Mar 20, 2020
Andrew Cuomo Orders New York “On Pause”: Transcript of March 20 Briefing
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York state ordered NY “on pause” today, essentially setting a strict quarantine restriction due to COVID-19. California gave a similar order last night. Read the full transcript right here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev for free and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:46)
Happy Friday. Almost time for the weekend. Query. Is there a weekend if you didn’t work during the week? Let me introduce who we have here today starting at the far left. James Malatras, who everybody knows. Budget Director Robert Mujica, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, Commissioner from the Health Department and General Patrick Murphy. General Patrick Murphy. General Patrick Murphy was in charge of our National Guard for many years, did an outstanding job. I’ve been with him in many emergency situations over the years. He’s a man who leads from the front, so he’s my type of leader. He had so much fun that he retired and then he came and joined us as Commissioner of Homeland Security.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:41)
This team and the team we have working on this, New Yorkers should have total confidence because they have done it before. They have been in this situation. Not this exact situation, but they’ve dealt with emergencies and they’ve handled them all very well, so they are proven. Let’s go through this for an update on where we are today. Overview of the system, everybody knows what we’re dealing with. It’s preventing overload of the healthcare system, so the number of acute cases that are coming into the healthcare system, the growth in the number of acute cases must match the capacity of the healthcare system and that’s what we’ve been working on. We watch the rate of hospitalizations, we watch the rate of ICU hospitalizations even more closely. It’s the difference between how many beds you need versus how many ICU beds. And the real focal point, the rate of ventilated patients because that goes to the number of ventilators, as we’ve been discussing. So those are the three most critical points.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:50)
We need more beds. We’ve been saying that. We know that. We’ve been working on it. There was a discussion with all the hospitals across the state of New York today. There’s about a 50,000 bed capacity. That has to be increased. It has to be increased in the existing hospitals. We’re planning to cancel all non-critical elective surgeries. By definition, elective surgeries that are non-critical can be done at a different time, and now is the time not to do them. We informed the hospitals of that, we’re going to set a date probably next week for that. That will free up between 25% to 35% of the existing hospital beds. We also instructed all the hospitals to maximize capacity. We want to know from each hospital, how many beds can you get in your hospital? We’re waiving the Department of Health and DFS regulations about space, et cetera. This would be for short term emergency basis, but we want a plan from every hospital. If you use every available space, how many beds can you get in the hospital? And we started that a few weeks ago, but that is now coming to a critical point.
Andrew Cuomo: (08:06)
With the more beds, you need more staff, so we’re going to nursing schools, medical schools, asking retired doctors and nurses to come back into service. Supplies are a major issue. PPE, gloves, gowns, mask suppliers. I am now asking all product providers, all companies who are in this business, we will pay a premium for these products. If you are a business that doesn’t manufacture these exact items but if you have equipment and personnel and you believe that you could manufacture these items, they’re not complicated, a mask is not a complicated item to make. A PPE gown is not a complicated item. Gloves, nitrile gloves are not a complicated item. If you can make them, we will give you funding to do it, and we will give you funding to get the right equipment to get the personnel, et cetera.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:14)
I’m asking businesses to be creative. I’m even looking on the state side. As you know, we went into the hand sanitizer business, which we’re now increasing, by the way. We’ve opened additional hand sanitizer manufacturing areas. But I’ve also spoken to the state facilities that make uniforms. If you can make a uniform, why can’t you make a mask? And we’re researching that. But it’s that kind of creativity we need from businesses. I can’t mandate that businesses make something, but I can offer financial incentives and that’s what we’re doing. Any business that’s interested should contact Empire State Development Corporation. They will get on it right away. Eric Gertler is the head of that.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:03)
Any company that wants to sell product should contact my office, the Executive Chamber, Simonida Subotic, at that number. There are also a number of companies that have masks. Goldman Sachs donated 100,000 masks to the state of New York and I want to thank them. But if you have masks, offices that are non-essential right now, there are dentists offices that are closed, there are clinics that are closed. We need those masks, those gowns, gloves, and we need them now.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:45)
In terms of building more beds, as I said, we’ve had the Army Corps of Engineers here and we’re working with them. There’s Lieutenant General Todd Semonite who is a really top professional. Ironically, I worked with him when I was at the Department of Housing and Urban Development building housing on Native American reservations at the Pine Ridge Reservation, so he’s been with the corps a long time. He’s top shelf. We’re looking at a possible number of locations for large temporary facilities. Javits Center, a number of CUNY sites, a number of SUNY sites, St. John’s University wants to be helpful, Fordham University, so we are looking at all these sites and they are all under analysis. Where do we have the space, where could we get up a temporary facility, how quickly?
