Jul 1, 2020
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo July 1 Press Conference Transcript
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo held a press briefing on July 1. Cuomo announced that the state is expanding COVID-19 testing to all New Yorkers, and indoor dining in NYC is on hold. Read the full news briefing speech transcript with all updates here.
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Andrew Cuomo: (00:00)
Pleasure to be back in New York City. Everybody knows to my right, Melissa de Rosa. To my left, Dr. Howard Zucker, health commissioner extraordinaire. Let’s talk about where we are today in the state, in the world, in the country, in the cosmos. Fact: we’re in the middle of a national crisis, and we have to be careful. We have to be careful. We have dark clouds on the horizon, and we’ve made tremendous progress. We’ve been through hell and back, but this is not over, and this can still rear its ugly head anywhere in this nation and in this state. We’re seeing troubling signs across the country that we should be concerned about, and I am concerned about them.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:05)
The situation across the country is getting worse. It’s not getting better. 35 states now see increasing COVID infection rates, Dr. Fauci, Who tends to be a voice of reason, now says he wouldn’t be surprised if he sees 100,000 cases a day. All they’re doing, all these models are doing is they’re extrapolating from the facts they see today, okay? That’s a very important point to understand. I didn’t understand that in the beginning. I thought they were projecting like a weather forecast. Weather is nice today, but we project it’s going to be bad on Friday. That’s not what these projections do. They say, given your numbers today, if you just factor out your spread and rate numbers, this is what’s going to happen. So they’re taking your situation today, and they’re saying by where you are today, this is what’s going to happen. So when Dr. Fauci says the death rates could go up to 100,000 per day, he’s saying by the current rate of increase, it could go to 100,000 a day. That, my friends, is frightening.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:38)
You look at where this country is compared to the European Union, which is the great irony. They had it first. We got it from them and didn’t know it. That’s the story of New York. They are now on the decline. We’re on the incline, and they have then a travel ban against us. Think about how ironic that is. They had it. They sent it to us. They dealt with it. We’re going up higher, and now they ban us. Look at what’s going on around this nation, and these are facts. It’s not editorial comment. Facts. Texas. Oh, there’s no problem, no virus. This is all a democratic delusion. Oh, the cases are going up. That’s only because the testing is going up. Really? Then why are more people going into hospitals? People don’t go into hospitals unless more people are getting sick. Fact: Arizona, states that were in denial, right? That underestimated the virus, now they’re all singing a different tune. Now, they’re all starting to say, “We better take this seriously. We better start wearing masks.” They’re going backwards on their reopening plan, which is just what we talked about happening. You were in the room many times. I said, “If you reopen too fast, what’s going to wind up happening is you’re going to have to close, and then that’s going to be the worst situation. It’s going to be the worst for the economy. It’s going to be worse for people, and you’re going to lose more people in the meantime.” That is exactly what is happening. States are now having to roll back their reopening plan.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:05)
Fact: The buck stops on the president’s desk. That is a fact. That’s what it means to be the president of the United States. The buck stops on my desk. In this state, the buck stops on my desk. I am the governor of the state. It stops on my desk. It doesn’t just stop on the president’s desk because he’s the president. This is also the words that came out of his mouth. He was in denial of the COVID virus from day one. It’s just the flu. It’s going to go away. It’s going to be a miracle. It’s not going up. It’s only the testing that is going up. He denied the of this situation from day one. ” Reopen right away. Reopen right away. Liberate those states. I had all the demonstrations every day. Liberate, liberate, liberate. You’re artificially keeping the economy closed. There’s no reason.” That came from him.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:20)
You know what’s funny in this country? Sometimes if the president speaks, people listen. Even if the president is Trump, sometimes they listen, and those Republican governors listened, and a lot of Republicans listened and won’t wear a mask. He’s holding rallies, bringing thousands of people together in close quarters, no masks. What signal did that send to the American people? “Couldn’t be a problem. Here’s the president of the United States bring you thousands of people together, no masks. Can’t be a problem. If it was a problem, the president wouldn’t do it.” Wrong. Buck stops on his desk, and it’s what came out of his mouth. He denied the reality of the virus.
