Sep 8, 2020
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript September 8
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s September 8 press conference. He said: “Donald Trump caused the COVID outbreak in New York.” Read the transcript of his briefing with coronavirus updates for New York here.
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Governor Andrew Cuomo: (00:01)
Good morning, happy post Labor Day. Go Islanders. We’re very excited about the Islanders. First game was yesterday. Not successful, that’s okay. Giving Tampa Bay a false sense of security. It’s a good tactic.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (00:26)
To my right, we have Mr. Gareth Rhodes, which everybody knows. To my immediate right, we have Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor. To my left, Robert Mujica, budget director, state of New York. To Robert’s left, Dr. Zucker, health commissioner extraordinaire.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (00:44)
Let’s talk about where we are today. A number of issues, then I’ll take whatever questions you have. Today is day 192, but we’re entering a different phase. This is now a post Labor Day phase. The situation started in March, then blended into basically people starting an early summer vacation, April, May, but Labor Day starts a different phase. Labor Day, people start to get back to work. Labor Day, schools are opening. Activity is increasing. Colleges are opening. You see traffic starting to increase, which we’re seeing now. More road traffic, then ridership in public transportation, which other cities have also seen on the reopening. People feel more comfortable being in their car to commute than getting on public transportation and being in an environment with other people.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:55)
We anticipated that. That’s to be expected. That has consequences. You will see more traffic on the roads, longer commutes. We will be encouraging people to take public transportation. The trains are cleaned, they’re disinfected, first time in history, but you’re going to see different factors in this new phase. Flu season is starting. Flu season is going to be a complicating factor. Flu season means there’ll be more stress on the testing system. Same testing that does COVID testing does flu testing. So you’ll see more stress on the testing system.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (02:43)
Flu symptoms are much like COVID symptoms. So people who are sneezing, people who are sniffling could be the flu, could be COVID. That will cause additional complications. So keep that in mind as we move forward. On the numbers today, and remember these were Sunday numbers, which are always a little different than during the week, but 445 hospitalizations, 114 ICU, down one. Intubations down five. The number of lives lost is five yesterday, and they’re in our thoughts and prayers. Three day average on death loss is about five. You look across the state, basically it’s stable everywhere. Western New York was actually down yesterday and we’ve been watching Western New York. But again, that was a holiday sample. So I take this with a grain of salt, but it’s better news for Western New York. We’ll see where they are tomorrow.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (03:54)
All across the city, the numbers have basically been good. The infection rate 0.96, which is extraordinary, means it’s been below 1% for over a month now. And it is an obvious outlier to what’s going on across the rest of the country. Under 1% for 32 days. And my hats off to New Yorkers. Who’s doing this? The continued compliance and discipline of New Yorkers. That’s who’s doing it. Who’s wearing the masks? Who’s doing social distancing? Who’s being smart? New Yorkers. And the infection rate is a pure function of what New Yorkers are doing. And I know these are tough times, etcetera, but at one point you have to take a step back and say what an extraordinary accomplishment by the people of this state. And it really has been. What is our priority now going forward? Protect the progress we’ve made. You’re under 1%. You’re not, by any practical measure, going to get much lower, just make sure you don’t go up. And that’s what we’re doing. Protecting the progress, protecting the lead, if you will, in a sports game, which is always hard. There are certain special conditions that we are watching. Bar non-compliance. That means non-compliance in bars. We’re not barring non-compliance. We want compliance. We are promoting compliance and we want compliance in bars. Little inartfully worded. I hope you’ll excuse it, the way I excuse your stories when they are inartfully worded. Not that you ever do that.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (06:01)
Visitors from out of state, which is an ongoing problem for us. You look at the clusters that we’ve seen developing. Many of them are from out of state visitors. Colleges are a problem and will continue to be a problem. K to 12 schools opening. This is an entirely new enterprise and an entirely new world. And it’s something that we have to be very careful about. And then voting, making sure people vote and they feel safe in voting and they’re participating, but making sure voting does not become a cluster. We don’t want a lot of people on long lines.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (06:42)
On the enforcement with bars, the local governments did not do the level of enforcement that we believe necessary. And we put together a task force of the State Liquor Authority and State Police, to supplement local governments. That has been working well. They did 4,000 establishments and found 37 violations. The rules we put up, we promulgate. A rule is only as good as the compliance. I can say anything from up here, but it’s only as good as people’s willingness to follow it. And it’s only as good as the establishments that follow it. And we have learned, frankly, the public has been more accepting and more compliant. There are establishments who are not compliant, and if you’re not doing enforcement, then they’re going to violate the rules. It’s human nature. They’re under economic pressure. And if they can increase economic activity by violating a rule and nobody’s going to catch them, then you tend to see violations.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (08:07)
There’s an old expression: locks keep honest people honest. Have you ever heard that? No. Locks keep honest people honest. Don’t tempt people to cheat or to steal. Do the compliance. Let them know you could do compliance. Somebody could walk in the door. Locks keep honest people honest. We have all our state resources on this task force. We don’t have any more resources that we can put on this task force. We have all the state police we can spare and investigators from all across the state, from all different agencies have been put on task force and they’re doing a good job, but we’re at the state’s max, which will be relevant in a moment.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (09:03)
