Oct 14, 2020

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Conference Call Transcript October 14

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Conference Call Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsPolitical TranscriptsNY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Conference Call Transcript October 14

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo held a briefing via conference call on October 14 to provide coronavirus updates. He discussed new enforcements that are in place for hotspot zip codes and the ultra-Orthodox community. Read the transcript of the briefing here.

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Speaker 1: (00:00)
This conference call with Governor Andrew Cuomo. I will now turn it over to Governor Cuomo.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (00:06)
Thank you very much. Good morning, everyone. I’m joined by Melissa DeRosa, Robert Mujica, Beth Garvey, Gareth Rhodes, Doctor Zucker, Richard Becker. Let’s start at the top, which is always a good place to start. COVID has been with us for about seven months. So let’s learn the lessons and let’s be smart. Smart works when you’re dealing with a virus. Politics doesn’t work. Unintelligent doesn’t work. So New York tough, but part of New York tough is New York smart. If we did testing the way most states are doing testing the report today would be very simple. Our testing shows that we are 0.95 statewide and that would be the whole report. I’d say thank you very much, hang up. 0.95 is very good, we’re below 1%. That’s what testing means nationwide. We tested statewide, did 100,000 tests and we’re at 0.95.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:27)
We go beyond that. And we do more tests. And we now do a series of tests where we oversample. We test just certain small geographic areas because the way of the world going forward is going to be that the virus will constantly flare up in certain locations. And the trick, the art form, is going to be identifying the small sites where it flares up and be able to stop it before it spreads. That’s the art form. Doctor Zucker said something interesting to me a couple of weeks ago. He said, “Every week the body is attacked by dozens of viruses, but the immune system responds and defends against the virus. The ones that make you sick are the ones where the immune system fails to respond or gets overpowered by the virus. We’ve never actually killed a virus.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (02:53)
That metaphor works for this larger scale. We have multiple viral attacks per week. Bars, one bar that has too many people. One birthday party with too many people. One religious gathering with too many people. That’s a viral attack. Now, most states you don’t realize it, you don’t even know it because you don’t see it. So all you have is the statewide number. We have the capacity, given our heightened testing to see things that normally you don’t see. So we do the testing. We do the data analysis and we now can find these micro-clusters. These micro-clusters will continue, I would say, for at least one year because you need a vaccine, you have to administer a vaccine. There’ll be certain populations who don’t take the vaccine.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (04:03)
There’ll be certain populations that don’t believe in the vaccine, religious reasons, the anti-vaxxers. And you’ll continue to have clusters at least a year. By the way, this could go on for years unless you assume 100% of the population is going to be vaccinated. So let’s remember the context because if you don’t have the context, then we report inaccurate data or misleading data. So statewide we’re at 0.95%. We then oversample, separate test on the micro-clusters. And we’ve called the micro clusters now red zones. The micro-clusters, we are at a 6.2 today. If you take the oversample of the micro-clusters and roll it into the statewide numbers, you are at 1.1. That however is misleading.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (05:26)
I used the analogy, I think the other day, if I did a political poll and I oversampled Democrats and included the oversample of Democrats in the poll and then said, “Oh, look, my favorability is 99.9.” You’d say, “Yeah, but hold on a second. That’s an oversample of Democrats in the poll,” and you’d be right. You have an oversample of the highest infection rate in the state, the clusters, so it skews the number. So it’s 1.1 skewed in the state, it’s 0.95 without the skew. Those are very good numbers.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (06:18)
