May 19, 2020
Andrew Cuomo New York May 19 COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript
Governor Andrew Cuomo held his daily New York coronavirus press conference on Tuesday, May 19. Cuomo said, “We’re basically back to where we started before this tragedy descended upon us.” Read the full speech transcript here.
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Governor Andrew Cuomo: (05:33)
Good afternoon. It’s my pleasure to be on Long Island this afternoon. I wear a mask out of respect for my fellow New Yorkers. And today at Northwell, I wear a mask to also say thank you to the nurses and the doctors and the healthcare professionals that did so much work, saved so many lives. The least we can do is wear a mask to stop infections. It’s not overly intrusive, it’s not overly invasive. You can make a fashion statement. I picked the blue today to match my blue suit. I didn’t really do that, it’s just the only one I had. Let me introduce people who are here. To my left, far left, Dr. Jim Malatras, to my immediate left, Michael Dalin who’s the president and CEO of Northwell Health, who has done just an extraordinary job.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (06:32)
The whole team at Northwell has been extraordinary in what they’ve done for the entire State, not just Long Island, not just Downstate New York, and Northwell’s the largest health system in the State, and they really stepped up to help the entire State. And Michael and the leadership he’s brought to Northwell, and because he knows healthcare in New York State, the way he does, former health commissioner in charge of health for the State of New York, he’s really been a fantastic asset. I want to thank him.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (07:02)
To my right, Melissa Darosa, Secretary to the Governor. To her right, Robert Mujica, Budget Director for the State of New York. And as I said, it’s a pleasure to be on Long Island, it’s a beautiful day. It’s that bittersweet reality that we’re living in. The news is good today. The weather is good. So it’s good to be here, but I’m not out on the water, or I’m not fishing off the South shore of Long Island, I’m not fishing off the North shore of Long Island. Normal days, I would have been doing that by now. A little break, little piece of sanity, but the news is good.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (07:40)
Total hospitalizations declined again. This is an important lesson though, what you see here, you’ll see almost in every State, across the State, you’ll see in almost every country across the globe. Look how fast that spike comes, look how fast that incline is, how steep the incline is, and then look at how slow relatively the decline is. You can get into trouble quickly with this virus, and it takes you a longer time to turn that curve and to turn that infection rate. So don’t let a spike happen in the first place. Learn that lesson, got it. Net change in total hospitalization is down. Changing intubation is down. Number of new cases, this is an important number that we track, down again, 335. That’s on a system of 53,000. So that’s really good news.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (08:38)
Number of deaths, again on a relative scale, the number is down. It’s down dramatically from where it was in the first place, but it’s still painfully high. We are basically back to where we started before this tragedy descended upon us, didn’t actually descend upon us, it actually came from people in Europe, which nobody told us, nobody knew. We all thought the virus was in China, and everybody was talking about, “Watch China, watch China, watch China.” Well, the virus had left China, had gotten to Europe, and came here from Europe. 3 million European visitors came on flights to JFK or Newark airports between January, February, March. The Europe travel ban started mid-March. By that time 3 million Europeans had come. So that’s another lesson we have to learn.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (09:40)
We’re now all excited in talking about reopening, we have all the data driven metrics that can tell you exactly where we are in terms of reopening across the State. Albany capital region, which has met many of the health metrics has to get their tracers up and running. We’ve been working with them to do that. They need 383 tracers. They found 430 working together. So that’s great news. This whole tracing, testing tracing, testing tracing, we use these words like people would know what they mean. We’ve never done testing on this scale. We’ve never done tracing on this scale. We’ll have thousands of tracers who follow up after the testing Statewide. So they’re now being trained today, and Capital region should open tomorrow.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (10:31)
Long Island is making great progress. Long Island, we were losing about 100 residents per day. We’re now down to about 13 per day. When someone asks, “Well, why did we go through all this pain for two months, three months?” Because we saved the lives, that’s why, because we saved lives. And if we didn’t do what we did that number of 100 per day would have kept going up. That’s why we did what we did. “Did it work?” You’re darn right at work. We’ve saved many, many lives. And you look at the curve in New York versus the rest of the nation, we’re going down, many parts in the nation the curve is still going up.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (11:21)
