Oct 26, 2020

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript October 26

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript October 26
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript October 26

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s October 26 press conference. Read the transcript of his briefing with coronavirus updates for New York here.

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Andrew Cuomo: (00:02)
People who are with me on the dais, my far left Robert Mujica, budget director, my immediate left, Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, far right, Beth Garvey, special counsel, Gareth Rhodes, deputy superintendent DFS and he’s been working with us in the chamber, my immediate right, Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo, my daughter. She has been volunteering to help since COVID started with my other two daughters, Cara and Mikayla. Mariah has been working on the mask effort, mask up effort, and she’s made more progress we’re going to speak about today. She is doing it as a volunteer. Of course, she gets certain benefits, room and board at the governor’s house, no charge, a credible amount of time with me, which is of questionable worth.

Andrew Cuomo: (01:03)
Okay. Today is day 240, but I had a revelation over the weekend. The great federal COVID mystery resolved for me over the weekend. I couldn’t understand why the federal government had been taking the approach that they had taken on COVID from the very beginning, right? Why, when they knew in January, when they got the Peter Navarro memo, that 100 million people could be infected, why did they do nothing back in January? Why do they keep denying COVID? Why did the federal government basically abdicate responsibility and leave it to the states? Why was the federal approach devoid of following the science? I couldn’t understand it until I heard the chief of staff on television this weekend. And sometimes people will actually will tell you what they mean. And the chief of staff said, “We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines therapeutics and other mitigation areas.” That, my friends, is their theory.

Andrew Cuomo: (02:31)
We’re not going to control the pandemic. All we can do is develop a vaccine and a therapeutic. That’s what they believe. That’s what they believed from day one. They can’t control the virus, and that was, in my opinion, factually a wrong premise back in January and it was the wrong conclusion. It is a threshold issue because if you believe you can’t control it, then you don’t even try. And the federal government has never tried to control the virus. And their focus has always been, we need to get a vaccine quickly. It was in effect, preemptive capitulation. The virus attacks in January. They say we can’t control it. They put their hands up. That was preemptive capitulation. But think back in January. The federal government sees the projections. This is how many people are going to get sick. This is how many people are going to die.

Andrew Cuomo: (03:53)
They’re watching what happened in China and Italy at the time, and you saw that number going straight up, right? And they believed there were only two options. Option A is close down the economy. Option B was let the virus spread. That’s what they saw and that’s what they believed. Either we have to close down the economy or we have to let the virus spread, and they were not going to close down the economy. Because as the president has said 100 times, for him, it’s all about the economy. And he was not going to close the economy. So let the virus spread. There was a third option that they didn’t consider, that you can control the spread of the virus by having a phased economic reopening. That was the right answer back in January, February, March and it is the right answer today. It was never binary.

Andrew Cuomo: (05:07)
It was never, let’s keep the economy open versus let’s attend to public health. It was always both. And not just in the retrospective, it’s what they’re doing today that’s the problem. They’re following the same approach today. It has always been both. Remember when we talked about opening the economy, they see the valve as all on or all off, either it’s on or it’s off. We said, “No, you phase the economic reopening, turn the valve a little bit. Let the economy start and then watch the viral spread on the gauges. If the viral spread starts to go up, then you back off on the valve for the economy.” This is not a political debate. It’s not a theoretical debate. These are facts, right? We now have numbers and we have facts. New York state controlled the virus and we’re controlling it now. Chief of staff says, “You can’t control the pandemic.” New York says, “You’re wrong because we did.”

Andrew Cuomo: (06:42)
Fact, January, February, March, COVID came to New York. We call it an ambush because the federal government didn’t know that it was on its way. Fact, every projection model said between 110 and 140,000 people are going to be hospitalized. That was a fact. Every model said that. You let the virus take its course, you’re going to have 110, 140,000 people hospitalized. That’s Columbia, that’s Gates, that’s McKinsey, that’s all of them. What did we do? We flattened the curve. Rather than the virus going up. We flatten the curve. Flattening the curve is controlling the virus. By definition, it is controlling the virus. That’s what the White House thinks you can’t do, except we did. By the virus spread, 110 to 140,000 people were going to be hospitalized. We only had 18,000 people hospitalized. Why? Because we controlled the spread. God didn’t intervene and change the numbers. We controlled the spread.

