May 21, 2020

Andrew Cuomo New York May 21 COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript

Andrew Cuomo Coronavirus Press Conference May 21
RevBlogTranscriptsPolitical TranscriptsAndrew Cuomo New York May 21 COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript

Governor Andrew Cuomo held a New York coronavirus press conference on Thursday, May 21. Cuomo said the number of countries reporting COVID-linked child illness nearly doubled in a week.

 

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Governor Cuomo: (00:00)
City of New York. Let’s talk about some facts as to where we are today. Everybody knows who’s with us today from my left, Dr. Jim Malatras, Robert Mujica, budget director, Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, Gareth Rhodes, young genius. Total hospitalizations down, great news, 5,187. The net change is down, that’s good news. Intubations are down, that’s very good news. New COVID cases are down to 246, which is actually lower than we were when this first started. So we’re back to a point earlier than we were when this COVID crisis hit us and we started that spike, so that’s really good news.

Governor Cuomo: (00:54)
The number of deaths, 105, that’s terrible news. Relatively it’s better than it has been, still 105 families who are grieving today, and they are in our thoughts and prayers. But you see the overall trajectory of this situation, March 20th to May 20th, been a period of time that we’ll go down in history, a lot of pain, unique period, but we got through it. We got through it. We got over the mountain, literally and figuratively. We’re not talking about reopening across the state, we’re doing it region by region. Rockland County today is eligible for elective surgery and ambulatory care. When we open up for elective surgery in the hospital system, it means we have the hospital bed capacity. One of the mad scramble, if you remember early on was to make sure we had enough hospital capacity because the projections were we would need double our hospital capacity in this state, so we stopped elective surgeries.

Governor Cuomo: (02:04)
Opening up elective surgeries means we have a hospital capacity. When we reopen a region, we start to reopen a region, there will be increased activity, more people are coming out. That does not necessarily equate to an increase in the number of cases. It does not have to be that increased activity means more cases. It tends to be true, but it doesn’t have to be true. You can have more activity and if people take the right precautions, you don’t necessarily need to see a rise in the number of cases. And none of this is preordained. As you increase activity, what will happen is a function of what we do. And that’s not just rhetorical. If you tell me how New Yorkers were react with increased activity, I will tell you what will happen to the infection rate. It literally depends on what we do, and everyone has a role to play as we go forward. You reopen shops for curbside retail. How do the shopkeepers, the retail owners, how do they perform? How do the employees perform? How do the employers who have people coming back perform? And probably most importantly as individuals, how are we acting and how are we performing? Are we maintaining social distancing, et cetera. Of all the bizarre things we’ve gone through, this fact is probably one of the most important facts to me.

Governor Cuomo: (03:59)
Logic would have suggested that first responders would have had the highest infection rate. Just common sense. The nurses, the doctors, the EMS workers who are first responding to COVID positive people, working with COVID positive people all day long, they had to have the highest infection rate. Just logic. Think about those emergency rooms. People working 12, 14, 16, 18 hours a day with COVID positive people, they must have had the highest infection rate. NYPD first responders, fire department, they must have had a higher infection rate. The first responders, the frontline workers wind up having a lower infection rate than the general population in that area. How can that possibly be? Because the PPE works, those masks work. We’ve literally tested all the frontline workers, transit workers they’re driving the buses, they’re encountering hundreds of people a day, they’re driving the trains, subway system, on stations in cars, healthcare workers, nurses, doctors, hospital, staff, NYPD, fire department, correction officers in state prisons with a congregate population, state police, office of court administration, they all have a lower percentage than the general population.

Governor Cuomo: (05:54)
Now, it’s good news for the frontline workers and we were all worried about what they were doing, but there’s a message for all of us, which is that the PPE actually works. The mask is not just a social symbol. This is not do it because we’re asking you to do it. The surgical mask, this mask, is the same thing that is given to the frontline workers. They’re not using anything different. If it reduced the infection rate for them, it will reduce the infection rate for you, but you have to wear it. Now, we say that employers must provide this to employees when they go back to work. If they do not get one, employees should call this number and report an employer who is not operating with the right precautions. Also, with starting our tracing operation, and this is totally new, a person who tests positive, the tracers will then contact that person and ask who they may have exposed.

