May 15, 2020
Andrew Cuomo New York May 15 COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript
Governor Andrew Cuomo held his daily New York coronavirus press conference on Friday, May 15. Cuomo extended New York’s stay-at-home order until June 13.
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Governor Andrew Cuomo: (03:20)
Don’t worry, it’s Friday. Young guys need stamina. Friday, you’ll have the weekend off. Oh no, you won’t. That’s right. Let’s take a look and see where we are today. Total number of hospitalizations, down. That’s the way we like to see it. Rolling average, down. That’s the way we’d like to see it. Changing intubation is, down. That’s the way we like to see it. Number of new cases up, we don’t like to see that, but it’s only up a tick. And again, these numbers tend to bounce, but it’s been a slow decline. There’s no doubt about that. And you see, there’s been several plateaus in the decline. We are very curious to find out where that number winds up, how low the new cases go.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (04:09)
We’ve done a lot of research as you know. Those new cases, mostly coming from people who are at home. So we’re talking about home spread more than at work, more than first responders, more than essential personnel. And that’s the hardest place to control the spread is when a person’s literally at home, right? There are very few precautions, it’s all about personal behavior, but that’s where those cases are coming from.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (04:39)
Number of deaths is down, but still painful, 132. We are right about where we were when we started this. Number of lives lost, we go right back to March 27th and that’s when we really first started this miserable journey. Good news again, if you look at New York, our curve is down. Congratulations, New Yorkers and actually the curve in the rest of the nation is up. So while cases are increasing across the country, the number of cases in New York are actually going down. And that’s remarkable in some ways, because we had more cases than anyone else. Not because there’s anything particular in the air in New York, but because we had people coming from Europe, bringing the virus at a time when no one knew the virus had moved from China to Europe. And we had three million Europeans come January, February, March before we did the ban on European travel. And those flights came to the East Coast and they landed at JFK Airport, which was one of the funnel airports, if you remember. So the problem had nothing to do with us, but we were then tasked with resolving it and New Yorkers stepped up to the plate and have done a great job.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (06:13)
The question now, is on reopening. We’re going to open half the regions in the state today, 5 regions out of 10. They are the regions that meet the numerical criteria. There’s no politics to this judgment. There’s no arbitrary nature to this judgment. It’s all on the numbers. Seven criteria, which basically measure the infection rate, hospitalization rate, testing rate, et cetera. And that’s how the decision is made. For those regions that don’t qualify to open today. We’re extending, what’s called the New York PAUSE Order, which is the close down of a services and institutions that have been closed down.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (06:55)
If a region hits its benchmark at any time, regardless of the PAUSE Order, then that region can open. We’re opening phase one in those five regions today. Just some points on each of those industries. Residential, commercial construction will open. Indoor construction and outdoor, masks must be worn by employees when they’re six feet from one another. So they must all have masks. The employer must provide the masks. Any gloves, any equipment that the employees need on that work site must be provided by the employer. There’s no congregate meetings. For retail businesses, curbside pickup starts. The employee and the purchaser in the vehicle must be wearing a mask. Anyone in the vehicle must be wearing a mask. Gloves are preferred, but they’re not mandated. And the employer, the store owner must make hand sanitizer available. If curbside pickup is not practicable, then in store pickup is available, but it is in store pickup. It is not in store shopping. It’s in store pickup because curbside is not practicable. Requires ordering ahead. Social distancing in the store, no more than 50% maximum occupancy of that store for people coming there to pick up.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (08:36)
Patrons must wear a mask. Store employees must wear a mask, gloves are preferred, hand sanitizer has to be made available. For an individual’s behavior, people ask, well, what am I supposed to be doing as an individual? I’m not a store owner. I don’t work construction. I understand as an employee, what my requirements are, but just what do I do in normal life? When you are in public and you’re within six feet of another person wear a mask that is a requirement. Curbside or in store pickup wear a mask and socially distance. Store owners should not let you in the store for an in store pickup, if you don’t have a mask. The exception is less than two years old or some people for medical reasons, can’t wear a mask.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (09:37)
In a construction or manufacturing setting. The employee must wear a mask whenever they can’t socially distance. And the employer has to meet certain precautions, which they said they would when they reopened under this. In private, people ask what should I do? Well, then you have our best advice, but in private is private, what you do in your home, what you do with your family, what you do with your personal relationships, your friendships. We’ve talked about exposure to senior citizens and how you should be careful to vulnerable populations, but there are no government requirements on what you do when your home, et cetera.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (10:18)