Individuals coming from other States continue to be a problem. We now have 35 high risk States in this country, which is incredible. Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia have been added. Puerto Rico, US Virgin islands have been taken off the list. Colleges across this country are seeing outbreaks. To be expected, common sense, young people going back to college. First thing they want to do is study, study, study. The first thing I wanted to do study, study study. Let me get in the library. Be alone, study, read, some students, unlike myself, want to socialize. So they come back to college. I want to see my friends. I want to enjoy libations. We want to go to a bar. We want to have a party. Yes.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (10:01)
Those situations are increasing the spread. Why? Because you have people coming from around the country and around the world to these colleges. And in many ways, you have people, at the same point, we’re trying to protect against on the quarantine from other States, you have students coming from those States to the colleges and then they go out to party and they wind up spreading the virus. Nationwide, 108 colleges have already reported more than a hundred cases. In New York, we have a problem. SUNY Oneonta, Cornell, Buffalo, Hofstra, Oswego, Colgate, Verdonia that’s all across the state. That’s the entire state. That goes from Long Island all through upstate. So this is going to be a problem. I am telling you that. One of the lessons we learned is just anticipate what’s happening and be ready for it.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (11:11)
NYU in Washington Square Park this weekend in New York. They had large gatherings in Washington Square Park. Frankly, NYU security didn’t do anything about it. The local police didn’t do anything about it. You will have NYU students who come from other countries. You have a large gathering, many people without masks, it went on for hours. What do you think is going to happen? You know that 108 colleges nationwide have this problem. You know we’re closing colleges all across the state. What do you think is going to happen? You know, we say we’re New York tough. That is not tough. That is not tough by the NYU administrators who, as soon as they heard about it, they should have said, “Stop it, send the NYU security, break it down.” It’s not tough by the New York City enforcement, they saw the large gathering, violation of social distancing, it wasn’t smart. It’s totally contrary to everything you know. We’re not acting in a spirit of unity. It’s not disciplined and it’s not loving, it violates everything.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:43)
Department of Health is going to do a regulation. Any school that goes over 100 COVID-19 positive cases has to report to the Department of Health immediately. And if they go over 100, then the school can be closed down to do remote learning. So who gets helped? It’s not good for the students, except for those students like myself who want to be in the library and only want to read a book. But the students who want to socialize and party, now you’re going to do remote learning. It’s not going to be helpful to the school administration, but it is going to happen. I am telling you that as I sit here, it will happen. And 100 cases can happen very easily. You saw all the other colleges that have it. That Department of Health regulation is going to go out today. It is going to be unequivocal. And as soon as the college has notice from any source, they have to immediately report it.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (13:49)
On K to 12 schools. Some are opening in person. Some have hybrid. We have 700 school districts. You have every flavor and variation all across the state. Parents and teachers are anxious. They have been all throughout this. I’ve been speaking about this from day one. I’ve received thousands of phone calls from parents and teachers. They don’t understand the plan. The plan changed. All of a sudden last week the plan changed. Over the past two weeks the plan changed. They’re confused and they’re anxious. Why? Because it’s their child. That’s why. And they want to make sure their child doesn’t get sick. As a parent, your first instinct to protect your child. They’re nervous.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (14:36)
Teachers are nervous. Some teachers are older, they’re in a more vulnerable category. The teachers are nervous. School districts say, “Well, I have a plan.” Plans are only as good as your ability to implement a plan. I’ve seen many bureaucracies with plans and the plans sound great on paper. The rubber hits the road when you go to implement the plan and can you actually do it? And can you take all those tests and do the tests come back and are the tests right? And when the tests come back, are you actually following up and doing something? That’s what parents want to know. And that’s what teachers want to know. And they’re right. I said from day one, I’m with the parents and the teachers. If I’m going to make a decision to send my children back to school, I’m going to be darn sure that the plan is smart. They can do the plan. And then I want to know if the actually implementing the plan.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (15:43)
So that’s where we are. Plans, are they actually happening? And the parents and the teachers don’t want reassurances. “Don’t worry. It’ll be fine. Board of Education said this. Local school district said this.” They want the facts. You know what they wanted all through COVID? They wanted facts. I do the briefing, say separate facts from opinion, why? They don’t really want my opinion. I want the facts. Tell me the facts and then I’ll come up with my own opinion. The facts empower people and the facts give people comfort. If a fact is a fact, not a political fact, but a real fact. We’re doing a regulation. Every school district has to report every day to the Department of Health as to how many tests were taken, what type of test, what was the result? State Department of Health is going to put that all on the website. We’re going to have a COVID report card for every school in the state. Any parent, “How’s my school doing?” Thank God they didn’t have this for students. Can you imagine if you had a daily report card for a student on how the student is doing. That would have been bad for me. Daily report card, how is the school doing on implementing their plan? The state will maintain it. They have to provide the information to the state.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (17:28)
By the way, the school district has to provide the information. The local health department has to provide the information, the lab that does the test has to provide the information. So the Department of Health is getting the information from three different sources, so we’ll know if it’s right. But a simple website, even I could use it. You go to the website, you punch in your address, it tells you what school district that your child is in. Once you go to that school district, it’ll tell you-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (18:03)
