Mar 23, 2020

Governor Andrew Cuomo Coronavirus Briefing Transcript March 23

Andrew Cuomo Coronavirus Briefing March 23
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsGovernor Andrew Cuomo Coronavirus Briefing Transcript March 23

Governor Cuomo of New York held a press conference today on COVID-19 in New York. He directed nurses to ‘enlist’ as the state looks to double hospital bed capacity. He is also banning cars from some New York streets. Read the full transcript of his March 23 speech here.

Governor Cuomo: (00:00)
… financial expert, Secretary to the Governor, 2015 to 2017. The reason I wanted you to meet these people… In some ways, it’s like putting the band back together, but it’s also the most competent group of government professionals that you could put together to address this difficult time. I’ve worked with these people for 30 years. We’ve gone through all sorts of different situations together. We did Superstorm Sandy together, the Ebola virus together. We’ve had problems with the federal government. We’ve built airports, roads, bridges. So they are just the best team that you could have working on behalf of the state of New York. And I thank them all very much for their help and their assistance and their volunteerism, because most of them are not getting paid.

Governor Cuomo: (00:59)
You’re getting a dollar.

Governor Cuomo: (01:01)
The increase in the number of cases continues, and that is what we’re watching every day. They see it as an upward trajectory. I see it as a wave that will break at one point, and the question is, what is the point of the break? And when the wave breaks, does it crash over the healthcare system? That’s what we’ve been talking about.

Governor Cuomo: (01:28)
So, two tracks simultaneously. You have to reduce the rate of spread of the virus. You’re not really going to control the spread, but you can reduce the rate of the spread so you can handle it in your hospital system. That’s what every state is doing. That’s what this is all about. How do you reduce the rate of spread? Reduce the density, do more testing, isolate the people who test positive. Second track, increase hospital capacity as quickly as you can, so that at the apex of the wave, you have the hospital capacity for the people who will need the hospital capacity, which are the vulnerable people that we have been talking about.

Governor Cuomo: (02:17)
Reducing the spread, density control: We’ve taken every action that government can take. Closed gyms, theaters, other high-density businesses, non-essential employees, social distancing. Matilda’s law. Remember, this is about protecting vulnerable people. Older people, senior citizens, compromised immune, underlying illness… Those are the people who are vulnerable here. That’s the focus of all of this. The greatest density control issue right now is in New York City. I saw the issue myself. I told New York City I want to plan… Yesterday I said I want to plan on how they’re going to control and reduce the density. I want the plan today. I want the state to be able to approve the plan. It has the focus on young people and the gathering of young people. I’ve said it before: You can get it. The numbers show you can get it if you’re a young person, and you can transmit it. And it’s reckless, and it’s violate of your civic spirit and duty as a citizen, as far as I’m concerned.

Governor Cuomo: (03:32)
If New York City needs legislation to enact their plan once we approve it… I would ask New York City to pass that legislation quickly. If they have a problem passing legislation, they should let me know. Also on reducing the spread, increase your [inaudible 00:03:50] in the test, increase the testing capacity. When you identify somebody positive, isolate that person. What we’ve done on testing is important. March 13th is when the state got the authority to start testing. Up until then, the federal government was controlling all the testing, and it was going through that bottleneck of the federal government. I don’t mean that in a pejorative way, but it had to go through the FDA, the CDC. I said, “Decentralize that task. Let the states do it.” March 13th, the FDA allowed the state to start testing. In 10 days we have gone from testing 1000 people per day to 16, 000 people per day. Well, how much is that? That’s more than any other state in the United States is testing. That’s more per capita than South Korea, which was the gold standard of testing. They were doing 20,000 per day on a much larger population, about double the population of New York. So we’re doing 16,000, which compared to China / South Korea per capita, is even higher. So in short, we’re doing more testing than anyone.

Governor Cuomo: (05:07)
Two points off that. Kudos to the team that put that testing in place, and the nurses and the doctors, God bless them for being out there every day and doing it. But also, our numbers will be higher on positives because we’re doing more tests. We have multiple locations working now, and we’ll be increasing those locations.

