Mar 31, 2020
Governor Andrew Cuomo NY COVID-19 Briefing Transcript March 31: Discusses His Brother Chris Cuomo’s Coronavirus Diagnosis
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York held a press conference today on coronavirus. He discussed his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, testing positive for COVID-19 and how the disease is more dangerous than New York expected. Full transcript of his briefing is here.
Andrew Cuomo: (00:11)
Alrighty. Good morning to all, still is morning, just a long one. Let me go through where we are today on the numbers just to give people an update. The number of cases still going up. We’re all in search of the apex and the other side of the mountain, but we are still headed up, headed up the mountain. Number of people tested last night was a near record amount. We tested over 18,000 people. We’re testing more people than any State in the country, and I’m very proud of that. More per capita than China and South Korea. Total number of people tested 200,000. Population of 19 million. It’s not going to give you a random sample, but it’s been helping us track down the positive cases. Number of positive cases: 9,298. Total cases: 75,000 cases. You see the predominance in New York City, then Westchester, then Nassau, then Suffolk, then Rockland. So you can see it’s that area of density and it spreads out from that area of density.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:28)
The march of coronavirus across the State of New York continues. We’re down to just two counties that don’t have a case. The overall numbers: 75,000 have tested positive, 10,000 people in our hospitals, 2,700 ICU patients. Good news: 4,900, almost 5,000 people discharged. That’s up 771. So people come in, they get treated, they go home Excuse me.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:03)
New York is at 75,000 cases. Next State is 16,000. California is at 7,000. So you can see New York is a magnitude of difference, more than any other state. 1,550 deaths. That’s up from 1,218 yesterday. Again, we’re studying the charts. We’re trying to study the data, follow the data. The data is uneven. It bounces. Numbers often bounce in any model. There are variables in this model. The hospitals are reporting it. So what every hospital reported that day, were they busy? Are they combining a couple of days in one? It’s an imperfect reporting mechanism. But you see the basic line is still up. What the statisticians will tell you is you basically draw the straight line that the columns indicate, and you’ll see that we’re still going up, which is what we see on the overall trajectory. That we’re still going up.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:19)
Number of intubations was down, not much, but it was down. And that’s a good sign. You also see the number of discharges going up, and that’s consistent. The longer people are in they either get treated and leave, or they get put on a ventilator. And the longer you’re on the ventilator, the less likelihood you will come off of the ventilator. That is the blunt truth of this situation.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:50)
We have two missions overall that we are pursuing. One is the front line of this battle is our hospital system. That’s where this is going to come down to. The second is social responsibility. Stay at home. Don’t get infected in the first place. Don’t get infected in the first place, because it goes back to you’re creating a burden on our healthcare system that our healthcare system cannot handle. We’re talking about exceeding the capacity of our hospital system, by some estimates two times.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:29)
So what does this come down to besides all the other issues? It comes down to not overwhelming the hospital system, because those people who need acute care may not be able to get the acute care. So it’s all about the hospital system. That is the front line.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:46)
What we’re doing is we are following the mathematical projections of the experts. We’re speaking to all the healthcare professionals, all the healthcare providers, World Health Organization, National Institute of Health, Dr. Fauci, CDC, FDA, the whole alphabet soup of healthcare experts, and the mathematicians who then have different models. And we talk to about five different models, and we compare the models, and we try to find the median through the models. That’s how we plan everything. Follow the data, follow the science. People ask me, “What do you think? What do you think?” I don’t think about this. What do I know? I’m not an expert. I’m not opining. I talk to experts, and I follow people who know.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:39)
But for the hospitals: procure equipment, identify the beds, support the staff. That’s what it’s been all about. Of those priorities, number one is support the staff. They are the front line, and they need relief. They are physically exhausted. Even more, they are emotionally exhausted. This is unlike other disasters, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods. They happen. They’re fast. They’re over. You start rebuilding. This is different. This is ongoing, and the duration itself is debilitating and exhausting and depressing. I’m speaking to healthcare professionals who say, “Look, more than physically tired, I’m just emotionally tired.” Seeing the pain, seeing the death that they are dealing with every day.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:37)
In general, I am tired of being behind this virus. We’ve been behind this virus from day one. The virus was in China. We knew where it was in China. Unless we assume there’s some immune system variation with Asian people, it was coming here. And we have been behind it from day one since it got here. And we’ve been playing catch up. You don’t win playing catch up. We have to get ahead of it.
Andrew Cuomo: (07:10)
The second rule is never underestimate your opponent, and we underestimated this virus. It’s more powerful. It’s more dangerous than we expected. And the third point is plan forward. Get ahead of it. Get ahead of it. Fight the fight today, yes. But anticipate the next battle, and plan for the next battle. And the main battle is at the apex. We’re still going up the mountain. The main battle is on the top of the mountain. That’s where the main battle is going to be. The apex of the curve, and then we come down the other side of the mountain. We are planning now for the battle at the top of the mountain. That’s what we are doing. Get a staffing plan ready now for the battle at the top of the mountain. Equipment stockpile now. We’re gathering equipment that we don’t need today, because today is not the day of the battle. The battle is when we hit the apex, depending on who you believe, 14 days to 30 days from today.