[inaudible 00:18:00]. Once you go to that school district, it’ll tell you everything you need to know about where that school district is with COVID. How many tests they’ve taken, how many they took yesterday, what the results were. Who’s doing the test? What’s the turnaround on the test? So positive cases by the date of students and staff, by school and school district, whether that school or school district is remote, in-person, hybrid because if a student tests positive, but the student is doing remote learning that’s one situation, right? If a student tests positive and the student is in the class with your child, you want to know that.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (18:58)
Number of students and staff that are onsite, percentage of onsite students and staff who test positive. Number of tests being administered. What type of test, what lab was used and the lag time? Some labs have a seven day turnaround. Some labs can do a rapid test, can tell you in an hour, whether or not a person is positive. There’s a big difference, if you’re giving me data that’s seven days old, or if you are giving me data that was current as of that date and the date of the last submission and the update. It’s a big undertaking, I thank the Department of Health and advance, but it is very important. I think this will give parents confidence and teachers confidence. They will know on a day to day basis exactly what is happening. They won’t be reliant on communication from the school district, from the principal, from anyone else. Once the reporting starts, the website will go live. The website has the very catchy address of Schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov. Rolls off your tongue. Schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov. That’s because we try to make things simple, creative, and attractive. On voting, we want fair voting. We want easy voting and we want accurate voting because of COVID this year, you can vote by absentee or you can vote early. Vote in person on Election Day, if you choose. You can get your ballot online. You can do that, now. The request for the ballot, if have concerns about COVID, you can call it a temporary illness, which is what makes you eligible for absentee voting. You can then drop off a ballot at locations and polling sites in your area. You can drop off a completed ballot today at a board of elections or any early voting site in your county during the early voting period, October 24th to November one. Okay?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (21:39)
So you request the ballot, you get the ballot. Now I have the ballot, fine. You can drop it off anywhere at an early voting site from October 24th to November 1st. So you have about a week to drop it off. This is our way of developing a drop box system, right? People talk about drop boxes. Basically set up a substitute US Postal Service, where you have a metal box where everybody can go to a metal box and put the ballot in the metal box. That would cause us to create a whole new post office system all across the state. This I think has the same purpose and effect. It’s just easier. You drop it off at a location where it’s secure. Some will actually have a box. Some will take it from you in person, but it is in effect a drop box system. And you can early vote, or you can drop it off October 24th through November one. To find out where you can do it, Ny.gov/earlyvote. On restaurants in New York City. I am very aware of the economic pain that restaurants are dealing with. It’s bad for the restaurant owner. It’s bad for the staff, the sheriff, the waiters, the entire team that works there. We have experience in this area. We opened bars and it turned out to be a nightmare. There were many violations, and there was very little ability to police the violations to enforce the compliance. I talked about this every day for two months. I besieged the local governments to help, they didn’t. We then put together the state SLA, state police task force, and we did local bar enforcement. As you saw earlier, we did about 5,000 visits in the past couple of days. That is the maximum capacity for the state task force. If you now increase indoor dining, you are going to have, to have a compliance and enforcement function. If you go to indoor dining, you are roughly doubling the number of places that you’re going to have to monitor. There would be about another 10,000 establishments in New York City that could do indoor dining. You know you had a bad experience with bars. You know that you’re at your maximum in terms of enforcement capacity. You’re now going to double the number of establishments that you need to monitor. How do you do that? That’s the conundrum that we face.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (25:16)
You also know that when we opened indoor dining in Upstate New York, we had issues. When we opened indoor dining, we had clusters in Upstate New York. This is not without risk, right? We’re managing risk, but there is no zero risk. So we know indoor dining is problematic from our own experience in Upstate New York. We know there’s a risk of noncompliance because we went through it with bars. We know the local governments were very slow to provide additional enforcement. We know the state had to step in to do the enforcement, and we know that the state is at their maximum capacity for enforcement. That’s the issue that we’re dealing with.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (26:11)
I would need additional enforcement capacity from local governments. And the additional enforcement is not that complicated a function, right? It could be a local police department, or it could be local health inspectors. This is not vis-a-vis the public, it’s vis-a-vis the establishment owner. If you are in a restaurant and let’s say the indoor dining capacity is 25%, if you are in the restaurant and it is exceeding 25%, you’re not out of compliance. The restaurant owner is out of compliance. So it can be a health inspector. We have on our task force now, on the state side, environmental inspectors, industry inspectors. It is any regulatory compliance officer who could be detailed to do this. If we have the enforcement mechanism in place, then we can talk about opening restaurants. It would be negligent and reckless to open indoor dining knowing that you have issues in Upstate New York, knowing that compliance is going to be a problem. And knowing that you have no enforcement mechanism. And we’re still working through that because I believe local governments could help us accomplish this goal, if they wanted to.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (28:03)
The good news is this, reopening is proceeding and our strategy is working. New Yorkers are doing a better job than any state in the United States of America, period. And I’m proud to be a New Yorker. The bad news is, we have after effects of COVID. Social after effects, we have economic issues. We have quality of life issues. We have increasing crime issues. We have habitability issues. I can’t tell you how many phone calls I get from people, especially in New York City who are literally worried about the degradation of New York City, and much of it stems from the economic problems. And Washington is doing absolutely nothing. They’re going back and forth with gridlock. This was the last piece of legislation that they were supposed to pass to handle the aftermath of COVID and they haven’t done it.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (29:04)