The responsibility for local officials and what we call the regional control center. Local officials have to enforce business compliance and social distancing. These businesses are opening subject to saying they will comply with safety precautions. Local officials have to make sure they are followed. As well as social distancing guidelines for individuals. The regional control center will have a daily morning meeting where they review and monitor the infection testing and hospitalization rates. And I can’t stress this enough. We’re starting to turn the valve. One of my favorite graphics, not seeing a heck of a lot. Starting to turn the activity valve, watch what happens to the infection rate, testing rate, hospitalization rate. If those numbers start to move, slow down on the activity level. That requires you to monitor the impact of this increase in public activity. You will see an increase. We expect to see an increase, but that increase has to be monitored and has to be controlled. We’ve talked about the infection rate, the rate of transmission. When the rate of transmission hits 1.1, you’re headed towards a bad place. So monitor that rate daily and correct immediately, if you see an increase in those numbers.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:06)
Beaches, we’ve talked about coordinating with other states, and this has happened in other parts of the country. Other parts of the world, also. We are one multi-state region. What one state does will affect other states. That is probably no where more clear than when it comes to opening beaches. One state doesn’t open beaches. Another state does open beaches. You will see people flood to that state. Georgia opened barber shops. People drove from out of state to Georgia to get a haircut. If New Jersey opens beaches or Connecticut opens beaches and we didn’t open beaches, you would see a flood of people to Connecticut and New Jersey. And our relationship and responsibility to our other states …
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (13:03)
… relationship and responsibility to our other states, neighboring States is important. We want what’s best for New York, but we want what’s best for New Yorkers. It’s not in New York’s interest to have New Yorkers going to a Jersey beach, which is now going to be overcrowded because you have people from New York and New Jersey going to that beach. It’s not in our interest to have people going to Connecticut beaches, if those beaches are then going to be overcrowded.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (13:28)
So, we’ve worked with New Jersey and Connecticut. We’ve come up with an agreement that accommodates all needs. And it was done in good faith. The agreement is New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware will all be opening beaches for the Memorial Day weekend. States will have different specific rules about what happens on that beach. They’ll all be plus or minus, but they are all basically in the same ballpark. They’re opening Friday of Memorial Day weekend, state beaches. That includes local beaches, lake shores. It does not include pools. Pools are closed. But no more than 50% capacity. And that will be done at parking areas, entrance areas, exit areas, et cetera. No group contact activities, no volleyball, no football, nothing like that. Areas of social gathering will be closed, picnic areas, et cetera, playgrounds, pavilions arcades. Social distancing will be enforced for employees and for visitors. Masks must be worn by employees. And visitors must have masks and wear them when they can’t socially distance.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (15:02)
At this point, concessions will not be operating. We don’t want long lines of people waiting for concession stands. And we’ll ensure that staff levels are adequate to enforce these measures. On the beaches that are controlled by cities, towns, counties, municipal beaches, municipal lakes, the local government can decide to open or stay closed. If they choose to open, they must adopt the state’s requirements at a minimum. And the chief executive can decide to do that. If they want to impose additional requirements above and beyond the state requirements, they are free to do that. That will be done by a home rule message. And those decisions should be made by the locals by Wednesday, May 20th so we can plan accordingly.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (16:10)
If a locality doesn’t open beaches, we need to know that because then we’ll have more demand on the state beaches in that area. If they do open beaches, we need to know that also, just to understand the flow of the traffic and where we have to staff up. Again, state beaches will be open on Friday before Memorial Day. Last point, reopening must be smart. And we have to keep this in focus. Remember, learn from the lessons that are around us. We’ve seen other countries open. We’ve seen cities open. We’ve seen them then close because the activity level went up too high, too fast. We see countries like Germany that are reopening, but they’re seeing that infection rate go up and they’re monitoring it very closely. We expect the rate to go up, but it has to go up at a rate that we can control. Right? And the risk is the activity level increases quickly, and then the virus spreads quickly, you overwhelm the health system, et cetera. So, this has to be. monitored, very closely.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (17:25)