Andrew Cuomo: (08:22)
And also we need a social acceptance of the time expectation. We’re all anxious. We’re all tired. We’re all fatigued. It’s been all bad news for a long time. Our whole lifestyle has been disrupted. Everybody wants to know one thing: when is it over? Nobody knows. Well, President said by Easter. This one said by this. Nobody knows. You can have a hypothesis, you can have a projection. You can have an opinion, but nobody knows. But I can say this, it is not going to be soon. If our apex is 14 to 21 days, that’s our apex. You then have to come down the other side of the mountain once you hit the apex. So calibrate yourself and your expectations so you’re not disappointed every morning you get up.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:20)
Yesterday we met with the entire State hospital system, Dr. Zucker and our team. First time they were all in one place. And we said to the hospital system, look, what I just said to you. We’re dealing with a war. We’re dealing with a war we’ve never dealt with before. We need a totally different mindset and organizational transformation. We can’t do business the way we have always done business. We need an unprecedented sense of cooperation, of flexibility, communication, and speed. And that’s what we talked through yesterday, and we have to do it now.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:57)
The healthcare system is one of those balkanized systems. It’s like our state education system. It’s like our criminal justice system. It’s in place, it’s fragmented. They have their own identities, their own associations. It’s regionally organized. That all has to change. We don’t have the ability to meet the capacity of our healthcare system as an entirety. That assumes the healthcare system is working as an entirety. That’s not how the healthcare system is organized now. We have New York City hospitals, and then we have Long Island hospitals, and then we have Westchester hospitals and then we have upstate hospitals. That has to go.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:44)
Even in New York City, you have two basic hospital systems in New York City. You have the private hospitals, voluntary hospitals, about 160 of them, which are some of the finest healthcare institutions in the United States of America. You know, this is Mount Sinai, Columbia Presbyterian, et cetera. Some of their members are also upstate, but they’re the large private institutions. Greater New York Hospital Association, Ken Raske runs that association of 160. You then have in New York City, the public hospitals, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. They are 11 public hospitals. They are a universe, and then you have the private hospitals as a separate universe. The 11 public hospitals are the hospitals that in many ways have always been under greater stress, in greater need. We have to get those two systems, the private system and the public system in New York City working together in a way they never did before.
Andrew Cuomo: (12:02)
The distinction of private, public, that has to go out the window. We are one healthcare system. On top of that, it can’t be the downstate hospitals, and the upstate hospitals, and the Long Island hospitals. When we talk about capacity of beds, when I say we now have 75,000 beds, that’s a statewide number. That means those beds have to be available to the people in New York City or Nassau, even if those beds are up in Albany. So combining that whole system, and you’re no longer just the Western New York hospitals, or the Central New York hospitals, it’s one coordinated system. It’s much easier said than done, but we have to do it.
Andrew Cuomo: (12:53)
On top of that, you have to overlay the new federal beds that came in that are an entirely new component. We have Javits sent the 2,500 beds. We have the USN has confirmed 1000 beds. We’re planning other federal facilities. These all have to be coordinated on top of the existing hospital network. So you see the organizational situation that we’re dealing with.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:22)
And let’s be honest, and let’s learn from the past. We know where we have to focus. We know where we’re going to have problems in the next hospitals. Because the hospitals that have the least capacity, that have already been stressed are the hospitals that are not going to be able to handle the additional load. That is a fact. You know which hospitals were struggling. We do reports all the time about the financial capacity of hospitals and what hospitals are in stronger versus weaker position. The hospitals that are in a weaker position are the hospitals that are going to suffer when they then carry an added burden.
Andrew Cuomo: (14:11)
That was Elmhurst Hospital. It happened to be a public hospital. It happened to be a public hospital in a place of density. It happened to get overwhelmed. And that’s what then you saw the burden on the staff, you saw the emotion, you saw the stress. That can’t happen. And that’s what we talked about yesterday. And people said, “Well, Elmhurst isn’t my responsibility. Elmhurst is a public hospital. The city runs it. I don’t run it. It’s New York City. It’s not a private hospital.” I don’t care which link breaks in the chain. The chain is still broken. It doesn’t matter which hospital, which link. Any link breaks, the chain breaks. The health care system is a chain. It breaks anywhere, it breaks everywhere. That has to be our mentality.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:22)
We laid out a full plan on how to do facility development, how to move people among hospitals so nobody gets overloaded. Shifting patients, shifting staff, shifting supplies. None of us have enough supplies. Okay, then let’s pool our supplies, and let’s put them out to the people who need them. And just because one hospital happened to have found a vendor from China who delivered 5 million masks, let’s share those masks. And we talked about that yesterday. We also talked again at length about ventilators, which everybody knows is a key piece of equipment. Identifying all the ventilators in the state who has them, who has them in a stockpile, who ordered them, who expects them to come in. And we’ll have one stockpile of ventilators that we can distribute for everyone who needs them. We also talked about splitting of ventilators, because that’s a technology that does exist. It’s been used before. It’s not ideal. You take one ventilator, and it’s used for two patients.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:38)
The federal government is a partner in this obviously. I spoke to the President again yesterday about this situation. I spoke to the Vice President, and I spoke to Jared Kushner. The White House has been very helpful. We have to get the federal agencies on the ground to understand how this operates, especially FEMA, because we have to be coordinated-
Andrew Cuomo: (17:03)
FEMA because we have to be coordinated and people have to know what they’re doing. This is no time for anyone to be learning on the job. We’re going to be working through that today.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:14)
PPE, same thing. We want to know what everybody has. One stockpile would distribute it fairly. Testing, when does this end? This ends when we get a fast-track test, an at-home test, a 15 minute test, and people can then find out when they can go back to work because they’re negative.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:41)
We’re working on additional testing. As I said, the Department of Health has a new test, but that’s when this ends. We’re also working on the new medications. We’re leading the country in many of those developments. We have saliva testing now. We’re working on the antibody testing and we’re working on the plasma testing at the same time.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:59)
We put together a central coordinating team. It’s going to be led by the Department of Health. Westchester is on it. Greater New York is on it. Hyannis is on it. New York City is on it. Long Island is on it. If the federal government is going to participate, they have to be part of this team. Because we have to know what we’re doing, and I don’t want FEMA coming in and blowing the coordination of what everyone is trying to do.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:29)
The coordinating team is going to organize upstate downstate transfers, set patient loads for hospitals. So, if one hospital gets up near an overload capacity, let’s call it, those hospitals start to send patients to other hospitals before they get up to their max within the New York City public hospital system. Within the greater New York private system. Then among the different systems. It’s a whole different mentality. But we have to do it.
