Dec 14, 2020
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript December 14
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a press conference on December 14 to provide updates on COVID-19. He also addressed allegations of sexual harassment from a former aide. Read the transcript of his briefing with coronavirus updates for New York here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (00:01)
Good afternoon, good afternoon. Sorry for a different time today, but we had at the Electoral College, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who were elected president and vice-president, and that was done. We had them here because we wanted to make sure that we followed all the laws, and this has been a litigious time, so that concluded. Let’s talk about where we are today, today’s day 289. Here are the numbers for today. Without the micro-clusters, 5.21, with the micro-clusters, 5.6. Positivity in micro-cluster areas, 7%. Statewide deaths, 83. They are in our thoughts and prayers, especially during this holiday season. It’s always tough to lose a loved one, but especially during the holiday season. State hospitalization is up to 5,700, ICU, 1000, intubations 572. This is the percentage of population hospitalized across the state.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (01:22)
What you see is the Finger Lakes is now the unfortunate leader in number of hospitalizations. Western New York, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, all in about the same position, but Finger Lakes is higher. Southern Tier is lower, North Country is lower, Mid-Hudson is somewhat lower, Capital Region is doing well comparatively. Long Island and New York City are doing well. COVID positivity rates, you see the same thing. Finger Lakes is at the highest number, 8% than Central New York and Western New York. So we are seeing a flattening in Western New York, which is good news. We’re seeing an increase in Finger Lakes, which is bad news. Long Island, 5.7, New York City, 4. All the numbers are going up. They’re going to continue to go up. All the numbers across the world are going up, all the numbers across the nation are going up.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (02:36)
Welcome to the holiday season. This is New York City, which is interesting. Look at the variation. Manhattan is 2.6, Brooklyn, 4, Queens, 4.6, Bronx 4.4. So Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, all about the same position. Manhattan, much lower. Staten Island, much higher. We’ve been talking about Staten Island. This is all a function of our actions and our social gatherings and our following rules. And I’ve said that seven times, but the numbers are the numbers. Every day, I basically get asked the same question by everyone I talk to; what is going on really and where are we really? And the question itself is a problem. People are getting a lot of numbers, they’re getting a lot of rates, they’re getting a lot of opinions. I watch positivity rates, I watch case numbers, Dr. Fauci says this in newspaper reports, or maybe Dr. Fauci is wrong, maybe Dr. Bradfield is wrong, maybe the World Health Organization’s wrong.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (04:01)
People don’t know who to believe. So people are confused and that’s a real problem because this is dependent upon social action, what we’re doing here. And if people are confused and they don’t know what to do or they hear too much clutter and they choose not to follow anyone’s advice, then we’re in a problem situation. So communication is essential, and it is somewhat confusing just on the facts. I have said multiple times what is true, positivity rate in New York state is very low. [inaudible 00:04:38] and people say to me all the time, “Well then, what’s the problem? Our positivity rate is very low.” That is true. It doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. Yes, we are one of the lowest positivity rates in the United States of America. Congratulations, that’s New Yorkers doing the right thing, congratulations.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (04:58)
That’s the good news. You want to know the bad news? The entire United States of America is in trouble, that’s the bad news. Well, we’re better than everyone else, yes, but everybody is in trouble. Other states are already closing down, right? This is, you want to do as much economic activity as you can until you can’t because of public health. The other states are already closing down. You have big states, California, Michigan, they are closing down and we don’t want to close down. So yes, we’re doing better than everyone else, but everybody else is in trouble and doing better than a universe that is all in trouble isn’t that comforting, and other states, which are worse than us are already closing down. Well, one person says positivity rate, one says hospital lag. I’m all confused, I don’t know. It’s simple and it’s always the same equation.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (06:15)
