Jul 6, 2020

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo July 6 Press Conference Transcript

Andrew Cuomo Press Conference July 6
RevBlogTranscriptsAndrew Cuomo TranscriptsNY Governor Andrew Cuomo July 6 Press Conference Transcript

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo held a press briefing on July 6. Cuomo said Trump should wear masks in public appearances. Read the full news briefing speech transcript with all updates here.


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Governor Andrew Cuomo: (00:00)
Smiling socially distanced faces. Beautiful day in New York City. Let’s talk about where we are today. Day 128. Everybody knows Melissa DeRosa to my right, Secretary to the Governor, Gareth Rhodes to my left, Deputy Superintendent, Special Counsel at Department of Financial Services. And he’s been working on COVID crisis for 128 days. Total number of hospitalizations, 817. That is the lowest number since March 18th. Okay? So that is very good news. We have the five day results by region and all the regions are performing well. You see a little blip up, a little blip down day to day, that’s really not of concern. You want to watch the rolling average which is all good. Also the numbers we get on Sunday are always a little bit skewed for some reason but that’s been going on since we started. You look within New York City, again you see the variance among different boroughs but the numbers are all good. So that’s good.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:20)
Best news. Number of lives lost and we’re down to nine, it’s unimaginable at one time that we would be this low. Obviously you don’t want to even see nine. You don’t want eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. But this is great, great news. The rolling average for number of lives lost is nine yesterday. We did 54,000 tests yesterday. On average, we do about 60,000 tests per day. It’s highest testing rate in the nation. 0.95 positive. We normally run about one, one one and one two, somewhere in that range. So that’s all good. So what does this mean? What it means is since we started reopening which was May 15th, we started our phased openings. The numbers have actually declined since we started reopening. Okay, you see that gold line under May 15th. That’s where we were when we started reopening. Every expert warned us on the reopening that you could see the numbers start to go up, right? Because you were increasing activity.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (02:50)
Our premise was you could moderate the activity so you could start the reopening but monitor the number of cases and control the phased reopening to keep the number of cases down and that’s just what we’ve done for the past seven weeks. So we’re actually down from where we were when we started reopening, which as you remember no one predicted. The question was, when you start reopening activity will go up, number of cases will go up, can you control the increase? That was the question. We haven’t needed to control the increase. We’ve actually had a slight decline and now we’re basically running flat. And that is great news. That is really great news. And it’s what we said from day one with my great graphic that nobody liked at the time, I originally did it and nobody still likes, but I like it so sometimes it’s nice to be governor. You have a valve, control the activity and watch, monitor the valves to see if the infection rate is going up, the hospitalization rate is going up, and keep your hand on the valve. And you see it start to go up, slow down the valve.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (04:18)
If you don’t see the numbers going up, then you can open up the economic activity valve. And that’s what we’ve been doing. And that’s what you see with these little corrections. So New York City goes into phase three, but no indoor dining, right? So we have the phases and then we have certain adjustments that we make to the phases. But the numbers show you that we are right where we want to be. New York City goes into phase three today, no indoor dining, but there are rules on phase three, right? It doesn’t mean go out and have a party. We have 50% occupancy for personal care services. You have to wear face coverings, customers wear face coverings, six foot distance, prohibited services that require removal of face coverings such as facials, you can’t get a facial. I did that against my own self interest. I was supposed to get a facial today. Close the waiting rooms. Employees providing services must be tested every 14 days. So there are rules.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (05:26)
Tomorrow is phase four for Westchester, Rockland, Hudson Valley. Long Island is on track for phase four on Wednesday. Their numbers are all good. School reopenings, just to make sure there’s no confusion. There were 700 school districts in the state. The state has directed all 700 school districts to come up with a plan on how they would reopen, because there’s two levels of discussion. Should they reopen? And then if they reopen, what does a reopened school look like in the quote unquote new normal? Right? So we’ve asked every school district to come up with a plan on what reopening would look like in your district. New York City is coming up with a plan pursuant to that request on what it would look like to reopen the New York City school system in September. But there has been no decision yet as to whether or not we are reopening schools. We obviously very much would like to. Nobody even knows the effect that this is going to have on students, socialization of young students et cetera.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (06:44)
