Apr 2, 2020
Governor Andrew Cuomo New York Update Briefing Transcript April 2: Talks to Brother Chris Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo: (00:00)
The number of cases continues to increase. We’re up to 7,917. The number of people tested, again, is the highest rate in the country. And per capita higher than China, per capita higher than South Korea. We tested 18,000 people, total tested 238,000, which is a lot of people but remember New York, you’re talking on a base of 19 million. Number of positive cases up to 8,669, 92,000 total in the state. Predominantly in New York City, but you see Westchester and Nassau, which, by percentage, is a troubling number. Remember New York City, so much larger than Westchester or Nassau or Suffolk. So those numbers are concerning and we’re watching those. You look to see in Nassau County, 1,000 new cases, Suffolk County, 1,141 new cases, that is troubling news.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:18)
Number of counties, you see the entire state. Every county in the state now has reported a coronavirus case. We said it was going to march across the state. I’ve also made the point to my colleagues on every phone call I do with the other governors, the other officials, I say, “It’s going to march across the country.” It is false comfort to say, “Well, we are a rural community. We don’t have the density of New York City.” That is a false comfort.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:52)
You have counties in New York state where you have more cows than people. New York state, don’t think of just New York City. Upstate New York is a rural community. And you see that it’s not just urban areas, it’s suburban areas, that’s Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, comparable to suburban communities all across this country. And we have rural communities that are comparable to rural communities all across this country. In many ways, New York state is a microcosm of the United States and that’s why I believe it’s going to be a illustrative for the rest of this nation as to what’s going to happen.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:47)
Current hospitalizations, as I said, 92,000 tested positive, 13,000 currently hospitalized. That’s up 1,100. 3,000 ICU patients, that’s up 300. 7,400 patients discharged, that’s up 1,292. That’s good news. Number of people going to the hospital is going up, number of people coming out of the hospital is going up. Number of deaths up to 2,373, up from 1,941.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:20)
Looking for a trend line, the trend line is still basically up, total new hospitalizations. Trend line of ICU admissions is still up. Certainly a couple of small deviations but the line is up. Number of intubations is up but if you want to take an optimistic view, you could start to see a plateauing in the number of intubations. But the statisticians tell me that’s an optimistic view. Number of daily discharged is going way up. That’s people going in, people going out.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:06)
Challenge is still at the apex. That’s what this is been all about for every system in this country now. Everyone is basically waging the same battle. Different timeframes, different numbers, different percentages, but it’s the same battle. When you hit the apex, which is the highest rate of infection, highest number of people coming into the hospital system, can you handle that number? Can you handle the height of the impact on the hospital system, which is at the apex of the curve? We call that the battle of the mountain top. At least I call it the battle of the mountain top.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:55)
Questions people keep asking, which are the right questions, “Well, when is the apex?” It depends on what model you use, what model you follow. We follow all the models. It’s anywhere from 7 to 21 to 30 days depending on what model you look at.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:13)
“Well, how can you have that variable 7 to 30 days?” It depends on how that model rates how effective social distancing is. The variable is the models that think social distancing is going to be more effective at slowing the rate have a longer timeframe for the apex. Those models that discount the social distancing, they have a shorter time frame for the apex. It makes it difficult to plan, frankly, because 7 to 30 days is a long window and we are literally planning on a day-to-day basis, deploying assets on a day-to-day basis. We believe it is closer to the shorter end of the range with our in-house people looking at the professional modeling that’s being done.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:18)
“How many beds will you need at the apex?” Between 70 and 110,000. Again, that is a broad range. Again, that’s one of the frustrations trying to plan for this. Right now we have 53,000 statewide. We have only 36,000 downstate. Remember that, and this is primarily a downstate issue. So by any estimate, we don’t have the number of beds but, again, we’ve taken extraordinary measures. Every hospital by mandate has to add a 50% increase and they have all done that. We’re setting up extra facilities, which we’ve been talking about. We’ve been shifting patients from downstate hospitals to upstate hospitals and that is continuing.
Andrew Cuomo: (07:06)
“When does this end?” You have projection models that have us hitting the apex, coming down from the apex. Models vary at how quickly you come down from the apex but they all basically say you come down from the apex quickly, and then some models have it flattening out but flattening out for a period of time. Models have it flattening out and continuing through the summer.
Andrew Cuomo: (07:42)
“How many lives lost?” There’s only one model that we look at that has the number of projected deaths, which is the IHME model, which is funded by the Gates Foundation, and we thank the Gates Foundation for the national service that they’ve done. But that is the model that suggests approximately 93,000 deaths across the country. That’s the model that I believe Dr. Fauchi was referring to when he said about 100,000 deaths. By that, New York would be about 16,000 deaths by that model.
