Mar 25, 2020
Governor Andrew Cuomo Coronavirus Briefing March 25: Calls Senate Bill “Drop in the Bucket”
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York gave another press briefing on COVID-19 on March 25, 2020. He called the US Senate stimulus bill a “drop in the bucket” and that it would be “terrible” for New York. Read the full transcript here.
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Andrew Cuomo: (00:00)
Good morning. Thank you for being here today. I think you know everyone who is here. Let me start at my far right. Gareth Rhodes, who is the Deputy Superintendent of Department of Financial Services. He’s worked with me for a long time from the Attorney General’s Office, and he’s a part of our SWAT team. We have James Malatras, President of Empire College, Dr. Howard Zucker, Health Commissioner, Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor, Robert Mujica Budget Director.
Andrew Cuomo: (00:44)
We have a lot of interesting news today. Things are moving. Current status, we still have the trajectory going up. We have not turned the trajectory, nor have we hit the apex. Remember what that line is going to do? It’s going to go up. It’s going to reach a high point. It’s going to tip. It’s going to go back down. We’re still on the way up the mountain.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:08)
Number of infections that have been coming in, 80% still, self resolve. About 15% of the people who test positive require hospitalization. And then there are degrees of hospitalization, right? But the total universe that requires hospitalization is 15%.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:33)
We use projection models. We have Cornell Weill, which is a great medical institution that does projection models. We use McKinsey, that does projection models, Department of Health does projection models. The projection models are important, because they are projecting the possible trajectory and projecting the possible need, right? So we’re planning for a need. The projection models do that. The projection models are just that, they are models of projections. They’re not necessarily definitive, but it’s the only device that we have to plan. Right? Follow the data, follow the data, follow the data.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:13)
The actual hospitalizations have moved at a higher rate than all the projected models. So that was obviously concerning, because that higher infection rate means faster, higher capacity on the hospitals. And that’s the critical point for us, is the number of people going to hospitals.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:43)
Right now what we’re looking at is about 140,000 cases coming into the hospitals. The hospital capacity is 53,000 beds. That’s a problem. We’re looking at about 40,000 ICU cases coming into the hospitals. We have about 3,000 ICU beds. That’s a challenge.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:06)
What is an ICU bed for these purposes? Basically, a bed with a ventilator. The ventilator is the most critical piece of equipment for an intensive care unit bed, because this is a respiratory illness and people need more ventilation than usual.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:24)
What do we want to do? Reduce the number of cases coming into the hospitals, slow the number of cases coming into the hospitals. That’s what Dr. Fauci’s talking about on TV every day, flatten the curve, flatten the curve, flatten the curve. Slow the number of people coming into hospitals, so we can deal with them in the hospitals. And we are working on that.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:48)
At the same time, increase your hospital capacity. Right? So try to slow the number of cases coming into the hospital, meanwhile, raise your hospital capacity. We are working on both, simultaneously. We have been from day one.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:06)
Reduce the number of cases coming in, flatten the curve, slow the spread of the infection, we are doing everything we can on that. That’s banning nonessential workers, that’s social distancing, that’s closing restaurants, closing gyms, just flatten the curve, slow the infection rate.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:27)
One issue we had was, in New York City, where we had a higher level of density than we wanted, especially in the New York City parks, especially with young people. I’ve been as direct as I can, and as blunt as I can on young people, and the misinformation that they have. You can catch the Coronavirus. You may think you are a superhero. You’re really not. You can catch it and you can transfer it, which makes you dangerous to the people who you love.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:02)
But the New York City parks have been a problem. I saw the problem myself, firsthand. I spoke to Mayor de Blasio, I spoke to Speaker Johnson. We said, “Come up with a plan in 24 hours that everybody agreed with.” They came up with a plan. We are now implementing that plan. I signed off on that plan.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:21)
The plan is going to pilot closing streets in New York City, because we have much less traffic in New York City. We have many fewer vehicles in New York City. Open streets, people want to walk. They want to go out and get some air. You want a less dense area, so pilot closing streets to cars, opening streets to pedestrians.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:49)
We’ll also enact mandatory playground social density. It’s probably a new concept. No close contact sports in a playground, no basketball, for example. You cannot do it. We’re asking people to do that on a voluntary basis. If there is noncompliance with that, we will then make it mandatory, and we will actually close the playgrounds.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:19)
We don’t want to do that, because playgrounds are a place to go out and get open air. But you have to exercise social density, even in a playground. And again, it’s voluntary. The mayor is going to make it clear that this is important to the people of the city. If it doesn’t happen, we will actually close down the playgrounds. I don’t want to do that, but we do need to reduce the spread of the infection, and that is what is most important.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:52)
This is very interesting, because the evidence suggests that the density control measures may be working. And again, we’re doing this from projections, but look at this because it’s interesting. This past Sunday, the projection was that hospitalizations were doubling every two days. Okay? On Monday, the numbers suggested that the hospitalizations were doubling every 3.4 days. On Tuesday, the projection suggested that the hospitalizations were doubling every 4.7 days. Now, that is almost too good to be true, but the theory is, given the density that we’re dealing with, it spreads very quickly. But if you reduce the density, you can reduce the spread very quickly. So these projections, I’ve watched them bounce all over the place, and I don’t place a great deal of stock in any one projection. All due respect to all the great academics and statisticians who are doing it. But this is a very good sign and a positive sign.