Andrew Cuomo: (08:03)
So ask yourself, how did New York reduce the infection rate if you can’t control the virus? If they were right and you can’t control the virus, then we would’ve had 110 to 140,000 people hospitalized. But they’re wrong. You can control the virus because we did control the virus. You can’t eliminate it, but you can control it. And that’s important today because we have to control the virus through the vaccine period. And my friends, the vaccine period is not when they announced the vaccine. That’s the vaccine period. That, at best, is the beginning of the end. They announce the vaccine, the president stands up, “I have the vial that is the cure.” Yeah, good. Now make 330 million doses and figure out how to administer it to the American people.

Andrew Cuomo: (09:19)
You have to continue to control the virus spread, and you have to do that now. And that’s why it’s important that we have this threshold discussion on whether or not you can control it. You have to control it. Otherwise, too many people are going to die. And you can control it. When you see it spreading, when you see small spreads, you have to stop them from becoming larger spreads. That’s what we call the micro cluster strategy, right? So you see a little spread starting in one part of the state, you run and you attack it and you put it out. And then there’s another spread starting in another part of the state, and you run and you attack that and you put it out. And then does another neighborhood with another spread and you put that out. And then there’s another neighborhood and another spread, and you are the firefighter that sees these small spreads starting, and then you run and you attack those small spreads.

Andrew Cuomo: (10:29)
With a micro cluster strategy, you will have little peaks, and then you put out that fire and it comes down. And then there’s another little fire, and then you put down that fire and it comes down. And over time, you can have an incline, an increase in the number of cases with the micro cluster strategy. But without the micro cluster strategy, you’re going to see that number go straight up.

Andrew Cuomo: (11:02)
… the strategy, you’re going to see that number go straight up. It is the same conversation we had back in March. The projection models are mathematics, right? They go back to the r0. Remember the r0 conversation? One person infects more than one person. It’s then math. If you don’t do anything and just let math take its course, that arrow goes straight up. What is the micro-cluster? You see a spread, you run, you attack it. You keep putting out these flames. It is COVID whack-a-mole. One pops up. Bang. One pops up. Bang. One pops up. Bang. You have to be quick. Government has to be competent. Government has to be effective, but it is a way of controlling the spread and slowing the spread ,to get you through the vaccination period and save lives. How do you do it? More testing, more targeting, more focused attack, but it starts with more testing, because you need the facts.

Andrew Cuomo: (12:15)
But, when you have more testing, then your actions are localized and not statewide. See, statewide actions are hard. Right? There is not a politician out there now, who’s willing to close down their state. They are afraid of the political backlash. All right. So, then take more localized actions. You don’t want to take statewide actions. You don’t want to take regional actions. Then take localized actions, on the neighborhood level. You still get political [inaudible 00:12:53] back, right? Brooklyn, Queens, et cetera, but it’s localized to a neighborhood level, and what you’re really doing is, you’re stopping the spread before the spread gets too large. If you have to do restrictions, better you do restrictions on a neighborhood, then an entire borough or a city or a state. The federal approach allows the virus to spread uncontrolled, right? They don’t believe they can control it, so they don’t try. They’re actually reducing testing, which is the key to getting the information you actually need to control it. Why do you reduce testing?