Andrew Cuomo: (08:19)
When we’re doing this planning and we’re doing our deployment, the theory is the chain is only as strong as the weakest link. So that’s true for the hospital system. We have about, give or take, 180 hospitals that we are focusing on here in this state. The hospitals that will have the greatest issue will be those hospitals that are usually the most stressed in normal circumstances. So if the hospitals before this were under stress, you then add this crisis on top of that, those are the hospitals that one would expect to see struggling first.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:15)
That’s also true for the entire hospital system. We talk about beds, we talk about staff, we talk about supplies, but the truth is you need all three of those things to provide any care. A bed without staff doesn’t do anything. A bed and staff without supplies doesn’t do anything. So you need all three of those components to work to have a situation where someone can actually get care.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:42)
In terms of beds, those are the easiest to find and we’re constructing additional facilities. We’re now going to start at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, obviously in Brooklyn, New York City. It’s expected to open this week, 750 beds. We’re taking a Office of Mental Health facility in Staten Island and converting it to a COVID-only hospital. So on beds, we are in relatively good shape because a bed is a bed. A bed is a question of a structure. Push comes to shove, we can acquire dorms, we can acquire hotels, we can acquire physical structures with beds in them. Of those three components, bed, staff, supplies, I personally am least worried about bed capacity. We have 2,500 beds at Javits. We have a thousand beds on the Naval ship, Comfort. Beds we can find, not easy, but we can find them.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:58)
The harder components are the staff and the supplies, which is what we’ve been talking about. On the staff, we’re continuing to shift staff from the upstate hospitals that are less impacted to downstate hospitals. We’ve requested out-of-state healthcare workers. God bless America. 21,000 people have volunteered from out of state to come into New York state. I thank them. I thank their patriotism. I thank their dedication and passion to their mission of public health. These are beautiful, generous people. And New Yorkers will return the favor. New Yorkers will return the favor.
Andrew Cuomo: (11:44)
This is going to affect every place in this country. We are, in some ways, the first major encounter. We’re learning. We’ll get the experience and we will return the favor. When your community needs help, New Yorkers will be there. And you have my personal word on that. And it’s also the New York tradition. When there’s been a hurricane or there’s been a flood or Hurricane Katrina, New Yorkers are the first ones in their cars to go anywhere in this nation that needs help. And I will be the first one in my car to go wherever this nation needs help as soon as we get past this. I will never forget how people across this country came to the aid of New Yorkers when they needed it and I deeply appreciate it. We have 85,000 volunteers now in total, which are being deployed to the hospitals so they can find staff that works for them.
Andrew Cuomo: (12:50)
Supplies are an ongoing challenge. The PPE is an ongoing challenge, the gowns, the gloves, and the ventilators. First of all, we have for the first time ever, a hospital-by-hospital survey that will be done on a nightly basis of exactly what they have. As I said, we’re coordinating the healthcare system in a way it’s never been coordinated before. Rather than having all these regional systems and public systems, private systems, et cetera, we have a central stockpile.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:26)
We are asking all the hospitals to contribute what they have to that central stockpile and then we will disperse on a need basis. Some hospitals have more supplies than they’re using. We’re saying, don’t hoard supplies. Let’s put all the supplies in a central stockpile and then we will draw down from the central stockpile. And we will monitor this literally on a daily basis. I’m also asking on supplies. I don’t have a New York Defense Production Act. A governor can’t say to a company, “We need you to manufacture this.” But I asked businesses just to think about the situation we’re in and a possible opportunity. It is the cruelest irony that this nation is now dependent on China for production of many of these products. Many of these products in the normal marketplace were being produced in China and now you have everyone shopping China for PPE, gowns, ventilators. The gowns, the gloves, are not complicated components to manufacturer. The gowns are Tyvec or paper material. If you are-
Andrew Cuomo: (15:03)
Paper material. If you are a manufacturer who can convert to make these products and make them quickly, they are not complicated products. The FDA lists the specifications for these products on their website. If you have the capacity to make these products, we will purchase them and we will pay a premium and we will pay to convert or transition your manufacturing facility to a facility that can do this. But we need it now. We’re not talking about two months, three months, four months. We need these materials now. That’s the stress. I understand that. But if you are in the garment manufacturing business, if you have machinery that can cut a pattern, a cover all, you’re not making a fashion forward fitted garment. These are relatively straightforward components. So if you can do it, it’s a business opportunity. It is a state need.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:20)
It’s a national need. Please contact us. We’ll work with you, we’ll work with you quickly. There’ll be no bureaucracy, no red tape, and we’ll finance. We’re not asking for a favor from these businesses. We’ll finance what you need in terms of transitioning, and we’ll buy the product, and I will pay a premium because we need it. And this is a number for the Empire State Development Corporation, which is handling this task. In terms of ventilators, we released 400 ventilators last night to the New York City Health And Hospital Corporation. We released 200 to Long Island and Westchester. As I said, you see that those growing numbers in Nassau and Suffolk, and that is starting to stress that health care system. So we released those ventilators last night. At the current burn rate, we have about six days of ventilators in our stockpile, meaning if the rate of usage, the rate of people coming into hospitals who need ventilators, if that rate continues, in our stockpile, we have about six days.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:46)
Now, if the apex happens within that timeframe, if the apex increases, if the apex is longer, we have an issue with ventilators. These numbers, by the way, are also going to be compiled every night. There’s a difference of opinion. How many will you need? We’ll need what we need. I have no desire to acquire more ventilators than we need. The way we basically are acquiring ventilators is the state is buying them. They are very expensive and the state is broke, so I have no desire to buy more ventilators than we need. But we need what we need. If a person comes in and needs a ventilator and you don’t have a ventilator, the person dies. That’s the blunt equation here. And right now, we have a burn rate that would suggest we have about six days in the stockpile. But we are taking all sorts of extraordinary measures.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:54)
I’ve spoken to health people all across the nation. Dr. Zucker’s done all sorts of research. And we have extraordinary measures in place that can make a difference if we run into a real ventilator shortage. First, we know where all the ventilators are in the state of New York, by hospital. If we have a problem in any hospital, we are going to take the ventilators that are not needed from the upstate hospitals and transport them to downstate New York or the hospitals that do need them, which again, more and more are going to be on Long Island. And then we’ll return them or we’ll figure out the finances of it and make those hospitals whole. We’re also increasing the number of ventilators by ending all elective surgeries. If you don’t need an elective surgery, a hospital cannot perform it if it’s not critical. That’s freeing up ventilators. We’re also using anesthesia machine ventilators, without the anesthesia obviously, but using them as ventilators.