Andrew Cuomo: (08:09)
Again, I’m not 100% sure it holds or it’s accurate, but the arrows are headed in the right direction. And that is always better than the arrows headed in the wrong direction. So to the extent people say, “Boy, these are burdensome requirements, social distancing, no restaurants, no nonessential workers.” Yes they are burdensome. By the way, they are effective and they’re necessary, and the evidence suggests at this point, that they have slowed the hospitalizations.
Andrew Cuomo: (08:48)
And this is everything, slowing the hospitalization rates, coming into the hospitals are everything, so the hospitals can deal with the rate of people coming in. At the same time, increase hospital capacity. What is the high point? You see that line in the beginning, what we’re studying is what is the high point of that line? What is the apex of that line? That is the point of the greatest number of people coming into the hospital system. So that’s our greatest load, is the apex and when is that going to happen? Again, that is a projection. Again, that moves around, but the current projection is that could be in 21 days.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:33)
So ramp up the hospital capacity to be able to handle that apex volume. How do you ramp up hospital capacity? You ramp up beds, you ramp up staff and you ramp up the equipment. And the ventilators are the problem in equipment, as we’ve discussed many times. Where are we on that? Beds, we may need 140,000. We have 53,000. That’s the existing capacity of hospitals. We told all hospitals they have to increase their capacity by 50%. I told them that myself on a conference call yesterday.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:10)
This is a burden for the hospitals, to now say, “You have to increase capacity 50%.” But I have to tell you they were very generous about it, and they understood what we were dealing with, and they were eager to step up to the plate. If you increase hospital capacity by 50% that gets you 27,000 beds, on top of the existing. It takes you to 80,000.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:34)
Some hospitals, I asked as a goal, try to increase by 100%, your capacity. 50% was the minimum. The goal was 100. I believe some hospitals will actually try to do that, and I encouraged them to try to do that, as impossible as it sounds. But now is the time to be aggressive, and do things you’ve never done before.
Andrew Cuomo: (11:03)
If some of them do that, and I believe some of them will, that would be additional 5,000 beds. We get to 85,000 beds. FEMA, Army Corps of Engineers, what we’re doing in Javits Center, what we’re doing in the West Chester Convention Center, Westbury Campus, Stony Brook Campus, that’s another 4,000, takes us to 89,000. The U.S. Navy Ship Comfort, the President dispatched, that would be 1,000 beds to backfill from hotels. That takes you to 90,000.
Andrew Cuomo: (11:34)
If we take all the state dormitories in downstate New York, that could get us an additional 29,000 beds. We’d be at 119,000 beds. You’re still not at the 140,000 that you need, but then we’re looking at hotels. We’re looking at former nursing homes, converting other facilities to make up the differential. So a lot, creative, aggressive, but in life you do what you have to do. And that’s what we’re doing on the bed capacity.
Andrew Cuomo: (12:13)
Protective equipment, we have been shopping around the world. We have a whole team that’s doing it. Right now, we have enough protective equipment, gloves, masks, gowns for all the hospitals statewide that are dealing with it. I brought down a ship into New York City yesterday. Today, no hospital, no nurse, no doctor can say legitimately, “I don’t have protective equipment.” Right now and for the foreseeable future, we have a supply.
Andrew Cuomo: (12:44)
We do not yet have secure to supply for three weeks from now, four weeks from now, five weeks from now. But we are still shopping, and taking care of this immediate need was also good news and a good job by the team. And again, we are still shopping for more equipment.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:03)
Ventilators, ventilators, ventilators, we need 30,000. We have in the existing hospital system, 4,000 ventilators. This is just in the normal operation of hospitals, et cetera. We have purchased 7,000, and we are still shopping. Federal government has sent 4,000.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:25)
We’re exploring splitting, where one ventilator could do two patients. Italy has had to do this, because they were forced to do it. I want to see if we can study it, and do it a little smarter, and have a little more time experimenting with it. But we’re looking at splitting the ventilators. We’re still working with the Federal Government to try to find more ventilators, but that is our single greatest challenge, are the ventilators.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:55)
Again, the ICU beds, that really means a ventilated bed, because, again, this is the number one piece of equipment that we need. You have beds, you have equipment, you need staff, and you need staff understanding that some staff is going to get sick, and they’re going to be out. So we have been working on putting together a surge health care force.
