May 12, 2020

Andrew Cuomo New York COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript May 12

Andrew Cuomo Press Conference
RevBlogTranscriptsAndrew Cuomo TranscriptsAndrew Cuomo New York COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript May 12

Governor Andrew Cuomo held his daily New York coronavirus press conference on Tuesday, May 12. Cuomo said NY faces school & hospital cuts without $61 billion in federal aid. Read the full news briefing speech transcript here.


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Andrew Cuomo: (00:00)
Who’s a big part of our effort here. To his left, my right Melissa Derosa, secretary to the governor. To my left, we have Mr. James Milatres, PhD doctor.

Andrew Cuomo: (00:14)
It’s a pleasure to be in Binghamton today, at Binghamton state university, brand new school of pharmacy. President Harvey Stenger, thank you very much for having us. It’s a beautiful new facility. Pleasure to be here. We’re getting a little bit of a late start. I wanted to hear the Senate briefing this morning on the COVID virus, see if there was any new thinking, let us give you the facts and some of the new thinking that we’re doing here in New York. Number of total hospitalizations in the state is down again. That is good news. The net change in hospitalizations, 30 day rolling average, a little more accurate, that’s down. The intubation rate is down, that’s just about where we were when we started, literally the closed down and [inaudible 00:01:17] of lives lost, about 195 yesterday. That is the most devastating number that we have to deal with every day. It’s actually up a little bit from the day before, but overall, the trend is down.

Andrew Cuomo: (01:37)
And if you look at the number of lives lost again, we were just about where we were when we started, before we saw the onslaught of the virus and then dealt with it and changed the trajectory of the virus. Never forget what we did here. What new Yorkers did by their actions and this sacrifice, they saved lives, they saved hundreds of thousands of lives because that projection of what the virus was supposed to do was much, much worse than what it wound up doing.

Andrew Cuomo: (02:09)
So we’re making real progress. There’s no doubt, but there’s also no doubt that it’s no time to get cocky, no time to get arrogant. This virus has deceived us every step of the way. We have been behind this virus from the very beginning and it still surprises us. We thought initially that it didn’t affect children. We’re now dealing with an issue that’s very disturbing. We have about 100 cases of an inflammatory disease in young children that seems to be created by the COVID virus. And this is something that is just starting and New York is leading the investigation of this situation. The symptoms of the children are analyzed to the Kawasaki disease or toxic shock like syndrome, but it’s an inflammation of the blood vessels and can affect the heart.

Andrew Cuomo: (03:15)
We’ve lost three children, five-year-old boy, seven year old boy and 18 year old girl. The ages of the children affected in these 100 cases is all across the board as you can see, less than one year old, predominantly five to 14, but we lost a young lady at 18 years old, and we have some cases up to 21 years old. So this is a truly disturbing situation, and I know parents around the state and around the country are very concerned about this and they should be. If we have this issue in New York, it’s probably in other States and probably hasn’t been diagnosed yet in other States, because again, these children don’t present the usual COVID symptoms. They’re not respiratory symptoms. And I think that’s one of the reasons why people haven’t found it yet. But they know what the symptoms are, if your child has the symptoms that they are saying are symptoms that should cause an alert, we need parents to be advised. We also have the state department of health that is telling hospitals and medical providers to prioritize testing for the COVID virus, for any children that are demonstrating these symptoms.

Andrew Cuomo: (04:40)
At the same time, while we’re not cocky or arrogant, we’re talking about reopening. We have to get back to work. We all do. We talk about New York being tough, but tough also means smart. And we have been smart all through this. You look at where we are today, the curve in New York, New Yorker is on the decline. You take New York out of the numbers for the rest of the nation, the nation is still on the incline in the number of cases. So we have been smart. We got hit worst because the virus was coming through Europe and nobody even told us, nobody even knew, but we took the worst and we turned the curve and we have a better curve now than you see in many other States, and certainly as the United States as a whole.