Governor Cuomo: (07:15)
And you could get a phone call following up on this tracing information saying, “You were with John Smith last night, John Smith is now positive, you may want to be tested.” On your telephone, if you have one of the new fancy phones, which I do not, it will come up NYS Contact Tracing. You should answer that call. It’s not a hoax, it’s not a scam, it’s not a fraud. That is an official message saying New York State Contact Tracing is calling. So if you get that message, take that phone call it’s for your health, it’s for your family’s health. Small businesses are struggling. The numbers of small businesses that they’re projecting may not come back are really staggering. We’re trying to do everything we can on a state level, I hope the federal government passes an additional small business relief program, but we are extending the sales tax filing.

Governor Cuomo: (08:26)
We’ve extended it from March 20th to May 19th, we’re now going to extend this to June 22nd. We understand that they have financial issues, obviously. So the state is doing everything that they can. On schools, we adopted a statewide policy for our schools. May 1st, we announced K to 12 and college would be closed for the rest of the academic year. Schools obviously pose risks they’re places of gathering, they’re on buses, they’re in classrooms. How do you reduce density in the classroom? How do you reduce density in a cafeteria, on a school bus, et cetera? How do you get children to wear masks? And we have another development that we’re tracking, which is the COVID related child illness. Ms. Russo’s done great work on this.

Governor Cuomo: (09:22)
I believe, and I’ve said this from the start, this did not present as a COVID situation because it’s not respiratory. And we were told early on that children are not affected by COVID, and that was one of the pieces of news that actually reduced anxiety early on. We’re now starting to see that children who test positive for COVID or test positive for COVID antibodies are developing these inflammatory symptoms, inflammation of the blood vessel, inflammation of the heart, but it’s quite serious and we’ve lost a number of children. New York State Department of Health was the first to really investigate this. The more they investigated, the more cases they found. Last Thursday, there were seven countries that also investigated and found cases. There were 17 states that found cases, this was last Thursday. Today, there are 13 countries and 25 states. This is one of those situations where the more they look, I believe, the more they’re going to find. So when we’re talking about schools, again, the facts have changed from the “experts”, because there are no experts on this COVID virus. I’ve learned that the hard way. Children are not affected, well, now, maybe children are affected. And when you’re talking about schools, and you’re talking about children, and you’re talking about density-

Governor Cuomo: (11:02)
And you’re talking about children and you’re talking about density, exploring the situation and making sure that this is not a widespread situation effecting children. They’re not even sure the duration after the COVID exposure that this might occur, because this is all a case of first impression, but this is a related issue that does affect children. And obviously it’s something we’re very concerned about. So question was on summer school, would summer school open. Summer school is not going to open statewide for in class teaching. It will be through distance learning, and meal programs and childcare services for essential employees will continue. In terms of opening up school for the fall, it’s still too early to make that determination. We want to get more information on this inflammatory syndrome. We also want to see how the development for treatment of vaccine proceeds. We will issue guidelines beginning of June on what schools would need to do to come up with a plan to prepare to open.

Governor Cuomo: (12:20)
The schools will do those plans, provide them to the state in July. The state will approve those plans or not approved those plans in July, all in preparation for an opening in September. But again, we don’t want to make that decision until we have more facts. And as the facts keep changing, prudence dictates that you don’t make a decision until it’s timely so you have the most recent facts to make the decision. We’re coming up to Memorial Day weekend. State, downstate beaches that are open tomorrow. Jones Beach, Sunken Meadows, Heather Hills, Robert Moses. They’re on long Island. Those beaches open at 6:00 AM, they close at 9:00 PM. Swimming is allowed from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and there’s like Welch Beach and Harriman State Park. Just a note on these beaches, there are certain rules on beaches that are operating, primarily 50% capacity and then social distancing on the beach.

