Apr 14, 2020
Andrew Cuomo New York COVID-19 Press Conference April 14
Governor Andrew Cuomo held an April 14 press conference for New York. Cuomo said “this is no time for politics” and that he does not want a fight with President Trump right now over state stay-at-home orders. Read the full transcript here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev for free and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Andrew Cuomo: (00:01)
Happy Tuesday. Day 44, but who’s counting? Every day’s Groundhog Day. Thank you for being here. Let’s give you some facts about where we are today. Total hospitalizations, actually, basically flat. Technically a tick down, which is probably the first tick down. So that’s a good sign, but basically flat. So we think we are at the apex on the plateau. The number of hospitalizations went up, flattened, continuing to flatten. Good sign. Technically the numbers down a tad. Statistically irrelevant, but better than being up.
Andrew Cuomo: (00:57)
The net change in total hospitalizations, if you look at the curve, which is what we look at, the curve is down. When you do the three day average, which is more accurate than any one day, because remember this reporting mechanism is new. We just put it in during this situation, so I wouldn’t bet all the chips on any one day. But when you look at three days, you look at the overall curve, we think it’s indicative. So three-day average is down. The net change in ICU admissions is down. Again, the ICU admissions I take with a grain of salt since hospitals are no longer what they were and they’re basically all ICU wards.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:38)
Intubations is a real number. That’s the number of people who are being put on a ventilator. About 80% of those people will never come off a ventilator. So when you see the intubations, that is proportionate to the number of people we will lose. And that’s what we’ve been watching all long. People going into the hospital, most get treated and are discharged. Some are not discharged. If they’re intubated, about 80% of the people who are intubated will not come off the ventilator. The number of new people going into the hospital per day is also down, but we still have 1,600 new COVID cases yesterday.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:34)
So we have 1,600 people new coming into the hospital, some being discharged. And the net is what we’ve been watching, but it’s also interesting to note that you still have 1,600 new people walking into the hospital or who are in a hospital and then diagnosed with COVID. So the volume is still high, and that’s why the hospitals are still working very hard.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:00)
We have been watching for growth outside of New York City. Long Island, Westchester, Rockland, that has basically been flat. There have been little hotspots here and there. Department of Health has been very good and aggressive in jumping on those hotspots and tamping them down. Test, isolate, trace. And you see the numbers by a region across the state. Proportionately, obviously, downstate New Yorkers, which is what we’ve been talking about, but looking for growth towards Long Island, Westchester, Rockland. Rest of the state proportionately, upstate is very, very low to everything else in the state.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:48)
This is something else we’re watching. This is the number of deaths in nursing homes. And the nursing homes have been an increasing issue. The nursing home issue was flagged by the first cases we had in the state of Washington because that is the vulnerable population in the vulnerable place, and we’ve been worrying about nursing homes from day one, as we saw in the state of Washington. But you see the percentage of loss of life is getting higher in the nursing homes compared to the hospitals.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:24)
Lives lost yesterday, 778. That number is up, and that is, to me, the most painful number, and it has been the most painful number every day. And those New Yorkers are in our thoughts and prayers. You look at the past few days and the number of lives lost, it’s basically flat at a devastating level of pain and grief, but it evidences everything else we’re seeing, which is basically a flattening at this level.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:03)
The statisticians will say number of lives lost is a lagging indicator, which is a nice scientific term, but it doesn’t mean it just is not just terrible, terrible, terrible news, and nothing we can do about it. Although, many New Yorkers are doing everything they can to save people’s lives on a daily basis at great personal cost to themselves. Total number of deaths is 10,834.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:36)
What we have learned through this process is that our actions determine our destiny, and that’s actually good news. We changed the curve. Every projection model, White House, CDC, Coronavirus White House Task Force, Columbia, Cornell, Gates-funded group, every projection had a higher rate of infection, higher rate of death. CDC was talking about over a million people. CDC was talking about projections that would have swamp the nation’s hospital system. That didn’t happen. Why didn’t it happen? Because of what we did, and that’s important to remember and realize. We changed the curve.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:36)
Better way to say it is we are changing the curve every day. We have shown that we control the virus; the virus doesn’t control us. And this is a big deal. Look, we could have been in a place where we couldn’t stop the spread of the virus. We could have done this whole lockdown, closed down, shutdown, and you still could have seen those numbers going up. That would have been a frightening place. We should take some comfort in the fact that we have demonstrated that we can actually control the spread of the virus.
