Feb 2, 2021

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Storm Update Press Conference Transcript February 2

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Storm Press Conference Transcript February 2
RevBlogTranscriptsAndrew Cuomo TranscriptsNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Storm Update Press Conference Transcript February 2

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a press conference on February 2 to provide updates on the winter storm. He encouraged people to continue staying home and avoid unnecessary travel. Read the transcript of his briefing with storm updates for New York here.

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Governor Cuomo: (00:00)
… survived another challenge. Think about this, in this different world. You’re a child you’re in school. You’re waiting for a snow day. You get a snow day, except you’re not in school. Can’t even have a snow day. I don’t think they have virtual snow days. New world, new times.

Governor Cuomo: (00:25)
I want to thank all the first responders who did a fantastic job yesterday, all across the board. It was a dangerous situation. It was a challenging situation. Storm was of a near historic proportion and it was well-handled all across the board. More to do to clean up today, certainly. But a situation like yesterday, people can die. We’ve had situations with people stranded on roads through the night. It can be very dangerous, very quickly. So it was handled well across the board. Roads are open. Trains are running today. We’ll get an update, but I want to thank everyone who worked very long and hard last night. And it was ugly out there, and they did a fantastic job all across the board. Let’s start with, to my left, Mr. Rick Cotton, who is the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Runs the terminals runs the airports, Mr. Cotton.

Rick Cotton: (01:40)
Thank you, Governor. The airports have resumed operations, flights have been taking off and landing at a reduced level this morning. The airlines have canceled 45% of their schedule for the day. So check with your carrier if you are planning to travel. The Newark AirTrain has two segments down due to icing, but a shuttle bus service is in force. All of the bridges and tunnels are open and operating with light traffic. At the bus terminal, all commuter bus lines have continued their suspension of service until further notice. There are a few inner city buses who are scheduled to depart later today. At PATH, PATH has resumed a limited 15 minutes service from Journal Square to the World Trade Center to Hoboken and to 33rd street. But service to Harrison and Newark remained suspended. Their target is to have full service restored by tomorrow morning. And governor that’s my report.

Governor Cuomo: (02:48)
Great. Thank you very much. Mr. Patrick Ford, chairman and CEO of the MTA.

Patrick Ford: (02:54)
Thank you, governor. First, I want to start by thanking the thousands of men and women of the MTA were out there before, during, continue to be out there, governor cleaning and clearing. Thanks to their efforts, we were able to restore subway service above ground and below ground for that matter of five o’clock this morning with residual delays. Long Island railroad began running weekend service at 4:00 AM and Metro North’s first trains commenced around the same time regular service.

Patrick Ford: (03:22)
Buses continued to operate with the reduced service today. As for bridges and tunnels the empty and tandem tractor trailer ban was lifted at six o’clock in the morning. All things considered governor, everything went well. We had been planning for this particular storm for a number of days and in some ways for years. And we’re monitoring conditions minute by minute and hour by hour. The decision to suspend above ground service on the subways and Metro North and Long Island railroad yesterday was clearly the right one. Some train subway cars en route prior to cessation of above ground service did get caught and snowdrift. s one in particular, needed to be a dug out.

Patrick Ford: (04:04)
In terms of snowfall, this is one of the most extensive snow events in the history of New York City. So our crews had an incredible job in front of them. Snow clearing and salting continues today. Safety is our highest priority. And every decision that was made was taken with that in mind. Ridership governor was light during the storm. Subways saw approximately 11% of pre-COVID ridership, and about 30% of current ridership. Buses carried about 13% of the pre-COVID ridership.

Patrick Ford: (04:37)
We continue to advise New Yorkers to continue to stay home and avoid unnecessarily travel while the cleanup continues today. Earlier this morning, there was a water main break, the city water main at 96th street on the West side, which temporarily affected service on the one, two and three lines. But Sarah Feinberg and her team have gotten that resolved. Crews acted quickly and worked with New York City DEP to get service up and running. Again, I want to give an incredible shout out to our incredible workforce, who once again showed their mettle. Sarah and her team had literally nearly 10,000 people working out clearing snow, Long Island railroad, approximately 2000 and 1600 approximately for Metro North. I also want to give a shout out to our partners in the sanitation department of the City of New York, who closely coordinated plowing activities with our buses. Finally, there’s another storm on the horizon and we’re confident we can handle whatever comes our way. Thanks governor.

