Nov 18, 2020
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript November 18
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s November 18 COVID-19 press conference. He addressed restrictions for Thanksgiving. Read the transcript of his briefing with coronavirus updates for New York here.
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Governor Cuomo: (00:00)
It’s cold. You can’t be outside. Everybody goes inside. Holidays, major factor. And another factor that some places haven’t yet experienced the full pain of COVID. They’ve read about it. But it’s been happening somewhere else. It hasn’t been happening here, and people are parochial. If it isn’t happening here, it’s not as real as if when it’s happening somewhere else. I’ll come back to that for a moment. The numbers today, positivity in the micro clusters, 4.7. Statewide without micro clusters, 3.1. Statewide with micro clusters, 3.4. Statewide death, 35. They’re in our thoughts and prayers. Statewide hospitalizations 2,200. Statewide ICU, 423. Statewide intubation, 192. New York state yesterday, 3.4. Seven day rolling average which balances it out, is more accurate because one day you get a blood pier of blood there, 2.9%. New York City yesterday, 2.9. Their seven day rolling average, 2.5. We talk about these numbers all the time, okay?
Governor Cuomo: (01:45)
What you don’t talk about is what they mean with a context. You write a story, “Today new York City is 2.5. New York state is at 2.5. Buffalo’s at 2.5.” Yeah, what does that mean? You have no state in the nation now that is below 2%. Isn’t that shocking? Remember just a few weeks ago we were at 1% in New York. No state in the nation is below 2%. Lowest states, Vermont, two. Hawaii, two. Maine, 2.1. New York, 2.8. Lowest in the United States, Vermont, Hawaii, Maine, New York. How does New York wind up fourth? Vermont Hawaii, low density mean, low density rural, and then New York? That’s because New Yorkers have done a phenomenal job and New Yorkers deserve credit because they have done a phenomenal job. And I know you guys don’t write the right context. That’s where we are 2.8, which is great news relative to everyone else. Look at the highest percentages. South Dakota, 56. Iowa, 51. Kansas, 43. Look at those numbers. Here’s the test. What was our positivity rate at the high point?
Speaker 1: (03:38)
Governor Cuomo: (03:40)
That’s why you get the big bucks at the New York Times. 46%. We’re at 2.8. By the way, where were we? 46. But now look at South Dakota and Iowa. You’re at 56? You’re at 51? You’re higher than New York was when it was ambushed eight months ago. How can that possibly be? That’s the story of this nation and COVID. Remember we were at 46, but remember we were ambushed. It was coming from Europe, nobody told us. It exploded. It was like sending a bomb over in a tanker. Eight months later, South Dakota’s at 56? Iowa’s at 51? That my friends is the story of what’s going on in this country.
Governor Cuomo: (04:45)
A couple of specifics, 2.5%, you go into a yellow zone. Parts of the Bronx go into a yellow zone. You know the details of what a yellow zone is. Dan memorized them and can tell anyone who has any questions. Queen’s yellow zone is expanded northwards to cover Northwest, really. Basically to cover the Astoria area. So the Queen’s zones gets a little bit bigger. What comes after a yellow zone? An orange zone. Yellow’s 2.5. Orange is at three. New York City could go to an orange zone if it hits 3%. Okay? You’re a 2.5. What comes after 2.5? 2.6. I know, if you’re a wise guy. Three is the next demarcation, you become an orange zone. What happens at 3%? houses of worship, mass gatherings, business restrictions, dining restrictions, schools close. We’ve done a number of orange zones already. Brooklyn was an orange zone. Queens was an orange zone. Brooklyn was a red zone. Queens was a red zone. Rockland was an orange zone. Those are the rules of the orange zone.
