Jun 19, 2020
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo June 19 Press Conference Transcript: Final Daily Briefing
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo held his final daily briefing on coronavirus today. Cuomo hailed New Yorkers for a united fight against crisis: “We have done the impossible”. Read the full news briefing speech transcript here.
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Andrew Cuomo: (00:00)
… Juneteenth. And New York is declaring it a holiday in recognition of the ending of slavery. So I gave everyone today off and I can handle this last daily COVID briefing alone. After 111 days of hell, they all deserve a break. We all do. Today’s facts are more good news, and I don’t even need a PowerPoint to explain them. The hospitalization number is 1,284. The lowest number we have seen. We conducted 79,000 tests yesterday, which is a record high for us. And we have the lowest weekly infection rate, less than 1%. And we have the lowest weekly average of lives lost. 25 souls each day. And we’ll remember them in our thoughts and prayers. All regions of the state have lower infection rates. And the state experts have gone over all the data and they will allow New York City to begin phase two on Monday. But COVID isn’t over.
Andrew Cuomo: (00:57)
We still have much more to do. We have to monitor the local infection rate. Local governments must ensure compliance and do tracing. We have to watch out for a second wave. We have to watch out for possible infections coming now from other states. And many people need help to get their lives back to normal. But with all of that, it’s clear that over the past three months, we have done the impossible. In the beginning, this virus hit us hard because it actually came from Europe after we were told that it was coming from China. When this started, we had more cases per capita than any state in the country or any nation on the globe. But today we have done a full 180. From worst to first. We are controlling the virus better than any state in the country and any nation on the globe.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:50)
Even more by reducing the infection rate, we saved or over 100,000 people from being hospitalized and possibly dying. Just think about that. It is an unimaginable achievement. I’m so incredibly proud of what we all did together and as a community. We reopened the economy and we saved the lives. Because it was never a choice between one or the other. It was always right to do both. Today, we are seeing the virus spreading in many places. More people will die and it doesn’t have to be that way. Forget the politics, be smart, open the economy intelligently and save lives at the same time. That’s what we showed works in New York. We owe thanks to so many people. To our heroes, the healthcare and essential workers, to our legislature, our colleagues in New Jersey, Connecticut and neighboring states, local governments, the Army Corps of Engineers that did a great job.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:56)
And most of all, to the great people of the state, who rose to the occasion, who joined hands and did what they had to do. I want to thank all the people that helped me personally. My team in state government, led by Melissa DeRosa with Rob Mujica, Dr. Zucker, Jim Malatras, Stephanie Benton, Linda Lacewell, Gareth Rhodes, Jill DesRosiers, Larry Schwartz, and so many, many more. I want to thank my Cara, Mariah and Michaela for keeping me grounded and making me laugh at times that I thought I would cry. Thank you to all the people who send me letters, and tweets, and wave on the street or give a thumbs up. I can’t express how much it means to me. Your energy keeps me going and your smiles lighten my soul. And I thank you. To the 59 million viewers who shared in these daily briefings, thank you.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:55)
Thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt. Thank you for believing in me and giving me support. Good Lord knows I needed it. And don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. Someone said to me they were concerned because she relied on me to know what was happening. I will still do what I do. We just don’t have to do it every day. And that’s a good thing. And let’s hope it stays that way. I know this period has been incredibly hard on all of us. I thought about it every day as climbing a mountain. The Mount Everest of social challenges. 42 days up the mountain and 69 days down the other side. Every step, every day hurt. And it was hard. It was frightening and sad. But I really believe we will be the better for it. I believe we are. I was talking to Michaela the other day.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:58)
She was supposed to graduate from college this year. And she was going to have a great ceremony and a big party. And I said that I was sorry that she would miss that. But she said something interesting. She said she was disappointed about missing the ceremony, but that she had learned a lot over these past three months. She learned about herself. She learned about government. And she learned about people. That she had gotten an education just when she thought her education was over. She’s right. And after 62 years, when I thought that I had seen it all, I got an education too. A few weeks ago I had been thinking that I was disappointed that we didn’t get to unveil our new state seal, that our legislature just changed to add the words, “e pluribus unum.” Out of many, one. We did it back in April, because we thought the country needed to remember at this time of division, that Americans are one. That we are united. To remember that our nation’s founding premise and enduring promise is unity.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:09)
But then I realized in many ways we did something even better. We didn’t just put the words on our state seal. We made the words come true. We made the words come to life. In this crisis. We were united. We were there one for another. We did act as one. It was extraordinary. I’ve never seen or felt anything like it. I ask myself, and today I ask you, why did it take a crisis to bring us together? Why does government usually appeal to the worst in us rather than the best? Why do our politics today play to our fears and weaknesses rather than appeal to our strengths? Why doesn’t government challenge us to reach higher and speak to our better angels? Why can’t it motivate us by love rather than hate? Why doesn’t government urge us to realize we are members of the same community, the same family, and that we all benefit when we work together.
Andrew Cuomo: (07:18)
Isn’t that what we really showed over the past 111 days? That working together works. That the only way forward is if I protect you and you protect me. I wear a mask for you and you wear a mask for me. If you care for me and I care for you. We showed that in the end, love does win. Love does conquer all. That no matter how dark the day, love brings the light. That is what I will take from the past 111 days. And it inspires me, and energizes me and excites me. If we could accomplish together what we did here, this impossible task of beating back this deadly virus, then there is nothing that we can’t do. And we will be better and we will be stronger for what we have gone through. And it shows us how capable we are when we are at our best.
Andrew Cuomo: (08:23)
It shows us that we have great potential to do even more. And we will. Now, New York must lead the nation on police reform. And lead the way on building back better. We must lead the way on re-energizing our economy and protecting our environment. And then welcoming a new era of civil rights and social justice. I know that we can. We learned that our better angels are stronger than our demons. And sometimes we just need to listen for them. Over the past 111 days, we heard them and it was beautiful. Let’s keep listening, together. Thank you for everything. And God bless.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:11)
The first day I went before the people of New York State and I said, “I’m going to tell you the truth. I’m going to tell you the facts the way I know it.” We are going to fight every way we can to save every life that we can. I did one thing right as governor that I’m proud of. I got the people involved in this situation to a greater degree than they have been involved probably in modern history. This was of such a magnitude that unless people engaged, and understood, and bought into this government was impudent. People had to understand the facts and people had to engage in governing themselves in a way they hadn’t in decades. And 10 years from now, you’ll be talking about today, with your children or your grandchildren, and you will shed a tear because you will remember the lives lost. And you’ll remember the faces, and you’ll remember the names, and you’ll remember how hard we worked and that we still lost loved ones. We changed that trajectory. I didn’t even know it was possible at one time.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:50)
It’s about what people decide to do. And what people have decided to do. They have brought this infection rate down. Nurses, doctors, did a phenomenal job. First responders did a phenomenal job. Essential workers did a phenomenal job. But that rate came down because people changed their behavior. You have 19 million people in New York. They decided on the facts that they would comply. And they’ve done things I would have never dreamed that they would do. We have the lowest rate of transmission. The phase reopening is working. Stay the course. And we all have to stay responsible, because we are New York tough. And I love New York, because New York loves you. New York loves all of you. Black, and White, and Brown, and Asian, and short, and tall, and gay and straight. New York loves everyone. That’s why I love New York. And at the end of the day, my friends, even if it is a long day, and this is a long day, love wins. Always.