Andrew Cuomo: (07:18)
Now, tremendous dramatic pain to do it shut down everything, but, thank God, we can control the spread. Can you imagine how bad a situation it would be if we did all of this and you still saw those numbers going up? You lock up your family, you protect them, but somehow the virus still infiltrated the house. That would have been frightening. So there is good news in this, but there’s also a caution flag. We are in some ways artificially controlling that curve. We’ve taken all these extraordinary actions and we are reducing the rate of infection. That means whatever we do today will determine the infection rate tomorrow. It is total cause and effect. So you stopped doing what you’re doing or you behave differently, and you will get a different result.
Andrew Cuomo: (08:24)
And that’s important to remember as we talk about reopening. Everybody’s anxious to reopen. I get it. I’m anxious to reopen. Cara and Michaela want out of the house. I trust you. Trust me, they love me, they love spending time with me, but they’re sort of done with the entire experience. And that’s universal. People need to get back to work. The state needs an economy. We cannot sustain this for a prolonged period of time.
Andrew Cuomo: (08:52)
Everybody agrees. But everybody will also say, how you reopen is everything because of the first point, which is we are now keeping down that rate of infection. And if you start acting differently, you will see a corresponding increase in that rate of infection. And the worst scenario would be if we did all of this, we got that number down, everybody went to extraordinary means, and then we go to reopen and we reopen too fast or we reopen and there’s unanticipated consequences, and we see that number go up again.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:36)
Well, you’re being hyper cautious. Oh, really? Go look at other countries that went through exactly this, started to reopen, and then they saw the infection rate go back up again. So let’s at least learn from past mistakes. We’ve laid out a way to reopen coming up with a comprehensive plan. First, that is regional in nature. We have seven states that we’re working with. The virus doesn’t understand state boundaries, doesn’t understand that it needs a passport. You know it defies all of our norms.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:16)
So how do you put the best minds together in a seven state area? Come up with a regional strategy because the virus can get on Amtrak. The virus can get on a plane. The virus can get in a car and drive up 95. We’re all connected. And in truth, since nobody knows where they’re going and nobody’s done this before, let’s think together and let’s plan together. If we can’t come up with a common plan, let’s see if we can come up with a plan that’s not contradictory. Let’s see if we can get to a place where what Connecticut does, New Jersey does, is not counter to what we’re doing here in New York. And that’s the point of the seven states working together. Also, the point is it doesn’t work unless you coordinate the reactivation of all the systems. I did this graphic because no one got, when I went like this yesterday and I said, the gears have to mesh. This is what I was saying. I could see Nick that you did not get what this meant. So that’s a clarifier for you personally from yesterday.
Andrew Cuomo: (11:26)
We also have to be clear on who is responsible for each element of the opening. The president said last night that he has total authority for determining how and when states reopened. That is not an accurate statement in my opinion. Now that we know that government actually matters and government is relevant and that government has to be smart because what government does is determining how this goes, it’s literally determining in many ways, life and death.
Andrew Cuomo: (12:03)
Determining in many ways life and death, we have to be smart about it. The federal state relationship is central to our democracy. This has been a topic discussed since our founding fathers first decided to embark on this entire venture, right? This is basic federalism, the role of the states and the role of the federal government, and it is important that we get this right. Our founding fathers understood, and we have to remember today, that the balance between the state and the federal, that magnificent balance that is articulated in the constitution is the essence of our democracy. We don’t have a king in this country. We didn’t want a king, so we have a constitution and we elect the president.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:04)
The states, the colonies form the federal government. The federal government did not form the states. It’s the colonies that seeded certain responsibility to a federal government. All other power remains with the states. It’s basic to our constitution and that federal state relationship, Hamilton, who in many ways was representative of this discussion of the balance of power. State governments possess inherent advantages which will ever give them an influence in ascendancy. Ascendancy, a beautiful word over the national government and will forever preclude the possibility of federal encroachments on the states that their liberties indeed can be subverted by the federal head, is repugnant to every rule of political calculation. Strong language, but that was the premise.