Governor Cuomo: (06:08)
Western New York worst situation in the state of New York. Worst situation, 5.1%. Those are the regions. And after Western New York, Finger Lakes. Look at that and think of this. What is the parallel between what happened in the country and what’s happening in the state? I’m going to give you my theory in a second, but that’s where we are. Western New York and then Finger Lakes, and then Central New York. New York City, only 2.5%. in Western New York, these are the highest rates. 9.7, 9.4, 7.5, 7.3, 6.8. Dramatically higher than anywhere else. Parts of Western New York are going from yellow zone to an orange zone. The chart on my left, your left, Niagara County, part of Niagara goes to yellow. That’s Erie, a butting Niagara, which is orange and on the right is the part of Erie that goes to orange. That’s Buffalo and the surrounding areas. But again, it’s those areas, which are astronomical compared to the rest of the state.
Governor Cuomo: (08:11)
What happens in a 3% orange zone? Houses of worship, mass gatherings, business dinings and schools. Remember with schools there’s what we call a test out option. Schools close in an orange zone, but the schools can reopen if they stay closed for four days, they clean, and then they test people who come back in, as well as faculty staff. So the schools can reopen in an orange zone, okay? And then there’s ongoing weekly surveillance. If New York city hits 3%, makes it in an orange zone and if New York City wanted to reopen the schools, we’d have to design a different formula for New York City. Because by volume, we couldn’t test every student in New York City. We just, the volume is so much higher in the New York City School District. If they hit 3%, if they went into an orange zone and if there had to be a reopening plan.
Governor Cuomo: (09:27)
What’s the good news? The good news is micro clusters work. Following the rules work. Broome County was a yellow and an orange. Broome County was a yellow zone. It’s now under control and is back to normal. Orange County was a yellow zone. A little confusing. It is now back to normal. Brooklyn was an orange zone, is being dropped to a yellow zone. So, the restrictions work and just to make it very simple, if you socially distanced and you wore a mask and you were smart, none of this would be a problem. It’s all self-imposed. It’s all self-imposed. If you didn’t eat the cheesecake, you wouldn’t have a weight problem. It’s all self-imposed.
Governor Cuomo: (10:38)
Here’s my personal opinion and my personal theory, because I know I’d disappoint you if I didn’t have my own theory. You look at the states that are now surging; South Dakota, Wyoming. These are the states that did not get hit hard in the spring, when New York was going through it. When some cities, New Jersey was going through it. It was eight months ago. They did not have anywhere near the problem. It was a problem that affected somewhere else. It affected someone else. Yeah, well that was New York. That was New Jersey. That’s the Eastern seaboard. That’s not happening here in our state. Yeah, I saw it on the news, but it’s not happening to us. It’s happening to them over there. There can be a sense of denial that we’re immune from this. It’s not going to happen here, like it happened in…
Governor Cuomo: (12:03)
… it’s not going to happen here. Like it happened in New York or New Jersey. Yes, it is. And it can, and it’s happening. Even in places like South Dakota and in Wisconsin and in Iowa. Why? Because they didn’t think it was real or a real probability eight months ago. And they didn’t take the precautions and they didn’t adopt the behavior, and now it’s real. It’s my theory. So it’s this personal opinion. Personal opinion, western New York never lived the full pain of a COVID’s wrath. Western New York read about New York City, they read about long Island. They watched it on the TV news, but the numbers were never as bad in Western New York.
Governor Cuomo: (13:17)
And you want people to change dramatically their behavior? For me to make these dramatic changes in behavior, I have to believe this is real. And it wasn’t real because it wasn’t real to me. You know when it becomes real? When it’s real to me. I get it was real in New York City, but I’m in Buffalo. Buffalo is much different than New York City. And it wasn’t real to me, like South Dakota. I believe that. I believe they didn’t have the same level of fear. And what caused so many people in New York to change their behavior? It was the fear. Why do you guys wear the masks now? “Because you said we have to, there’s a law that says …” No, you wear the masks because you’re afraid of COVID. And because you’re concerned about other people, but because you think it’s real. Because it is real for you. Western New York never felt that same level of reality. Thanksgiving is coming up. This is my next personal opinion and theory, you will see a tremendous spike after Thanksgiving. Tremendous spike after Thanksgiving. No scientific data, no health commissioner said that. That’s my personal theory. Why? Because Thanksgiving is a holiday and people come together. And if you don’t have a real fear about COVID, you’re going to come together and you see people saying, “Nobody’s going to stop me from coming together. That’s my family. You can’t tell me don’t socialize with my family.”