Nassau County is now eligible for elective surgery and ambulatory care. Anyone who needs health service should get it. There’s no reason not to go to the hospital, no reason not to go to the doctor’s office, and many reasons why you should go. Denial is not a life strategy. If you have an issue, get it tested, get it resolved. We’re also looking at a pilot program over the next two weeks to start to bring visitors back to hospitals, that’s going to be run by The Greater New York Hospital Association downstate and Health Association of New York State upstate. There’ll be a number of hospitals participating.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:03)
… creation of New York state upstate, there’ll be a number of hospitals participating in that. Northwell has a number of hospitals, but this is getting visitors back into hospitals with the right precaution, with the right equipment. But it is terrible to have someone in the hospital and then that person is isolated, not being able to see their family and friends. I understand the health reasons for that. We were afraid of the virus spread, but this is a pilot project to see if we can bring visitors in and do it safely.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:35)
We’re now taking steps to do further reopening with fewer crowds. I’m very aggressive on encouraging sports teams to start and to operate without fans. This is more an economic calculus for different sports. Some sports franchises can make this work easier than others. It depends on the economics of that sport and how much is determined by selling seats in the arena or the stadium, et cetera. But to the extent they can start, I encourage them to start. The state will work with them to start. Downstate we have a number of sports teams. When a team plays, even if there’s no one in the stands, it gets broadcast and that gives people at home entertainment value, something to participate in, another reason frankly, to stay home as opposed to go out and staying home is good right now. I encourage the sports teams and again, New York will be a full partner. Anything we can do to make it happen and make it happen safely, we will.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (13:51)
Memorial day is coming up. That is an important American tradition. We want to honor our veterans and we want to make sure that no matter what happens, we are still honoring our veterans. The state will allow ceremonies, local ceremonies of up to 10 people or less. We hope that those ceremonies are broadcast, televised in their areas so people can be part of honoring that tradition. Local governments can make a decision that they don’t want those ceremonies to happen. They don’t want 10 people gathering. 10 is the CDC guideline, is for 10 people gathering. That’s where the state got the recommendation from the federal CDC, but I can understand the difference of opinion. We’ll leave it up to local government. Vehicle parades, I think are appropriate and should be encouraged. And again, this is an important tradition. Many people lost their lives. This is important to many, many families all across this state and nation. It’s important to the veterans that they be recognized. And I think we can do that. And I think we can do it safely.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (15:10)
New Yorkers are doing everything they can as a people. Our response has been probably the most demanding in the country because we had the largest number of cases. But every step of the way, New Yorkers have stepped up. As a government, we are doing everything that we can. We’re doing more testing than any other state. We’ve been more aggressive than any state in nursing home precautions. We have been smart. New Yorkers have been smart. The government has been smart and that should be respected. Now we need a federal government that is as smart as the people who elected that federal government because New York to move forward and move forward quickly we need a federal government as a partner. They’re now in the midst of running a number of programs that provide cash benefits to corporations. Let’s make sure when we’re giving those corporations funding, that the corporations are actually acting on behalf of Americans. I proposed something called the Americans First Law, not America First, Americans First Law. We learned the hard way in 2008 that you can see government provide billions of dollars to corporations to “stabilize the economy.” We did this after the mortgage scandal. We gave billions to the banks. Remember? Because they were too big to fail. We had to give billions of dollars to the banks. What did the banks do? Many of them turned around and gave themselves bonuses and they gave themselves parties and end of year bonuses and special pay bonuses. These are the same banks that created the mortgage fraud in the first place. Then get bailed out by the taxpayer and wound up having parties at taxpayer expense.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (17:11)