Andrew Cuomo: (05:28)
So reopening, yes, but it still means we have to be smart. What does smart mean? It means following the CDC guidelines to begin with. Follow the data, follow the science, we said that from day one. Don’t fall subject to emotion and politics. Stay with the science and the data. Listen to Dr. Fauci, even this morning, he said, “If you don’t follow the CDC guidelines, you run a real risk of triggering an outbreak that can get out of control.” What is out of control? Out of control is when the number of people infected going to your hospital system, overwhelm your hospital system. That is what happened in Italy. That was our great fear here in New York. But that is a very real situation that people have to watch from. Smart means learning from the mistakes of others. We’re not the first one down this path. Study what China did and South Korea did and Germany did look at what’s happening in the other States and inform your actions by what happened in other places that went through this same process. And you’ll see many of the other places rushed, reopening, and actually had to backtrack and then close again. That’s the last thing that we would want here in New York.

Andrew Cuomo: (06:55)
Smart means regional management, local government managed and engaged and citizen participation because this all turns on what people do. This is not about government. Government can offer advice and suggestions and guidance, but it’s about what people do. Why did we turn the curve in New York? Because people acted responsibly and intelligently. And we also have to do it in a way that is totally transparent. I want every new Yorker to know all the facts because it’s up to new Yorkers, it’s up to the people and how they respond, then give them the information and trust their judgment, trust their judgment.

Andrew Cuomo: (07:41)
What did we learn in here? That when people are informed of facts that they actually believe, which is saying something, but if you give them the real facts that they believe are real facts and not political facts, not partisan facts and not spin, not hype, not some rhetoric from a politician who’s trying to get something for themselves, if you give them the real facts, they will respond intelligently, but you have to give them the real facts and that’s transparency. That’s what smart means. And that’s what we’re doing here in New York. All the facts are on the website, all the facts for your region around the website, you know exactly what I know. I don’t know anything more than I am telling the people of the state of New York.

Andrew Cuomo: (08:31)
And you can see the changes in your region, capitol district in New York changed overnight. You can see the changes and the direction in your region. And then what are we doing? We have our hand on the reopening valve and we’re turning the reopening valve and we’re starting to reopen. But we’re calibrating it and we’re monitoring it. The first monitoring device is the diagnostic testing, positive or negative. People need to go, people need to be tested. We have more tests than ever. We’re testing more than any other state in the United States. We’ve come up to speed faster than any other state. People have to take the test. We have it available in drive throughs, in pharmacies. And you watch that testing rate day to day, to see if the testing rate is going up, more people testing positive. Then once you test, then comes your tracing, then comes your isolation operation, et cetera.

Andrew Cuomo: (09:37)
Second monitoring device is you’re doing antibody testing. The antibody testing tells you how many people have had the virus and have recovered from the virus. There’s a little lag in the antibody testing, because it’s really telling you who was infected two weeks ago or two and a half weeks ago, but if you see that number going up, you know more people have gotten infected.

Andrew Cuomo: (10:04)
You then have the hospitalization rate, which is very important. You know every day now, because of the system we put in place, how many people walked into a hospital with COVID. Watch that hospitalization rate. If you see the hospitalization rate going up, you have a problem. And watch the hospitalization rate in terms of the capacity of the hospitals. That’s what we’ve been dealing with for the past two months. We’ve said you have to have a 30% buffer in the capacity of hospitals. So if that infection spikes, you have a 30% buffer in terms of capacity. But watch that hospitalization rate and they will then give you the infection rate, the RT, they will tell you, those gauges will tell you the rate of transmission, one person to another person. And if one person is infecting more than one other person, 1.1, that’s the outbreak that Dr. Fauci was talking about.

