May 28, 2020
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo May 28 Press Conference Transcript: Chris Rock & Rosie Perez Join the Briefing
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo held coronavirus press briefing on Thursday, May 28. Comedian Chris Rock and actress Rosie Perez joined the briefing with Cuomo.
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Governor Andrew Cuomo: (00:00)
I’m here and it’s a pleasure to be back and you’ll understand why we’re in Brooklyn in a moment. Let’s talk about where we are today. Fact by fact, across the morass, we’re all trying to find our way through this and following the facts or the way we’ve chosen to do it in the great state of New York.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (00:21)
Facts today are good. The total number of hospitalizations are down. The rolling total is down. The change in intubations, people who are put on ventilators is down. So that’s very good news and the number of new COVID cases per day is also down, 163, which is the lowest that has been. So that is all very, very good news from our point of view. The relatively positive news is the number of deaths continues to decline, 74. This is always painful and we’re going to be watching this number to see how far down it actually goes.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:07)
We have a large state and the COVID virus tends to attack those who were seniors in those who have underlying illnesses and will remain a cause of death for the foreseeable future, I’m afraid to say. But we want to get this number down as low as possible and we’re doing everything that we can to do that. We have the best hospitals, the best doctors, the best nurses. They’re all working day and night. So we can take a little solace in the fact that we know we have done everything we can to help save those 74 lives. You can’t always be successful, but you can always do the most that you can do and that’s what we’re doing.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (01:57)
You see again, the number of lives lost and how that number is coming down, so that is all good news. Yesterday. I was in Washington, DC, spoke to a lot of people and met with the president, spoke to congressional members, spoke to Senate members to try to find out what was going on.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (02:15)
This is my opinion. So it’s worth what you pay for it, since you’re not paying anything. I understand what states must do to work their way through this pandemic. The states are taking the lead in the responsibility. I understand that. I understand what governors must do. I am vice chairman of what’s called the National Governors Association, so I work with governors all across the nation and we talk about our responsibilities and I feel good about what the states and what the governors are doing.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (02:46)
My question is, what is Washington going to do? The federal government? Because they have a role also in this. Yes, the states are in charge. And yes, the states are implementing their plans, but we need support from the federal government and that’s the role of the federal government.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (03:05)
Washington has passed numerous pieces of legislation and they’ve successfully bailed out big corporations. They passed pieces of legislation that have a lot of benefits for the rich and the powerful. Now, the question is, what is Washington going to do in terms of passing legislation that helps working Americans, right? Police officers, firefighters, school teachers, hospitals, unemployed people, businesses that are struggling. How do we help them? How do we bring them up? And that’s what states do and local governments do in that state and local government funding and they have to provide that.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (03:47)
Also my opinion is Washington should just for this once and their proclivity to make every piece of legislation, pork barrel legislation. I understand they have to get senators to vote for it and they have to get house members to vote for it, but that doesn’t mean they have to make it a gravy train of pork just to pass it. Maybe you can just pass a bill on the merits of a bill. How about that? Novel, but possible. This is supposed to be a specifically targeted piece of legislation to help restore the economy and repair the damage of the COVID virus. Well then make the legislation about funding to repair the COVID virus. And you know, where the COVID virus has been in this country. You know where it’s wreaking havoc. You can count the number of deaths and where they are. You can count the number of positive cases in where they are.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (04:45)
You look at the past legislation that came out of Washington and how they disperse the money and you look at how they wound up making it a gravy train and every state got a lot of money. Local governments got a lot of money and in many cases disconnected from the COVID virus and the COVID situation.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (05:11)
If you take the total funding and you actually look at how much states got per positive COVID case, it’s not even close. Some states got millions of dollars per COVID case. New York state, we got about $23,000 per case. New Jersey, we got about $27,000 per case. I understand they have to “buy votes” on a piece of legislation. I also understand it’s taxpayer’s money and theoretically, a legislator is there to do what’s right and not because that legislator was seduced with large amounts of taxpayer dollars even though that state wasn’t affected.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (06:02)
