Jun 18, 2020
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo June 18 Press Conference Transcript
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo held a press briefing on June 18. Cuomo gave the latest coronavirus updates, and is considering a quarantine of travelers from Florida. Read the full news briefing speech transcript with all updates here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev for free and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Andrew Cuomo: (00:00)
Pleasure to be in New York City this morning. Pleasure to see all your smiling faces as usual. Okay, not all smiling. Let me introduce the people who are here today, besides just introducing them. Let me just say to them on behalf of myself and the people of this state, I want to thank the people who are at this table. And many people who are on the team who are not at this table, who have just done extraordinary service for the people over these past 108 days. This was a degree of difficulty and a challenge for government dealing with this coronavirus, challenge for society. Unlike anything we have seen in my lifetime and my lifetime is pretty long. I can tell the people of the state this they could not have had a more talented, smarter, more professional team working for them than the team that was in state government. I’ve worked with a lot of government pros, but no team holds a candle to what this team did.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:17)
To my left is Robert Mujica. I’ve worked with him for 13 years. Been on the other side of the table with him. He was working for the Senate before he came to work for me, one of the most talented, smart people I’ve ever worked with in my life. And we’re thankful that he was there. Melissa DeRosa did every one of these briefings with me been with me for seven years was in the attorney general’s office before that and whip smart works around the clock. And what she did was just phenomenal. Dr. Zucker, five years health commissioner, he’s dealt with the most significant public health crisis of a generation. Nobody’s gone through this before and he’s done exquisitely well. Gareth Rhodes is here, young fella, but he’s been with me for about 11 years and his energy and his talent and his creativity got us through every day.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:31)
So they had a handle, the coronavirus pandemic. They had to do it with very little help from anyone else, get into other people’s responsibilities at another time. They had to do it carrying me on their back. So they really had a burden to carry and it was a long road, 108 days every day, every night, without a break, without a moment where you could say, “Let’s relax.” Every moment had a new challenge and it was just my honor to work with them through this. I’m proud of what they did. I’m proud of what the government did. I’m proud of what the people of this state did, but you needed every piece working together to accomplish what we accomplished. I want to thank them for that. Today is day 110, 25 days since the civil unrest for Mr. Floyd’s murder.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:37)
The New York state police reform and reinvention collaborative. This is just starting and it’s going to be very important. I think it’s going to be transformative if we do it right. I think this is a moment where this nation should be taking the opportunity to reevaluate what it wants in terms of public safety. What does public safety mean today in this society? We haven’t re-evaluated what it means. We’ve been talking about the expansion of the criminal justice industrial complex. We’ve been talking about how many people we put in prison, that we put more people in prison in this nation than any industrialized nation on the globe. We’ve been talking for decades that it costs more to keep a person in prison than it would to educate a child at Harvard university, but nothing has changed. We saw Mr. Floyd’s murder, but we’ve been seeing Mr. Floyd’s murder for 40, 50 years.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:40)
Finally, people said enough is enough and now is the moment to change. But then you have to make change happen. Change doesn’t just happen because you say change, change doesn’t happen because you go out and you demonstrate and you insist on change. A change only happens if the government then enacts change. Reverend Sharpton was here when he was saying, demonstrate, legislate, reconciliation. Demonstration legislation, reconciliation. The demonstration is the expression of outrage to make the government change and the government changes through legislation. Okay. So what is the change going to be from all these protests and all this outrage? What is it? Don’t give me just a press release where all these politicians put a press release. I think we should change tear gas. I think we should change rubber bullets. I think we should change the color of uniforms. This is not about tear gas or rubber bullets or slogans or the color of uniforms.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:54)
This is about making fundamental change to the system and it’s hard. And by the way, the system is going to push back. Don’t kid yourself. When you go to change the status quo, the status quo rears up to defeat change that’s life. That’s society. What we’re saying in the state is to accelerate this and engage it. Local governments and police departments have to come together, have to have the discussion in a collaborative, come up with a plan and pass it through a legislative body. New York City means that city council has to pass it by April 1, have the hard conversation, come up with a plan, but get it done by April 1. If you want funding from the state and answer the tough questions that will actually bring about change, what functions do you want the police department to do? That’s where this starts. Then what staff do you need to do that?