Andrew Cuomo: (07:19)
Well, you know what, Mr. President? Reality wins every time. You don’t defeat reality. Denying reality does not defeat reality, and he has lived in denial and he has been denying the scientific facts from day one. He has been denying what every health expert in the United States of America was saying. He denied what his own CDC said. His CDC, when they first projected this March 13th, said at a minimum two million people would be hospitalized. At a minimum. His CDC. You know how many two million is? The nation only has 900,000 hospital beds, and they said two million would require hospitalization. Look at what they were saying. The Peter Navarro memo in late January: one million could die. He denied it at all. Denied his science advisors, denied the CDC, denied Dr. Fauci, denied them all.
Andrew Cuomo: (08:45)
Reality wins and reality won, and now the country is suffering because of the present, and it’s time for him to change course. “When you’re in a hole, stop digging.” Will Rogers. It’s time for the president to actually tell the truth. The first thing he can do? Come clean with the American people, admit the threat of this virus. Admit you were wrong. It’s not an admission. Everybody knows you were wrong. It doesn’t cost you anything. At least have the courage to admit what everybody else already knows you were wrong, and send a message to this nation that we have to mobilize our citizens, we have to mobilize our government, and we have to start doing something about this. And you want to take one easy step that will send a powerful message? Put a mask on it. Put a mask on it. Next time you’re smiling at the camera, put a mask on it, Mr. President. It’s the best thing he could do.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:10)
Meantime, New York state is doing great. On the numbers, we’re doing great, but I feel that there are storm clouds on the horizon. You look at our numbers today, they’re still great. 879 hospitalizations. That’s four straight days on the 900, lowest five day average since we started the nightmare. Number of deaths is 11. We don’t want to see anyone die, but the highest was 800, and 11 is just about as low as it’s ever been. The three day average on number of deaths, we had 10, eight, eight, and 11, so that’s headed in the right direction. We did 56,000 tests yesterday. Positive rate of 1.1, which is also very good news.
Andrew Cuomo: (11:03)
You look at all across the regions, the numbers are all solid and the numbers are all steady. You look even within the city of New York, the numbers are good and the numbers are steady. We don’t see any red flags anywhere. We have the data fully analyzed every day. Remember the key to what we are doing is the testing. People talked about that from day one. Nobody really did it to the level we’re doing it, but we just finished four million tests in New York. We only have 19 million people in New York, so it is an extraordinary number of tests, and that’s what’s been guiding us.
Andrew Cuomo: (11:49)
This is extraordinary to me, but I have a weird sense of what’s extraordinary. New York state is doing more tests per capita than any nation on the globe. Look at that chart. South Korea, Canada, UK, rest of the U.S. states, Italy, and look at how many of the state of New York is testing per capita. That’s the key to our success. If you test, you will find people who are positive, and if you find people who are positive, you then have the tracing in place. You can find out where they got it. You can isolate them and you reduce the spread. That’s how it works. That’s what we always said, it worked. We just had to make it work, which was the challenge, right? You want to lose weight? Eat less, exercise more. Simple formula. You will lose weight. Caveat: that eating less is hard. That exercise every day, that’s a pain in the neck. But you want to manage the COVID virus? Test, trace, masks, social distance. That’s the formula. Hard to do.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:28)
We now have 750 testing sites across the state. Think about setting up 750 testing sites. They never existed before. Hard, but we did it. We’re now expanding our testing criteria. We have so increased our testing capacity that we can expand our testing criteria. We prioritized testing criteria in the beginning, if you remember. People who were exposed to a positive person, people who were essential workers, people who are in nursing homes, we prioritized it. We never put members of the press on the priority list, nothing personal. We are now opening testing to all New Yorkers. We have that much capacity. All New Yorkers can now go get a test, and what I’m saying to all New Yorkers today is go get a test. It doesn’t cost you anything. It doesn’t hurt. I did a test. I’ve done a number of tests. I did a test on TV. I didn’t flinch. I cried afterwards, but on TV, I didn’t flinch. It doesn’t hurt. Take a test, and it’s now open to everyone. Capitol region enters phase four today. New York City …
Andrew Cuomo: (15:02)
New York City, we have new problems. These are the storm clouds I was talking about. What we have done from Day One is we have been smart about what we did in handling COVID. What does that mean? It means we didn’t get political, we didn’t get emotional, we didn’t get hysterical, we didn’t panic. We were smart. We did what we had to do, testing, tracing, et cetera, and also we anticipated future issues. If you’re only dealing with the issue you have in front of you, you’re going to lose. You have to anticipate the issue coming down the pipe, and you have to get ahead of it.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:53)
