Apr 6, 2020
Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 6
Governor Jared Polis of Colorado held a press conference on April 6 on coronavirus. Read the full transcript of his update here.
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Governor Jared Polis: (02:18)
My fellow Coloradans. I speak to you this evening as we face one of the most dire and serious threats of our lives. Exactly one month and one day ago, we confirmed the first case of this new coronavirus here in Colorado. Since then, in just one month, even though it feels like a lot longer, it seems like it’s overturned our society, turned everything upside down. The simple things that we like to take for granted have been taken away by a pandemic that shocked our state, our nation, and our world. It seems surreal. It seems like a cruel, ironic joke. Here we are, a state of people who love the outdoors suddenly quarantined inside, told not to visit our majestic mountain towns and world-class ski resorts. A state with a booming economy suddenly specked with boarded up windows and empty shops. A state of darers, dreamers and doers suddenly box stained by four walls, a floor and a ceiling.
Governor Jared Polis: (03:19)
I know many of you watching this evening are distressed, frustrated, angry, not just because we’re all stuck inside, but because we’re unsure of what the future holds for ourselves and our loved ones. We all want a timeline. When will this nightmare be over? How will we pay the rent or mortgage? How can we keep the family business afloat? How can we keep our loved ones safe?
Governor Jared Polis: (03:44)
Questions like these are keeping many Coloradans including me up at night. It’s okay to feel this way. You’re not alone. This crisis is impacting us all in so many ways. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before in our lifetimes. A severe public health emergency and a severe economic emergency hitting us at the same time. We can’t live without an open and functional economy and market. People need to be free to engage in commerce and transactions, trade and work, but we simply can’t function normally while we’re living day to day in mortal fear of a deadly virus.
Governor Jared Polis: (04:22)
The sheer size of this crisis has forced us to take a series of drastic measures that we would have thought unthinkable, unimaginable just a month ago, and in order to save lives and prevent more widespread economic damage, we need to continue to take bold action. The president and top national health experts at the Center for Disease Control has set a national goal of April 30th as a date that extreme social distancing measures like stay at home can likely end.
Governor Jared Polis: (04:51)
I’m hopeful we can get things going sooner in Colorado. We’re not just hoping, but working hard to be able to end as many of these devastating limitations on movement and commerce as quickly as possible. This evening I’m announcing that our Colorado stay at home order is now planned to end April 26th, two additional weeks beyond the current order, several days ahead of the national goal. If there’s any way to safely end it sooner, I will. And likewise if Coloradans aren’t staying at home and the numbers of dead and dying continue to pile up, it could go longer.
Governor Jared Polis: (05:26)
The reason for the April 26th date is simple, because the data and the science tells us that staying at home is our best chance, our only realistic chance to avoid a catastrophic loss of life. The death of thousands of our friends, our neighbors, our family members. We’re fighting an invisible enemy, a virus that is both deadly and extremely contagious. The fewer social interactions we have with one another, the fewer opportunities there are for people to spread the virus to others and the fewer infections we’ll have in our state. We’re also in a race against the clock because if too many people get seriously ill all at once from the virus, our healthcare system simply won’t have the capacity to handle all of those sick patients. Without an adequate supply of masks and gloves for our healthcare workers or ventilators for the critically ill and without the testing supplies that we need for mass testing and effective containment, our only option is to limit the number of person to person interactions.
Governor Jared Polis: (06:29)
Like many of you, I’m beyond furious that we’ve been forced to shut down large portions of our economy, putting tens of thousands of people out of a job. Because as the wealthiest nation on the face of the earth, we still don’t have access to the supplies and testing we need to mount a proper, more targeted response. I know that we would all rather be going back to work tomorrow instead of collecting government stimulus checks or unemployment insurance. I know that business owners will have to make even harder decisions this month. I know that we all want this to end as soon as possible.
Governor Jared Polis: (07:06)
But if the choice is between a temporary shutdown and a catastrophic loss of life, the choice is clear. These closures and restrictions will be temporary, but when you lose a life, you lose it forever. And in fact, the economic consequences would be even more severe and more prolonged if we completely overload our hospital system. The longer this economic paralysis lasts, the fewer jobs there will be to return to and the more difficult the recovery will be.
Governor Jared Polis: (07:40)
Thankfully, a silver lining is beginning, just beginning, to emerge in Colorado. The data’s telling us that thanks to the actions we’ve taken and you’ve taken, we’re starting to make progress. At the beginning of this crisis, the number of positive cases in Colorado was doubling every one and a half days. Today, the number of positive cases is about doubling every six to seven days. That means the spread of the virus is beginning to slow. This is a remarkable achievement by you, the people of this state, and I want to thank each and every one of you who’s been taking this seriously and staying home. You’re truly helping to turn the tide against this deadly virus.