Andrew Cuomo: (14:22)
Go back to the retirees, go back to nurses and doctors who may not be in the hospital direct medical care occupation and ask them to sign up for possible reserve duty. God bless them, 40,000 people have signed up as a surge healthcare force. 2,000 physicians, anesthesiologists, emergency room technicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse anesthetists, respiratory, RNs, LPNs, 40, 000 people have signed up. That is a very-
Andrew Cuomo: (15:02)
40,000 people have signed up. That is a very… That’s a big, big deal because you can create beds, you can find the equipment, you have to have the staff, and you have to have the staff for those additional beds, which are not now in the hospital system, and you have to have staff when the existing staff gets ill or by the way, just can’t work the hours that we’re going to need people to be working. So that’s very good. This is also very exciting. I don’t know that anyone else has done this. We’ve talked about the emotional stress that this brings on people and the mental health stress and the mental health challenges. No one’s really talking about this. You know, we’re all concerned about the immediate critical need, the life and death of the immediate situation, which is right, but don’t underestimate the emotional trauma that people are feeling and the emotional health issues.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:06)
We asked for mental health professionals to voluntarily sign up to provide online mental health services. 6,000 mental health professionals agreed to volunteer to provide mental health services for people who need it. How beautiful is that. And the hotline + 1 844-863-9314 you can call that hotline. You can schedule an appointment with a mental health professional, totally free to talk to them about what you’re feeling and what stress you’re feeling. And again, God bless the 6,000 mental health professionals who are doing this 100% free on top of whatever they have to do in their normal practice and I’m sure in their normal practice they’re busy. So this is really an extraordinary step by them. Federal government, I spoke with president Trump several times. I spoke with him last night. I spoke with him this morning, I’ve spoken to people in the White House who are handling these operations.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:19)
I’ve spoken with the vice president. I’ve spoken with Jared Cushner who is a New Yorker. He knows New York and he’s working in the White House and he’s been extraordinarily helpful on all of these situations. What we’re working on is a common challenge. No one has these ventilators and no one ever anticipated a situation where you would need this number of ventilators to deal with the public health emergency. So we have purchased everything that can be purchased. We’re now in a situation that we’re trying to accelerate production of these ventilators and a ventilator is a complicated piece of equipment. The president and his team I think are using the DPA well because it’s basically a form… It’s a leverage tool when you’re dealing with private companies, right? We need your help. We can demand your help or you could agree to help and we need you to step up and increase production.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:35)
Even with that, there’s a ramp up time for a company to put together the supply chain, put together the workforce and get these things up and running. So Ford, you here is going to help, General Motors is going to help. The problem is our timeline is so short. We’re looking at an apex 21 days in that range to get ventilators and these business consortium’s put together, supply chain, design team ramped up and delivered a 30,000 ventilators is an extraordinarily difficult task and it’s something that our team is working on with the White House team and I want to thank the president for his cooperation and his team for their cooperation. We’re getting very creative. We’re talking to countries around the world as well as new companies that could do production. We’re also talking to the White House about another concept.
Andrew Cuomo: (19:45)
New York has the greatest need in terms of numbers. New York also has the most critical need in terms of timing, right? We talk about our apex, we talk about that curve. Different localities, different regions around the country are going to have different curves. We are in some ways, first. Our case numbers went up first. Our trajectory is first by a long shot. Different regions will have their curve at different times. What I said to the president and his team was, “Look, rather than saying we have to provide equipment for the entire country at one time, let’s talk about addressing the critical need in that hot spot. Once that hotspot turns, because you have an apex and then you have a curve and the curve is relatively short, once you address that hotspot with that intensity, intense equipment, intense personnel, then shift to the next hotspot and have more of a rolling deployment across the country than a static deployment.” Right?