Governor Cuomo: (05:32)
Second track: Increase hospital capacity, increase the number of beds. We have 53,000, we may need 110,000. We have 3000 ICU beds, we may need between 18,000 to 37,000. That’s my greatest concern, because that’s where we need ventilators to turn those ICU beds into beds for people suffering from the virus. We are today issuing an emergency order that says to all hospitals: You must increase your capacity by 50%. You must. Mandatory directive from the state. Find more beds, use more rooms. You must increase your capacity 50%. We would ask you to try to increase your capacity 100%. So we now have 53,000 beds, we need 110,000 beds. If they increased the capacity 100%, that solves the mathematical projection. I think it’s unreasonable to say to every hospital, “Basically double your capacity.” I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say, “Try to reach a 100% increase, but you must reach a 50% increase.” 50% increase, we’re only at 75,000 beds. We still have a problem between 75, 000 and 110,000.

Governor Cuomo: (07:02)
Once you secure the bed, you have to secure the staff. You are going to have staff that are getting sick and need to be replaced. You create these new beds, you don’t have the staff for those new beds now. They just don’t exist. Your staffing is to your number of beds. You increase the number of beds, you need more staff. We are going to the entire retired community… healthcare professionals who are licensed, registered… and we’re saying, “We want you to enlist to help.” It’s not a mandatory directive. I can’t legally… but I probably could legally ask them to come into state service. But this is just a request. We’ve put it out. We’ve gotten very good response. There are hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals who are licensed or registered in this state. But we have 30,000 responses to date, and I’m doing an executive order for all nurses who are registered to enlist, and the Department of Financial Services is sending a directive to insurance companies. Health insurance companies employ many nurses, doctors, et cetera in the insurance business. We’re saying to the insurance companies, “We don’t need them in the insurance business now. We would like them to help in hospitals, because this is not about assessing insurance claims at this point. This is about saving lives. When we get to assessing insurance claims, we can handle it then.”

Governor Cuomo: (08:42)
Supplies are the ongoing challenge nationwide. Masks, PPE, ventilators are the number one precious commodity. This is happening on an ad hoc basis. We are competing with other states, as I have said. We have made certain strides. We have a full team working on it. We’re very aggressive, we’re talking to other countries around the world. We’re talking to companies. We have New York manufacturers who are really stepping up to the plate and converting factories, et cetera. But this is not the way to do it. This is ad hoc. I’m competing with other states. I’m bidding up other states on the prices, because you have manufacturers who sit there, and California offers them $4, and they say, “Well, California offered $4.” I offer $5, another state calls in and offers $6… It’s not the way to do it. I was speaking to Governor J.B. Pritzker yesterday about this. Why are we competing? Let the federal government put in place the Federal Defense Production Act. It does not nationalize any industry. All it does is say to a factory, ” You must produce this quantity.” That’s all it does.

Governor Cuomo: (10:06)
I understand the voluntary public private sector partnership, and there are a lot of good companies who are coming forward and saying, “Let us help.” But it can’t just be, “Hey, who wants to help? Let me know.” We need to know the numbers of what we need produced, and who is going to produce that, and when. I get that a lot of companies are stepping up and doing good things, and that’s a beautiful thing. They’re doing it here in New York too. But you can’t run this operation that way. It can’t just be based on “We’re waiting for people to come forward with offers,” and if you happen to get a lot of offers on gloves, then you have a lot of gloves, but if you get no offers on masks, then you don’t have masks. The Federal Defense Production Act just says, “You can tell a company, ‘Manufacture this many by this date.'” Yes, it is an assertion of government power on private sector companies. Yes. But so what? This is a national emergency. And you’re paying the private sector company. They’re going to produce a good, and they’re going to get paid. And by the way, they’re going to get paid handsomely. You cannot continue to do these supplies on an ad hoc basis.