I also think Washington has an opportunity to actually step up and to be smart for a change. They should be talking about revitalizing the economy, not just reopening the economy. I don’t believe you just reopen the economy and it bounces back for everyone. I think it bounces back for the big corporations. I think it bounces back for the rich. I think it bounces back for the powerful. That’s what happened after the 2008 financial crisis, the mortgage fraud crisis. The big banks that caused the crisis, they were fine just months afterwards. They took all of that federal bailout money. They gave themselves bonuses. I remember I was the Attorney General of New York. I chased those corporations to put the bonuses back.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (06:52)
But how about the small businesses that closed? How about the corporations that are going to lay off workers now? What’s going to happen to them? How about all those blue collar jobs that are not going to come back right away? All those little retail stores that are not going to come back right away? So it’s not just about reopening, it’s about revitalizing. And it’s about having a plan and a vision for the future. We went through this. What’s the plan going forward. We went through the Depression, but there was a plan afterwards. We went through World War II, but there was a plan to restore the economy. Where’s the plan? Where’s the vision? Where’s the plan to say, “Yes, we went through hell, but heaven is on the other side and we’re going to rally and we’re going to be better for this.” BBB, build it back better.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (07:51)
We’re not just going to return to where we were. We’re going to be better than ever before and to make sure that any of those corporations that took taxpayer money, rehire the same number of workers. You hear these corporations now talking about, “Well, we’re going to take this opportunity to restructure. We’re going to get lean.” You know what that means? That means they’re going to lay off workers. That means they’re going to boost their profits and their stock price by laying off workers and not rehiring people after the pandemic. Now that’s a corporations right, but you don’t have to subsidize that with government money, right? You shouldn’t be giving them government cash and then they lay off workers and then the tax payer has to pay unemployment for the workers they laid off. That would be a scandal, right? Well, if they don’t stop it, it’s going to happen here. And if they were smart, they’d finally rebuild the infrastructure in this nation, which they’ve been talking about for 30, 40 years and never done.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (08:55)
You want to put people to work? Build airports, build bridges, put technology in education, put technology in healthcare. Do the things you have talked about for 40 years but the government was never competent enough to do.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (09:10)
Also to Washington after my conversations, so much of it is, well, here’s our politics. Here’s our politics. Forget your politics. Just put it all aside. There’s a greater interest than your politics and that’s doing the right thing for this country and for your constituents and stop the hyper partisan attitude and the gridlock. Forget the red and the blue. We are red, white, and blue. We’re all Americans. That’s my opinion.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (09:42)
Back to the facts. We’re going to focus on the opening of New York City. We have reopened the other regions of the state. We divided the state into different regions because this state has dramatically different facts across the state. We’re in New York City, one of the densest, urban areas on the globe. We have parts of upstate New York, which are rural areas, which look more like the Midwest and they had facts more like the Midwest.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (10:11)
So we divided the state into regions and addressing the facts in each region. The other regions have all started reopening. New York City, where we had a much higher number of cases than anywhere else in the state, anywhere else in the country, than many countries on the globe, New York City’s a more difficult situation. We were attacked in New York City by the Coronavirus from Europe.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (10:41)
I like to say that because people say, what do you mean the Coronavirus from Europe? I thought the Coronavirus was from China? Yeah. So did I? So did everyone. That’s what we were told. The Coronavirus was coming from China. What we weren’t told was the Coronavirus left China, went to Europe, January, February, and then came here from Europe.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (11:09)
Well, nobody told us. I know nobody told us. They say nobody knew. I don’t know how nobody knew but the cases came from Europe. January, February, March, 3 million people traveled from Europe to JFK and Newark airport. Why did New York City have so many cases? Because 3 million Europeans came January, February, March, and brought the virus and nobody knew and nobody told us. No fault of our own. There’s nothing endemic to New York City. Yeah, we have density but we’re all watching China. We’re looking to the west and the virus came from the east. It came from Europe and that’s been documented now.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:03)
So we were the hardest hit but we’re going to reopen as the smartest and if you look at the curve in New York, right now, you see our numbers are going down. You see the curve in many other states, other many other parts of the country, you still have the curve going up.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:18)