Andrew Cuomo: (21:04)
I was in the federal government at HUD. I worked on dozens of disasters. You deal with a disaster in front of you at that time and then you move on to the next disaster. And I think that rolling deployment could work here and on behalf of New York, I said we will be 100% helpful. We need help from the entire country right now. We need resources from the entire country right now and because our apex is first and our numbers are highest, but the apex high point will be sequential across the country. So I said to the White House, send us the equipment that we need. Send us the personnel. As soon as we get past our critical moment, we will redeploy that equipment and personnel to the next hotspot. And I will personally guarantee it and personally manage it. So if you send us 15,000 ventilators and then after our curve, Los Angeles needs 15,000 ventilators, we can take the equipment from here. We can take the personnel from here. We can take the lessons from here.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:33)
You know, we go first. We’re going to learn things that nobody else has learned because we’re going to be the first one through the shoot. And I personally guarantee that we will bring that equipment, we will bring that personnel, we’ll bring that technical assistance to the next hotspot. I said to the president, “I’ll be part of going to the next hotspot with our team. We’re asking the country to help us. We will return the favor and we are all in this together and we’re asking for their help and their consideration and we will repay it with dividends.” The Senate is also considering a $2 trillion bill, which is “relief” for businesses, individuals, and governments. It would really be terrible for the state of New York. The $2 trillion bill, what does it mean for New York state government? That means $3.8 billion.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:40)
$3.8 billion sounds like a lot of money. Rob [inaudible 00:23:45] the budget director can talk you through the numbers, but we’re looking at a revenue shortfall of $9, $10, $15 billion. This response to this virus has probably already cost us $1 billion. It will probably cost a several billion dollars when we’re done. New York City only gets $1.3 billion from this package. That is a drop in the bucket as to need. I spoke to our house delegation, congressional delegation this morning [inaudible 00:24:23] theory and the Republican theory, but we need the house to make adjustments. In the house bill that went over New York state got $17 billion. In the Senate bill we get $3.8 billion. And well you just the big spending, we’re not a big spending state. I cut taxes every year.
Andrew Cuomo: (24:47)
I have the lowest growth rate of the state budget in modern political history. Okay, so we are frugal and we are efficient. I’m telling you these numbers don’t work and I told the house members that we really need their help. In terms of numbers, total tested we’re up to 130,000 people. New tests we’re up to 12,000. As of yesterday, about 28% of all testing nationwide has been performed by the state of New York. State of New York is doing more testing than any state in the United States of America and I’m very proud of the team on how we’ve mobilized and gotten this testing up and running. People ask, “How does this testing work?” Any hospital in the state can perform testing. You can walk into a hospital in Buffalo, New York. If you show the symptoms and meet the protocol, you can be tested. Strategically we deploy testing in the most dense areas.
Andrew Cuomo: (25:52)
Where do we set up the drive throughs, et cetera. Why? Because we’re hunting positives. We’re hunting positives so we can isolate them and reduce the spread. You’re more likely to get positives in a high positive areas, right? Set up a drive through in the Bronx versus set up a drive through in Chautauqua County, you’re going to get more positives in the Bronx and that’s what we want. But anyone, anywhere in the state you have symptoms, you’re concerned. You can walk into any hospital. That hospital can get a test to perform. Number of positive cases. We’re up to 30,000. Number of new cases, 5,000.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:38)
Again, you see the numbers 13,000… I’m sorry, 17,000 New York city, 4,000 in Westchester, 3000 in Nassau County. Relatively Westchester we have dramatically slowed what was an exponential increase. So again, on the good news side, can you slow the rate of infection? Yes. How do you know? Look at what we did in Westchester. That was the hottest cluster in the United States of America. We closed the schools, we closed gatherings, we brought in testing and we have dramatically slowed the increase. Nassau County is 3000. They’re relatively right behind Westchester. They were at like zero when Westchester had started. So we can slow it and we have slowed it. Again you see it spreading across the state, which we said it would. Current numbers, 30,000 tested positive. 12% of those who test positive are hospitalized.
Andrew Cuomo: (27:57)
3% of the positives are in ICU. Okay, this is deep breath time again. I’m anxious, I’m nervous. What does it mean? 30,000 tested positive. 12% are in the hospital, 3% are in ICU. If you look at those 3% they’re going to be predominantly senior citizens, people with underlying illnesses, people with emphysema, people with a compromised immune system. That’s what this effort is all about. All the noise, all the energy, it’s about that 3%. Take a deep breath. Now that 3% that’s my mother. That’s your mother, that’s your sister. These are people we love. These are our grandparents and we’re going to do everything we can to protect every one of them.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:55)
And I give the people of the state of New York my work that we’re doing it, but we’re talking about 3% of the people who talked to positive and tested positive, who we’re worrying about. Most impacted States, were 30,000. Next closest state is New Jersey at three, California two. This is a really dramatic differential, and this is what I argue to anyone who will listen. We have 10 times the problem that the next state has, which is New Jersey. You can compare us to California, which is larger in terms of population. We have 15 times the problem. Now you have to ask yourself why? Why does New York have such a high number? And again, in the totality, we understand what it means, but why does New York have such a high number? And this is my personal opinion, I like to make…
Andrew Cuomo: (30:03)
This is my personal opinion, I like to make sure that I separate facts from personal opinion. The facts I give you the best facts I have and again, the data changes day-to-day, but I give you exactly what I have on a day-to-day basis. Personal opinion, why does New York have so many more cases than any other state? How can it be you’re 15 times the number of California? I mean really it is a breathtaking when you think about it, state of Massachusetts with 30 times the number of cases. So why is the question that people ask me.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:44)
Two answers. Answer one is, because we welcome people from across the globe. We have people coming here, we have people who came here from China, who came here from Italy, who came here from countries all around the globe. We have international travelers who were in China, and who were in Italy, and who were in Korea and who came here. I have no doubt that the virus was here much earlier than we even know, and I have no doubt that the virus was here much earlier than it was in any other state because those people come here first. That’s the first answer.