I fear what they’re going to do this time is they’ll take the money from government, but then they’ll lay off workers. They’re already talking about it. You see these corporations talking about getting lean and restructuring. That means downsizing. Why? Because they think they have an opportunity now many of the employees have been laid off temporarily or temporarily at home. The corporations think this is an opportunity to reopen with fewer employees. It would be such a scandal if corporations now took taxpayer dollars and then laid off workers and reopened. It would be such a scandal and a fraud if these corporations were allowed to receive government money, lay off workers, and then government taxpayers had to subsidize the workers who were laid off.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (18:18)
My law is very simple. If you take government funds, you must rehire the same number of workers you had pre-pandemic. If you take government funds, you must rehire the same number of employees you had pre-pandemic. If you want to lay people off, if you want to get lean, if you want to restructure… fine, but don’t use taxpayer money to subsidize it. And don’t think taxpayers are going to pay you to lay off employees and then wind up with an unemployment problem at the end of the day. That’s what happened in 2008. I was Attorney General. I brought the cases afterwards. I brought actions against AIG and against banks like Bank of America that took these bailout funds and then gave themselves bonuses and parties. Don’t make the same mistake twice. The American taxpayers are doing what they have to do. Don’t make fools of the American taxpayers.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (19:33)
Second, Washington was very quick to fund businesses and corporations. The bills they passed thus far have been about funding corporations and businesses to prop up the economy, fine. Who did they not fund? They didn’t fund state governments and local governments. Who do state and local governments fund? They fund the hospitals. They fund the police. They fund the firefighters. They fund the school teachers. They fund the food banks. Why was Washington so quick to fund the corporations and the big businesses but now they have to think about whether or not they want to fund state governments and local governments, the hospitals, the police, the firefighters, school teachers? What sense of a priority do you have that you see so clearly the need for corporations, but you don’t see the need to continue basic services?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (20:36)
And what makes this so offensive to me? You turn on the TV, you see all these ads praising the healthcare workers and the nurses and the doctors who saved so many lives and worked so hard and the first responders who went out there. They’re the heroes of today and they are. And they are, and they should be acknowledged and they should be funded. If you don’t fund New York state government, you know what that means? That means I have to cut aid to Northwell, to hospitals, to nurses, to doctors. It means I have to cut aid to local governments that fund police and firefighters. I have to fund funding to schools, teachers who also have been heroes doing remote learning, et cetera. It’s about priorities. It’s about values. And I understand the large corporations are the ones who fund the political accounts of these elected officials, but let them remember that they get elected by the people. People still vote. People still matter. Show the same consideration for the workers that you showed for the corporations. That’s all I’m asking. And that’s the Americans First Law, and state and local government. And this is not a partisan issue. This is not Democrats versus Republicans. I have stayed a hundred miles away from any politics all through this. This is no time for politics. This is not a political divisive issue. This is all the governors in the United States. National Governor’s Association represents all the governors. The White House left it to the governors to do the reopening, right? All the States are doing the reopening. You can’t tell the states, “Go reopen, figure it out,” and then not provide them with the funding to do it.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (22:37)
The head of the National Governors Association is a Republican governor, Governor Hogan. I’m the vice chairman of the NGA. I’m a Democrat. In unison in a united voice we’re saying to Washington, “You need to pass funding for state and local governments.” The house passed a bill that did it that also provides funding for testing, which is very important. This testing tracing enterprise, it repeals SALT, which is an additional tax on New Yorkers for the federal government. But the Senate now has that bill, the Senate must act.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (23:17)
Also, there was very exciting news about a company that might be close to developing a vaccine. The federal government is working very hard to accelerate the vaccine as they should. The testing, the regulations, the procedures about getting a vaccine online. That would be the best possible outcome, but we have to make sure whatever company finds the vaccine, right, finds the pot of gold, that whatever private company finds that, the vaccine must then be available to all people. And it can’t be a situation where only the rich, only the privileged can get the vaccine because one company-
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (24:03)