Andrew Cuomo: (14:05)
So there are laws and there are facts even in this wild political environment. What do we do? We do what we do because we are New York tough but tough is more complex than many people think it is within that word, tough is smart and united and disciplined and loving. They are not inconsistent to be tough and to be loving. Let me make a personal point, not necessarily a factual point. President did his briefing last night and the president was clearly unhappy. President did a number of tweets this morning where he’s clearly unhappy that a tweet about mutiny on the bounty and governors are mutineers. I didn’t follow the exact meaning of the tweet. But the basic essence of the tweet was that he was not happy with governors and that this was a mutiny.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:22)
The president is clearly spoiling for a fight on this issue. The worst thing we can do in all of this is start with political division and start with partisanship. The best thing we have done throughout this past 44 days is we worked together and we haven’t raised political flags even in this hyper-partisan environment, even though it’s an election year, even though the politics is so intense, we said not here, not in this. This is too important for anyone to play politics. It was a no politics zone, right? This is just about doing the right thing, working together. And that’s important and we have to stay there. We’re all in a little bit of a reflective mood.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:27)
I’m in a reflective mood and everything we do here is so important and every day is so important and I was thinking after the president made his comments and looking at some of the remarks and looking at the tweets reminded me of a poster I saw when I was in grade school, St. Gerard Majella, Queens New York, a catholic school, red blazer, gray pants, white shirt, little a clip on the tie with the hook. Remember the hook tie that you had to put the hook on and then it looked like you had a real tie, which I never understood because the hook was harder to do. You had to hook and then you had to adjust the band, which was harder than just teaching a kid how to just tie the tie would have been easier.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:18)
I was in grade school and there was that poster that came from a Sandberg poem, I think. Suppose they gave a war and nobody came and I was looking at the poster and I didn’t really get it because even then I was very literal. Suppose they gave a war and nobody came, so I’m looking at the poster and a priest came up behind me and said, “What’s wrong Andrew?” I said, “I don’t understand that. I suppose they gave a war and nobody came. How could that happen then you wouldn’t have a war.” He said, “Well, that’s the point. The point is what would happen if people just refused to engage? They just refused to fight?” And I still didn’t get it because… And he said, “You know, sometimes it’s better to walk away from a fight than engage in.”
Andrew Cuomo: (18:06)
Sometimes it takes more strength frankly, to walk away from a fight, than engage in. The president will have no fight with me. I will not engage in. I’ve sat here every day for 44 years asking New Yorkers to remember that this is not about me, it’s about we. I understand you’re personally inconvenienced. I understand you’re frustrated and stressed and anxious and you’re feeling pain. Think about we. Think about get past yourself and think about society and think about your family and think about interconnection and act responsibly for everyone else.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:48)
This is no time for politics and it is no time to fight. I put my hand out in total partnership and cooperation with the president. If he wants a fight, he’s not going to get it from me. This is going to take us working together. We have a real challenge ahead just because those numbers are flattening. It’s no time to relax, we’re not out of the woods. In this reopening, we could lose all the progress we made in one week if we do it wrong and we have a number of challenges ahead. We have to figure out how to do this. How do you have a public health strategy that works with an economic reactivation strategy? Nobody’s done this before. How do you start to increase the number of essential workers? How do you learn the lessons of the past? How do you start to do the massive testing that we’re going to have to do here and that we don’t have the capacity to do today?
Andrew Cuomo: (19:58)
The capacity does not exist. The private sector companies that do testing, we can only get about 60,000 tests per month. That’s not enough. We’re going to do the antibody testing, but that’s not enough either. How do we do this? Put together this whole testing system and do it in a matter of weeks. It is a real question. How do we use technology? Apple and other companies are working on using technology to do tracking. How do we do that and how do we do it fast? And how do we take all our strength and our collective strength and take this nation’s collective strength and figure out how to do those challenges?