Governor Cuomo: (15:26)
It’s going to happen. It is going to happen. And it’s going to happen because it’s human behavior. I have a conversation with my mother, several conversations about Thanksgiving. “We have to get together for Thanksgiving.” “Mom, we can’t get to give together for Thanksgiving.” “Oh no, no. I know, it has to be a small group. Just us. Just your sisters and your brother and your family. Just us.” “No mom, we can’t do that. I can’t be with my sisters.” “They’re your sisters. Just us, just us. Just the family, your sisters. They miss you. They haven’t seen you. They’re crazy about you. They love you.”
Governor Cuomo: (16:14)
“Stop. Yes. They love me. I love them.” Your family sounds safe, doesn’t it? Your home sounds safe. Your dining room table at Thanksgiving sounds safe. This is a safe environment. I’ll be safe. No, you won’t be safe. It’s an illusion. My sister loves me. My sister could infect me. Not maliciously, but accidentally. It’s counter-intuitive, what I thought was the safest place and the safest situation in my home at my table with my family. It can’t be any safer than that. That’s the dangerous situation. Canada, after Thanksgiving, number went right up. I’ve said this 150 times, it’s going to happen because it’s human behavior. I hear it with my own family. Be smart. I get it. I understand it. It’s wrong. It’s wrong. My advice on Thanksgiving, don’t be a turkey. You don’t want to be the turkey on Thanksgiving. You know what love is on Thanksgiving? I love you so much, and I’m so thankful for you that I’m not going to see you. That’s how you show me you love me. I’m not going to see you. That’s how much I love you. Questions?
[crosstalk 00:18:25] New York City schools. The other day, you said, this is the city’s decision. They have an agreement at 3%. Today, you said, “Well, I might have to impose an orange zone and I might have to close the schools.” Which orange zone does. So what’s going on? Does the city still had the ability to close its schools? Are you now taking control and saying that you have the power to make this decision? And for the millions of parents want to know, are the schools going to open tomorrow in New York City?
Governor Cuomo: (18:49)
All right, first of all, let’s try not to be obnoxious and offensive in your tone. Because you’re 100% wrong, these laws have all been in effect for months. I’ve always said we set initial parameters, and then the school district picked a percent within those parameters. New York City picked 3%. We announced the orange zone law over a month ago.
Governor Cuomo: (19:23)
I don’t know if you were here or if you were paying attention, but that has been in effect for over a month. It always said, if by the state’s numbers, you hit 3%, the schools close. What’s going on here, is nothing that the law hasn’t said for over a month. We then had to test out procedures. If you were paying attention, you would have known we closed the schools in New York City two weeks ago. Remember when we did an orange zone and a red zone in Brooklyn and Queens and we close the schools? Don’t you remember that?
It was three weeks ago.
Governor Cuomo: (20:12)
Okay. So what are you talking about? What are you talking about? “You’re now going to override?” We did it already. That’s the law. An orange zone and a red zone. Follow the facts.
I’m just still confused.
Governor Cuomo: (20:29)
Well then you’re confused.
I’m confused, tenants are still confused as well. The schools [crosstalk 00:20:34]-
Governor Cuomo: (20:36)
They’re not confused, you’re confused.
No, I think parents are confused as well.
Governor Cuomo: (20:39)
Read the law and you won’t be confused.
Speaker 2: (20:44)
So governor, to follow Jim’s question, are the schools going to be open tomorrow?
Governor Cuomo: (20:46)
The schools are open by state law.
Speaker 2: (20:51)
That’s the question. I think he’s correct in asking that question. I don’t think it’s obnoxious at all.
Governor Cuomo: (20:56)
Well, I don’t really care what you think. Of course, you agree with him because you’re in the same business with him. The schools by state law. Well, what is the answer to your question? What is the answer to your question?
Speaker 2: (21:15)
I don’t know what the answer is.
Governor Cuomo: (21:16)
Yes you do. When does the state close the schools?