Governor Jared Polis: (08:22)
This is not the time to abandon what’s been working. Quite the opposite. We need to keep up the good work for a while longer so we can eventually return to a level of normalcy in our economy and our society. That means washing your hands frequently with soap and water, wiping down surfaces, avoiding touching your face. Most importantly, we need to stay at home and not go out unless it’s absolutely necessary. And when we do go out, you need to stay at least six, eight, 10 feet away from others and wear a cloth facial covering or a mask when you absolutely need to leave your home. And you don’t need to buy a mask or even buy craft materials for one, you can simply make one from an old t-shirt or just use a scarf. Really any facial mask that covers your mouth and your nose works as long as it doesn’t interfere with your own breathing.
Governor Jared Polis: (09:09)
By following these steps, you’re saving lives. Could be the life of your grandparent, your parent, your aunt, your uncle, your cousin, your child, your friend. Could even be your own life. The better job we do of staying in, the sooner we’ll be able to go back out. I know this isn’t easy, but if we all do our part, we can beat this virus and get back to living our lives.
Governor Jared Polis: (09:36)
Earlier today, I spoke with a family where both parents, Andrew and Christine, both children and both maternal grandparents were all sickened with coronavirus. Five out of six are fully recovered and we hope the grandma is well on the way to feeling better. They told me that the virus impacted each member of the family differently and the outcome could have been different if they didn’t have access to medical attention.
Governor Jared Polis: (09:59)
Now look, 80% to 90% of those who get this virus won’t need medical assistance, but between 10% and 20% will need hospitalized care. Right now, by using this valuable time to prepare for this coming surge in patients, we can make sure that everyone who has a chance to make it gets that fighting chance. We’re moving heaven and earth to ensure that our healthcare workers have the gowns, the masks, the gloves, the face shields to keep them safe because they are our heroes. They’re the ones who will take care of us when we’re sick and we owe it to them to keep them healthy.
Governor Jared Polis: (10:37)
We’re building more hospital beds and working to acquire more ventilators to make sure we have the capacity to handle the projected increase of severely sick patients, and I want to thank Colorado hospitals and the Army Corps of Engineers for constructing hospital space to meet the needs. Finally, we’re using our creativity, our innovative, scrappy and independent spirit to obtain more tests so that we can have widespread testing and containment like South Korea and Taiwan who’ve been able to successfully return to a level of normalcy by testing, quarantining and isolating individuals instead of quarantining an entire society.
Governor Jared Polis: (11:19)
Recovery from both the virus and the economic devastation is possible and we will get there, but all of these efforts will be in vain and many lives will be lost if we fail to do our crucial patriotic duty and stay home. By staying home and wearing a mask when you have to go out and practicing distancing and good hygiene, you’re literally saving lives. The need to limit your interactions is so great that the federal government is literally paying us to stay home. If you make up to $75,000 as an individual or $150,000 as a couple, you’ll get $1,200 per person. And no matter what your income level is, you’ll get $500 per child, age 16 and under. This is not free money. The federal government, President Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, almost the entire United States Congress agreed that paying Americans to stay inside is needed to prevent a full scale disaster.
Governor Jared Polis: (12:20)
You need to earn this money by staying home except when absolutely necessary to go out. The federal package also includes an incentive for companies to keep you on payroll even if you’re not able to go to work to prevent even worse layoffs. On the state level, my administration is suspending regulations, deferring tax payments, eliminating red tape and in-person requirements for many license renewals and working tirelessly to ensure that we’re supporting our businesses and our workers as we all weather the storm to ensure a speedy economic recovery when this has passed us.
Governor Jared Polis: (12:57)
What matters now is not what you believe politically or your occupation or what your faith is, or your age or your race. None of that matters here because none of that matters to the virus. What matters is that the more we stay home, no matter who you are, the better chance we have of beating this virus so that we can all go back to the things that make life worth living.
Governor Jared Polis: (13:21)
Look, I know this isn’t easy. I know Coloradans are hurting and this is no ordinary emergency. We’ve face crisis before floods, fires, recessions, but this one is uniquely painful because we can’t be with one another. This April will always be known as the lost month. We all have the blessing of being on this planet for 900 or a thousand months in our lives and we won’t get this one back, but if we act together and take action, we will have many more to live in prosperity and health.