Andrew Cuomo: (13:47)
See no COVID, hear no COVID, speak no COVID. Reduce the number of tests. That will reduce the number of cases, and then the problem goes away. Here’s the analogy. Police don’t arrest anybody, and then we can say the crime rate is very low, because there were no arrests. We have no arrests, so we have zero crime rate. Don’t take the tests, then you won’t have the positives, and then it will look and feel like there’s nothing going on. Are you kidding me? How do you deny a virus? How do you deny a shooting? It’s a crime that occurred. The State of Florida, the president’s home state, were doing 65,000 tests. Now they’re doing half that number. Half. Remember, testing ability is iterative and increases. When we started testing, remember how many we could do a day? 500 tests a day. Now we’re up to about 120,000 tests a day. Florida, going down. Georgia, going down. Arizona, going down in the number of tests.

Andrew Cuomo: (15:32)
Why? So, they can say we have fewer cases. Yeah. You have fewer cases because you have fewer tests. It’s more preemptive capitulation on the theory. We can’t control the virus. We just can’t. It’s giving up. It’s giving up before you fired a shot, by the way. It was giving up before you knew whether or not you could make a difference. Well, we have to get to a vaccine. Too many people are going to die by the time you operationalize the vaccine. This could be one year, easily. One year. You’re talking about vaccinating 330 million people. You’re talking about vaccinating, double the number of COVID tests that you have done nationwide, in seven months. It is a massive undertaking and the federal government is approaching it the same way they did testing and PPE and hospital surge.

Andrew Cuomo: (16:47)
The president says, “I have a general. The generals are going to do it. I’m going to give it to the generals.” What does that mean? You know what they’re saying? The general is going to deliver it to New York State and California and Florida, and say, “Here you go, Governor. Here’s a million doses.” Then what do the States do? Remember, this is a federal government that has taken no responsibility from day one. You have another 160,000 people who are going to die by February. 160,000 people die by February, if you don’t control the spread of the virus. Another 160,000, if you assume you can’t control. Also, why did America give up? Why did America give up and say they can’t control? Other countries, they can control the virus. How did America, the greatest country on the planet, how did America give up and lose this war? Average daily new cases per million residents, last seven days. Japan four, Canada 68, Mexico, 44. Mexico, Mexico. You know Mexico, what the president says about Mexico.

Andrew Cuomo: (18:26)
They’re doing a better job than the United States of America, 208, because they didn’t give up. They didn’t give up. They didn’t start with this premise that you can’t control the virus. The federal government was just wrong. Look, this is a highly-charged political atmosphere and it’s a polarized society, and people are almost falling into this modality of polarization. I’m on this team. I’m against that team. You feel it. People are polarized. You’re dealing with a virus. Keep the politics over here. You’re dealing with a virus and you’re dealing with life or death. It’s not a question of, who’s a good guy, and who’s a bad guy. Well, pick sides, black and white. You have to pick a side. It’s not a question of who’s good, who’s bad. It’s not a question of Republican versus Democrat. It’s not a question of Red versus Blue.

Andrew Cuomo: (19:42)
If you wear a mask, then you’re a Democrat. If you don’t wear a mask, then you’re a Republican. It’s none of that. It has nothing to do with federal versus state, or me versus the president. It has none of that. It’s, what’s the right approach on the facts, versus the wrong approach, because we’re talking about 160,000 lives, and we have evidence and we have facts. And we know that people will do it. I kept thinking, “Why would they assume you can’t control the virus?” There’s only one answer. Because, we don’t think people will do what they need to do to control the virus. You underestimate the American people.

Andrew Cuomo: (20:40)
We know that people will join the effort. We know they will follow. We know that they will do the right thing, because we’re doing it here in New York. New Yorkers are the example. First state to mandate masks in the United States of America. The country still hasn’t done it. 98, 99% mask compliance. Why? Because, I run around giving people tickets for masks? No. I can’t enforce a mask order. Then why are 98, 99% of the people doing it? Because they’re smart, and they heard the facts and they care about one another and they care about themselves. That’s why 98, 99%. Don’t underestimate the American people. Don’t underestimate their goodness, their intelligence, their smarts. Get this political garbage out of the way and lead forward. On the numbers, positivity in the red zones, 3.2. Statewide, without the red zones 1.1. With is 1.4. 82,000 tests, which is a relatively low number of tests. It was a Sunday.