Speaker 2: (21:21)
When you get to an orange zone, which you’re suggesting could happen, but it’s not necessarily happening by tomorrow.
Governor Cuomo: (21:27)
So then what are you asking? You just answered your own question.
Governor Cuomo: (21:27)
Speaker 2: (21:34)
On the one hand, you have granted bill de Blasio, the kind of oversight of his schools. And there are rumors that the number of New York City will rise about 3%, which would trigger at closing schools. Now you have just said that the orange zone could be the entirety of New York City, which would also close the schools, but your number is 2.5. So I guess just the point blank question is, are schools going to be open tomorrow in New York City?
Governor Cuomo: (21:56)
Let’s do it again for you. Because maybe gets confusing over the days and nights. 700 school districts, they all set their own number. That’s the number, unless they fall into a micro cluster. The micro cluster overrides the local rules. Yellow, orange, red. If it’s Buffalo, I don’t even know the Buffalo closing number for schools, but the Buffalo schools close in that orange zone, right? Why? Because it’s an orange zone and it’s over 3%. Well, maybe Buffalo had a rule of 4% or 5% or 6%. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. If it goes over 3% in an orange zone, because now it’s saying the decision isn’t just about a school, it’s about a school in an intensely infected community, with a family that’s infected and a candy store that has a high infection rate, on a bus route that has a high infection rate. So the micro clusters override the normal locally set school infection rate.
Why did you put the school [inaudible 00:23:49] County, last week, you were over 3%.
Governor Cuomo: (23:50)
Excuse me. Right?
Speaker 2: (23:53)
I understand the state law overrides the cities [inaudible 00:11:58]-
Governor Cuomo: (23:58)
That’s it. Any local school district. So it just happened in Buffalo-
Governor Cuomo: (24:03)
… local school district. So just happened in Buffalo. Any local school district in a micro-cluster zone, because that’s now a highly infected zone. The schools can remain open in an orange zone, but they have to do additional testing.
Speaker 2: (24:26)
Understood. On a larger point, when you’re talking about micro- clusters, those are obviously supposed to be kind of limited geographic areas. New York City is obviously not a limited geographic area nor is it a limited population center. How would that qualify as a micro-cluster? Why is that not just-
Governor Cuomo: (24:42)
Micro-cluster’s not spatially defined. Micro-cluster was as opposed to statewide action or regional action.
Speaker 2: (24:56)
But is that not a region? New York City would not even be one?
Governor Cuomo: (24:58)
Long Island and Westchester would be within the region. So micro-cluster was… I guess, your pointing back the connotation of micro.
Speaker 2: (25:08)
Well, you said that there are 10 regions in the state and one of those regions is New York City. So if you’re just going to shut New York City down to an extent with lesser restrictions under an orange zone, then is it by ipso facto, a regional shutdown-
Governor Cuomo: (25:20)
But the micro’s to distinguish from statewide or normally region-wide. So Erie is not… We’re not doing all of Western New York. It’s a micro zone. We’re not doing Chautauqua. We’re not doing the Cattaraugus, et cetera. It’s a micro zone. That’s micro as opposed to regional. Nick.
Speaker 3: (25:47)
Who’s numbers are going to prevail if there’s a difference between the city and state’s numbers? And public health experts are saying New York’s one of the top 15 highest infection rates. So positivity rates just show we’re doing a lot of testing, and we’re still seeing clusters in Rockland and Chemung. Why hasn’t New York taken broader steps like closing down indoor dining or sort of more-
Governor Cuomo: (26:09)
Okay. Let’s slow your question down. Experts said New York that is one of the 15 highest infection rates. That’s what you said?
Speaker 3: (26:23)
Yes. And those positivity ratings were just-
Governor Cuomo: (26:27)
How do you see that?
Speaker 3: (26:29)
You have previously cited different groups, including the Polkadot now and rt.live in COVID exit strategy.
Governor Cuomo: (26:35)
Okay. But look at these numbers.
Speaker 3: (26:36)
Those are just about how much testing those states are doing and Johns Hopkins has said that those numbers aren’t completely up to date and may differ from the states levels because they’re still trying to prep this formula.