In the beginning I was always saying this virus has been ahead of us and we’re reacting, we’re always reacting to the virus. The virus did this, now we have to scramble. The virus did this, now we have to scramble. You never win that way. You have to get ahead of the virus. So what we now do is we anticipate what could happen and anticipate the issue before it happens. In hockey, they talk about … Ice hockey, they talk about skate … Don’t skate to where the puck is, skate to where the puck is going to be. Anticipate and get ahead of it. That’s what we’ve been doing with the COVID virus. Factor forward what’s going to happen, how do we get there. Stay ahead of the virus and we have to stay ahead of the virus.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:50)
Citizen compliance is slipping. That is a fact. That is a fact. Look at pictures. Look at any street in Manhattan. Go to the East Village, go to the West Side, go to Brooklyn, go to Queens, go to the Bronx, citizen compliance is slipping. I get it, I understand it. Been inside a long time, the weather is warm, I miss my friends. Governor says everything is good, governor says everything is good. I bring a mask, I don’t really wear it. I do that chin move, you know the chin move. Feel good that I have my mask. Doesn’t do anything. I get why the compliance is slipping, but it is a very real problem.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:45)
Even if you are young people and even if the compliance is slipping among young people, young people can get sick. Look around the country, look at the places where young people are getting sick and they’re now sitting in ICU beds. That was old information and bad information that young people don’t get sick and young people can infect older people inadvertently. You can go home, see an aunt, see your parents. You can walk past someone, have a conversation. You infect older people. Older people can die. That’s what we’re talking about. So even if you want to risk your own young life because you believe you’re immune and you’re a superhero, why would you risk someone else’s life? That’s a problem.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:47)
Second problem, government is supposed to be enforcing compliance. That is the governmental role and that is not happening to a sufficient basis. I have said from Day One, we have been clear from Day One, local governments don’t have any legal authority to determine opening, reopening of schools, businesses, restaurants, offices. That’s not what the local governments do. That’s a function of state government. All the openings and all the re-openings. They’re done all by the state government. Every country in the state of New York, every city in the state of New York, that’s my job. Their job, local government’s job, testing, tracing, enforcement of compliance, enforcement of compliance, enforcement of compliance. That is their main job.
Andrew Cuomo: (20:12)
I take all the abuse for the opening and the reopening. Too slow, too fast. I don’t have a problem with that. They had one job. Testing, tracing, and enforce the compliance. They must do it. If you have citizen compliance dropping and you don’t have local governments enforcing, then you’re going to see the virus go up, period. One plus one equals two. One plus one equals two, and you see it. If you open your eyes, you see the citizen compliance slipping, you see government compliance not correcting it. What’s going to happen? The virus is going to spread. It’s that simple. It’s that clear. That is the reality. The virus spreads, we’re back to the mountain. Some of you weren’t here yesterday. I’m going to bring my mountain back, just to remind you of what happens. I left the mountain in Albany. My bad. I’m bringing the mountain back. Citizens slip, local government doesn’t comply, we’re back to the mountain. That is what is going to happen and that is an inarguable fact. The state is going to create its own enforcement capacity to supplement the local government’s enforcement but I do not have the resources, the personnel, to do this statewide. We have state police, we have health inspectors, we have state and local authority, but there are 500 police departments in this state. 500 police departments. I cannot supplement 500 police departments. So the local governments have to do their job.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:39)
Second problem, second storm cloud, we know the virus is increasing, we have 16 states that are now quarantined from New York. Last week it was only eight. Now it’s 16. We don’t pick the states, we have a rate of infection and if a state is above that rate of infection then they’re quarantined. 16 states. That’s how fast the infection is spreading. Chances are, whatever we do, people from those 16 states are going to make their way here and that’s how we got infected the first time. We got infected by people coming from Europe through our airports. Now we can get infected by people coming from Florida, Arizona, other states through our airports. Our infection rate is low. We know that. How does it go up? People come in from the outside or we start to get lack of discipline on the inside.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:53)
Phase three dining, we are going to postpone, and it’s going to be postponed until the facts change and it is prudent to open, but the facts have to change, because at this point, it is imprudent. Everything else is going to continue. Everything else is continuing all across the state. This is a New York City only modification because frankly it’s a problem that is most pronounced in New York City. Capital Region today goes to Phase Four, all the numbers are good across the state, but we do have a problem in New York City, and again, it’s partially the other states going up and we’re worried about that and it’s partially lack of citizen compliance and lack of local government compliance enforcement. I’ve asked the people to do it 157 times. I understand they’re getting bored. I’ve told government that is their job, and I’ve told them do your job. If they don’t, those two things happen, the virus goes up, period.