Andrew Cuomo: (22:02)
… which is a relatively low number of tests. It was a Sunday. 12 people passed away. They’re in our thoughts and prayers. Hospitalizations, 1,059. ICU, 237. Intubation, 118.

Andrew Cuomo: (22:15)
Here are the micro-clusters. You see that the compliance enforcement works. Compliance and enforcement works. If people comply, the infection rate is going to be low. Five to four, nine to four, twelve to two, six to three on all red zone positivity. We know that micro-clusters work.

Andrew Cuomo: (22:47)
This is where New York is compared to the other states, which is just incredible. You can’t control the virus? Well, then New York has to be above Mississippi, New York has to be number one, two, or three, if you can’t control the virus. End of discussion. You can’t control the virus? Well, New York state had the highest infection rate in the country, if not on the globe. Why isn’t it number one, if you can’t control the virus? Mr. Federal Government, why isn’t New York number one, if you can’t control the virus? Oh, because New York did control the virus. Well, I thought you said New York can’t, you can’t control the virus? Come on, people, facts. Right?

Andrew Cuomo: (23:38)
The easiest way to control with a maximum benefit is to wear the mask. This is going to be really one of the great governmental derelictions of duty and responsibility. Even if you believe you can’t control the virus, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, why not tell people to wear masks? Why not? Your own CDC says it. Dr. Fauci says it. Dr. Birx says it. The White House Coronavirus Task Force says it. Every scientist says it. Every person with a brain in their head says it. 98% of New Yorkers say it. Why not? 130,000 lives just by saying, “Wear a mask.” Why not?

Andrew Cuomo: (24:35)
As I said before, New York was the first in the nation to call for a mask mandate. Proud of it. Wish I did it even sooner. Mariah has been working on publicizing masks, the approach, the benefit, et cetera, and there’s an effort today that is exciting. The Real Real is working with top designers. The top designers are going to design masks. Real Real is going to make them available through their website, and the profits from the masks sales will go to charities. This is a win-win across the board. The campaign goes for five weeks. They’ll unveil a new designer mask. You can buy it on the Real Real. The top designers are donating their designs, and God bless them. They want to help, and everybody can use their talent to help the way they can best, and RealReal.com will sell them. Profits will go to COVID relief organizations. Public School, which is a very cool designer, is going to release their New York Tough mask. It’s going to be released today?

Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo: (26:12)
Yes.

Andrew Cuomo: (26:12)
Today. Thank them very much. I already have one.

Andrew Cuomo: (26:20)
Julie Wainwright who is the CEO of the Real Real has put this all together. She’s done a great, great job. I want to thank her. Again, I want to thank all the designers who really stepped up to do this.

Andrew Cuomo: (26:34)
To keep mask in the spotlight, we’re kicking off the mask-up challenge today on Instagram. All are invited to join by posting a mask selfie, sharing why they hashtag mask up and challenging five friends to do the same. The Five Friend Challenge. Be New York tough, smart, united, disciplined, and loving. Anything you want to add on the mask up?

Mariah Kennedy-Cuomo: (27:03)
I think you’ve covered it, but just to reiterate, we’re so thrilled to be launching this campaign with the Real Real and incredible designers who are deeply connected to New York and in doing so hope to harness the power of the fashion community to convey this critical, but simple message of the importance of masking up to stop the spread and save lives.

Andrew Cuomo: (27:30)
Well done. Well done. Thank you. Questions?

Speaker 1: (27:34)
Governor, could you please comment on, your administration has put a high focus publicly on the positivity rate? Why have you focused on the positivity rate, which is a testing-based metric instead of a more reliable figure such as the number of cases per 100,000 people, which is a case-based metric?