Andrew Cuomo: (20:03)
We’re also so-called splitting ventilators. We put out a protocol. All the hospitals are practicing that now. One ventilator, two sets of tubes can do two patients. It’s not easy. It’s not ideal. But it’s better than nothing. We’re also converting what’s called BiPAP machines, which again don’t have the same force as a ventilator, but on an emergency basis, some research has been done that says they could be suitable. We are also still in the business of looking for ventilators, to buy ventilators. It’s too late to ask a company to make them in any way that would work for our timeframe. You look at our timeframe, seven days to 30 days, no one is going to be able to make a ventilator for you in that period of time. Nationwide, parts of the country that have a later curve, yes. If you give a company two months, three months, they can ramp up production, but not on our curve.
Andrew Cuomo: (21:10)
So we have to find ventilators that we can buy, and we’re still doing that. And again, the main place is China. We’re converting the BiPAP machines. This has not been done before. But Northwell, which is one of our premier healthcare systems, has developed a protocol and they’re teaching the other hospitals now how to do it. We just bought 3,000 BiPAP machines, and 750 came in yesterday. So yes, the burn rate of ventilators is troubling and six days of ventilators in the stockpile is troubling, but we have all these extraordinary measures that I believe if push comes to shove will put us in fairly good shape.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:06)
I don’t want to say yet I’m confident, and it depends on how many we need. But I can say with confidence, we have researched every possibility, every idea, every measure you can possibly take to find ventilators this state has done. That I can promise you. We’re also going to open the healthcare exchange enrollment period through May 15th. We have about 96% of the people in this state are covered with health insurance. If you’re not covered, we’re extending the enrollment period to May 15th. Please get covered. You can go to the New York state of health website and sign up. My brother, my little brother, I only have one brother, Christopher, tested positive for Corona virus. A lot of people are concerned about him, obviously people in my family, but even beyond that. New Yorkers are very compassionate, and many people ask me about Chris and how’s he doing, not just for himself. But we keep talking about this coronavirus, coronavirus, coronavirus. I’m afraid of it. I’m anxious about it. What does it actually mean? Okay, your brother has it. How’s he doing? So a lot of people ask me that question, and I talk to him quite frequently, and he is doing okay. And I checked in with him this morning and asked him how he was feeling, and he was up and spry and much his normal self.
Andrew Cuomo: (24:02)
I invited him to join us for a couple of minutes if he was up to it this morning, and I think he said that he was in a position to join us, and I asked him to join us by video if he’s available. There he is, with his hat, Cuomo Prime Time. Say hello. I saw it. I saw it. It’s hard to miss. You’re looking-
Chris Cuomo: (24:34)
Let’s get after it.
Andrew Cuomo: (24:36)
Let’s get after it. I love that saying. You’re looking fit and fine. Many people are asking about you. I’ll tell you the truth. Everyone I talked to was asking about you and how you’re doing and how you’re handling it and how you feel. Cara’s here, by the way. She’s working with me now. She’s working on supplies. So she says hello. So how are you feeling?
Chris Cuomo: (25:05)
I love Cara. You have great kids. There’s no better way to measure what you’ve actually met in the world than the kids you bring into it, and your daughters are great. And I’m not surprised that they’re helping. They make me proud of the family. Thank God the next generation’s better than the one that brought it into this world. I’m doing pretty well, all things considered. This is very tough. I get it now. I’ve now become part of this group of people who have this virus and they’re reaching out, different friends and people who are new friends. They have this five, eight, 10 days, constant virus, constant fever, and it’s tough. And it’s not doing great with my hair. I have to be honest. It’s tough to keep hair the way I want it to look. You look like you’ve been cutting your own hair, which some people are good at, some people are not.
Chris Cuomo: (26:01)
So I’ve chosen to wear a hat because I don’t want to butcher my own haircut. But it’s going to be a long [inaudible 00:26:07]. Now that I know the fight that I’m in for, I’m more comfortable, and I’ve learned that I see why it takes people out. You got to rest because your body has this fever because it’s fighting the virus, and you’ve got to chill. I’m very lucky. I have a wife who loves me and who’s keeping me fed. I got a nice place to be. So many people don’t. You’ve been very smart, Andrew, in getting people to think about how they can reach out and help people without contact. A lot of people are fighting this alone, and I can’t imagine that. I can barely keep it together and I have everything done for me. Very lucky. There are a lot of people who are in a bad way and they’re reaching out to me and I feel for them. So we’re in a real fight and we really do have to remember our connections to each other because otherwise we’ll be no way through it.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:56)
You’re on day two?
