Oct 21, 2020

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript October 21

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript October 21
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript October 21

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s October 21 press conference. Read the transcript of his briefing with coronavirus updates for New York here.

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Andrew Cuomo: (00:00)
All right. Mr Gareth Rhodes to my immediate right. Dr. Howard Zucker to my left. Melissa DeRosa to her left Robert Mujica, Budget Director.

Andrew Cuomo: (00:09)
Today’s day 235. Statewide positivity rate continues to be good news for the State of New York. We have a lot going on with COVID internationally and nationally. So keeping it all in focus is important. You see numbers going up all across the country. Some people write Second wave. It’s not the second wave. Not correct. Second wave was the virus mutates and comes back, 1918 pandemic. Virus changes comes back, that’s the second wave. This is not a mutated virus. This is failure to deal with the first wave. Okay. And you see it all across the country and you see it selectively all across the globe.

Andrew Cuomo: (01:10)
This is where the United States is. Nevada top of the list, 58%. South Dakota, 35%. Wyoming, 35%. Idaho, 29%. Iowa, 21%. Kansas, 19%. Nebraska, 19%. Mississippi, 17%. Alabama, 16. Utah, 16. Florida, 12. North Dakota, 10. Pennsylvania nine. Where is New York? Go look at the other column, we’re third from the bottom. The only State below one is the State of Maine, great Governor in Maine. That’s where New York is. So we are doing very, very well. And this is the comparison. It’s not just the comparison, this is one of the problems that we have. The fact that the cases are increasing all across the country is a problem for us. First, it’s a problem with our quarantine program because we’re now up to 43 States that are quarantined. Technically by the quarantine formula, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania would be quarantined.

Andrew Cuomo: (02:43)
There is no practical way to quarantine New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Remember this whole concept of States quarantining other States is novel to say the least. I don’t think it has happened in the past 100 years. The way we basically enforce the quarantine is at airports, when people fly in. Because normally you fly in from another State. Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania you don’t fly in, you drive in. There are numerous roads that are interconnections. You would have to do some theory of border checks all across the State. And from an economic point of view, there’s too many interconnections with Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey. People live and work one place, work in the other place. It would be devastating for the economy. The quarantining of 43 States just shows you how the world has reversed. Remember when we start, New York has the highest infection rate in the country because of the COVID ambush, because the President was wrong. It was not the China virus. It was the European virus.

Andrew Cuomo: (04:08)
By the way, there’s a movie called Contagion. You may have seen it, 2011. Go back and watch the movie Contagion. 2011, it’s almost an exact formula for what happened with COVID, it’s amazing. But anyway, in that movie, the virus spreads from a poultry market in China. Which is how SARS spread and MERS spread and COVID spread. In that movie, it spreads from a bat to a pig. The COVID19 virus, they traced back to bats. And in that movie, there’s an American who gets infected in China and then comes immediately back to America. And it goes from China to America in 48 hours. How this federal administration thought that the China virus would stay in China for three months is wholly inexplicable, when you think about it. The President brags about his China travel ban, end of January. He doesn’t do a Europe travel ban until March 16th.

Andrew Cuomo: (05:36)
That allowed three months for the virus to come here from. So anyway, we go from the highest infection rate after the ambush, post ambush. Now we have one of the lowest infection rates, but now our problem is the other States, quarantining 43 States. We are working with global experts to see if there’s a different methodology to quarantine. How do you use technology? How do you use testing? Because our current method is, you come here and then you have to stay here for 14 days before you leave. The enforcement of that is highly problematic. We’re not equipped to do that. It also has a negative effect on businesses. People want to come in for a business meeting, but you’d have to stay here 14 days before you could have the business meeting. So there’s new testing technology. There are rapid tests. Is there a better, smarter way to handle a quarantine?

Andrew Cuomo: (06:41)
And again, this is all… None of this has been done before. So figuring it out as it goes, but you’re now up to 43 States. Is there a better way? And that we’re researching. So for the fall, there are significant stressors. Which the scientific community advised all along, by the way. Nobody can sit there today and say, “Oh wow. Fall is seeing a surge.” They all suggested a surge and New York prepared for the search, because we follow the science, right? This is a virus. The virus doesn’t follow politics. They have never found a Republican virus or a Democratic virus. Despite all the research. They have never found a red virus or blue virus. It’s always just a virus. So science matters. So what happens in the fall, schools open, colleges open, people come indoors. The outside activity is much safer. There’s a COVID fatigue factor that I want to talk more about in a moment.