Andrew Cuomo: (20:43)
50 years ago, this week, Apollo 13 gets damaged 220,000 miles from earth. Somehow they figure out how to get a spaceship back 220,000 miles 50 years ago. That’s America. Okay, figure out how to do testing. Figure out how to use technology to do tracing. That’s what we have to work on and we have to do that together. We have to do as a government what our people have done, right? Sometimes political leaders can learn best from following people who are normally ahead of the politicians. Look at how people have been selfless and put their own agenda aside for the common good. Can’t their leaders be as smart as they are? The answer has to be yes. So I look forward to working with the president in partnership and cooperation, but he has no fight here. I won’t let it happen and look, unless he suggested that we do something that would be reckless and endanger the health or welfare of the people of the state. Then I would have no choice but shy of that, I put my hand out to say, “Let’s do this together.” Questions?
Speaker 1: (22:21)
[inaudible 00:22:21] specific homes in Iowa and Connecticut [crosstalk 00:22:28].
Andrew Cuomo: (22:29)
You screamed first. You don’t have the same endurance.
Speaker 2: (22:32)
Andrew Cuomo: (22:35)
But screaming first matters. Go ahead.
Speaker 2: (22:36)
Governor, you’re talking right now about making peace with Donald Trump, with the president, and yet you went on television four times this morning and when asked about it and replying about it repeatedly you called him a king. You said that his press briefings were like a comedy sketch. Why didn’t you just say no comment if you’re trying to make peace with him?
Andrew Cuomo: (22:53)
No. The first point is he does not have total authority. I mean, I’m a governor of a state. The statement that he has total authority over the states and the nation cannot go uncorrected. I mean it’s just a factual statement that is factually wrong. 10th amendment of the constitution is all body of case law. I mean, there are many things you can debate in the constitution because they are ambiguous. This is not one of those things that is ambiguous. So that statement cannot stand, and it’s not only violate of the constitution, it violates the very concept of democracy. I mean, this was the first battle. Do we want a king or do we want a president? And we opted for a president. So that statement cannot stand.
Speaker 2: (23:50)
[inaudible 00:23:50] about attacks, calling him a king, saying that it’s like a comedy sketch scene.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:55)
That’s not how it is. His proclamation is that he would be king. That’s what a King is. A king has total authority…
Andrew Cuomo: (24:03)
King. That’s what a king is. A king has total authority. That statement cannot stand. The whole mutiny on the bounty, the governors are mutineers, whatever that means and whatever the rest of the theory was. I’m not going to fight. I’m not going to get into that fight. Look, I bent over backwards. He said a nasty comment about what it was, but he’s right. I worked very hard to be in partnership with the federal government this past month. I worked very hard to stay away from politics. And he is right, I did call and say, “I need federal assistance.” I did call and say, “I need possible overflow beds.” He is right that he did move very quickly to get us Javits and the USNS Comfort. And I said that repeatedly. And I praised him for his actions. And he was right there too.
Andrew Cuomo: (25:11)
The federal government has a very important role. I was a cabinet secretary. I did it for eight years. I know how key the federal government is. Frankly, I know how powerful they actually could be in being of assistance. And I don’t even think they were as powerful as they could be. And the federal government has tremendous, tremendous capacity that we need now. So yes, he’s right on all of that. He’s right that we asked for cooperation and assistance. And he’s right that he delivered. And I’ve said that all along. But this mutineers, it can’t exist.
Why did the [crosstalk 00:26:01] say the name of nursing homes and how many COVID cases and fatalities are-
Andrew Cuomo: (26:03)
I don’t have anything specific to talk to him about today. There is no action item for us to talk about.
Did you talk to him after what’s been going on?
Andrew Cuomo: (26:16)
It would be my pleasure to speak with him, but we don’t have anything that is … Do we have anything pending? No. I did speak to the White House this morning about a hospital matter. But other than that, we don’t have anything immediate.