Governor Cuomo: (26:48)
What does that mean?
Speaker 3: (26:49)
Those numbers don’t match the positivity ratings in states like South Dakota, for example. They do not have 56% of tests coming up positive. Those are probably-
Governor Cuomo: (26:59)
Where did you get the 50… these are Johns Hopkins numbers.
Speaker 3: (27:03)
Yes. I spoke to John Hopkins and they said that they are working on updating that page.
Governor Cuomo: (27:05)
So Johns Hopkins says Johns Hopkins’ numbers are wrong?
Speaker 3: (27:10)
In some cases, yes. Although it might be different than the-
Governor Cuomo: (27:13)
And John Hopkins says that New York that is now fourth in the nation, is in the top 15?
Speaker 3: (27:21)
So this is positivity ratings. I’m talking about, remember the RNR, the infection rate that’s calculated by different groups-
Governor Cuomo: (27:30)
All right. Anyway, so what’s the question?
Speaker 3: (27:32)
We’re still seeing clusters in Rockland and Chemung, and it’s really spreading throughout Western and central New York. Why hasn’t New York taken broader steps like closing indoor dining or more united policies in schools on masks wearing?
Governor Cuomo: (27:45)
When did we close indoor dining?
Speaker 3: (27:51)
Is there just a need to rethink our metrics when there is so much spread throughout the nation and New York?
Governor Cuomo: (27:58)
We close at the lowest percentages in the nation. Our calibration is the lowest. Let’s say we go to orange at 3%. 3% is the fifth… It’s Massachusetts. It’s every state after Massachusetts, is 3%. [crosstalk 00:28:26]
Speaker 3: (28:28)
What happens if there’s a difference between the city and the state numbers? What if there’s a difference? Whose numbers override? If New York City says our numbers show it’s 3% and yours say 2.5, whose…
Governor Cuomo: (28:39)
What’s the answer to that question?
Speaker 3: (28:42)
I don’t know.
Governor Cuomo: (28:44)
Oh, you don’t know what the state law governs?
Speaker 3: (28:46)
And so state law would override the New York City’s number if they say their numbers-
Governor Cuomo: (28:50)
You don’t know that the state law governs?
Speaker 3: (28:53)
I’m asking just what would happen in this case?
Governor Cuomo: (28:55)
You don’t know that the state law governs. We’ve had this conversation 1000 times. State law governs. Except on schools we left it to the local districts besides the orange zone, which is a state law. So local school districts pick the percentage, 2%, 5%, 7%, whatever they pick. Their law governs on that. So New York City’s law is they close at three. There’s a differential in some of our numbers, which is due to the timing of the numbers, which is complex, but it’s really irrelevant. So some cities will say, or counties will say their numbers are different than state numbers. We say 2.9, they say 3.2, et cetera. On schools, their numbers govern because they had the ability to set their number. But on anything that has a state law, obviously the state governs. Nick.
Governor on county sheriffs, sometimes sheriffs say they will not be enforcing the 25 person limit on gatherings in homes. And also on the issue of pay raises for the legislature and some state officials, they will not be getting them this year. I know your pay raise is kind of separate and apart from that. What’s the status of your pay raise going in to effect of 2021?
Governor Cuomo: (30:29)
I’m going to give my pay raise to you because I think you’ve done an extraordinary job as journalist this year.
I don’t think that’s true [inaudible 00:30:38]
Governor Cuomo: (30:39)
Which part don’t you think… Do you think part A and part B is not true? Part B, I think, is true. You are a great journalist. Part A is untrue. I’m not giving you my $25,000. I am going to… The way it works, I think, is a little complicated. The judges and the legislators don’t get a legal raise. Technically the four statewides do, and the commissioners do. I’m going to ask them to defer their raises and not take a raise given the overall financial picture for the same rationale that we didn’t do a raise. I understand there’s a disconnect in the law. But I’m going to ask the commissioners, myself, the other electeds, not to take a raise this year. And then I’ll do an EO to that effect. Because it’s the same rationale as not giving a race to the other people, Nick. Second on the sheriffs, I don’t believe as a law enforcement officer you have a right to pick and choose what laws you will enforce. And EO is a law that has been litigated, right? Well, I don’t believe in that law and therefore I won’t enforce it.