Chris Cuomo: (26:59)
Yeah, I really believe that it didn’t start until I got the diagnosis, maybe because psychosomatic or whatever, but that night I got hit with a fever and those rigors, spelled like rigors, R-I-G-O-R-S, but it was like out of a movie. I tell you I had the hallucination. I was seeing pop. You came to me in a dream. You had on a very interesting ballet outfit and you were dancing in the dream, and you were waving a wand and saying, “I wish I could wave my wand and make this go away.” And then you spun around and you danced away.
Andrew Cuomo: (27:44)
Well, that’s a lot of metaphoric reality now. I thank you for sharing that with us. It was kind of you. Obviously, it-
Chris Cuomo: (27:57)
Can’t get that picture out of my head.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:01)
Obviously the fever has affected your mental capacity.
Chris Cuomo: (28:05)
And being alone all the time. I think everything I say is funny now.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:12)
So you still have a fever, do you have a fever today?
Chris Cuomo: (28:18)
I have a fever right this instant, governor.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:21)
Really? Well, you look good. I have to tell you, comparatively, you look good.
Chris Cuomo: (28:28)
Well, first of all, I appreciate that. I must point out to your audience that you were most concerned about how I look [inaudible 00:28:38] several times and you didn’t like my hair. You thought that I was giving a bad look of survival of the virus. I think I’m doing good.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:50)
Good. You look good. You sound good. I know that sometimes we joke, I’m not going to do that today. Rule one is never hit a brother when he’s down and you’re literally in the basement. So I’m going to refrain from any rebuttal today. You just-
Chris Cuomo: (29:10)
I don’t know. I have to tell you this is probably the best case because when I’m healthy, you know what happens, the way we go toe to toe when I’m healthy. So really if I were you, now’s the time to strike. You may not get sick, but I would come for it now. Once I’m healthy, I’m not going to forget all the jokes you made at my expense. I saw the picture you showed of me. Raised my fever.
Andrew Cuomo: (29:37)
No. Look, first, I have no doubt that you would hit me when I’m down. That’s the difference between us, and that is my point. That’s not who I am. I hadn’t made any jokes. It was not a joke. Some people misinterpreted what I said. I said that I was going to send you a book because I know he’s just walking around the basement there, that I was going to send you a book on a…
Andrew Cuomo: (30:01)
… On a beginner’s guide to striped bass fishing, but that’s only because you normally fish for porgies and it’s totally different to fish for striped bass than porgies. I was never saying anything that was in any way offensive.
Chris Cuomo: (30:19)
Well, I appreciate [inaudible 00:30:20] I like to learn. I love to go out [inaudible 00:30:23]. I love to fish with you. It’s one of my favorite things to do. You’re the only person I’ve ever known who fishes in all white because you have no expectation of getting any kind of [inaudible 00:30:33] or any type of substance on you at any time when you fish, which has been great training for the virus. You have lived the sterilized existence pretty much the entire time I’ve known you.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:44)
Yes, I believe you can fish and still stay neat and clean. I’ll tell you this-
Chris Cuomo: (30:50)
I love these press conferences. I think you should have one every day.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:54)
Yes, I have been. I know you haven’t noticed.
Chris Cuomo: (30:57)
Andrew Cuomo: (30:58)
Chris Cuomo: (30:58)
Andrew Cuomo: (30:59)
Yes. It’s sort of like the way you have a show. Yes, I do a briefing. You have Cuomo Prime Time. I have Cuomo all the time. That’s the difference.
Chris Cuomo: (31:06)
The hats are available, by the way.
Andrew Cuomo: (31:08)
Yes, it is a good looking hat. And one hour a day. I work 23 hours a day. That’s like the mathematical balance, but anyway-
Chris Cuomo: (31:16)
We need you to. You have to keep us safe. That’s your job.
Andrew Cuomo: (31:19)
Yes. That’s my job. I do believe this is going to be a great public service in an ironic way. People are curious about coronavirus. What does it mean? What happens if I get one, you get the virus. You living it, showing it, doing it, doing the show, reporting on how you feel, reporting on what you’re doing, I think it really demystifies this. It takes a lot of the unknown out of the equation. And I know it’s a terrible unfortunate circumstance for you, but think about it from a journalistic point of view, a public service point of view. You are answering questions for millions of Americans. If I get it, what happens? What do I do? What do I look like? How about my family?
Andrew Cuomo: (32:10)
By the way, best news is, thank god your family doesn’t show any symptoms. Knock formica. Yep, because if your wife had any symptoms, you would be in the basement for a lot longer than this virus would keep you in the basement, my brother. But-
Chris Cuomo: (32:32)
Let me tell you, I don’t know how I would do without it. I mean, I’ve always been emotionally dependent on my wife, but now, I don’t eat without Christina. The kids won’t come anywhere near me. The dogs won’t even come down the stairs. I had to trick the dog to go in to take a picture with it.
Andrew Cuomo: (32:54)
Is that a relationship issue or is that like a canine instinct issue?
