Oct 9, 2020

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Conference Call Transcript October 9

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Conference Call Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsPolitical TranscriptsNY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Conference Call Transcript October 9

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo held a briefing via conference call on October 9 to provide coronavirus updates. He discussed new enforcements that are in place for hotspot zip codes. Read the transcript of the briefing here.

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Andrew Cuomo: (00:01)
Good morning guys. Guys being gender neutral. Today’s day 223. 223 days. We did 139,000 tests results yesterday. And here are the numbers. 20 hotspot ZIP codes. 5.4% positive. The state of New York without the over sample of the hotspot ZIP codes is 0.9. The positivity for the state if you include the over sample of the hotspot ZIP codes, 1.1. Now let me just say something that I said before just so you don’t mislead people. We are over sampling a very small part of the state that has a very high infection rate. That over sample when added to the statewide number is a skewed number because it over samples a very small area that has a very high infection rate. When you report statewide infection rate and you include the over sample without saying it’s an over sample, that is misleading at best. All right. So just understand the two facts. You have hotspot ZIP codes. We’re oversampling those because we have those under a microscope. They are currently 5.4%. The rest of the state is 0.9.

Andrew Cuomo: (02:13)
It is misleading when you reports. Well, if you put the two together, this is the number. Yeah, but it’s not statistically accurate, right? Here’s another number that’s going to shock you. Oh, it shocked me. I don’t know what shocks you. Over the past three weeks, if you look at the red zones, the red zones are the cluster zones that we identified in our plan announced two days ago. The red zones, not ZIP codes, the red zones. The red zones are 2.8% of the state population. 2.8. Oh, these new rules in the red zone. It’s 2.8% of the population. And by the way, the new rules are less restrictive than the old rules, which was total shutdown. Now they weren’t followed, but the old rules were more restrictive.

Andrew Cuomo: (03:39)
Anyway, red zones, 2.8% of the population. They are 20% of the state’s cases. 2% is 20% of the state’s cases. 10 times the population. The infection rate overall in those red zones, 6.6%. Without the red zones over sampled, the state is 0.9, which is right where we are today. All right. Now, this actually shows how advanced our testing system is. We do more tests per day than most states do per week. When you do 140,000 tests, you get data that is so granular that you can track it to the block. We’ve tracked it to 2.8% of the population of the state. And we’re now attacking the virus within the 2.8% of the population. Do you understand that? That’s because we have so much testing data that we can get that specific. And when you see it growing anywhere, then blow the whistle, send all the firefighters to put out those embers. And that’s what we’re doing. 2.8%.

Andrew Cuomo: (05:38)
Six New Yorkers passed away. They’re in our thoughts and prayers. 779 were hospitalized yesterday, 168 were in ICU, 78 were intubated. Of course the state, New York city is still a problem, 1.2%. That’s primarily Brooklyn. Capitol region 0.7 is good. Central New York 0.9 is good. Finger lakes 0.8 is good. Long Island one, which is okay. Mid-Hudson is 2.1, but that’s Orange Rockland. Mohawk Valley 0.5, that’s good. North Country 0.3, that’s good. Southern Tier, one. That’s bar and cluster in Broome. Western New York, 1.3, not good. In the hotspot counties, Orange 3.6, right about where it was. Rockland 5.6. Broome 3.2. Brooklyn 1.9 up from 1.7.

Andrew Cuomo: (06:49)
We’re doing enforcement in bars and restaurants. We’re doing enforcement in the hotspots. We’ve sent rapid testing teams all throughout the state. On the school testing, I suggest you look at the dashboard. There were 4,500 new school reported tests yesterday. 1,800 by school districts. 2,600 by non-public and charter. That’s a total of 66,000 tests reported since beginning. 29,000 by school districts, 36 by non-public and charter schools. Yesterday 648 school districts submitted data. That’s 94%. 42 schools are receiving orders for non-compliance in submitting data. Okay. There were 97 new cases reported yesterday, offsite and onsite students, teachers and staff. 58 student cases. 39 new teachers staff cases.