We want kids back in school for a number of reasons but we’re not going to say children should go back to school until we know it’s safe, right? And we have some time. This is a very fluid situation. When we get the data, we will make a decision. In the meantime, I’m telling all school districts to come up with a reopening plan. But we don’t yet know if we are going to reopen and we’ll follow the data and we’ll make a decision on the data. The Department of Health is also working on this. So every school district is coming up with a plan to reopen. That doesn’t mean they are reopening, okay? Nuance sometimes is important, not often, but sometimes it is. On casinos, movie theaters, we’re still looking at the data, but for now they’re going to be closed.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (07:41)
We are not going to open the State Fair in Syracuse. This is a really tough one. Fairs all across the nation are not reopening. We have a fantastic state fair in Syracuse. We’ve invested a lot of money. We’ve had record attendance, 1.3 million people. Last year, we broke the attendance record. We invested money. We redid the whole state fair. We built a new expo center, 110,000 feet, it’s really amazing and it’s been an economic boom for the whole region. But this year we’re going to have to cancel it and that makes me personally very unhappy but that is where we are.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (08:31)
On the COVID transmission, following the facts, the facts are changing as they learn more about this virus. There’s less concern about surface area transmission, more data that it is primarily an airborne transmission. That then raises the question of, what can we do with air filtration technology? You hear this as an air conditioned building, it’s bringing air up into the HVAC system, then runs through the HVAC system and gets recirculated. What kind of filtration can you have on the HVAC system that may be capable of catching the virus as its attached to the droplets? There are filters that systems install. HEPA filters are one of them and then a series of filters that are rated by the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, MERV value. And the most dense filters can actually filter out the virus which is remarkable and interesting.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (09:53)
Nothing is simple with this virus. It depends on the air conditioning system you have whether or not it can take one of these higher filters and still operate. And different systems take different filters and we’re working through that now. We’re spending time on it because I think there’s a real possibility that we could actually have a positive contribution here and different HVAC systems have different capacities but we’re working through this now because if there is a way to filter the air and there’s a way to get COVID out of the air, then we want to do that. And if we can do that without an exorbitant expense for existing HVAC systems, it’s something we have to look at. So we’re in the midst of that now and as soon as we know something, we will make it public.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (10:51)
New Yorkers did the impossible. We went from the worst infection rate in the United States to the best infection rate in the United States. I like to say that we crossed the mountain. There’s the mountain. We don’t want to have the challenge of crossing a mountain range, right? One mountain was enough. The last thing we need is to see this virus spike again. And there are two threats in that area. One, New Yorkers getting complacent. “This is great, New York’s doing great, the numbers are down. I heard the governor. He said everything is great.” We get complacent. We get cocky. We get a little arrogant. That is a real threat and it’s a threat that I’m concerned about. You look at the festivities over July 4th, you see gatherings that are not socially distanced, they’re not wearing masks. You see it in Manhattan, you see it on fire Island. There are reports upstate of gatherings where people aren’t socially distanced and people aren’t wearing masks.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:15)
I don’t know how else to say it. Actions have consequences. Our success was a function of our action. You change your action, you change your behavior, you’re going to change the outcome. It is that simple. That curve was purely a function of what we did. If we change what we’re doing, you’re going to change the trajectory of the virus. I understand people are fatigued. We’ve been doing this for 128 days. I get it. But it doesn’t change the facts and we have to stay smart. I need, we need-