Andrew Cuomo: (11:10)
And you can compute these rates. You can monitor exactly what you’re doing. There is a science to this, and there’s a methodology to this that erases all the theories. Everybody has a theory. I think this, I think that I think this, I think warm weather is going to make a difference. I think God is going to do something. Yeah, I know everybody has a theory. Just tell me the facts. Tell me the numbers. And that’s what I want to tell the people of the state, and respond to the facts.

Andrew Cuomo: (11:43)
Local region then manages this system. They monitor those numbers we’re talking about. They control that valve. They make sure businesses are complying with the safety precautions when the businesses go back. Every business is going to say, “Don’t worry, don’t worry. I’ll have safety precautions. I’ll socially distance. I’ll give equipment.” Are they actually doing that? Are we staying away from large gatherings? Are we making sure? That’s up to the local government.

Andrew Cuomo: (12:17)
And then built in is a circuit breaker that when those gauges hit red, turn off the valve. Hopefully you don’t get to that point because you’ve been monitoring and you calibrate and you adjust the valve a little bit at the time, but worst case scenario, you turn off the valve. That’s what other countries have had to do when they open that reopening too quickly. No other state had this accurate or transparent a monitoring mechanism. But I want people to know exactly what is going on in your community day to day.

Andrew Cuomo: (13:03)
…exactly what is going on in your community day to day. Because you are the ones who are determining what happens in your community. Nobody else, no governor, no senator, no elected official. It’s what people do, it’s what our neighbors do. The regional control group are the top elected officials, academic officials, top healthcare professionals in that region, in that community. And they’re the ones who are going to have to make it work. But this will be online every morning or every day. And everyone can see exactly what is happening literally day to day. No other state has this system. No other state is as transparent.

Andrew Cuomo: (13:51)
No other state is gathering local data so it can present data statewide every day. We’re doing it because the secret of our success has been exactly this, the secret of our success. The one thing I did right, was communicate to people and trust people that with the right information, they will make the right decisions. This is the most advanced way in the nation to give people, to give citizens the information they need to lead their lives correctly. And that will be online in the next couple of days. But Friday May 15th is the opening date. And this will be online.

Andrew Cuomo: (14:49)
Work smartly, we all have heard Washington say many, many times the governors are in charge of reopening. Thank you very much. So the governors are in charge of reopening, but that doesn’t mean the States are on their own, the governors are on their own. We need federal help. We need federal assistance. And they’re talking about passing a piece of legislation in Washington this week. It has to be a smart piece of legislation this time. What does that mean? No handouts to greedy corporations, no political pork and no partisanship. Sometimes, there has to be a time in history when the federal government is willing to stop playing partisan politics. And if it’s not through this experience through this crisis, it will never be. That’s the first definition of smart for the federal government.

Andrew Cuomo: (15:50)
The bill has to fund state and local governments. It has to fund working families. It has to fund state testing and tracing. Everybody talks about testing and tracing, it’s up to testing and tracing, it is. No one has done it before. No state has this testing capacity. No state has this tracing capacity. We have to build it. We can do it but it’s a heck of a logistical endeavor and we need funding to do it. And we need a real economic stimulus. This economy has been damaged through no fault of anyone through an act of God with this COVID virus. But to get this economy back up and running, we’re going to need an intelligent stimulus bill from Washington. When I say no pork barrel, what does that mean? When they pass a piece of legislation in Washington, every senator sees it as their opportunity to bring home bacon to their state. This is supposed to be about the COVID virus and repairing damage from the COVID virus. Keep it about the COVID virus.

Andrew Cuomo: (17:02)
Last bill, when they did it, they were talking about providing money to States that didn’t really have a major COVID problem. So how would the state spend the money? They were talking about building a new state Capitol in some States because they didn’t have enough COVID cases to justify the federal allocation. So they were looking for ways to spend the money. How ludicrous is that? This is somebody’s money. This is a taxpayer’s money. They worked hard. They’re willing to help solve the problem of COVID, but keep it about the COVID virus. Second, I understand businesses need to recover. This doesn’t have to be a giveaway to the rich millionaires who are doing just fine any way, and it doesn’t have to be a giveaway to big business. It shouldn’t be that another episode in history where somehow the rich figure out a way to get more assistance when it is supposed to be about helping average Americans.