Chris Cuomo: (32:57)
I think that people get into survival mode. And then if the big dog went down, doesn’t mean we all have to go down and they are keeping their distance. I get a face time alert every once in a while. I get a text message. They all are very proud of you and what you’re doing. I know how hard this is for you. I know it’s frustrating when you can’t control what you need and you know what you need and you know how important it is, and you can’t get it. And that is very tough and I’ve watched it in real time with you and I can tell people, of course, I’m your brother, I’ll never be objective about you, you’re my favorite guy. But I’ve never seen you work harder than now and I’ve never seen you have this kind of desperation to source equipment and you’re drawn in from everybody you know. And you’ve done everything you can to stay positive with the federal government. And that is so important right now.
Chris Cuomo: (33:50)
And you’re doing everything you can. Unfortunately, look, what’s one of the big lessons in life that Pop always used to tell us? Certain things you’re not going to be able to control. Certain things are going to happen. This virus is one of them. It happened. It’s going to run its course. You guys can’t put a number on it. I know there’s a huge temptation to do it. I know you’re using the models. I talk to Dr. Fauci and all the different experts. People want timing, but we got to be realistic. We don’t know how long it’s going to last. We only know what we control, which is staying away from one another. And if we do that well, things will go better.
Chris Cuomo: (34:20)
But sometimes in life, you got to ride it out. And we’re in one of those experiences now. People will remember this period maybe more than any other period in their whole lives and people will be remembered for how they stepped up right now and what they did and what they didn’t do. And I’m very proud of you, big brother. I’ll tell you that.
Andrew Cuomo: (34:36)
Well, look, I’ve said at this briefing, this is a transformative moment for the state, for the country. I believe that. I also believe it’s a moment where you really see what people are made of. When the pressure is on, that’s when you see all the cracks and you see all the strength. It’s easy to be nice when everything is nice but when the pressure is really on… And for you, when they told you you tested positive, a lot of people’s instinct would have been to get in bed, pull the covers over your head and just lay there. For you to get up, do that show, share with people, that is a strength and a character strength that is really incredible. And you know, we joke a lot, but the strength that you showed here and the dedication to journalism and your skill and your ability to make this okay for people and to communicate it, you can do the coronavirus, have the coronavirus, but you know, life goes on.
Andrew Cuomo: (35:53)
I’ve been saying a 1,000 times, 80% of the people get it and they will self-resolve, but you’re showing that. And not many people would’ve stood up the way you have stood up. I’ve always been proud of you. You know that, on a basic level. Not only do I love you, I’ve always been proud of you, but I’ve never been prouder of you than I am right now.
Andrew Cuomo: (36:19)
You go get some rest. I love you. Everybody loves you. This is going to be fine. You’re going to get through it, and you’re going to do a beautiful public service in the meantime. And I’m proud of you. And then we’ll go fishing. We’ll have a drink and we’ll laugh about it. Go get some rest. Thank you for taking the time.
Chris Cuomo: (36:37)
[inaudible 00:36:37] And I know that I have to take care of myself. I won’t do the show all the time. I’ll do it whenever I can. People have been very nice in saying, don’t work too much because you don’t want to compromise fighting the virus. They are right. You’re right to say that, as well, and I hear all the advice. I love you. Thank you for letting me join today. I’ll enjoy watching this now that I know it’s a regular thing. I’ll watch it every day because I’m stuck in the basement.
Andrew Cuomo: (37:02)
Thank you. Thank you for saying such loving, supportive things.
Chris Cuomo: (37:04)
If you need me, you know where I am.
Andrew Cuomo: (37:06)
Rule one, never hit a brother when he’s down in the basement. Love you.
Chris Cuomo: (37:11)
In the basement.
Andrew Cuomo: (37:12)
In the basement.
Chris Cuomo: (37:12)
Andrew Cuomo: (37:13)
Ciao. Questions? Let’s do the coronavirus questions and then any local questions we’ll do afterwards.
Speaker 2: (37:21)
[inaudible 00:37:21] they’re interested in mandatory curfews. Would you be interested? They said this would require an executive order, would you be interested in placing mandatory curfews in places that aren’t interested in obeying social distancing rules?
Andrew Cuomo: (37:34)
Yeah, well, it would depend on what the… The question is, would I be open to curfews? It depends on what their problem is, what their situation is and what they’re trying to solve and we’d have to talk through it. Try to have to understand what the theory of their action is.
They are reports that there’s only a handful of people in the Comfort at this point. Can you give us an update of how many patients are in the ship, as well as in Javits Center at this point?
Andrew Cuomo: (38:01)
I do not have the numbers, Jesse, but I can get them for you. Those two facilities are operated by the federal government, as you know. They’re for non-COVID patients only. The theory is that the non-COVID patients would come out of hospitals freeing up more beds in the hospitals for COVID patients and that the Javits and the Comfort would be an overflow valve for that. The federal government determines who comes in by their protocol, but I have to get the numbers. I don’t have the numbers.
Speaker 3: (38:39)
Is it possible that the Javits and Comfort could at some point care for some COVID patients, maybe not ICU level ones or-
Andrew Cuomo: (38:45)
They could. You would need the federal government to allow you to have… Look, Javits and Comfort, can do whatever the military allows them to. I understand on the Comfort they don’t want to bring in COVID patients because that’s an entire ship. How do you disinfect the ship afterwards? And that’s a complicated situation. Javits, you could convert to a COVID facility. It would require the federal government to allow it. I don’t know what kind of medical staff COVID versus non-COVID, maybe Dr. Zucker would know.