The 6.2 in the red zones, that number is actually lower than many statewide infection rates right now. So we call 6.2 a red zone. In many states, it’s less than the statewide infection rate. Orange is 7.4. Rockland is 7.2. Brooklyn is 6.4. When you look across the regions, New York City’s 1.2. That’s pulling us up. Capital is 1.2. Central is 1.2. Finger Lake’s 0.7. Long Island, one. Mid-Hudson, 1.6. Mohawk, 0.1. North Country, 0.1. Southern tier, one, which is actually good. Western New York, one. And that’s actually good also.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (07:15)
Seven people lost their lives. Hospitalizations. Hospitalizations, we have been tracking. Today, it’s +15 but it’s the trend line that matters. Let me give you the last 10 days on hospitalizations so you get the trendline. 10 days ago, it was +18, +69, then + 43, then +6, which was an anomaly. Then +25, +47, +58, +45. Today, +15. So in that trend line, +15 is good.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (08:18)
We also have education numbers on the database dashboard that I would suggest you look at because all these school districts have plans, “We’re going to do this, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this.” The dashboard actually shows you the reality of what’s going on in the school system. The number of people who tested positive is up 334. That’s onsite and offsite. It’s 240 onsite, which means teachers and students who are in school. New York City, it’s up about 86, 54 in public schools, 32 in private schools. But you can go to the dashboard for more information on that.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (09:17)
The micro-cluster we’re focusing on is the ultra Orthodox communities. As you know, it is still the same. The question now is enforcement. It is enforcement. This is no longer a question of public education, it’s enforcement. I’ve made it very clear to members of this community what the law is, what the rules are, what the science is. I’ve had personal conversations, dozens and dozens of them. It’s not a question of education. It’s a question of enforcement.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (09:58)
Local governments must do enforcement. The primary responsibility in this entire situation for local governments is enforcement. They do two things. They do testing, which then goes back to the state. And they do enforcement. I don’t have the resources to do enforcement statewide. If I had to do this all over again, on a lessons learned, I would have had the state take over or hire statewide enforcement because the enforcement from the local governments is very uneven. Especially when it’s politically sensitive. And that’s where we’re running into, with a lot of these ultra-Orthodox communities, who are also very politically powerful. Don’t kid yourself.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (10:57)
Suffolk County, Steve Bellone, kudos to him. He just did a sanction against the Miller Place Inn. Miller Place Inn is a restaurant in Suffolk County. They had a Sweet 16 party. How sweet. Yeah, it wasn’t that sweet. Dozens of people from the Sweet 16 party got sick. It just shows you how one event can generate so many cases, but he took enforcement action. So good for him. There was a concert out in Southampton, sponsored by a group called the Chainsmokers. They are going to be found today to have violated an executive order and what we call Section 16 of the public health law. They’re going to be fined $20,000. The town of Southampton that authorized the outdoor group gathering, they are going to have a sanction placed where they cannot approve permits for group gatherings without first receiving state approval. So if they want to approve an outside group activity, they’re going to have to get it pre-approved by the state. I spent time talking to the people in the town of Southampton. Frankly, I don’t know what they were thinking.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:39)
Moving on. We also know that there are, in the red zones, the schools are supposed to be closed, public and private. We know that there were violations where Yeshiva’s were operating. We know there were violations where religious gatherings were happening that exceeded the guidelines. W-A-