Andrew Cuomo: (19:08)
We said two missions, one was hospitals, second was individual responsibility. Individual responsibility is about discipline, it’s about selflessness and it’s about being informed. The basic point is stay at home, the point is stay at home. I know it’s hard to stay at home.
Andrew Cuomo: (19:28)
I know everyone thinks, “I can go out, and I can be smart and [inaudible 00:19:38] it’s me. I’m a superhero. It’s not going to be me.” That is not true. It’s not just about you. It’s not just about your health and your life that you’re playing with here, my friend. You can infect other people. I’ve been trying to communicate this many different ways for many days. We still see people coming out who don’t need to be out. Even for essential workers. People have to be careful.
Andrew Cuomo: (20:14)
Again, I’ve been trying to communicate that everyone, everyone is subject to this virus. It is the great equalizer. I don’t care how smart, how rich, how powerful you think you are. I don’t care how young, how old. This virus is the great equalizer. My brother Chris is positive for coronavirus. Found out this morning.
Andrew Cuomo: (20:48)
Now, he is going to be fine. He’s young, in good shape, strong, not as strong as he thinks, but he will be fine. But there’s a lesson in this. He’s an essential worker, a member of the press, so he’s been out there. If you go out there, the chance that you get attracted is very high. I spoke to him this morning. He’s going to be quarantined in his basement at home. He’s just worried about his daughter and his kids, that he hopes he didn’t get them infected.
Andrew Cuomo: (21:33)
You don’t really know Chris. You see Chris, he has a show on at 9:00 on CNN, but you just see one dimension, right? You see a person in his job and in his job he’s combative, and he’s argumentative and he’s pushing people. But that’s his job. That’s really not who he is. He’s a really sweet, beautiful guy. He’s my best friend. My father was always working, so it was always just me and Chris.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:07)
He’s a lawyer, also, Chris. He’s a lawyer because growing up, the decision point came to what do you want to do after college? My father was a very strong personality. My father basically suggested forcefully to Chris that he should be a lawyer. It was a different time and a different place.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:33)
Now, my daughters Kara, who’s here, they all followed their individual stars. This is their destiny, which is right. If you had said to my father, “I want to follow my individual star,” he would say, “Yeah, you can follow your individual star right out that door.” That’s what we would have said. So, Chris went to law school.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:57)
But he never really had a desire to practice law. He calls me when he’s about 26, he’s at a law firm. And he said, “I don’t want to be a lawyer.” I said, “Yeah, I know, but you are now a lawyer. You are?” He said, “Yeah, but I don’t want to be a lawyer.” I said, “What do you want to be?” He said, “I want to be a journalist.” I said, “You want to be a journalist?” I said, “It’s too late. You’re a lawyer. You have to pay law school bills. You didn’t go to journalism school. It’s too late.”
Andrew Cuomo: (23:23)
“No, no, I think I can do it.” And God bless him. He quit the law firm, went to work for FOX TV, which is a whole separate conversation in the house. Then worked his way up, he’s at CNN, he does a beautiful job. But a sweet guy, and now he’s quarantined in the basement. But he’s funny as heck. He says to me, “Even the dogs won’t come downstairs,” he says.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:51)
But he is concerned about his wife and his kids. The reason I raise it is he’s smart, social distancing, yes. But you wind up exposing yourself, people wind up exposing you and then they find out they’re positive a couple of days later.
Andrew Cuomo: (24:12)
I had a situation with Christopher two weeks ago that I even mentioned. My mother was at his house. And I said, “That is a mistake.” Now, my mother is in a different situation. She’s older and she’s healthy. But I said, “You can’t have mom at the house.” He said, “No, no, no. Mom is lonely. She wants to be at the house. I feel bad. She’s cooped up in the apartment.” I said, “Yeah, I feel bad. She’s cooped up in the apartment too. But you bring her to your house, you expose her to a lot of things. You have the kids there, you have your wife there. You’re coming and going, your wife is coming and going.”
Andrew Cuomo: (24:55)
“You could expose mom to the virus.” And love is sometimes a little … Needs to be a little smarter than just reactive. We had a whole discussion and truth. Now he’s informed. I’m informed. Was that dangerous? Was that not dangerous? So, I went back to Dr. Zercher. I said, look, “We have to tell people … What are the rules? How does this work?”
Andrew Cuomo: (25:26)
That’s when I came up with Matilda’s law, and I said I named it for my mother. It was very clear about people who are older and what they should be exposed to. That was two weeks ago. If my brother still had my mother at his house, again, out of love and comfort … And my mother wanted to be at the house anyway, by the way, she didn’t want to be sitting at home in an apartment.
Andrew Cuomo: (25:55)
She would have been doing what she wanted to do. He would have been doing what he wanted to do. It would have seemed great and harmless, but now we’d have a much different situation. Because if he was exposed, chances are she may very well have been exposed. Then we would be looking at a different situation than just my brother sitting in his basement for two weeks.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:22)
Think about that, right? My brother’s smart. He was acting out of love. Luckily we caught it early enough, but it’s my family. It’s your family. It’s all of our families. This virus is that insidious. We have to keep that in mind. Keep in mind Matilda’s law. Remember who is vulnerable here and protect them.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:54)
You want to go out and act stupid for yourself, that’s one thing, but your stupid actions don’t just affect you. You come home, you can infect someone else. And you can cause a serious illness or even death for them by your actions. People have to really get this and internalize it because it can happen to anyone. Two weeks with my mother and Christopher. Today is a very different situation.