Speaker 1: (27:50)
Then secondarily, why has your administration allowed the outbreak at Elmira Correctional Facility to get so bad in Chemung County? [crosstalk 00:28:00]

Andrew Cuomo: (28:00)
First, we looked at all different metrics. Hospitalizations and cases tells you where you are today. It doesn’t tell you where you will be tomorrow. The infection rate, positivity rate, transmission rate, those are indices of where the projected curve will take you. We use all different indicators. Most we release, some the team uses internally.

Andrew Cuomo: (28:31)
DOCs has done a fantastic job with COVID, overall. We’ve done testing. We had lower transmission rate in the state prisons than in the general population. Believe it or not. Elmira, I can’t speak to. Does anyone know the situation in Elmira?

Melissa DeRosa: (28:49)
Yeah, there are actually three prisons that we’re monitoring very closely right now. Elmira is obviously one of them. I would challenge the premise that we, “let it get so bad.” We became aware of the situation. We immediately deployed rapid testing. We’re testing every single prisoner and the CEO’s and taking proper precautions along the way, making sure that anyone that is positive is immediately being isolated, doing all of the same contact-tracing procedures that you would do outside the prison walls. We’ve debunked all the bunk beds in order to deal with density issues.

Melissa DeRosa: (29:19)
The majority of the cases that we’re seeing are asymptomatic. We believe that this is a by-product of community spread. Where it exists in the community, it’s very difficult to keep it out of congregate facilities. As you all know, we have rolled back some of the restrictions in terms of visitation, which is obviously important for the prison population, and so could have come through the door in two ways, either through the corrections officers or through visitation. We’ve since banned visitation at these three facilities or any facilities in the orange, yellow, or red zones. We’re going to continue to keep the public up-to-date as we go through this.

Melissa DeRosa: (29:50)
At this point, there’s about 700 active cases in the prison systems, 36,000 prisoners. We’ve tested 70% of the prison population. The entire prison population will be concluded with their testing by the end of November. We’re taking this very seriously and taking the health and safety of both the prison population and the corrections officers as seriously as we can.

Speaker 1: (30:11)
Back to the positivity rate, so why the focus on positivity rates? Obviously there’s so much numbers, but the numbers that you’ve displayed to the public and all your focus is on positivity rates, where that is a product of the amount of testing, which is good. But why not rely on a more reliable metric, such as a case-based metric where it’s focused on the cases and not the amount of testing?

Andrew Cuomo: (30:32)
We’ll give you the hospitalization. Hospitalizations is the clearest on what you want, day-to-day metric is the hospitalizations. You know how many people are going into a hospital.

Speaker 1: (30:43)
But why not focused on the per capita basis on 100,000 of cases per population?

Andrew Cuomo: (30:51)
Yeah, but we do.

Speaker 2: (30:52)
That is on our website. If you go on the dashboard, we have-

Speaker 1: (30:54)
But why not present [inaudible 00:30:56]?

Speaker 2: (30:57)
Cases per 100,000 are also a product of testing. If you’re testing the amount mountain New York is versus the amount Florida is, you’re going to be finding more cases, obviously, even though our positivity is low. If you look at what Johns Hopkins says about positivity, it’s a signal of two things: One is the rate and the amount the virus is spreading in the community. Two, it tells you if you’re doing enough testing. A low positivity number suggests that you’re doing adequate testing and the virus is not spreading at a rate that is uncontrollable. That’s why we present it every day. We present numerous metrics, as the governor said, hospitalizations-

Speaker 1: (31:34)
[inaudible 00:31:34] positivity though. I get your point, but will you start presenting case per-

Speaker 2: (31:38)
That is on our website now, and it has been since almost the beginning of the pandemic

Andrew Cuomo: (31:42)
But by 100,000 is still a product of testing. You don’t know how many cases there are except through testing, which is an estimate. That’s all you have. You can use that or the number of people who walk into the hospital and say, ” I’m sick.”

Andrew Cuomo: (32:02)
Next?