Governor Cuomo: (11:29)
We have had success securing supplies. We’re going to be dispatching them across the state today. These are the number of goods that are going out. You’ve heard on the news that especially in New York City they’re worried about running out of supplies. Again, this won’t get us through the entire situation, but this is a significant amount of supplies that will be going out. New York City, for example, 430,000 surgical masks, 176,000 pairs of gloves-

Governor Cuomo: (12:03)
… masks, 176,000 pairs of gloves, 72,000 gowns, 98,000 face shields, 169,095 masks, which are very precious now. There are about $7 a mask. These are significant supplies. We have been having some success in gathering them. We’re distributing them and this should make a difference. It will make a difference. Again, not until the end of the crisis, but short-term.

Governor Cuomo: (12:35)
Hospital capacity, I’m on my way down to the Javits Center today. I want to make sure those hospitals are getting up right away. Then we’re going to use Stony Brook. We’re going to use Westchester. We’re going to use Old Westbury. President Trump did deliver yesterday. I put forth a series of requests in the morning. He did the briefing in the afternoon. He responded to those requests. That’s government working. That’s government working quickly. I thank him for it. It makes a big difference to New York. We’re getting those emergency hospitals. The Javits hospitals for example, those are 1,000 beds right there with the equipment, with the ventilators and with the staffing. That’s a big deal.

Governor Cuomo: (13:24)
The President declared what’s called a major disaster declaration that allows FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, to help us. There’s normally a 75/25 split between the cost of those services. The federal government pays 75, the state pays 25. I said to the President, “I can’t pay the 25. We just don’t have those kinds of resources.” The federal government has the authority to waive that 25. The federal government pays all 100%. That’s what the President is doing and I appreciate that.

Governor Cuomo: (14:03)
I also asked for the FDA to expedite the approval of an experimental drug that we are working on here in the state of New York, which I’ll tell you more about in a moment. The President also did that. The FDA gave the New York State Department of Health approval to use on a compassionate care basis a drug that we think has real possibility. On the drug therapy, Tuesday we’re going to start the hydroxy chloroquine with the Zithromax. That’s the drug combination that the President has been talking about. The FDA approved New York State Department of Health to proceed with an experimental drug, again on a compassionate care basis.

Governor Cuomo: (14:55)
But what it does is it takes the plasma from a person who has been infected with the virus, processes the plasma and injects the antibodies into a person who is sick. There have been tests that show when a person is injected with the antibodies that then stimulates and promotes their immune system against that disease. It’s only a trial. It’s a trial for people who are in serious condition, but the New York State Department of Health has been working on this with some of New York’s best healthcare agencies. We think it shows promise and we’re going to be starting that this week. There’s also work on a serological drug where you test the antibodies of a person and see if they had the virus already. We all believe thousands and thousands of people have had the virus and self-resolved. If you knew that, you would know who is now immune to the virus and who you could send back to work, et cetera. We’re also working on that.

Governor Cuomo: (16:13)
The numbers today, total tested up to 78,000, tested overnight, 24-hour period, 16,000. As of yesterday, about 25% of all the testing nationwide is being produced right here. The number of positive cases, we are up to 20,000 statewide, 5,000 new cases, which is obviously a significant increase. As I say that trajectory is going up, the wave is still going up and we have a lot of work to do to get that rate down and get the hospital capacity up. You see it spreading across the state the way it’s spread across the nation. That will continue my guess is every day.

Governor Cuomo: (17:06)
We have right now on hospitalizations, 13% are being hospitalized. None of these numbers are good, but relatively, that is a good number. Remember, it’s the rate of hospitalizations and the rate of people needing ICU beds. 13% is down. It has gone as high as 20%, 21%, hovered around 18%, 17%, 13% is a good number. Of that number, 24% require the ICU beds. The ICU beds are very important because those are the ventilators.