Andrew Cuomo: (07:53)
Flu season starts, the symptoms in flu season look like the symptoms from COVID. And added bonus problem, other States are coming to New York with higher infection rates. These are all stressors for the fall. The good news is, we had prepared for it. We have what we believe is the most sophisticated COVID detection and elimination system of any State. Because we spent time, we’ve invested and because New Yorkers are invested in it. What’s the best you can do? Detect the smallest outbreak as soon as it happens. Patient zero, trace it back to where it starts. Find a small outbreak, a small cluster and jump on it. Quick action to contain it and eliminate it. That is the best you can do in this situation. You see an ember laying in dry grass, ring the alarm, everybody run, stamp out the ember.

Andrew Cuomo: (09:13)
The embers are what we call micro clusters, and we can identify them from the testing data, from the hospitalization data and mapping software. We identify the micro cluster, that’s called a red zone. We then put a buffer around it. That’s called an orange zone. We then put a buffer around the orange zone, which is a yellow zone. Why? Because these areas are so small that people through to a store, people walk through a restaurant. And you see the viral expansion will be a series of concentric circles. It just works its way out. You drop a pebble into a pond and you have that first ring and the second ring and the third ring, that’s how COVID spreads. So focus on the intense cluster and then set up buffer zones. And that’s what we did. Most restrictions in the red zone, reducing the restrictions in the orange zone and the yellow zone.

Andrew Cuomo: (10:24)
Reduce the restrictions in that area. Much better than what we were doing and what many States are doing, where they only have Statewide data. So the only mitigation program is, close the entire State. Reduce activity in the entire State. We went from that to regions. There’s a problem in a region, reduce the activity in the entire region. We now have the data that takes it to such a small level. We say we’re going to reduce activity, but only in that small area. So we reduce disruption. It’s only in your neighborhood, it’s not five miles one way and it’s not five miles the other way. It’s only in your area. Which allows the economy to continue to run with less disruption. And then we said, we put in place the restrictions. We then watch the data for 14 days. We come back after 14 days and we make whatever adjustments.

Andrew Cuomo: (11:32)
The adjustments we’re going to make are these. To exit a red zone, under 3% after 10 days. 4% in less populated areas. What does that mean? The virus spreads faster in a denser population than in a more rural population. In a more rural area you come into contact and proximity with fewer people than in a denser environment. If you are in the middle of New York City, you have one factor for spread. If you’re in the middle of the North Country, you have another factor for spread. An orange zone, under 2% after 10 days, 3% in less populated areas. A yellow zone, under 1.5 after 10 days, 2% in less populated areas. So the differential between a populated area and less populated area is also a more sophisticated analysis tool. But it’s also inarguable.

Andrew Cuomo: (12:49)
Additional considerations, now remember you’re talking about very small communities here. Look at the hospitalization numbers, are the hospitalization numbers going up or down? Where are the cases coming from in that community? Is there a congregate facility that is starting the spread? Has the local Government been cooperative in increasing compliance and enforcement? I’ve talked about this a lot, but guys, guys being gender neutral, a cluster does not happen unless two things happen. Lack of compliance and lack of enforcement. That’s the only way it happens. That is the only way it happens. People didn’t comply. Went to a party with more people, went to a bar with more people, had a private party in the backyard with more people. People weren’t wearing masks, lack of compliance and lack of enforcement by the local government. Where people don’t comply, the local government has to enforce. If you have no compliance and you have no enforcement, you know what you have? Spread. That’s it. There’s no rocket science here.

Andrew Cuomo: (14:19)
How did it happen? People didn’t follow the rules, the Government didn’t enforce the rules and now you have spread. And then everybody says, “Oh my gosh, this is terrible. Here we go again.” Yes, one plus one equals two, no compliance, no enforcement, more spread period. So that’s a factor, is the local Government actually doing the enforcement? And we know that has been spotty.

Andrew Cuomo: (14:55)
And then since you’re dealing with a small community, is the community cooperating? Or is the community taking a hostile attitude and saying, “We’re not doing it. We’re not wearing masks. We’re going to violate the gathering rules.” Et cetera. So these are additional considerations. And this is literally conversations that we have with people in groups in the community.

Andrew Cuomo: (15:21)
The current micro clusters, this is what they did. First what this shows is it is working. It is working. Again because one and one equals two. If you talk to the community about increasing compliance, if you increase enforcement, the spread will come down. Brooklyn went from 7.7 to 5.5. Queens in Kew Gardens 4.1 to 2.5. Queens in Far Rockaway 3.2 to 1.8. Rockland 13 to 4. Orange, 34 to 4. All areas 7.9 to 4.5. That’s good news. Celebrate, don’t panic.