So we did get hit the hardest but we learned. The state has a set of rules and metrics to reopen that apply in New York City. Just like they apply to every other region. Why? Because what is safe to reopen in Buffalo is the same standard that is safe to reopen an Albany or Long Island or New York City. I’m not going to open any region that I don’t believe is safe and we have different standards across the nation. Different states have taken different standards.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:59)
You can argue about whether or not we should have different standards of safety in this nation but that’s above my pay grade. I can tell you in this state, there are no different standards of safety. What is safe to reopen is safe and if it’s safe for your family, it’s safe for my family. I wouldn’t reopen an area that I didn’t consider was safe for my family. That’s my personal gauge. So it’s in the same, all across the board, with the same rules.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (13:38)
Phase One, reopening is construction, manufacturing, curbside retail by specific guidelines. The other regions have all hit Phase One. New York City is yet to hit Phase One, but that’s what we are pointing towards and then once you hit Phase One, you continue to monitor the metrics. If all is good, you move to Phase Two accordingly, but it is about the metrics. It is about rate of hospitalization, number of hospital beds, number of ICU beds, what’s happening on the testing, what’s happening on the symptoms that people are reporting and you monitor those metrics, those facts, and you proceed accordingly.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (14:23)
New York City we have to make more progress on some of the metrics. We have to make more progress on what’s called contact tracing, which is very important. After you test whoever winds up positive, you trace back those contacts and you isolate. New York City, you also have the added situation of public transportation. For New York City to reopen, you have working New Yorkers who commute on mass transit and we have to be able to have a mass transit system that is safe, that is clean and is not overcrowded.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (15:02)
Clean and is not overcrowded. And the MTA has really taken the bull by the horns on this one. We never heard of disinfecting a train. We heard of cleaning trains, and then we could debate whether or not the trains were that clean, but to get them to a point where they disinfected, was a higher level, a higher standard than anyone ever dreamed of. They are now disinfecting every train and every bus on a daily basis. They’re piloting the use of UV light technology to kill viruses in subway cars. So they’re using the best science to get ready for this.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (15:45)
In the meantime, we want to focus on New York city hotspots, because if you look at New York city, there are very different stories within this city. And we now do enough testing, we do tens of thousands of tests per day. We are doing more testing in New York state than any state in the country. We’re doing more testing in New York state per capita than any country on the globe. So with the testing capital, when you do that many tests, you can target exactly where people are getting sick and where those new cases are coming from. And you can look at that by neighborhood, by zip code. And what you see is more of the cases are coming from outer borough communities, more minority communities, lower income communities. New hospitalizations, coming from people who are not currently working, they’re not essential workers. They’re communities where essential workers live, but then not the essential workers. It’s more from what we call community spread. It’s in communities that have an underlying healthcare disparity, which is a problem across this country. Populations that have a higher incidents of underlying illnesses and lack of masks, social distancing, particularly with younger people.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (17:20)
If you look at the testing results, for example, you have communities that have double the infection rate of the city in general. So the city in general is about 20% infection rate. You have communities that are literally more than double, 43% infection rate. Brownsville, Brooklyn, 41% infection rate. East Bronx, 38% infection rate Soundview Bruckner section of the Bronx, 38% infection rate. Hollis Queens, my old neighborhood, 35% infection rate. Flatbush, Brooklyn, 45% infection rate, and that’s why we’re here today.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (18:06)
You know these communities have a higher infection rate. You know the new cases that are being generated tend to come from these communities, well, then target those communities, that’s part of being smart. Get them help and get them help faster and address the healthcare inequality that is underlying all of this. So bring in more diagnostic testing, more antibody testing, more PPE, more healthcare services for the underlying illnesses. That’s where the comorbidities come from. Bring in more supplies and bring in more communication.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (18:48)
We’re doing all of the above. We’re taking on the issue of inequality when it comes to healthcare, and we’re going to take on the challenge of the most impacted communities in terms of COVID. We’re working with Northwell health systems. Northwell is the largest health system in the state. It’s a great organization and they’re going to bring more healthcare services to the impacted communities in New York city that we’re talking about.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (19:17)