Governor Jared Polis: (13:51)
In times of tragedy and difficulty, humanity comes together in fellowship. We mourn and we celebrate together. We laugh together and we cry together. We find comfort in the company and the love of one another. Now, we can’t do that right now physically, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be with and don’t need to be with one another emotionally. Use this time to reconnect with friends and family and loved ones.
Governor Jared Polis: (14:15)
Thankfully there’s been amazing progress in how we can stay together even as we stay apart. Email, phone, Skype, Zoom, FaceTime. We can see and hear our loved ones almost as if they were there. We had a group Zoom with our grandparents and kids this weekend and I know that many families are doing the same.
Governor Jared Polis: (14:35)
Let’s stay positive because none of this is permanent. With time we’ll have more hospital beds and a mass testing and containment program in place and the spread of the virus will be limited enough that we can get back to a fairly normal economy and society. There will be a day in the not too distant future that we can physically be together once again, when we can go to bars and restaurants, attend schools and universities, churches, temples and houses of worship. When grandparents can hug their grandchildren without the fear of getting sick. When we can once again feel the wind against our face as we ski down our favorite ski runs and hike our favorite trails.
Governor Jared Polis: (15:15)
But that day is not today, nor is it tomorrow. Right now, we need to dig deep into our souls to muster the resolve, the courage, the fortitude to carry on and do our patriotic duty as generations have done before. Thousands of our forefathers sacrificed on battlefields defending our freedom, our homeland, our way of life. Thousands of our foremothers sacrificed pots and pans and farm equipment to be melted down for the war effort during World War II. People had ration cards to save food for the troops. We banned men suits from including cuffs and restricted the length of shirts to save fabric. Everyday citizens became heroes. Ordinary men and women became GI Joes and Rosie the Riveters. Everyone working together and doing their part. We scraped and toiled and persevered and we won. That is the spirit that we all need right now. This generation has been called upon to make our own sacrifice, to temporarily sacrifice our way of life so that we can save human life and return to normal. And I know that we can rise to the challenge once again.
Governor Jared Polis: (16:26)
A number of communities across the world, including some right here in Colorado, have taken up a new tradition of going outside for a moment at 8:00 PM to applaud and cheer our brave healthcare workers who are putting their own health and safety on the line to keep us safe and everyone else who’s helping us through this crisis and putting themselves at risk. Our first responders, our farmers and ranchers, our journalists, our custodial workers, our grocery store workers, delivery people, truckers, so many more. I want to encourage Coloradans to participate in this new tradition this evening and every evening this crisis is with us. Our appreciation for those putting themselves at risk unites us across the world. And the only way we’re going to get through this is by working together as a state, as a nation and as a world.
Governor Jared Polis: (17:14)
Both China and Taiwan are donating masks and protective equipment to Colorado. Israel even delivered masks to Palestinians. And let’s also cheer our very own scientists at Colorado State University who are racing around the clock for a vaccine or cure. And when we achieve that cure or vaccine, and I say when not if, whether it comes out of Germany, South Korea, Japan, or Fort Collins, it will be shared around the world to end this crisis and save lives. I might not agree with Henry Kissinger on much, but I found his recent words in the Wall Street Journal very profound. He said, “The pandemic has prompted an anachronism, revival of the walled city in an age when prosperity depends on global trade and movement of people.”
Governor Jared Polis: (18:05)
Colorado and America is not a walled city. We will survive this and return to health and prosperity by embracing the world rather than shrinking from it. And through this crisis will reaffirm our identity as innovative, resilient, goodhearted people who care for one another. St Francis of Assisi once said, “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” In these dark times, we all have a light to shine and that light is the goodness within all of us.
Governor Jared Polis: (18:40)
We see that light in the young man who picks up groceries and medicine for an elderly neighbor so they don’t have to go to the store and risk getting the virus. We see that light in the small business owner keeping her employees on payroll because it’s the fair and decent and right thing to do. We see that light in the parents who do their best to explain these difficult times to their children and making sure they know the truth of that wisdom, that a single candle is enough to light the dark. We see that light in the teams of doctors and researchers and scientists spending week after week in labs all over the globe burning the midnight oil, showing that light searching for the cure to save the world.
Governor Jared Polis: (19:20)
We need everyone to do their part. We need everyone to show that light, and when we do, as I know we will, we’ll find our way out of this darkness into the light of a brilliant new day.
Governor Jared Polis: (19:34)
Thank you. God bless the great state of Colorado and God bless the United States of America.