Andrew Cuomo: (25:27)
We’re also urging people to wear masks. We have a number of national franchises that are agreeing to have their stores wear masks in the states where it’s appropriate, so this is not just a New York thing, wear a mask. We were the most aggressive on masks, we were the first on masks. California just went to masks like last week, believe it or not. So we did it right and these national manufacturers are now joining with us. We’ve been following the facts and following the data and it’s working. We did the impossible, we went from worst infection rate in the United States to best infection rate in the United States. Isn’t that amazing what New Yorkers did? I mean it’s really incredible when you think about it. We have offered our help to states across the nation who may need it. Stay New York tough, smart, united, disciplined. Most of all loving. Loving. We loving today? Are we feeling loving? If you’re loving you will ask no questions.
Speaker 1: (26:47)
Absolutely we will. So indoor dining screeches to a pause.
Speaker 1: (26:53)
That’s a heartbreaker for the economy as you know and so what aspect of it has to do with the air conditioning? Because if that’s true, mall merchants and restaurant owners feel that’s a haphazard applying of concern about air conditioning. Is that a factor?
Andrew Cuomo: (27:11)
Air conditioning filtration could be a benefit, can’t be a hurt, can’t be a negative, it can only be ave, but it’s not determinative in any way. They have done studies on air conditioners and they have filters that are effective at filtering out the COVID virus or if not the COVID virus the droplets that carry the virus, but this is just an added benefit. It’s not determinative one way or the other. We are just trying to do everything we can and on the strategy of do everything you can, if you find an air conditioning filter that can help, then recommend it and I recommended it. You do see across the country by the way more and more data that says they’re having problems in places, indoor places with air conditioning because you’re recirculating the air, right? Outside is better, you have more air coming through, moving droplets, et cetera.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:24)
The indoor space poses the opposite. You’re recirculating the air, and now it gets very technical very fast. When you recirculate, how much new air are you adding, and are you really just recirculating because if you’re recirculating existing air and there’s somebody who is COVID positive in that air and then that air is recirculating, well that’s not a good thing. When it recirculates and it goes through the air condition/HVAC filter, does it actually get filtered? If not, people are sitting there just breathing the same recirculated air, right? Analogy given to me, I don’t know if it’s correct, they say people tend to spread illnesses on airplanes because there’s a high degree of recirculation of the air. So if there’s something in the air and you’re recirculating the air, that’s a problem.
Andrew Cuomo: (29:24)
I agree, I wouldn’t use the word haphazard, but air conditioners, air conditioning filters will not be the be-all and end-all, but they might be beneficial, and if they might be beneficial, why not do it?
Speaker 1: (29:39)
Governor, just one thing about the restaurants that just feel on the brink. What can you tell them, maybe say weeks … THey’re just really going to want to know are you talking days, weeks, months?
Andrew Cuomo: (29:52)
It depends on what they do also, right? This is the beautiful but the unique characteristic of all of
Andrew Cuomo: (30:03)
The unique characteristic of all of this is… I’m not making these decisions. We are making these decisions. It depends on what we do. It depends on what they do. We have to reduce the concentration and gatherings of people. I get it’s hard, but citizens have to do it, number one. Number two, establishments can help. You’re selling a beer to go, and you see 25 people hanging out in front. Okay, they’re your patrons, but you can help. You can say, “Come on, guys. Do me a favor. Move along. This isn’t helpful.” Local government has to step up and do their job.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:57)
It is dependent on what we do. Going back to the silly weight loss… When am I going to lose 10 pounds? It depends on what I do. Well, can you tell me if it’s going to be a week or two weeks? It’s purely in my control, but I don’t know how disciplined I’m going to be. I don’t know exactly how disciplined I’m going to stay to my exercise, et cetera. If citizens comply, if businesses help us with it, if the local government steps up and does the enforcement, then we’ll be in good shape.
Governor, any update on the metrics that would show whether the quarantine has been effective, whether it’s how many out-of-state visitors are subject to quarantine or anything else?
Andrew Cuomo: (31:47)
Well, we have not had a person test positive who has come in post quarantine. Yes.