Andrew Cuomo: (16:03)
Good news. Celebrate, don’t panic, don’t fear. War, it’s out of control. No, we have it managed. We know how to do this. We just have to do it. Ooh, I’m gaining weight. We can handle it. We know how to do it. Back on the treadmill. No cheesecake. We’ll get it under control. This is a manageable problem. When we make progress, we adjust the targets. Brooklyn had a red zone, an orange zone and a yellow zone. Brooklyn, the red zone remains the red zone. The orange zone becomes a yellow zone, and the yellow zone remains yellow. Okay, so in Brooklyn, the orange zone will go to the yellow zone. There were less restrictions in a yellow zone than an orange zone. So this is what South Brooklyn will look like.

Andrew Cuomo: (17:08)
Queens in Kew Gardens. There were two areas in Queens. Overall, the red zone went from 4.7 to 2.5, great. Orange, 1.9 to 1.6, yellow, 1.9 to 2.1. In Queens, the red zone goes to yellow, the orange goes to yellow, the yellow stays yellow. We are also adjusting the Queens map to adding Ozone Park neighborhood, which has seen an uptick in cases. So Ozone Park becomes a yellow zone. And that is what it looks like. And that is the cluster of cases. And there you see Ozone Park. Far Rockaway, red zone went from 3.7 to 1.8, orange went from 4.0 to 1.7, yellow went from 4.4- 3.5. That’s real progress.

Andrew Cuomo: (18:14)
Queens, red goes to yellow, orange goes to yellow, yellow goes to yellow. Far Rockaway is all yellow. Rockland, red zone went from 11.6 to 4.8, yellow went from 9.1 to 6.0. We made progress, but not enough. Rockland, red remains red, yellow remains yellow. Orange went from 12 to 4. Yellow went from 19 to 1. That’s really significant progress. Ted remains red, yellow remains yellow. Although we made a lot of progress, the numbers are still not acceptable. So we have more to do.

Andrew Cuomo: (19:02)
Broome County, same thing, 4.8 to 4.6, 4.8 to 4.6. That’s marginal progress at best. It remains yellow. We also are tracking some new micro clusters. This is the statewide map of micro clusters. But we’re seeing recent upticks in counties along the Pennsylvania border. That could be from a couple of causes. Pennsylvania has a high infection rate. You could have people going from those counties to Pennsylvania. You could have people from Pennsylvania coming into those counties. A lot of those counties, people work in one place and live in another. And we’re working to find specific events that triggered it. We haven’t found them yet. It looks like more of a widespread, just community spread at this point. We’re going to do more testing to try to find out exactly what’s going on.

Andrew Cuomo: (20:10)
But Steuben County has been about 4% for three weeks, and that is not good. And again, we’re going to try to drill down. But right now, part of the county is going to be a yellow zone. Chemung County has been at about 5% for about three weeks. That’s a problem. Again, we’re trying to find out a specific cause of the spread, but it may very well just be the proximity to Pennsylvania. So we’re focusing on that. But Chemung County is going to have an orange zone and a yellow zone buffer. And you see the concentration of cases in the slide on your left, I guess. But it’s always the same concept. The concentration of cases become the most intense zone. And then we have a buffer zone because that’s where it’s going to spread next.

Andrew Cuomo: (21:13)
These are the overall numbers. Red zone positivity, 6.6. Statewide without, 1.4. With, 1.6. Seven New Yorkers passed away there, and our thoughts and prayers. State hospitalization, 950. ICU, 201. Intubations, 103. This is what the state looks like taking out the oversample of the hotspots for the past two weeks.

Andrew Cuomo: (21:45)
This is my last point. This is the fall. We talked about the fall and winter. People want to know what’s next, what’s happening, what’s happening. We’re in the fall. I’m wearing my very attractive fall tie today. If you can’t make it out, these are leaves that are falling. Very attractive is a personal opinion. It’s not a fact. It’s my opinion that I am offering. I want to separate fact from opinion. I think it’s an attractive tie. Several members of my team commented otherwise.

Andrew Cuomo: (22:23)
But what’s going to happen in the fall, micro clusters, this conversation will rise and they will fall. Get the pun? With fall and fall? It was mine. Fall, they’ll rise, they’ll fall. That’s going to happen with micro clusters. New ones, because these are so small, these areas, they’re going to flare up. And then you run and you put them out. The next day, there’s another flare up somewhere else. That is going to happen. That’s going to be the way through the fall. Don’t get unduly alarmed by a micro cluster. The infection rate in our micro clusters is lower than the infection rate of most states. Right? We talked about four or 5% in a micro cluster.

Andrew Cuomo: (23:22)
Pull up the chart again, please, Jack, of the chart of the states. Just to give you a sense of how what we’re doing relatively. We say a micro cluster is three, four, 5%, all hands on deck. 3.5% statewide, you would be like you’re in the number 34 level of statewide infection rates. Many states would love to have the infection rate that we have in our micro clusters, as their statewide rate. Right? Do you get that point? Can you go back to where we were please? So that’s going to rise and fall.