Andrew Cuomo: (11:41)
It’s ventilators, ventilators, ventilators. That is the greatest need. We’re notifying any health department in the state, if you have a ventilator and you are not using it at this time or it is non-essential to your use, we want it. If you are a regulated health facility, we are asking you by order of the Department of Health to make that ventilator available. We will purchase it from you. You could lend it to us, but we need ventilators. And anyone who has them now, please call the New York State Department of Health at that number.
Andrew Cuomo: (12:27)
Again, there are a lot of medical offices that have ventilators that are not operational now and they’re just in the corner of the office. We need those ventilators. The ventilators are to this war what missiles were to World War II, right? Rosie the Riveter? We need ventilators. That is the key piece of equipment. We can get the beds, we’ll get the supplies by hook or by crook, but a ventilator is a specific piece of equipment, these are people with a respiratory illness, we need the ventilators.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:11)
The number one opportunity to make a difference here is to flatten the curve, flatten the increase in the number of cases, as we’ve talked about. Flatten the increase of the number of cases coming into the hospital system. And the best way to do that is by reducing density. Density control. Density control valve, right? And that’s what we have been doing all along. We’re going to take it to the ultimate step, which is we’re going to close the valve, all right? Because the rate of increase in the number of cases portents a total overwhelming of our hospital system. So we’re going to put out an executive order today, New York State on PAUSE. Policies that Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone. Uniform Safety for Everyone. Why? Because what I do will affect you and what you do will affect me. Talk about community and interconnection and interdependence. This is the very realistic embodiment of that. We need everyone to be safe, otherwise, no one can be safe.
Andrew Cuomo: (14:39)
We’ve studied all the other countries, we’ve talked to people all across the globe about what they did, what they’ve done, what worked, what doesn’t work, and that has all informed this policy. Two basic rules. Only essential businesses will be functioning. People can work at home, God bless you, but only essential businesses …
Andrew Cuomo: (15:03)
Home, God bless you.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:03)
But only essential businesses can have workers commuting to the job or on the job. Second rule remain indoors to the greatest extent to protect physical and mental health.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:17)
On the businesses, on the valve, we reduced it to 50% of the workforce. We then reduced it to 75% of the workforce must stay home, and today we’re bringing it to 100% of the workforce must stay home. These are non-essential services. Essential services have to continue to function. Grocery stores need food, pharmacies need drugs. Your internet has to continue to work. The water has to turn on when you turn the faucet. So there are essential services that will continue to function, but 100% of the workforce. And when I talk about the most drastic action we can take, this is the most drastic action we can take.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:06)
We also have specific rules for people’s conduct. First is for the, what we call the quote unquote, “Vulnerable population.” And remember, many people will get this disease. Different countries estimate 70, 80% of the population. People will get it. People will recover. That’s what’s going to happen for the vast majority. That’s what’s happening in this state for the vast majority. Who are we worried about? Seniors, compromised immune system, people with underlying illnesses.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:48)
Where are the places where really worried about? Nursing homes, senior congregate facilities. We need real diligence with vulnerable populations. And there’s been a lot of confusion, and a lot of different theories, and a lot of mixed information. I’ve gone through it myself with my own family. As I said, we have my mother who lives alone. Everybody wants to help, and we’ve gone back and forth. Who should go visit mom? Should mom go to my sister’s house? Should mom go to this house? Nobody knows for sure.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:28)
I asked Commissioner Zucker, ” Speak to every health official, get the best rules you can to protect our senior citizens, and people with vulnerable populations.” And that’s what these rules are.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:42)
Remain indoors. Go outside for solitary exercise. Prescreen all visitors and aides. Don’t visit households with multiple people. Don’t go to your daughter’s house. “Mom doesn’t want to be alone.” I understand, but you bring her into your house, and you have 10 people there, and they’re coming in and out, and your daughters have friends. That is a mistake. That is a mistake.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:09)
“Well, we’re going to go visit mom. I’m going to bring the home family to see mom.” No, not now. A vulnerable person should wear a mask when in the company of others. To the greatest extent, everyone in the presence of a vulnerable person should wear a mask. They shouldn’t be on public transportation unless it is urgent and absolutely necessary.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:33)
Well what does that mean? It means urgent and absolutely necessary. It means what the words say. I call it Matilda’s Law. My mother’s name is Matilda. Everybody’s mother, father, sister, friend in a vulnerable population, this is about protecting them. It’s about protecting them. What you do, what you do is highly, highly affects their health and wellbeing. The instinct to love, I want to be with them. I want my kids. Mom wants to see the kids. Be smart. My mother and your mother.