[crosstalk 00:26:39] Have you received any guidance from the president about your role in the reopening? You said yesterday that he hadn’t given governors any guidance in their role.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:50)
No, we haven’t had that conversation. And look, this is a shift in federal position, which is also fine, by the way. We’re entering a new phase, the “reopening phase.” On the first phase, which was the close down phase, the president took a different tact. The president did not close down the economy. He did do the travel ban with China and he was right on the travel ban with China. The close down of the economy was left to the governors. And I closed down New York, Governor Pritzker closed down Illinois, Governor Lamont closed down Connecticut. Did it different times, different ways. But he left that responsibility, the closing down of the economy, to the governors.
Andrew Cuomo: (27:45)
You get to the reopening of the economy. Well, the governors closed it down. Wouldn’t the governors reopen it? President says, “No, I have a different model that I’m envisioning.” That’s okay too, but it’s a shift, but it’s okay. But then what is that model? And let’s talk about who does what, which is the intelligent conversation we have to have. How do we do this testing? How does that come up to scale? I can’t do it. How do we do this technology? And I understand he’s right, it raises constitutional questions. And do you really want that cell phone in your pocket to be a tracking device? Right? Okay, so let’s talk through how we do that. How do we disinfect a public transit system? That has to be understood. How do we have masks for every New Yorker? How do we do that? How do we get 10, 20 million masks so we have that added protection? How do we get gloves? How do we make sure, God forbid, there’s a second wave where there’s another uptick that we have the medical equipment we need after we just went through this horrendous hurry up exercise?
Andrew Cuomo: (29:02)
By the way, where’s the funding for states to help do this? I’m broke. There’s no fancy way to say that. We have a $10 billion deficit. Well, the state should do this and do this and do this and do this. I don’t have two nickels to rub together. And the past federal legislation didn’t give us anything. The only thing they gave the states with some Medicaid money. Doesn’t give us anything to do any of this. They talked about it in the next package of legislation, if there is one. But that’s the intelligent conversation to have.
[crosstalk 00:29:45] Will he have this conversation with you?
Andrew Cuomo: (29:48)
I have always had an open line of communication with him. I mean, there’ve been times in the past when he hasn’t been happy with me and I haven’t been throwing bouquets to him, but we’ve always communicated and I’m sure we’ll communicate now. But I just want to make my position clear. I am not going to fight with him. This is no time for any division between the federal government and the state governments. And the governors who I work with, Democrats, Republican governor in Massachusetts, it’s not a political conspiracy. Governor Baker’s a Republican. This is not about Democratic or Republican, it’s just not. This is about New York. 10,000 lives lost. These were not 10,000 Democrats or 10,000 Republicans, they were 10,000 people, period. Forget the darn politics. Everyone’s tired with it.
Governor, why isn’t the state releasing the names of nursing homes and how many COVID cases and fatalities are in specific homes like Ohio and Connecticut’s doing? Legal experts say that there’s no HIPAA issue here.
Andrew Cuomo: (31:02)
Okay. Do you want to speak to that, Jim?
We put out the nursing home death data by county yesterday. And as you could see, some of them had one case. What we’re worried about is personal privacy protection working with the Department of Health. There’s about 600 nursing homes in the state. This goes for hospitals, as well. There’s some very small hospitals where they report out one or two deaths a day. We just want to go through the data and make sure we’re not releasing any potential personal information. And as soon as that’s done, that will be made available for people. So that’s why we put the aggregate numbers out by county. That’s what we’re going through.
We’re getting reports of specific outbreaks at different nursing homes, so it’s hard to tell. But are there any nursing homes in particular that the state’s seeing a huge problem at?
We’re seeing issues, like I talked about yesterday, in hospitalizations in different parts of state we look at. We look at total beds being used, we look at deaths, we look at all of that. In certain downstate parts of the region, New York City and the outer boroughs and Nassau County, we have seen increased cases, but that has gone across the board, whether it be hospitalizations or nursing homes as well. So that’s now part of the county data that you do see.
Speaker 3: (32:15)
Yeah, earlier you said that there’s been 60,000 cases that you guys have the capacity to do a month. But so one, is that true, 60,000 a month? But then Mayor De Blasio said that they’re going to start being able to do 100,000 tests a week, 50, 000 homegrown efforts, 50,000 purchased from an Indiana company. So how does that coordinate with state efforts? And again, is that 60,000 capacity correct?