Governor Cuomo: (17:52)
Most impacted states, you can see that New York far and away has the bulk of the problem. That’s relevant for the federal government. That’s relevant for the congressional delegation that is arguing for federal funds. Fund the need. Fund the need. New York we have 20,000 cases, New Jersey 1,900, California, 1,800. Proportionately in absolute terms, New York has by far the greatest need in the nation. Again, to keep this all in perspective, Johns Hopkins has studied every case from the beginning, 349,000 cases, death toll worldwide is 15,000. Many will get infected, but few will actually pass away from this disease.

Governor Cuomo: (18:57)
Also, this is all evolving. This is all evolutionary. We are still figuring it out. There has to be a balance or parallel tracks that we’re going down. We are talking about public health. We’re talking about isolation. We’re talking about protecting lives. There also has to be a parallel track that talks about economic viability. I take total responsibility for shutting off the economy in terms of essential workers, but we also have to start to plan the pivot back to economic functionality. You can’t stop the economy forever. We have to start to think about does everyone stay out of work? Should young people go back to work sooner? Can we test for those who had the virus resolved and are now immune? Can they start to go back to work?

Governor Cuomo: (20:08)
There’s a theory of risk stratification that Dr. Katz, who’s at Yale University is working on, which is actually very interesting to me. Which says isolate people, but really isolate the vulnerable people. Don’t isolate everyone because most people are not vulnerable to it. If you isolate all people, you may be actually exposing the more vulnerable people by bringing in a person who is healthier and stronger and who may have been exposed to the virus. Can you get to a point where the healthy, the people who most likely not going to be affected can go to work?

Governor Cuomo: (20:59)
Remember, you study the numbers across the countries that have been infected. This survival rate for those who have been infected is like 98%. A lot of people get it, very few people die from it. How do we start to calculate that in? We implemented New York Pause, which stopped all the essential workers, et cetera. We have to start to think about New York Forward. Steve Cohen and Bill Mulrow, who I’ve worked with for 30 years and now in the private sector, they’re going to start to think about this. How do you restart or transition to a restart of the economy? How do you dovetail that with a public health strategy? As you’re identifying people who have had the virus and have resolved, can they start to go back to work? Can younger people start to go back to work because they’re much more tolerant to the effect of the virus? You turned off the engine quickly. How do you now start or begin to restart or plan the restart of that economic engine? A separate task, but something that we have to focus on.

Governor Cuomo: (22:26)
I offered my personal opinion yesterday. I separate my personal opinion from the facts. You can disregard my personal opinion. You can disregard facts, but they are still facts. I said, “Don’t be reactive, be productive, be proactive.” A few people have said to me afterwards, “What did that mean?” It happens to me often. Look, this can go on for several months. Nobody can tell you is it four months, six months, eight months, nine months, but it is several months. We all have to now confront that is a new reality. That is not going to change. You’re not going to turn on the news tomorrow morning and they’re going to say, “Surprise, surprise. This is all now resolved in two weeks.” That is not going to happen. Deal with this reality.

Governor Cuomo: (23:26)
Understand the negative effects of this, which I’ve spoken to personally because these are personally negative effects. You don’t feel them governmentally. You feel them personally. You feel them in your own life. Don’t underestimate the emotional trauma. Don’t underestimate the pain of isolation. It is real. This is not the human condition not to be comforted, not to be close, to be …

Governor Cuomo: (24:03)
Not to be comforted, not to be close, to be afraid, and you can’t hug someone. Billy and Steve walked in today. I hadn’t seen them in months. I can’t shake their hands. I can’t hug them. This is all unnatural. My daughter came up. I can’t even really give her the embrace and the kiss that I want to give her. This is all unnatural and disorienting, and it’s not you. It is everyone. It’s the condition. And we are going to have time, and the question is how do we use this time positively? Also at the same time, we have to learn from this experience, because we were not ready to deal with this. And other situations will happen. Other situations will happen. And let’s at least learn from this to be prepared for the next situation, as dramatic as this one has been.