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (13:03)
… Exceeded the guidelines. WABC, N.J. Burkett, kudos to him. He did a great piece where he had a yeshiva that was operating in plain view. Gothamist also had a piece to the same point, so kudos to them for good reporting. This is especially a problem in Brooklyn and Orange and Rockland counties. We’re taking three actions today.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (13:40)
Number one, we are sending a notification to local governments saying they must enforce the public health law under Section 16, enforcing the public health law, especially in the red zone, especially when it comes to closing schools and religious gatherings.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (14:07)
If the local government does not effectively enforce the law, we will withhold funds from the local government. The local governments that are receiving that are New York City, Orange County, Rockland County, town of Ramapo Village of Spring Valley.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (14:35)
If these schools are operating, it’s easy enough to find out and J. Burkett did it. Gothamist did it. You would think a local government would have the capacity to do it. If they don’t, we will withhold funding from the government. I don’t like to do that. Budgets are tough all across the board. I don’t know how well to get them to actually do the enforcement they need to do. So hopefully that will motivate them because nothing else I have done has motivated them. Not my rapier wit not my sense of humor, not my guilt, not on my blame, not my admonition and not my pleadings. Maybe money works.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (15:34)
We’re also sending a letter to all schools in the red zone saying to them that they must be closed. If they violate the Section 16 order, we will withhold funding from the schools. Many schools receive funding. Yeshivas receive a significant amount of funding. I, in past budgets, increased funding to yeshivas, rabbi TAP, additional funding per per child. That all went up. If they violate the health order, they will not receive funding.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (16:19)
Third, for the schools that have been identified as violating the closure order, they will be served today with a notice mandating they close and we are withholding funding from those schools and we’re withholding funding until the matter is resolved to our satisfaction. And we do not know at this time when that will be, but we are commencing withholding funding against those schools.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (17:16)
There is a difference, just so you know, between providing child care and operating a school. You cannot operate a school and then say, “Well, tomorrow I’ve turned it into a childcare center. So now I’m operating the school, but it’s not a school. It’s a childcare center.” There’s an apple and there’s an orange. There’s a school and there’s a childcare center. Childcare center has a separate license, separate regulations, separate age categories, separate operating guidelines. Childcare facilities can operate but they have to be licensed childcare facilities and then they have to be inspected to make sure they’re following the rules. But a school is not a childcare facility and you fool no one by saying, “Oh no. They’re not walking into a school. They’re walking into a childcare facility.” Maybe can fool some people, but you can’t fool the state of New York.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (18:26)
The ultra Orthodox community, Hasidic community. We’re not talking about a monolith here. Right? Many groups have been cooperative and have been helpful and I want to acknowledge that also. These rules were in effect for 14 days. We don’t look at the zip codes. We don’t look at the census tracks. We don’t look at any districts that are in any way arbitrary. We look at where the actual cases come from.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (19:01)
If at the end of 14 days, there are some areas where the cases have dropped, we will relax the regulations on those places. If there are places where the cases have gone up, we will increase the regulations on those places and it’s just because we’re talking about Brooklyn or we’re talking about Borough Park. We can distinguish block by block and we will.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (19:33)
So for those groups that are getting the numbers under control, God bless and if the numbers are under control, we’ll reduce regulations. For those areas that are not, we’ll increase the regulations.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (19:52)
Last point. We opened the Mother Cabrini Statue this week. It is magnificent. Just on a personal note, when you’re down by Battery Park City, I would suggest you go by. Really is not just the statute, but the whole site and the spot is incredible.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (20:17)
We’re also going to be doing a statue, and by the way, we’ve got that statute done in one year. I announced it last Columbus Day. We put the commission in place, found the site, identified the funding and the sculptors did the sculpture, which is a very large sculpture, and they got it done in just one year.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (20:39)
Last month, I am announced New York State will honor the life and legacy of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a statue in her native Brooklyn. Today, I’m releasing the list of the 19 members that we appointed to a new commission. But the commission includes Jane Ginsburg, who was the daughter to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Clara Spera, who was the grand daughter; Mimi Ginsburg, who was also the granddaughter and then some really quality people and four honorary chairs. Secretary Hillary Clinton, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and a Gloria Steinem. So I am looking forward to that and Lord knows she deserves it.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (21:29)
Okay, with that, we will go to provocative and always interesting questions operator.