The Republican Senate doesn’t want to fund state and local governments and that’s the sticking point. Not to fund state and local governments, but to provide all the money that they did to businesses. But you’re not going to provide funding to state and local governments who basically support police, fire, hospitals, and schools. It’s just totally ludicrous to me. And it starts with the president. There was a headline in the Daily News, wants Ford to city drop dead, and the city was outraged. Ford wouldn’t provide financial resources. What Ford did pales in comparison to what Trump is doing. Not only did he tell New York City to drop dead, Trump is actively trying to kill New York City. It is personal. I think it’s psychological. He is trying to kill New York City. He passed SALT, which was targeted just at New York City, tax reform. Cost us $14 billion. He’s refused to fund the extension of the Second Avenue Subway from 96 to 125th Street. Every prior administration has funded the Second Avenue Subway. It is always been a federal state partnership. Only this president, a former New Yorker refuses to fund the Second Avenue Subway. Even after we opened it up to 96th Street and did an amazing turnaround on the construction project that everybody celebrated.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (31:01)
He won’t approve the AirTrain to LaGuardia, and you want to talk about a really ironic repugnant logic. You know why he won’t approve the AirTrain to LaGuardia? He says, he has to do an environmental review statement, the same president who has lamented about the delay of environmental reviews and how they take so long and they stop development and how bad the SEQR process is and how the environmentalist are all full of bologna when it comes to Anwar. But now he says, “I can’t approve the AirTrain from LaGuardia,” that’s been talked about for decades, “Because I have to do an environmental review.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (31:54)
Now, Trump as the environmental bureaucrat, how incredible is that? He won’t approve congestion pricing for the MTA. What does he have to do with congestion pricing? Nothing. It is just gratuitous. It’s just gratuitous. There’s no federal involvement in congestion pricing. Their approval is purely technical and it’s been over a year. We passed it in New York state. He won’t approve it. He won’t rebuild the tunnels between New York and New Jersey that are dangerous. They are Amtrak tunnels. Do you know who owns Amtrak? Who owns Amtrak? The federal government owns Amtrak, they’re his tunnels. They’re decaying. I went to the tunnel, I took a video of water seeping into the tunnel. I took a video of bricks, crumbling. I sent them the video. He watched the video. Still, no money to fund the Amtrak tunnels.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (33:08)
This weekend, they stop FEMA funding from cleaning schools and trains. We want students to go back, we want schools to reopen, but you don’t want to clean the schools. Students should go back to a dirty school? Is that what you want your child to do? Gratuitous and arbitrary. And now no federal funds for New York City and New York state post COVID. Donald Trump caused the COVID outbreak in New York. Donald Trump caused the COVID outbreak in New York. That is a fact. It’s a fact that he admitted and the CDC admitted and Fauci admitted. The China virus, the China virus, the China virus. It was not the China virus. It was the European virus that came to New York. They missed it. They missed it. The China virus went to Europe. It got on a plane. It went to Europe. They never even thought of the possibility. And then three million Europeans got on the plane and came to New York and they brought the virus.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:37)
January, they brought the virus. February, they brought the virus. March, they brought the virus and in mid-March the federal government does a travel ban from Europe. Mid-March, too little too late, Mr. President. He caused the COVID outbreak in New York. Donald Trump and his incompetent CDC and his incompetent NIH and his incompetent Department of Homeland Security. Department of Homeland Security, we’re going to protect the people of this nation. We’re not going to let the immigrants come across the Southern border. We’re going to create a wall. Why didn’t you stop the virus? The virus killed many more Americans than anything you were worried about on the Southern border. This nation loses more people per day to COVID than any nation on the globe. Do you hear that point. We lose more people per day to COVID than any nation on the globe, You know who did that? Donald Trump’s incompetence.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:01)
… Donald Trump’s incompetence. And now they won’t provide federal funding to help repair the damage from the ambush they created. That’s where we are. Federal government must provide a response. If they don’t provide a response, the national economy will suffer for years. Every economist says that. They don’t want to provide a response. Why? Because they’re playing politics.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:42)
They don’t want to help Democratic States. They don’t want to help Democratic cities. This is a war on cities: New York City, Portland, Chicago. These are the enemies from the President’s point of view. Look at his tweets. These are the locations and the outposts of the enemies. So don’t provide them any funding, even though we cause the COVID virus. It is an unsustainable position for the federal government. Either this president will figure it out or the next president will figure it out. If the Congress doesn’t figure it out, there’ll be mayhem in this country, and there will be a different Congress in January. That is my political opinion.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (37:33)
In the interim, we have to be smart. We’ve gone through tough times before, New York. We had the fiscal crisis of the seventies, Post-9/11. I experienced it. It was a whole disruptive period. We went through the great recession, but we have to be smart. We have to be smart. We have to be financially smart, and we’re going to have to come together and figure this out in the interim before we have a federal government that is sane and functional.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:04)
The good news is, this is going to be a challenge. Yeah, nothing like the challenge we just went through. COVID was the challenge of our lifetime. COVID was the challenge of our lifetime. I hope and pray. But compared to what we went through with COVID, dealing with the fiscal crisis is a mere bump and we’ll get through it and we’ll get through it together because we’re New York, tough, smart, united, disciplined, most of all loving. Questions?