Andrew Cuomo: (18:07)
And that’s the people who really need help here, are the working families, the families that go paycheck to paycheck. They’re the ones who are struggling and the essential workers who have been so great for so long, police officers, firefighters, nurses, school teachers, the people who literally need food. I have people literally saying, I need food to feed my family. We have unprecedented demand that food banks, those are the people who really need help. And those are the people who are state government funds. New York State, we know what happened to our economy. We know what our budget looks like. We need $61 billion in federal support or we will wind up aggravating the situation. Because when you don’t fund the state, who does the state fund? State fund schools, local governments and hospitals.

Andrew Cuomo: (19:07)
You really want New York State to turn around and have to cut schools and cut local governments? You know who local governments are. That’s police, firefighters. You want me to cut hospitals. Hospitals are the nurses and the doctors who just got us through this. And everyone celebrates as heroes. If you don’t fund the state, that’s who you are cutting in terms of finances. Now this is not a red issue, blue issue. Yes, I’m a Democrat, but this is not about politics. I have Democrats, I have Republicans in my state. I have independence. I’ve short people, I have tall people, New York, we have everything. If you’re going to be an effective statewide leader, forget red and blue. It does not work. And every state red States, blue States, they all need funding. You put the governors in charge. The States are heading the reopening. They need funds to do it.

Andrew Cuomo: (20:09)
There’s an organization called the National Governor’s Association, NGA Democratic and Republican governors. It’s headed by a Republican governor, Governor Hogan. I’m the vice chairman, I’m a Democrat. We’re doing a joint statement today saying States need funding and not pork barrel funding and not funding that flows through the States, but gets to their special interest. That’s not what we want. We want funding to allow us to do our job. Democrats and Republicans working together are going to make this statement and Washington should listen. The federal bill should also be responsive to working families. What are the problems that working families are facing? They come to me with, I can’t pay my rent. I can’t pay my mortgage. I’m afraid that once this forbearance period ends, the bank is going to send me three months worth of mortgage payments. I’m not going to be able to pay it. I’m afraid that once this forbearance period ends, I’m going to get a bill for three months of back rent and I can’t pay it and I’m going to be evicted.

Andrew Cuomo: (21:24)
That’s what real families are talking about now. They’re afraid that they’re not going to get their job back. The funeral costs for families. Funeral costs are devastating. That’s reality for working families. And you have homeowners in this state. And many of the States affected by COVID Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Michigan, same States that the COVID problem that just were having additional tax from Washington when they repealed, what’s called SALT, State and Local Tax Deduction. It was a theft by Washington to increase taxes on certain States, new York is one of them, massachusetts is one, california is one, and it hurt homeowners because you can’t deduct your state and local taxes anymore. It was punitive, it was political, it was wrong. You want to help taxpayers. You want to help homeowners, you want to help the places that were hit by COVID repeal SALT. And that’s what should be done in this bill.

Andrew Cuomo: (22:38)
And you also have to fund state testing and tracing. We can put together the operation. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to entail 1000s of people in this state to test and trace, but we need funding from Washington to make that happen. And if you want to be creative and aggressive and smart, which is what we need more than ever. The bill shouldn’t just reopen America, now is a chance to actually reimagine America. You need to stimulate the economy. You need to create jobs. You need to get people back to work. Now is the time to invest in building and rebuilding, invest in public infrastructure, build airports, bridges, mass transit, build the public health infrastructure. So we can handle a situation like this next time.