Governor Cuomo: (25:14)
Also finding the silver lining, the positive. Life is going to be quieter for a matter of months. Everything will function. Life will function. Everything will normal operations. There won’t be chaos. The stores will have groceries. Gas stations will have gasoline. There’s no reason for extraordinary anxiety. But it is going to change. You won’t be at work. You can’t be sitting in restaurants. You’re not going to be going to birthday parties. You don’t have to go to business conferences on the weekends. There’s less noise. You know what? That can be a good thing in some ways. You have more time, you have more flexibility. You can do some of those things that you haven’t done that you kept saying, well, I’d love to be able to. I’d love to be able to. Well, now you can. You have more time with family. And yes, I get cramped quarters can be difficult.

Governor Cuomo: (26:22)
But it’s also the most precious commodity. For myself, this young lady Cara is with me. She would never be here otherwise. I’m dad. The last thing you want to be when you’re in Cara’s position is hang out with the old man and hang out with dad and hear bad dad jokes. They’ll come for the holidays. They’ll come when I give them heavy guilt. But I’m now going to be with Cara literally for a few months. What a beautiful gift that is, right? I would’ve never had that chance, and that is precious. And then after this is over, she’s gone. She’s flown the nest. She’s going to go do her thing. But this crazy situation, as crazy as it is, gave me this beautiful gift.

Governor Cuomo: (27:28)
So one door closes, another door opens. Think about that. And as I said, normal operations will continue. As I’ve said from day one, the level of anxiety was not connected to the facts. There is no chaos. The net effect, many people will get the virus, but few will be truly endangered. Hold both of those facts in your hands. Many will get it, up to 80% may get it, but few are truly endangered, and we know who they are. Realize the timeframe that we’re expecting. Make peace with it. And find a way to help each other through this situation because it’s hard for everyone. And the goal for me, socially distanced but spiritually connected. How do you achieve socially distanced but spiritually connected? I don’t have the answer, but I know the question. Questions, comments.

Marina: (28:46)
We’re talking about how many testing we’re doing, but at the same time New York City told medical providers to stop testing people who don’t require hospitalization. How does that sort of match up?

Governor Cuomo: (29:00)
Well look, the number of tests will be a calibration at one point. I believe New York City’s actions, Melissa knows better than I, but I believe in New York City’s actions was more on the availability of gowns and equipment, and that’s a situation that we’re all struggling with. We just are going to send them a big shipment. But I can see local calibrations that different localities are making or hospitals are making on protocols within their hospitals. But we have to get down… The bottom line remains. We cannot handle the wave at the high point. The wave has to come down, and that is density control, and New York City give me a plan, especially for the parks and young people, and that is testing. And we’re doing more than any place in the country, but testing, isolation, testing, isolation.

Joseph: (30:06)
Some sense of what those density controls particularly-

Governor Cuomo: (30:10)
We haven’t gotten the plan yet, Joseph. I said yesterday, I wanted a plan in 24 hours. I had a conversation with the mayor. I had a conversation with the city council speaker, Cory Johnson. We talked through a number of things. I said, put it on a piece of paper. Because in truth, whatever I get from New York City, I then want to do in Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk. I don’t want people saying in New York City, “Well, I’ll just get in the car and go to Westchester or get in the car and go to Nassau.” That’s why the geographic template has been very important. But I haven’t gotten it yet. We had conversation on parameters, but I actually want a plan on paper.

Joseph: (30:48)
But these would be in addition to the density control measures you already have?

Governor Cuomo: (30:51)
Oh yes. Oh yes. This is all in addition. Look, I went there. My density control measures weren’t enough. That was clear. You could look at a park in Brooklyn, Manhattan. It almost looked like any Saturday, any sunny Saturday, when I went. Jimmy.

Jimmy: (31:12)
Yeah. I’m wondering, to go to Marina’s question about testing, there seems to be much more focus downstate than upstate. Why is that occurring and are there plans to distribute the resources? And also maybe Dr. Zucker, we know that global number of ICU beds, but I have to imagine there’s more strain localized downstate. So what are those numbers specifically downstate?