Governor Cuomo: (05:35)
Thanks. Thanks for that last point. Just in case we forgot. Another storm. What a surprise. Who would have guessed? To the head of the New York City transit authority, Sarah Feinberg.

Sarah Feinberg: (05:49)
Thanks, governor. All great points from Pat, I’ll try not to repeat you. As always, New York City Transit workforce rose to the challenge started prepping and planning days ago for the double whammy of first, the extremely frigid temperatures at the end of last week and into the weekend and then the snow. We continue to operate underground service throughout the storm. As Pat said, over 9,500 employees, hourly managers and supervisors were deployed to respond to the storm, keeping stations, tracks, and yards, operational and clear of snow. Every station, 472, were sanded, salted and shoveled. Several passes of snow removal were completed at above and below ground stations through the storm. To the extent that we have residual issues this morning, some of those are related to continuing to clear stations. Crews are still out today working through that. We had more than 100 portable snowblowers and throwers out, deployed over 40 pieces of snow fighting equipment.

Sarah Feinberg: (06:50)
We operated sweeper trains with ice scraper shoes to assist with clearing ice on the third rail. Responded to 52 switch malfunctions. Maintenance of way dug out the tracks at 68 locations where heavy snow is accumulating and dug out by hand eight revenue trains and one de-icer train. Countless service delivery crews were digging out the stop arms of signals by hand. We maintain 20 major yards by continuously clearing the tracks and keeping signals operational.

Sarah Feinberg: (07:21)
I want to thank our customers for their patience while we took these measures to keep them safe and closed above ground service on buses, as Pat said, 13% ridership. I think the decision to provide reduced service yesterday in order to remove the articulated buses and chain, all 40 foot buses enabled us to continue to provide service throughout the entire event. We have some routes across the city still with minor detours as sanitation completes the snow clearing efforts. As Pat said, looking ahead, we’re closely watching the weather forecasts for the next storm. But my huge thanks to the men and women of New York City Transit, who once again, got us through.

Rick Cotton: (08:00)
Thank you. Well said Mike Copi, who is the director of our emergency efforts statewide.

Mike Copi: (08:09)
Thank you, governor. Just a quick update on the snow. Although it’s not snowing here in the metropolitan New York City area, it continues to snow in different places across the state. Over the next 12 hours, we expect to see another 10 to 12 inches in the North country in Plattsburgh. through the Syracuse Finger Lakes regio, we’re going to see six to eight inches. And the other points North of the Catskills and even the Northern suburbs should expect to see another one to three inches before the snow ends. During the course of the event, the state police handled over 300 accidents throughout the state, including a fatal snowmobile accident in Orange County. A department of transportation truck was involved in an accident with somebody on the road, resulted in minor injuries.

Mike Copi: (08:54)
And the state trooper who was assisting a disabled motorist in Seneca County was injured also. Fortunately, everyone there sustained minor injuries. Just for those who may be venturing out today to the state parks, I’d ask you to please check the parks website. Due to the snow, there are a number of facilities that are still closed at this point. Just following up on what Pat said also, we have not one but two storms that are coming in. And so I just asked the public, it’s always best to prepare early. We’re expecting some form of winter precipitation on Friday, Friday afternoon, that’ll be downstate and parts of upstate and Sunday for Superbowl Sunday could be another larger snow storm that we’re tracking right now. So from a preparedness standpoint, it’s always best to prepare early. Governor, that’s it. We continue to be prepared.