Dr. Zucker: (39:29)
It really depends on their clinical condition. The COVID patients who are recovering are in their convalescent phase and so they should be getting better and need some respiratory support from the standpoint of chest PT and nursing care more than anything else. And the non-COVID patients, obviously it depends on what their medical condition is, but obviously, those individuals would have to be in relatively stable condition.
Speaker 5: (39:53)
There have been reports out of China that the coronavirus cases and deaths might not be accurate. I’m just wondering if that’s true, if that would have any bearing, any impact on the models and the projections that we’re using in the United States?
Andrew Cuomo: (40:13)
It’s an interesting question. We do not do the models in house, right? We review the models, but we don’t do the models. We have McKinsey does models, Cornell Weill does models, et cetera. It’s a whole art form unto itself. The modelers will tell you they use Wuhan data, especially when they’re trying to calibrate the rate of spread and the effect of social isolation. But they also have a lot of data post China that they are relying on. You have South Korea, you have the rate of spread now here, so you raise a good point. If the China data was wrong, might it influence the model? Yes, but the model isn’t solely dependent on that data either.
Speaker 4: (41:05)
Governor, has the [inaudible 00:41:09] ventilator from the federal stockpile have been faulty, even have missing pieces or were not working. Did New York receive any faulty ventilators?
Andrew Cuomo: (41:17)
Did New York receive any faulty ventilators from the federal government? We’ve received, the state overall, the city and the state, received 4,400. We have distributed many of them. I have not heard of any faulty.
Dr. Zucker: (41:36)
I haven’t heard of any.
Speaker 6: (41:36)
So I think the issue is, and this was an article in the LA Times out in California, it was reported that some of the ventilators that were sent to them by the federal government were faulty. And the explanation is apparently you have to run ventilators ever so often. It’s not unlike a car battery, not that this is my particular area of expertise, admittedly. And so, that was what they chalked that issue up to.
Speaker 6: (41:57)
In New York, when we saw that report, we began to review our own stockpile and we’re in the process of doing that now of the ventilators we got from the feds. And we haven’t seen a problem so far.
Speaker 7: (42:08)
Are you expecting any more ventilators from the federal government at this point? Have you been informed more are on the way or-
Andrew Cuomo: (42:14)
The federal government is very aware of our situation. I spoke to the president this morning. I work with the vice president, the White House staff, et cetera. I don’t think the federal government is in a position to provide ventilators to the extent the nation may need them. I don’t think it’s a question that this federal government has ventilators that they’re not distributing. They may have ventilators that they’re not distributing now on the same theory that I’m not distributing all of our ventilators now, because you have a stockpile, right? The state has a stockpile, the federal government has a stockpile. The concept of a stockpile is you stockpile until you need it, but I don’t know if they have more in the stockpile. I know that the ventilator availability is just a problem for everyone. You have 50 states competing for it. You have the federal government trying to buy it.
Andrew Cuomo: (43:17)
I don’t know what their capacity is in their stockpile, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised if they don’t have enough in their stockpile to provide for all the communities that need it. That’s why our attitude here is, we’re on our own. I will ask the federal government if we get to that point. I’ll ask them, I’ll plead, I’ll do whatever I have to do to get ventilators from the federal government. But that’s why we’re also taking all those extraordinary measures ourselves. Just assume you are on your own in life, right? And that’s the operating assumption.
Andrew Cuomo: (43:58)
But having said that, I am sure the federal government would do anything they can do to help. There has been nothing in our relationship that would suggest they wouldn’t do what they can do to help. The question is what can they do? I don’t know the answer to that.
Speaker 8: (44:18)
[inaudible 00:44:18] for a state to have a buying consortium where states work together to PPE?
Andrew Cuomo: (44:21)
No, I think you’re past that point now because you just can’t find the product. Zack?
Governor, could you compare the use of these bi-level machines to a regular ventilator and how do the supplies of the bi-level machines compare to ventilators?
Andrew Cuomo: (44:38)
BiPap versus a ventilator? It’s a great question. I would love to respond to it, except I have no idea how a BiPap relates to a ventilator besides the generic comment that the BiPap does not have the same level of force, doesn’t pump as much air as a ventilator. Beyond that, I do not know. But Dr. Zucker may know.
Dr. Zucker: (45:02)
That was a great explanation.
Andrew Cuomo: (45:03)
… but, Dr. Zucker may know.
Dr. Zucker: (45:03)
That was a good explanation. Excellent. The BiPAP systems are basically, they don’t have as much energy to push air in and that the ventilators have many more capabilities of doing different types of respiratory support. But the BiPAP machine will be able to help many individuals once you convert over.
Speaker 10: (45:29)
So, that they can be used for relatively minor cases?
Dr. Zucker: (45:29)
Well, I think that this is a condition which is going to change as someone gets either better or worse. And I think sometimes people think you put them on one machine and then they stay on that machine, but you can move things around. You can put someone on a ventilator, they start to get better, and then you can sort of switch them to a BiPAP machine. And that may provide the support that they need at that point in time. And then you can move it to the next phase as well. So it’s not a stagnant situation. A ventilator has more variability than the BiPAP machine.