Andrew Cuomo: (32:45)
Signed on the dotted line, what’s happening with the testing companies is the same thing that happened with medical equipment, PPE and ventilators. There are just a handful of companies that produce the private tests. And they’re all private tests, by the way. A handful of companies that do it and now every state is going to those companies to buy the tests. I’ve spoken to the head of several companies myself and they have a limited production and now they have to allocate it to 50 states. And we’re again in a bidding war competition with other states. I would say to the federal government, “You take that piece. Don’t replicate the 50 state pandemonium.” You want to talk about an increased federal role, let FEMA do the testing. FEMA should have, in my opinion, done all the purchasing of the medical equipment and they should have allocated it.
Andrew Cuomo: (33:47)
Why am I now competing for private testing capacity and private testing machines with Illinois and California? I want to get out of the eBay competition business for vital medical equipment and now vital testing. I would say to the president, “You take it. God bless you.” Because you have different bids and different promises from companies to different governments all across the country. Like I bought 17,000 ventilators and then I didn’t get … We only got about 3000, 2500. The same thing’s going to happen with the testing.
Then how come the city can get 50,000 made a week but the state can’t?
Andrew Cuomo: (34:32)
Well, they’re told that from a company. Do I believe we’re going to see those numbers actually produced? No, because I think the same thing is going to happen that we just went through for the past month where those companies are going to get oversubscribed. They’re then going to bid up the price and it’s going to go to the highest bidder. We learned this lesson. I saw this movie. I just lived it for the past month. It costs tax payers tremendous amounts of money. Private companies got very rich. You want to talk about going to a new phase with a different model, let’s inform it from the past model. Tell FEMA, “You buy all the tests for the country, allocate them by need.” This is where the cases are. New York, you’re X percent of the cases. Illinois, you’re Y percent of the cases. Massachusetts, you’re Z percent of the cases. The federal government is going to buy them and then the federal government is going to allocate them. Not this let’s give each government or level of government functions that they perform best. And one of the really painful lessons was all this crazy competing by states and cities for medical equipment. We’re going to do that again? That makes no sense.
Governor, [crosstalk 00:36:03].
Andrew Cuomo: (36:01)
… that makes no sense.
Speaker 4: (36:01)
Governor, [crosstalk 00:36:02] the serological tests, and what’s the plan if those can’t get scaled up in the way that you think is needed to reopen the economy?
Andrew Cuomo: (36:10)
What is the accuracy with [inaudible 00:00:11].
Speaker 5: (36:12)
It varies. There’re many different tests there. We’re looking at the tests that have over 95% accuracy. We are working to scale this up both by our public lab, which is our state lab, the private sector labs that are out there. We’re looking at those as well as the hospitals which have labs as well.
Speaker 4: (36:28)
Then how will you address the false positive issue because if someone goes back to work but they don’t actually have the antibodies like the test says, and then that creates its own problem.
Speaker 5: (36:35)
Well, we are looking at that. For example, our state lab, the tests that we’ve developed is basically six standard deviations out, which basically means that you’re really way out there over the 99% accuracy if not higher.
Andrew Cuomo: (36:48)
But you are right. Can I just follow up? You are right. There are different private sector tests with different accuracy rates and that’s one of the other complications. Go buy tests, or whose tests, which test, what level of accuracy? That, I think, it’s something we have to figure out one way or the other, but I would say that’s something the federal government should take.
Speaker 6: (37:15)
What’s the capacity on that at this point? How many antibody tests can you do? You mentioned a couple of thousands, right?
Speaker 5: (37:21)
The state we are, we’ll be by next week, at 2000 tests that we will be able to do per week at that, right at that point. Sorry. 2,000 tests per day, next week. Yes.
Speaker 6: (37:35)
That still seems like a long way to go in a state of 19 million people though, right?