Governor Cuomo: (13:23)
No contact activities, obviously. Social distancing will be enforced. Masks are required to be worn when social distancing isn’t possible. But there is such a demand in the New York City area to get to a beach, to get some respite. It’s Memorial Day weekend, people want to get out of the homes. 50% capacity. Those beaches may reach capacity at 10, 11 in the morning. So that’s something to take into consideration. I’m a Queens boy, it’s a ride to these beaches, and you don’t want to take that ride and get all the way out there and find out the beach is already closed. Again, this is a first time for all of us, but 50% capacity with this pent up demand? Those parking lots will reach capacity very quickly. So take that into consideration when you’re making your plans. This week is national EMS week, and it’s a time to thank the EMS workers who just were on the front lines and did a magnificent job.

Governor Cuomo: (14:48)
Some of them actually gave their lives to this, and we are all very, very grateful to them. The EMS workers, as well as all the frontline workers. But to those who we lost in this battle, and it was a battle. It is a battle. We want to say a special condolences to their families. Really, everybody knew. They knew what inferno they were running into. And they ran into the fire for us. Everybody knew COVID-19 was dangerous, but they didn’t stay home. They didn’t call in sick. Some people volunteered to come from across the country to help us here in New York and they lost their lives. We should remember that.

Governor Cuomo: (15:35)
When we were in the midst of this now, when we get a chance to reflect on what has been done here, what we’ve gone through and how people reacted. Winston Churchill, never was so much owed by so many to so few. COVID-19, it could kill you. Everyone stay home except the frontline workers and essential workers. We need you to go to work. Well, I thought you just said COVID-19 could kill me? Yes, but you have to go to work anyway. And they did. And they did. Hospital workers, NYPD, fire department, EMS, grocery store workers, delivery boys, delivery women. They showed up, God bless them. God bless them. And we thank them. Questions, comments?

Speaker 1: (16:28)
The number of summer camps, at least that are sleep away that have already made a kind of decision to close for the summer that they can safely reopen. In terms of day camps, is that a different standard or are you going to have information about whether or not some of them can go forward and open? I know that we’re fast approaching a deadline on schools, both for summer school in September, but what about camps?

Governor Cuomo: (16:47)
Yeah. Do we have a deadline for camps?

Speaker 2: (16:52)
[inaudible 00:16:52] guidelines were prepared, as the governor mentioned, with the new COVID related illnesses in children. We’re re-looking at those guidelines to make sure that we’re not doing this too early. So there are guidelines that apply to daycare presently, or we’re really looking at the guidelines for summer camps, non-sleep away camps, just to make sure that those guidelines actually still work in light of what we’re newly finding, right? With the children and that growing number, which is now at 157.

Speaker 1: (17:24)
[inaudible 00:17:24] you think it’s still possible to reopen [inaudible 00:17:25]?

Speaker 2: (17:26)
If we can prepare guidelines and the Department of Health feels that you can do it safely. Right? So right now, we had guidelines that were in place for daycare right now with this new population and the new number of cases, which are increasing every day. Before we go ahead and say, “We want to open more.” Right? Places where children can congregate. We want to make sure that you can do it and mitigate it within the guidelines. And we haven’t made that determination yet.

Governor Cuomo: (17:55)
Zach, one of the cautions here is … Look, you know me, you know my personality. I tend to be a typical new Yorker. I’m aggressive. I want New York to be the first, the best. I understand the desire, reopen everything. Let’s go. We’ve been on pause for too long. The economy is slow. I don’t have a paycheck. I have to get out of the house. We’re all about energy and aggressiveness in New York. The caution flag is they keep changing the facts on us. We make a decision based on facts, but then the facts change and you revisit the same decision with a different set of facts and it’s different.

