They can’t do that and then come home and stand before the people they represent.
Andrew Cuomo: (58:32)
So if the President doesn’t figure out how to bridge this divide, he will have no legislation. And if he doesn’t have legislation, he will have failed as a leader which is problematic on a number of levels. And more importantly, this nation will suffer. So I think it is a bad road for the President to go down.
Andrew Cuomo: (58:56)
Now, is part of it personal with the Senators? Look, he has said to me, one of the main fights I had with the President was on a program called, SALT. It was a tax change that ended state and local tax deductibility, which took this New York incongruity where we give more than we get back and it put it on steroids. It ended our deduction of state and local taxes. And it cost us $14 billion more every year. That was a really aggressive, negative, punitive action against New York in my opinion. It was this partisanship. It took more money from the Democratic states to give to the Republican states, that’s what it did, SALT. I had a clear disagreement with the President about it on a number of occasions, and the President in fairness back then said that the Senators hadn’t fixed it and the Senators should have fixed it. So, this is a long running issue with him.
Speaker 8: (01:00:04)
Andrew Cuomo: (01:00:06)
Let me just see if I can get to everyone.
Speaker 8: (01:00:07)
Thank you. Last week you made a reference to Brazil as an example of a planning in COVID-19 response. Would you tell us why do you think Brazil is the bad example on dealing with the pandemic? And also, you say today that you started a re-open plan for other countries. What plans [inaudible 01:00:29] New York [inaudible 01:00:31] re-open more?
Andrew Cuomo: (01:00:35)
Yeah, we have studied just about every plan that’s been out there and more than plans, the experience. You can go look at what happened in Europe when they re-opened, you can look at China when they re-opened, and all of them to a plus or minus degree have seen some rebound of the virus. The question is, how big is the rebound and can you manage that rebound? Or is the rebound so high that you have to go back to close down? Which we’ve seen in other countries. So, it’s more learning from their experience. Somebody walks down the path, you have to walk down the path, ask them what they found when they walked down the path. We’re learning from the benefit from that experience.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:01:27)
I don’t think we said anything about Brazil’s plan specifically beyond just the experimental. Let’s take one more.
Speaker 9: (01:01:36)
Just on the behalf of the nurses, we’re hearing that nurses from out of town are having to jump through hoops, so just wondering if you’ll extend your executive order past May 15th that does not require them to get a New York license?
Andrew Cuomo: (01:01:48)
Speaker 7: (01:01:49)
Yeah, we’re actually doing that today.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:01:50)
Thank you. I’m going to work, be safe guys, thank you very much.