Andrew Cuomo: (31:29)
The second answer is, because we are close, because we are close, we talk about the virus and how it transfers in a dense area. It’s literally because we are close, because we live close to one another, because we’re close to one another on the street, because we live in close communities, because we’re close to one another on the bus. We’re close to one another in the restaurant, we’re close to one another in the movie theater and we have one of the most dense close environments in the country and that’s why the virus communicated the way it did. Our closeness makes us vulnerable. Our closeness makes us vulnerable. That spatial closeness makes us vulnerable.
Andrew Cuomo: (32:41)
But it’s true that your greatest weakness is also your greatest strength and our closeness is what makes us who we are. That is what New York is, our closeness is what makes us special, our acceptance, our openness is what makes us special. It’s what makes us feel so connected one to another, it’s what makes us so accepting of one another. It is the closeness that makes us the human beings that we are. The closeness is that New York humanity that I think exists nowhere else, the closeness is what makes our sense of community. There’s a gentleman who look to for guidance and for leadership and for inspiration. He’s not here anymore for you, he’s still here for me.
Andrew Cuomo: (33:53)
But he said things more profound and more beautifully than most other people ever have and one of the things he said that is so appropriate for today, ‘We believe in a single fundamental idea that describes better than most textbooks in any speech that I could write what a proper government should be. The idea of family mutuality, the sharing of benefits and burdens for the good of all, feeling one another’s pain, sharing one another’s blessings, reasonably, honestly, fairly, without respect to race or sex or geography or political affiliation.” That is New York, it is that closeness, that concept of family of community. That’s what makes New York, New York and that’s what made us vulnerable here. But it is also that closeness, and that connection, and that humanity, and that sharing, that is our greatest strength and that is what is going to overcome at the end of the day, I promise you that. I can see how new Yorkers are responding, I can see how new Yorkers are treating one another. I see the 6,000 mental health volunteers, I see the 40,000 healthcare workers stepping up. I see the vendors calling me saying, “I can help.” That’s New York, that’s New York and that my friends is undefeatable and I am glad in some ways that we’re first with this situation because we will overcome and we will show the other communities across this country how to do it. We’ll be there for them, we want them to be there for us and we will be there for each other as we always have been. Any questions?
Speaker 1: (36:10)
How does the state decide who is priority when it comes to ventilators?
Andrew Cuomo: (36:17)
We have no anticipation of having to prioritize ventilator usage, our goal is to have a ventilator for anyone who needs one.
You showed up numbers that show you’re optimistically at 15,000 and you say you’re going to need 40,000 so some nitty gritty questions. Where are those ventilators that have come in from FEMA going, did you get any commitment from The White House that they’re going to send more than the 4,000 that they’ve committed already and what is the plan to raise that number the same way you have a plan to increase hospital beds?
Andrew Cuomo: (36:58)
Yeah, it’s a good question, Jimmy. First, the ventilators that are coming in, we’re putting in the stockpile, we’ll deploy from the stock pile as we need them, literally deploy on a need basis, right? So if one hospital calls up and says, “We’re overwhelmed, this is what we need.” We’ll be in a position to deploy. The increase the beds is within our control, right? There are beds in this state, they’re not hospital beds and you have to figure out how to convert them to hospital beds and you have to figure out how to get access to them. But we have beds, so that is a logistical operational challenge. How do you turn a dorm room into a hospital bed, right? How do we build a hospital in Javits Center?
Andrew Cuomo: (37:44)
The ventilators are different, we don’t have them. The Federal Government does not have them either, no one has a stockpile of these. The Federal Government has to acquire them the same way we have to acquire them. I’m working with The White House in creative ways to acquire them, getting companies to ramp up, getting companies to retrofit other machines, this rolling deployment methodology, but nobody has them. There is no medical stockpile in Washington that magically can make them appear.