Andrew Cuomo: (19:20)
For non-vulnerable populations, these are the rules. No non-essential gatherings, any concentration of individuals is because you’re an essential business, and an essential workforce. When in public social distancing, at lists at least six feet. Outdoor recreation is a solitary recreational exercise. It’s running, it’s hiking. It’s not playing basketball with five other people. That’s not what it is. It’s not laying in a park with 10 other people and sharing a beer. That’s not what this is.
Andrew Cuomo: (20:11)
There are people and places in New York City where it looks like life as usual. No, this is not life as usual. And accept it, and realize it, and deal with it. Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care, et cetera. Young people need to practice social distancing, avoid contact with vulnerable populations.
Andrew Cuomo: (20:42)
Precaution, alcohol wipes. We talk a lot about hands sanitizer. Since I went into the hand sanitizer business, I’m a semi-expert on hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is alcohol. That’s what it is. You can’t get hand sanitizer, get a bottle of alcohol, pour it on wipes, paper towels. That’s an alcohol wipe. Hand sanitizer now, according to the CDC, has to be over 60% alcohol to be effective. These provisions will be enforced. These are not helpful hints. This is not if you really want to be a great citizen, these are legal provisions.
Andrew Cuomo: (21:32)
They will be enforced. There will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for any business that is not in compliance. Again, your actions can affect my health. That’s where we are. So there is a social compact that we have. Government makes sure society is safe for everyone. What you do can affect my health.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:03)
There’s some bad information, especially among young people. You look at some of these videos that are going around, and some of these newscasts on what young people are saying, “I can’t get it.” Yeah, that’s wrong. That is wrong. “Well, young people can’t get it.” That is wrong. It’s just not a factual statement. 20% of coronavirus cases according to the CDC, ages 20 to 44. France, more than 50% of the coronavirus patients in ICU, under 60 years old. You can get it. “Well, I can’t transmit it if I’m not symptomatic.” No, you can transmit it if you’re not symptomatic. And even if you are young and strong and everybody’s Superman, Superwoman, “I can deal with it.” Oh yeah? You can give it to your grandparent, you can give it to your parent, and you can put somebody else’s life in danger. So just that factually a lot of these premises are wrong.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:10)
These are nothing that people don’t know. It’s nothing that we haven’t been talking about, but we have to do it, and we have to be serious. And again, it is a government responsibility. Everyone has personal freedom, everyone has personal liberty and we respect that, and I’ll always protect that. But everybody also has a responsibility to everyone else. And this is a specific case of that.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:39)
I believe in regional actions. None of these policies work unless the geographic area is an area that works. I have spoken to the governor of New Jersey, governor of Connecticut about the actions that we’re taking today. I’m going to speak with him later this afternoon. We have been coordinating to the greatest extent possible, and they’re going to be considering these policies, which again are very dramatic. And I said I’d like to do it in coordination. I understand we have somewhat of a different circumstance in New York, but they are considering it. We’ve added Pennsylvania and Delaware to the States we’re working with. And again, you can have businesses in New Jersey, if they don’t close, then their workers are driving into New York. Businesses in Connecticut stay open, you need New Yorkers to drive up to those businesses. So regional action is the best. We’re talking, I’ll speak with them later today.
Andrew Cuomo: (24:46)
The number of cases, and you can see why we’ve taken these dramatic actions. Total positive up to 7,000. 2,900 new positive cases. Now I’ve told you in the past that the number of cases is relative to the number of tests. I’ve also said that New York has been very aggressive about increasing our number of tests. We went to the federal government. We asked for authority to allow the state to run the tests as opposed to waiting for the federal government. The president granted us that ability. I ramped up all the labs in our state. We opened drive-throughs all across the state.
Andrew Cuomo: (25:34)
We have the testing so high in New York right now that we’re testing per capita more than China or South Korea, okay? And China and South Korea obviously had a much longer time to ramp up. So we have done a great job at ramping up the number of tests. But when you ramp up the number of tests, you’re going to get more positive cases. “Well now we’re more worried!” No because it was the reality that tests are just demonstrating what. And again, if we could do more tests, you would find more positives. And finding positives is a good thing because then we can isolate and we can track back.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:25)
The number of counties continues to increase and it will until that entire state is blue. Blue is not a political statement, by the way. It’s just blue versus yellow.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:39)
New York now has 7,000 cases. That compares to state of Washington that has 1000, California that has 1000 and change. So you can see that New York is in a dramatically different position, and you can see why we’re taking these actions. Now, again, New York may very well be testing at a multiple of the other states. So does New York necessarily have seven times more people who are infected than California? You don’t know. You know that we are doing more tests per capita, but you don’t know what the actual infection rate is.