Andrew Cuomo: (24:15)
Fall turns into winter. Winter is going to be the season of the vaccine. That may very well be the most challenging operation government has had to perform all through COVID. You think testing was hard? You think testing and tracing was hard and putting them up and getting them moving, and that was the challenge to the government? It pales in comparison to administering vaccines. Just look at the numbers. We did 12 million COVID tests over seven months, moving heaven and earth. We have to do 40 million vaccinations. And a COVID test is a lot easier for a person than telling them, “Take this vaccine.” Getting past the skepticism, roll up your sleeve. I have to give you a shot. Then you have to come back in 21 days and you have to get a second shot. This is going to be a massive undertaking.

Andrew Cuomo: (25:10)
The National Governors Association, I’m the chairman this year. We sent the White House 35 questions as to how is this supposed to work, so it’s not the redux of the debacle that was testing seven months ago. But the White House is going to stand up at one point and say, ” Here’s the vaccine. We have the vaccine. Happy days are here again. It’s over.”

Andrew Cuomo: (25:37)
No, no. The identification of a vaccine is maybe the beginning of the end. Now you need 300 million doses. You have to convince the American people to take it. You have to prioritize who gets it first. And then you have to put together a logistical operation not seen since World War II, to actually administer them. The federal government always forgets that government actually has to operate. Okay, go do testing. But there are no tests. Okay, everyone go get PPE, except you can’t. And no tests, and no states can buy masks and gowns, et cetera. I hope they learn the lesson. And the 35 questions from the National Governors Association asked just that.

Andrew Cuomo: (26:37)
Last, last point. People talking about COVID fatigue. And at first I said about COVID fatigue, look, I heard COVID fatigue to mean, “I’m tired of wearing the mask, I’m tired of doing the social distancing. I’m just tired and I don’t want to do it anymore.” To that I said, “You don’t have the luxury of fatigue because the virus isn’t fatigued. And until the battle is over, you can’t take a nap.” That’s how I heard fatigue.

Andrew Cuomo: (27:18)
But there are different facets to fatigue that are frankly more problematic. COVID has caused tremendous stress on society, and tremendous individual stress. It is frightening, COVID, and it has caused significant anxiety among many people. I’m not a psychiatrist. I’m not a medical doctor. I am telling you, from talking to people and hearing their voice and hearing their concerns, I’m telling you, we have a serious problem of the emotional stress and anxiety that COVID has caused. And the longer it goes on, the worse it is getting.

Andrew Cuomo: (28:26)
COVID in the early stages, I think there’s almost a form of adrenaline that kicks in and you do what you have to do, and you function. And that gets you through it. The adrenaline phase, and now you have this overwhelming emotional sense. And people are feeling it. And it is worrisome to me, not as a governor, just as a person. Yes, we see it in the numbers, you see it in substance abuse, you see it in domestic violence, you see it in the number of people calling for mental health treatment.

Andrew Cuomo: (29:05)
But I’m just telling you as a member of society, I have friends that I’m worried about. I speak to friends of my family who I am worried about. You can hear it in their voice. There is an emotional toll. One day they will be talking about PTSD from COVID. They will be. And one day we’ll be up here with some mental health experts and some psychiatrists who are talking about the PTSD effect on children, on seniors, on all individuals who are suffering from the anxiety and stress from COVID. That is going to happen. We’re all now so functionally-oriented that I think we’re missing the emotional and mental health toll that has gone on.

Andrew Cuomo: (30:12)
What do I do about it? We’re trying to increase services across the board. But it’s just percolating. So today I would ask New Yorkers, just change the prioritization of who we think we are and move loving up to the top, you know. Don’t do what I do. I get someone on the phone, or I’m talking to someone and I say, “Yeah, how’s everything? Everything good? Good. Let’s talk about this. You feeling good? Family good? Good. Let’s talk about this.”

Andrew Cuomo: (30:56)
The how’s everything going, how do you feel, how are you dealing with this is more important than ever before. And slowing down and asking the question, and slowing down so the person can answer the question, and get past the trite quick response. “I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine. Oh yeah. I’m fine. Everybody’s fine.”

Andrew Cuomo: (31:32)
Nobody’s fine. Nobody’s fine. You can’t be going through this and be fine. You can have issues that you feel you’re dealing with fine, but nobody can be fine. This is a terrible period. And just take that moment to show some love. And then we do everything else. We’re smart, we’re united, we’re disciplined.

Andrew Cuomo: (32:03)
… and then we do everything else. We’re smart, we’re united, we’re disciplined and we’re tough. Questions. James and then Bernadette.