Andrew Cuomo: (27:32)
Last point. There was nothing that I have said different since I started these briefings. There’s nothing that we have learned that is different since I’ve started these briefings. We know what to do. We just have to do it. It is individual discipline to stay at home. That’s what it is. It’s discipline. No social distancing. It’s discipline.
Andrew Cuomo: (27:54)
“Well, I’m bored.” I know. I’m bored. It’s discipline. Making this healthcare system work. That’s government skill. That’s government performance. That’s saying to that healthcare system, “I don’t care how it worked yesterday. I don’t care whose turf this is. I don’t care whose ego was involved. I’m sorry. We have to find a way to work a better way.” It’s time to say to that federal government that the FEMA and HHS, you have to learn how to do your job. And you have to learn how to do it quickly because time is not our friend.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:35)
It’s about a social stamina. This is not one week, two weeks, three weeks, four weeks, five weeks, six weeks. Okay? This is not going to be an Easter surprise. Understand that and have the stamina to deal with it. And it’s unity. Let’s help one another. New York needs help now. Yesterday I asked for healthcare workers from across the country to come here because we need help. We will pay you and more importantly, we will return the favor.
Andrew Cuomo: (29:09)
This is going to be a rolling wave across the country. New York. Then it’ll be Detroit, then it’ll be New Orleans, then it will be California. If we were smart as a nation, come help us in New York, get the equipment, get the training, get the experience, and then let’s all go help the next place. Then the next place. Then the next place.
Andrew Cuomo: (29:38)
That would be a smart national way of doing this and showing that unity. And unity meaning we’re not … I know this is a political year. And everything has a political backdrop. Democrats want to criticize Republicans. Republicans want to criticize the Democrats. Not now, not now. There were no red States. There were no blue States. The virus doesn’t attack and kill red Americans or blue Americans. It attacks all Americans. Keep that in mind. There is a unifying wisdom in that.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:22)
Any questions? Let’s do on topic questions first. If anyone has any questions on local issues, we’ll do that afterwards.
Audience 1: (30:34)
How many extra healthcare workers are on the ground right now? Are all the New York workers who want to work on the ground? We’re hearing of some people who are trying to apply are in New York and they’re not getting answers from the state about … Any responses about when that will happen.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:51)
Yeah. Let’s remember what we said. We have now, a few days ago we put out the … The question is are all health care workers working? The problem is, healthcare workers are working too much. They’re overstressed. They’re working too many shifts. They’re afraid to go home. They may bring the virus home. They’re under immense physical and emotional stress. To put out a request a couple of days ago to ask retirees to come forward.
Andrew Cuomo: (31:22)
We have now about 78,000 people who said that they would help. God bless the state of New York and God bless humanity. We now are working with the hospitals, and we did this in the meeting yesterday also, sorting those 78,000 by region and by expertise across the state. And we have a portal that Jim or Howard can explain. Because then we have to link them up with a hospital.
Andrew Cuomo: (31:48)
We have the pool of 78,000. You then have to coordinate that with the hospital in that region with those skills. That’s what we’re doing now. Jim, you want to mention-
The governor’s right. Today the portal will be launched and live to 78,000 or so. We have to do some pre-checking. So, we checked for licenses, discipline and those people who didn’t have a license or had disciplinary issues were taken out so the hospitals could more easily access the workforce. As the governor said, they’re broken down by region, by discipline. Now they can go in.
What we’re trying to do is prioritize the availability of the portal to the hospitals that need it the most right now who have, that need some extra help in the field. But we’re working very closely with the entire system, like the governor said, to make sure we’re linking up those new healthcare workers to those needed facilities. It will be live today.
Audience 1: (32:43)
Is that connected with the out of state workers who were coming?
Audience 1: (32:47)
What we’re trying to do is prioritize the in-state workers, which we have by region. So, we know the potential healthcare workers in every region of the state, where they are and what their status is. We want to get those people in first because they’re here in New York. We want to prioritize actually the New York regional, downstate regional employees. Because we know that they’re closer to those facilities that are in need now.
We’re going to need the upstate employees potentially later. Then we have the out of state employees that are potentially … We’re trying to keep those folks [inaudible 00:33:16], so looking at the folks from New Jersey, looking at the folks from Connecticut and other places there where they don’t have to travel from long distances.
Audience 1: (33:27)
What’s the timeline for getting those people on? Are there any concerns about individuals who are elderly helping?
We are looking at age and we’re going through a background … We have about 175 people doing backgrounds on every person who comes into the portal. The hospitals we’re working with as well will also do their own checks to make sure the person’s up to it. If they may not be up to one job, they may actually be up to another job. We’re making sure we have some cross coordination there as well.
Some of the hospitals could potentially have some of these folks in needed areas by Thursdays.
Audience 2: (33:54)
Governor, [inaudible 00:33:54] new figures that are coming in, have you any more new projections as to when the apex might hit in New York City and the state as a whole?
Andrew Cuomo: (34:01)
When does the new apex hit? That is the-
… as a whole.
Andrew Cuomo: (34:03)
When does the new apex hit? That is the $64,000 question. We have literally five models that we look at. It’s true to say almost no two are the same. The range on the apex is somewhere between, let’s say, seven to 21 days.
Andrew Cuomo: (34:30)
If you look at all five, it’s seven to 21 days from now. Look, Jesse, I say this does me no good. What is it? Seven to 21, the range is too broad. Do I have seven, or do I have three weeks? There’s all sorts of variables that they’re looking at. On one hand, you would think they would be able to tell because you have the China model, you have the South Korea data, et cetera, but then you have variables here. How effective is the social distancing? How many people are actually staying home? How does the density relate? There are variables, but it goes from the apex estimate seven to 21.