Speaker 1: (38:39)
If you could comment on the budget deficit we have here in New York, I know you said that you can’t really tax your way at the problem. You just wouldn’t be able to generate enough cash. Do you foresee a situation where taxing the rich is part of the solution, just in terms of a number of different things coming together to solve it?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:59)
Let’s be clear on what I said, because I like how I say what I said better than I like you saying what I said. I said, we have a deficit. We don’t just have an economic deficit. We have a combination of factors that are hurting New York City. Economic deficit, increasing crime, reduction in quality of life, more homeless on the streets, more garbage apparently on the streets. It’s that cluster of issues.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:45)
So it’s not as simple as if we got a big check tomorrow, all our problems would go away. Crime, homeless, quality of life, the cleanliness, it’s all of this together. As a matter of fact, when you talk to people now about coming back to the city, it’s less COVID. They understand that we have done a good job on COVID. I hear more, I’m worried about the crime. I’m worried about homelessness. I’m worried about quality of life. So they all have to be managed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (40:29)
On the economics, the tax increases. I said, look, before you talk about tax increases in New York City or New York State, let’s first focus on the better options. Best option is, federal government do your job and give us the resources we need. Otherwise the national economy is going to suffer and you cause this anyway. So pass the legislation and give us financial aid, the same way you did to the airlines and to businesses and to your donors. Give state and local governments the financial assistance they need. That’s the best option. I don’t want to stop advocating for the best option because, Zack, if you go to option B, then they’ll go to option B. So I want to stay on option A, best option. Federal government does it job and gives us funding.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:33)
Okay, let’s say the federal government doesn’t do that. I don’t want to go there because I don’t want to suggest that I am accepting any position other than the fair position, which is the federal government provides funding. But as it’s looking more and more likely that they won’t, let’s talk hypothetically about second best option. The federal government wouldn’t fund anything. What do you do? You have to raise revenues. If you have to raise revenues, better you do it nationally. Why would you make one state raise taxes and put itself at a competitive disadvantage with the other States?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (42:32)
We talk all day long about how New York is in competition with Florida and Carolina and Texas. Now you want to make New York raise their taxes to solve a problem that the federal government caused and then put ourselves in a competitive disadvantage? No. Raise taxes nationwide. You want to do a billionaire’s tax? Great. Do it nationwide. You want to do a multimillionaire tax, millionaire tax? It should be nationwide. Why force our state to increase taxes and then put us at a competitive disadvantage? That’s the second best option.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:17)
If you want to get to the third level of hell, federal government won’t fund, federal government won’t raise resources. You’re on your own. Then the numbers are going to be so devastating that you would have to do all of the above. You’d need additional revenues, you’d need cuts and you’d need potential borrowing. Caveat, the worst is not this year on the numbers, Zack. The worst is next year and the year after, because the revenues are falling and the projection is they continue to fall next year. This year is an easier year than next year. So when you’re calibrating about what you’re doing, factor that into the calibration, because you think you have a problem this year, it’s nothing like the problem you would have next year, on this third level scenario.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (44:40)
But, you heard variables. I’m not giving up on the federal government funding. I’m not giving up on the federal government raising some federal revenue. I’m not giving up that there won’t be some short term federal relief just to get us to next year. I’m not giving up that they couldn’t be short term relief to get us to next year, and then you have a new president next year who actually acts responsibly, and a Democratic Senate that actually acts responsibly and doesn’t give us real financial help in January and February. I believe those are all most likely.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:24)
Borrowing in general, this is what I say. You lose your job, God forbid. You go home and you say to your wife, “I lost my job. What are we going to do? We’re going to take a second mortgage on the house. We’re going to take a second mortgage. Yes. And then we’ll live off the money from the second mortgage.” “But honey, we were spending your entire income just to pay the current mortgage, how are we going to pay the current mortgage and the second mortgage?” And your spouse would be right. We want to borrow this year. We want to borrow this year. Next year, you’re going to have the same fixed expenses. You’d also have to pay the debt service for the borrowing and you’re going to have less revenues. So you have less revenues, the same fixed costs, and you have to pay debt service. What do you do next year? Because now you really put yourself in a bad situation. The borrowing is always easy. Yeah, I’m going to take a second mortgage. Yeah. But they’re going to send the bill for the second mortgage. And then what are you going to do? And your revenues are down because you’re out of work and you have to pay that first mortgage. And then you have to pay the second mortgage and you have less revenue.
Speaker 2: (47:15)
How was the photo that you showed in Washington Square Park of college students hanging out different from the same kind of crowds gathering in Washington Square Park for protests?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (47:30)
Probably not much different.