James: (32:08)
The 1.6% I think is the highest we’ve seen since early June. So question about the quarantine and the other states. Are you going to reduce perhaps commuter trains and travel between New York and New Jersey and Connecticut? Obviously, the MTA and the port authority do that. And secondly, if you’re going to have this bifurcated standard where Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey meet your thresholds that we’re forcing people under penalty of a fine to quarantine, how can you do that? How can you say there’s one standard for all the states except for the states that we don’t apply the standard to?

Andrew Cuomo: (32:46)
Look, we’re at a place that we’ve never been at before, right? The inverse is also impossible. First of all, we’re not set up to do border control. States don’t do border control in this unique and absurd situation. We did quarantine at airports. That is the only way we’re really doing it, some train stations, right? New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, that’s all road crossings, right? They’re not flying in, right?

James: (33:28)
PATH trains, commuter transit. Dozens of trains a day.

Andrew Cuomo: (33:32)
Dozens of trains a day, that’s true. But also multiple row. If you said you can’t come in on a PATH train, all you would do is put everybody in a car and make them drive.

James: (33:46)
You don’t think it would reduce the cross-border [crosstalk 00:33:48] train frequency.

Andrew Cuomo: (33:49)
I think they would drive. Then you could set up a border control at every road between New York and Pennsylvania and Connecticut and New Jersey. You would see the economy suffer dramatically. You would see all sorts of disruptions. How many teachers live in New Jersey, but teach in New York? How many journalists live in New Jersey, but come in New York? Vice versa. It would be enormously disruptive to the economy. And I believe impossible to enforce. I do not have the personnel to enforce border patrols on our roads. Period. We have state police that are already tremendously overburdened. We had a state police force, I was supposed to be doing one set of tasks, we now have them doing bar compliance, restaurant compliance, compliance in hotspots. So it’s impossible, impracticable and it would be highly disruptive.

Andrew Cuomo: (35:08)
Even the 43 states is hurting the economy. I spoke to a couple of global health experts who think better than time, you should use testing. They have rapid tests now that are very quick, where rather than saying everybody wait 14 days, we should come up with a plan that uses testing to determine, in a shorter period of time, if you are infected or not. And we have to work on that. That’s all I know. They said it’s smarter to use testing than to just set timelines. And that’s something we have to explore.

James: (35:57)
[inaudible 00:35:57] about this rate. We’re up to 1.6%. Again, a number we haven’t seen since June.

Andrew Cuomo: (36:03)
Well, the numbers overall are increasing, right? We know that. That’s the world, right? It’s also the temperature is getting colder. Do I want to say anything about the colder temperature? It’s getting cold or because it’s fall. The viral rate is increasing because it’s fall. The question is, what’s the relative increase? It’s colder because it’s fall. It’s not supposed to be 14 degrees in the fall. That’s true. We are, even if you take the one day, at one, six. What’s the week Gareth?

Speaker 1: (36:54)
One, two.

Speaker 2: (36:55)
One, two.

Andrew Cuomo: (36:56)
One, two. You take one day, and this is a little deceptive as you know. One, two for the week. One, two. First of all it’s the third lowest in the United States of America, right? So it all goes up, but it’s the relative increase, right? But I said Bernadette though. [inaudible 00:37:20]

Bernadette: (37:19)
He can go. I’ll pass.

Andrew Cuomo: (37:23)
You pass?

Andrew Cuomo: (37:24)
It’s not like you to pass Bernadette. Collegial, but not like you.

Bernadette: (37:34)
Anyway. Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio apologized to the Orthodox community about failing to explain the coronavirus restrictions in those areas. And now, as you know, those groups are living in the majority of these hotspots in the state. What else could have been done prior to these hotspots, these containment zones being set up? Do you think more communication should have been done on the state and the city’s end? There’s was lot of confusion leading up to the containment zones. And also now that you have a slowing down of these zones, what else can the state do? Do you have an apology to these Orthodox communities?

Andrew Cuomo: (38:10)
No. I am sorry that they feel the disruption. Well, it was stated more clearly. I’m sorry that they are disrupted, their religious ceremonies are disrupted. How many people they can have in a synagogue is disrupted. How many people they can have at a wedding is disrupted. The operation of their schools is disrupted. I am sorry for that. In the same way, I’m sorry to the Catholic community and to the Muslim community and to all New Yorkers. I’m sorry that we are going through this. I’m sorry that people are dying. I’m sorry that the state has to impose disruptions on your life. I’m sorry that we had to close your business and maybe you’d lose your business. I’m sorry that we stopped people from graduating college. I’m sorry for all those things. So I am sorry for that. Do I believe we could have communicated the rules of social distancing and mask wearing more than we communicated them?