… only the privileged can get the vaccine because one company owns the rights and they can’t produce enough for everyone. This is a public health matter. This is a national security threat. This should not be about one corporation’s privacy. If the federal government is bending over backwards and jumping through hoops to allow this company to develop a vaccine, then let’s make sure the federal government sets the rules now and says to any company that develops the vaccine, the next day, we have to be in a position where that patent, that formula can be given to companies all across the globe to produce a vaccine so we can treat everyone.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (24:50)
The last point is this, the world is different today than it was. There are situations in life that can happen on a moment’s notice and change the very trajectory and definition of your life. You can get health news about an individual that just changes your whole life. What you thought was so important yesterday becomes totally unimportant.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (25:23)
This situation, this COVID virus, has changed the world fundamentally. I don’t believe we ever go back to where we were. I don’t even believe life is about going back, right? Life is about going forward. But this is a different world. It’s a different world individually. It’s a different world for families. We’re all trying to recalibrate and reassess who we are and how we live and what’s important, what’s not important.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (25:52)
I hope on an individual level that this period is going to make me a smarter person, a better person, a deeper person. It’s made me question a lot of things about my life, a lot of priorities, a lot of things I was doing. It makes you think through personal relationships and what’s important and where have you been spending your time and was that the smartest use of time? Sometimes when something is taken away, you see how valuable it was. Now you can’t go see family members if you wanted to. You can’t see friends if you wanted to. When someone says you can’t, it changes your whole perspective. Then you ask yourself, “Well, why hadn’t I been, why didn’t I? And when I get a chance, how am I going to do it differently this time?” I think that can actually be a good process to go through. Painful, but good. But it’s also true for government.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (26:58)
Government is important again, right? Government, most days you lead your life, government, politics, it’s a sideshow. It’s not that important. When does government really become important? Probably almost not in my lifetime. When has it been vital? It’s vital at the time of war, a crisis, real national crisis. But that’s the only time it’s really vital, where you don’t have a choice but to deal with and rely on government. Well, government is now important again, in a way it hasn’t been in my lifetime. It matters what government does. Government has made the difference between life and death here, right? Government is part of social action, and the people who saved lives in this are New Yorkers for doing the right thing. But government was part of that, right? It helps organize.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (28:04)
Today, government is going to be held to a different standard, and it has to be fundamentally different. It has to be smarter than it was. It matters now what happens. You have to know what you’re doing now. Not just look like you know what you’re doing. Not just sound like you know what you’re doing. You have to be smart. You’re not going to tweet your way through this. You have to be smart. You have to be competent at what you do. There’s something called government, and you either know how to do it or you don’t know how to do it.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (28:41)
For many years we just, anyone can be in government. I don’t know. Can anyone be a nurse? Oh no, you have to know what you’re talking about. Can anyone be a doctor? No, no. You have to know what you’re talking about. Can anyone be a lawyer? No, no, no, no. You have to know what you’re talking about. Can anyone be a plumber? No, you have to know what you’re talking about. Can anyone run government? Oh yeah, anybody can run government. The less you know the better. Well, that wasn’t true. You have to be competent and it has to be beyond politics.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (29:16)
This is not about an ongoing campaign. You’re now a government official. You represent everyone. Forget the politics represent people and it doesn’t matter, Republican, Democrat, that’s all garbage now. I’m the governor of New York. All New Yorkers. I don’t care if you’re Democrat or Republican, atheist. I don’t care if you vote. I don’t care if you don’t vote, that’s your business. I represent you. You pay me to represent you. That’s how I see it. And government has to be fair and it has to be effective. That’s where we all are now, and that’s where we’ve been in New York. That’s what it means to be New York tough. As a person, as a society, as a collective and as a government, to be smart, to be united, to be disciplined, to be loving that’s New York.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (30:06)
Speaker 2: (30:07)
Governor, two questions. First, from the MTA, this morning, MTA executives were asked about when reopening happens on Long Island and New York City, whether people can commute to work by mass transit and whether they have enough capacity. Phil Eng, the Long Island Railroad President said he’s looking to the state for guidance about whether they can run more train. Would you tell them to do so?