Andrew Cuomo: (35:10)
That’s not the only estimate that varies. They then vary on how many beds you would need. We have 53,000 beds statewide, if we operated as a state. We mandated 50% more beds, so now we’re up to 75,000 beds. All of them say you need more than the 75,000, and the high estimate is 140,000. The ventilator estimate among those projections goes from 10 to 40. Hey Jim, do you remember [inaudible 00:00:35:45]?
It’s roughly 20 or 40,000 on most average projected. [crosstalk 00:35:52] Correct. In addition to what we have.
We when talk about the hospitals coordinate then, one of the executive orders that you signed will let you put in a receiver into some of these hospitals, if they don’t meet that 50% threshold or even go above that. Do you foresee having to do that and what would that allow you and Dr. [Zucker 00:36:10] to do?
Andrew Cuomo: (36:11)
The hospitals had been cooperative. The question is, we have the ability to appoint a receiver if a hospital is not being cooperative. The hospitals are being cooperative. We put out a rule that you have to add 50% capacity. They all added 50% capacity. They’ve all responded. We’re sending out a rule today that says, “I want to know your stock, what you have in stock, what your stockpile is, what your inventory is, because we really need to share. Nobody has enough, so everybody put everything into the middle, in a pot and then we’ll distribute it.” We’re doing that. It’s not Joe, going to be as much they’re not listening. It’s going to be their capacity level. Right? Let’s take downstate New York. You have about 170 hospitals. If we sat here two months ago, we could have graded almost all 170 hospitals and you would have had some stronger and some weaker. As a general rule, the public hospitals would have been on the weaker spectrum, less financing, etc., history of being more trouble. You now put weight on all 170, even if you put the equal amount of weight on all 170, you’re going to see a different reaction in the hospital depending on the underlying strength of that hospital.
Andrew Cuomo: (37:48)
You put a differentiated [inaudible 00:04:01], but you happen to be in Brooklyn and it happens to be more density in Brooklyn and that hospital gets more weight, you’d get a different variable. But in general, what you’re going to see is the hospitals that were stressed can’t take the stress. It’s not even a medical concept.
Andrew Cuomo: (38:14)
This works with personalities too, the personalities who were having trouble dealing with stress are having more trouble dealing with this stress. So the health and hospital corporations, what I said to… which are the public hospitals, I said to the private hospitals, “You have to help them” We have to watch when they get up near capacity, transfer patients. Elmhurst got up to capacity, you had other public hospitals that had open beds. We have to get better and faster at transferring patients to other facilities.
Andrew Cuomo: (38:57)
A perfect system, everybody’s at 51%, everybody’s at 60% everybody’s at 80%. Not some people are at 40% and some people are at 110%. That’s not the way the system is organized right now. They all talk, but they’re different fiefdoms. They’re different systems and that… you almost have to shock the system into actually saying, “Okay, we’re really going to operate as one.”
[crosstalk 00:39:34] If you don’t see them making those shifts gives you a way to go in and basically demanded it?
Andrew Cuomo: (39:40)
Yes but look, no hospital’s going to say, “I want to be over capacity.” It’s just they didn’t have the cooperation or the system to call someone up and say, “I’m drowning. I need to have somebody else accept 150 patients.” That’s going to have to be managed into the system, because it’s something we never did before, because we’ve never been here. Normally you have beds, hospitals fighting for patients because patients are revenue. So you never had a situation where they said, “I’m going to send you patients.” They wanted the patients, they wanted the revenues. So this is a much different situation. I’m sorry.
Speaker 4: (40:32)
[crosstalk 00:40:32] York city area patient’s being transferred to upstate hospitals yet?
Andrew Cuomo: (40:36)
No, no. First we have levels of triage. First we’re going to try to bring upstate staff down to New York state hospitals. It’s one of the requests we’re going to make today. You have upstate hospitals that are nowhere near capacity, send your staff down to New York city hospitals. Worst step, your overcapacity in all New York city hospitals, you’ve redistributed the load, you’re still over capacity, then send people to the upstate hospital. Is that right, Howard?
Speaker 4: (41:15)
What will be the cost for those transfers and how does the staffing work with union issues? Who’s paying the staff that comes upstate, who makes the decision about whether-
Andrew Cuomo: (41:24)
It would all be voluntary.
Speaker 4: (41:25)
It will all be voluntary? Who’s going to pay the cost-
Andrew Cuomo: (41:28)
Well, we’re all paying the cost, right? The hospitals are paying the cost. The state is paying the cost. I said to them, “Look, frankly, we’ll figure out the cost.” Because this is about saving lives and I’m not going to get, who pays the bill should not determine whether or not people live or die. So I said, “Do whatever we have to do to save lives and then we’ll figure out the bill afterwards.”
Speaker 4: (42:04)
You previous said that the state had 3000 ICU beds. How much has that grown at this point [inaudible 00:42:06].
Andrew Cuomo: (42:06)
No, I said I needed 30,000 bed.
Speaker 4: (42:08)
Right, so how many do we have now?
Andrew Cuomo: (42:10)
Well, that’s an interesting question. We have ordered 17,000 from China.
Speaker 4: (42:18)
Andrew Cuomo: (42:20)
Yes. That we would pay for, roughly $25,000 each. By the way, anyone who says, “Well maybe you don’t need that many ventilators? You’re saying 30,000 ventilators, you don’t need that many. You don’t really believe you need that many.” You know how you know? I really, really believe that number? Because we are paying $25,000 to prevent the later and we are broke. The last thing I want to do is buy a single ventilator that I don’t need. The complexity with ventilators is we ordered 17,000 from China, so they’d California so that Illinois, so did the Federal Government, so did Italy.
Andrew Cuomo: (43:03)
What’s happening is China, the orders into China are very slow in coming out, exactly how and why we’re not sure. It’s just that they have such a tremendous demand. Of the 17,000 we only have a firm expectation on 2,500 is that right, Kara? Yes. Only have a firm expectation of 2,500.