Governor Cuomo: (31:33)
You go where the need is, Jimmy. You follow the science, you follow the numbers, you listen to the data. The majority of our cases are coming out of New York City. So you go where the need is. You go where the numbers are. Dr. Zucker, do you want to?

Dr. Zucker: (31:50)
Sure. Thank you, governor. So the vast majority of the ICU beds are downstate proportional. A lot of the hospital beds are downstate. Two thirds of those are pretty much in the city, in the metropolitan area around the city. What we have now is we have, as the governor mentioned, we have about 600 individuals in the ICU, but we have many more ICU beds. But we have to, as the governor said, prepare for the potential for many more patients to come in.

Governor Cuomo: (32:20)
One second. I don’t care upstate, downstate. This is one state, and we’re planning for one state. If you get overloaded in Albany, then I’m going to use the hospital beds in Utica. If I get overloaded in Buffalo, I’m going to use the hospital beds in Rochester. If I get overloaded in New York City, I’m going to use the hospital beds upstate. There is no upstate, downstate here. It’s one state. I’m sorry.

Governor Cuomo: (33:00)
Do you know, doctor, the current open capacity of ICU beds?

Dr. Zucker: (33:04)
I don’t know the exact number, but I haven’t spoken to some of the hospital leadership members. There are beds and they are working to create more ICU beds because you can actually turn beds that are recovery room bed into an ICU bed, and this is what the team that the governor asked the hospital associations to work on, and we’ll have a report from them shortly.

Speaker 1: (33:27)
A lot of hospital workers are saying that they’re being told to go without using a mask or use a scarf. What would you say to them? Is there a resolution to that or do you think is there any hope?

Dr. Zucker: (33:38)
I haven’t heard the specifics about that, but I know that we have supplies available, and as the governor mentioned in the slide, that we are providing them with more of the protective equipment, both masks as well as gowns.

Governor Cuomo: (33:53)
Larry Schwartz has been handling the supplies, finding supplies with some Simonida Subotic, and they’ve been doing an extraordinary job. Cara’s going to join their team. There is no one in this state today who should be able to, who can say legitimately, I can’t get a mask. If you cannot get a mask, you saw the numbers we’re sending out, we’re successful in getting more. And today, we can get masks to anyone who needs them, and gowns. I can’t promise you next week or the week thereafter. And that’s why I want to see the federal government do this Federal Defense Production Act and stop this ad hoc volunteerism. But today there is no one who we can’t cover, pardoned upon with a mask. Seth.

Seth: (34:52)
Have there been any additional measures to limit the spread of the virus in state prisons, jails, youth facilities?

Governor Cuomo: (34:58)
We have different policies that we put in place all across the board mirroring the nursing homes. No visitors. Same type of policies in prison facilities and other facilities.

Seth: (35:11)
Are you [inaudible 00:35:11] for elderly New Yorkers in state prisons?

Governor Cuomo: (35:13)
It’s something we’re looking at. Yes.

Joseph: (35:17)
Governor, the president said basically that the cure might be worse than the disease itself. Can you comment on that? And especially in light of you saying that we need to start to look at restarting the economy after this.

Governor Cuomo: (35:26)
Yeah. Look, you have to walk and chew gum in life. I don’t have the luxury. No executive really has the luxury of being one dimensional. I’m very proud of the measures we’ve taken to address this public health crisis. You look at our numbers, we’ve done things that no other state in the country has done. But I’m also very aware that you cannot, it is unsustainable to run this state or run this country with the economy…

Governor Cuomo: (36:03)
… or run this country with the economy closed down, right? We’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars. You have people laid off. You have to get the economy up and running. So that has to be planned at the same time. And Steve Cohen and Bill Mulrow are going to do that. There’s another complication, which is what Dr Katz is talking about. Can you have a public, a more refined public health strategy, that is also more productive or less destructive to the economy? Could there be a more intelligent public health strategy that is more productive or less destructive for the economy? Meaning is it smart to put Cara with me? Right? Is it smart to have college kids coming home, kids staying home from school next to their grandmother? Is that a smart public health policy?