Andrew Cuomo: (27:31)
In total, we have tested 32,000 people. We did 10,000 tests last night. I had said last week that we would hope to get the 6,000 tests. We’ve gotten to 10,000 tests, which again, I’m very proud of the operation, but again, that’s why you see the number going up.
Andrew Cuomo: (27:54)
The rate of hospitalization. Watch this number. It’s 18%, 1200 out of 7, 100. Again, overall perspective, look at the Johns Hopkins numbers. People will get sick, people will resolve. You look at our cases. The first case we had, the first healthcare worker, that case she was never hospitalized. She stayed home, and she now tests negative. That’s what’s going to happen with 80% of the people.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:28)
So why is New York taking these dramatic actions? We know from past history that what a locality does matters. The 1918 Spanish flu, which also reminds us that this has happened before in society, right? There’s tendency to think, “Oh, this is something new. It’s a science fiction movie.” Yeah, well in 1918 they had a flu epidemic. But St. Louis took one course of action, Philadelphia took another course of action, and it made a dramatic difference in the number of people that died.
Andrew Cuomo: (29:12)
What government did at that moment made a dramatic difference. And not nationally, locally. Yes, New York has the tightest controls in the country. You look at those numbers and you understand why. Look at the increase in the number of cases. 16 days ago we were at zero. Today we are at 2,900. Those numbers are why we’re taking these actions. Just increase that curve, and you will see it more than doubles our health care system capacity. It more than triples-
Andrew Cuomo: (30:02)
It more than triples the number of ICU beds with ventilators that we could possibly arrange. That’s why we’re taking these actions.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:19)
These actions will cause disruption. They will cause businesses to close, they’ll cause employees to stay at home, I understand that. They will cause much unhappiness, I understand that also. I’ve spoken to my colleagues around the state, the elected officials, I’ve spoken to business leaders. There is a divergence of opinion. There’s a spectrum of opinion. Some people say that we don’t need to do this. It’s going to hurt the economy, I understand that. Some people want to make it clear that they are disassociated from these actions, I understand that.
Andrew Cuomo: (31:02)
And just so we’re all clear, this is a statewide order. It’s not what your county executive is doing. It’s not what your mayor is doing. It’s not what anyone else, but me is doing. And I accept full responsibility. If someone is unhappy, if somebody wants to blame someone or complain about someone, blame me. There is no one else who is responsible for this decision.
Andrew Cuomo: (31:36)
I’ve been in public service for many years on every level of public service. I’ve managed dozens of emergencies. The philosophy that always worked for me is prepare for the worst and hope for the best. That’s what we’re doing here. When we look back at this situation 10 years from now, I want to be able to say, “I can say to the people of the state of New York, I did everything we could do. I did everything we could do,” and this is about saving lives and if everything we do saves just one life I’ll be happy.
Andrew Cuomo: (32:20)
Last point, I’d also like people to think about … and I don’t have an answer for this and it’s not what I do, but the isolation that people are feeling and the mental health consequences of what we’re doing. When we quarantined people, we quarantined about 10,000 people, 14 days you had to stay at home, and I spoke to many of them. And what they would say is physically, operationally it was difficult, but most of all they would all talk about the sense of isolation, and the feeling of isolation, and not having human contact, and how difficult that was.
Andrew Cuomo: (33:11)
I, as you know, had my daughter who was in isolation and I was very aware of what she was dealing with and what she was feeling. And I’ll tell you the truth, I had some of the best conversations with her that I have ever had. She was alone for two weeks with her own thoughts, not talking to anyone else, no noise, no activity. And we talked about things in depth that we didn’t have time to talk about in the past, or we didn’t have the courage, or the strength to talk about in the past. Feelings that I had about mistakes that I had made along the way that I wanted to express my regret, and talk through with her.
Andrew Cuomo: (34:10)
People who are in a small apartment, they’re in a house, they’re worried, they’re anxious. Just be mindful of that. Those three word sentences can make all the difference. ” I miss you.” “I love you.” “I’m thinking about you.” “I wish I was there with you.” “I’m sorry you’re going through this.” “I’m sorry we’re going through this,” that’s going to be a situation that is going to develop because we’re all in quarantine now. I mean, think about it, we’re all in various levels of quarantine and it’s hard. It’s hard economically. It’s hard everywhere, but it’s going to be hard here, it’s going to be hard here. And it takes each of us to try to help with that last.