There was a report in 2015 where the state suggested or a task force suggested maybe New York should increase it stockpile, any reason that that wasn’t [inaudible 00:08:35]?
Andrew Cuomo: (38:36)
Jimmy, that’s not the fact and you know it, read the fact checkers on it. There was an advisory commission called life in the law that had a chart in 2015 that said, ‘If you had the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, you may need X number of ventilators.” There was no state in the United States that bought ventilators for the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. The Federal Government did not buy ventilators for the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. Nobody in the world bought ventilators in preparation for a 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
Speaker 2: (39:22)
The number of cases that you are recording, how many of those have resolved and are there [inaudible 00:39:30] the woman who came back from Iran, is she clear now and are still reporting cases even though they have resolved?
Andrew Cuomo: (39:35)
Yes. Short answer is yes. Do you know Dr. Zucker, the number of people who’ve resolved? Does anyone have that here, besides the Hopkins number?
Dr. Zucker: (39:44)
We have hundreds and hundreds of people who have left the hospital and those are individuals have resolved and there are many other individuals who never even came into the hospital and we can try to get you an exact number on that.
Speaker 2: (40:02)
The mechanism for reporting that because the state last night, I think you changed your criteria to the [inaudible 00:40:02] telling them that the rules were clear have changed [inaudible 00:10:06]. Can you talk a little bit about that, what was behind that?
Dr. Zucker: (40:10)
Well, we are following the CDC guidelines and recommendations that after seven days, if you are positive and after seven days of being positive, as long as you are more than 72 hours without symptoms, then you can go back to [inaudible 00:40:25].
Andrew Cuomo: (40:25)
Excuse me one second, Jess. This is the best data, okay? This is Johns Hopkins, it’s every case since China. 435,000, 19,000 deaths and again, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts, you look at those 19,000 senior citizen, compromised immune system, emphysema, et cetera. Recoveries a 100,000, right? Roughly 25% pending, 300,000 but yes, the recoveries are recoveries. You get it, people who I know they stay home for two weeks and they then test negative. You can test negative in two weeks, you can test negative in three weeks, you can test negative in one week after you have it.
Andrew Cuomo: (41:15)
That is going to be the vast overwhelming number of people. The biggest number when this is done and we can actually go back and test, the biggest number is going to be people who had it, who resolved, who never knew they had it. That’s going to be the biggest number and the reason we want to get to that test is because then when you talk about restarting the economy, you have a test that says, “You Andrew, were we’re exposed to it in February and by the way you are recovered and you have the antibodies go back to work.”
Speaker 3: (41:52)
The number of ICU case at this point-
Andrew Cuomo: (41:52)
I’m sorry, one sec. I cut off Jesse and when I cut off Jesse, then he gets annoyed at me and then I pay for the next [inaudible 00:41:58]. I’m kidding.
Speaker 3: (42:00)
The number of ICU cases today is a third of the ICU beds that are currently available in the state, do we still not have a figure as at how much the availability of those beds currently is? So it’s 3000 minus 888?
Andrew Cuomo: (42:15)
The ICU beds for our purposes are beds with ventilators, okay? We can create today more ICU beds with the ventilators we already have in-house, right? So we have 14,000 ventilators. If we had to today, we could create 14,000 ventilated beds if we were bumping up against capacity. Is that right?
Dr. Zucker: (42:45)
That’s correct. I think the term ICU bed in this world that we’re living in right now is different and so a recovery room with a ventilator is an ICU bed and so I think that just fixing on the exact numbers, but we have asked all the hospitals for that information as well.
Speaker 3: (43:04)
But the state only has about 7,000 licensed respiratory therapists, we have 160 that have signed up. Any other plants to try to increase that number, they are the experts that sort of get people breathing.
Speaker 4: (43:19)
We put out a call for about 1.2 million additional healthcare workers to come to New York state that’s going on a rolling basis. So you’ll see many of these numbers which the governor presented today increase exponentially as those calls are going out. It’s not just in state, we’ve also asked for out-of-state retirees, that we’ve had healthcare workers volunteer from Connecticut, New Jersey and other parts of the country as well, and now we’re arranging for them to come to this area as needed.
Dr. Zucker: (43:47)
If you noticed on that list there was respiratory therapists in there who had volunteered as well.
Just to piggyback on that question, we’ve seen reports from federal sources saying that basically New York city will run out of ICU beds by Friday. Are you seeing similar reports and are you reacting to those?
Andrew Cuomo: (44:04)
No, I didn’t see it those reports, I’m reacting to the numbers that we have and you saw the numbers. The current number of ICU beds with ventilators, that’s one number. If you bring Jesse, the ventilators we have in hand and add those to beds, that number goes up 14, 000.