Speaker 1: (47:32)
So why would it spread corona there, but it didn’t spread Corona at the protest?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (47:36)
Because you got lucky once, doesn’t mean you’re lucky twice. And the protesters did not have a high number of people from out of state coming from states with a high infection rate, from an epidemiological point of view. That is a major difference. One out of state person who is infected can be a super spreader. Just takes one.
Speaker 1: (48:06)
The colleges, you think?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (48:08)
Yes. Yes, the colleges, NYU, how many countries and states are those students coming from? Those are not just Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, right? You want to have a go?
Melissa DeRosa: (48:23)
And I would just add that, if you remember over the summer, we did testing for protesters. We added that as one of the variables that you could then go get tested for. And what we saw was we’d reduce the rate of infection in New York to a point that was so low, thank God, by the time that happened, that we didn’t see a spread.
Melissa DeRosa: (48:38)
What we are seeing in college campuses, where we are now testing heavily is that you’re seeing these outbreaks across college campuses, which right now we attribute to these kids that are coming in from other states. And so that is the X factor here, the colleges.
Speaker 3: (48:50)
You said a hundred people have to test positive, is that in a specific time period or just in total? Like when would they be required to potentially shut down? And then I have two other questions.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (49:02)
Dr. Zucker, do you have the answer?
Dr. Zucker: (49:05)
Initially within two week period.
Speaker 3: (49:07)
And I have two questions that are interrelated. Last week your office thanked State Attorney General, Tish James, for her expeditious calling of the grand jury to impanel an investigation and look into the death of Daniel Prude. This happened six months after he was killed in Rochester. I’m curious sort of how you can explain to New Yorkers … Or how they should have confidence in the state’s ability to conduct oversight over local police departments, if it took six months for this to happen, and it didn’t happen until the video was released and there were protests in the street.
Speaker 3: (49:38)
And related to that, my colleague, George Joseph, has been reporting on rampant police corruption and brutality in Mt Vernon. There have been repeated calls for your office to direct Attorney Tish James to investigate the police department there. I’m curious if you have any comment on that.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (49:51)
Yeah, let’s do one thing at a time. First, on your point about how are college are different? This is how colleges are different. 108 colleges nationwide, these colleges in the State of New York. This did not happen with the protests. It didn’t. Well, what is the variable between these congregations and protestors? These people are from all over the country. That’s the difference? What was the first part of the multi-part?
Speaker 3: (50:33)
The first part is what took six months for Attorney Tish James-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (50:39)
Yeah. Do you understand how it works? The attorney General’s jurisdiction is automatic. I signed an executive order five years ago that said if there’s a death of an unarmed person in police custody, she automatically has jurisdiction, she being the attorney general. No action taken. The jurisdiction is automatic.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (51:05)
The attorney general, when it came to light, last week or whatever it was, that video, which I thought was horrific. I called on the attorney general to expedite her actions in compliance with the law. And she’s empanel of the grand jury. I think one of the questions we have to find out is, exactly what you said. How was this first handled by the police department to suggest that it was basically a health issue and was not a death caused by the actions of police officers, which is by the way, going to be an ongoing discussion. The police are going to say basically what they said, ” It wasn’t us. He was under the influence of drugs, he had on the spitting hood, which is normal procedure. And it wasn’t because of police action.” The video did bring new light to the case.
Speaker 3: (52:21)
But she would have presumably had access to this video. She had jurisdiction since this occurred in March.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (52:26)
I don’t know. You’d have to ask her. My guess is she did not have that video.
Speaker 3: (52:29)
Okay. And what about Mt Vernon Police Department? Have you read about the accusations of the-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (52:35)
When you say the state regulates police departments, why would people have confidence in the state regulating police departments? Where do you get that we regulate or have oversight over police departments?
Speaker 3: (52:49)
The state attorney general can be directed to investigate.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (52:53)
The state attorney general has investigatory authority. I don’t direct her to investigate. She has legal authority by the executive order. I issued an executive order that gives her that authority.
Speaker 3: (53:08)
Right. So there are calls for you to direct her office to investigate the Mt Vernon Police Department. And I’m curious-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (53:14)
Speaker 3: (53:16)
For rampant police brutality and corruption that’s been reported on extensively based on hours of whistleblower tapes and video that were-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (53:24)
Yeah. I don’t know why the attorney general is not investigating. I don’t know why the Westchester District attorney is not investigating. I don’t know why the Eastern District U.S. attorney is not investigating. I don’t know why the Southern district U.S. attorney is not investigating. Those are all the investigatory agencies with the authority to do an investigation. Maybe they know something you don’t know, but I don’t know because it’s not under my jurisdiction.
Speaker 4: (53:59)
COVID report card that you outlined today. I’m wondering whether you’re-
… that you outlined today. I’m wondering whether you’re concerned about how it might apply to New York City, given that New York City, in order to get the teachers to sign off on their back to school plan, put in place COVID testing that starts in October. The kids go back for in-person learning on September 21st. None of them will have been required to get tests. Neither do the teachers who went back starting today. So how concerned are you that even your daily report card won’t even apply to New York City since there’s no testing taking place until October?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (54:35)
There’s no testing by of students or teachers?