Andrew Cuomo: (23:39)
The investment in public infrastructure is long overdue. They’ve talked about this for years. There are dozens and dozens of reports that will talk about the bad shape of our roads and our bridges and how bad our airports are compared to international airports. And they haven’t built a new airport in the country in 25 years while all the other countries are building new airports. Now is our time to do it. Every president, Democrats, Republicans, they have all said the same thing. Our public infrastructure is crumbling. We need to create jobs. We should invest in public infrastructure. Now is the time to do it. And if not now, when? If you can’t agree on a stimulus for the economy to rebuild this country today, when are you ever going to do it?

Andrew Cuomo: (24:48)
And last point on this, no bailout boondoggles do not betray the American people again. Why do I say again? Because I went through the 2008 bail out, which was the bailout for the banks after the mortgage crisis, I went through that and they bailed out the banks and you know what the banks did? They gave it to their employees and they got rich. And you know, who paid the bill? The American taxpayer paid the bill and the homeowner paid the bill when the equity in their home disappeared overnight. And everybody said, Oh, we can’t let the banks fail. We can’t let the banks fail. So the taxpayers had to bail out the banks and the banks turned around and gave bonuses to their executives. I know because I was the attorney general of New York at the time. I had to try to clean up the mess. I had to go after the banks for the bailout that Washington gave them, that they were giving in multimillion dollar bonuses.

Andrew Cuomo: (26:02)
They were giving multimillion-dollar bonuses to their executives. The same executives who had created the mortgage scams in the first place. Don’t do it again. And I’ll tell you today what the new scam is going to be. The new scam is going to be these corporations are going to use this pandemic to lay off workers. That is what they’re going to do. They’re already saying it. They do these analyst calls where they tell the analysts why their stock value’s going to go up. And what they’re saying is “We’re not going to rehire the same amount of workers. We’re going to rehire fewer workers. Our profit margin goes up. Our dividend goes up. Our stock value goes up.” Yeah, except the American workers are left on the beach. That’s what they are going to do. Mark my words today. And I want to propose a law that’s very simple.

Andrew Cuomo: (27:08)
Americans first. Americans first. Not America first. Americans first. Protect the worker. Corporation wants a bailout, corporation wants money, fine, but if you do not rehire the same number of employees, give the money back. If you do not rehire the same number of employees, no government gift and bailout for you. That’s the Americans First Law. Very simple, but undeniable. I’ve spoken to a number of members of the congressional delegation for New York. They’re going to propose the American’s First Law. No bailout boondoggles. And I’m excited about that. I’ve also spoken to the congressional delegation about what I just talked to you about, what we need in this bill, what the state and local governments need, what working families need, and I believe our delegation actually has an opportunity to lead the way. So, it’s not just New York that’s tough, smart, united, disciplined, and loving, but we have a federal government that gives us a United States of America that is tough, smart, united, disciplined, and loving.

Andrew Cuomo: (28:36)
Let me leave you with one point of personal opinion. A personal opinion, so it’s worth what you pay for it and since you’re not paying for it, it’s easy. Yesterday, I went for a walk with my daughter. Had to take the dog for a walk. Even the dog is getting a little out of sorts. I think he has COVID virus himself, the dog. So, we take the dog for a walk with my daughter Michaela. She’s my young one. She’s 22 years old. We’re going for a walk and everybody’s wearing masks and a lot of people wearing gloves, which is very smart. One fellow says to me, “I wear the gloves because when I wear gloves, I don’t touch my face as much.” Which is interesting because you don’t want to touch your face, you don’t want to touch your mouth, your nose, your eyes, even. So, it’s a pleasant day going for a pleasant walk. We come across one fellow who is not wearing a mask. And I said something to the gentleman about the mask and we started to have a discussion about wearing masks and not wearing masks. And we were in a little bit of a disagreement and the conversation got a little tense, so I stopped the conversation because otherwise, I’d get a lecture from my 22-year-old Michaela. I don’t lecture Michaela. Michaela does lecture me, so I let it alone. We finished the walk and it was all very nice, not that she gave me any credit for leaving the conversation alone, but I did want to make a point to that gentleman that I didn’t get to make, but it’s a universal point.