Speaker 2: (30:30)
My second question is about the child multi-inflammatory syndrome. How many cases are there now in the state? Do you have it broken down at all by county? Do we have any idea how these children have been exposed?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (30:44)
Yes, 120, and no. Just playing with here.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (30:57)
The MTA is Metropolitan Transit Authority, runs the subways and buses and commuter rail in downstate New York. First of all, the MTA, talk about being better for this experience, the MTA is going to be better. The trains are cleaner today than they have been. We did something on the subway service, which is for the first time we stopped running trains for several hours at night. The trains always ran 24 hours a night, 24 hours a day.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (31:27)
We stopped running trains for several hours, that allowed us to do two things. First, we had to disinfect trains, which we had never done before. We cleaned trains. Nobody ever talked about disinfecting a train from a virus, right? How do you do that? All those trains, all those buses, subway stations. We disinfect all the trains. To disinfect all the trains, we had to get everybody off the trains, including homeless people.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (31:54)
Homeless people shouldn’t have been on the trains in the first place. Why are you sleeping on a train? We can do better than that. It’s not good for a homeless person. It’s not who we are as a society. We’re going to be good to you. We’re going to let you sleep on a train. No, we’re going to get your help. We’re going to get your services. We’re going to get your shelter.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (32:13)
The trains are cleaner than they’ve been. I believe the MTA is going to be better for this and the service is going to be better. When we are ready to open, the MTA will be ready to open.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (32:24)
Second question on the multi-inflammatory pediatric syndrome. This is a very serious issue. I think we spotted it in New York first. I think it’s going to get much worse before it gets better. I don’t think this is New York. I don’t think it’s only 120 cases in New York. I think that’s the tip of the iceberg, and I think there’s a whole iceberg under that tip. I’m not a doctor, but that’s what I think. That’s just my opinion, but it’s not a fact.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (32:52)
We know what the common denominator is: 90% are children who test positive for the COVID virus or COVID antibodies, which means they either have the virus or they had the virus. 90%. And they are exhibiting inflammatory symptoms as an immune response to the virus; blood vessel inflammation, heart inflammation and some other disorders. But it’s an inflammatory response to the COVID virus. Now, it didn’t look like the COVID virus because it wasn’t respiratory. They all looked at these cases as an inflammation issue, as opposed to a COVID issue. But when you go back and look or test, they were COVID positive for the virus or the antibodies.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (33:54)
That is an ongoing situation. The more states that look, the more states find cases. The more countries that look, the more countries find cases. I believe we discovered it. We’ve given the nation and the world a heads up, but I think it’s going to be worse before it gets better.
Speaker 3: (34:13)
The number is actually 137, is the confirmed cases. That doesn’t align perfectly with what Mayor de Blasio put out because the number he’s reporting is suspected cases. The 137 is the confirmed cases in New York, as of right now.
Speaker 2: (34:26)
Do you have any sense of how these kids are being exposed? Is it from family members with COVID?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (34:32)
that’s going to be on a case-by-case basis. We do know this, on the new COVID cases, which surprised me, frankly, the new COVID cases that are coming in the door, the 300 per day, those are basically infections coming from people who are at home and not working, which was shocking to me. I thought they were going to be essential workers who were out there every day, being exposed to people. They’re not. They’re people who are at home. It’s more of a community spread. That’s why the personal behavior is so important. They’re not getting it on a train or a bus or as an essential worker. They’re getting it at home, talking to someone on a park bench, leaving their apartment building, that’s where they’re getting it. I was 100% wrong on that. One of many, many times.
Speaker 4: (35:32)
Sir, with all due respect, you say this isn’t a political issue, not Democrat, Republican and so forth, but with all due respect, the Republicans in the Senate have made it a political issue. They’ve made it clear that the state aid is a bailout for blue states and they’re not going to stand for that. They’ve made it clear they’re not going to take up that House bill. If you look even at the financial scandal with McConnell, people desperate, losing their homes, their jobs, he-
Speaker 5: (36:03)
With McConnell, people desperate losing their homes, their jobs. He basically said his priority was making Obama a one term president. He made that whole thing political. So may I ask since you’ve been so realistic, you’ve been so numbers-driven. How do you deal with that?