That is required. It’s optional.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (54:42)
Well, it’ll answer that question. If it’s optional, how many are doing it? And why is my school not doing it? My kids go to PS35. Why is PS35 doing no tests? I thought it was optional. Why did PS35 decided not to do it? It’s going to be my question.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (55:04)
Do you have a question?
Melissa DeRosa: (55:06)
And then just one other thing, Andrew. So part of this is that we’re mandating that labs across the state have to ask as one of the questions when any person comes in off the street, if they’re between four years old and 18 years old, what school do you attend? So even if it’s not mandated by a school, we will know if there’s existence of COVID in those schools and we’ll report it out to the public.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (55:27)
Just a quick follow up. A lot of these kids might have college age siblings. They’re coming off the summer. They’re not tested. New York City is about to have this huge infusion of people into 1,500 buildings. How concerned are you about them?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (55:44)
Well, look, there’s parents. There’s teachers. There’s state government. The facts come first, Andrew. The information comes first. That’s what this dashboard will do. What do I do in all my briefings? Here are the facts. Before I give you any opinion, here are the facts. If you say they said in the plan, it’s not mandatory. It’s optional. All right. It’s optional. I guess a lot of schools are going to do it, right? This is great. I thought optional meant a lot of schools were going to do it. So what do the facts turn out to be? Oh, I just went to the website. No schools are doing it. You said it was optional. I have a right to know that. I’m a parent.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (56:42)
You said it was optional and you’re not doing it in my child’s school. And now I’m going to decide whether or not I’m sending my child to school, knowing that you’re not doing any tests in my child’s school. Most are going to call you up and say, “Why aren’t you testing my child’s school?” I’m a parent. You said optional. You didn’t say diminimous for two weeks. And you’re doing no testing in my school. And I have my grandmother living here and my kid is coming home. And two weeks is a long period of time. And I’m not sending my kid to school. That’s your decision. And I want you to have that information.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (57:31)
The alternative is worse. Johnny goes to PS35. I don’t know if the testing, I don’t know if they’re not testing. I don’t know if that’s one of the optional schools. I don’t know if he should be quarantined. I don’t know if he should be going. That’s the anxiety. The facts resolve the anxiety. The facts let me take the anxiety and turn it to outrage. Right? But give me the facts rather than have me stew in uncertainty. And then, parents will decide.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (58:07)
I said from day one, I don’t care what day the school opens. The school opens for Johnny that day the parent decides to send Johnny to school. And this will give you information. Now, if the state sees a cluster, just like colleges, just like workplaces, just like restaurants. We see a cluster in the school, we’re going to come in. Override everything, right? I’m not going to allow a cluster. That’s what I’m saying to colleges. You have all your protocols. That’s nice. You hit 100 and we step in and the same will be true for K to 12. Greg?
In terms of schools, a lot of these districts couldn’t even get their plans in on time. So [inaudible 00:59:07] level of confidence that we’ll get their testing data in, and what happens if they don’t? And in terms of colleges, 100 plus cases, schools will shut or could shut. And how does that work?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (59:24)
They will shut unless there are extenuating circumstances. For example, you have a university that has several campuses. Let’s say Cornell University. It’s in Ithaca, New York. It also runs Cornell Technion here in the city. The 100 cases are in Cornell Tech. Does Cornell and Ithaca have to close? No, right? So there’s a certain judgment, common sense that comes to it. The 100 students are all in one dorm. That’s a different situation. And the dorm is separate. While the 100 students are dispersed all throughout the campus and contact tracing doesn’t find anything. It’s pure community spread. And when we did the contact tracing, we can’t trace it back to a Genesis. That’s a closed down to remote situation.
So the state decides. The state will decide if the campus closes?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:00:42)
Yes. Assume 100 is a closure point to remote, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Speaker 5: (01:00:54)
And how long are we remote?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:00:54)
What did we say on the remote?
Speaker 6: (01:00:58)
Two weeks and fourteen days.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:01:00)
Speaker 7: (01:01:00)
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:01:00)
I’m sorry, what was your other question?
My question is if school [inaudible 01:01:05] don’t provide the data they’re supposed to do, two things. What’s your level of confidence they can do it? And what happens if they don’t?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:01:18)
Well, that’s exactly what we want to know. Right? Look at what has happened in New York City. The plan comes out late. The plan then changes one time, changes two times, changes three times. Parents are confused. Don’t worry. There’s going to be testing. Okay. I feel comfortable if there’s testing. By the way, I don’t believe, Andrew, they got that there’s no testing in their school. I don’t believe they understood that.
Well, they were told it’s going to be a representative mandatory for 15% to 20% at every school starting in October. So there’s no testing until October.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:02:02)
But I thought there could be testing. It would be ramping up.
They’re going to try it, but there’s no standard between now and October.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:02:09)
There has to be public disclosure of the facts to inform a parent of the risk they’re taking. And if there are no tests or if the tests are not the number of tests that were represented to be, if they’re not in compliance with the plan, then that’s obviously going to have to be a problem. Either the parents can take action or the state will take action, but they have to comply with the plan. And I get too well that plans are just plans. I can’t tell you how many… I’ve been in state government, local government, federal government. Here’s a great plan. It looks beautiful, has a great cover. Oh, really? Can we do it? Oh, we’re not so sure about that, but we have a great plan. So this will tell you how the plan is being implemented, if it’s being implemented, and what the results are, and then decide.