I’m sorry, governor. Just to follow up, you say that nobody’s tested positive, but how many people have actually been tested that have recently visited out of state?
Andrew Cuomo: (32:14)
I can get you the denominator. We do random. We do 60,000-about tests per day. Many of them are random. If you’re walking down the street, you could get tested. Most importantly, if you came from Florida, and you got sick while you were here, you would go to a hospital or you would go to a clinic. Then we would know if you were positive. Then we would know where you were from because then they have to contact trace you. They would pull your record, and they’d see you just came from Florida.
Just to be sure, the state does not actually have available data to show one way or another whether out-of-state visitors are actually being tracked, like how effective-
Andrew Cuomo: (33:01)
No, we are tracking. I told you the other day. We’re working with the airlines for them to give passengers upon landing a slip where you have to fill out who you are, where you are, where you’re coming from, where you’re going. They’ll be collected by the Port Authority. They’re being entered into a database. We then do random checks off that database to find out where you are. Are you in a home? What is the home? Let me check the number. Let me call you back. From the isolation quarantine protocol, they can ask you to Facebook, show the surroundings of the room that you’re in to make sure it’s a residence. Then when they call you back, it has to be the same surroundings. That is all in process.
Governor, you said that indoor dining would be postponed until the facts change. What exactly don’t you know right now that you’d like to know in order to make a decision on that? Because presumably, this could go on until there’s a vaccine. What factors here are we talking about?
Andrew Cuomo: (34:13)
We need to see better compliance by citizens. We need to see either citizens comply better, or the local governments do a better job on compliance. We would like to see the viral spread across the nation at least stabilizing, that we’re not in outbreak status.
Just to confirm, this only applies for New York city, not the rest of the state.
Andrew Cuomo: (34:44)
Only in New York City. This is a New York city specific issue. Other states… We just did Capital Region with the phase four. Now we have had compliance issues all across the state. It is a natural phenomenon where people are saying, “I have to get out of the house because my mental health is in jeopardy.” The local governments, the establishments, even people, by the way, have been policing this. You see a congregation. I was in another city that will be nameless. I was stopped at a light. I’m looking out the window. There’s four or five young people talking to each other, no masks. Somebody walks by with a mask, gives them an earful. I mean, an earful. They disband and walked away.
Andrew Cuomo: (35:50)
I’ve seen places where store owners come out and say, “You can’t do that here. Don’t do that in front of my store. You have to move along.” I’ve seen aggressive police officers who get out of their car and say, “You guys have to move along. Where’s your mask? You’re violating the mask law.” The phenomenon happens, but we have not had the lack of compliance coupled with the lack of government enforcement in New York City. It’s much worse here.
If recirculated air and air conditioning is one of the major problems, then… I mean, that’s happening in restaurants in Buffalo, in Rochester, Albany. Why wouldn’t this apply to other jurisdictions in the state?
Andrew Cuomo: (36:41)
Look, you’re not going to solve that problem. You’re not going to solve indoor dining. You’re not going to solve at least indoor areas, don’t have outside air. That is not going to be fixed, by definition. If you are indoors, you have recirculated air. That’s true for every department store. That’s true for a grocery store. That’s true across the board. That is not what is stopping us, right? It’s the density in those places. It’s the amount of time you’re in those places and the proximity. You go to a store now. You go to a grocery store. That’s a closed environment. That’s recirculated air, but they keep you moving. They control how many people are there. You’re there for a limited period of time. Your proximity is measured.
Andrew Cuomo: (37:44)
Indoor dining… You’re sitting there. You’re there for an hour. You have your mask down a lot because it’s hard to eat with your mask. It’s hard to drink with your mask. I don’t care how good you are. You’re sitting with the same people in proximity for a long period of time. You have had situations where one bar, restaurant has caused dozens of infections. That is inherent in indoor dining. The air conditioning filters… Put that aside. That’s just a possible added benefit that we’re exploring. It’s not going to be a major consequence one way or the other, but maybe it could help. In the situation we’re in, we’re looking for help anywhere we can, right?
Andrew Cuomo: (38:40)
One time we spent a lot of time exploring, what was the most effective hand sanitizer, right, at killing viruses? On the theory of, you do everything you can… That’s the air filters, but I wouldn’t get overly carried away with it. I’m looking for less citizen compliance, and local government enforcement of compliance, and stabilization of the national rate. Zach asked about the quarantine. We are not going to be 100% effective keeping people from 16 states from coming to New York.