Speaker 3: (32:04)
I was wondering, I had asked Commissioner Zucker a couple of weeks ago about whether there’s going to be a ban on visitations at nursing homes and the clusters. He had said at the time that he believed that the visitation policy was strict enough to protect residents. It now appears that on Friday, the state has moved to ban visits in congregate facilities in the red zones. I was just wondering why the delay on that move and what are your thoughts on the federal Medicare data that nursing homes are reporting is showing that there is an uptick of COVID infections at nursing homes over the past month? Is the state going to be helping to release and make sure the public in New York knows that information? I mean, I only know through thorough scrolling through an Excel spreadsheet, and I think the public would appreciate having a better idea.

Andrew Cuomo: (32:56)
Yeah. Well, look, if there’s anyone in the public who doesn’t understand COVID has been surging-

Andrew Cuomo: (33:02)
Understand COVID has been surging. I don’t know if they’ve been living under a rock. COVID is surging all across the country. The numbers are going up, and the numbers go up in congregate facilities, and the number one target for COVID are nursing homes.

Speaker 3: (33:23)
[crosstalk 00:33:23] What about the visitation rule? Why was there-

Andrew Cuomo: (33:28)
I don’t know what Dr. Zucker said to you and when.

Speaker 3: (33:28)
Well he was on a conference call with you, and he had just said that he believed that you had echoed his comment that you believed that the visitation policy was already strict enough. And then on Friday, DOH sent out a directive saying that visits are going-

Andrew Cuomo: (33:40)
Once we started the Red Zone program. The micro-cluster program is a new program. Before that everything was different. Jesse?

Jesse: (33:48)
Governor, two questions. First of all, Newark, New Jersey, is announcing rolling back a number of openings as a result of a boom in cases there. Have you been in contact with Governor Murphy? And are you concerned about a city like that, in close proximity obviously to Manhattan and New York City? Have you any steps are going to be taken to address that sort of outbreak, kind of transfer across Newark?

Andrew Cuomo: (34:13)
Yes, yes, yes, and yes. But there’s nothing that we can do on a quarantine basis, right? That was the question. Am I concerned about the increase in Connecticut? Yes. Am I concerned about the increase in Jersey? Yes. Pennsylvania? Yes. Every state. We’re coming into the holiday season. You’re going to be seeing people travel and drive back and forth. And you go back to that chart of where we are, you see that we have one of the lowest rates in the country. So anyone coming… Can you find that chart? There it is. Yeah. So I’m concerned about everybody else. And obviously those places that are closer, I spoke to Governor Murphy, I spoke to Governor Lamont. They’re stepping up, they’re doing more restrictions, more testing, et cetera. We’re working together to do it. But there’s nothing to do from a border point of view.

Jesse: (35:15)
What the about capturing testing or things like that, at train stations?

Andrew Cuomo: (35:16)
We’re testing more, and making more testing available in all the MTA facilities and train and bus terminals. Do you want to add something?

Melissa DeRosa: (35:27)
Well, and I would just add Jesse, that Governor Lamont, Governor Murphy and Governor Cuomo all with one voice have said to the people of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, unless you absolutely have to, stay in your home state and don’t travel. And as everyone’s aware, even at the height of New York on pause, and when most of the nation was shut down, we still regularly ran path and New Jersey transit and all those things, because there are essential workers that work in the overlapping areas of the tri-state. So you still have to be able to have doctors and nurses get to work. You still have to be able to have transit people get to work. And so that’s the complication, but we are urging anyone who doesn’t absolutely have to, to stay in your own state.

Jesse: (36:03)
But is there any indication that that sort of warning is landing with people? Because just anecdotally, it doesn’t seem like people are not making trips from New York and New Jersey and Connecticut.

Melissa DeRosa: (36:14)
Well, as you know-

Andrew Cuomo: (36:15)
But you don’t know that either, Jesse. That’s the speculation. You don’t know if people actually are heeding the warning.

Melissa DeRosa: (36:19)
And I was going to say, as you know, ridership numbers are way down, so we can get you those. And we can see now versus three weeks ago, but the ridership numbers are way down across the board.

Speaker 4: (36:27)
Ridership is still down over 70% across the board.