Speaker 5: (36:17)
I know you’ve said that the senators have to go home and be reelected and so forth like that, but they’ve shown that the virus is really affecting Democrats more than it’s affecting Republicans. The people who are dying or more likely to be Democrats than Republicans. And so may I ask, what is a good strategy?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:38)
Just to make sure we’re both saying the same thing. That is my position. First of all, there is no doubt that many politicians act through politics. I’m saying today, and in this situation, they should rise above and this should not be about politics. It should not be about red and blue. The people who are dying here are not Democrats or Republicans, they’re Americans. It’s not red and blue. It’s red, white, and blue. To talk about, I’m not going to bail out blue States is just such an ugly concept in this situation where people are dying and you want to start to say, “Well, are they Democrats or Republicans?”
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (37:26)
I mean, how does that work? You get the death toll and you say, “Okay, how many would Democrats and how many were Republicans?” I mean, it’s just an ugly, repugnant concept. And it’s not even true, by the way. Bailout New York, New York bails out them every year without saying a word. We give the federal government about $30 billion more every year, right? Federal government is a pot. Every state puts money into the pot. When we pay our federal taxes, we put in $30 billion more per year than we take out.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:08)
Senator McConnell’s state takes $30 billion more every year than they pay in. So we put in 30, his state takes out $30 billion more every year. That’s the bailout. I haven’t heard him saying for the past 30 years, “Oh no, no, no. We should only take out what we put in. We don’t want any handouts from New York. We don’t want any largesse from our Northern neighbors in New York.” He was just fine taking that bailout year after year after year.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:51)
To raise it now in the midst of this, not only is it ugly and repugnant, it’s even counterproductive and self-destructive. So what? You don’t want to help New York and California? You don’t want help the northeast and the west because you think there are Democrats there who were dying? And if the New York economy doesn’t come back and the California economy doesn’t come back, then what happens to the other States? I mean, it’s not even smart on any level. It’s ugly and unintelligent, which is a really bad combination in life.
Speaker 6: (39:26)
Governor you’ve said repeatedly that the virus was brought here from travelers from Europe to JFK and Newark airports. Let’s learn the lesson. So these flights, there are still flights from Europe and Asia coming to those airports.
Speaker 6: (39:40)
What is being done now to screen those travelers? What is the step-by-step process? And also your health department tells me that it is not tracking these travelers. So how do you make sure they stay quarantined for 14 days as I understand they’re being directed?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:57)
Yeah. Because the state health department doesn’t do it because it’s not a state role. The state government does not do borders and customs. That’s the federal government does border and customs control. So when you come in from overseas, passport control, et cetera, that’s all a federal function. The federal government, not that I’m the best spokesperson for the federal government, nor do I hold myself out to be. But they would say, “We did a China travel ban beginning of February. We did a European travel ban mid-March.” To which I say, “Yeah, both were too late.” As we now know, President Trump himself says the virus came from Europe and it had moved from China.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (40:48)
CDC now says it, federal agency. They didn’t say it at the time. Would have been better if they said it January, February, March. Right? But lessons learned and they would say, “There’s a China travel ban, a European travel ban.” You would have to ask the federal government, how do you enforce that at the airports?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:07)
There are some exceptions to the bans and they’ve been criticized for that, despite the China ban about 400,000 people from China came over. There are exceptions to the European travel ban, but that would be up to the federal government. We do not do, the state does not do customs border passport control. That’s all the federal.
Speaker 6: (41:31)
Is there any coordination?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:33)
There is coordination, but they determine who comes, who doesn’t come, that’s purely federal. And they determine what procedures and practices are in place for those who do come. State has no role in that whatsoever. And it’s not like we have the kind of relationship that they’re looking for gratuitous advice from me.