Andrew Cuomo: (39:49)
I suppose it’s always possible. But I think I have communicated more with the people of the state of New York than any governor in the history of the state of New York. I have done briefings that have been watched by 64 million people across the globe. If someone in New York says, I never heard this restriction that I have to wear a mask. I never heard that. I never heard that there were limits on the number of people who could be in a gathering place. I’m sure it’s possible, but I don’t know what else we could have done to communicate the social distancing requirements. I mean, I did it every day in every manner, shape or form. Now, on the… once we have a problem because people did not comply, right? Why do we have a problem? Why do we have a spread? Because people did not comply and because local government didn’t enforce the compliance. Now we have to come up with a response.

Andrew Cuomo: (41:19)
And the response is what the response was in the first place. It’s just a turning of the dial and a recalibration reducing activity. Remember, temples were closed at one time. They were closed, theoretically. That was the rule. Churches were closed. Mosques were closed. Gathering halls were closed. Restaurants were closed. Bars were closed, right? All we did here was they were closed, we then reopen them, problem, we then calibrated back the number of people who could be in the synagogue or church or gathering. But we didn’t go back to zero either, right? [inaudible 00:42:24] Jessie. Jessie. Hold on one second [Inaudible 00:42:25].

Jessie: (42:25)
Governor, just to be so clear about this. If you exit the red zone, you then go to a orange zone then to a yellow zone. Correct? That’s-

Andrew Cuomo: (42:33)
No. You could go from red to zero. You made great progress, you could go from red to zero. We don’t have that here, but here we have red. What do we have? Red to orange?

Speaker 3: (42:48)
That’d be red to orange or red to yellow or [inaudible 00:42:50] red out altogether. We have metrics for each one. If you go below a certain positivity over a certain number of days, you can exit the zone. But it depends on what the decrease is and over how long a period of time. We also divide it by baseline density and geography. So very dense urban areas have a slightly higher threshold to get out and some of the more rural sparsely populated areas, the threshold’s a little bit lower. And we’ll put that [crosstalk 00:43:16]

Jessie: (43:20)
Just to follow on [inaudible 00:43:21] question for a second. Repeatedly in the spring you said that a rate of transmission of over 1% was troubling to you. We’re now seeing a rate of positive results well above that, 1.6. Are you worried that we’re back into a place where community spread is happening in New York?

Andrew Cuomo: (43:38)
No. The scale has changed, right? In the summer, you expect one temperature range and you see what the other states are doing and you have one expectation. And by the way, my expectations for the state of New York are extraordinary high. I want to make sure we have the best program in the nation. Extraordinarily high means an extraordinarily low number, right? But that was during the summer. The scale has all changed. Everybody’s numbers are up now. Globally the numbers are up. So I still want to be doing as good a job as can possibly be done. And I would love to say New Yorkers are doing the best job in the country. And if you look at the numbers we are, but the scale has changed. Hold on one second. But also don’t compare rate of transmission with rate of positivity. Those are two very different things.

Jessie: (44:53)
[inaudible 00:44:53] that distinction but still the idea that you’re seeing 1.6 and this is an increase week over the last couple of weeks, I just wonder if that concerns you at all, taking apart the idea that we’re doing better than other states? Just as the leader of the state.

Andrew Cuomo: (45:12)
Well, no. The state is in the context of the countries and the context of the globe, right? You cannot dismiss reality and the world, right? We have New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, around us who are all higher. We are a factor of the world and the country and other states. So that is undeniable. Do I want to have the most aggressive goal possible that is realistic in this circumstances? Yes. By the way, I think the scale is going to go up throughout the fall. I think all of these numbers are going up. I think the other states are going to go up. I think we’re going to go up because by definition, we have people coming in and we have all of those stressors. That’s why Fauci and all of them, Dr. Fauci said in the fall… can you put the full stressors please.

Andrew Cuomo: (46:23)
In the fall the numbers are going up because a big part of this, Jessie, is math. It’s just math. You open schools, that’s more congruent. You open colleges. Would you want to talk about an accelerant? The colleges have been a tremendous accelerant to the spread. Then people go indoors, then the fatigue, meaning I don’t want to follow the rules. Then flu. And then it went up everywhere in all the other states. I think you’re going to see more micro clusters in New York. You’re going to see a higher rate in New York. You’re going to see a higher rate nationwide, and you’re going to see a higher rate globally. We’re just starting the fall. And I don’t believe we’re going to be ready for vaccines in December. Guys, hold please.

Jessie: (47:21)
Is there a state-wide rate that would trigger kind of a broader state-wide shut down again?

Andrew Cuomo: (47:25)
I hope and I expect that we do it with the micro cluster approach. If you are good at finding it when it’s small and before it spreads, then you can control it. I think you will see more micro clusters. You may be seeing more serious restrictions in micro clusters, but I don’t foresee, and I hope it doesn’t break from a micro cluster to a region, right?