Andrew Cuomo: (39:19)
First of all, you can’t even keep people who want to come in illegally from coming in right now. If you want to really come into the state, you can drive. You drive. You don’t go through an airport. You don’t go through anything. People will come. People come here to visit. They come here to do business, et cetera. You’re going to get a lot of people coming from those other places. If those other places continue on this pandemic increase, you’re going to get more people here with the virus. That is going to happen. Now that’s going to open up a new front where you will have thousands of people with the virus coming to your state after you just spent all this time monitoring your closed environment. 4 million tests, right? We tested almost one fifth of all people. We have the infection rate down to 1%. Yes, that works until you drop a new person into the state. One person at the Westchester graduation, 13 cases.
Shifting gears quickly… New York City Council yesterday, or earlier today, approved a budget which shifts about a billion dollars from the New York Police Department. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on that. Do you think they went too far? Do you think they hit it just right? Do you think they could have done more?
Andrew Cuomo: (41:00)
Okay. This is important. We’re taking a billion dollars out of the NYPD budget. I don’t know what it means. Well, they have a billion dollars less. What does that mean? Does it mean I’m less safe? Where did you take the billion dollars from? Does it mean I’m more safe? Does it have any effect on police abuse? I don’t know what it means, Luis. We’re going to paint Black Lives Matter on the street in front of Trump’s headquarters. Great. Great. I said from day one, “I stand with the protesters.” I said from day one, “I stand with Black Lives Matter.” I said, “Great, what this nation has done standing up after Mr. Floyd’s murder. Great, what this world has done standing up after Mr. Floyd’s murder.”
Andrew Cuomo: (42:09)
Parenthetical, I’m sorry it took so long. Why couldn’t we have done this after Eric Garner six years ago? Why couldn’t we have done it after Rodney King 30 years ago? Took a long time, but we here now. Great. Send that message to Mr. Trump. Black Lives Matter. Excessive force has to stop. Using the National Guard to stop protestors has to stop. Having the Attorney General of the United States come out to be an advance man to clear a crowd so the president can do a photo op in front of a church holding up a Bible has to stop. Great. Tell every police department in the United States of America, “Enough is enough.” What happened in Atlanta, enough is enough. Great, great, great. You know what’s better? Do something. Do something.
Are you saying it wouldn’t be consequential? The one billion dollar shift?
Andrew Cuomo: (43:24)
Do something. You know where you start? Start at home. You know where change starts? Change starts with the person in the mirror. NYPD… Change the NYPD. Change it, but we took money from them. Well, what does that do? The problem is bigger than that. The problem is worse than that. There is no respect and trust between the community and the police. That’s what’s going on. If you don’t have respect and trust, you have nothing. It does not work. It’s like a marriage. No respect, no trust… It doesn’t work. One person of the marriage says, “It’s not working for me.” You know what it means? It’s not working. Now the other one say, “Well, it’s working for me. May not be working for you, but it’s not working for me.”
Andrew Cuomo: (44:26)
Yes, I know. It doesn’t work that way. The community has said the relationship with the police department doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work for the community, it doesn’t work. What do you have to do? You have to redesign the whole relationship. The police department was designed 50 years ago. Totally different mindset, there’s totally different culture, totally different society. Well, the police is what the police are. No, it’s not. You know what the police system is? Whatever…
Andrew Cuomo: (45:03)
It’s not. You know what the police system is? Whatever the community wants it to be. Police department was not formed in the Bible. And God said, this shall be the formation of the police department. Police department is paid for by the taxpayers. They decide what they want. There is no given, it’s not written in stone.
Andrew Cuomo: (45:24)
So NYPD, what do you want it to be? “Well, I want it to be a billion less.” What does that mean? Sit down at the table. Bring the NYPD, bring the community activists, bring the council, bring all the politicians. Start with a blank piece of paper. We want to design the NYPD.
Andrew Cuomo: (45:52)
Any questions? “Yeah, yeah, I have a question.” What? “I don’t want to call it NYPD. I want to call it the New York Community Safety Council.” All right, let’s discuss this.
Andrew Cuomo: (46:09)
All right, second point. What functions do we want it to do? “I don’t want them arresting mentally ill people. I don’t want them arresting substance abuse people. This is what the use of force should be. I want them to demilitarized.” Okay. What does that mean? ” I don’t want them using armored vehicles. I don’t want them wearing black SWAT equipment.”