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (13:02)
We, I need, we need, every person in this state needs the local governments to enforce the law and I talked to local governments about this all the time. Mayors, county executives, et cetera and I’m going to have another round of conversations today.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (13:20)
I understand that it is not politically pleasant to enforce the mask law or the gathering law or the socially distanced law. I get it. I get that politically, it’s difficult for the local governments to do it. But it is the law and if we don’t do it, this is going to be a serious problem. It’s not a local government law. It’s a state law. So I get the politics and I’ve said to them, I have no problem taking responsibility. Mr. Mayor tell your police when they go out to enforce the law, they can say, “Don’t blame the mayor. It’s the governor. Blame. Governor Cuomo.” County executive, tell your police when they hand out a summons, say, “This is not a County law. It’s a state law. Blame the governor.” I don’t have a problem with that but they have to enforce the law.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (14:25)
We do not have a state police department that is large enough to enforce the law in the entire state of New York. That’s why we have local police agencies but they have to do their job and they have to enforce the law and the law is clear. I don’t want to be difficult or unnecessarily difficult but I’m telling you, if we don’t follow these behaviors, the numbers are going to go up. It’s that simple.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (14:56)
The second threat is you now have 38 states in this country with an increasing virus rate of infection. It’s only getting worse. It’s not getting better. You look at states like Texas. You look at Arizona. You look at those curves. I mean, we know those curves. We’ve seen them. We’ve been there. Done that.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (15:22)
This is a frightening situation across this country. Look at California. Look at the curve on California? We’ve been here. We’ve seen this. Deja vu all over again. A.J. Parkinson said that. No. Will Rogers said that. Just seeing if you’re paying attention. I know it’s a Monday morning. You’re a little sleepy. Will Rogers did not say it. Yogi Berra said it. Two points. But it’s deja vu all over again.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (16:01)
This is how the virus came to New York in the first place. It got on a plane in Europe and it landed at JFK and Newark and that’s why we had the spike. Nobody knew it at the time. Everybody was saying China virus. The China virus had gotten on a plane, went to Europe and then it came here from Europe. 3 million people got on planes, landed in New York, January, February, March. That’s how we had the problem we had.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (16:29)
Now, you’re going to see people getting on planes from the 38 states in this nation where the viruses going up, they’re now going to land at JFK Newark, et cetera. An outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere. That’s the new mentality we have to have. We can’t protect ourselves as an island because we’re not. We have people coming in and out all day long and when you have these spikes in China and Europe, that’s how it happened the first time. Now people can come from Florida anywhere else. We’re already seeing it.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (17:12)
We have had significant clusters where people came from out of state. They came in. They attended a function. Bang. The next day we have an increase in the infections. We’re doing so many tests and so many tracings that we can trace it back to patient zero and they’re very often from out-of-state. We have it downstate. We have it upstate. It is inevitable.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (17:42)
So yes, New Yorkers have to be smart but we also have a problem that if the virus is increasing anywhere, it’s going to travel here and then we’re going to have a problem. Denying COVID is really advancing the COVID virus and I know this is a politically charged environment right now and somehow COVID has become a political issue, which I’ve never heard of a virus becoming political, but in this environment it has, but if you deny the problem, then you will never solve it.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (18:27)
We’re not the United States of denial. We have never been a nation that has excelled because we refuse to admit the problem. We admit the problem and then we overcome the problem. If we do not, as a nation, acknowledge the COVID viral increase, it is going to continue. Those upward numbers don’t change on their own. They only change when you change them. That number keeps going up unless you bend the curve. The bend doesn’t happen naturally. The bend happens when people change their behavior and actually reduce the transmission rate.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (19:19)
So you look at those numbers in those states, those upticks are just going to continue. That mountain, that didn’t just plateau because God said plateau. It plateaued because we did masks and social distancing and closed down and all those activities and testing and tracing. That’s how we bent the curve. If we are in a state of denial, you’re going to see that curve continue to go up.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (19:54)
Now, how do you bend the curve? We know how to bend the curve because we did it. You have to be aware of it. You have to admit it. You then have to take action and you have to be committed to it and it starts at the top with leadership. President said over this weekend, “If we didn’t test so much and so successfully, we would have very few cases.” Okay. Think about that for a second. What he’s really saying is if we didn’t test, we wouldn’t find the cases and if we didn’t find the cases, we wouldn’t have a problem. That’s incredible. But that’s what he is saying. Okay. So let’s just extend that logic.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (20:45)
If we don’t test, then we won’t know and if you don’t know, then you have no problem. It’s a great way to go through life. Isn’t it. So on that theory, let’s do no more cancer tests and that’ll solve the problem with cancer. No more mammograms because we don’t want to know and that’ll solve breast cancer. No more prostate checks. That’ll solve prostate cancer. No more TB checks. That’ll end TB. No more HIV tests and that will solve the AIDS issue.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (21:20)
No, not knowing doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem and in this case, if you do not admit it and if you don’t confront it, it is only going to increase. We know it has to be done because we lived it here and we did it here. To bend the curve, yes you have to test. Yes, you have to trace. Yes, you have to isolate. Yes, you have to phase the reopening and you have to socially distance. But by the way, phasing the reopening is better than reopening recklessly where you have the states, okay, we’re reopen. Everybody comes out. The virus goes up. Stock market goes down and now the states are saying, we have to close again. A phased reopening is better than reopening and closing. That is not just a premise. It’s been proven by the past experience. Look at the states that reopened recklessly and are now closing again. Who did that help? It actually set us back.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (22:37)
So, Mr. President, don’t be a co-conspirator of COVID., Do one simple thing. Acknowledge to the American people that COVID exists. It is a major problem. It’s going to continue until we admit it and each of us stands up to do our part.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (23:05)
If he does not acknowledge that, then he is facilitating the virus. He is enabling the virus. How did this become a political statement? This is common sense and let the president start by sending that signal. Very simply, just wear the mask. I’ve been asking him to do it for weeks. Just wear the mask and say to the American people, “This is real and it’s a problem and we have to do our part.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (23:45)
We started masks April 15th. First date in the nation to start masks. They make a difference. July 4th, true patriots wear masks. True Patriots are New York tough and smart, and united and disciplined and loving.