Andrew Cuomo: (08:17)
In terms of Brooklyn, again, I want people to understand the red zone as opposed to ZIP codes. We’ve been talking about 20 ZIP codes. The red zone are the red circles that we identified in our new plan. 2.8% of the population. 20% of the cases. We have always attacked clusters. This cluster happens to be predominantly the ultra orthodox in Brooklyn and Queens. We’ve always attacked clusters. When restaurants were creating clusters…

Andrew Cuomo: (09:03)
… restaurants were creating clusters and the local governments weren’t enforcing against restaurants. I enforced against restaurants. When bars were creating clusters and the local governments weren’t enforcing against bars, I enforced against bars. When colleges were creating clusters, we closed down colleges, right? This is not the first time the state has taken this action. Oh, unprecedented state action. No, it’s not unprecedented. It is the pattern of behavior that we have used from the beginning. Bars, restaurants, clusters, concert in the Hamptons. Whenever there is a cluster, we have attacked it, so this is nothing new.

Andrew Cuomo: (10:07)
Last point. Governor Gretchen Whitmer was threatened by a group that was threatening harm to her. And the Governor suggested that the President was inciting or facilitating this kind of division. There was no question, but that the President of the United States is a divisive force. He has been from the day of his election. His campaign was premised on division. His campaign was the oldest political strategy in the book used by the Roman empire; divide and conquer. He exploits divisions; old immigrants versus new immigrants, racial divisions, class divisions, the KKK in Charlottesville. Well, there are good people on both sides of the argument. No, the KKK are not good. Racism is not good. Discrimination is not good. It violates our principles. It’s anti-American behavior. He has advocated anti-American behavior to further his political goals. I agree with Governor Whitmer. There is no doubt that he is exploiting division and fomenting division to help his campaign.

Andrew Cuomo: (11:58)
I also believe his campaign is fomenting the ultra Orthodox in Brooklyn. Well, that’s wild speculation by the Governor. No, I don’t do wild speculation. Let me play you a recording of a call that went out. Okay? Hold on one second.

Speaker 1: (12:36)
[inaudible 00:12:36] let’s go over it again. We just hung up the phone with a group of us [inaudible 00:12:41] that are touch with the Trump campaign. They’re urging everybody to come out with signs. “Cuomo killed thousands.” Come to 13th Avenue and hold big signs. “Cuomo killed thousands.” As many as possible, as big as possible. The more signs we have, the bigger the national outcry will be tonight on 13th Avenue or wherever Heshy Tischler goes. Everybody should hold a sign. “Cuomo killed thousands.” The Trump campaign is urging us to hold as many-

Andrew Cuomo: (13:10)
I’m going to play it again, please.

Speaker 1: (13:16)
[inaudible 00:13:16] let’s go over again. We just hung up the phone with a group of [inaudible 00:13:19] that are in touch with the Trump campaign. They’re urging everybody to come out with signs. “Cuomo killed thousands.” Come to 13th Avenue and hold big signs. “Cuomo killed thousands.” As many as possible, as big as possible. The more signs we have, the bigger the national outcry will be tonight on 13th Avenue or wherever else Heshy Tischler goes. Everybody should hold a sign. “Cuomo killed thousands. The Trump campaign is urging us to hold as many and as big signs as possible. Please send this message around, make it go viral.

Andrew Cuomo: (13:55)
Okay. Then there’s a tweet from Heshy at Heshy Tischler, T-I-S-C-H-L-E-R. Heshy, H-E-S-H-Y. And I’m reading it. “Urgent: Who can print ‘Cuomo hates Jews’ and ‘Cuomo killed thousands’ on flags?” “Urgent: Who can print ‘Cuomo hates Jews’ and ‘Cuomo killed thousands’ on flags?” 2:06 PM. 10/7/20 is the date. “Urgent: Who can print ‘Cuomo hates Jews’ and ‘Cuomo killed thousands’ on flags?” 2:06 PM, 10/7/20.