Andrew Cuomo: (30:23)
People send me masks now and some really beautiful masks. Some are personalized. This one says Governor Cuomo. Was made for me. Some say New York Tough. Beautiful colors. I have masks sent to me from sports teams. I have Buffalo bill’s mask. I have a Giants, Jets, Mets, Yankees mask. This one sent to me says “E Pluribus Unum” which I love. Out of many one. But any mask, even if it says nothing, it does say something. It doesn’t have words on it, but it makes a statement. When you wear a mask, you say, “I respect you.” That’s what the mask says to everyone you walk past. “I respect you. I respect you. I respect your health. I respect your privacy. I respect your space. I respect you. I can do anything I want with myself. This is America, but I respect you, and out of respect for you, I wear this mask.”

Andrew Cuomo: (31:40)
This mask says, “I respect the nurses and the doctors who killed themselves through this virus to save other people. And I respect the nurses and the doctors, so I’m not going to infect anyone or allow anyone else to be infected unnecessarily so I don’t cause more stress on the nurses and the doctors.” This mask says, “I respect the essential workers who get up every day and drive the bus or drive the train or deliver the food or keep the lights on so that I can stay home and I can stay safe.” It says, “I respect others and I respect you.”

Andrew Cuomo: (32:33)
And that is a statement that we should all be willing to make any day, but especially in the middle of this. Yes, I want individuals to be informed so they make the right decision, but it’s about us at the end of the day. It’s a mindset that says, “It’s not about me. It’s about we.” And we have reciprocal responsibilities and a collective and a mutuality that says, “I’m going to respect you and help you. And you’re going to help me and respect me.” That’s how you battle community spread, with community unity. That’s what the mask says. Thank you. Questions.

Speaker 2: (33:29)
Governor Cuomo. You mentioned that New York or the Southern Tier will be reopening on May 15th for the phase one. Any kind of direction on the criteria needed to move forward to phase two or any timeline as to entering new phases?

Andrew Cuomo: (33:44)
It’s always the same. You start reopening that valve. I hate to keep coming back to the valve, but I’m a visual person. Start reopening the valve. That’s phase one. Watch those gauges. Watch those gauges. Those gauges stay down, open the valve more. It’s a calibration.

Speaker 3: (34:09)
When you talk about closing the valve, say we make it to phase two and we start to see infection rates go up again. Do you turn it back to phase one? Or do you go back all the way and close everything?

Andrew Cuomo: (34:20)
Well, if you’re calibrating the reopening and you’re watching the gauges carefully and you’re diligent, and this is a responsibility for the local governments and the regions and you’re doing compliance and people wearing their masks and you’re watching what you’re doing, you should never get to a place where those needles go into the red. Closing means you reopened too fast. That’s what others have done, which turned out to be a mistake because last thing you want to do is open to close then to have to calibrate the reopening on the second time. So, just calibrate intelligently the reopening. Hopefully, you never have to close again. And then you calibrate the activity to keep those margins at a place where you can manage them.

Speaker 4: (35:28)
Governor, one major Southern Tier institution that has been struggling is Maines, which issued a WARN notice recently. What can the state do to help Maines, which is a major employer in the area?

Andrew Cuomo: (35:41)
We’ll work with any employer on how to adopt social distancing precautions, which is not a lot of a mystery to how do you keep people separated? How do you keep people with the right PPE? Stay away from gatherings, no cafeteria, no larger meetings, but we’ll work with employers to do that. Your local leaders will work with employers to do that. It’s all about jobs and keeping jobs and creating jobs. So, anything we can do, we will do

Speaker 5: (36:14)
Governor, you talked about staying smart and will businesses face penalties or fines if they open too soon before their phase? We’re getting reports about a gym in the Albany area possibly reopening without the proper precautions in place.