The percent of positivity leads to the percent of cases, leads to the percent of hospitalizations, leads to the percent of deaths. It is a linear equation. It just is a difference about whether you’re measuring it earlier or later. Positivity turns into number of cases, turns into hospitalizations, turns into death. You tell me the positivity rate, I’ll tell you what the death rate is going to be four weeks from today, it is that simple. It is just death lags positivity, positivity is a precursor to hospitalization and deaths. But it is linear, so they’re all saying the same thing. I don’t care if you want to talk about positivity or hospitalizations or deaths or cases, they’re all a factor of one another, the only difference is timing. Our metrics, we build that in. We anticipate a time lag from positivity to cases, to hospitalizations. That is in the calculus. We’re also in an environment where everyone is skeptical and cynical and everyone is still in a hyper political moment, even after the election. Here’s what’s inarguable, my friends, there is no politics or rhetoric in number of people going into the hospital or deaths, okay? You want to be cynical about what politicians say, “Well, I don’t believe positivity rates.” Many people say that to me. Okay, do you think people are going into the hospital because they feel good? Because they want a vacation? Do you think the hospital would accept somebody who’s not really sick, okay? Going into a hospital is inarguable, that’s an inarguable number. Deaths are an inarguable number. So stressing those, I think, builds public support for the metric because even the most cynical person isn’t saying, “I believe you’re just sending people into the hospitals to fill the beds.” Right?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (08:46)
At this rate, if nothing happens, we could have 11,000 people in hospitals and 3,500 deceased. If you factor out these numbers, that’s what we’re looking at if nothing changes. The increase in hospitalizations could overwhelm some regions if nothing changes by January, that’s the trajectory we’re looking at. It’s a problem in the area, it’s more of a problem in Monroe, it’s a problem in Central New York, it’s a problem in New York City. It’s probably in New York City because New York City is different. There’s more density, there’s more crowding, the RT rate, the transmission rate, the virus spreads much faster in New York City. Anyone who doubts that wasn’t here in the spring or has the shortest memory imaginable. We know how fast it takes off in New York City. So Upstate New York, we don’t have the same density and crowding that we have in New York City.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (09:57)
And let’s focus on what the real issues that we should be concerned about and where we are really. I’ve all sorts of people who are concerned, “Well, you went down to 25% indoor dining, you canceled indoor dining, you’re requesting more testing for people in salons, lower capacity in gyms.” Yes to all of them. That is not the real problem, that is not what you should worry about. What you should worry about is shut down because if we do not change the trajectory, we could very well be headed to shut down and shut down is something to worry about. That is really something to worry about because all these businesses close, we go back to where we were. All non-essential businesses close, they go to zero. So yes, we’re trying to change the trajectory, “Well, I’m upset that you’re trying to change the trajectory.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (11:10)
You should be happy because if we don’t change the trajectory, we’re going to go to shut down and then your business is going to close. And that, my friends, is a real problem. Worry about that because that is a real worry. Deaths are a worry and shut down of the economy are the real worries, and they all viable worries. This is not an over-anxious personality, this is not far-fetched, this is something to really worry about. How do you change your trajectory? You do two things. Number one was simultaneously trying to increase hospital capacity and frankly, hospital management. We saw what happened in the spring, it can’t happen again. We’ve given the hospitals flexibility, adding 25% more beds and adding another 25% more beds or reducing elective surgery. So we’ve given hospitals capacity enhancement with their flexibility.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (12:27)
Hospital managers have to manage the hospitals well. What happened in the spring, in my opinion and in defense to the hospital managers who I’ve spent a lot of time talking to, it was a first case scenario in the spring, it had never happened before. I understand that, but there was a failure to balance the patient load. What does that mean? You have some hospital systems. A hospital system is, I have 10 hospitals, I have 20 hospitals, I have 30 hospitals, I have 11-
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (13:03)
… I have 10 hospitals, I have 20 hospitals, I’ve 30 hospitals, I have 11 hospitals. Right now the hospitals basically operate as independent silos and there’s very little coordination among them. What happened in the Spring was one hospital in a system got overwhelmed. They didn’t have the capacity to distribute the patient load to the other hospitals. So their community had a high infection rate, that community came into that hospital, that hospital sat there and got overwhelmed. Meanwhile, you had a hospital in their system to the left and to the right that had additional capacity. That was Elmhurst Hospital.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (13:54)