A lot of it is going to fall on the local governments. And we need them to really step up here on the compliance for businesses and for individuals. The testing and tracing is one of the key monitors on that dashboard. They all meet the minimum testing and tracing requirements, but they have to do it also. And it has to be done every day. And that is the logistical operational challenge. We’re working with them to do that, but that has to be done every day, and the monitoring of all the indicators, again, and quick reaction. These indicators will be online for everyone, not just for local governments. They’re on the website. I would suggest everyone look at them, look at them for their county, their region so they know exactly where they are every day. They’re updated daily.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (18:24)
And how this goes is up to all of us, stone to stone across the morass, as my father used to say. You’re going through a morass, and we are in a morass, there’s no doubt about that. Find the stone, find firm footing and step onto that stone. Then you find the next stone. Then you find the next stone. That’s what we have been doing. This reopening is the most data-driven, fact specific, science driven reopening that has been done, period. It’s all about the numbers and the facts. That’s right. Second stone is, now you start to reopen, do it intelligently and do it with discipline and not with emotion. And government has to be there. And government has to perform.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (19:23)
But to be up to all of us, it means it has to be up to each of us at the same time. Right? And that is very important here, that each of us understands our responsibility. And that’s how this has worked from day one. Government, government, government, it’s not about government. It’s about what people have decided to do in this situation. How did we bend that curve? When they write the history books, they’re going to write about how New York turned that curve. And that was done by New Yorkers. It was not a governmental act. No government could tell 19 million people stay at home, don’t go to work, wear a mask, socially distance. That’s not government action. That’s social action. Those are people who choose to do the responsible thing, I think, because we gave them the facts. But they reacted intelligently. They responded responsibly. And we have to continue that.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (20:26)
With this virus, I just want to say on a personal level, and I want to make sure everybody understands this, the facts here have been changing. And the facts have only been getting more negative. This started that it was only going to attack vulnerable people, seniors, people with co-morbidities. I was speaking to a doctor today about a young person who passed away of a stroke from COVID, no underlying conditions, nothing else. It was a stroke, no respiratory illness. Well, what happened? Well, apparently the virus can affect the heart, and the liver, and other organs besides the lungs. And we didn’t know that.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (21:16)
Children weren’t going to be infected. Well, except now we’re studying a hundred cases where children are in fact affected by the virus, and some of them very serious. And that 100 cases, I’ll wager that’s going to only go up. And it’s going to be much more widespread than anyone thinks. So, the amount of personal responsibility here to keep oneself safe, to keep one’s family safe, I cannot stress highly enough.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (21:55)
Do not underestimate this virus and do not play with this virus. I can be asymptomatic and not know that I have the virus, but I can put my hand down on this table today, you can come touch this table three hours from now, and pick up the virus. I can walk into a store to pick up a package, not know that I have the virus, put my hand on a stainless steel counter. You can come in the store the next day, put your hand on that counter, and pick up the virus. I don’t care how diligent the store owner is and how many masks do you wear, that’s how powerful this virus is.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (22:47)
Well, it’s only old people. No. Tell that to the families who have an eight year old and seven year old in the hospital. Tell that to the 21 year old girl’s family where the 21 year old girl passed away. Everyone is vulnerable to this virus, everyone. And government can’t keep you safe. Only you can keep yourself safe. But, when you keep yourself safe, and I keep myself safe, that’s the way we keep all of us safe. That’s the story of life. And that’s the story of where we are today. And that’s a story of being New York tough, which is tough, but it’s smart, and united, and disciplined, and it’s being loving and responsible for one another. Questions?
Speaker 1: (23:39)
Governor, how many tests a day-
Speaker 2: (23:42)
Governor, we’ve talked a lot about nursing homes and the spread in nursing homes. It’s recently been brought to our attention that there are a high number of cases in OPWDD group homes, these are group homes for the disabled, across the state. OPWDD says they have almost 2,000 cases now in group homes and 324 deaths. A staff member contacted me saying that they’re concerned about the policy in the group homes. First of all, the staff are telling me that they’re being moved around to different homes. And we know a lot of the homes have had COVID. So, they’re afraid that, I guess, there’s a staffing shortage. And so, the nurses and the staff in there are being moved around. That is one protocol that they want brought to your attention.