Governor Cuomo: (09:45)
Thank you. Thank you, Michael. I also want to thank Rick and Pat and Sarah, because we still have more snow moving upstate, the storm’s moving North, and they’ve agreed to go work in upstate New York today and help them with their snow issue. So I want to thank them very much. Kidding. Only myself and Mr. Copi do that. As everyone has said, thank everyone who did a great job. And we tend to think that snow storm, it’s an inconvenience, it’s a problem. Things close. It’s a problem shoveling snow. These can be deadly events if they are not handled correctly. If you don’t get the roads cleaned properly, people have accidents, people die. If you don’t get the roads cleaned properly, as I mentioned before, people get stranded and if you’re stuck in a car in a highway overnight, it gets very dicey very quickly. If you get stuck in a train overnight and it gets cold, it gets very dangerous very quickly. So they did a great, great job-

Governor Cuomo: (11:03)
… dangerous very quickly. So they did a great, great job and we thank them and more storms coming, but that is the period of life that we are in, right? We’re in a period of storms and attacks and assaults. Let’s go to one of them. Today is 339 since we’ve been dealing with COVID. These are the COVID numbers today, 5.47, 7 day average, 4.9. 146 people passed away. They are in our thoughts and prayers. Hospitalization up 64, ICU up three, intubation’s up 17. This is the percentage hospitalized, Long Island, Long Island, Long Island, we’ve been talking about. And the Mohawk Valley has been problematic, but Long Island has been problematic for a period of time. Highest positivity, Long Island and Mid Hudson. In New York City, highest positivity, the Bronx, 6.4. And that has been for a period of time. And again, there’s a significant difference.

Governor Cuomo: (12:16)
You look at Manhattan, look at Staten Island. We’ve made good progress in Staten Island and I want to thank the Staten Island community for that. But the holiday surge has tapered off and we are on the decline, 4.95. That’s the first time we’ve had that lower positivity since the beginning of December. And the beginning of December was just at the start of the holiday surge, right? You had Thanksgiving, a few days later, you start to get the results of infection spread on Thanksgiving. So that’s where we are. You see the hospitalization rate is coming down. Vaccines, we’ve done now over 2 million vaccines. First dose is 1.6, second doses 385. Healthcare workers are a priority. When we started this, nursing homes and healthcare workers were the two priorities. Nursing home workers were vaccinated and then it was hospital workers. Why hospital workers? Because they’re the nurses, they’re the doctors, they’re the people who are exposed to COVID the most. If they get infected, they’re super spreaders. And if they get infected, the hospitals will close. We’ve seen this all across the board. Hospital capacity is the key. Hospital capacity, if you get into trouble, it’s going to be because they don’t have enough staff, not because they don’t have enough beds. They won’t have enough staff. They won’t have enough staff because the staff got sick. So vaccinating healthcare workers. When we started, we started off at about 63%. We’re now at 75%. That, great progress and I want to thank the hospitals. We still have a differential and it’s a dramatic differential. And to me, it’s all but inexplicable. Some hospitals in this state, some hospitals in all regions of this state have done 100% of their frontline staff. Some hospitals are 39%, 40%, 42, 44. Hospitals within the same region go from 100% to 40%.

Governor Cuomo: (14:55)
How can you have a situation in New York City hospitals, sometimes in the same system where some hospitals are at 100 and some are at 40? The local health departments need to focus on this. Work on those low performing hospitals to get the vaccinations up and that’ll make a dramatic difference because these will be the hospitals that will get into trouble if we have a significant outbreak in COVID again. So please, local health departments, focus on that. On vaccines, we say vaccine is a supply issue. That is a little bit shorthand. Yes, from a state’s point of view, it’s a supply issue. We have 7.1 million people who are eligible. We have 300,000 doses per week that we get. Do the math. It’s a supply issue. We have an extensive distribution chain, private pharmacies, local governments, hospitals, mass vaccination sites, which are the single most productive vaccination distribution mechanism.

Governor Cuomo: (16:16)
So we have the distribution, we just don’t have the product, right? The shelves are empty. There’s nothing we can do about that. That is dependent on the federal government providing us with a weekly allocation. Well, why doesn’t the federal government provide us with more? Because the federal government isn’t making this in the White House, the federal government is buying it from the private pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer, et cetera. So they have to increase supply by increasing the production by the drug companies. And the White House has been working on that, President Biden has made it a top priority. We had a meeting this morning with the White House officials with the governors across the state and we actually got good news. Federal supply will increase again. If you remember, the federal government increased the supply to the state, what we call the state allocation, 16% last week, and they said that 16% would continue for three weeks.