Governor Cuomo: (18:42)
Well, if you get this disease, you have antibodies and then you’re immune. Okay, so let’s plan that all the people who test positive for antibodies, they can be the workforce that goes back safely because they can’t get infected again. They can’t get reinfected. That was the fact they gave us. So we test, that’s why antibody test came up. That’s why there was such a demand. We do the antibody test. You’re positive for antibodies. You are clear to go back to work. Okay? Hold on. We’re not sure about that anymore. What do you mean? You said if they had the antibodies, they were immune. Yeah. But now we’re not so sure. Okay. New set of facts, children are not affected. Okay. Let’s see what we do about camps. Let’s see what we do about school. Hold on. Children may be affected.

Governor Cuomo: (19:37)
This inflammatory syndrome is more frightening than COVID respiratory on this in some ways, because it inflames the heart. Well, we know it exists. We don’t know how widespread it is, but the more we look, the more we find it. And in one week we doubled the number of countries who now found it. And we doubled the number of states. What do you do about summer camps? I say, have the same conversation with our health experts. I say, let’s put it this way. I want to send my children to day camp. Should I send my children to day camp? Is it safe? Until we have this answer on this pediatric syndrome, as a parent, until I know how widespread this is, I would not send my children to day camp. And if I won’t send my children to day camp, I wouldn’t ask anybody else to send their children to day camp. It’s that simple. And they’re still exploring this. So you make a decision on the facts. What do you do when they keep changing the facts? A little caution flag, especially when you’re talking about children.

Speaker 3: (21:01)
Governor, following up on this New York aggressive distance strength. When we were the early hotspot, some other governors by executive order decided to sort of prevent us from going there. Hawaii, places like that. Now in June, if flights start coming here more and more often, it’s sort of the reverse. What do you do, as the governor here to, at our airports, do something beyond what’s being done now? And are we at a point where they’re a little bit more, to use the word, aggressive against people who come and making sure they quarantine than we are at the moment?

Governor Cuomo: (21:41)
Well, you’re right. The tables have turned somewhat. New York, our infection rate is going down. You look at those numbers, New Yorkers have done a phenomenal job of doing what they needed to do to flatten that curve. Another new expression that nobody would have heard of last year, but now-

Governor Cuomo: (22:03)
Another new expression that nobody would have heard of last year, but now everybody knows. And the infection rate in New York is coming down. The infection rate in the rest of the nation is going up. You have some states that have more cases than they’ve ever had right now. We are watching it. The ability of a state, we don’t do customs and border patrol. That is basically a federal obligation and a federal duty and a federal role. They do all the clearances of people coming in at airports. We administratively operate the airport through the port authority, but it’s federal law and federal agents that can stop people from coming in, that can quarantine at an airport. It’s questionable about what the state’s role is, but it’s something we’re watching. Taking temperatures of people coming in, asking questions of people coming in is something we’re considering.

Speaker 4: (23:00)
Would you say it’s unacceptable, the feds are letting us down, so I have to step in? Could that happen?

Governor Cuomo: (23:06)
Yeah. It raises legal questions and policy questions, but it is something we’re watching.

Speaker 5: (23:15)
Governor, a new model from Columbia University suggests that fewer than 4,300 people could have died in the New York Metro area had the state implemented a stay at home order earlier on March 8th. Mayor de DeBlasio said today, “I wish we had known more because we would have been able to do more.” I’m wondering if you think the state could have and should have acted earlier in implementing a stay at home order.

Governor Cuomo: (23:43)
Yeah, I think it’s, frankly, this situation is worse than the story suggests. We may lose 100,000 people in this country to COVID. If this country knew more and knew it earlier, I think we could have saved many, many more lives. I mean, when you think about it, in retrospect, the virus is in China November and December, everybody knows that. We do a China travel ban February 1. President did it. And some people said at that time he was criticized that it was too early. We do a European travel ban March 16th. Okay? By the time you get to March 16th, it starts in China November, December. You then have January, February, March. We now know the virus left China, got on a plane, and went to Europe. And from Europe, the virus got on a plane and came to the United States and came to New York. January, February, March. March 16th, European travel ban. Three million Europeans travel to New York State, three million. If you knew that the virus left China November, December, and went to Europe, you would have done a European travel ban December 31, China travel ban December 31. How many lives could you have saved?