Andrew Cuomo: (36:32)
Yeah. That’s going to be up to the local health department, et cetera, to enforce. Every County has a health department, cities have health departments, so they’ll have to enforce those rules. Both who should be open, who should not be opened as well as those who opened, are they in compliance with the conditions of reopening? That is going to have to be done at the local level, but yes, that’s the law. So, they just have to enforce the law.

Speaker 6: (36:59)
Thank you. Is New York setting up a system in possibility of a second wave?

Andrew Cuomo: (37:04)
We live in fear of a second wave. If you see these lines, these are from two sources. First, my daughters. Second, the fear of the COVID second wave. Look, we’ve heard people say there could be a second wave. What does that mean? I’m not even sure. One theory is the virus mutates and it comes back as a different virus. That’s one theory of a second wave. They also talk about a second wave in you made a mistake on reopening, you didn’t have the control that you thought you had, and the virus rears its ugly head again. Wuhan, China now a new cluster of cases. Is that a second wave or is that just the first wave comes back? But yes, the mutation of the virus, that’s beyond my pay scale, but that is a possibility, but just think of it as a possibility of a second wave because you reopen too quickly and people get too casual too quickly and the virus comes back and rears its head.

Andrew Cuomo: (38:28)
That’s Wuhan. Wuhan also, we keep talking about government, government, government. This is not a government control issue. It doesn’t really matter what laws we put out, because government can’t enforce any of these laws. We have a regulation. You must wear a mask. How do I make 19 million people wear a mask? I can’t. I couldn’t make that one fella who I ran into wear a mask. Plus, I didn’t want to have the conversation with my daughter. I didn’t want to get a stressful situation.

Andrew Cuomo: (39:02)
My daughter, I didn’t want to get stressful situation. But it’s up to people. It’s up to people, I believe, if I give them the information and the facts. So we’re going to reopen. Yes, reopening is a process driven by people and the responsibility of people. If they wear the masks, if they socially distance, if they take precautions, if they wash their hands. Think of this, the infection rate of the nurses and emergency room workers is lower than the infection rate among the general population. How can that possibly be? How can you have emergency workers, even EMS workers, who show up on the scene, deal directly with a person who’s COVID positive, puts them on a stretcher, brings them into an ambulance, goes into a hospital, they treat the person, they’re doing IVs, they’re undressing, dressing the person. Their infection rate is lower? Yes, because of this. It works. It works. What do you think? A nurse or a doctor, they have super fancy space suits? They don’t. They’re wearing surgical masks, N95 masks. Many wear a face shield in front and a gown. And a gown is also made of this.

Andrew Cuomo: (40:31)
So the precautions work. If it works in an emergency room, it’s going to work for you. So if people follow the precautions, yes, you will see a reopening and you’ll see an infection rate that does not grow dramatically, but it’s up to people.

Speaker 7: (40:56)
Governor, you talked about monitoring the metrics to determine when you can enter that next phase. Is there a minimum time that you would like to see put in place to allow regions to monitor those metrics? I know there was originally talks of maybe 14 days between phases to allow them to do so.

Andrew Cuomo: (41:12)
The 14 days is a preliminary estimate between phases. Why 14 days? That is the period of time where if you have an infection outbreak, you will know it in 14 days, right? It’s not like you get infected today and tomorrow we know. You get infected today, the virus may take a few days in your system before it starts to really act, two, three, four days. A couple of days, you think you’re just something funny, you didn’t sleep well. So 14 days you’ll know because you got infected, the virus manifested itself. If you get seriously ill, you wind up in a hospital. That takes about 14 days. But you can watch it all along. And if those rates are staying low, could you accelerate the 14 days? Theoretically yes. Right? If your testing is not moving, you’re not getting more positives, negatives. Your antibody testing isn’t moving. You’re not getting any new hospitalization increases. Well, something had to move if you’re going to have a problem. Your testing had to start to move, right? Something had to move. If nothing is moving, then you could say, “We’re in good shape. Let’s accelerate.”