We know what zip codes are increasing. We know that. You know what hospitals serve those zip codes. You know what hospitals will face increasing numbers. Plan now to use those 11 hospitals as one system. Not that you bring somebody in, admit them, and then have to move them before they get admitted. Say, “Hello, Dr. Zucker, you showed up at my front door. I’m going to send you three blocks away to my other hospital because we have to load balance, and that has spittle has less capacity, and the staff is less burdened.” That didn’t happen in the Spring. It has to happen this time.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (14:49)
There are a second set of hospitals, which are not systems they’re independent hospitals. Brooklyn One, Jamaica Hospital. Those hospitals have to set alliances with other systems now. Jamaica Hospital, One Brooklyn, independent hospitals all across the state, form a partnership now with another hospital where you can say, “Look, if I see I’m getting overwhelmed, I’m going to decamp patients to you.” That has to be done now. That has to be done now. And then systems have to work with each other. NYU Langone has to work with H&H, H&H has to work within H&H, but then H&H has to be able to say, when all 11 hospitals are up near capacity, “New York Langone, I need you to help. Mount Sinai, I need you to help. Northwell, need you to help.” That has to be done before. This is not the way the hospitals operate. They operate onto themselves. That does not work here. It just doesn’t work here. That was the Spring.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (16:15)
And if you are close to being overwhelmed, contact department of health and make sure you talk to someone. Speak to this gentlemen, Dr. Zucker. Don’t wait to get overwhelmed and then call up and say, “I have a problem. I have people on gurneys in hallways.” It’s too late for us to help. We have capacity as a system and we can help the problematic systems, H&H, the independents that have no one else to go. But we need notice. Ken Raske is head of the Greater New York Hospital Association, which oversees the downstate hospitals. Ken Raske and Michael Dowling from Northwell Hospital, which is the largest hospital system in the state. I’ve asked Ken Raske and Michael Dowling to work with H&H and work with the independents and make sure they have this plan in place and make sure they have partnerships to unload. We have Bea Grouse who runs basically the same thing in upstate New York. Same situation in new upstate New York. These hospitals have to have a better management system and it has to happen now.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (17:41)
Same time, we have to slow the spread. Overwhelmingly the number of new cases are coming from small gatherings, living room spread. And we’re going into the holiday season. This is much, much tougher than you think. I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who say, “I’m not going out. I’m staying home. And I invite my friends over. So I’m being safe.” That is the problem. And they say it to me as if they’re being prudent, intelligent. “I’m not going out. I’m staying home and I invite my friends over and we watch the ballgame.” That is the problem. The world changed since the Spring, the problem in the Spring was going out. The problem in the Winter is staying home and inviting people over.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (18:42)
“So you want me to stay home and not invite anyone over? That’s impossible.” That’s what we’re dealing with through the holiday season. And I get how hard it is. I live it with my own family. I had a conversation with one of my daughters this weekend, “Where are you going?” ” I’m going to a friend’s birthday party.” “Is that outside?” “No. It’s going to be inside, but there’s only four of us. And we’re going to social distance. We’re going to eat pizza.” I said, “But how does that even work?” You know, how does that even work? “Well, she wants to celebrate her birthday.” I get it. I get it. But this is where it spreads. And remember the spreader is not malicious. Your wife can be a spreader. They’re asymptomatic. They have no idea. They could have gotten it from the delivery boy who dropped off the groceries.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (19:36)
So that’s why this is so difficult. But again, it is overwhelming the number one problem area. And if you look after that, we’ve done everything else we can before you get into really diminimous numbers. Healthcare delivery, higher education, schools, restaurants, bars, travel, vacation. We have a quarantine system set up. No state has ever done that. Schools, sports that are high risk, we don’t allow it. Public sector, EMS workers, they’re doing their job, they’re getting infected. Police, I’ve said to them until I’m blue in the face, I’ve said to mayors all across the city, “You tell your police to wear the mask.” The number of police who are getting cases is relatively high. They should wear the mask. Transit, public, private, we’re disinfecting the trains, everybody’s wearing masks, but now you’re in diminimous numbers. It’s really about household gatherings.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (20:47)