Speaker 1: (24:04)
Governor, one of the things the president has said in recent days is that the virus is no longer as lethal as it was when it’s targeted New York.

Speaker 1: (24:15)
He’s made the case that 99.9% of the people who get it are fine and then you basically just need to live with it.

Speaker 1: (24:22)
I wonder what your response is?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:23)
Yeah, I know that’s what the president says. President says, a lot of things, right? They’re not necessarily facts. They’re not necessarily true. 99.9%. they then had his FDA commissioner on the television and said, “Is the president right?” And he wouldn’t say the president is right. He makes up facts. He makes up science. He wants to deny the COVID virus. He has from day one.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:48)
Well, it’s just like the flu. Well, it’s going to be gone by Easter. It’s going to get warm and then it’s going to disappear like a miracle. He said all those things. None of them were true and now we have a problem in 38 states because some people believed him.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (25:05)
You won’t wear a mask. Vice President Pence says, “Wear a mask.” All the health officials say, “Wear the mask.” He won’t wear a mask because he doesn’t want to admit that there was a COVIT virus. Why? I have no idea but his denial of the problem and his making statements like that, 99. 9% don’t have to worry about it. Okay. Then there’s no issue. What are you saying to the American people’s there’s no problem and then they don’t wear a mask and they don’t socially distance and they don’t take any precautionary behavior and then the virus goes like this. He is facilitating the virus. He is enabling the virus by statements like that and you’re seeing the infection rate go up and you’re seeing the economy suffer and he is…

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (26:03)
… and you’re seeing the economy suffer, and he is part of that current debacle that we are in.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (26:08)
Look at New York, we know what to do because we did it. We did it. We know there’s a model that says you can contain the virus. We did it. By the way, we did it in the worst-case scenario. That’s what’s really breathtaking here. We didn’t have seven cases. We had the highest-infection rate in the country. We had the highest-infection rate per capita on the globe, through no fault of our own, frankly, because the federal government didn’t know what it was talking about. When it said the virus was in China, they needed a map because the virus was in Europe and it came here from Europe. But we know what to do.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (26:50)
But the first step is you have to admit the problem. You will never solve a problem in life that you refuse to admit. Why he refuses to admit it, I have no idea. You have a White House Coronavirus Taskforce. Why do you have a taskforce if there’s no problem? Right? 99.9%, that’s just made up.