Speaker 4: (43:36)
When are those supposed to come in?
Andrew Cuomo: (43:37)
They’re supposed to come in over the next two weeks.
Speaker 4: (43:38)
So does that mean the ICU capacity will then increase by 2,500?
Andrew Cuomo: (43:42)
Yes, no the ventilator capacity increases by 2,500, an ICU bed in this situation is essentially a bed with oxygen and a ventilator, but you can’t have an ICU bed in this situation without a ventilator.
[inaudible 00:44:00] to address the surge, if it’s two weeks.
Andrew Cuomo: (44:02)
It depends if it’s six weeks or 21 days, right? That’s what we’re dealing with. You can’t accelerate the orders anymore from China. When we go back and do a retrospective, and I don’t want to do it now, but look at the bizarre situation we wind up in. Every state does its own purchasing. So New York is purchasing, California is purchasing, Illinois is purchasing. We’re all trying to buy the same commodity, literally the same exact item. So you have 50 States competing to buy the same item. We all wind up bidding up each other and competing against each other. Where do you now literally will have a company call you up and say, “Well, California just outbid you.” It’s like being on eBay with 50 other States bidding on a ventilator. You see the bid go up because California bid, Illinois bid, Florida bid, New York bids, California rebids. That’s literally what we’re doing. I mean how inefficient. And then FEMA gets involved and FEMA starts bidding. Now FEMA is bidding on top of the 50. So FEMA is driving up the price.
Andrew Cuomo: (45:33)
What sense does this make? The Federal Government, FEMA should have been the purchasing agent, buy everything and then how allocate it by need to the States. Why would you create a situation where the 50 States are competing with each and then the Federal Government through FEMA comes in and competes with the rest of it?
Governor, how do non-Corona virus emergencies factor into these plans to better coordinate the health care system, presumably with the first responders getting overwhelmed, heart attacks? [Crosstalk 00:12:10].
Andrew Cuomo: (46:09)
Oh look Zach, we’re learning lessons. Necessity is the mother of invention. We’re learning things here that it’s not that we’re learning things here. Anyone could have told you a lot of these things. The situation I just explained with purchasing. Did you really have to learn that 50 States shouldn’t compete against 50 States and then FEMA shouldn’t come in late and then compete with 50 States? It’s not like you had to go to the Harvard Kennedy school to learn this, right?
Andrew Cuomo: (46:44)
Should you really have a hospital system in New York state where you have private hospitals, you have these struggling public hospitals, there’s two separate systems. The upstate is separate. Long Island is separate. Shouldn’t you have planned a comprehensive system? Yes, but the commercial barriers to that, the political barriers to that were so intense that if you didn’t have a disaster, an emergency, you couldn’t break through them.
Andrew Cuomo: (47:25)
Conversation I had with these hospital leaders yesterday in that room, if it was not for the coronavirus, I would have never made it out of that room. I mean what I was saying was so antithetical to the foundation of the business of health care in this state, which by the way, some multi, multi billion dollar business. It’s right, it was common sense, but sometimes you need the emergency to force change that would be very, very difficult otherwise.
Again, are there specific efforts to shore up the capacity of the healthcare system to handle non coronavirus related emergencies?
Andrew Cuomo: (48:12)
You want to answer that?
Sure, so we the healthcare systems working on all those other areas as well and regularly, pretty much every day I’ve spoken to doctors and nurses who are working on the front lines and all of those other patients, whether the person with a heart attack, the person with the stroke, the system has continued to move forward. It’s stressed, as the governor has said, the system is stressed, but the patients are cared for. Those other emergencies are getting cared for as well, it’s just put a strain on the system.
Andrew Cuomo: (48:38)
[crosstalk 00:14:43]. Let me give you an analogy. If I said to you, “Look, I know normally you write for your outlet and then there are other outlets, but we have a situation and you’re going to write and you have to give it to all the other outlets. What you write is no longer just for your publication. You have to give it to all the other outlets, because we don’t have 10 people who can come. You have to write for everybody else.” If I said that in the normal course of business, forgot it. If it was an emergency and you were the only reporter there, then you would do it. That’s true in so many different situations. You’re violating basic commercial rules here and business rules and practices and I’m a local government and I’m in charge, to override all that garbage you really need extraordinary times.
Speaker 4: (49:42)
Is there an executive order from the White House for the states on their idea for ventilators to get sent to New York and then other hotspots. The Illinois governor was talking about it this weekend, said that there is questions about when the next hot spot would get the ventilators, if that moves forward.
Andrew Cuomo: (50:01)
J.B. Pritzker, Governor Pritzker, he’s a good man. He’s a good friend of mine. He does a beautiful job. He’s right. You’ll have curves, right? You have a New York curve, you’ll have an Illinois curve. You’ll have a New Orleans curve. How do you know the New York curve is going to end before the Illinois curve peaks? You don’t. You don’t, for sure. You know basically there’s going to be a spatial sequential factor, but you don’t know that we’re going to be effectively done before Illinois ramps up, so it can’t be literally, New York has all the equipment, Illinois has none, and then we run to Illinois with the equipment. It can’t be that literal-
Andrew Cuomo: (51:02)
Equipment. It can’t be that literal, but essentially it would work, right? And the alternative of it is also true, not everybody should have to buy everything. Once we get through this and we have whatever we wind up with, 15,000 ventilators and 15,000 ventilator splitters and 1100 BiPAPs, if we can help someone else, let’s help somebody else.
Speaker 5: (51:32)
Governor, [inaudible 00:51:33] New York city police officers called in sick this morning, are you worried about staffing of law enforcement in New York city? And conversely, would you consider sending state police to help with that?