Speaker 2: (24:37)
They also were concerned because they’re having problems social distancing in this community. And it’s a very high risk community. What is your response? We’ve also heard from family that are saying they are not feeling like this community of the disabled is getting attention.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:58)
Yeah. I think the basic point is what we’ve been talking about. Right? It’s the same with the nursing home, it’s a prison, it’s any congregate facility. There’s no doubt, where you have a congregation of people, that is a place where the virus can transfer. Whether it’s a meat processing plant with 1,000 employees, it wasn’t about the meat in the meat processing plant. Right? It was just 1,000 employees. We have an agriculture plant that Madison County where it was about the density of the employees. Also, because you had four to a room and it’s the density. We started this with the hotspot in New Rochelle Westchester, before they even called it a hotspot. It was the first one in the country. It was one person, super spreader, new term, who was with a couple of hundred people at a gathering. And dozens got sick. So, the congregate facilities of people, that’s all it is. It’s just-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (26:03)
[inaudible 00:26:00] of people. That’s all it is. It’s just wherever you have a density, a gathering of people that is a problematic area, nursing homes worst. But if you have a community group home and you have six people living in a house that is a place where you want to watch. Now, six people in the house is not as bad as 1000 people in a prison or 300 in a nursing home, but any place where you have a gathering. On the moving of staff, I don’t know if that’s right or wrong or normal operating procedure or not, but we can check. But I just don’t know
Speaker 3: (26:44)
[crosstalk 00:26:44] Governor, how many tests a week will New York need to get to test all nursing home staffers and essential workers? And on the nursing home staffing questions, does New York have the current capacity to test as many nursing home staffers as you’re requiring them to do? And if not, how will your administration make sure there’s the capacity to get there and when? Has the president fulfilled his end of the bargain, when he told you that he was going to be helping with the supply chain issue for testing manufacturers?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (27:10)
There’s a lot there. Let’s unpack it one at a time. I don’t know the policy at OPWDD, but we’ll check what the staffing policy is and we’ll check if there was a change. On the testing, we’re doing more testing than any state in the United States. We’re doing more testing per capita than many countries on the globe and we’re ramping up dramatically and quickly. We have to test staff in nursing homes. We have the most aggressive requirement, I understand that, two tests for every staff member per week and that is the most aggressive, but this is the most vulnerable population. Testing is much more available than it’s ever been in this state. There are parts of the state where we have more testing capacity than people are using. We have drive-throughs, drug stores that are performing tests who say they don’t have enough clients coming in, believe it or not. We’re getting more testing kits. We’re sending about 120,000 out to nursing homes now. It is something we have to do and we will do, but this is one of those situations where it’s never been done before. It is very hard to do, but we have to do it and we will do it, just like we have done all across the board.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (28:42)
As far as what the federal government is doing. The federal government is helping the supply chain for the national manufacturers. The way this works is the end user is let’s say a nursing home or a drive-in or a pharmacy. They are implementing the test. They purchase the test from a national manufacturer and they purchase the machine from the national manufacturer. There are a number of machines. And depending on the machine you purchased, you need the test kit that works for that machine. It starts to get complicated because you can have six or seven different types of machines that you bought, each machine has its own test kit. It’s like when you buy a printer and then you have to buy the cartridge for that printer. And some of the national manufacturers can’t provide test kits, they’re just overwhelmed in the test kids. And the federal government is working on those supply chain issues for those national manufacturers. It’s working much better than it has, but I don’t think anyone would say we’re there yet.
Speaker 3: (29:55)
Do we have the capacity right now in New York to test all nursing home staffers twice a week? Yes or no.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (30:01)
Speaker 3: (30:02)
Yes. And yes or no, is the federal government fulfilling its end of the bargain to help on the supply chain issue [crosstalk 00:30:07]?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (30:07)
Ask the federal government.
[crosstalk 00:30:08] Governor, can you explain your-
Speaker 4: (30:11)
Wadsworth’s lab has been denied-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (30:12)
Excuse me one second, I didn’t me to cut you off.