Zach: (27:12)
Governor, if I can ask you about this DOH report regarding specifically nursing homes, it concludes that the data shows that staff and visitors inadvertently brought the virus into these homes. But visitors were barred from building into them, so does that mean primarily it was the staff who spread it?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (27:27)
Visitors were not initially barred. Visitors were barred about middle of March, and by that time the virus was in the nursing homes. We never tested visitors. At that time, we weren’t testing anybody, right? Testing was just starting. But we didn’t test visitors.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (27:54)
If you look at when the visitors were allowed in, they were allowed in up until about mid-March. The spike in the nursing homes was like seven days, 14 days after that. What the report was saying between the family coming in and the staff, they were the transporters of the virus, which we all knew from day one. We knew that nursing homes were the most vulnerable place. I made the decision to ban the visitors in mid-March, which I’ll tell you it was a very difficult decision, and a lot of people opposed it and I understand why. But that’s why we put in the ban, because if it is in the population and visitors and relatives are going into the nursing home, they were going to bring it in with them. I was very uncomfortable having people in nursing homes who couldn’t even see their loved ones. You have a grandmother in a nursing home, a mother in a nursing home. You have to FaceTime your mother. But yeah, that’s what it’s saying. But if you look at, this is pre-ban, staff, obviously, we never banned, but it’s pre-ban of family and visitors.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (29:17)
Do you want to make a point? Make sure

Melissa DeRosa: (29:19)
DOH consulted with a number of health professionals while they were doing the look back report, primarily with Mount Sinai, who was participating today at the press conference. Mount Sinai put out a study that the New York Times actually covered last week, that they now have evidence of antibodies going back to the first week of February.

Melissa DeRosa: (29:36)
For the entire month of February, while we were relying on the CDC, because CDC was then doing all of the testing and CDC was doing the testing and reporting to us and saying we’ve tested people and New York has no COVID-positive cases. In turn, DOH was telling people of New York, we have no COVID-positive cases for the entire month of February. We now know that COVID was existant in New York City.

Melissa DeRosa: (29:58)
DOH report actually says they can’t conclusively say on visitors, but they have to assume that because it was within the general population that it was walking through the front door into the nursing homes, again, through no fault of their own and staff as well. It was February and March. We now know asymptomatic people can give the virus to other people, so how would they have known? These are healthcare professionals, they would never do anything to intentionally hurt anybody else. But that’s the conclusion.

Melissa DeRosa: (30:24)
Most importantly, when you look at the timeline, we now know that from date of infection to death, it’s approximately 18 to 25 days. When you look at when the mortality took place, when people were dying in nursing homes, it began the middle end of March and continued through. Its spike was the first week of April. When you back out the dates on that, people were obviously giving it to people beginning at the end of February, end of February, beginning of March.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (30:50)
Yeah. Just to put in perspective, nobody knew what they were talking about for a long time. That’s the bottom line here. The federal government was just plain wrong. We had our first case, March One. They now say the virus was coming here January and February, and it came from Europe. We had tens of thousands of cases because the antibody tests now shows you had people back in February. By the time we had our first case, March One, it was already here. It had been here for weeks, if not months. It was totally undetected. I mean, nobody had an idea.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (31:46)
Second, they said asymptomatic people could not spread it. Remember that? We lived with that “truth” for a long time. Now they say, “Whoops, that was wrong. Asymptomatic people can spread it.” You didn’t even have any symptoms. You didn’t even think you had a bug or a virus or anything. You didn’t even think you had a cold. You had no symptoms. You went and visited your relative in a nursing home, January, February up to mid-March. We do the family ban March 15th, let’s say, we had our first case March One. We did the family ban two weeks after the first case. People were saying to me, “Why are you doing this so abruptly, so quickly?” We did the ban within two weeks. Sounded fast, right? From first case to ban two weeks? No, the virus was here February, the virus was here January. There was asymptomatic spread, which means you could have walked into a nursing home, been totally conscientious, had no signs of anything and walked into a nursing home.