Governor Cuomo: (25:44)
So I think it’s actually, when you start to do Monday morning quarterbacking, I think it goes back before that. New York Times doesn’t call for a close down until March 24th. Think about it. March 24th. Forget March 24th. Should have been December 31st. But who knew the virus left China? Who knew the virus went to Europe? Who knew the virus was already here January, February, March? Now who should have known? It’s above my pay grade as Governor of one state. But what federal agency? What international health organization? I don’t know. It’s not what I do. It’s not my responsibility. But somebody has to answer that question. November, December, it’s in China. Everybody says it’s coming from China’s, it’s coming from China, it’s coming from China. It came from China. It left China. What do you think, it was going to sit in China and wait for you to get there? No. It traveled like everybody else traveled. We all talk about mobility, et cetera. November, December in China. We don’t act until March? Zach.

Zach: (27:10)
Governor, state lawmakers are reconvening next week. Are there any issues that you would want them to address? And have you been involved in any discussions with the legislative leaders on what can still be done in the upcoming weeks and months?

Governor Cuomo: (27:21)
I talk to the legislative leaders on every significant thing I do with the executive order. So I’ve been talking to them all along. I understand the legislators have been working very hard. They’re in touch with people on the district. And people think, “Well, they’re not in Albany, they’re not working.” No, they’re working. I think they’re working harder than they’ve ever worked, by the way. Because the demands in the district are very high. But they’ve been involved with everything we’re doing. And whatever they plan to do, we’ll talk about.

Zach: (27:55)
Any thoughts on what could still done through the legislature for the rest of the year?

Governor Cuomo: (28:03)
Well, look, you’re in the middle of a situation that no one has ever seen before. So the range of what you could do is almost limitless. The question is what do you want to do? And what can you do? Right? We’re waiting for Washington to act. We’re desperate for Washington’s action. If Washington does not provide federal relief, because we have such a big deficit, I want to make sure New Yorkers know what will happen. Washington’s far away. What difference does it really make? It’s all politics. This legislation makes a difference. If we don’t get federal funding, loss of school aid, loss of funding to hospitals, because that’s the state budget, right? Where does the state budget go? It goes to education, it goes to healthcare. That’s where our funding goes. And then it goes to local governments. Loss of school aid, loss of hospital aid, loss of funding to local governments. That’s police, fire, first responders.

Zach: (29:10)
Details on cuts come out in the upcoming week, then?

Governor Cuomo: (29:13)
We have to, yeah, well, we have to see what Washington does. Otherwise, you know the equation. If we don’t get federal funding, we will have to cut those areas about 20%. That’s where we are.

Speaker 6: (29:29)
Governor, governor. Thank you, first of all, for your kind words. I appreciate that very much.

Governor Cuomo: (29:35)
Thank you for your good work.

Speaker 6: (29:39)
Thank you. And for yours. Regarding the cases of children with inflammatory illness, and then I got to ask a question for Andrew Siff if you’ll allow me. Can you just update us on the numbers? How many do we have now? Have you revised the number of deaths that you believe are attributable to this in New York state above what we knew about previously? And what can you tell us about the curve of these cases? Does it seem to be mirroring what you saw? I know you said we don’t know how long the lag time is, but I guess my question is what makes you think so far that what we’ve seen is only the tip of the iceberg?

Governor Cuomo: (30:16)
The only update on the numbers is we have now 159 cases we’re investigating. I said the tip of the iceberg, let’s say, 10 days ago or one week ago, whenever this came. Time all blurs for me in this. Tip of the iceberg was right because in one week, we doubled the number of countries and we doubled the number of states. That’s what I mean by the tip of the iceberg. Also, I wouldn’t call this a curve the way we talk about curves. There’s not really a curve of the infection rate. This a discovery phase we’re in. The more they look, the more they find, right? So you have a universe of children who have had this inflammatory syndrome across the country, across the world. You’re now saying to people, “We’ll go back and look at those same cases through the lens of possible COVID infection.” And they’re rediscovering now or coming to a different analysis now once they’re checking for COVID. The more they look, I believe the more they will find.