Andrew Cuomo: (07:03)
Reduce the police department. Reduce the police department. What do you want it to do? And then what is the staffing for that police department with those functions, the fund? What does that mean? What is the budget? The budget is what you need to pay for the staff after you decided what functions you want to perform. What is your use of force policy? Demilitarize the police. What does that mean? What equipment do you want to take away? What procedures do you want to take away? What is the transparent disciplinary process? How does that work? What is the citizen complaint process and who’s going to review it? How do you use data to drive deployment? How do you address bias within the police department? Which is so real and has been in existence for so long. How do you link the police with the essential services? With the mental health, with the substance abuse, et cetera, those are the real questions.
Andrew Cuomo: (08:09)
Those are the questions you have to answer to surely have the change we should have. If we use this moment where changes is actually possible, that has to be done community by community. Because what New York City is going to want is going to be different than what Buffalo wants is different than what Albany wants and that’s the way it should be. But we need leadership on the local level to stand up and start this real process and this real discussion. On reopening New York has been smart about handling the coronavirus crisis. Smart means, we follow the facts. We did testing yesterday. We do testing every day. We did 68,000 tests yesterday. Just think about that. 68,000 tests in one day. Okay. Sounds like a lot. It is. It’s more than any state, more per capita than any state, more than any country on the globe per capita. Yay, New York.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:22)
68,000 tests, big sample. What did it say? Point nine less than 1% positive. Lowest percent positive since we have started. Lowest percent positive since we have started. Highest number of tests, lowest percent positive. Highest number of tests because we’ve been ramping up testing, ramping up, testing, ramping up testing. So that is just great news. And that’s why I’m in such a happy go lucky mood. That’s why I am a cool dude in a loose mood. You look at all the numbers in the chart. All the numbers in the chart are good. New York City, we reopened, yesterday we are 1%. when we started on Saturday, 1.4. So 1.4, 1.3, 1.2 1.21. Great, great, great, great. Only caution sign, of course the state central New York, 0.61, 0.31, 0.41, 0.1. How did you go from 0.6 to 1.3 to 1.4, something happened, maybe. That’s right. So then we go back to the tracing function, which is up and running.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:53)
Go trace the positives and see if they lead us to anything. They did. In central New York, Oswego, there is an apple manufacturing plant, where they take apples and they process apples for sale. There is a cluster of cases in that Apple manufacturing plant about 34 positives in one plant. That’s bad news, but it’s also good news. That’s the way this is supposed to work. You see an increase in the numbers. You trace the increase. Does it lead anywhere? Where they at the same party or are they at the same employer? Where they at the same protest? In Oswego, they were working in the same plant, get to that plant, address it. But other than that, all the numbers have been good. New York City, you see by borough, we can look at the numbers and it’s all been good, lowest number of hospitalizations since we started. Amen.