Governor Cuomo: (17:26)
That was also a big deal, the knowing what we’re getting so we can actually plan. Otherwise, we were going week to week and it was a surprise every week. This week, you’re going to get 250, this week, you’re going to get this. So knowing what we get three weeks in advance is very helpful. Knowing that we’re going to get an increase is very helpful. The increase is now going to go from a 16 to about 20% as a direct allocation. That means the state will then turn around and supply 20% additional to the local governments, so they can count on an additional 20% in the coming weeks. That’s the 16 plus the five, 21 rounded to 20%. So that’s good news. The federal government is also starting a pharmacy program direct from the federal government. We now use private pharmacies. We give private pharmacies part of our allocation for private pharmacies to distribute the vaccine.

Governor Cuomo: (18:52)
Pharmacies are focusing on 65 plus. The federal government is starting its own program where they are going to supply private pharmacies also, which will expand the private pharmacy network. Private pharmacies do the flu vaccine every year. About half of New Yorkers get the flu vaccine and a large percentage of them get them through pharmacies. So there’s a belief that the private pharmacies can be a significant distribution model, and we have started using private pharmacies. The federal government is going to give an additional 10% of that state’s allocation to the private pharmacies. So private pharmacies going forward will have more. 10% in New York State is about 30,000 because we get about 300,000 vaccines per week. So private pharmacies will also have more. So local governments get an additional 20% from what they were getting, that’s the 16% increase plus five.

Governor Cuomo: (20:11)
Pharmacies are going to get an additional 10% directly from the federal government, which will increase the pharmacy supply and those people making appointments at pharmacies. The White House is also going to reimburse the state government for FEMA reimbursement. It’s a financial transaction for the states, but it was important to the governors and we thank them for that. When this federal government sends the vaccine, they send it in two allocations, first doses and second doses. In other words, when you take a first dose, then in 21 days, that person has to come back for a second dose if it’s a Pfizer. In 28 days, they have to come back for a second dose if it’s Moderna. The federal government segregates the second dosage and basically reserves that for the people who received the first dosage.

Governor Cuomo: (21:19)
There’s been a dialogue by some governors and some health experts saying, start to use the second dose as a first dose. In other words, we have about 300,000 second doses this week. Use them for a first dose. The federal government does not now allow that. Why? Because then you have to really know what your future production is, right? If you start using the second doses as first dosages, that means your production has to ramp up very quickly.

Governor Cuomo: (22:03)
Your production has to ramp up very quickly because then in 21 days, your numbers are going to exponentially increase. So at this point in time, the federal government does not allow using second doses for first doses. They’re reserved for people. This may evolve over the coming weeks when the federal government gets a better handle on what the actual production is, but that’s where we are now. It’s just not allowed. Local governments are getting more. Pharmacies are getting more. Not what anyone needs. We go back to Matilda’s rule, which I announced on day one. The one thing you’re going to hear every day from everyone is, “I don’t have enough.” You know what I just said on the White House call? I don’t have enough. You know what every county executive says to me? I don’t have enough. You know what every hospital says? I don’t have enough. You know what? Every person who calls looking for an appointment? I can’t get one.

Governor Cuomo: (23:08)
No one has enough. That’s 7 million with 300,000, but local governments are getting more. Local governments of course, the state are all in a slightly different population and a different position. Suffolk County is a little different than Erie County. Rochester is a little different than Binghamton. So they are in different situations and we want to give them more flexibility. They’re getting more vaccine. If a local health department, county government wants to add to their one, what’s called 1B prioritization, if they want to add developmentally disabled facilities, if they want to add taxi drivers, Uber drivers, restaurant workers, they can do that if they think it works within their prioritization locally. In other words, some localities have already done a large percentage of their police, their fire, their teachers, and they do have flexibility.