We’re up to now 225 testing sites. I just passed one on the way here today. Many of these testing sites are underused. We have testing sites, drive through sites, they can do 15,000 tests a day. They’re only doing 5,000 tests a day. There is no cost to the test. It does not hurt. It is pain free. I did the test on live TV. Didn’t flinch. It’s just a nasal swab. There’s no needle. You can go to the website, coronavirus.health.nyc.gov, and find a site near you. Get tested, get tested. If you have a symptom, get tested. If you were exposed to a person who was positive, get tested. It’s no cost. It doesn’t hurt. And there are sites literally everywhere throughout this city.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (20:13)
We’ve delivered more than 8 million masks across New York city to public housing, food banks, churches, and homeless shelters. The masks work, they work. We have to culturalize the masks. We have to customize the masks for New York, to get New Yorkers, to wear them. We’re bringing 1 million additional masks today.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (20:38)
Today I’m signing an executive order that authorizes private businesses to deny entrance to people who do not wear a mask or a face covering. I have been working to communicate this message about masks and how effective they are. They are deceptively effective. They are amazingly effective and we’ve made them mandatory in public settings, public transportation, et cetera. But when we’re talking about reopening stores and places of business, we’re giving the store owners the right to say, “If you’re not wearing a mask, you can’t come in.” That store owner has a right to protect themselves. That store owner has a right to protect the other patrons in that store. You don’t want to wear a mask fine, but you don’t have a right to then go into that store if that store owner doesn’t want you to. I will sign that executive order.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (21:45)
And in general, more communication, more education about the availability and importance of testing, diagnostic testing, antibody testing, wearing the PPE, why social distancing makes sense and communicating this to people. And my main job all through this has been communications. This was not a task government could ever accomplish. I knew that from day one. I know what government can do, I know what government can’t do. Tell 19 million people in the state of New York that they have to stay home. Government can’t do that. I can say it, but we’d have no way to enforce it. It’s up to what people do, and people, especially New Yorkers, they’re going to do what they want to do. They’re going to do, what’s smart if you give them the information, if they believe you, if the information convinces them, but they’re going to do what they’re going to do.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (22:54)
So my job from day one has been communicating the facts to people so people can make a smart judgment for themselves. So people had the information to protect themselves, to protect their family, to decide what was smart. That’s my job as governor. That’s what I’ve been doing. That’s what I continue to do.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (23:16)
I’m still trying to communicate to people how important it is to take tests and wear masks, et cetera. I have a times been frustrated that not everybody seems to get it. I have my three girls at home as you know, family keeps us grounded, family always has a way of bringing you back to reality. My girls have been very good at telling me that when I raise the frustration of communication, they say, “Well, it’s you dad, you’re the one who’s not communicating.” They’ve had many helpful hints as to why I haven’t been able to communicate effectively or to the level I would like to. That I’m not cool enough. I think I’m cool. I’m wearing a cool mask. I don’t have enough edge, one of them said I don’t have enough edge to communicate effectively.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:11)
So I’m trying different ways. They didn’t like the state advertising, we’re now doing different state advertising, but I understand that I need reinforcements and I need help in communication, especially when I’m in Brooklyn, even though I’m half from Brooklyn, that doesn’t matter when you’re from Brooklyn, they want a full fledged, Brooklyn voice if they’re going to listen to a Brooklyn voice of authority.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:40)
So I’m going to bring in reinforcements to help us communicate that message, and I’m pleased to have them with us today. And I want to thank very much, two great New Yorkers, two great performers, Chris Rock and Rosie Perez who will go on to join us and I want to thank them very much. They’re going to help communicate this. They’re going to do advertisements for the state and they’re going to help communicate this message that it’s important for an individual’s health, for our family’s health and it’s important for all our health. We’re one family in New York, one family in Brooklyn, one family in Queens, one family New York city, and do it for the good of the family.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (25:27)
Rosie, it’s great to be with you again. Chris, I’m so glad that you’re here. I can’t thank you guys enough and we’d love to hear from you. Whichever one wants to start
Chris Rock: (25:41)
Rosie Perez: (25:42)
Oh, thank you, Chris. He’s such a gentleman. It’s an honor and it’s really good to be here with my friend, my fellow Brooklyner, Chris rock, and of course our fantastic governor Cuomo, who has been such an amazing leader during this crisis. I’m proud to be partnering with the governor to make sure that my hometown, my borough, my beloved borough, Brooklyn, and all of New York, most impacted communities have their resources. They need to stop the spread of this virus and to help spread the word about what we all have to do to beat this virus.