And it is difficult to stop. And it is difficult to stop during holiday season. And that’s the truth of this. And I think what we’re seeing now is Thanksgiving came, there was travel, we then saw a surge, and you see the numbers slightly tailing off. You’re running right into Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa. You’re going to see another bump. You’re then going to run right into New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and you’re going to see another bump. And these are all going to be situations with small social gatherings. That’s the problem. So the winter plan that we talked about last week, you’re looking at the positivity index, the hospitalization rate, the hospital capacity, the density crowding, what they called the RT rate, and the risk level of that type of economic activity.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (21:45)
We’ve been calibrating them constantly, the benefit of the economic activity, the rate of transmission number, which is really the most important number in any of this, which is now 1.3, hospitalization capacity rate. You got new yellows zones, which are 3%, top 10% daily hospital admissions. One is going to expand into Niagara County and we’ll release the maps afterwards. One in Batavia, Genesee County zone. Rome, Utica, Oneida County, there is a problem there, and we have to start to be honest about it and address it. And bottom line is we’re going to have to manage the spread and the hospital capacity until the vaccination. I think of it as a foot race between holiday spread and hospital capacity and vaccination critical mass. The problem is the experts say vaccination critical mass isn’t for six to nine months. That’s not a foot race. That’s not a sprint. That’s more of a marathon, six to nine months. And we have to get our heads in the game that we still have a marathon to run with this virus, especially since we just get the vaccine. Great, great, great, great, great news. It does win the war. If, if, big if, we take it. And the big if is you need 75 to 85% critical mass. You have 49% of the people who are skeptical about taking it. How do you ever get to 75 without 49? You don’t.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (23:38)
So there’s work to do. We have to educate the public. We have to outreach to all communities, Black, Latinos, poor communities that have paid the highest price for this virus. And we have to get it out. We have to distribute it, logistical operation like you’ve never seen before, which we’re already working on. Distribution began today. New York State did what we believe is the first vaccination in the United States. Congratulations to the department of health and OGS and Jim Malatras and Gareth Rhodes and Robert and Melissa, who have been working on this vaccination plan, and Larry Schwartz, who’s right now working on the vaccination plan.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (24:25)
But making government work, getting it out, is key. We have 170,000 doses from Pfizer, it’s 346 from Moderna. We have 90 distribution sites. Today we’re in the process of administering 10,000 vaccines. So New York came out of the blocks very quickly and very aggressively because the vaccine only works if we take it. Phase 1 of the vaccine distribution, as you know, are what we call the high high-risk hospital workers, those emergency room, ICU, nursing home residents, nursing home staff, then long-term and congregate care and staff, EMS and other healthcare workers. Phase II is other essential workers and members of the general population who are at the highest risk.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (25:17)
The federal government approved the vaccine and the New York State Clinical Advisory Task Force approved the vaccine. We’re attacking that skepticism. 49, 50%, higher in some areas. Some people don’t trust the federal government. Why? Politics. These are the agencies that approved hydroxychloroquine, which turned out to be bogus. So you don’t trust the federal approval, we’ll have a New York State panel also check it. Belt and suspenders. You don’t trust the feds, then you have New York review it. We did it. Some people said, “Oh, there’s going to be a delay.” Blah-
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (26:03)
… we did it. Some people said, Oh, there’s going to be a delay, blah, blah, blah. Never happened. Actually the New York Task Force acted before the federal government acted. As I said, politics is everywhere. There’s no politics on this issue. Trump and Biden agree on the rules for home spread. Those rules are from the CDC. That’s an agency controlled by Trump. They both agree on vaccine usage. So hopefully we’re getting to a point in this country where the politics will stop being the enemy of public health. A couple of other issues I want to mention. People talk about doing a state tax increase. State tax increase is not just a political decision, it’s a revenue decision.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (26:55)
How much money do you need to balance the budget? That is the question for a state tax increase. And is it enough to close the deficit? There’s two options on what we can do now financially, fiscally as a state. One, we can do a budget now. We need $15 billion. That’s the number we asked for from the federal government. We said to them, we need $15 billion or we have a hole. We are waiting for them to act. Maybe they pass this 908 bill. Maybe they don’t. Maybe we have to wait for Joe Biden next year. But we need $15 billion. You could try to close it with tax increases and cuts. To close $15 billion with tax increases and cuts is going to do tremendous damage to everyone. Tax cut, I’m sorry, tax increase maybe it gets you a billion and a half, $2 billion. The tax increase they’re talking about.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (28:11)