Governor Cuomo: (37:19)
Shouldn’t you have stratified the risk? That’s the public health question. And if you stratify the risk, can people start going back to work? And you start to restart that economy. So you’re doing smart public health policy and smart economic policy. I think there is a line, a dot where those two lines cross. You have to identify it and that’s what we’re going to start to work through.

Jimmy: (37:47)
Do you feel it’s overkill at this point?

Governor Cuomo: (37:51)
No, I have no second thoughts on actions that I have taken. I would make the same decisions today. I have no second thought on going to zero, nonessential workers. We sat here every day. Jesse, we saw that scale ticking up. I turned the valve a little bit. I turned the valve a little bit. I turned the valve a little, made no difference. I turned the valve off. By the way, it still hasn’t brought the rate down low enough. So I have no second thoughts. I’m sure there will be political consequences. I know people are very angry about it. I had a gentleman tell me, “There’s no way this state will ever reelect you because of what you did.” Frankly, I don’t even care about that. I did the right thing and I’m proud of it. At the same time, at one point you have to open the valve, right? You have open the valve because that is oxygen for the economy and this is not sustainable.

Speaker 2: (39:07)
Could you please speak to, it doesn’t appear in the two executive orders issued over the weekend that there were specific rules on canceling all gatherings and large gatherings. Can you speak to if those rules are a recommendation or do you plan on putting those in writing in an executive order?

Governor Cuomo: (39:22)
Yeah. I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Do you know what we’re-

Speaker 3: (39:24)
No, it’s a directive. We put it out a couple of days ago. There’s no gatherings of any kind, including weddings, parties, birthday parties. It’s a directive across the board. If you’re saying that there’s confusion about that, I’ll ensure that it’s in executive order today, but that was a directive. It’s not a recommendation.

Governor Cuomo: (39:40)
You can get married. It’s just a very small, convenient, which is also very cost effective. It’s like elopement. It’s a government policy.

Speaker 4: (39:51)
[inaudible 00:39:51] the state budget, the Medicaid bill in Congress is still the same. Senator Krueger said that she doesn’t think pot sales should be in it. Where does that all stand at this point?

Governor Cuomo: (40:00)
She doesn’t think what? I’m sorry.

Speaker 4: (40:01)
She doesn’t think that pot sales or marijuana sales are going to part of the budget at this point.

Governor Cuomo: (40:06)
The legislature is going to do their job just like the executive is going to do their job, which is our way of honoring the heroes in public service today: the police officers, the firefighters, the nurses, the health workers, the food delivery workers, the pharmacy workers, all of those people who have to go out and do their job. So the legislature will do their job, the executive who will do their job. We will pass a budget and not just the budget. We will pass a budget and address the policy items that we laid out and we discussed. Because it’s not just about passing a budget and the numbers there are many policy initiatives that I laid out back in January and we’re going to pursue all of them.

Governor Cuomo: (40:57)
The only caveat was if you have a really complex issue that normally would require weeks of nuanced detailed negotiation to do it right, that we won’t do. Because I don’t want to pass any bills that are not really intelligent that I then have to come back and deal with again next year. So if it’s a highly complex issue, I get it. And then, let’s put it off because we don’t want to do something sloppy, but otherwise no.

Speaker 4: (41:39)
[inaudible 00:41:39] bail reform or pot sales?

Governor Cuomo: (41:40)
Bail reform has to be done.

Speaker 4: (41:40)
And pot sales has to be done?

Governor Cuomo: (41:43)
I want to do legalizing marijuana.

Speaker 5: (41:50)
What does bail reform look like [inaudible 00:00:41:51]?

Governor Cuomo: (41:51)
What does bail reform look like?

Speaker 5: (41:51)
Yeah, what do you want to see changed there?