Andrew Cuomo: (48:03)
Break from a micro cluster to a region, right? We went statewide, regions, we’re now micro clusters. If it breaks out of a micro cluster, we have a micro cluster in Brooklyn, we have a micro cluster in Queens, right? You can almost think of them like an infection on your body. Right now you have two lesions, you have two little rashes, we’re treating them and we hope to contain them. Could there be a circumstance where you can’t contain them, and they grow, and they grow, and they grow and then you’re now into a regional shutdown situation? That is possible. I hope that doesn’t happen, I expect it won’t happen, if, Jesse, we do what we have to do with the micro clusters.

Andrew Cuomo: (48:59)
See, the infuriating thing here is there’s no mystery to it, it’s just discipline. Compliance and enforcement. Well, they don’t want to comply, they don’t believe in the rules. They don’t believe in them, they’re hostile to the rules. All right, then you have to enforce them. Well, the local government doesn’t want to enforce them. Well, then you have a situation where you have no compliance and the local government fails to do its job, which is enforce and then it’s going to spread. That’s the only way it happens and that’s why I rail against it all the time.

Speaker 4: (49:46)
Governor, you mentioned there’s evidence of community spread in those Pennsylvania border counties, the southern [inaudible 00:49:52] counties along Pennsylvania border. Isn’t that by definition a more concerning situation, than a micro cluster where you can find, target where the source was? And if that’s the case, then why are you taking the micro cluster approach in those southern [inaudible 00:50:07] counties?

Andrew Cuomo: (50:07)
It’s a good question. We have not identified a micro cluster. Well, we have identified some micro clusters, earlier on, but there are counties that we have not yet identified a micro cluster. We are still looking and we haven’t yet given up. A micro cluster is really an intensive contact tracing mechanism, right? Here are the cases, here are the dots, interview John Campbell, where did you go to the restaurant? Where did you go to drink? Where do you work? Where does your girlfriend live? And then trying to put those pieces together, they call them disease detectives. It’s an extensive operation.

Andrew Cuomo: (50:55)
We have not yet identified micro clusters and we may, but we have not yet, except in some areas. And for the areas where we haven’t, we have defined a broad yellow area because we don’t have a nucleus of the cell, if you will. And that’s why you see such a broad area, but we’re still looking. Hypothesis, but we’re not sure, we’re also looking at the contact tracing, do you go to Pennsylvania? Does your girlfriend live in Pennsylvania? Are you going back and forth? Did you just go to a family occasion? Because it’s right on that Pennsylvania border, and you know Pennsylvania is, what is it? 9%?

Speaker 5: (51:46)
Yeah, almost 10.

Andrew Cuomo: (51:49)
You know, Pennsylvania is almost 10%, we’re right on the other side of the border at 1 or 2%, right? Do you have a point?

Speaker 6: (52:00)
No, Jesse, I just wanted to circle back to you for a minute on the rate of transmission. So, according to the firms that we work with, Statista, which is the top firm we work with, our rate of transmission in New York is still between 0.95 and 0.99 and every doctor, scientist in the world will tell you, you want to be below 1%. So despite the fact that the positivity is slightly up, even though, as the governor said, comparatively to the nation we’re the third lowest.

Speaker 6: (52:24)
It has been consistent, you look at it over a seven day rolling average, you look at it over a 10 day rolling average, look at a 14 day rolling average, so any one anomaly doesn’t skew your decision-making and the point of the cluster approach is identify, attack it, see if you can contain it, which is what the numbers tell you, and then either ease restrictions, keep restrictions or increase restrictions. But just on your rate of transmission because I know that the verbiage gets confusing, especially for the public, positivity and the rate of transmission have nothing to do with one another and New York’s of transmission is below 1%, which is where you want to be. [crosstalk 00:52:56]

Andrew Cuomo: (53:02)
Excuse me, the rate of transmission is more relevant, right? [crosstalk 00:53:04] Sorry? [crosstalk 00:53:10]

Andrew Cuomo: (53:12)
I can’t see you speaking because of the masks. Is that you?

Speaker 7: (53:15)
It’s me. Yeah, I was just wondering [crosstalk 00:53:18].

Andrew Cuomo: (53:19)
It’s hard to see because the eyes don’t move when you talk.

Speaker 7: (53:23)
I know.

Andrew Cuomo: (53:23)
The eyes just stay the same.

Speaker 7: (53:23)
I know. [inaudible 00:05:26]. Are you thinking of requiring all students to get tested before they return to school after the break? Was it a mistake not to do so and obvious? And when will you release the number of infections that [inaudible 00:53:37] nursing homes, [inaudible 00:53:39] New Jersey area [inaudible 00:05:42].

Andrew Cuomo: (53:41)
Yeah. I don’t know on the rules on Sumi and I don’t know where the department of health is in addressing any other data, but the department of health can get back to you.