Speaker 5: (30:14)
No, that’s okay. If I could just punctuate the governor’s point. Since we announced last Sunday that we were going to require two tests a week for nursing home staff, we have worked with the commercial labs, BioReference, LabCorp and Quest to get additional capacity. And the state has reserved 30, 000 tests per day to be dedicated just to nursing home staff. That’s 210,000 tests a week that we have now secured that’ll just be dedicated to going to this nursing home issue. On the Wadsworth situation, yes, we understand everyone would like to use Wadsworth. They can’t. There’s not the capacity for that, which is why they’re going to have to go to the drive-throughs and why they’re going to have to, if they can’t accommodate the standard on their own, work with us to use some of the capacity that we have now reserved through the three commercial labs.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (30:56)
And remember that Wadsworth is one lab. It’s the state lab. There are 300 labs that operate in this state. Wadsworth, we’re proud of, it’s a state lab, but there are 300 labs and we need all 300 labs operational to meet this volume. The only way you get the volume up this high is all those labs are at maximum capacity. No one lab could come anywhere near that. Even with all 300 labs working and doing seven days a week, you’re still not at the level you need. And then those 300 labs will say, they’re going to have a problem on the back end getting the supplies. That’s where the federal government comes in.
Governor, can you explain your rationale for reopening the beaches, considering the potential public health peril there? What was it? What was the calculation for you?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (31:52)
The calculation is I’m trying to work in conformity or accommodation with our surrounding states. They were going to open beaches and if New York did not open beaches, you would see an influx of people to the Jersey Shore, Connecticut, et cetera. That would put New Yorkers then in jeopardy there because the problem with a beach is if it’s overcrowded. If it’s 50% of occupancy, you’re fine. The problem is if you overcrowd at the beach and if other states were opening and New York wasn’t, you would have millions of people from New York flooding those beaches. They would be a problem. And that wouldn’t help anyone. The safeguard is this, first we open them with safeguards, 50%, et cetera. Second, if there is a problem and the locals do not enforce those regulations, we will close those beaches immediately.
Do you feel like Governor Murphy kind of forced your hand in this by announcing yesterday that he’d opened the beaches or did you consultant with him?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (33:08)
No, no, no. We’ve been talking to them about beaches for a long time. We talked to them about everything on a daily basis.
But he announced ahead of you.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (33:15)
Yeah, but we knew exactly what he was going to do. And we had been talking about it. No, he didn’t force my hand. Look, as governor, he has no jurisdiction in New York. I could say, we’re not opening our beaches. If we don’t open our beaches, people will go to New Jersey beaches. I promise you that. They’ll go to Connecticut beaches. And then you have a situation where you have 4 million New Yorkers going to Jersey beaches, Connecticut beaches. What happens to those beaches? Well, who cares, they’re in New Jersey and Connecticut. First of all, I care. And those are New Yorkers in those beaches. I think this plan makes the most sense. Is there a risk that the locals won’t enforce the rules? Yes. Or the beach will get overwhelmed and they can’t enforce the rules? Yes, that is a risk and we have eyes wide open. And if that happens, we will close the beach the next day.
[inaudible 00:34:19] so you’re talking about [inaudible 00:08:20]-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:19)
So it’ll be day to day.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:21)
Did you want to make a point?
Speaker 5: (34:24)
No, I just want to say, but just to be clear, Jesse, we had the multistate agreement in place yesterday when Governor Murphy spoke at a high level that the states had been coordinating. That wasn’t something that they announced and then we came to an agreement on. We were in agreement with us and Connecticut and Delaware prior to Governor Murphy speaking about that yesterday,
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:43)
I think Connecticut had always said the beaches were open.
Speaker 5: (34:45)
The Connecticut beaches actually were never closed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:51)
I see someone else, yes?
Speaker 6: (34:52)
[crosstalk 00:34:52] While it’s up to local governments to enforce that businesses are compliant with health and safety standards, is there a way that the state’s going to give some guidance to local governments and how they can keep businesses in check? And also there is a website that the state has that employees can submit complaints against businesses that are not complying with these health and safety standards, what’s being done with this information as well?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (35:14)
First of all, the local governments have the guidelines on the compliance and the business owners have it. And any business that opens today in the regions that can open, they sign a compliance agreement and that compliance agreement is kept on the premises. If there’s a violation, which should be enforced by the local governments, they have that business owner who will agree to operate under the following conditions and they therefore violated that agreement and they can be closed on that basis. To the extent we get any complaints, we forward them to the local governments. Rob, you want to add anything on that?