Governor Cuomo: (32:16)
That is frankly frightening to me as an individual, frightening to democracy. It’s arrogant and it violates your constitutional duty. I didn’t say, I swear to uphold the laws that I agree with. I didn’t say that. If I don’t agree with the law, then I’m not going to enforce that law. No. It doesn’t matter what my opinion is. I’m a law enforcement officer. I enforce the laws. I don’t get to pick and choose. Well, I’m not going to enforce domestic violence law because I think that’s a family affair. They had a family fight and I don’t think it’s the state’s right to come in and say, you shouldn’t treat your wife that way. You shouldn’t treat your husband that way. No. There’s a law and you have to enforce the law or don’t call yourself a law enforcement officer. Say, I enforce the laws that I think are good laws. That’s what you get. But then I’m not a law enforcement official and I’m not operating a law enforcement agency. And that has consequences too. But that’s what I think. Last question [crosstalk 00:33:49]
Speaker 4: (33:48)
Governor, on that point, how do you expect us to enforce the 25 person limit? I mean, short of knocking door to door, I mean, how can you enforce that?
Governor Cuomo: (34:01)
That’s a different question. Different question. Bonafide question. How do I enforce the mask ordinates? It’s hard. A lot of people don’t wear a mask. What do I do? Do I go up to everybody who’s not wearing a mask? How do I do that? Good question. That is different than saying I’m not enforcing the law because I don’t agree with it. I don’t recognize that law. I don’t recognize it. I refuse to recognize that law. It violates my political belief and therefore I don’t enforce it. Literally. I had a conversation with a law enforcement officer at one time who said, “I think domestic violence is a family matter.” I said, “What?” He said, “It happens in a home. It’s a family affair. I don’t think it’s the state’s business to come in and say how a husband or wife should treat each other.” Look, maybe that’s a theory. I think it’s repulsive, but it’s not up to you. It’s a law.
Speaker 4: (35:23)
Is there a way… And I mean, so it is set of questions. It is different from saying I’m not going to enforce it. The question of how do you enforce it. What would you suggest-
Governor Cuomo: (35:32)
That’s not what they said and that was not the question.
Speaker 4: (35:33)
I know. But that’s what I’m asking. That what I’m asking. How would you suggest to them they enforce it? Or is it only something you can do after contact tracing [inaudible 00:35:42]
Governor Cuomo: (35:42)
Well, no. You could if you would wind up in a circumstance. I mean, nobody’s saying knock on doors, count heads, right? But you come across a gathering for one reason or another and there’s 20 people there you say, this can’t happen.
Governor Cuomo: (36:03)
… you say, “This can’t happen.” By the way, how did we get there? And also by the way, by the way, states all across the nation are doing this. This is not a novel New York law. Do me a favor, see if you can look at how many states have the 10 or more. Jersey has it, Connecticut has it, California has it. You know where it’s spreading now? That’s why on my personal theory here, people change their behavior. It’s less in bars and restaurants. It’s still there, but they’ve migrated to home gatherings. That’s why we call it living room spread, family spread. That’s why I think Thanksgiving is going to be terrible. Because they said, “We can’t hang out in the bar, we can’t go to a restaurant. Let’s go to your house. We’ll watch the Bill’s game, we’ll have a few beers, we’ll hang around. And by the way, if I’m going, do you mind if I bring Jesse and Nick?” “No, no, no. Tell them to come. Tell them bring a six pack.”
Governor Cuomo: (37:12)
Okay. Now we’re sitting there with 25 people, all innocuous, nobody malicious. That’s where it’s coming from. And this is really hard to stop because you’re right, it’s very hard to restrict, it’s very hard to regulate, and it’s very hard to police. So yeah, is it hard to police? Yes. But if you see it, stop it. That’s really the point of the law. If you see it, stop it. Don’t invade privacy, don’t do any of that. But if you see it, stop it.