Andrew Cuomo: (46:39)
Redesign the NYPD. Painting slogans on streets, I support it. Cities all across the nation is doing it. Protests, I support it. You know what I support more? Do something. Make change, make change.
Andrew Cuomo: (47:02)
I went to every pride parade, every Stonewall celebration for years. You know what was better? When I passed marriage equality, I allowed same sex couples to marry. Why? Because that took the energy and brought change.
Andrew Cuomo: (47:28)
I had many protests about income inequality. I wrote a lot of op-ed articles about income inequality. You know what was better? Passing $15 minimum wage.
Andrew Cuomo: (47:40)
I did a lot of speeches about access to education and access to higher education, and how that’s the great equalizer. You know what was better? When I passed free college tuition.
Andrew Cuomo: (47:55)
The first step of the protest is just the raising the issue, and generating energy around the issue. Now you’re in government. Now it’s about making the actual change. Not just saying to the protestors, “I’m with you. I’m with you. I feel you.” Yeah, that’s nice.
Andrew Cuomo: (48:24)
Do something, make the change, improve the situation. You have this great moment of potential. Everybody’s saying change. “Well, I don’t really want to make the change because that’s complicated.” What do you mean? “Then I’m going to have the police over here saying this. I’m going to have the activist saying this. That’s a tough conversation.”
Andrew Cuomo: (48:52)
Welcome to government. Can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. You’re exactly right. It’s going to be a hard conversation. I passed marriage equality, Catholic Church said [inaudible 00:49:09], whatever they said. Yeah, I know. There’s going to be opposition, but that’s how we make change.
Andrew Cuomo: (49:16)
To spur the change, I said, state executive order, 500 police departments, every police department must start a collaborative process with the community, with the police, redesign the police department and pass a law on the new plan of the police department by April, or they don’t get state funds.
Andrew Cuomo: (49:52)
“Why did you do that?” Because I knew they were not going to have a real conversation. I wanted to create the vehicle, where they have to have the real conversation.
Andrew Cuomo: (50:03)
All you had to say was, “You must have a collaborative. They must be in the room. You must start with a blank piece of paper. You must answer the following questions: What is your use of force policy? What does it mean to demilitarize the police? How many staff does it need? What functions do you want it to perform? What should the budget be? What do you mean by defund the police?” And do that in every one of the 500 police departments.
Andrew Cuomo: (50:40)
Then get it passed by the council. So it’s not just, the mayor thinks this, here’s a nice policy paper report. It has to be passed into law. That’s how you seize the moment. 500 police departments, because the police department is a little different everywhere. What Buffalo wants is different what NYPD wants.
Andrew Cuomo: (51:02)
If I were you, when I was a reporter, and they said, “I cut the budget a billion dollars,” you know what I would have said? “What does that mean? What does that mean? State passed an executive order saying you have to redesign it. Is that the redesign? How did you change it? Does that affect use of force policy? Does that affect demilitarization?
Andrew Cuomo: (51:32)
” Does that affect taking a club and knocking a person to the ground? Does it do that? Does that affect the civilian review board? Does that affect how a complaint is filed? Does that affect training? Does that affect hiring a more diverse workforce? What did it do?” That’s what I would have done, if I was a reporter.
Reporter 1: (51:59)
The process and the approach [inaudible 00:52:00] sounds like it would take a lot longer, than the change that the protesters and everyone out in the streets nationwide have been calling for; they want immediate change. I think the mayor and others might be making the case, that this is what the starting point might be.
Andrew Cuomo: (52:17)
First of all, it must be done in nine months. Must. Must. Because, that aligns with the budget. Can be done in nine days. Can be done in nine days.
Reporter 1: (52:34)
Then, just [inaudible 00:52:35]- [crosstalk 00:52:35]
Andrew Cuomo: (52:35)
No, they could do a whole plan. If I’m you, if I’m a community activist, I say “We haven’t even started talking about the new plan for the police.” “Well, they cut a billion dollars.” So what? Does that mean? They’re not going to beat protesters. Does that mean they’re not going to drive them over with a car? What did that actually change? The protesters are saying, “I want a new police department. I want all this stopped. Use of force policy, demilitarized, bias training, deescalation, that’s what we want addressed.” That’s what the protests are about. The protests are not about reduce the budget.