Andrew Cuomo: (35:11)
The last announcement, with all that’s going on, I want to protect the people of the State of New York as much as I can. I’m going to stop any evictions of any residential, or commercial tenants for 90 days. There’ll be a moratorium on evictions, residential or commercial, for 90 days. I understand that may affect businesses negatively and I’ve spoken to a number of them. I don’t know who you think you’re going to rent an apartment to, now, anyway, if you kick someone out. By my mandate, you couldn’t even have your real estate agent out showing the apartment. Same with the commercial tenants, but I know that we’re going to put people out of work with what I did. I wanted to make sure I don’t put them out of their house.
Andrew Cuomo: (36:12)
What prompted the change in thinking in terms of what seems to be a shelter in place order that you’re issuing today?
Andrew Cuomo: (36:18)
It is not a shelter in place order.
But it’s effectively the same idea.
Andrew Cuomo: (36:23)
No it is not. First of all, words matter. California does not have a shelter in place order, right? They put in a new policy, it is not shelter in place, right? And this is why words matter Jesse, because people are scared and people panic. Shelter in place is used, currently, for an active shooter, or a school shooting. It was, during a nuclear event, isolate yourself in the interior room, no windows, stay there until you get the all clear sign. The “shelter in place” policy was never shelter in place. It said shelter in place except this, except this, this except this, except this. And it scared a lot of people and it panicked people. And even California doesn’t call it that anymore.
Andrew Cuomo: (37:28)
So, why am I increasing the mandates? Because the numbers are increasing. And I said, from day one, this is science and math. Watch the number, watch the trajectory. You have the density control valve. The number starts to go up, tighten the valve. If the number doesn’t slow down, tighten the valve more. If the number doesn’t slow down, tighten the valve more. If the number doesn’t slow down, close the valve. We’re closing the valve.
Speaker 1: (38:08)
When does this take effect?
Andrew Cuomo: (38:09)
Speaker 2: (38:11)
[inaudible 00:38:11] for restaurants, because they’re being told to stay at home?
Andrew Cuomo: (38:11)
Speaker 2: (38:18)
Well, does it include restaurant workers, like for delivery and all of that-
Andrew Cuomo: (38:18)
Delivery services of food are an essential service.
Speaker 3: (38:23)
What about mass transit? Obviously, you’ve got-
Andrew Cuomo: (38:25)
Mass transit is operational because we have to get people to hospitals. Mass transit is operational because we have to get the essential workers to work.
Speaker 4: (38:37)
Are you going to put it on a weekend schedule or something?
Andrew Cuomo: (38:38)
We are not doing any of that right now. Remember, this all comes down to the healthcare system, and we’re scrambling to increase the capacity of the healthcare system. We have to get nurses, doctors, healthcare workers, child care, and we need to get them to work, so the public transit system would be operational.
Speaker 5: (39:00)
Governor, is there anyone monitoring, or policing these businesses to make sure they’re abiding by this 100% rule?
Andrew Cuomo: (39:07)
We said, for the first time, this is not voluntary, it’s not helpful hints. We are going to monitor it. There will be civil fines, and there can be mandatory closures for businesses that don’t comply. I am not kidding about this. The numbers are going up at such a rate that, as I said, it’s more than double the capacity of the hospital system. It’s more than triple the capacity of the ICU system. We can’t get more ventilators. I can’t increase that side of the equation. I can’t create more ICU beds with ventilators. The only option available to us is to reduce the spread and reduce the rate of the spread.
Andrew Cuomo: (39:54)
So, close the valve. Step two, make sure people follow the regulations and the guidance, and that’s enforcement. So, if a business that’s not supposed to be open is open, yes, we will enforce it and they will be penalized. It’s also, by the way, rude, disrespectful of basic social obligations.
Speaker 6: (40:22)
Governor, can you please speak to what individuals, any penalties or fines, individuals might face if they break these rules? A cluster of young people at a park, can you speak to what-
Andrew Cuomo: (40:33)
We don’t have any individual fines, at this point. I hope they get the information. I think with young people, and we talked about this yesterday, part of it is they’re just wrong. They have the wrong information, and that’s what I’m trying to say today. They’re just wrong. I mean, I can’t tell you how many young people are out there saying, “Oh, I can’t get it. It doesn’t affect young people.” No, you’re just wrong. “I can’t transfer it,” you’re just wrong. And this is lunacy what they’re doing in some parks, in some areas hanging out on a park bench and they’re playing basketball. When you’re young, you think you’re invincible. Yeah, you’re wrong. And social distancing means social distancing. It means no more than six feet. You can’t play basketball, and stay six feet from each other. Well, you can, but you’d lose.