Zach: (33:06)
If patients were coming back from hospitals and they were not the main driver here of the actual spread, then I’m just curious, why did you change the policy?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (33:17)
Which policy?

Zach: (33:17)
Which is that patients who went to hospitals for treatment were initially put back into homes, at some point that policy change.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (33:28)
I don’t know when it changed.

Melissa DeRosa: (33:29)
No. What you’re talking about, Zach, is on May 10th, we did a couple of things. We then had increased testing capacity, and so we mandated that nursing homes do testing twice weekly of staff, which we had in place for about a month. Then we scaled back to once a week for regions of the state that were in Phase One. Then we had also said at the time that hospitals could not release nursing home patients unless they tested twice negative. At that point, there wasn’t as much stress on the hospitals because the number of hospitalizations and beds went down.

Melissa DeRosa: (33:59)
We still didn’t know then what we know now. At that point, obviously, it was a recognition that the nursing home population was very vulnerable. There were more beds, and so we said, “Out of an abundance of caution, you need to test negative before you’re released.” But even now we know, which is reflected in the report, which was confirmed by the medical professionals, is that after a certain number of days, you’re no longer shedding the virus. Even if you’re still positive after about nine days, you’re no longer able to give the virus to somebody else, but that was something that was done out of an abundance of caution.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:29)
Look, I get politics. Right? I get the political environment and I get the ugliness of politics better than most. You had this political conspiracy theory that the deaths in nursing homes were preventable and, by the way, most of the deaths were in Democratic states, which was right, because that’s the state that had the most COVID cases, and it was this policy that said COVID-positive people couldn’t be discriminated against by a nursing home. That has no basis in fact. It was pure politics. It was ugly politics. Now the report has the facts, and the facts tell the exact opposite story.

Luis: (35:22)
Given the facts from this, your report, what in your opinion went wrong? What could have, looking back, right, in hindsight, what could have the state, the federal government and nursing homes done-

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (35:32)
Total hindsight?

Luis: (35:32)
[crosstalk 00:09:33].

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (35:35)
CDC, when they saw the virus, Luis, in China last December should have taken out the big CDC whistle and gone (whistle) as loud as they could. Last December. When they started this past January, they should’ve kept blowing the whistle. The CDC, all of them. When Peter Navarro sent the memo to the president in January about the coronavirus, he should have done something. When the White House did the memo on possibly two-million Americans infected, they should have done something. They should have said the virus was here when it was here. They should’ve said the virus was in Europe when it was in Europe. Then they should have said it was here when it was here. That should have happened in January.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:28)
March One. It was over in March One. It was over. We got our first case, March One. It was over. There were tens of thousands of people in New York, tens of thousands of infections, just waiting to manifest themselves.

Luis: (36:48)
Do you think the state government could have done anything differently? Do you think nursing homes could have done anything differently?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:52)
State government? I don’t do global pandemics. I don’t have an international health department. I don’t trace China. It’s not what I do. I don’t trace Europe infections. It’s not what I do. It’s what the federal government does. Federal responsibilities, state responsibilities. I don’t do international health monitoring, that was their job.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (37:24)
What else could the nursing homes have done? If this nation had testing capacity, which did not exist, and if we knew the virus was here as early as we knew, start testing last January every nursing home employee. And, by the way, start testing every healthcare employee. Now that is hundreds of thousands of tests, and you had no testing capacity. You would have needed to know the virus was here and you would have actually had to have a testing capacity. Neither of which happened. Right?

Speaker 2: (38:04)
Governor, are you concerned with the rising number of shootings in the city given what’s happening with the police department?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:10)
Yes, very concerned.