Andrew Cuomo: (12:08)
Number of deaths ticked up a little bit, but the overall curve is the lowest we have seen. So it is all good news all across the board. Our New York City reopening the way we do this, the way we’ve done it in every region across the state is we compile all the data. When we get near the end of that phase, we have state officials review it and we then have global experts review that data to make sure there’s nothing in the data that we’re missing. We don’t look at just the top line data that I show you. Not that you are not public health experts also and statisticians and scientists and you would be able to see things in the data. I believe that about you, Andrew, not Zach. We have global experts who look at the data and when they sign off, then I sign off. I do not sign off until they sign off.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:10)
So they’re reviewing the New York City data. It’s supposed to go on Monday. They’ll watch it Friday, Saturday, Sunday, they’re studying it now, but all the indications are good. So I’m saying today, you’ll get a final announcement tomorrow, but I am saying businesses should plan on reopening. We just had a call this morning where we went over the New York City data and everybody’s feeling good. So my advice to New York City businesses is plan to reopen Monday on phase two. Now phase two is phase two. This only works, this whole process because every phase has rules and if you follow those rules, it is a controlled opening…
Andrew Cuomo: (14:03)
It is a controlled opening of the economy. It controls how many people are introduced into the city, onto public transportation, onto the sidewalks, et cetera. As that number is increasing, local governments can then get their act together and deal with the increase. That’s part of the phasing. But there are rules. It’s not, “We reopen. Hallelujah.” No, no. That’s what other states did and that’s a mistake. We reopen in phases and a phase has rules, and that’s what makes it a phase as opposed to an overall reopening. If you ignore the rules, then it’s not a phased reopening. People need to know the rules and they have to follow the rules. They are on the website, but they’re specific for specific businesses. There’s occupancy rules. There are barrier rules. There’s signage, there’s distance, there’s congregations, small meetings, no sharing of food beverages. Please be aware of the rules and follow the rules.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:12)
There’s rules about retail shopping and how it works and overall occupancy. We have done this in every region across the state. It has worked overall. I can tell you from experience, it works better or worse depending on the compliance and the enforcement and how people follow the rules. The issue going into phase two or phase three is compliance by people and enforcement by local government. That is the issue. So, how is this going to work? It depends on how people act, which is how this has always been determined, and people, especially in New York City, Long Island, compliance matters. It matters. It’s not just moral and ethical, communal. It’s legal. These are the laws also. So, be aware of the law. Follow the law. Local government has to do the compliance and the compliance and the enforcement, the function of local government, gets more difficult as we go through these phrases because it gets more complicated, and more people are coming into the system. So, the phases are also allowing the local government to come up to speed and develop the expertise and the capacity to do the enforcement.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:53)
We’re going to take an added step where I’m going to increase the state’s enforcement capacity by executive order, where violations of the rules and regulations could allow State Liquor Authority to do an immediate suspension of an alcohol license, which means a bar or a restaurant that are violating the rules could have an immediate suspension of their license. Business that is violating the rules could have an immediate shutdown order. So, we’ve made great, great progress. I want to make sure we don’t slide back. I want to make sure we don’t get careless. Weather is nice. Everything is good. Governor said the numbers are good.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:45)
We don’t have to worry. Hallelujah. No, the numbers are good because we’re doing what we are supposed to do, and we have to keep doing what we’re supposed to do. I’m also signing an executive order that gives bars responsibility for the sidewalk, the outside area immediately in front of their premises. The state SLA will enforce that also. But I need local governments to do their part. As we go through the phases, the responsibility of the local governments increase. The state cannot do enforcement on these local issues all across the state. I would, we don’t have enough people. SLA doesn’t have enough investigators. We need the local governments to do their part. I know nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news. This is not bad news. When people follow the rules, the infection rate stays down. That’s called good news. But local governments have to do their part.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:54)
New York state is also issuing guidance today for colleges and universities that are planning September full reopenings. We are asking them to develop plans. We still need more data between now and September to make a definitive determination, but we want to make sure we’re starting to prepare. We’re starting to prepare plans for K-12. We’re doing the same with college guidance and colleges can go and get examples of considerations, but we need reopening plans, monitoring plans, containment plans, and shut down plans. Last point, but a big point. This is a pivotal moment in this country. You look at what’s going on across the nation and people should be concerned. You’re seeing the virus go up across this country. Concerns me, and you see other states going up, concerns me as an American. Also concerns me on a parochial level, because those people in those states may get on a plane, may land at JFK, and this could start all over again.
Andrew Cuomo: (20:05)
That’s how we got here the first time. How did the number of cases get so bad so quickly? People came from Europe to JFK, and nobody told us that the virus was in Europe. That’s the fact for the history books. Everybody said the virus was in China. Look at China, look at China, look at China. Yeah, baloney. It wasn’t in China. It left China. It went to Europe, came here from Europe, and 3 million Europeans landed at JFK, January, February, March. March, the nation did the European travel ban. By then, 3 million Europeans had come, and that’s how the virus came. We now have the virus under control, yeah, but Florida doesn’t and Texas doesn’t. These other states don’t, and what happens if they get on a plane and they come to JFK? So, we get the infection rate down, and then because other states are high, we could have a problem.