Operator: (21:41)
So, ask a question, you will need to press star and then the number one on your telephone keypad. Please stand by while we compile the Q and A roster.

Operator: (21:53)
Our first question comes Marcia Kramer with WCBS-TV. Your line’s now open.

Marcia Kramer: (22:02)
Good morning, governor. How are you doing today?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (22:05)
Marsha, Marsha. People don’t even realize where that comes from. Tim Russert used to call.

Marcia Kramer: (22:11)
That’s true.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (22:12)
Marsha, Marsha.

Marcia Kramer: (22:15)
You know we both go back a long time, governor.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (22:18)
Oh yeah, God bless Tim. He was always fun.

Marcia Kramer: (22:24)
He was a character and smart.

Marcia Kramer: (22:27)
So I have two questions actually. The first one has to do with the enforcement action you’re announcing today. I’m wondering when you say you’re going to withhold money from local governments, like New York City, Orange and Rockland, what kind of money are you talking about? Is there a number you have in your head about how much each of these localities could lose if they fail to do the enforcement? And what else can you do to get them to act?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (22:55)
Look, Marsha, if I had to do it all over again, I’m like in a reflective mood. The one, the way this was organized, I did a show this morning and somebody asked me a question; Mike Barnicle. This state, the law says the state makes all decisions on public health concerning COVID.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (23:22)
We did that purposefully because you can’t manage a virus by the city, by the county, et cetera. So it’s all under state control. You still have local officials who constantly pontificate or make proposals. I think we should relax this regulation. I think we should strengthen this regulation. I think parks are going to open. I think schools should close. I think schools should open. I think by next month we’ll open restaurants.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (23:54)
It is all irrelevant. That may be their thought. That may be their idea. That may be a proposal but it is legally irrelevant.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:09)
Well, why do they do it? Because they do it because they’re politicians and they want to have a role and they sort of, they don’t enjoy the fact that there was a superseding jurisdiction called the state. I get it. I have to deal with the superseding jurisdiction called the federal government. But I can sit here and say, I’m going to change immigration policy on the Mexico border. Yeah, that’s nice. I’m going to declare war against the Middle East countries. Yeah, okay. But it’s irrelevant.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:52)
Now, when the press reports it and leaves out, I say this to my friends at the New York Times all the time. “Well, this person proposed,” or, “This term.” No, no. They don’t say proposed. They say this local official plans too. That is very confusing. This local official plans to open the schools. Now people don’t know if the schools are open or not.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (25:24)
They have no legal authority to do that. The one thing they had to do was the enforcement. Now, they don’t want to do the enforcement. Why? Because it’s politically sensitive and let’s be frank and candid at this point in history. The community we’re talking about today is a politically powerful community. You know it and I know it. So I understand that they don’t want to incur the wrath and the political downside. It is their primary function.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (25:57)
If I had to do it all over again, I would have taken over the enforcement on day one.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (26:02)
I would have taken over the enforcement on day one. Now, I can take over enforcement, but it would be effectively relieving the local officials of their duty, and that would be highly disruptive. And I don’t think it would be worth the price at the end of the day, in the midst of everything that’s going on. But we have the ability to impound all funds to the locality, all of them funding, which is significant. How much would we penalize them? It depends, and it would be in our discretion, but we could impound all funds.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (26:49)
More than anything, I want them to do the enforcement, New York City, using sheriffs. How many sheriffs are there? 159? 160? How can you enforce all these regulations with 160 people? It won’t work. Ramapo, Spring Valley, Orange, Rockland. We need real enforcement. I’m working with them. I have all my state employees, but I can’t do what I did on the bars and restaurants, which is basically took it over from them. And by the way, it got much better when I did the enforcement. You saw the bars and restaurant problem virtually went away because they were getting tickets and they were losing their licenses. I guarantee if a Yeshiva gets closed down and they’re not going to get state funding, you will see compliance, but it’s their primary responsibility, they have the personnel, they just have to be willing to do it. And if they don’t do it, what’s the flip side? They’re going to lose funding.