Governor Cuomo: (31:32)
Your specific question, I haven’t gotten any information on. In other words, from a point of infection or resolution of the infection, meaning you have antibodies, how long until the onset of this syndrome? I don’t believe they have an answer on that yet, which is what’s frightening. They’re now starting to say, “Well, you could have these antibodies and these antibodies may have a negative effect on your system.” Because we’ve never seen these antibodies before for this virus. And now after one week or two weeks or three weeks or a month with these antibodies, you may be experiencing symptoms like this. But they’re all just discovering it. That’s what’s so difficult and frightening about this. There is no roadmap.

Speaker 6: (32:28)
And then on the other subject, if I can-

Governor Cuomo: (32:31)
An Andrew Siff question?

Speaker 6: (32:32)
An Andrew Siff question.

Governor Cuomo: (32:32)
Yeah, yeah, they are always annoying questions. Did you ever notice that? I’m kidding. He’s a good fellow.

Speaker 6: (32:38)
I’d have to disagree.

Governor Cuomo: (32:38)
Yeah. I know you would have to.

Speaker 6: (32:40)
How can Connecticut open bars and restaurants while New York community is just two miles away? Can’t. Whatever happened to your concept of regional synchronicity?

Governor Cuomo: (32:52)
Yeah, we are coordinating with all the regions. We said from day one, coordination does not mean, and collaboration does not mean uniformity. There won’t be uniformity.

Governor Cuomo: (33:03)
… Does not mean uniformity. There won’t be uniformity because you have areas of different density. You have areas with different infection rate. We don’t have uniformity across our own state. New York City is one situation, Long Island is another situation, Westchester’s another situation. Upstate, we’re already reopening. So, it’s not uniformity. It’s collaboration because what we do in Albany might affect the Mid-Hudson, might affect what they do in Jersey, might affect what Connecticut does, might affect … So, it’s the collaboration. And it has been going well, but Connecticut has a different situation than we have going here in terms of density, numbers, infection rate, hospitalization rate. Their reality is a different reality.

Speaker 7: (33:55)
Governor, when it came to shutting down, the shutdown of the schools, it seemed the city and the state were on different pages. That seems to be the case now with the reopening. Why is it so difficult to get on the same page? And how do you bring clarity to New Yorkers about reopening?

Governor Cuomo: (34:16)
I don’t think we’re on a different page at all on schools and reopening. My position is I don’t have a position. I don’t know whether or not they should reopen yet. We’re getting more information. We’re getting more data, and we’ll make a decision on the fall reopening in a timely way. We’re telling them, “Go ahead, do your plans. Tell me how you would take a classroom, reduce the density. Tell me how you would reduce density on school bus. Tell me how you would reduce density in the cafeteria setting, etc, etc. Give us those plans by July.” Then we have to make a decision about September. But I don’t think there’s a difference of opinion or position between the state and the city. Are you aware of that?

Speaker 8: (35:07)
No, we speak to the city 17 times a day. We’ve been in lockstep on everything. The indicators that they laid out initially lineup almost identically with our indicators. We did the religious ceremonies decision, it was something that they agreed with on beaches. We wanted to take into account the local situations, and that was something that I know Mayor de Blasio supported. So, we’ve been operating in lockstep with the city.

Speaker 7: (35:30)
Sometimes the messaging seems a little different.

Governor Cuomo: (35:36)
Well, forget the city. I can tell you this. There are 700 school districts in the state. I closed down, this is a decision we do statewide, I closed down all schools. When I closed down all the schools, of the 700 school districts, if you were to have polled them or taken a vote, 550 of them would have disagreed with what I was doing. In retrospect, it turned out right but if you were to ask all those 700, of those 700, the overwhelming majority were against the close down. Now, they have a different, frankly, set of concerns than I do. You’re operating a school district, you’re going to then go to a remote system. This is a major transformation. How do I do it? But you have 700 school districts. Nobody’s been here before? Yeah, you’re going to have 700 different opinions. But you have one decision-maker, but you have 700 different opinions.