Speaker 5: (37:39)
But that’s that part, but we are also working with some of the private sector companies to be able to get in the tens of thousands of tests as well as the hospitals. Several hospitals have developed tests. There are different ways to do these tests you could do it as a blood test. We are looking at a finger-stick test as well where you just do a little blood spot and there’s technology for that as well.
Andrew Cuomo: (38:00)
Yeah, but just to follow up on that for a second. Look, you could have a whole symposium on testing. There are two types of tests. The antibody test and the diagnostic test. The antibody test, state health department has a test, and you’re right, they’re limited capacity. Let’s say they can do, you said just a 2000 a day?
Speaker 5: (38:20)
I did. Yeah.
Andrew Cuomo: (38:20)
Let’s say 14,000 a week. What is 14,000 a week going to do for you? And by the way, what can the antibody population really be in the scope of things, right? Antibody population, people who had the illness and have recovered. Okay, that’s important to know and we’re very aggressive on antibody testing, but how many people are going to test positive, right? What percent of the population at this point do you think had the coronavirus? What could a number be?
Speaker 5: (38:53)
20% to 10 [crosstalk 00:38:53].
Andrew Cuomo: (38:55)
20%? 10%? Okay. You want to find that 10%, 20%. But then that’s not enough to restart and get back to normalcy. That diagnostic test is going to be key.
Andrew Cuomo: (39:08)
Now, think of the volume on that diagnostic test. We’re 19 million people. How many diagnostic tests do you want to buy for 19 million people? Then multiply that by the nation. Look at the need. I’m telling you, you literally have a handful of private sector companies that do this now. Well, how do you scale that up? I don’t know. How did you get a rocket ship 220,000 miles back from the moon 50 years ago. But if you could figure that out, you can figure this out. If the federal government wants to know a valuable role, this is going to be a key element to all of this.
Speaker 6: (39:52)
You’re basically talking about testing everybody for coronavirus in the entire state as a prerequisite to getting the [crosstalk 00:03:58].
Andrew Cuomo: (39:58)
No, no, no, no, no, no. You would never get there. If you, if you said that was the prerequisite, you’d be closed the ad infinitum. But you want testing capacity as a tool where businesses can use it as a tool. You want temperature taking, right? You open up a business, they’re going to say, “I want to take everybody’s temperature as they walk in the door.” All right, how do you take the temperature of 500 people walking into a business?
Andrew Cuomo: (40:26)
Just think of all the things you have to do and then divide it between the federal government and the state government. We have to clean all the buses and all the trains. We want to clean all the park benches. We want to have a disinfectant solution where we have a cleaning protocol that we’ve never had before. We want the technology to do the tracing once we find the person who is positive and we can retrace them through the technology. How do we balance that with individual liberties? There’s are a lot to do here, and the states cannot do this on their own.
Andrew Cuomo: (41:03)
I’m not shy about capacity. I’m very proud of what we do in the state government. When I tell you I can’t do something, it’s the first time you’ve heard me say that since I’ve been governor. But I’m telling you, we can’t do this.
Speaker 6: (41:22)
Earlier when this entire thing started for you some odd days ago, you said that COVID in a nursing home is like fire through dry grass. It was one of the first areas where there was a complete lockdown. People couldn’t come in and out. Why is it that we’re seeing hundreds of people dying in nursing homes from COVID? Was there lax inspection or-
Andrew Cuomo: (41:45)
Because you cannot stop it. You cannot stop it.
Andrew Cuomo: (41:48)
Look, we have no visitors going to a nursing home. You want to hear, talk about a harsh policy. No visitors, it must be close to a month. You’re in a nursing home, you can’t get visitors. The staff has to be checked when they come in every day. But, by the way, taking somebody’s temperature, that’s not a foolproof mechanism, and any one of those staff members could be walking in with a spark in their pocket, to torture the metaphor, and that population is so vulnerable. It just takes one staff member who didn’t have a temperature but did have the virus to walk in and now you’re going to have a serious problem.
Andrew Cuomo: (42:38)
Do you want to comment on that?