Marcia Kramer: (28:20)
Governor, my second question has to do with the re-imagining of the NYPD. For months, you have been asking New York City, with its rising gun crimes and other things, to try to re-imagine what the NYPD would look like, and you’ve also threatened to withhold funds. So yesterday the NYPD decided to do a partnership with a number of groups, including the Urban League, saying they were going to hold public forums with community members. I wonder what your reaction is to the fact that four months after you asked for it, the NYPD is finally doing it.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (28:58)
Well, good news, bad news. Good news is they’re doing something. Relative to the scope of life. That’s good news. There are 500 jurisdictions, by the way, in the state that have a police force that have to go through this process, because it’s the only way we’re going to get through this, Marcia, you can’t deny the undeniable. You have a real relationship problem with trust and respect, and it’s very deep and it’s causing an increase in crime. And that is the truth. And anyone who’s in New York City, who says, “Well, crime isn’t increasing.” Or no? Go ask the victims of the shootings and go ask their families and go ask New Yorkers who understand that crime is getting worse, and this is a compounding problem on top of COVID, on top of homeless, on top of garbage piling up, on top of loss of jobs, on top of people moving outside of the city and afraid to come back.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (30:11)
So the good news is they’re doing something. The bad news is, and I leave it to the local government to come up with the actual plan, the bad news is the other local governments, the local government is in charge of it. The mayor, the County executive, the supervisor. Here, the police department is doing their own reimagination. This is my personal opinion, I don’t believe an agency can reinvent itself. It’s human nature.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (30:53)
You get defensive. I should reinvent the governorship. No, no, no. The governorship is perfect, Marcia, there’s nothing to reinvent. How do you ask an agency to reinvent itself? And how do you want to ask an agency to basically criticize itself on a fundamental level? This reimagination would be things like, what should the use of force policy be? You have 35,000 employees. How many should be mental health employees? How many should be substance abuse employees? How many should be intervention experts? Our police departments now are premised on the fact that every 911 call needs a response with a gun. I don’t think that’s true anymore. The old expression, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Every 911 call is an arrest or an altercation? No. Some are mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, domestic violence. There’s a whole host of calls coming in. How do you take those 35,000 people that work for the NYPD and restructure it? This is fundamental basic stuff. And I don’t know that an agency listening to others, can a commissioner or really go back to his own agency and say, “Oh, we have to have fewer police, and more mental health workers.” Would a commissioner of the police department do that? Also, the plan has to become law, which means it has to be passed by the City Council. Now, if they go through this whole listening situation and then hand the plan to the council, but the council wasn’t included, I’m sure the council is going to be looking for dramatic reform, and I’m sure the council is going to have a lot of fundamental questions.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (33:32)
If they are going to wait, hand the council plan and say, “Okay, here’s our reinvention plan.” And then start dealing with the council, that might be problematic. And this has to happen by April or there’s no funding for the city. So tasking the police department with the function of reinventing itself, I think is questionable. It must result in a legal change passed by the council. So it has to be a real plan, but the good news is at least it’s moving forward. Why the mayor didn’t do it himself, or the council speaker, or an elected official? Any elected official could have headed the process. I don’t know. I don’t know, but that’s what it is.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:53)
Next question operator.

Speaker 2: (34:56)
Our next question comes from Dave Evans with WABC channel seven. Your line is now open.

Dave Evans: (35:04)
Hey governor, how are you?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (35:06)
Good buddy, how are you?