Andrew Cuomo: (53:54)
Nick, go ahead, last one. [crosstalk 00:53:57] Last question, Nick. [crosstalk 00:05:57].

Nick: (53:56)
Beg pardon?

Andrew Cuomo: (54:00)
What do you have on your mask?

Nick: (54:00)
It’s a Yankees mask.

Andrew Cuomo: (54:02)
It’s a, say it again.

Nick: (54:03)
It’s a Yankees mask.

Andrew Cuomo: (54:07)
A Yankees mask. [crosstalk 00:54:07] I see, okay.

Nick: (54:09)
Could you respond to the poll that we released today? So, 67% of New Yorkers support [inaudible 00:54:15]. Do you think that [inaudible 00:54:20] say making decisions on closing down some businesses, non-essential businesses, schools, things like that. Has that enabled you to [inaudible 00:54:29].

Andrew Cuomo: (54:34)
You know Nick, I think the public supports what I’ve done because the public supported it before I did it. They write these pieces, quote, unquote experts or analysts, pundits, well, you should have done this then, you should have done this, this, you should’ve done this earlier. They don’t know what they’re talking about. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything. First state to mandate masks in the nation, 98% compliance. Do you think that’s because I said you have to do it. Do you think if they didn’t agree with the idea, I could have enforced mask wearing? We had 5,000 state troopers, do you think I could have enforced 19 million people to wear masks.

Andrew Cuomo: (55:49)
And these communities where they’re not wearing masks, you still can’t get the local government to go to a small community and say, wear your mask. They won’t do it. New York City, they won’t do it. Other counties, they won’t do it. Well we tell people they should wear their mask, like there’s anybody left in this state who needs to be told you should wear your mask. It could never have been done by government. It could never have been done by strong arm of government, forcing mask wearing, forcing you to stay home, forcing social distancing, forcing you to use hand sanitizer. That’s not how we did it. I sat here and said to the people of the state, here are the facts. This is how the virus spread. This is what it looks like. If you wear a mask, then chances are you won’t spread it and I think it’s a good idea that we say to each other, we should all wear a mask for each other.

Andrew Cuomo: (57:05)
And New Yorkers said, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I agree with you. I agree with you. You gave me the facts, I agree with you. I said, okay, have we finished that point? Yes, I agree with you. Okay. Let me sign the order. Masks. The order came after the information was presented in every case, because the first time Nick, I signed an order that said do this and they said, oh no, I’m not doing that, I don’t understand why I should do that. The party’s over because my credibility would be gone and government wouldn’t have any ability to enforce it. And then they wouldn’t follow any other rule. So by definition, all through this, I have been providing information, providing the data, offering my gratuitous political opinion and my rapier wit, sense of humor, and charm throughout, I’m sure you all agree. And they agreed with what I was doing in some ways before I did it.

Andrew Cuomo: (58:28)
Closed businesses, mass gatherings. Yes, they support it because they heard the facts and because they’re smart and they’re tough and they’re loving and they’re disciplined. So yeah, I believe people agree with people who agree with them. The people of New York came to the same conclusion. I like to think I presented information that helped lead to that conclusion, but it is their conclusion. And were there, you want to say, what’d you say 67%, so 30% of the people don’t agree. Yeah. Well 30% of the people are outside. Right? Well, governor, how about the 30% of the people who say liberate New York and you’re closing them down. Yeah. There’s 30% of the people who didn’t agree. They had their spokesperson and we had the discussion and we went back and forth. But I understand the 30%, government has no right to tell me to wear a mask. Government has no right to tell me to close my business. Government has no right to tell me to do anything.

Andrew Cuomo: (59:53)
I hear that point of view. I don’t agree with it, but I hear that point of view. So I don’t think I had a political capital. I think that in this process, they came along with me as we worked it through together. And I will tell you something, I am a student of history and government history and political history. I think it was one of the most beautiful moments in democracy because it’s how it’s supposed to work. It is that Jeffersonian representation, right? It is a mutual process and dialogue between government and citizens and this allowed it to happen. The briefings with 64 million viewers allowed it to happen. You don’t appreciate how extensive the communication was. I go out there, people talk to me about my daughters like they know them for 20 years. They talk about my dog, Captain. They talk about bad jokes that I said. They were intimate participants in this communication personally, they watched, they heard, they decided. So am I surprised at 70% of the people say, I agree with him? No, because that was the process. [crosstalk 00:13:49].

Andrew Cuomo: (01:01:50)
Thank you guys. [crosstalk 01:01:50] Thank you, thank you. You like the tie? [crosstalk 01:02:00] No, it’s a fall tie. We’re playing with the whole theme of the fall, fall, winter, fall tie, come on. Give me a little credit. [crosstalk 01:02:14]