Andrew Cuomo: (51:45)
Oh, I’m worried about staffing, yes. My word, yes. You’re going to see it with healthcare workers, you’re going to see it for all first responders. Look, because back to my brother, Chris, yeah if you are out there, your chance of getting infected is very high. Yes, and then we’ll do whatever we need to backfill. If we need state police, I would do that.
On [inaudible 00:52:11] you did talk about forming some sort of consortium with states, is that still possible, is that still doable?
Andrew Cuomo: (52:17)
What’s happening, Nick, is it is almost impossible to buy a ventilator. To the extent anyone is successful in buying ventilators, FEMA basically came in and is now capturing the market because the ventilators are coming out of China and FEMA basically big footed the states in China. So to the extent that anyone is buying it, it’s FEMA, and that’s why the federal distribution is going to be so important, because they are the only ones, I can’t buy a ventilator. I can’t buy a ventilator. Whatever we’re willing to pay, I can’t buy a ventilator. So, it really comes down to how the federal government distributes it, and that’s why it’s so important. [crosstalk 00:53:13] Let’s do someone who hasn’t asked a question.
Speaker 6: (53:18)
Governor, what happens when the state runs out of ventilators? Who do you decide who gets them?
Andrew Cuomo: (53:23)
When the state runs out of ventilators, where do I decide to get some?
Speaker 6: (53:25)
No, how do you, how will the state decide who gets ventilators if we run out and we have too many patients that need them?
Andrew Cuomo: (53:31)
Well, first, I don’t even want to think about that consequence, I want to do everything I can to have as many ventilators as we’ll need.
Speaker 6: (53:39)
Well, I guess [inaudible 00:53:39] 7 days, does that mean you develop some sort of-
Andrew Cuomo: (53:42)
7 to 21 days. No, there’s no protocol. We’re working to get as many ventilators. And we have now a number of options, we’re looking at all the ventilators all across the state. We are then redeploying anesthesia machines as ventilators by changing a vent. Within doing this ventilator splitting, which effectively turns one ventilator into two by literally running two tubes, we’re using, Northwell developed an idea to use a BiPAP machine, we’ve ordered 7,000 of those. So we’re still in it. We’re creative and we’re working and figuring it out and I still am hopeful that at the end of the day we have what we need.
Speaker 7: (54:36)
Governor, I don’t know if you consider this on topic, many people think it is, do you plan on signing an extension bill so that state employees will get paid on time?
Andrew Cuomo: (54:41)
I plan on signing a budget. Do you know, can the, Rob, can the state employees… when we pass a budget, the state employ- when we pass a budget on time, the state employees get paid, right?
Yeah. The controller currently has legal authority to make the payments now, right? The payments that are due tomorrow and today, those are actually for payroll from two weeks ago. So the controller presently has the authority, they have a technical issue with their computer system that they need to deal with, but they have the authority to make those payments today, has nothing to do with when the budget is passed. The budget has always passed on the 31st or the first of each year. So that, is a controller’s office issue.
Speaker 7: (55:29)
Even if the pay period begins in the next fiscal year?
Yes, that’s right. They they have sufficient appropriation authority to make those payments presently. [crosstalk 00:04:33].
Speaker 8: (55:34)
It’s going to be delayed though because, just the way the pay period fell on it, right?
No, it has nothing to do with how the pay period fell. They presently have the authority to do it. They presently have full legal authority and appropriation authority to make the payments.
Andrew Cuomo: (55:46)
[crosstalk 00:55:46] never not paid the state employees.
Speaker 9: (55:49)
Okay, I wanted to ask you-
Andrew Cuomo: (55:51)
Even when the budget was late.
Speaker 9: (55:58)
Can we jump on budget questions?
Andrew Cuomo: (55:58)
Yes. What’s your questions?
Speaker 9: (55:58)
So what’s the update with the budget at this point?
Andrew Cuomo: (55:59)
No update. See how easy-
Speaker 9: (56:01)
You do, it’s fine.
Andrew Cuomo: (56:03)
It’s either coming or it’s not coming. We are where we are. The numbers are what the numbers are. The numbers don’t lie. The numbers leave you few alternatives. The federal government says they’re going to provide funding. If they provide the funding then the next few months we should have some additional money. But am I going to say to the people of the state, I believe the federal government is going to deliver money to the state government? Heard it before and it didn’t happen, so I’m not going to count on money that we don’t have.
Speaker 9: (56:43)
Right, at this point-
Andrew Cuomo: (56:45)
Especially when the political process is the process that’s supposed to deliver the money.
Speaker 9: (56:48)
And it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a new relief bill anytime soon, at least by tomorrow. So what options are left now for the state when it comes to the, and what spending is ultimately going to be on your ledger?
Andrew Cuomo: (56:59)
Well, it’s all sort of… it’s interesting because it’s all basically contingent. We have the budget, we do a budget on the projections we now have, if we get more funding, we increase the allocations. If we don’t get more funding, we reduce the allocations. That’s basically what the budget says, right? It’s essentially honest and transparent in a way. I’m starting the year, I’m earning $15,000 a year. I don’t know what I can pay you because I don’t know what I’ll be earning as we go through the year. The boss tells me he’s going to give me a raise, I don’t know if I should believe him or not. Some people say there’s going to be a cut, I don’t really know. So here’s the budget, I’m making $15,000, if I get a raise, I will give you the raise quarterly as I get it. If I get cut, I will give you less quarterly as I get cut. That’s all you can do.
Speaker 10: (58:16)
Is the legislature going to give you that authority? Have they re-
Andrew Cuomo: (58:19)
I don’t care, let them come and cut a budget. How fast do you think… do you really believe that they want to come back here and cut the budget? I’d give them total authority to cut the budget.
Speaker 10: (58:32)
If they come back [crosstalk 00:58:31].
Andrew Cuomo: (58:32)
Come back, tell me to cut the budget.
Speaker 11: (58:34)
[crosstalk 00:58:34] slide that the unemployment system is working as smoothly as you would like to see it-?