Governor Cuomo: (24:23)
There is no one size fits all here. So yes, we have statewide priorities which are set by the federal government, but if a local government is now getting more and they believe in their local circumstance they want to prioritize taxi drivers, Uber drivers because they think that’s been a problem or developmentally disabled facilities or restaurant workers, they have that flexibility. And again, they are getting more so theoretically, they would have additional supply to make those decisions, but that’s going to be up to the local government to add in the 1B category if they think it makes sense. We’re also going to look at targeting vaccinations by locations with high positivity rates. We’re going to do a demonstration in the Bronx. The Bronx has a very high positivity rate in New York city and has had for weeks. We’re going to do a mass vaccination site at Yankee Stadium, which is only for Bronx residents.

Governor Cuomo: (25:43)
This is to accomplish two purposes. Number one, to vaccinate a large number of people, but also to bring the positivity rate down. So we are using the Yankee Stadium demonstration to see how that works. Mass vaccination, get the high positivity down and target people in areas where the positivity is higher, which tend to have a high predominance of black, poor, hard to access communities, Latino communities. So we’re also working on that. Local governments are working on a public safety reform collaborative. Public safety is part of economic development. They have to have a plan passed by April, more importantly, they have to move forward with a productive police community relationship. Crime rate is a problem in urban areas nationwide. The tension is a problem nationwide. I understand that, but we’re in the problem solving business, right? COVID is a problem. Snowstorm is a problem. Police community relations are a problem. I know. Solve it. And they have 58 days left to pass a new plan, otherwise they’re not going to be eligible for funding in the state budget, but forget the funding. They should be doing that anyway.

Governor Cuomo: (27:32)
Also, it has been a long year. Snow storm yesterday, two new storms on the way. People I’m with, they enjoy it. They thrive on it. Look how healthy and happy they look. Sarah Feinberg’s smiling. Pat’s smiling. Mike… Rick doesn’t smile, but he doesn’t smile anyway. It has nothing do with the storm or anything. Just Mr. Cotton doesn’t smile. I’ve worked with him for many years. He’s just not a smiling kind of person, but take a breath, do a little something different. There is the Moynihan Train Hall. This is like an art gallery, the Moynihan Train Hall. Forget going to the Moynihan Train Hall to take the train. Go to the Moynihan Train Hall just to walk around and be amazed at something that is creative and beautiful and historic.

Governor Cuomo: (28:33)
Shirley Chisholm Park is 400 acres on Jamaica Bay off the Belt Parkway. You would never know you were in an urban environment. I mean, it is just transformative when you walk through Shirley Chisholm Park. It’s the largest state park in New York City. It’s also new and it really is extraordinary and you’re on the water and it’s a totally different view, but it’s just a change of pace. And Pier 76 in Manhattan. In the West side, we’ll see construction activity in the coming weeks. It’s going to be turned into a public space. It has been a tow pound for many, many years. And the West side was saying, “It’s a beautiful period that goes out into the Hudson,” so we’re going to have that finally as a public space.

Governor Cuomo: (29:30)
So take a breath, a little change of scenery and yes, it’s been hard. Yes, it’s been hard. And yes, we’re going to get through this together and we are getting through this together and the vaccine is coming and we got through the snow storm. And I believe in New Yorkers. I just believe in New Yorkers and their ability to overcome and their ability to accomplish. And that’s what we’ve seen day after day after day. That’s what we’ve seen over the past few weeks after the holiday surge. So let’s keep going. And one day we’ll look back and it will be a distant memory and we will be the better for it. Let’s take a few questions operator.

Sarah Feinberg: (30:27)
Thank you Governor. If you’d like to ask a question, please use the raise hand function at the bottom of your window. We’ll take a brief moment to compile the Q&A roster. Governor, your first question comes from Marsha Kramer of WCBS-TB. Marsha, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Marsha Kramer: (30:58)
[crosstalk 00:30:58].

Governor Cuomo: (30:58)
Operator, forget it. Marsha doesn’t know how to unmute the microphone. Go to the next question right away.