Andrew Cuomo: (21:07)
This country has to wake up and smell the coffee. And let’s realize the facts that are going on as we sit here this morning because my father’s great speech tale of two cities. You now have a tale of two countries going on. You have two very different situations happening in states across this country. Some states, the numbers are going down. Some states, the numbers are going up. Why? Same country, same virus. Why? The federal government’s attitude is an undeniable mistake when it has come to dealing with COVID. Their guidance, their doctrine, is an undeniable mistake. It is a political theory, a public relations theory versus a science-based fact-based theory. The White House from the day one has been operating on a pure political ideology. We should reopen, get the economy going, government shouldn’t be slowing down the economy. It was all political.
Andrew Cuomo: (22:29)
It was all public relations. Based on what fact? Based on what science? None. It was all political ideology. We said here in New York, this is not about politics. Virus never said to me it’s a Democrat. Virus never said it’s a Republican. No test ever said that. Dealing with a virus is a matter of science. It’s a matter of fact. That’s how you deal with a disease. You don’t deal with it politically, and you now see states that have dealt with it politically versus states that have dealt with it on a science fact basis, and you see the virus spreading in states that have an unmanaged reopening. Well, because they always have an excuse. It’s not really increasing. The number of tests are increasing. I don’t even know what that means. More testing does not mean the viral spread is increasing. You know how you know that they’re being disingenuous? The number of people in those states who are getting sick is increasing. Forget the numbers.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:57)
More people are walking into hospitals. They’re not walking into hospitals because they’re feeling well. You walk into a hospital when you’re sick. And the number of people who are getting infected and getting sick and walking into a hospital is going up in these states undeniably, and you can go state by state. It’s Arizona, it’s Texas, it’s Florida, it’s North Carolina, it’s South Carolina, it’s Utah, it’s Montana, it’s Alaska. It’s 20 states are on the increase. And then compare that to New York where we are on the decrease day after day after day. We’ve been on the decrease for the past 60 days. Two months of decline. They’re going up now. How do you explain that?
Andrew Cuomo: (25:08)
What happened with this virus? What happened with this pandemic? From the get-go, was always going to be dependent on what we did. There was no preordained path. There was no pre-ordained curve. Nobody knew. I spoke to every expert on the globe. Nobody knew. Second myth. Listening to them last night, all the projection models were wrong. No, the projection models weren’t wrong because the projection models were never projection models. The projection models were really extrapolation models. What does that mean? The projection models never said this is what’s going to happen in New York. The projection model said, if this is what you do, this is what will happen. It’s not really a projection. If this is what you do, this is what will happen. That’s what the models did. If you tell me you are losing one pound per day, they say, I will tell you, you’re going to lose seven pounds per week.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:36)
If you tell me you’re going to lose two pounds per day, I’ll tell you, you’re going to lose 14 pounds per week. Yeah. Thank you. But it’s all based on what we said we were going to do. The White House knew this. March 31st, their White House coronavirus taskforce. What’s going to happen with the COVID virus? Oh, two options, depending on what you do. Option one best-case scenario with mitigation. What is mitigation? Close down, social distancing, wear a mask, hand sanitizer, all those mitigation efforts that the states without reopening plans, without a managed reopening, they have no mitigation. The White House says with mitigation 100 to 240,000 deaths if this nation uses mitigation, if you don’t use mitigation, 1.5 to 2.2 million deaths. The White House said it. The White House said it to the extent the White House-
Andrew Cuomo: (28:03)
The White House said it, to the extent the White House lets science speak ever. To the extent they have science in the White House, they said, “If you mitigate, 100 to 240. If you don’t, 1.5 to 2.2.” Then their reopening plans don’t provide for mitigation. Well then, by your own projection, what did you think was going to happen? That’s why the CDC and Dr. Fauci are in such a difficult position. Because they said, “Without mitigation, you’re going to kill a million more people.” They said that.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:50)
Now, they’re part of a federal government that is telling states, “Just reopen, just reopen, just reopen,” contrary to their own science because they abandoned it. The model that they rely on, which is the Gates-funded IHME model, last week, they projected 169,000 deaths by October, last week. This week, the projection changed, 200,000 deaths.