Andrew Cuomo: (15:10)
The phone call you heard, the robo-call, the Heshy he was referring to is Heshy Tischler. So the robocall says the Trump campaign wants us to do this. Heshy tweets, “Who can print ‘Cuomo hates Jews’ and ‘Cuomo killed thousands’ on flags?”

Andrew Cuomo: (15:35)
How ugly, how divisive, how poisonous, how disgusting, how hurtful, how painful. This is New York that just showed solidarity and unity that was unprecedented. For seven months, I’ve been saying let’s listen to our better angels, let’s act in commonality. The antidote to community spread is community caring for one another. Yeah, the Trump campaign wants to inflame divisions. Meanwhile, they’re putting people’s lives at risk. 20% of the cases coming from these districts. 20% from 2.8%. Some of those people will die. What’s the Trump campaign saying? Play politics, play politics. It’s disgusting.

Andrew Cuomo: (16:50)
Questions?

Operator: (17:07)
As a reminder, to ask a question, please press star one on your telephone. First question comes from the line of Andrew Syth. Your line is now open.

Andrew Syth: (17:19)
Good morning, Governor. My question has to do with the hotspots. It’s been a number of days if not weeks now, since these have been identified in Brooklyn and Queens in particular. Has your health department detected any slowing, leveling off, or that the situation is starting to get under control?

Andrew Cuomo: (17:41)
You don’t see it in the data yet, Andrew, but it’s also too soon to see it in the data. Right? You know the trajectory of this virus. You come in contact with a person, you don’t show symptoms until three or four days. Then it can be another week before you start to manifest the symptoms, so-

Andrew Cuomo: (18:01)
… manifest the symptoms. That’s why we do the quarantine period for 14 days because 14 days is the relevant timeframe where you would expect to see some result or some outcome, positive or negative, but it’s too soon. Plus, by the way, Andrew, the number only changes if the behavior changes. Next question, operator?

Operator: (18:42)
The next question comes from the line of Chris Carlson from Syracuse Post-Standard. The line is now open.

Chris Carlson: (18:50)
Governor, I know you talked a little bit about the Buffalo Bills and fans about a week ago. I wonder if you’d given any thought on the return of fans to Syracuse University athletic events given to the numbers here seem pretty good.

Andrew Cuomo: (19:03)
Yeah, it’s something we’re looking at, but again, the difference with Buffalo is the NFL has come up with a plan themselves to manage the situation. We haven’t gotten contacted by any other leagues that have done the same where they came up with an affirmative program on how to operate a stadium. If they do, we would be attentive and eager to cooperate. Next question, operator?

Operator: (19:44)
The next question comes from the line of Zack Fink from New York 1. Your line’s now open.

Zack Fink: (19:52)
Hi, Governor, how are you?

Andrew Cuomo: (19:53)
How are you, Zack?

Zack Fink: (19:56)
Good. I’d like to ask you regarding the NYPD’s lack of enforcement in Borough Park on those two nights of unrest. There were videos circulating specifically of Heshy Tischler inciting a crowd to go after Jacob Kornbluh. Are you puzzled as some of us were that there wasn’t an arrest made in that assault or even for setting bonfires in the middle of the street? I mean, people were arrested numerous times over the summer for protest in which they blocked traffic during the Black Lives Matter protest.

Andrew Cuomo: (20:28)
Yeah, look, my position is simple but uniform. Peaceful protest is peaceful protest. Criminal behavior is criminal behavior. Prosecute criminal behavior. NYPD arrest people who are in the midst of criminal behavior. District attorney prosecute a person for criminal behavior. The law is the law, and there is no provision for discretion where a person is clearly violating the law and you decide, “Well, because of the political circumstances, I’m not going to enforce the law.”