Will that happen?
Andrew Cuomo: (44:32)
We can move them in a day
When you say they’re in a stockpiles, is that a stockpile here in Albany, is that close to New York City?
Andrew Cuomo: (44:40)
We have multiple stockpiles, which we did when we ramped up the whole disaster emergency management system, so we have multiple stockpiles. We have these placed in multiple stockpiles where you have to go to the city, there’s a shorter trip, we have a stockpile on Long Island stockpile, Mid-Hudson Valley, stockpile in Albany, stockpile in my basement just in case the stockpile runs out.
Andrew Cuomo: (45:02)
… go in my basement, just in case the stock pile runs out.
Speaker 5: (45:02)
But you haven’t started building that out as of yet?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:05)
We have the ICU … We have the ventilators in the stockpiles. We have not brought them from the stockpile to a hospital because we don’t have a hospital who has called up and said, “I need a ventilated bed.”
Speaker 6: (45:16)
[crosstalk 00:45:17]. Governor, where are these reserve medical providers being deployed? Are they being deployed to the front lines? Are they being sent to work in other parts of the hospital or what …
Andrew Cuomo: (45:29)
Speaker 6: (45:30)
The reserve medical providers who are being called up and asked to volunteer?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:34)
They are not yet being deployed unless Mr. Malatrus, if I’m incorrect, he can correct me, which he enjoys doing. I don’t believe they’ve been deployed yet. They are reserve in case … Well, first, they’re reserve for two purposes. You open new beds, you now need staff for the new beds. We open up a dormitory, 200 beds. You don’t have … Now you need staff to do the 200 beds. Or you have a hospital that has a severe shortage of workers because of hours or sickness, we would backfill. But Jim, I don’t believe we’re now deploying the reserves.
Dr. Zucker: (46:11)
Speaker 7: (46:13)
Should patients be concerned at all about the rollbacks of some regulations, including record keeping, medical malpractice protections and other regulations that are involved there?
Andrew Cuomo: (46:22)
Dr. Zucker: (46:24)
We’re looking at those issues as well. There are some concerns that have been raised, but, as we mentioned in previous press conferences, the governor said that we should look at our rules and regulations and adapt accordingly. So we’re going to do that as well.
Andrew Cuomo: (46:39)
But we did waive … I was on the phone with all the hospital administrators. The Department of Health, I’m going to say this in a nice way, don’t worry. The Department of Health has multiple regulations to run the best health system in the United States of America. And those regulations make it so. The regulations can sometimes get in the way of expedition and facilitation and mobilization. So we said in this case we’re going to relax many of the regulations so they can staff up, they can increase capacity. You ask a hospital to double capacity. We have all sorts of space regulations. So you need flexibility for them to do what we’re asking them to do.
Governor, how concerned are you that the cure is worse than the disease mentality?
Andrew Cuomo: (47:38)
Speaker 8: (47:39)
Governor, do you plan to work with New York City officials to release parolees from Rikers?
Andrew Cuomo: (47:46)
If I need to work with in New York City, but Rikers is run by New York City. Did you have a point?
Speaker 9: (47:50)
No, I was just going to say New York City is already doing that on their own, so it’s not something that they need us on, but we talk to New York City 77 times a day, so if that conversation needs to be had, it’ll be had.
Andrew Cuomo: (48:00)
78, to be accurate.
Speaker 6: (48:01)
Andrew Cuomo: (48:10)
I can’t. You need to be a Congress person. You need to be a Senator. I’ve communicated with all of them. I understand the Washington bureaucracy. I was there, but I passed the bills when I was HUD secretary. I know how hard it is, but I also know how high the stakes are here. You look at the loss in the revenue, what you guys have been talking about to me. How do you do a state budget with that dramatic loss in revenue? And Rob Mehica has been saying, “Well, the federal government is going to pass a stimulus package that delivers additional funding to state governments.” Okay, here’s the package. It gives us $3.8 billion. The hole is as big as … As high as $15 billion. How do you plug a $15 billion hole with 3.8 billion? You don’t.
Thank you, governor. How do you respond to the mentality out there, the philosophy that the cure is worse than the disease and the suggestion by the president that he might want to open up the country by Easter?
Andrew Cuomo: (49:25)
Look, I believe it’s part language, right? Nobody will say it is sustainable to close … Keep the economy closed. It’s not sustainable. We all get that. China got it, South Korea got it, et cetera. That’s point one. Point two everyone agrees, I believe in this state, we do everything we can to save a life. We are not going to triage and say, “Well, these were old people. These were vulnerable people. They had to die sometime soon anyway, so let’s move on.”