Governor Cuomo: (38:01)
Which is different, John, than saying, “I just refuse to enforce that law because I don’t agree with it.” That, I believe, violates that person’s constitutional oath. I don’t believe that person is a law enforcement officer. I believe that person should not be certified as a law enforcement officer. I don’t want a law enforcement officer who says, “I’m only enforcing the laws that I like or that I think should be enforced.” By the way, a lot of police officers don’t wear a mask. Well, how are you supposed to then enforce other people wearing a mask when they see you not wearing a mask? “I violate the law, but you can’t.” No. Nobody said you were above the law. “Well, I’m a cop, I can have a couple of drinks and drive home. And if a buddy of mine stops me …” No, the law is the law. And nobody is above it. It’s the only way it works.
Governor Cuomo: (39:18)
And this living room spread is the new problem. And it will go up after Thanksgiving. And you will see orange zones and increased positivity after Thanksgiving. I’ll wager you on it today. And you’re going to see more dramatic action. And then it’s going to get worse because what comes next? Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa. And that’s going to be the problem. Thank you, guys. Thank you. School?
Speaker 2: (39:57)
Governor Cuomo: (40:10)
The mayor set-
Speaker 2: (40:11)
Governor Cuomo: (40:13)
Okay, the mayor set 3%. If the schools hit 3% in the city, I expect the mayor who has said 57 times if they hit 3%, we will close them. That is a conformance-
Speaker 2: (40:32)
[inaudible 00:40:34]. I’m asking for a reaction to that. That schools will be closed in New York City.
Governor Cuomo: (40:37)
Oh, I’m sorry. Say that again.
Speaker 2: (40:37)
The chancellor has announced to principals that schools will be closing temporarily in New York City.
Governor Cuomo: (40:42)
So the mayor’s saying it hit 3%?
Speaker 2: (40:45)
The chancellor has said that, in emails to principals, that the schools will be closed temporarily, yes. So I just wanted a reaction from you.
Governor Cuomo: (40:53)
But that is what the mayor has always said. And remember, when I say the mayor said, it’s not actually technically accurate. We went through a very formal process where I said, “Consult with the parents, make them part of it, have web chats, have webinars. Because you can’t just, by fiat, say, ‘The school’s open or the school’s closed.’ It only works if the parents are willing to send the children. So make it an inclusive collective process.” I mandated that the school district consult with the parents and have webinars, et cetera, and answer all the questions. So that 3% the mayor set, in my opinion, in a collaborative with the parents. And that was the agreement, and the agreement should be honored. And if it is 3%, then I understand exactly.
Speaker 2: (42:01)
I understand the mechanics of it, but my question for you is the closing of New York City schools, what does that say about the state’s broader progress? You have touted the state’s progress for months and months and months. This would appear to be a setback. How do you feel about that?
Speaker 5: (42:13)
I mean, your micro-cluster strategy is not working at this point to curb the statewide spread. What do you have to say about that?
Governor Cuomo: (42:20)
Yeah, well …
Speaker 5: (42:23)
Are we having broader restrictions at this point? [crosstalk 00:06:30].
Governor Cuomo: (42:29)
Let’s not talk to your characterizations. Okay? And your adverbs. Let’s talk fact. The whole world is going up, right? The whole world. Every state in the nation is going up, right? So success becomes what? How you’re doing relative to everybody else. That’s what success becomes. Success is not are you defying reality?
Speaker 5: (43:06)
Governor Cuomo: (43:07)
Excuse me. Are you defying reality? It’s how are you doing compared to everybody else? We are fourth in the United States of America. Come to me with anything else that we’re fourth in the United States of America after having had the highest infection rate in the United States of America. New Yorkers are doing a great job. And don’t demean them. Because the entire world is going up. It’s disrespectful to New Yorkers.
Governor Cuomo: (43:49)
Of course they are because they’re going up on the world. If you’re on the planet, the cases are going up. The question becomes how are you doing relative to everyone else? And New Yorkers are doing better than everyone else. That is a fact, not your opinion.
Speaker 5: (44:10)