Andrew Cuomo: (21:27)
The law does not recognize political circumstances. There is no provision for that in the law. Peaceful protest by the Hasidic community, fine. You’re beating a journalist? Criminal behavior. The person should be arrested. How did we come to a situation where we allow people to be beaten, and also for a DA, you have no discretion to play your politics to dismiss a clear legal violation. Next question, operator?

Operator: (22:18)
Next question comes from the line of Jeff Kulikowsky from NewsChannel 9. Your line’s now open.

Jeff Kulikowsky: (22:24)
Hi, governor. Good morning. How are you?

Andrew Cuomo: (22:28)
Peachy. Peachy, Jeff.

Jeff Kulikowsky: (22:30)
Yeah, my condolences on the loss of Mr. Dwyer and to everybody else on the call who knew him well. He sounded like quite a guy.

Andrew Cuomo: (22:38)
Beautiful guy. What a beauty. It was a rare combination. He was brilliant. He could have done anything. He picked journalism. He had the voice of an Irish poet. I mean, he just wrote beautifully, but he had a common touch where he could put it through a filter that New Yorkers could connect with. He was a character. All these guys were characters. We were working on the MTA and fixing the subway system, so I called him up. I say, “You want to have some fun? Let’s go walk through the subway tunnels and figure out why the drains don’t work.” We had a water buildup in the subway system. They told me it was because the roof was leaking. I said, “Roof is leaking. How is the roof leaking?” It wasn’t that the roof was leaking. It’s that the drains were clogged. The drains were clogged because for 20 years they hadn’t been cleaned. We dispatch the special team of drain clearing. We brought in all these contractors to clean the drains. The drains is a whole very involved system, grades then go into the pipes, pipes going to catch basins.

Andrew Cuomo: (24:15)
I say, “Come on, we’re going to go figure out how to clean the drains.” We’re walking through the subway tunnels, which could be a scene from a bad movie, with these machines and workers cleaning out the sump pumps and the catch basins. You see things in a subway catch basin, Jeff, that you were never supposed to see in life.

Andrew Cuomo: (24:46)
He was so funny. He said, “Oh, the glamor of being governor. If people only knew what it means to be governor. How does the governor clean the drains? He goes down there with a pipe, and he puts it in the sump pump.” We had fun. Then we went up and we had pizza afterwards. We’re sitting in the pizzeria. Anyway, I’m sorry.

Jeff Kulikowsky: (25:16)
No.

Andrew Cuomo: (25:17)
What’s your question?

Jeff Kulikowsky: (25:18)
That’s okay, governor. I was just curious, and I’m not sure that you necessarily have the details on this, but the Syracuse University football team will be hosting Duke this weekend. Duke will be coming up from one of the states on the New York state travel advisory list. I’ve been told by Duke University that that DOH has granted them a travel exemption, but what I’ve been trying to get from DOH for a few weeks now is some of the details as to what goes into that exemption for many of these teams that are either coming from hot states, schools in hot states coming to Syracuse to play them, whether it’s football, field hockey, soccer, et cetera, or these teams traveling to schools that are in hot states around the country.

Jeff Kulikowsky: (26:01)
I don’t know that you would necessarily have the details, but if somebody from DOH could try to get me those details that I’ve been trying to get as to what those exemptions entail because to my understanding, and correct me if I’m wrong, the travel advisory that was put into effect for everybody here in New York State to protect us from that virus coming from hot states.

Andrew Cuomo: (26:21)
Yes. Good question. You’re kind, and you’re right. I don’t have the details. I can explain to you how to clean a drain, but I can’t explain this, but we have Dr. Zucker who’s on the phone. Dr. Zucker, can you explain, please?