Speaker 8: (01:03:08)
Governor [crosstalk 00:09:12], are you insisting specifically that the NYPD will be involved or why not rely on inspectors from DOV or DOH, or any [inaudible 00:01:03:21]? And second question with malls, museums, and other indoor settings opening, have you considered allowing fans into sporting events held outside, like baseball games? Is that something you’ve spoken with your team about?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:03:32)
We’re nowhere on fans. We’re nowhere new on cultural institutions. Let’s look at the reality. Okay. We opened the bars with very strict rules. What happened? There was egregious voluminous violations of the rules. You’ve heard me say 57 times, local governments, please do the enforcement.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:04:11)
Bars are not enforced by NYPD. They’re enforced by health code inspectors, basically. Or they could be enforced by any inspector you want. They did nothing. I had to put together a state task force, state liquor authority, state police, which this is not what they do. We scrambled. We took inspectors from agencies all across the state government. And we put them on this task force to do bars. Restaurants double the number of bars. Okay. Who is going to do the enforcement? New York City, NYPD could do it. They’re too busy fighting crime. All right. Health inspectors could do it. Sanitation inspectors could do it. Any regulatory inspector could do it, right? But they could have been doing the bars too. And they didn’t. And the only mechanism that New York City is using is the Sheriff’s office. Did you ever hear of the Sheriff’s office? There’s like 150 people in the Sheriff’s office, which probably means there’s 60 people on any given shift. And the sheriffs are doing airports, borders, quarantine enforcement, theoretically bars. And now restaurants too? No.
Speaker 8: (01:05:55)
What do the mayors say when you brought this up?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:06:02)
Forget the mayors specifically. I’ve had this conversation with multiple elected officials. By the way, I’ve had it with college presidents. If I do the enforcement, that is a politically difficult, because then I am shutting down restaurants or bars or giving them citations. College presidents say the students come back. They want to have parties. It’s hard for me to say no parties. Yeah, I get it. I get it. I first say to them, do it in my name. Go to Washington Square Park, get a megaphone and say, “Governor Cuomo orders you all to disperse immediately.” Blame me. I said that from day one, blame me. We’re doing violations against bars every day. You know what I get? Hundreds of complaints from every bar that has gotten a violation. I get that it’s unpopular, but it has to be done because otherwise it’s a game. You have to follow the rule, but nobody follows the rule. And by the way, if you don’t follow the rule, nobody’s going to catch you anyway, because there is no compliance.
Speaker 9: (01:07:39)
A lot of New York City…
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:07:42)
Speaker 9: (01:07:42)
Why is New York city different from the rest of the state? Are you going to shut down dining in the rest of the state?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:07:47)
We do the compliant in the other localities this-
Speaker 9: (01:07:51)
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:07:52)
Speaker 9: (01:07:52)
For indoor, why can Long Island have indoor, but New York City can’t?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:07:57)
Because they’re doing better compliance.
Speaker 9: (01:08:00)
Based on what?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:08:00)
Based on the number of people they have going and our investigators checking their investigators
Speaker 10: (01:08:09)
[crosstalk 01:08:09] allowed the indoor dining to have and are you waiting for a phone call from the mayor to tell you, hey, I have 100 inspectors to do indoor dining?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:08:15)
No, I’m trying to figure out how we can do compliance of indoor dining in New York City safely.
Speaker 10: (01:08:23)
So if the mayor calls and tells you he has inspectors, then it can happen?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:08:26)
Look, we just went through this on bars, right? How many times did I sit here and say, we need local governments to do bar enforcement? What happened? Nothing. What wound up happening? I had to put a taskforce together to do it. I am stretched on that task force. I can’t increase that task force to now do double with the number of restaurants. Theoretically, I could go out and hire a new staff to do it and train them. [foreign language 00:15:09]. Let’s take one more. That means broke. That was what that means, broke.
Speaker 11: (01:09:13)
Do you want to comment at all on gun violence and crime in New York City?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:09:15)
Yeah, it’s terrible. It’s terrible. And it affects all New Yorkers, but you know who it affects most? Black and brown New Yorkers. You know who the victims of the shootings are? Over 90% black and brown. That’s who’s paying the price and it’s unconscionable. We have a great awareness. Black lives matter. They do. And they matter when it comes to this crime spree and shooting spree, where 90% of the victims are black and brown. Go Islanders, keep the faith. Thank you.
Speaker 12: (01:10:03)
Can we have a copy of the executive order?
Speaker 13: (01:10:05)
[crosstalk 01:10:05] for the federal unemployment payments?
Speaker 12: (01:10:06)
The one you’re signing [inaudible 00:01:10:08].
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:10:08)
Yes. We’ll release it right after I sign it. I need to read it before I sign.
Speaker 13: (01:10:12)
Do you know when people will get the rent relief payments at the [inaudible 01:10:14]?