Marsha Kramer: (31:03)
No, I’m right here. Can you hear me?

Governor Cuomo: (31:05)
No, I can’t hear you. Go to the next question.

Marsha Kramer: (31:08)
Put your hearing aid on.

Governor Cuomo: (31:09)
No, I can’t hear you. There’s a technical difficulty. I’ll call you back. I’m losing you.

Marsha Kramer: (31:21)
I’m not holding my breath about you calling me back, so I’m going to ask the question now. So Governor, look, there’s been a lot of back and forth about allowing restaurant workers to get the vaccine yesterday. You said that it wasn’t a good argument. Today, you’ve changed your mind. What led you to change your mind and did Mayor De Blasio’s comments today saying that restaurant workers should get the vaccine help to change your mind?

Governor Cuomo: (31:52)
Oh no, Marsha. Let’s be clear. I said yesterday, I think everybody should get the vaccine. It’s a practical problem of supply and demand. You have many communities that are deserving of the vaccine, nurses, police, fire, teachers, certainly 65+ certainly, those with compromised immune system certainly, those in developmentally disabled homes certainly, restaurant workers certainly. It becomes a question of allocation and prioritization. You have some local governments that believe firmly that the taxi drivers are an issue and Uber drivers are an issue and they should be vaccinated. You have some local governments that want to focus on developmentally disabled facilities. You have some local governments that believe they should focus on restaurant workers. You have a limited supply. The good news is I just got off the phone with the White House.

Governor Cuomo: (33:03)
Good news is I just got off the phone with the White House, and we’re getting more. We’re getting more for the local governments, and we’re getting more for the pharmacies. So now there’s additional flexibility, and I’m leaving it up to the local governments to make a determination of what fits their situation best. And we do have more vaccine now, so there is more flexibility in the system. I don’t know, Mayor de Blasio, if he’s going to choose to do taxi drivers or restaurant workers or developmentally-disabled communities or focus on the police, but that’s a local determination for a local health department to make, the local county executive, the mayor, et cetera. Next question, operator.

Sarah Feinberg: (34:08)
Governor, your next question comes from Andrew Donovan of WSYR-TV. Andrew, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Andrew Donovan: (34:17)
Governor, good afternoon.

Governor Cuomo: (34:19)
How are you?

Andrew Donovan: (34:21)
Doing well. Got some snow here as Syracuse always expects. People are very aware that the vaccine eligibility outweighs the supply, but people are also waiting on your every word, hearing about the underlying health conditions that may be eligible soon. I’ve also talked to a diabetic who says type one won’t be included as soon as type two, even according to CDC’s phases currently. Wondering if you could update everyone on the status of your conversations with the CDC about underlying health conditions and eligibility.

Governor Cuomo: (34:58)
Yeah, thank you. The CDC is now a new CDC. Chatted with Dr. Walensky this morning, who’s the new CDC director. They are coming in. They’re evaluating the decisions that the CDC made. When you talk about immune compromised, the question is, what do you include in that category? And that category can get very large, very quickly. The prior CDC guidance on immune compromised, and I don’t know the specific difference between diabetes one, diabetes two on what they decided, but it’s about 4 million people in New York State. Just to give you an idea of the scale, we’re now at 7 million people. We only have 15 million people eligible. If you add 4 million people immune compromised, you’re at 11 million of 15 million, and you’re still only getting 300,000 dosages per week. So it becomes a question of… Okay, everybody’s available. Nobody can get it.

Governor Cuomo: (36:25)
That’s part of what I believe the Trump administration did. 65 plus, everybody’s eligible. 1A, 1B, 65 plus, everybody’s eligible. That’s the good news. Bad news is we don’t have any vaccine. Well, and what does eligibility mean if there’s no availability? Eligibility without availability is illusory. And not only illusory, I believe it’s counterproductive, because now you create additional anxiety. Now you have 7 million people chasing appointments for 300,000 doses every week. Now I’m sitting at my phone dialing and redialing at my computer going from website to website. Why did you create this anxiety? But we are where we are. I don’t know what the CDC is going to decide about the new guidance, but you would need a significant additional supply, because we have 7 million eligible.