Dave Evans: (35:07)
Hey, I just wanted to ask a similar question to what Marcia’s second question was, and it’s about reform because as you’re well aware, and I didn’t want to ask you specifically about Councilor Petrado resigning yesterday, but we seem to have a real problem with the police department and the number of officers who are just leaving the ranks for a variety of reasons, but they seem to just have had it between the pandemic, the way that the mayor runs things, the change, the trouble in the city, crime ticking up. But your thoughts and concerns about that because you’ve been pushing for reform, and you’ve mentioned you’re concerned about crime ticking up in the city.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (35:41)
Yeah, Dave, I think your question, I think you even had the right expression. People have had it. People have had it. This has been a long, difficult process and period of time for everyone. COVID made it long. Fear made it long, insecurity made it long, anxiety made it long, death made it long, sirens all night long made it long. In New York City, it got even longer. Unemployment made it long. Increasing crime made it long. Homelessness, degradation of quality of life. This situation with the police is very serious. The police, many police have had it. They think they have been wrongfully accused. They think they’ve been wrongfully blamed. They believe they’re saving lives, and they’d been called awful names. And I’ve talked to scores of police officers about this at length, and I’ve had very good relationships with them for a long time. They think they can’t do anything right. They think they’ve become the bad guy and they’re not the bad guy in their opinion.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (37:06)
And the flip side is the community has a level of distrust that I’ve never seen. That’s what those protests were about. Triggered by the Floyd killing, but mounting for years. Eric Garner was just as egregious and was years ago. So it’s been percolating. You have to address honestly the tension of the relationship. When you have two parties who both have strong feelings, ignoring them never works, Dave. It never works. The only way it works is if you say, “Okay, we’re not going to address the issues. Let’s just get a divorce and we’ll walk away.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (37:59)
All right, here, divorce is not an option. You have to have public safety. The community has to trust and respect the police, and the police have to trust and respect the community. So divorce is not an option. You have to sit them down and work it out. And the relationship is going to need to change because it is a dated relationship. Everything changes. Education has changed, remote learning. Medicine has changed, telemedicine. Public transportation has changed. Policing has been basically the same way we’ve policed for decades, and the community is saying we need a more sophisticated, nuanced, evolved approach to policing. And yes, it’s going to be disruptive, but-

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:03)
Yes, it’s going to be disruptive, but when you don’t address it, then you see police walk off the job and you see the community protest. Now this approach is the police will reinvent themselves. I don’t believe that has a high probability of success. I don’t believe you are going to reinvent the way you broadcast news. I don’t believe it. You’re vested in the way you do it. You think what you do is right. And that’s why you do it. But we’re going to find out because the council will have to pass it, and if it’s not a dramatically different plan and it’s not accepted by the community, then the council won’t pass it. And then you wind up right back where you started, which I’m afraid may happen, but it is a major problem and it is pervasive in the police department. And if you don’t think it’s evidenced every day, I think we’re kidding ourselves. I think the unhappiness, the discontentment is evidenced every day in different ways, but it’s there. It’s there from the police and it’s there from the community every day.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (40:36)
Next question, operator.

Operator: (40:39)
Our next question comes from Bart Jones from Newsday. Your line’s now open.

Bart Jones: (40:45)
Hi, governor.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (40:47)
Hey Bart, how are you?

Bart Jones: (40:48)
Good. I finally got out of quarantine today, so that’s good.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (40:52)
Oh, good.