You need another $10 billion to come even close. What are we going to cut today? We’re going to cut schools, local governments, hospitals? Who could you possibly cut? But that’s what you would have to do. If you did a tax increase now, it has to be part of a budget so you know how much you’re raising and you know what we’re doing with it. But to do a budget without knowing how much money we’re getting from the federal governments is going to be painful to everyone. Second option, wait for the Washington action before you do the budget. Find out how much Washington is giving us. Let’s say we have a shortfall, then how much do you want to raise in taxes and how much do you want to cut?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (29:14)
Doing it without the Washington funding is going to be really, really difficult. I don’t believe Washington gives us nothing at the end of the day. The end of the day, maybe Joe Biden in February. But I don’t believe they give us nothing. They’ll bankrupt the nation if they bankrupt the states. So I think it’s smarter to get the number from Washington. Let’s say our hole is 15 billion. Let’s say they give us 10 billion. I will fight for the 15. But let’s say they only give us 10 billion. Now you have a 5 billion hole. You want to raise taxes for 5 billion? That’s an option. You want to raise half of it in taxes? You want to do half of it in cuts? Who you’re going to cut? But that’s the budget conversation. You can’t divorce a tax increase from a budget action. I can do it either way, but you have to do a tax increase in the context of a budget. Otherwise, you don’t know how much to raise in taxes. Otherwise, it’s just a political gesture. The problem with doing the budget now is it will have a disruptive tax increase and destructive cuts. So we tell schools now, we’re going to cut your budget 20%. We tell hospitals, we’re going to cut your budget 20%. We tell cities, we’re to cut you a budget 20%. They will then turn around and fire people. They have to. Who do we want them to fire now? School teachers, essential workers who are doing the vaccines? I mean, who can we lose right now? And then when Washington actually provides funding in February, what do we then do? Call them up and say, “Oh, remember I had you fire those people in December. Well, now you can rehire them.” It would be chaos and disruption. Other issue that’s been discussed is New York City close down. We know what closes down a region, it’s called the red zone. Red zone is a shutdown. Red zone happens if there is an increase in cases and hospitalizations in any region and that hospital capacity would reach 90% in three weeks, in three weeks.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (32:04)
So you’re on a glide path that says in three weeks you would hit 90%. Any region that winds up in that situation, they go to red zone, they go to shut down. That’s what we are trying to avoid. No region is in that situation now. And that’s the situation we’re trying to avoid. And that’s why I said earlier, that’s what people should be worried about. Not 25% dining, 0% dining, 50% dining, testing once a week, testing twice a week. The fear is shut down and that’s what we are trying to avoid. Winter storm warning. Why not? Today, they’re looking at South of Albany, snow, rain and ice. Wednesday they’re talking about significant snow, six to 12 inches. I have my boots out. I have my shovel out. I would suggest you do the same. We will shovel it because we are New York tough. Let’s take some questions.
Thank you, governor. If you’d like to ask a question, please use the raise hand function at the bottom of your window. We’ll take a moment to compile the Q and A roster. Governor, you now have Zack Fink from New York 1. Zack, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (33:54)
Hello, Mr. Zack. I know you’re there. I can hear you breathing. I can smell your cologne.
Zack Fink: (34:10)
You and everybody else around. Let me ask-
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (34:15)
Zack Fink: (34:17)
I can hear you. Yes.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (34:18)
You hear, or you have visual? Do you see it or do you just hear it?
Zack Fink: (34:25)
No, I can hear and I can see.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (34:26)
Zack Fink: (34:29)
So let me ask you governor, there was an allegation made over the weekend on Twitter by a former aide of yours that accused you of sexual harassment and said that it happened over a period of years. I wanted to get your reaction to that.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (34:43)
I heard about the tweet and what it said about comments that I had made. And it’s not true, Zack. Look, I fought for, and I believe a woman has the right to come forward and express her opinion and express issues and concerns that she has. But it’s just not true.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (35:17)
Next question operator.
Your next question comes from Ryan Tarinelli at New York Law Journal. Ryan, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.
Ryan Tarinelli: (35:35)
Can you hear me okay, governor?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (35:36)
[inaudible 00:35:36] hear you very loudly.