Andrew Cuomo: (29:33)
Why did the projection change? They’ll say on Fox TV, not to pick any particular network, the model was wrong. No, the model wasn’t wrong. The model isn’t a model. It’s an extrapolation. They’re saying, by this number of deaths last week, which is now increasing, we extrapolate to tell you more people are going to die. Based on what you did and what you’re doing and the rate of death you’re causing, factor that out, factor out what you are doing, more people are dying. Because of what you are doing, more people are dying.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:22)
This is the model the White House relies on. That model says, because of what you are doing, the number of people who are going to die by October increased 18%. 30,000 more people are going to die because of what you’re doing. That’s what they say to you. Then the question is, what do you say, America when they tell you 30,000 more people are going to die because of what you’re doing? Did you keep doing it?
Andrew Cuomo: (31:03)
Do you keep doing it? Or do you say, “I don’t want 30,000 more people to die. I’m going to change what we’re doing?” That’s why I say, wake up, America. Look at what they’re telling you. This is not rhetorical, conceptual, hyperbolic. They told you, based on what you’re doing last week, 30,000 more people are going to die.
Andrew Cuomo: (31:37)
This is New York. I want someone to put this up in my eulogy. PowerPoint eulogy. Make a note. You’re going to be there. Be the first time Rob smiles, I think. These were the projections in New York. Gates-funded IHME said 73,000 people would be hospitalized. Columbia said 136,000 people, just in New York City. This is Columbia University. We’re not talking about a mail-away, matchbook university here. McKinsey, 110,000. McKinsey moderate with mitigation, 55,000. What actually happened? 18,000. They were all wrong. No. We changed what we were doing. We changed what we were doing.
Andrew Cuomo: (32:49)
What they were saying is, if you keep doing what you’re doing and that transmission rate continues, you factor it out, you extrapolate out, 73, 136, 110, that’s what’s going to happen. We said in New York, that’s what’s going to happen? Then we’re going to change what we’re doing. We’re going to change. We don’t want that to happen. We don’t want those people to die. We changed it to 18,000, a fraction, because we changed what we did. You’re talking about tens of thousands of lives, tens of thousands of lives.
Andrew Cuomo: (33:39)
What are you going to do, America? They’re telling you, based on what you’re doing, you’re killing more Americans, 30,000 more projection in one week. This is what we did. We changed. We changed what we were doing, and we saved tens of thousands of lives, and that’s what America should do.
Andrew Cuomo: (34:11)
There are two different visions that we’re talking about. One is based on science and fact. One is based on political ideology and public relations and politics, and the results are in. New York, it’s working. We’re saving lives. The virus is down. The rest of the nation, it’s going up. At the end of the day, New York tough works.
Andrew Cuomo: (34:42)
Last, last point. I’ve had the pleasure for the past 108 days to not only speak to the people of New York and all across the country, all across the world. I get emails from countries, people in countries all across the world. But I’ve also been able to talk to the New York press all across the state. They’ve been there every day, showed up when it was hard. Their coverage of this situation will be a force in journalism class one day, I believe.
Andrew Cuomo: (35:23)
It was the most complicated, most stressful, most consequential government issue. They had to do it during a very difficult time. You had to show up when people were afraid to leave their homes. You had to stay with it seven days a week because I refused to take a day off. It meant all of you had to work.
Andrew Cuomo: (35:51)
The questions, the dialogue was as informative to people as my briefing. I actually think the back-and-forth with the press was in some ways more communicative for people. They all commented on the emails and texts. They’d say, “Boy, that New York press corps they’re really nasty. They’re tough.” Yeah. But you were asking the really probative, pointed, direct questions that got information that people needed. So if you are me, it’s not always fun to sit up here and take the direct question. You feel a little bit like a pin cushion, boop, boop. But I have tremendous respect for what you did and how you did it. You did a great public service, and it worked. The government-journalism dynamic, I studied all my life, I lived all my life. My father had a lot of great friends in journalism, and I watched it at the kitchen table. I watched the dynamic work between great journalists and my father, who was a great government official.