Governor Cuomo: (37:33)
We just hit 2 million doses, so we’re not even a third of the way there on the current eligible population. To now say to 4 million people, “Okay, you’re eligible too, but we’re nowhere near being able to get to you,” it’s meaningless. Now, the good news is if Johnson & Johnson gets emergency authorization use, what they call EAU, that could be a big deal. Single-dose, no hyper-cold storage. That could be a significant supply increase, and that could change the reality of the situation, but without a significant increase in the supply, then it’s all posturing.

Governor Cuomo: (38:40)
The Black community doesn’t have enough. It doesn’t. Latino community doesn’t have enough. It doesn’t. Disabled community doesn’t have enough. It doesn’t. Police, fire, teachers, restaurant workers, essential workers, grocery stores don’t have enough. They don’t. It’s all true. You do the best you can with what you have, but let’s recognize the reality. Next question, operator.

Sarah Feinberg: (39:12)
Governor, your next question comes from Sasha Pezenik from ABC News. Sasha, your line is now open. Please mute your microphone.

Sasha Pezenik: (39:22)
Hi, Governor. Thank you for taking my question. This is in regards to the pressure that a lot of public health officials have been feeling in New York and across the country. There has been reporting about staff leaving from your department, as well as in a lot of other areas. Can you speak to what the cause of this is? Are you a difficult boss to work for? Is it the pressure of the job? Is it COVID fatigue? There are a lot of factors at play.

Governor Cuomo: (39:53)
Yeah. I think you have to take a step back. This COVID situation is unlike anything people have dealt with before. The response to it has been incredibly challenging and different. It’s collaborative, it’s health departments, it’s logistical agencies, it’s all of the above. It’s highly stressful, highly challenging, highly exhausting, highly fatiguing. It’s not what a lot of people signed up for. It’s not what a lot of people want to do. It’s not what a lot of people can do, so it’s all of the above. There’s been nothing like it. Hopefully they’ll be nothing like it again. Let’s take one last question.

Sarah Feinberg: (40:40)
Governor, your last question comes from Andrew Siff from WNBC. Andrew, your line is now open. Please unmute your microphone.

Andrew Siff: (40:48)
Governor, good afternoon. Hope you’re doing well.

Governor Cuomo: (40:51)
Doing very well, Mr. Siff. Going to go home and go to sleep now.

Andrew Siff: (40:56)
Yes, indeed. My question for you has to do with the cancellation of vaccines today. Given that the MTA was able to get service started, the roads are clear, things are in much better shape today, was it a missed opportunity to reopen some of the big vaccine hubs this afternoon? And might that change your approach with other winter weather ahead? In other words, couldn’t we have gotten some folks vaccinated today?

Governor Cuomo: (41:24)
The mass-vaccination sites downstate are closed today. Andrew, we were looking at a very dangerous storm. People need to make these vaccine appointments. I don’t think it was right to say to them yesterday in the midst of a snow storm, “By the way, you have to be at a vaccine site tomorrow morning.” Frankly, we didn’t want a lot of people on the roads this morning. We were still clearing roads this morning. And the appointments will be honored. That will be done, don’t worry about losing your appointment. And again, we have more distribution than supply. We don’t have distribution problems, Andrew. We have supply issues. Those people who have an appointment, they have a supply. That supply’s not going anywhere, so don’t worry about that. But yes, it’s a day delay.

Governor Cuomo: (42:37)
You know me, Andrew. I don’t like any delay, the doctrine of constructive impatience. But public safety comes first, and it wasn’t worth the risk to have people out on the roads today. And yes, they did a remarkable job in clearing roads and getting the subways up and the rail up, but still, it wasn’t worth the risk. And tomorrow we’ll be back in business, and that’s it. Thank you all New Yorkers for the help. Thank you all New Yorkers for cooperating. People stayed off the roads. They stayed off the rail. It allowed everybody to do their job. Another great New York success, thank you, guys.

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