Speaker 6: (41:34)
But, as of this point, so no civil fines or penalties?
Andrew Cuomo: (41:37)
We have no civil fines on individuals at this time.
Governor do you want the president to use the Defense Protection Act to ramp up production of medical supplies?
Andrew Cuomo: (41:45)
Look, if I had a New York State Defense Production Act, I would use the Jesse. I don’t have it, so what I’m saying is I’ll pay businesses more. I’ll fund a new business, if you can make these products. I’m trying to make these products. If you are in this line of work, we need masks. If you are making clothing, figure out if you can make masks, I’ll fund it. So, I’m doing everything I can to increase the production. That’s besides having people all over the globe trying to buy product right? We talked about Empire State development, people literally running around China trying to buy product. So, if I had it I would use it.
[inaudible 00:42:37] you’ve mentioned stockpiles. There’s three stockpiles around the state of masks, gloves, things like that. Have those been dipped into or are you shipping those to hospitals around the state? What sort of-
Speaker 7: (42:46)
We have dipped into those and we are providing those to the hospitals that are across the state, and we’re also working to resupply them.
Can you give us a sense of how many you’ve shipped across the state?
Speaker 7: (42:57)
I’d have to look to give you an exact number.
Speaker 8: (43:00)
The federal government extend tax filing deadlines to sometime in the summer. What’s New York’s new deadline?
Andrew Cuomo: (43:08)
The deadline is the federal deadline. And Robert Mojica, the man of many facial communications, will explain it.
Robert Mojica: (43:16)
Yeah so, because of electronic filing we’re tied to the federal deadline, so our deadline will also then move with the federal deadline to the end of July.
Speaker 9: (43:25)
[inaudible 00:43:25] the sales tax deadline [inaudible 00:43:26].
Robert Mojica: (43:27)
On the sales tax deadline, we’re going to forgive interest and penalties related to the sales tax.
Speaker 9: (43:31)
So, are you pushing the deadline back?
Robert Mojica: (43:35)
It stays the same, but there’s no interest or penalties for those who can’t pay or give-
Speaker 9: (43:40)
So, if somebody misses the deadline they won’t be charged anything?
Robert Mojica: (43:42)
Andrew Cuomo: (43:43)
Robert Mojica: (43:44)
Or interest or penalties.
Andrew Cuomo: (43:46)
Penalty’s worse than the interest.
Speaker 10: (43:47)
At this point, can [inaudible 00:00:43:54]-
Andrew Cuomo: (43:50)
Speaker 10: (43:50)
Andrew Cuomo: (43:55)
Sure. We’re making hand sanitizer, by the way, and a lot of people got annoyed that we use Core Craft, which is the prison company to make hand sanitizer. The Core Craft Company was already making chemicals, detergents, automobile lubricants, hand soap, so it was in their line of work. But the hand sanitizer is distributed to prisons, public transportation facilities, state government, local governments, et cetera. And we’re increasing the production of hand sanitizer through Core Craft because we need it. The shortage has only gotten worse.
Speaker 11: (44:42)
What’s the state’s new death count as of this morning?
Andrew Cuomo: (44:48)
Do you know that?
Speaker 7: (44:48)
Andrew Cuomo: (44:50)
Speaker 11: (44:51)
How many people in New york City?
Andrew Cuomo: (44:54)
I don’t know. I can get you the breakout. Do you know off the top of your head how many in New York City?
Speaker 7: (44:57)
No, [inaudible 00:14:57].
Speaker 11: (44:57)
Do you have a range of the ages and underlying health conditions?
Andrew Cuomo: (44:57)
I’m sorry, can you say …
Speaker 12: (45:00)
[crosstalk 00:45:00] and underlying health conditions?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:03)
I’m sorry, can you say that [Giuseppe 00:45:04]?
Speaker 12: (45:05)
Do we have a range of ages for those who have died and whether or not they had underlying health issues?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:09)
It’s primarily senior citizens.
Speaker 14: (45:13)
Governor, we now know that Albany Medical Center and St. Peter’s Hospital have stopped performing tests. We understand that Ellis Hospital has run out of them. People in the capitol region, is there a place they can go to get tested?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:26)
Sorry, I was looking at the slide. I’m sorry.