Andrew Cuomo: (46:02)
This is not an ideal situation. And this is not a standard medical protocol, right? Everybody’s made that clear to me. In a perfect world, everybody would have a ventilator. And that’s our first goal and it’s always been our goal. And I’ve been talking about ventilators since this thing started, but if we hit that apex and we run out of ventilators, then on the theory of you do whatever you can do, then we have all those series of measures. Take the ventilators from hospitals that don’t need them, splitting the ventilators, so you double the capacity of a ventilator, use a BiPAP machine on a patient who you can use a BiPAP machine.
Andrew Cuomo: (46:42)
All of those measures go into effect because you have no option, right? You’re going to be in a situation where literally if the person doesn’t have a ventilator, they die. You don’t have a ventilator. Then come up with plan B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and that’s what we have done. By the way, we even have a plan for the … I showed you the hand held rubber ventilator. That’s just a bladder that is manually operated and we purchased 7,000 of those.
Speaker 11: (47:19)
President Trump said this morning that New York had gotten a late start, that it had gotten far more supplies than that. And then in the next breath said that Cuomo was working hard. How do you make a sense of the president’s criticism of the state and praise of you?
Andrew Cuomo: (47:36)
I don’t know.
Speaker 11: (47:36)
You don’t know?
Andrew Cuomo: (47:36)
No. I don’t know. I don’t know how you square those two statements. I don’t know that you can square those two statements. Got a late start on supplies. We started purchasing and we probably will have wound up purchasing more than any state in the country.
Andrew Cuomo: (48:04)
I will bet you dollars to donuts we wind up buying more ventilators than any state in the country. So we were very aggressive from day one, as you know. And again, that’s on the assumption that the states, each state is supposed to be managing this situation. But, I thank him for his good words that he thinks I’m doing a good job.
Speaker 12: (48:30)
How are you handling the homeless population with COVID?
Andrew Cuomo: (48:30)
We’re doing the best we can with all the special populations, in prisons, in nursing homes, in homeless shelters.
Speaker 13: (48:36)
There’s a moratorium on evictions for the next 90 days, what happens after that if tenants aren’t paying their rent, should landlords evict their tenants after those 90 days? What would prevent them?
Andrew Cuomo: (48:45)
Yeah. Let’s see where we are after 90 days. A lot of these situations, what do we do about rent after 90 days? What do we do about income after 90 days? What do we do about infrastructure after 90 days? So much of this is changing and fluid. I don’t think anyone can sit here and tell you what the right plan is for any of these areas 90 days from now. I just want to get to 90 days from now and get their healthy and then we’ll handle whatever we have to handle.
Speaker 14: (49:15)
Governor, do you have any updated on those ventilators that you purchased from China? [inaudible 00:49:20] currently or has that changed?
Andrew Cuomo: (49:23)
We have not received, do you remember, Jim? Doctor?
We’ll have to check whether they’re going to be delayed because there have been issues of course with shipping internationally right now, but we’ll get back to you on the exact dates.
Speaker 14: (49:39)
You said there were 2,500 of them?
Speaker 16: (49:43)
What’s the number right now they’re total ventilators we have? And how does, with the BiPAP machines, is that bring us closer to the target?
Andrew Cuomo: (49:51)
We have about 2,200 ventilators in the stockpile. That’s what we have. Yes. 2,200 ventilators. The number of people who come in per night who need a ventilator is somewhere in the range, because it’s a little different every night. But, if you wanted to be safe you’d say like 350 people come in every night who need a ventilator. So 2,200, you see disappears very quickly. What do you do? Try to buy more ventilators. And then plan B, plan C, plan D and that’s what we’ve laid out. There is no state and no country that has done anything to provide ventilators that we are not doing. We’ve literally looked at everything that Italy did, China did, South Korea did. Every other state we’re doing more than any other state or country has ever tried to do in terms of backup contingency plans. And beyond that, every day we try to find more, buy more, and be more creative. Who hasn’t asked a question?
Speaker 17: (51:16)
Yeah, thank you, Governor. You said yesterday at the end of your remarks that this virus will change people. So my question is, have you changed?
Andrew Cuomo: (51:25)
Have I changed? No, I defy change. My kids will tell you that. Caro will tell you that. They have been trying to get me to change for many years. They have tried to teach me for many years. Intellectually, I think I’m open to growth and change. I just have trouble doing it in practicality. I think it’ll change me. I think it’ll change me. This is very … it’s incredibly hard. It’s incredibly difficult. My brother touched on it. I take my job very seriously and I take my responsibility very seriously and I don’t make excuses.
Andrew Cuomo: (52:13)
If I fail, I fail. If something breaks or something doesn’t work, that’s on me. I see those number of deaths every day and I take that personally. And I feel the pain that families are feeling and I’m doing everything I can, but people are still dying and that is very hurtful and humbling and painful. Just painful. And this is a long time to be under that level of pain. What do you look like when you come out the other side? I don’t know. I don’t know.