Ryan Tarinelli: (35:39)
Oh, thank you. You said that New York could overwhelm some of its hospitals in some parts of the state in January. Why do you feel like the cluster initiative will be enough to stem this rise in cases? Shouldn’t New York be considering more broadband options? And my second question is, with the case that New York is in right now, are you urging people to have essentially no contact with people outside their households and essentially not outside, only in essential trips?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (36:28)
Ryan, it’s a good question and it sort of summarizes everything I’m trying to say. You have no broadband option to stem the spread without close down. Close down is your next broadband option because it’s coming from small gatherings as we’ve said exhaustively. We’ve done everything below small gatherings, but it’s coming from small gatherings. The only option you have to actually make a somewhat dramatic difference is go to full shutdown, go to full shutdown. So we’re basically doing three things. One, caution people on the holiday small spread, which I understand is very hard. Two, restrict anything below small spread that makes any difference given the economic cost of it, right? You don’t want to lay off 4,000 people for an activity that’s only infecting three people. That’s second.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (38:07)
Third, increase hospital capacity so you have more capacity to deal with the number of cases coming in. And that’s what we’re doing dramatically. Those are your three options. If you said to me… And then our metric. If you are three weeks from 90% capacity of the hospital, now remember 90% isn’t 100%, 90% is 90%. But if you’re three weeks from 90, then we go to full shutdown. That gives us three weeks to work on hospital capacity, three weeks for shutdown to make a difference on the rate of the spread. But beyond that, there are no other-
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (39:03)
But beyond that, there are no other tools in the tool bag. Vaccinations, yes, but they’re not going to kick in for several months. So really, maximum benefit, holiday spread, second, everything below holiday spread that you can make a difference on that makes any modicum of sense versus the economy, et cetera, and third, increase hospital capacity, which we are working on. Our guidance is no more than ten in a home. The CDC guidance has gotten much more aggressive lately, and the CDC says only members of your household who you have been with. They define household as the people who you are with. You can’t invite over your mother and say, “Oh, she’s part of my household.” That’s their, CDC’s, most recent guidance. Is that right? Is there anything else besides that on CDC?
Speaker 1: (40:21)
Masks, the indoor masks.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (40:22)
Masks on indoor, all indoor gatherings, even family gatherings. But this was the problem with indoor dining. They also say any indoor dining where you can’t wear a mask, you shouldn’t do. Okay? That’s why they were against indoor dining, because you have to eat and drink. You can’t wear a mask. All right. But here’s the practical. I invite my buddies over to my house to watch the game, and yes, we eat and we drink, not to excess. So we take off the mask. Yeah, sometimes if nobody’s eating and drinking, we keep the mask on, but we take off the mask. What’s the difference between watching the ball game at your buddy’s house and eating and drinking or indoor dining? So the CDC’s rule is you can be with your household, but you must wear a mask indoors. Now, your point would be, “Who could ever possibly follow that? It’s so hard.” I know, and that’s where we are. Next question, operator.
Governor, you now have Marina Villanova from the Associated Press. Marina, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.
Marina Villanova: (41:42)
Hi, Governor. Can you hear me?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (41:45)
Marina Villanova: (41:47)
Hi. Governor, [inaudible 00:41:49] have an interaction with Ms. Boyland where you commented at all on her book? Also, the AP’s [inaudible 00:41:56] being considered for [inaudible 00:41:59] General, do you have any response to that?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (42:02)
Yeah. The Attorney General, it’s flattering to be considered for Attorney General. It’s a great position, especially at this time in history, so much to do, so many pressing actions. But I have said many, many times with you in the room, Marina, there’s one relationship that is most important to me. It’s my family. But that one aside, the most important relationship is with the people of the state of New York, and we’re talking about holiday gatherings and skepticism. I said to them, “Trust me. My only agenda is your agenda. My only agenda is to serve as Governor of New York.” When we were in the spring, people were saying, “Oh, maybe you’re going to run for President. You’re going to run for Vice President.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (42:57)
See, as soon as you say that to people, they say, “Oh, here’s another politician. Now he has an agenda. Now he wants to be Vice President, so he’s going to show this. He’s going to show this. He’s going to show this.” That’s what people believe about politicians. That’s the skepticism. I know, because that’s what we always said about politicians. I said, “That doesn’t apply to me. I’m not interested in any other position. I’m not interested in President, Vice President. I’m not interested in serving in Washington. I’m only going to tell you the truth as I see it. You can disagree with me and my opinion, but there is no other agenda besides that.” That’s what I said, and that’s what I meant.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (43:52)
New York, there’s a long way to go to get through this current situation, which, as we just discussed, is difficult. Then we have to rebuild New York, which is years, my friends, years. This is not just take care of the economic shortfall in a budget. This is you have an economic shortfall. You have to do a budget, and then you lost thousands of jobs. You have businesses go through a transformation where they’re going to say, “You know what? This Zoom worked pretty well, and maybe I don’t need all that commercial space. Maybe I can let people work from home,” and that’s going to change the configuration of society and businesses. So that’s a long road.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (44:50)
Now, the good news is President Biden will be here, and we had an enemy as a president for four years. Now we’ll have a friend. But my job as New York governor is nowhere near over. So I’m flattered to be considered, but that hasn’t changed my thinking and my relationship with New Yorkers, and I need them to know there is no agenda besides theirs.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (45:20)
On the tweets. I totally respect a woman’s right, fought for a woman’s right to express any concern, any issue that she has in the workplace. I support that, but the tweets were simply not true. Let’s take one more question.