Speaker 14: (45:30)
That’s okay. We’ve heard that Albany Medical Center and St. Peter’s Hospital have stopped performing tests and Ellis Hospital has apparently run out of them. So people in the capitol region who might need to be tested, where might they go?
At the Albany Medical Center, they’re still testing. We can look at other places if we feel that there aren’t enough places to provide the tests for people.
Speaker 12: (45:53)
Sorry. And actually we have worked that out. We’re working with BioReference who’s our lab that came online earlier this week and they’re going to be processing tests for Albany now.
Speaker 13: (46:01)
Also, some other states, and obviously Albany had this announcement that the only people who are going to get tested are “front line”; doctors, nurses, first responders, et cetera. And that if you’re sick and you think you might have coronavirus, the advice is going to be stay home, don’t go out, get yourself well. So are you still doing community testing statewide and what’s the thinking about if or when we need to shift that protocol?
So, what we are doing, as I mentioned originally, is to work with your health professional about that. If you need the test and it’s clinically relevant based on their assessment, we will get the test done for you. And we have sites all across the state and you can see by the numbers of how many cases we have tested.
Andrew Cuomo: (46:43)
Yeah, Jimmy. We’re testing more than anyone. It was never just healthcare professionals, right? It’s all these drive-throughs et cetera, they’re just testing people. But you have a protocol that you have to have a fever or have a symptom or have been in contact with a positive person. So it can’t just be, I want to test because I’m a lot nervous. But that’s for everyone, that protocol,
Speaker 15: (47:13)
Just to drill down on this for a second. So for a New Yorker at this point, they can go buy groceries. As of Sunday, they can go walk their dog, they can go get medicine. But beyond those sorts of activities, basically you’re telling people to stay home.
Andrew Cuomo: (47:25)
Stay home. Physical health, mental health, yeah, you need to get out to take a walk and get some fresh air. Yes. There’s a practicality, because you can’t say to someone, you must be locked in your apartment 24 hours a day for the foreseeable future by the way. Look at what you’re saying to people. This could be going on for months. Stay in your apartment for two, three, four months. That’s frightening. [crosstalk 00:00:48:06].
Andrew Cuomo: (48:07)
Excuse me. Okay, thank you, that was very nice of you, John. [inaudible 00:48:12] No I’m not going to be [inaudible 00:48:14], there was no provision.
Speaker 16: (48:17)
A lot of people have said they’re having problems getting in touch with the unemployment agency, so are you making a more streamlined process for people to [inaudible 00:48:23]?
Andrew Cuomo: (48:24)
I hadn’t heard that, but we will look at it and I’m sure we can find internet ways. We must have. Do we know?
Speaker 12: (48:33)
It’s been overrun to the point of near collapse, but we’ve been working every day to continue to restore it and build it back up. There’s obviously mass volume right now, but we are working on that.
Andrew Cuomo: (48:43)
Speaker 17: (48:45)
You’ve spoken a lot about the number of hospital beds you need and increasing capacity, but how do you build mobility into the system? A thousand hospital beds in long Island doesn’t do you any good if you have a sudden spike in [inaudible 00:48:54]. So, how do you build mobility into the system?
Andrew Cuomo: (49:03)
Good question. The number one challenge, we need 30,000 ventilators. Everything is second to that. After that we need beds, we need staff. Mobility in truth, John, we’ll move people. We’re looking at these temporary facilities. Remember how this disease progresses, you don’t come in and need an ICU unit in 15 minutes. You come in with fever, respiratory symptoms, et cetera. If you come in and you live in Suffolk and we don’t have a hospital bed in Suffolk and the hospital bed is in Queens, then we’re going to put you in Queens.
Andrew Cuomo: (49:47)
You’re right, it’s not convenient, but that’s the least of our worries right now, frankly. So wherever we have beds and equipment, that’s where we would put people. I’m even working on coordinating between upstate and downstate. We have lower numbers in upstate, so we’re coordinating the downstate need with upstate hospital beds. So it could be a person comes in from New York city, but we have a hospital bed in Albany. And if that’s what it gets to, that’s what it gets to.
Andrew Cuomo: (50:24)
If we have a hospital bed with a ventilator anywhere in the state, I would be happy. I’d be happy. If the only thing we were dealing with was complaints that you came in, in Suffolk, and you had to go to Queens, I would take that in a heartbeat.
Speaker 17: (50:45)
And you’ve also spoken about needing more medical personnel and getting [inaudible 00:05:50]. Is there anything that that non-medical New Yorkers can do to help out? Are there Volunteer opportunities, anything like that?