Bart Jones: (40:53)
A kid in school had it. So governor, two questions. So on the ultra Orthodox Jewish communities, I take it that there’s still a problem. They’re not really getting the message with all these steps that you’ve mentioned today. Is that fair to say, that some are listening and others are not? And we still have a lot of people gathering in the synagogues. And secondly, we have a problem on Long Island. I mean this recent case that you mentioned in the Miller Inn. We had 37 positives there, 270 people now under quarantine, eight schools with positive cases, 35 schools with people under quarantine. You mentioned the South Hampton case also. And I notice on your investigations with the SLA, the state police, it seems like Long Island is on there every single time, often a majority of cases. So, do you have some thoughts on that? Do we have some kind of a problem out here?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:52)
Yeah, Bart, a couple of things. First let’s recalibrate. Okay. The calibration is, this is the way things are going to be for the foreseeable future. This is going to be every briefing I give you every week for months. It will be hopefully statewide, we’re in good shape. We have flare ups. We have flare ups because in this state we have a microscope and the other states don’t have a microscope. If you don’t have a microscope, you don’t see a lot of things. That’s what I started by saying. Without the microscope, our state infection rate is 0.9. Have a nice day. Congratulate everyone, New York state is doing great. That’s what most governors would be telling you today. We have a microscope. And when you have a microscope, you tend to see these very small activities.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:08)
We’re talking about the ultra Orthodox community. This normally is not visible without a microscope when you’re looking at the statewide numbers. And we’re only talking about some groups within that community. Some, Bart, have been very helpful. Some have been outliers, and yes, some yeshivas have been opened and we’re responding to that. The Miller Place Inn that was a sweet 16 party. Now, here we are. We’re talking about a single sweet 16 party. Why is the governor worried about a sweet 16 party? It’s almost an absurd level of detail because a single party can create dozens of cases, and it did. We had a single bar in Broome County cause trouble. Yeah, the microscope gets you down to a level of almost absurdity. The SLA cases, yeah, you find out the daily results of the SLA cases and that’s been going on for months, by the way, those numbers, Bart. And the focus is New York City and Long Island. That’s why you tend to see Long Island cases and New York City cases.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (44:36)
Because if you look for the violations, you find them, and we’re looking for them. But that’s what you’re seeing. You’re seeing flare ups, you’re seeing one-off situations and you’re going to see them for the foreseeable future until you get to 100% vaccinated. And I don’t know that you ever get there, by the way. If you have 20% of the population that’s not vaccinated, you’re still going to have this situation that you can see with a microscope. And then when you get to 100% vaccinated, if you ever do, you’re probably going to have the next virus. It was SARS. It was MERS. It was dengue. It was Ebola. Now it’s COVID. What’s the next one and when is it?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:33)
That’s why Trump said, and some governors say, put away the microscope. Don’t look because when you look through the microscope, it’s too ugly. Don’t test, and if you don’t test, you won’t find it. And if you don’t find it, you won’t know you have it. I get the strategy. It’s a lot simpler. It would be more pleasant. I would much rather just say to you, statewide infection rate is 0.9, have a nice day. How are the striped bass doing on Long Island, Bart, do you hear anything? But we are more diligent. We’re more sophisticated. And yeah, we’re talking about sweet 16 parties here, but you guys have to put it in context. That’s the danger in this situation. You don’t write the context. You don’t write we’re oversampling the hotspots. And then when you roll it in, it’s really a skewed number and the number’s really 0.9 and the governor is yelling about a sweet 16 party. The context is important here, but no, overall the number on Long Island is one, you’re about where you should be. Gareth, do you have anything else on the sweet 16 party? I think Gareth was at the sweet 16 party actually.

Gareth: (47:14)
Pardon me. If you look at the Nassau and Suffolk numbers from the past week, Nassau 1.1 yesterday, 1.3 the day before, 1.3, 1.1, 1.2, it’s been relatively flat. Suffolk 0.9 yesterday, 1.0, 1. 1, 0.9. It’s also right in that same range. We’ve been tracking, as you know, some of the zip codes. We have the Lawrence zip code, where we’ve seen a little bit of a higher positivity, which of course borders some of the red zone areas that were in New York City. But even in the last days, we’ve seen a little bit of a 2.6 in that era yesterday, 3.6, 3% the day before, 4.5 on the three day average. So it’s come down a little bit in the last couple of days, but we’ll continue to keep tracking this on a micro level, as the governor said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (48:07)
Let’s take one more, operator.

Operator: (48:10)
Our last question comes from Ryan Tarinelli with New York Law. Your line’s now open.

Ryan Tarinelli: (48:19)
Hello, governor. Thank you for taking my call. I am just curious if the state is going to be implementing more broadly any sort of containment houses or containment locations for when somebody does test positive for COVID-19, they can go to recuperate instead of going back to their houses and recovering and possibly infecting their household. Do you know if the Department of Health has any plans to do that sort of containment or expand their current efforts?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (48:57)
We have those facilities available. We prepared them early on. We still have them available. We never reached near capacity for any of them. The way we also built emergency hospital beds, never reached capacity for any of them. So we’ve always had more capacity than we’ve used, quarantine facilities we call them, emergency hospital beds, and we still have them open. So we have plenty of capacity.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (49:38)
Okay guys, thank you all very much. Operator, thank you very much. My team, thank you very much for joining us. Thanks. Bye.

Operator: (49:47)
Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today’s conference call. Thank you for participating.