Speaker 2: (38:11)
Have you spoken to the mayor at all or …

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:15)
We’ve been. The state police are working on it. They’re speaking to the NYPD police. My criminal justice people are going to be speaking with the mayor’s criminal justice people. I’m going to be speaking with the district attorneys. I’m going to be speaking with the chief judge today. I am very concerned about it. I’m concerned about it, not just for the immediate loss of life, which is horrific. Again, it’s the communities that in many ways need the most, pay the highest price. Many of these shootings, Brooklyn, Bronx communities that are suffering through COVID, suffering inequality all across the board. It is a-

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:03)
…holiday all across the board. So it is a in and of itself. It’s frightening and it’s tragic and it’s unnecessary. COVID takes lives. You do everything you can to save a life. We can do better than this. We must do better than this. I’m also concerned for the city. We have COVID that we’re dealing with, a lot of people moved out of the city during COVID. You have businesses that can’t fully reopen, that is an economic problem for the city. You then have to get restaurants up and running, you have to concert halls up and running, what makes New York city, New York city, the arts, the culture. When can you do that? Well, we don’t know. And then you add on top of that, a public safety concern, that is a bad combination of events and a bad combination of facts. So yes, I’m very concerned.

Speaker 3: (40:11)
Governor, good government groups and some state lawmakers that said, given the state’s progress in battling the pandemic, that the time has come to undo the state of emergency and your emergency powers. To which some of your top staffers, have said, given the danger at the national level, that is too soon. What are the benchmarks you think are appropriate or eventually ending in the state of emergency and your own emergency power before April, 2021?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (40:38)
A state of emergency first exists federally, right? Federal government, which is government in denial. They’ve declared a federal emergency. There is no thinking American who doesn’t believe this is a state of emergency. I don’t believe there’s any governor who’s had their emergency powers revoked in the middle of an emergency. To tell you how stupid an idea that is, frankly, if the emergency powers… and stupid is a strong word, but sometimes it’s just stupid. If the executive orders go away, you know what that means? You don’t have to wear a mask, you don’t have to socially distance. All businesses automatically reopen, every business; movie theaters, Broadway, everything automatically reopens. Hospitals don’t have to take people who have COVID unless they can pay. Everything that we have done that has worked goes away immediately because they were all done by executive order.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:55)
So it’s a stupid idea. Plus it’s an unnecessarily idea because the way the law works, the legislature already has the power to unilaterally end any specific executive order. So let’s say the legislature doesn’t like the mask law, fine. Then you pass a bill that says, we’re denying the mask law. They just do it as a legislature, I don’t have to sign it and the mask law is gone. So they always have that power. They haven’t done it because first of all, I talked to the leaders about the laws that we’re doing and the measures have all worked very well. New York is a national model for how we handle this pandemic as a society. So yeah.

Speaker 3: (43:01)
Governor, so are you assuming that the state of emergency would last through April of 2021?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:04)
No. I hope it’s off tomorrow. Tell me when the emergency ends, when does COVID end?

Speaker 3: (43:14)
A vaccine in January and zero tests for two weeks nation-

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:17)
When COVID ends the emergency ends, right? Or when we get control of COVID it ends. Do you think it ends today when you have 38 States with the viral spike increasing? You think now is the time to say no more masks? No. You had a point?

Melissa DeRosa: (43:37)
I was just going to say, gratuitously, I think it’s so incredibly ignorant. And the idea that these good government groups who, I don’t know what their area of expertise is, but I can tell you it’s not global pandemic. And some of these lawmakers who I think are being just completely political. The last 128 days could not have gone the way that they did had the governor not had the executive authority. It would have been complete and total anarchy. There were large periods of time during this crisis when the thought of trying to get the legislature back to Albany, to pass some of these laws. And also you guys watch every single day, you cover us.