Governor, your last question comes from Marcia Kramer at WCBS TV. Marcia, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (45:51)
Marica Kramer: (45:53)
Governor, I wanted to ask you about the possibility of a shutdown. Can you hear me?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (46:00)
Yes. You’re a little choppy, but you’re always a little choppy. Try it again.
Marica Kramer: (46:05)
Governor, today, [inaudible 00:46:11] said that there was a possibility that you’d have to shut down the city or the state. He said he’s been talking to you about it, and he said that we have to get emotionally ready for the possibility of a shutdown. Could you comment about possibility of a shutdown, a pause in New York City and a pause or a shutdown in the entire state, and what timeframe would you be looking at if that happened?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (46:36)
Okay. We do it based on numbers. All right? If the numbers say we are a region, a region is three weeks from hitting 90% of hospital capacity, three weeks from hitting 90% of capacity, then we go to a shutdown. It’s a point in time that if you factor it out, it says, “You’re 90% of capacity, hospital capacity in three weeks. That leaves you 10% of hospital capacity. It leaves you three weeks to reduce the rate, and more, it leaves you three weeks to increase the rate of hospitalization,” meaning you could do field hospitals. You could add beds to hospitals, et cetera. But that is what’s called the red zone. That’s the shutdown. Three weeks on a glide path to 90, so we have three weeks to scramble, because we don’t want to be Italy. No region is at that point now.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (47:53)
Second, my point is don’t get to that point, and the way you don’t get to that point is working with the hospitals to actually get them to better manage themselves. New York City, we have H and H. We have Jamaica. We have one Brooklyn. We need some of those independents and small systems to do a better job than they did in the spring. We can’t go through Elmhurst again, which was totally avoidable.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (48:26)
Second, we have to reduce the spread the best we can, holiday season caution. We’ve reduced indoor dining, reduced gyms, salons. But, again, this is on the margins. It’s really about the holiday spread. Emotionally, I will be talking to people about get a different picture of the holidays in your mind. “Well, just my family’s coming over. That sounds so safe.” It does, and frankly, it sounds so delightful. “It’s the holidays. My family’s coming over.” It just takes one nephew, one cousin, one uncle, somebody you love, and now you have a problem. That’s what’s happening over and over and over, and that’s where I’d like to see a little emotional energy being spent. It’s that small spread and the vision of the small spread that we have that is beautiful and romantic and enticing, but it’s dangerous.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: (49:46)
Look at Thanksgiving. We sat right here. We said, “Let me tell you what’s going to happen with Thanksgiving. You’re going to go to your parents’ house, your friend’s house, your family house, and the number’s going to go up.” You know what happened after Thanksgiving? The number went up. Now I’m telling you you’re going to go for Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. You are going for Hanukkah. The number’s going to go up, and then you’re going to have New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day. New Year’s Eve, everybody kisses somebody. It’s going to go up. Christmas week, “Let’s go skiing. Let’s take a drive.” It’s going to go up. That’s what people have to spend emotional energy around. Okay. Thank you very much.