Speaker 5: (42:40)
Point that the governor just raised is that the crux of all of this, that they’re individuals with multiorgan system, many other problems, heart problems, diabetes, asthma, respiratory problems, their immune system is just not as good or as robust and so they get sick with whether it’s this or the flu and they end up in the hospital. Many of the patients that you had mentioned got sick and died, a lot of those, they were transferred to the hospital, but 95 years of age with multiple medical problems, it’s a tough battle for them.
Andrew Cuomo: (43:08)
Look, Josepha, what you’ve learned is you’ve learned your strength and your weakness, right? You’ve learned that you can control the virus and that’s a powerful lesson because we weren’t always sure that we could. Right? But you’ve also learned your weakness.
Andrew Cuomo: (43:24)
You cannot hermetically seal society. You can’t hermetically seal a nursing home. You can’t put it in a bubble and say, “I can protect these vulnerable people.” You can’t. You can’t. Isolation, no visitors, every staff member has to be checked, an ember, one ember finds its way in and then it is fire through dry grass.
Andrew Cuomo: (43:59)
Governor, in the city of Rochester yesterday-
[crosstalk 00:44:02] nursing home residents by making [crosstalk 00:44:00].
Andrew Cuomo: (44:02)
Go ahead, Nick.
Governor, in the city of Rochester-
Andrew Cuomo: (44:02)
I want to try to get everybody who wants to ask a question to do it.
I also need visual aids, but in the city of Rochester yesterday there was a hundred-person vigil after a shooting there and it was apparently okayed by the mayor. Is it appropriate to hold large gatherings like that one? Videos online showed that people were not likely social distance during this.
Andrew Cuomo: (44:22)
Well, look, I don’t know the specifics, and I don’t want to comment on the specifics, but we spent a lot of time not only saying there should be no large gatherings, we even said no large gatherings during religious holidays, which a lot of people were unhappy about. At least learn the lesson, right? Learn the lesson of New Rochelle. New Rochelle, Westchester. “Oh, that’s New York City.” No, it’s not. It’s not a dense-urban environment. It’s in a suburban community and that was one person in religious gatherings. That could happen anywhere in the country at any given time. So we learned that lesson and we’ve been advocating that. I mean, I couldn’t be more clear on it.
Andrew Cuomo: (45:13)
Who didn’t ask a-
Speaker 7: (45:15)
[crosstalk 00:45:15] nursing home residents?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:17)
We’ll do this and we’ll do right there. Go ahead.
Speaker 8: (45:20)
Are your advisors already discussing legal options should the conversations with the White House breakdown to that point? What could it mean for the reopening process and the coalition with the other states if that challenge survives several layers of appeal and potentially drag on for months?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:40)
Yeah, it takes two to tango. It takes two to get into a fight. It takes two people to get into a litigation. I am not interested in fighting with the president. I can’t be more clear in that. I’m not going to allow anything bad to happen to the people I represent. Right? I see my job very clearly. I get hired by the people of the state of New York to fight for them and to protect them. I’m trained as a lawyer slash advocate, grew up at the kitchen table with Mario Cuomo a natural-born lawyer slash advocate. I will fight with all my might to protect New Yorkers, but I don’t think it comes to that.
Andrew Cuomo: (46:32)
I do not want to fight with the president. He is wrong on the law. I don’t think this is a legal issue. You don’t even have the luxury for the argument, and there’s too much to do for everyone. There’s just too much to do. I can’t do it. He can’t do it. I’m not even sure how quickly we can do it together. So what’s the fight about?
Speaker 9: (47:02)
Andrew Cuomo: (47:02)
Speaker 10: (47:04)
That was actually exactly my question. But have you talked to the AG about that?
Andrew Cuomo: (47:07)
Come up with a new question, fast.
Speaker 10: (47:08)
Have you talk to the AG about that at all?
Andrew Cuomo: (47:11)
No. A better question than that, go ahead.
Speaker 10: (47:12)
Would there be an argument like state sovereignty, I guess, [crosstalk 00:47:16].
Andrew Cuomo: (47:16)
That would be the argument. Constitution. I’d call Alexander Hamilton.
Speaker 7: (47:20)
Did you [crosstalk 00:47:23] nursing home residents?
Andrew Cuomo: (47:23)
Thank you, guys.