Speaker 9: (36:50)
Thank you, Governor. My question is again about this inflammatory syndrome, that’s been happening in kids. You mention oftentimes that you struck a partnership with the Rockefeller University and the New York City Genome Center. Could you please elaborate on what the goal of that partnership is? And did they have any findings so far or if it’s too early? And also, if you can talk about initially, I think you said it was effecting children of all races, but doctors discovered that there’s a pattern and it’s effecting more minority children.

Governor Cuomo: (37:31)
Yeah. I can get you the breakdown of the number of children. The work with Rockefeller and the Genome Center, they’re trying to figure out why these children? Is there something in their DNA code? Is there some common denominator among these children? Why are these children effected when other children aren’t infected? That’s basically what they’re trying to find out. There hasn’t been any recent development of any significance. This kind of research tends to be time intensive. But they’re trying to figure out what it is, and why is it, and are certain children more at risk because the initial finding is so broad. It goes from less than one year old, a child less than one year old to 18, 19, 21 years old. That’s a big range. Male, female. Now it’s countries all across the globe. So, they’re trying to narrow the universe to see if there’s some common linkage, genetic or otherwise, among these children. But they haven’t found anything yet. I can get you the most recent breakdown of the cases that we have in New York. I can get you that today. Last question?

Speaker 10: (38:59)
So, I just wanted to ask on the premise of reopening, so New York City food lines are growing, businesses are shutting up and Mayor de Blasio’s saying that we have to reopen by early to mid-June. Did you discuss this with Mayor de Blasio or is this news? Also, how much longer can New York City be closed just considering the dire situation, financial situation, for many people?

Governor Cuomo: (39:28)
Yeah. Look, it’s a very, very difficult place to be, right? It’s, you have financial stress. You have personal stress. On the other hand, you have the possibility of hospitalization or death, right? So, there is no good choice here and we want to find the root that gets us between the two. We don’t want financial ruin, but we don’t want death either, right? So, that’s the balance we’re trying to find. Well, how do you find that balance? You do it on the science, and you do it on the data and you do it on the numbers. What’s the infection rate? What’s the hospitalization rate? What’s the death rate? And find that path through the middle using the data. We have the best scientific thinking and the best data analysis, and we have a set of seven criteria that just measure the infection rate and the spread, again which is determined by how people act. That’s why when you have these gatherings at parks or bars and nobody’s wearing a mask, you know, we have nobody to blame but the person in the mirror, right? It’s our actions that are creating the infections.

Governor Cuomo: (40:55)
But we have those mathematical metrics and they guide the reopening for New York City like they do for Nassau and Suffolk and Westchester and Buffalo and Rochester. The same numbers, same metrics all across the state. It’s just how that locality fits with those metrics. And you can’t do it by time. If you make those numbers tomorrow, you open tomorrow. If you make them in a month, then you reopen in a month. But you don’t reopen until you can reopen safely because the last thing we want is to go back where we were on the other side of the mountain, right? We saw the spike, we then saw a very slow decline that took a lot of pain and a lot of time. We don’t want to make a mistake now and go back to a spike. That would be the worst case scenario.

Speaker 8: (41:52)
And if I could just add. I don’t believe that’s what Mayor de Blasio said. I believe what Mayor de Blasio said is it looks like we’re on track for June based on the metrics, with a big asterisk for what happens between now and then. And again, we are on the exact same page with them. Based on the metrics, that is what it looks like.

Governor Cuomo: (42:06)
Thank you, guys.

Speaker 10: (42:10)
[inaudible 00:42:10] Mayor de Blasio?

Governor Cuomo: (42:12)
Yes, he said we all have the same numbers and the same criteria. The only question is when we hit those numbers. And that comes down to what people do. That’s why I’m watching Zack think. I’ll see you guys, thanks.