Melissa DeRosa: (44:10)
Sometimes these things get caught up and it’s so incredibly difficult and time consuming. If we didn’t have the expediency to be able to close down the businesses when we did, to mandate the masks when we did, for the governor to be able to do the things he needed to do, so many more lives would have been lost and this is just a continuation of playing politics. And if they can’t see that, then they aren’t looking at the front page of the newspaper or turning on the news because what’s going on around the country could very easily end up right back in our own backyard and then what? So I urge them to stick to their day job-

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (44:39)
And the reason why it’s stupid is the legislature is convened and we’ve passed a lot of bills and they didn’t want to roll back any executive order. They did, they would have, right? And I love that good government. You know who doesn’t like the executive orders? The insurance companies don’t like that they have to pay and we’ve mandated they have to pay for tests, et cetera. There are some laws that limit liability, which tort lawyers don’t like, because it could theoretically limit the number of lawsuits. Some members of the hospital community don’t like it because we have mandated that we share beds so everybody could have a bed. So I get it. I’ve taken the political heat. That’s why I get paid the big bucks. I get it.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:37)
But the groups, you don’t get to proclaim yourself a good government group. It’s not by just a proclamation, I declare myself a good government group. I’ve been asking them for years, who pays you? Who pays you? Where do you get your money from? Who pays your salary? They won’t say. Isn’t the essence of good government transparency, disclosure? Are you getting paid by the insurance companies who don’t want to pay for the COVID testing? Do you take money from the trial lawyers who want to be able to sue people? I’m just wondering, who pays your salary, right? They won’t reveal their donors. Why not? It’ll be a breach of security. We may be targeted for death. Come on. When you don’t want to answer a question there’s normally a reason.

Speaker 4: (46:46)
On the topic of gun violence [crosstalk 00:46:48] Commissioner Dermot Shea says it’s because too many people are being released from jail and back on the street too soon and that needs to change. Do you agree?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (46:58)
Nope. Nope. We changed bail. We reformed the bail reform, right? We did that. That’s what they said months ago when there was a spike in crime. Well, it was the bail reform law, right? That was the first spike. They blamed it on bail reform and said, we have to reform bail reform. We came back, we reformed bail reform. The mayor praised the reform of bail reform. So we did that. That happened. Those concerns were addressed. The chokehold law, which was also mentioned, that law embodied existing NYPD policy. So it can’t be the chokehold law either. Well, the courts aren’t processing people. That’s not true either. So-

Speaker 5: (48:13)
[inaudible 00:48:13] crimes unit though, that definitely made it… the disbanding of the major crimes unit.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (48:20)
By who?

Speaker 5: (48:20)
By the NYPD. I mean, well the mayor, Mayor de Blasio disbanded-

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (48:28)
That’s what I’m saying the-

Speaker 5: (48:29)
And also I think she was reporting to the 15 or 2,500 inmates from Rikers that were released due to COVID concerns. That’s another contribution to the spike and shooting the people were asking-

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (48:42)
Well, the question is… and everybody gets defensive. NYPD blames this one, blames the DA, DAs blame NYPD. That’s why you have to sort out what it is. But I know it’s not bail reform because we went through that. It’s bail reform, we came back, we reformed the bail reform. So it’s not that. NYPD also suggested it was the chokehold law that we just signed. How could it be the chokehold law? It embodied the policy that was already in the NYPD policy. Just said, it’s a crime if you violate that policy. COVID released from Rikers, that’s primarily done by New York city. So that would be the mayor. We may have released some from Rikers, but predominantly that’s New York city. There was also a suggestion that the courts weren’t processing people.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (49:49)
I don’t think that’s correct either. So I don’t believe those are the reasons for the shootings. And if it was the release of Rikers, you’re trying to separate city policy from court policy, from district attorneys, right? And who’s responsible for what. That’s what we have to figure out. You have the NYPD, you have the city government, you have district attorneys and you have the courts. And there are a range of blame game going on, pointing fingers. The specifics I heard are the ones that I mentioned, and I don’t think those specifics are accurate.

Speaker 5: (50:41)
What do you think is it?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (50:47)
Before I give you my opinion, I want to make sure I have my facts and that’s what I’m going to be going through today.

Speaker 3: (50:54)
Do you think there’s been an environment of anti-police rhetoric, feel as though that’s a contributing factor at all?

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (51:00)
But how would it contribute is the question. Yes, there has been anti-police rhetoric. Yes. Fact. There has been anti-police rhetoric, leading to what is the question. Leading to police being less aggressive, leading to what? That’s what we have to find out. Okay, guys. Thank you very much.

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (51:28)

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