Speaker 8: (42:38)
Governor, as far as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, you said all employees need to be tested twice a week. Just for Broome County, to give an example for numbers, there are 2000 employees in this County that would fall under that. So that’s 4,000 tests. Right now the County received 1600 tests a week from your office. Where is the difference in testing going to be made up for? And where should they expect those tests to come from?

Andrew Cuomo: (43:01)
Yeah, look, these days whatever you do, people complain. Nursing homes are obviously a top priority. We put a lot of precautions in on nursing homes, everything that we could. Things that I did not feel comfortable doing, no visitors. I never felt comfortable with that. I still don’t feel comfortable, but the public health experts said it was necessary. We said the temperatures of all staff had to be taken. We’re now at a point where we have more testing capacity. We do. And I think we should prioritize nursing homes and that’s where the two tests per week. We will work with any region that says they don’t have the capacity for two tests per week. It’s not an uncommon complaint.

Andrew Cuomo: (43:57)
Many of the nursing homes are saying it’s unnecessary and it’s a burden. I understand that it is burdensome, but I think we have to do everything that we can do. And I don’t think it’s unnecessarily burdensome. You take a test once a week. All that tells you is that the day you took the test, you did not have the virus. So you get tested on Monday, you didn’t have the virus on Monday. Okay. But you could get it Tuesday and you can spread it Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, until you get the next test on Monday. That’s why we said two tests per week, but we’ll work with you on the capacity. Anyone want to add anything on that?

Speaker 9: (44:42)
No, we, through the regulation that we put out, we said that nursing homes have to turn in a plan to the state health department by Wednesday. So they have until Wednesday to turn in a plan, and then the state health department is going to evaluate them on an individual basis. And nursing homes or counties that have a difficult time meeting the need, we’re to help them reach that goal. Because as the governor said, this is priority one.

Speaker 8: (45:00)
[ inaudible 00:06:02].

Speaker 9: (45:02)
Across the board.

Speaker 10: (45:05)
Governor, I want to say thank you for the executive order that allows pharmacists now to do these tests in pharmacies. I think it’s extremely important. I know I’m Dean of this pharmacy school, but still, I think that’s very important. Would you consider an executive order so pharmacists can deliver all CDC vaccinations soon, so that when a COVID-19 vaccination comes out, they can be delivered in pharmacies?

Andrew Cuomo: (45:33)
Yeah. It’s a good question. And in truth, I don’t know enough about the specific on vaccines to give you an answer. But I can tell you this, we have about 5,000 pharmacies in this state. And in this new world that we’re all dealing, how do you get vaccines to people? How do you get testing done? Hospitals, labs, we have about 300 labs. We have about 200 hospitals. If you put both of them together, you have about 500 locations, but you can’t do 19 million people from 500 locations. Pharmacies brought 5,000 new outlets to the state. So it makes a tremendous difference, and I think we learned that. And going forward, I’m going to be very cognizant of that and their capacity. Let’s take one more. Who didn’t ask you a question? Sir.

Speaker 11: (46:32)
What happens if a nursing home worker decides to refuse the test?

Andrew Cuomo: (46:38)
Oh, that’s a problem. If the nursing home agrees and the local government agrees and we do have the tests and the nursing home staff person just doesn’t want to take the test, even though it’s available, I’d have to check with the lawyers. Because I always get myself into litigation unnecessarily, but I would say without a council’s opinion, then the person shouldn’t work in our nursing home. We can’t make you take a test, but you don’t have a right to work in a nursing home either. And if the test is available and you can take the test and there’s no cost to you to take the test, why wouldn’t you take the test? And if you don’t want to take the test, why would we let you work in a nursing home and possibly endanger a very vulnerable population? Thank you all very much. Thank you very much for having us.

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