Jesse: (36:30)
Okay, can I say just very quickly, typically on Tuesdays you make the announcements about quarantine and things like that. Do you anticipate any rollback on restrictions in some of the neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and or Rockland and Orange County tomorrow?

Andrew Cuomo: (36:43)
You have to watch the numbers.

Jesse: (36:44)
Do you expect that announcement this week or an update on that, I guess?

Andrew Cuomo: (36:50)
I expect to update… Is there a personal planning element that’s already going on? If you want, you can do it by phone and then you can just call in and nobody will know where you are. I mean, I’ll work with you, but yeah, I probably will.

Speaker 3: (37:08)
[crosstalk 00:37:08] ridiculously long lines over the weekend with the start of early voting. Do you think that more could have been done, the board of elections, especially the city, more money could have been allocated to hire more staff and also perhaps more polling places? There’s only 88 in the city. Also maybe more machines. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called it a form of voter suppression. What do you make of that? And also, yeah, what could have been done?

Andrew Cuomo: (37:29)
Do you think the post, is your post position more money was the problem? I think the board of elections in New York city did a terrible job, terrible. And it’s not the first time. And I think I would be open to an entire redesign of the New York City board of election system. I think the city… I’d be open to whatever the city proposes to just redesign from the ground up, the New York City board of elections, period. I think-

Speaker 3: (38:05)
Governor, what could have been done prior to that though, because we saw during the June primaries, for example, we saw massive amounts of ballots that weren’t even counted. So why wasn’t more done from then?

Andrew Cuomo: (38:16)
The New York City board of elections blew it.

Speaker 3: (38:19)
But could the state have assisted more?

Andrew Cuomo: (38:22)
I don’t… The state has no role, right? It’s run by the New York City board of elections.

Speaker 3: (38:25)
Right? But if you saw a major issue in June?

Speaker 4: (38:29)
[inaudible 00:38:29] provided $9, 000,000 of additional funding for the New York City board of elections directly for early voting. But every election, primary, general, New York City board of elections has a different excuse for their management failures. The state did provide additional funding. They failed again, as they do on a regular basis, as the governor points out, they need to fix themselves. But we did provide additional funding.

Andrew Cuomo: (38:53)
Mr. Murdoch has to appreciate that you don’t solve a bad management, you don’t solve bad management or a flawed system with more money. Let’s take one more question.

Speaker 5: (39:04)
The Governor of Florida’s maskless political rallies are deemed to be a threat to public health. Does the governor have an authority to prevent national candidates who are coming into this state for the purpose of holding those rallies? And secondly, if there’s a causal relationship that could be proven between maskless rallies and infections of COVID or perhaps deaths, could a local prosecutor or the state attorney general make an argument for criminally negligent homicide charges?

Andrew Cuomo: (39:32)
I think that is a very interesting legal question. You know, there have been cases, going back to my old hat as attorney general, if you had HIV and you knew you had HIV, I think you have a very interesting legal case. If you recklessly transmitted COVID to a person and a person died, you could take, I could see, a possible aggressive legal theory saying that you were negligent in it. I don’t think anybody would ever do it, but I could see a law school class debating it anyway. Could a governor stop a political rally?

Andrew Cuomo: (40:22)
You could probably argue a public health rationale, but the first amendment and people’s right to assemble and express their political opinion, I think it would be highly problematic. And I think people would be highly offended about it. You know, we allowed demonstrations here. Well why? Technically they violate the mass gathering rules, right? But you have to temperate with what people are willing to do, because remember the threshold to all of this, none of what New Yorkers are doing really are attributable to a government order, or a government enforcement. I can’t enforce masks. I can’t. I can give people information that leads them to believe they should wear masks. I can’t enforce social distancing. You weren’t four feet apart. I provide the information to people, but people decide to do it. People want to express their political opinion, they feel strongly about it, they’re going to do it. I can advise against it, but they’re going to do it. Thank you very much guys.