No, that’s right. Look, governments have been enforcing this on essential businesses since the beginning of the PAUSE order. They’ll continue to enforce under those same guidelines. Now they have the guidelines, they’ll continue to enforce those the same as they had before. And as the governor said, all of the complaints that come through the hotline will be forwarded through the regional control rooms and to the local governments so that they can enforce them.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:21)
The controller’s April cash report is due today. That’s the report that can trigger your ability to actually implement cuts to local governments, to school districts. We don’t have any federal clarity today that reports coming today. What are you going to do?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:37)
What am I going to do about what, John?
Well are you going to implement the 20% cuts to schools and local government [crosstalk 00:36:43]-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:43)
I hold to the belief, I have faith in humanity and a certain level of common sense. And I believe Washington, despite their dysfunction and politics, will ultimately provide funding for state and local governments. Even if you put aside common sense, the survival instinct of a politician who has to run for reelection this year in this state or any state affected by COVID, which is most states, they will not come home and stand for reelection if they don’t provide funding for state and local governments because they would have created a devastating circumstance in their state. If we have to cut schools, police, fire, hospitals, because Washington didn’t provide reasonable funding when they did bail out millionaires and billionaires and rich corporations, but they’re not going to fund police and fire. I don’t think any Washington official is going to come home and present that case to the people they represent. I believe we will receive Washington funding due to the survival instinct of political officials.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:19)
Go ahead, John.
You have to make a decision on your own at some point. What’s your drop dead date for making a decision?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:26)
What is the drop dead date?
The budget that was enacted had the first benchmark was the controller’s cash report that, as you mentioned, comes out today. That report confirms the estimates that the state has made, which is that we’re down 14% in revenues and then we’ll have a $61 billion gap over the next four years. Now that we have those cash numbers, we’ll look at it. As the governor mentioned, Washington has been talking about a federal bill that provides money in relief in the event that those funds don’t occur. Then we would have to make those reduction…
… those funds don’t occur, then we would have to make those reductions, but as the governor mentioned, we believe that based on the bill that the House put in, those funds will be there. In the event that they don’t, our plan would be within the month of May, we would have to then put out a plan that still would be contingent upon the receipt of federal funds. In the absence of the receipt of federal funds, 90 percent of the states spending is in the areas of school aid, healthcare, social services, right? As the governor points out, we think it would be irresponsible not to provide those resources because those are the types of things then you would have to reduce.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:43)
John, I’m teasing you a little bit just because I like to tease you, but, look, I’m not taking the focus off them. They have to provide, they have to do their job. Not do a press release about their job, they have to deliver federal funding to the state of New York and I want to hold them accountable. And at one point you have to perform or not perform. Look, when I’m in this building, I either pass a budget or not, right, with the legislature? And if the budget isn’t passed on time, what all you guys say is, “Oh, you failed. You didn’t get it done. You’re a bad person. You’re not going to heaven.” Okay, it’s binary. For me to say, “Well I tried my best, I really tried. We all worked hard. We stayed up late at night.” Who cares? You failed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (40:34)
This is the analog in Washington. Either the federal officials pass the bill to take care of businesses, pass the bill to take care of millionaires, pass the bill to take care of all these other needs; either you pass a bill to take care of state and local government, and that’s police, fire fighters, and schools, or you’re going to be responsible for the cut.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (40:56)
And that’s the fact and that’s the truth and that’s where I’m leaving it. And then let’s see if they perform, tongue-in-cheek. Never underestimate a politicians instinct for self survival. And I do not believe they’re going to want to come home and defend the fact that they cut police, fire fighters, teachers, nurses, and doctors after those people just were designated heroes who saved lives during the pandemic, which happens to be true. Karen?
John took my question, but I have one that’s maybe more important to New Yorkers and is when is hairstylists going to be able to open? I know you said you were going to find out the answer yesterday. Seriously, they have to pay for their booths, they have to pay for their buildings even month to month and they’re not getting any income.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:51)
Yeah? How about the story about the hairstylists in Kingston? Did you hear that story?