Speaker 17: (53:12)
There was a company in Cohoes called Precision Valve & Automation that says they can make a contraption that automatically pumps a bag valve mask, the thing you demonstrated over the weekend, similar to a ventilator. Is that something you’ve looked into? And is that something viable? That could be for Dr. Zucker as well.
Andrew Cuomo: (53:28)
I don’t know if they have looked into it, but if they haven’t, we will.
Speaker 13: (53:31)
Will the new bail change in the budget results in the more people in jails amidst the outbreak? And did you look at facts and figures to see if a new change in bail law was needed?
Andrew Cuomo: (53:41)
Yes. Well, no and yes. No, to the first part. Yes, to the second part. Have we looked at facts and figures? We’ve discussed this for two years intensively. There’s been all sorts of conversations. As you know, I had a meeting in this room with all the interested parties like 10 days ago.
Speaker 13: (54:06)
I just mean the facts and figures from the rollout of the law in January until now. What did those facts and figures tell you?
Andrew Cuomo: (54:11)
Yeah. Everyone has been looking at the facts and figures in discussing and debating and analyzing, and there’s been a … there’s a range of opinion, as you know, on most matters there’s a range of opinion. And the bail reform that we did last year, I’m very proud of, because it was discriminatory in effect, if not and in impact. And I think we made the right change now. And I think the improvements we made this year are the right ones also.
Speaker 18: (54:48)
Governor, construction workers working on projects that aren’t going to be done for a while, the LaGuardia terminal [inaudible 00:54:54] station, or affordable housing, I’m wondering why it’s essential for them to keep working threw the pandemic on these longer term projects, such as sites that have had positive cases?
Andrew Cuomo: (55:03)
Well, essential projects are projects that our public works, by and large, that the state needs and the city needs. After this is over, we’re going to have to get back to work and we’re going to have to have an economy that functions, and having infrastructure is an essential part of that. And a lot of these projects, once you start, you can’t just stop. Those airports are still functioning, planes are still coming in, and LaGuardia is a whole configuration of physical barriers and alternative routes pending construction. So, a project like that would be very, very difficult to freeze and then unfreeze. Anyone who hasn’t asked a question? Okay.
Speaker 19: (56:03)
Governor, how are you going to extend the fail safe for the Emergency Bond Act or for the Gond Act for Restore Mother Nature, how will you make the decision on whether or not to pull the plug on that, on sending it to the voters?
Andrew Cuomo: (56:13)
It’s basically on finances, so I would ask Robert Mujica what he thinks.
Robert Mujica: (56:17)
We’re going to look at access to the market. Access to the market is pretty limited right now. We’re going to be borrowing to deal with the short term revenue shortfall, but by next September, next October, we’ll look at the state’s finances at that point, look at our access to the market and then make a determination then.
Speaker 19: (56:32)
How likely do you think it is that you do have to pull the plug on that?
Robert Mujica: (56:35)
It’s hard to tell. How likely is it going to be that the economy’s going to return to where it is next October? It’s your guess.
Speaker 20: (56:41)
What’s the number of the total of short term borrowing at this point? Is it eight billion? Is that what were looking at?
Robert Mujica: (56:45)
We’re not sure yet, right. We’re going to look at what the market will allow us to borrow, how much we have in reserve and make that determination at this time. The shortfall between April and July 15th is $10 billion. So, it’ll be somewhere between that number, we have some access to reserves that we have. So, we’ll make the determination then.
Andrew Cuomo: (57:06)
I’ll say this. That the legislature and the executive got this budget or getting this budget done with all the initiatives that are in this budget is an extraordinary feat of government accomplishment. And I praise Speaker Heastie, and Senate Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and every member of the legislature. It would’ve been very easy to say, “Oh, this is an extraordinary year. Let’s just do the bare minimum and go home.” They said the opposite. They said, “We have a lot of needs.” There were a lot of issues that need to be addressed and they stepped up to the plate and they did it. You look at that list of initiatives that are in this budget, you can put that budget against any budget that I have done in any normal year and it would be a great budget. That it was done this year is really extraordinary. So I praise them for that. Anything I said that wrong, incorrect, misstated, don’t be shy. Now, is the time.
Speaker 21: (58:18)
No, I would just make the point that on bail, while there are additional crimes that are bail eligible, that’s what they are, bail eligible. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to translate into more people. And I believe the effective date is 90 days from now. So, it takes into consideration the current circumstance that we find ourselves in. There were 115 crimes that we moved to be alternate to bail eligible, so things like remote tracking and treatment and other things. So there was a heavy emphasis on that as well in the bail reform bill.
Andrew Cuomo: (58:46)
Thank you, guys. Stay safe, stay safe. Social distance. [crosstalk 00:00:58:54]. Do the who, I’m sorry?
Speaker 22: (59:01)
MRT recommendations. Do you know when those are going to be released?
Andrew Cuomo: (59:01)
Did the MRT recommendations get [crosstalk 00:14:02].
Robert Mujica: (59:02)
Many of the MRT recommendations were or are in the budget, which will be enacted. If the legislature votes for it. We have the ability to delay them in the budget. So, the effective dates can be changed.
Speaker 17: (59:13)
Should absentee voting be expanded for the June primary?
Andrew Cuomo: (59:16)
It’s something we’re looking at. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. 18-years-old again. Happy birthday.