Andrew Cuomo: (37:15)
I watch it now with my brother, Chris, on a different level that we don’t have to get into. But it worked. It worked here, and I want to thank you, and I want to applaud the press all across the state. I’ve been everywhere during this period of time because I wanted it to be, from Buffalo to Long Island. I’ve been before all the press, and you’ve done a great, great service. I think it all worked. The totality worked.
Andrew Cuomo: (37:48)
We had 59 million people tune into the briefings over the past 108 days, 59 million people. We only have 19 million people in the state of New York, and that counts everybody. 59 million people. It was the briefings, and it was the dialogue, and it was the drama. We communicated, and we gave people information, and we gave people comfort, and we gave people hope, and we gave people a plan, and we gave people a vision, and we empowered them.
Andrew Cuomo: (38:33)
I think, most of all, they got the information they desperately needed so they could make decisions about their own life and their own health and what to do with their kids. They needed that desperately. Information they could trust, credible information that they could trust. We did that.
Andrew Cuomo: (38:53)
I’ve been through a lot of challenges in government, but I’ve never been through this before, and I hope none of us go through this again. But I just wanted to thank you on a personal level for that. I know it couldn’t have been easy for you because it was hell for me, and we all lived it together. So you have my deepest respect. Questions?
Let me just say thank you for saying that. I assume you meant me.
Andrew Cuomo: (39:21)
Of course, Zach. It’s all about you always. You know that.
I just wanted to ask you about the Supreme Court recent rulings, not only [inaudible 00:11:27], but also the affirmation of gay rights. Are you surprised by the turn the court has taken? A lot of people thought that with Trump, and he’s made two appointments to the court, that the court would take a more conservative approach. Are you pleasantly surprised by the direction it’s gone in based on those last two rulings?
Andrew Cuomo: (39:43)
Yeah. By the way, we kid, but I’m a little tired. I’m a little reflective. I did mean it about you. I did mean it about you. Am I surprised? Yes, I’m surprised. I’m sure the president is surprised. There is no doubt that he appointed a very conservative court. He did that by design. I think it’s telling that his actions were even too extreme for his extreme conservative judges. That’s saying something. That his policies are more extreme than the conservative judges he appointed. I hope he takes that to heart. Sir?
Speaker 1: (40:33)
Two questions. One for you and one for Dr. Zucker, if we could. You mentioned the uptake of cases in Florida, and you mentioned that there are flights landing from Florida, which are increasing in terms of how crowded they are. How close are you to imposing something like a 14-day quarantine for folks arriving from Florida, some kind of measure at the airport because otherwise aren’t you just inviting an increase in infections?
Andrew Cuomo: (40:56)
Yeah. I have experts who have advised me to do that. I’m considering it now. In some ways, you want to talk about a full 180, for those people who don’t remember back to day one, Florida and other states imposed a quarantine on New Yorkers. If you went to Florida, you had to quarantine for two weeks because they were afraid that New Yorkers were bringing the virus to their state.
Andrew Cuomo: (41:34)
Fast forward 100 days. Now we’re afraid they’re bringing the virus to our state. It’s almost a tale of two cities, two countries. How do you explain this? Who would believe this? Who would believe this 180 turnaround? But I haven’t made a decision yet. But I have had experts advise me of that. It is a real concern. You’re right. It could happen, and it’s-
Andrew Cuomo: (42:03)
These are a real concern. You’re right, it could happen and it’s something I’m considering.
Speaker 1: (42:05)
My question for Dr. Zucker has to do with the antibody testing. The initial assessment of these tests were they were not reliable, there were too many false negatives, there were too many different kinds. Now that we’ve had antibody testing for a couple of months, do you have a fuller picture of how reliable these are and do you think there’s some kind of herd immunity going on, which might help explain the low percentage of positive cases?