Speaker 6: (41:52)
Do you think these flights should be canceled at this point?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:55)
I think they should have been. We should have known. Well, in a perfect world and if we have to run the videotape and if we have to get ready for the next situation, the question would be, how did we not know that the virus was going to leave China and go to Europe? Why did the federal officials, the international global organizations think the virus was going to be sitting there in China waiting for them to arrive two months later?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (42:29)
I mean, we all talk about global interconnections and mobility. Right? Okay. So the virus is in China in November, last November. It’s in China last December. How long does it take one person to get on a plane from China and go to Italy, which is what they did? And then bring the virus with him to Italy. In March, we think it’s still in China, November, December. Now this is not my role. That’s not what governors do. It’s not what States do. I’m not a doctor. I’m not the CDC. I’m not NIH. I’m not any of these things, but just common sense. That would be the question I would put forth.
Speaker 7: (43:08)
Governor, question on nursing homes. Who-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:11)
Give me one second. Does anyone want to add anything on any of this?
Speaker 7: (43:17)
Sorry, on nursing homes. Who processed the COVID-19 tests that are now required that the nursing homes give employees and then who pays for that?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:27)
Two things on testing. We now have more state testing capacity than we have people taking tests. How ironic is that? We worked so hard to get the testing capacity up, right? Because everything has been testing capacity, testing capacity, testing capacity. We now have, for example, drive-ins that can do 15,000 tests a day, only 5,000 people are coming. I’ve said a number of times wear a mask, get a test. Any essential worker who deals with the public can get a test. Anyone exposed to a person who turns out to be COVID positive can get a test. Any healthcare worker can get a test. Any nursing home worker can get a test. Any nurse can get a test. Get a test. We did put in a requirement that the nursing home operators are not that happy with, some of them that says a nursing home staff person has to get tested twice a week.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (44:41)
They think this is unduly burdensome. I understand the burden, but if a person only gets tested once a week, let’s say they get tested on Monday. That means in theory, Tuesday, they could become infected. Then they’re infected Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday exposing people in a nursing home until they get tested again. Twice a week is an operational burden, but these nursing homes are ground zero for us.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:14)
They’re the most vulnerable population, senior citizens in the most vulnerable place, a congregate setting. So we said, “Test it twice a week.” Now, the nursing home can do it. And we provided hundreds of thousands of test kits for it or an employee can use the other facilities to get a test.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:36)
You can walk out of here today, go to CVS, get a test, go to Rite Aid, get a test, go to a drive-thru, get a test, go to a doctor’s office, get a test, go to a hospital, get a test. So there are numerous places that you can go get a test right now. And for nursing homes specifically, we’re sending them the test kit so they can do it onsite. Let’s take one more.
Speaker 8: (45:59)
Governor, I’ve got two questions.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (46:01)
You had your hand up, I’m sorry.
Speaker 9: (46:02)
Yes, governor regardless that you signed a law, the 90-day freeze on the evictions, a family from Queens was evicted yesterday. Officers from HPD and the police department went to the house and took them out. Regardless that they had a letter sent by your office, that they post in their door, the officers [inaudible 00:46:25] and they said they have the power to do. Is this right?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (46:30)
If they were evicted for nonpayment of rent, it is not right. If you give me the name of the family, I will follow up today. Anything else from the August Group who’s here? Mr. Dowling, head of Northwell, healthcare expert. Any last words before we go back to work? No?
Michael Dowling: (46:49)
A lot of good things happening and just keep moving forward and do it the right way.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (46:54)
Okay. Thank you all very much. Thank you for the time.
Speaker 10: (47:01)
Governor, are the budget cuts coming? Are the details going to come this week?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (47:02)
We’re going to see. I’ve said repeatedly that we’re waiting to get the number from the federal government. What they’re going to give us in terms of aid and then we’ll know where we are, but we can’t.
Speaker 10: (47:15)
But what if that doesn’t come for a couple more weeks?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (47:15)
Well, we’ll see you in a couple of more weeks, but if the federal government doesn’t act in a couple of weeks, they will be more reckless and irresponsible than even I thought they were. And that’s saying something.
Speaker 11: (47:31)
[inaudible 00:47:31] Some of the Long Island officials think it’s going to create a crowding situation.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (47:34)
It’s up to the local governments. Thank you, guys.