Andrew Cuomo: (50:14)
I don’t believe any American beliefs that, I know New Yorkers don’t believe that, and as governor of the state of New York, I can swear to you, I would never do that. So then you have two parallel thoughts. You have to get the economy running and you have to protect every life that you can. I believe there’s a more refined strategy than we are now talking about. I don’t think it’s binary. I don’t think you close down the whole economy, which is what we did, I did too, and then open up the whole society to business as usual. We now have learned that there’s a risk stratification quotient. Younger people have less risk. People who have the virus and are resolved have less risk. Start that economy by bringing in those recovered people, those younger people who are less at risk and start moving that machine that way.
Andrew Cuomo: (51:23)
Starting restarting the economy that way, which is also the best public health strategy, right? To the extent you have a young person who’s going out to the park, not playing basketball because they’re not allowed to do that, but they’re going out they’re talking to friends, et cetera. They’re then coming back into the house with an older person, that is not a good public health strategy. So there is a path that refines the public health strategy and starts growing the economy. And I think that’s what we have to work through.
[inaudible 00:52:01] restrictions to you?
Andrew Cuomo: (52:02)
Well if the feds back the restrictions, does that affect you? I mean, do you automatically roll back, do you keep in place according to your own speed?
Andrew Cuomo: (52:13)
The federal government has done guidelines, they call them guidelines because they are guidelines, and then states can follow the guidelines, states can fashion the guidelines to fit their specific circumstance. There is no doubt that New York has a different and bigger problem than anywhere else in the country. Right? That’s every number you see, and that’s every fact you know. So there’s no doubt we have a greater challenge here in New York density numbers. And one of the most intense economies. So that all has to be taken into consideration. And I don’t think there is any cookie cutter. What works for New York, I don’t know necessarily is going to work for Tulsa or San Antonio. So we’ll come up with a plan that works for New York and the federal government isn’t saying we mandate anything. They’re saying we’re offering guidelines.
Speaker 5: (53:15)
What do you make of the president’s team saying that anyone who’s visited New York City should self-quarantine for two weeks. And second question, will you self-quarantine since you were in New York City yesterday?
Andrew Cuomo: (53:27)
Self-quarantine in New York City?
Speaker 5: (53:30)
The president’s team said anyone who traveled in New York City should quarantine for two weeks.
Andrew Cuomo: (53:34)
In New York?
Speaker 5: (53:35)
In New York city.
Andrew Cuomo: (53:37)
No, I don’t think … If you were in New York City, you must quarantine in New York state. You don’t have to go back to New York City to quarantine. I’m going to quarantine in New York state.
Speaker 5: (53:46)
What do you make of that dictum and will you self-quarantine?
Andrew Cuomo: (53:52)
That is a medical advisory. Most important thing in life is to know what you don’t know. I don’t know medicine, I would turn to the doctor.
Dr. Zucker: (54:03)
So I think you need to follow the CDC guidelines and the CDC guidelines recommend that you stay a distance away. Social distancing as well, whether it’s in New York or not and this is beyond New York as the governor has mentioned, is not just in New York that these cases.
Speaker 5: (54:18)
Feds are saying that if you’ve been in New York city you should correlate for two weeks. Right?
Dr. Zucker: (54:23)
I would not follow that. I believe that you should follow the guidelines in general, they should social distance. And if you were in New York and you go somewhere else, these cases are all over the country. It’s not just New York. We are at the forefront, as the governance said, but it’s elsewhere.
Andrew Cuomo: (54:39)
Last question because you’re so polite and you wait and you …
Speaker 6: (54:44)
[inaudible 00:54:44] the budget is New York going to have to resort to emergency loans? If so, what would that look like? And [inaudible 00:09:53]?
Andrew Cuomo: (54:54)
If we don’t get more funding from the feds, I don’t know how we write the budget, and that’s why this Senate bill is so troublesome. I know the politics of play nice, and don’t say any … Don’t put any pressure on any other elected official. Otherwise they’ll say you have sharp elbows and you don’t play nice in the sandbox. This is not a time to play nice in the sandbox. I represent the people of the state of New York. I get paid to represent them. I’m an attorney. I’m an advocate. I’m a New Yorker, born and bred. I’m New York tough. If you are hurting the people of the state, I’m going to do everything I can do to defend them. And I’m going to fight for the people of New York to the best of my ability. And we need more federal help than this bill gives us. The house bill would have given us $17 billion. The Senate bill gives us $3 billion. I mean, that’s a dramatic, dramatic difference. I’m going to go to work. Thank you very much guys. Not that this wasn’t work. Like a pleasure though. A pleasure.