Dr Howard Zucker: (42:28)
So on two parts; one, on the issue of antibodies, we don’t have an answer yet. There are multiple different tests. I was speaking to some of the scientists about this exact issue, and we don’t know yet. A little bit more time before we can have an answer about how long, one part, how long does someone have antibodies that will… how long will they last? What kind of immunity it provides and that’s still a question that’s open. Regarding herd immunity. The issue here is that you need about 60 to 70% of the population to have herd immunity for this COVID-19, we’re not there yet. Yesterday I was actually talking to some scientists about this exact question about why is it that the numbers are down. New York’s done a phenomenal job. Is this something that will happen elsewhere in the country? Their numbers are going up. What will happen with time?
Dr Howard Zucker: (43:18)
I think it’s because of all the efforts that we’ve made has driven these numbers down. We still don’t have enough people with antibodies, for whatever effect those antibodies will provide to give you the herd immunity that we need. So we need to continue to approach this from the standpoint as we’ve done, as the governance said, diagnostic testing. All the scientists are working on trying to get a antiviral, we’re working on that. And obviously the work on the vaccine, which we’re going to continue to do.
Andrew Cuomo: (43:46)
Can I comment on that as a nonmedical professional who just knows enough to be slightly dangerous. Herd immunity concept, some people talk about that in New York city. As Dr. Zucker said, you have to get near 60% before you can talk about that. New York city is nowhere near that. Also, that wouldn’t explain the rest of the state where you have a very low infection rate and the virus is also on the decline. You could theoretically argue, well, maybe New York city has herd immunity, but then you’d have to be at 60%. But that doesn’t explain Buffalo and Long Island where it’s very, very low to begin with, the infection rate, and the number is still low. It’s not because of herd immunity. What we have done and the reason I’m hoping we get lucky on the protests, by the time the protest happened, we were down at 1% infection rate. We were so low by that point that I’m hoping we got lucky that yes, they came together and they violated social distancing, but they weren’t infected anymore. Those protests happened three weeks ago, we have a whole different situation.
Speaker 2: (45:06)
Governor, following up on that, in terms of setting expectations for New Yorkers, without a vaccine and as the city and the state continues to reopen, people go back to work places, businesses reopen, mass transit reaches the levels as before. Isn’t it almost inevitable that there’ll be some spike in cases, however manageable? Isn’t it almost inevitable that there will be a rise in cases? What should New Yorkers be ready for if that happens?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:38)
Mathematically, yes. The mathematicians and scientists will agree with you. If you increase activity, by definition, there will be some increase in the infection rate. The question then becomes, even to the mathematicians and the scientists, how much of an increase and your tolerance for the increase is your hospital capacity, right? And they’ll have a sub discussion that the increase cannot be that rapid, which means you still have to watch the RO, the transmission rate, right? That’s when you go above the 1%. Mathematically you’re right. Aspirational, theoretical, ideal. If everybody acted perfectly, the infection rate need not necessarily go up. That’s the scenario I advocate for. If you wear your mask, if you’re doing hand sanitizer, if you’re not in those situations, if it’s not go back to normal, go to the new normal, you need not infect anybody. You can get on the subway and not infect anybody. You can go to work and do everything and not infect anybody and not get infected. That is theoretically possible. And that’s what I’m striving for. The theoretical possibility.
Speaker 2: (47:16)
And unrelated to the coronavirus. About 100 lawmakers signed a pledge recently saying that they don’t support budget cuts, that they support raising taxes. And as we all know, you have concerns with letting New York city borrow money. We still haven’t seen any federal aid materialize. Is raising taxes something that you would seriously consider to fix a budget [inaudible 00:47:41]?
Andrew Cuomo: (47:42)
I have no specific plans on the budget. It is purely dependent on what the federal government does. As dysfunctional as they are, I do not believe they’re going to bankrupt states across the country for the simple reason that it will tank the financial markets. You will see the Dow Jones drop like a stone in the water. And this is all a political calculus for them. And they are running for reelection. And they believe that their reelection hopes are proportionate to the increase in the Dow Jones. So if they’re watching the Dow Jones to calibrate their reelection, chances, they will not want the stock market to drop, they won’t want their rich friends to be less rich so they won’t bankrupt the states.