I did, yes, but-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:57)
Barber in Kingston was operating in defiance of the close order, infected I think over a dozen people. That is an occupation of close proximity, right? You can’t really socially distance and do a haircut. Maybe mine you could do from six feet away, but that is by definition an up close and personal occupation. But hairstyling is in phase two.
Speaker 7: (42:31)
Right now we have hairstyling in phase two.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (42:33)
Speaker 8: (42:33)
Governor this week the state court system announced that they would be reopening certain upstate court houses along with [inaudible 00:42:42]. That sort of service seems to fall under the definition of professional services in phase two. What do you make of their decision to open up on a phase one timeline?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (42:52)
The court system?
Speaker 8: (42:53)
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (42:54)
Well, doing justice… if you want to talk about an essential service, justice is an essential service.
Speaker 8: (43:03)
What sort of advice would you give to people who are not currently infected, but might become infected and will have to overcome the illness while at home. What sort of things should they have going in, just baseline, if they were to get infected?
Speaker 9: (43:16)
Well I think the first thing obviously is to contact their physician if they have any of these symptoms of concern. But it’s the precautions that the governor has mentioned about washing your hands, making sure that you are away from other individuals who are sick, and all the straightforward issues that we’ve addressed before.
Speaker 8: (43:33)
Well, are there any devices that they should have? Any sort of stockpiles? Any sort of basic medical supplies that should be in place if they would be infected?
Speaker 9: (43:43)
Well I think the real issue here is, each person is a little bit different. If somebody has a medical condition that their doctor recommends that they are taking certain medicines, that they should be sure they have their medicines, enough medicines on hand or on supply. If there is other devices that they use. Some people use spiro meters to check if they have asthma. They should have those in supply. It really is tailored to each individual, but the overall precautions they should take are the things we’ve spoken about all along.
Speaker 8: (44:11)
Do you have a plan for widespread home check ins though for people who are dealing with this illness at home?
Speaker 9: (44:14)
This is where the issue of telemedicine comes into play and we are working closely with our healthcare professionals about that, particularly in the rural areas, but even in the urban areas.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (44:25)
Editorial comment on the last question, when you ask a doctor what is the first thing someone should do when they feel ill, the answer is always going to be call the doctor. One last one, Dan did you have your hand up?
Speaker 10: (44:40)
Are you talking to me? Sorry.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (44:44)
Yup. Somebody had their hand up. [crosstalk 00:44:44]-
Speaker 10: (44:46)
On the children’s disease the Kawasaki Syndrome, can you give us a sense of where the geography of that is? Is it all concentrated in one place? Does that seem like the case-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (44:55)
All across the state, but it’s proportionate to population and right now it’s 103 cases in New York. I’ll tell you what I’m afraid of, it’s not 103 cases in New York, it’s just that we have seen it first and it was deceptive the way it presented because COVID, they were all looking for respiratory illnesses. This is not a respiratory illness. This is an inflammation of the blood vessels, so it did not look or smell like a COVID case. When they went back and checked, the overwhelming number of children tested positive, or had the antibodies. Close to 90 percent either were positive or had the antibodies and I think you’re going to be seeing more of this. There’s stories about other illnesses that are popping up and now they’re saying this COVID virus does more damage in the body than we were aware of, but specifically with children.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:58)
The reason I want this point abundantly clear because this is not what we were told initially, and this is not what I told people initially. We were told it was primarily vulnerable people and the good news is, that children seem unaffected. And as a parent, that then gave me a false sense of security, to now say, “Oh, we were wrong about that.” You’re talking about my child’s health now and my child’s life, I take this very seriously. And this is a big about face, right?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (46:39)
There was also an about face, if you have the virus and you have the antibodies you’re immune and you can go back to work. Now, “Oh, maybe not. Maybe you’re not immune. Maybe you’re a little immune. Maybe we don’t know.” These are dramatic shifts on this virus. And I don’t fault anyone because it’s a learning process et cetera, but the more we learn, the worse it is and the more we learn, it’s only negative. We have not learned anything, since this started, that we say, “Oh, that was better than we thought.” I have to go to work guys, thank you. [crosstalk 00:47:15]. I will talk to you tomorrow, Saturday. Yay Saturday [crosstalk 00:47:28]-