Andrew Cuomo: (53:24)
They meant reduce the budget, defund the police, provide more money to other services. Because it’s really about mental health, it’s really about substance abuse. Stop locking up mentally ill people. Stop locking up substance abusers. Get them treatment, not a jail cell. That’s what they were saying.
Andrew Cuomo: (53:49)
Come on. They want real, smart change. And you haven’t had a discussion on it. “Well, they’re going to cut the budget.” And what does that accomplish? “Well, less money for the state police.” Does it reduce the number of personnel? “Well, they have to figure that out.”
Andrew Cuomo: (54:15)
Does it change the use of force policy? Are they going to stop beating people? Does it do anything under immunity? Does it make the complaint process faster or more transparent? What does it do, to change anything that we’ve been protesting about for a month?
Andrew Cuomo: (54:35)
Would it have saved George Floyd’s life? Would it have saved Eric Garner’s life? Come on. Last question.
Reporter 2: (54:48)
Thank you, Governor. My question is, will you help make sure that Mayor de Blasio is making a plea with you, or with President Trump? We know President Trump is not going to help. It reminds me of the plea you were making a few months ago to the federal government. Now, he says that if by October he doesn’t have state funds, he’s going to lay off 52,000 [inaudible 00:10:17]. So, will you help him?
Andrew Cuomo: (55:22)
The federal government must provide funding for state and local governments. I have a $14 billion deficit. I talk to governors all day long. Every state has a tremendous deficit. Every city has a tremendous deficit. The federal government has to be of help.
Andrew Cuomo: (55:42)
The reason the federal government, I believe, will be of help, not out of altruism or charity, or because they’re just a bunch of good guys. But because there is no study that has ever shown the national economy to come back after a situation like this, without state and local governments functioning.
Andrew Cuomo: (56:05)
If they don’t fund state and local governments, you’re going to see massive layoffs all across the country. That’s going to hurt the economy. And that’s why they’re going to fund state and local governments. My guess is, they do it by the end of July, if I had a crystal ball.
Andrew Cuomo: (56:23)
Prayer works. Thank you guys.
Reporter 3: (56:30)
This may sound silly, but I’m going to ask it anyway. Does the [inaudible 00:56:31] go to toilet lids? Many health paper says, closing the lids before flushing it is the key to survive the virus. So, I visit so many [inaudible 00:56:51] corona can hide in toilet seat, including the state building, and including your toilets here, do not carry the lids. Would you-
Andrew Cuomo: (57:06)
Reporter 3: (57:07)
Andrew Cuomo: (57:09)
Do lidless toilets promote COVID virus. Can I tell you something? I have done probably 300 hours of public briefings, and receive 59 million viewers just on the internet, watching the briefings, and they send me a lot of questions. I think this is the first time I have been truly stumped by a question.
Andrew Cuomo: (57:49)
I understand why you would close the lid on the toilet. But if you have a lidless toilet, what do you do? I really feel ashamed, but I do not know. I don’t even know where to start with this question.
Andrew Cuomo: (58:10)
Luckily, that’s why I bring my able Health Commissioner with me, because not only is he a great medical doctor, but he is up on all public health and hygiene issues, including appropriate facilities. Dr. Zucker.
Dr. Zucker : (58:31)
I’m not a plumber. But I will tell you a couple of things. One is, that the virus can spread through fecal contamination, and you should keep the lid down.
Dr. Zucker : (58:40)
On the issue of lidless toilets, so now you, let’s say, have multiple stalls. So people are suggesting that you distance, even there it’s there. So, if someone’s in one stall, not to use the middle one, to go over to the next stall for those lidless toilets.
Dr. Zucker : (58:52)
But the toilet covers should be down, independent of what your spouse says or whatever.
Andrew Cuomo: (58:57)
Excuse me. Can I follow up on that question? Are you saying that there’s, socially distance should also be carried forward into a lavaratory sense?
Dr. Zucker : (59:11)
The recommendation is sort of like, you should be away from… like, if someone’s in one stall, and they’re going to flush that stall, and the worry is that things, will- [crosstalk 00:14:20].
Andrew Cuomo: (59:20)
Make a note, you heard it here first. Thank you guys.
Dr. Zucker : (59:23)
… further apart.
Reporter 4: (59:24)
What’s the status on reopening schools?
Speaker 2: (59:24)