There is a Medical Reserve Corps that the state and the city have and they’ve been activated to help out as well.
Speaker 17: (51:07)
What about somebody watching at home who wants to pitch in and wants to help out somehow? Is there anything they can do other than just following the rules that you’ve sent them?
Andrew Cuomo: (51:13)
That’s a good question. Right now, no, but maybe in the future. But right now just don’t get yourself sick, and don’t get anyone else sick. Don’t get yourself sick and don’t get anyone else sick by your actions.
Speaker 18: (51:32)
Governor, other localities and states are running short of those swabs to do that test. How’s New York doing in terms of having those kits available? Are we running low, do you have enough of them?
Andrew Cuomo: (51:42)
Look, we’re doing more tests than anyone, knock, for America.
Speaker 19: (51:47)
Essential services. So restaurants do count as essential, what about food delivery services?
Andrew Cuomo: (51:54)
Food delivery counts.
Speaker 19: (51:58)
What about laundry services?
Andrew Cuomo: (51:58)
I don’t know. We’re working through the list of essential services now. So essential services are, society has to function, you have to be able to go to the ATM and take out money, and who’s ever on the other side of that ATM, which I don’t know, has to be there to make sure you’ve got money.
Andrew Cuomo: (52:15)
So it’s just going through those services that need to function. But not luxury services. I want to get a massage, that’s not an essential service.
Speaker 19: (52:29)
What about Verizon or Apple-
Andrew Cuomo: (52:29)
That’s an essential service. We’ve also asked the internet service providers to increase data capacity, and to do it at no charge. And we’re working through that. In other words, now you have all these people working from home, they all had data usage plans, they might exceed their data usage plan or you may overwhelm that home service capacity. So it is essential that they work on that. And as a matter of fact, I’ve asked them to increase the data available regardless of your plan and not charge customers for that.
Speaker 19: (53:09)
Okay. So for private businesses, say like Best Buy for example, has a geek squad. Would that be deemed essential?
Andrew Cuomo: (53:16)
The geek squad?
Speaker 19: (53:17)
Yeah, when people need assistance with their technology.
Andrew Cuomo: (53:21)
The geek squad. I’m going to go back and check. You got me on that.
Speaker 12: (53:25)
We’ll have the full, enumerated list out this afternoon.
Speaker 15: (53:29)
What’s your latest thinking on the economy, the state budget, if you’re kind of getting less revenue in, are we as a state going to get into a cash crunch at some point?
Andrew Cuomo: (53:38)
Speaker 15: (53:39)
So when does that happen?
Andrew Cuomo: (53:40)
Well look, the federal government just moved the filing deadline for taxes to June, July. We normally have tax payments in April. Now, when you move the filing deadline, it means you won’t pay your state taxes until June, July, which means we get no money between April and June, July. That could be $7, $8 billion to the state of New York in terms of cashflow.
Andrew Cuomo: (54:08)
The only way I sleep at night on that one is, look, it’s not just this state, it’s every state. And this is going to be federal action because the economy is devastating for every state. And also, for individuals, it’s every individual. From the guy who’s home today saying, how am I going to pay the rent? First of all, moratorium, you can’t be evicted for three months anyway, but how am I going to pay the bills? I’m laid off, the unemployment insurance doesn’t cover it. Everybody is in that situation, everybody.
Andrew Cuomo: (54:44)
And it’s going to have to be a situation that this country addresses, and this nation addresses, and the state addresses, and we will. And we will. But today, one crisis at a time. Deal with what is in front of you and let’s save as many lives as possible. And that’s what these policies do. If people want to say to me, Jimmy, three months down the road, you know what, you shouldn’t have closed all businesses. You added to the economic damage. I plead guilty. I plead guilty. I believe these policies will save lives, and I’m not willing to put a price on a human life.
Speaker 15: (55:29)
[inaudible 00:55:29] questions. Is the state going to halt paying out tax refunds or paying out other things that you are normally scheduled to pay out? And do you have a message to New Yorkers, particularly employed new Yorkers about whether they should be paying their taxes at a certain time already? Do you have any appeal to them?
Andrew Cuomo: (55:46)
We’re going to follow the federal guidelines. We have economic pressure, but they have far more economic pressures than we do. Anyone who’s trying to get through this in their daily lives, I don’t want to add to their pressure. We’ll deal with what we have to deal with.
Andrew Cuomo: (56:06)
One other point, there was a person in our press office who was exhibiting signs of a Coronavirus. They’re going to be tested, but we as a precaution, quarantined employees of the press office in the meantime, I’m going to go to work. Thank you very much.