Governor Cuomo: (41:54)
I think, well you have different positions on bail reform, right? You have the Assembly, you have the Senate, you have my proposal that I did last year. You have people that are very concerned out there. Strong opinions on both sides. I just want to see a resolution and progress and I want to see it in the budget.

Speaker 2: (42:16)
[inaudible 00:42:16] recommended two and a half billion dollars worth of cuts. There are people, we know that’s a structural thing for the budget, but we’re also really straining the healthcare system now. Can you do that now? Do you agree with those cuts and are you thinking about any other way to get through this Medicaid issue?

Governor Cuomo: (42:37)
There are different things in there, right? You have many costs in Medicaid that have absolutely nothing to do with anything we are doing now. And you have many parts of Medicaid that have grown exponentially where frankly, there is gross waste, gross waste. And almost periodically you have to go to any of these government programs and you have to question every premise, every premise. Why are we doing this? Why are we doing this? Why are we doing this? And you will find there are ways to save money. And that’s what we’re doing here.

Governor Cuomo: (43:21)
I want to show you videos that the state is running to help communicate to New Yorkers. They need to stay home. The need to isolate. Because we’re trying to get out the message. I’ve been saying it and everyone’s been saying it, but we have to do a better job communicating. So we’re trying a number of other vehicles. So just show them the-

Speaker 3: (43:44)
Click on-

Governor Cuomo: (43:45)
Oh, I have to do it. I have to do everything myself.

Robert De Niro: (43:52)
Hello, this is Robert De Niro. We all need to stay home. We need to stop the spread of this virus and we can only do it together. Not just to protect ourselves, but to protect others and all the older people you love. Please, I’m watching you.

Danny DeVito: (44:14)
Hi, everybody. It’s Danny DeVito. And I’m asking you from the bottom of my heart, all over the state of New York, stay home. I mean everybody, I mean we got this virus, this pandemic and you know young people can get it and they can transmit it to old people. And the next thing you know, I’m out of there. So Governor Cuomo asked me to ask you, please do us a favor, all of us, and stay home, not spread this virus around. Thank you! Watch a little TV, why don’t ya?

Governor Cuomo: (44:44)
[inaudible 00:08:50]. One more question. Go ahead, Jesse.

Jimmy: (44:52)
Can you talk a little bit about how the infrastructure New York City, people living on top of each other, giant apartment buildings, subways, how that might just be contributing to the spread of coronavirus?

Governor Cuomo: (45:02)
Density controls, density contributes to the spread of the virus. Airborne sneezing, coughing, and density in that I touch this table. The virus could live here for two days. You come tomorrow, I’m gone. You touch that spot. In New York City, all that density, a lot of people are touching a lot of spots, right? A park bench, grocery counter, just picture the city and daily life and that’s why in denser areas you’ll have a higher rate of spread than in more suburban and more rural communities. It’s just a function of interaction and proximity. I have to go to the Javits Center. Thank you very much, guys.

Speaker 4: (46:03)
[inaudible 00:46:03] lists ready. [inaudible 00:46:09] an option for lobbyists?

Governor Cuomo: (46:13)
We are promoting absent… For legislators? We’re not at that point. Thank you, guys.

Jimmy: (46:19)
Governor, is the hospitalizations over… the current number of people hospitalized or since the beginning of the crisis?

Governor Cuomo: (46:25)
The total hospitalization number is from the beginning.

Jimmy: (46:32)
[inaudible 00:46:32] 13% reflects that or reflects the current number of people hospitalized?

Governor Cuomo: (46:36)
I’m sorry, Jess, which 30%?

Jimmy: (46:38)
The 13% that you’re talking about, is that-

Governor Cuomo: (46:41)
Oh, no. Those are the daily numbers. That 13% of hospitalization, that’s today.

Jimmy: (46:46)
Current.

Governor Cuomo: (46:46)
That’s compared to like 20 yesterday. It’s-

Jimmy: (46:48)
And what’s the revenue number you’ve got? Yesterday it was minus $7 billion then it was-