Dr. Zucker: (26:35)
Sure, governor. We can get those specific details. We’re asking to be sure that they comply with, obviously, the social distancing, that there’s appropriate testing that is done prior to arrival, that they have basically not been exposed to others, that they follow all the necessary public health precautions. We can get you the specifics to that and lay all the things out, but that is pretty much a good public health practice. They had a-

Speaker 2: (27:03)
It’s pretty much a good public health practice. And they had us sign. Obviously they needed sign a document to follow the guidelines, and they did do that as well.

Andrew Cuomo: (27:08)
Okay. Beth, do you have any more on the specifics of it, Beth Garvey?

Beth Garvey: (27:18)
The Syracuse force has been following the ACC guidelines. Those NCAA guidelines are very similar actually to our professional sports guidelines that we promulgated around the same time that we issued a travel advisory order on June 25th. And that requires testing. It requires separation of the players from the rest of the student population while they are [inaudible 00:00:48]. So whenever Syracuse is going to a quarantine state and then coming back, those players, not only are they being tested and then adhering to extra precaution, but then they are also not permitted to attend in-person classes for a period of two weeks.

Beth Garvey: (28:04)
And so we feel that the protocol that we’ve had in place has been very protective and we’ve not seen any trouble yet throughout their season. And we are very carefully monitoring that in consultation with Syracuse University.

Andrew Cuomo: (28:18)
Operator, let’s take one more question, please.

Operator: (28:21)
Next question comes from [inaudible 00:28:24] from Johnson Newspaper Corporation. Your line is now open.

Speaker 3: (28:28)
Hi Governor. My question is about… I actually have two, but mainly about the school districts, when you’re saying that some are not complying with submitting data. Where are those school districts? Are they in one area or [inaudible 00:28:46] of the state? And why do you feel like that they are not complying with these orders?

Andrew Cuomo: (28:52)
You can go to the dashboard and see exactly who isn’t complying. As I understand, they’re scattered throughout the state. I don’t know why. I’m sure every school district has a separate explanation. They’re in violation of the law. They’re going to get a letter today saying they’re in violation of the law. The parents-

Speaker 3: (29:13)
And the letters.

Andrew Cuomo: (29:15)
The letters. Go ahead.

Speaker 3: (29:17)
I’m sorry. So the letter, it will be an order to comply or else what will happen?

Andrew Cuomo: (29:23)
If they don’t comply, if they’re not publishing their data in violation of the law, they’ll be closed down. We need to know the data to know if they’re operating safely. I told the parents of this state that we will have the data. And if the data shows any problematic situation, we’ll close down the school. If we don’t have the data, then you’re having children walk into a school blind, if you will. And we’re not going to do that. If I can’t tell parents the schools are safe, or if I can’t tell parents, you look at the data and then you make a decision, here’s your school’s data, you make the decision, because I believe it is their decision, then the school is going to close.

Andrew Cuomo: (30:15)
And also it evidences that something is wrong. If a school can’t provide the testing data, it probably means the school isn’t testing. And if the school said they were going to test, and then they’re not testing, that means there’s an issue.

Andrew Cuomo: (30:39)
And the schools all came up with plans. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do this. Yeah, great. It’s easy to come up with a plan. It’s hard to implement it. And the data submission is really the evidence of implementation of the plan. And if they’re not implementing the plan, and if that was the basis upon which parents sent back their children, they should know.

Andrew Cuomo: (31:06)
Last point, and this is an editorial comment, and not a fact comment, and it’s personal. New Yorkers should be outraged by this kind of racist, vitriolic poison that is being spread. Yeah, the Trump campaign is fostering it. I’m not surprised. New Yorkers are repeating it. I am surprised. I am surprised. All good, decent New Yorkers should be outraged. And by the way, it starts with you. Members of the press, I believe, should be outraged because it’s wrong, and it’s not who we are.

Andrew Cuomo: (32:07)
Today’s the last day to register to vote. Please do it. That’s not self-serving. I’m not on the ballot. Thank you. Have a good day.