Andrew Cuomo: (58:39)
Speaker 11: (58:39)
… or equal to-
Andrew Cuomo: (58:40)
It is not. It is not working as smoothly as I would like to see it. It’s compounding people’s stress. You’re unemployed, you’re trying to get on some darn website, you can’t get through the website. We have companies working on it, we have literally hundreds of people working on it. I apologize for the pain, it must be infuriating to deal with. I am telling you, we have every technology company working on it, we’re spending a lot of money. The site is so deluged that it keeps crashing because you literally have hundreds of thousands of people at any time trying to get on the site and it continues to crash. Do you have any update on it, do you Rob?
I mean, just the numbers. We usually get 50,000 calls a week. Well look, we got 1.2 million calls yesterday and 7.8 million calls last week, so that’s just the order of magnitude. But as the governor said, we have all resources devoted to improving the system.
Andrew Cuomo: (59:45)
1.2 million calls.
Speaker 12: (59:48)
Is that e-callers or just calling [inaudible 00:59:51].
50,000 week. Yesterday alone, 1.2 million, last week over 7 million. So that’s the order of magnitude and that’s the volume that we’re dealing with. But as the governor said, we’re putting all the resources in to improve the system and be responsible.
Governor, there’s now 123 guards and 14 inmates at state prisons who are positive for corona, but DOTs is not saying where are those guards or where are those inmates are? Is there a reason for that? That would seem to be counter to public safety, no?
Andrew Cuomo: (01:00:23)
I’ve never heard that, Jason, I’ll check. I just… it’s the first I’ve heard of it.
Speaker 13: (01:00:26)
The state chief medical officer said that state-
Andrew Cuomo: (01:00:28)
Anyone, excuse me one second, anyone who hasn’t asked a question and wants to ask a question?
Speaker 14: (01:00:35)
Concerning the eviction freezes and rent relief for people overall, I know that was largely intended for people in residential areas, but does that also extend to businesses or restaurants that may be renting?
Andrew Cuomo: (01:00:45)
We extended it to commercial.
Speaker 15: (01:00:47)
We did, we extended it to commercial.
Speaker 14: (01:00:48)
And how long is this?
Andrew Cuomo: (01:00:50)
You cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent, residential nor commercial, for three months. Again, we picked these intervals, and you can say they’re somewhat random, but when is it going to end? Nobody knows. Pick an interval, so we said three months. You can’t be evicted residential or commercial for nonpayment of rent for 90 days. On that basis, my daughters have stopped paying me rent, I’m not even sure that their finances have dropped significantly, but I think they are just taking advantage of the non eviction order that I myself posted, and I resent it, but there’s nothing I can do about it, legally.
Speaker 16: (01:01:34)
Governor, yesterday there was a report that the first minor who died of coronavirus, do we know how old they were, what their underlying condition was? This is someone between the ages of 0 and 17, which is all we could tell so far.
Speaker 17: (01:01:50)
Yes. The person had another, well an underlying medical condition.
Speaker 16: (01:01:57)
What kind [inaudible 01:01:55]?
Speaker 17: (01:01:57)
I usually don’t like to give out clinical information, but I can see why the complication with this virus would have caused a problem for that individual. They were a minor.
Speaker 16: (01:02:09)
Right, well the New York City Health Department puts that information out, but it’s 0 to 17 years old. Were they a child, a teenager?
Andrew Cuomo: (01:02:16)
We have health and privacy laws, that if the doctor doesn’t want to or if he wants to stay in his current occupation, he has to be a little careful.
Speaker 18: (01:02:27)
[inaudible 01:02:27] one, is there any chance that we’ll be able to get the deal on that here in-
Andrew Cuomo: (01:02:31)
Speaker 18: (01:02:32)
What happened? Just too much to deal with-
Andrew Cuomo: (01:02:35)
Too much, too little time.
Speaker 19: (01:02:38)
[crosstalk 01:02:38] outline numbers for the budget, like-
Andrew Cuomo: (01:02:40)
Bail reform, we said, we’ve been working with, a bail reform is something we’ve talked about until we’re blue in the face for two years. Yeah. Well, he was recovered. So, bail reform we have to get done. [crosstalk 01:02:55] Last question, Zack?
Andrew Cuomo: (01:02:56)
But you’re going to share this, well we agree that you’re going to share this reporting with all your colleagues before you post it.
Of course. Governor, what do-
Andrew Cuomo: (01:03:06)
I love when they lie to me.
… renters should do once your 90 day moratorium on evictions ends, and they likely owe several months of rents? Unemployment is obviously-
Andrew Cuomo: (01:03:15)
We’ll deal with that when we get to it. I hear you. There has to be some [crosstalk 00:12:18].
Speaker 20: (01:03:18)
[crosstalk 01:03:18] what’s the total percent that we’re looking at?
Andrew Cuomo: (01:03:25)
We have to finish the budget to tell you the size of the budget. [crosstalk 01:03:28] proceeding to knowing the size of the budget, finishing the budget. [crosstalk 01:03:33].
Speaker 21: (01:03:36)
Senior Senator from New York, [inaudible 01:03:38] powerful guy, is it his fault?
Andrew Cuomo: (01:03:41)
God will determine who is to blame. You and I just deal with the reality. The senior Senator will say he is in the minority, which is true. The house, it is controlled by Democrats, we ( silence) our fair share in what’s called the F [inaudible 01:04:07] bill, the Medicaid money bill, and we got the lowest percentage reimbursement, lowest percentage of aid of any state in the United States for this last bill, which was supposed to be providing funding for COVID (silence) for COVID cases, and we got the lowest percentage of funding. So, they’ll say, Politics.” I say, “Politics be damned,” in the middle of this. Thank you. [crosstalk 01:04:40].