Speaker 2: (48:48)
But if the federal governments gets some money and there’s still a difference in the budget. Would you support raising taxes forward, doing the budget cuts that you have-
Andrew Cuomo: (48:57)
Then we had to have the [inaudible 00:06:57]. You can’t do that in the abstract. You have to see what it is. The what if, what if, what if, what if, what if I dropped dead tomorrow? I’m not even there. Then I don’t have to worry about anything.
Speaker 3: (49:11)
Governor, you’re approaching your last daily press conference. You’ve been holding these briefings daily since March 1st, if I’m not mistaken, and many people were joining, as you said, millions of people from different states. I’m from Argentina. I work for [inaudible 00:49:31] for Latin America too. Many people were asking me, can he be the candidate instead of Joe Biden? Cuomo for president was a trending topic, Cuomosexual was trending topic. So how do you see yourself? You always said you don’t have a particular agenda. Do you see maybe yourself as a candidate in 2024 or what’s next?
Andrew Cuomo: (49:55)
That is a good question. What’s next? First, I’m not going anywhere, right? I’m saying I’m going to stop the daily briefing because the daily briefings were all about coronavirus and we are on the other side of the mountain. To me, I’ve been watching that mountain every day and we started on the base and we went up and we came down and we took that journey together and the journey is over. I hope the journey stays over. I hope there’s no second wave. I hope there’s not another wave in the fall. I hope we don’t get a lot of people coming from other states and they raise our infection rate. I hope New Yorkers stay compliant and local government does their job and we keep the rate down. So I hope there was only one mountain. I’m not interested in a journey. Of course, a mountain range, right? We don’t want multiple mountains. This is it for me. One mountain was good.
Andrew Cuomo: (50:55)
I’m just not going to do the daily briefings. I also want to say the New Yorkers and people who have been watching, we accomplished what we set out to accomplish. We needed to get across that mountain. We needed to tame the beast. We needed to control the virus and we did, and we did, and we know how to do it. Congratulations, feel good. Now, we have a lot more to do. I’m still going to be there every day, working every day. I’ll be doing press conferences as I need to, to communicate. Big part of what I do is to communicate. I’m not going anywhere, but I’m not going to commit to doing it every day because it takes a lot of time every day and there’s a lot to do right now. And it really takes the better half of the day. So I just won’t do it every day, but I’m not going anywhere. I said clearly, when I started, it was very important for me to have credibility with people.
Andrew Cuomo: (52:04)
So much of what they hear now is political. You watch this new station or this new… you get Democratic news, you get Republican news. Everybody wants to say about a politician while they have their own agenda. He’s only running for something. If I was even a candidate, possibly for anything, it would have given all my critics an opportunity to say, “Oh, he’s just running for president. He’s just running for vice president.” And that would have diminished me and my credibility. And what I was trying to say to people, I know you need information, and I know you want to be able to trust the information, and I know you don’t really trust the politicians because you think they always have their own agenda, I have no other agenda. I’m not running for anything, period. No president, no vice president, not president of Argentina, not president of Italy, not prime minister. I’m not doing anything. I’m not running for anything.
Andrew Cuomo: (53:04)
I have one agenda, which is to work for you. And let’s set that right from the beginning because I want you to believe me and I want you to believe what I’m saying is true, because if you don’t believe it, or if you’re skeptical, then it’s not going to work for you. And if it doesn’t work for you, you’re not going to rely on it and it’s not going to make you feel empowered. So I made clear from day one, with all the hard questions from these tough reporters, you promise ever, never, ever, cross your heart, hope to die, everything. Just to take the politics off the table. And look, from my point of view, I am so blessed to be governor of New York, and I am so happy with what we’re doing and what we’re accomplishing and what we still can do. We’re going to be the leading state in the nation on police reform, you watch.
Andrew Cuomo: (54:02)
We’re the leading state in the nation on marriage equality, minimum wage, free college. We’re going to be the leading state in the nation on police reform. So we have a lot to do and I’m proud and I’m happy and I’m going to stay governor of New York as long as the people of the state will have me. When they kick me out, then I’m going to go to Argentina and see what’s available. All right, guys. Thank you very much. Thank you for being here.