Rosie Perez: (26:23)
In Brooklyn there’s a saying, spread love the Brooklyn way. And I want to extend that to not just the outer boroughs, to the Tristate area, but to all of America and to all the world. Spreading love the Brooklyn way means respecting your neighbors, respecting your communities, and the way you can do that is by getting tested, wearing a mask, that says, I love you and you love me. I respect you and you respect me back. I don’t care who you voted for. I don’t care who you’re going to vote for, all I care is that we get out of this pandemic as quickly as possible and as safely as possible.
Rosie Perez: (27:04)
Over a hundred thousand deaths, it’s just incredibly heartbreaking. And we can lower these numbers. We’re already doing it. And I wish the media would show how effective the governor has been in spreading this message of wearing a mask and keeping social distancing. And for those who are not adhering to the guidelines, just know that you’re not just disrespecting yourself, you’re disrespecting your loved ones, your communities, your neighbors, everyone. So please spread love the Brooklyn way. Get tested, wear a mask and let’s help fight this virus. We could do it. We could do it. We will rise up. We will stand up. Brooklyn, stand up, New York stand up America, please stand up and be safe.
Rosie Perez: (27:54)
Thank you so much. And I just want to say that our governor is a rock star and he makes me proud to be from New York.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (28:00)
Oh, thank you very much. You guys are the rock stars. I’m just a fan. Thank you so much. Rosie, thank you so much, Chris.
Chris Rock: (28:10)
Yes. Thank you. I watch you every single day and you bring me calm. You bring me joy. Anita Baker sang that, you bring me joy every single day because I don’t know what’s going on. I thought I lived in the United States. I thought I lived in a country and now I realize that we have 50 countries essentially. Right now, we’re in the country of New York.
Chris Rock: (28:41)
I want to say, I got the test today, I just got tested to come out here. I got a 65. Just passed. We haven’t been able to perform or do any shows or anything. I’m looking at this microphone right here and I’m like wow, can I just say, hi microphone, I’ve really missed you. I know it’s been hard, but we’re going to get back together at some point, and it’s going to be even better than the last time, microphone. I will never take you for granted.
Chris Rock: (29:19)
People need to get tested and people need to make it a festive occasion. They need to posse up and get tested. Like all the crew is getting tested and the family should get tested. If you love your grandmother, if you love your elderly mother, your elderly anybody, you should get tested. And it’s not just… It’s wherever there are poor people, really well it’s wherever people are congested. So yes, it’s in East New York, yes, it’s in Brownsville, but it’s also in Garrison beach, it’s also in Marine park.
Chris Rock: (29:55)
So everybody that can get tested should get tested as soon as possible.
Chris Rock: (30:03)
… tested should get tested as soon as possible. The Governor called me up and I’m here to do whatever is required. I hope to God that when this is over, you’re still a part of the government. I hope this isn’t the last … it’s like, oh, it’s over. No, I hope this keeps going on.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (30:27)
I hope so too, that would be bad.
Chris Rock: (30:30)
That would be bad.
Rosie Perez: (30:31)
Oh, excuse me, Governor. I also would like to say that, [foreign language 00:00:35] Wear a mask, please. The numbers in our communities are staggering. This is not a joke. This is not a hoax. This is real. This is real deal, holy field. So please [foreign language 00:00:48] Love each other and love yourselves. Get tested, wear a mask.
Chris Rock: (30:52)
Get tested, wear a mask. It’s like when the doctor prescribes antibiotics, he says, take the whole prescription. And if you stop, whatever you came in there for, it’s going to come back worse. So social distancing is what was the prescription and we need to take the whole dose or else it’s going to get worse.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (31:17)
So true. So well said, and look, it is a new thing, right? This wear a mask thing. It’s just a couple of months when you think about it. Nobody heard about it before that. You’d watch T.V. once in a while, you’d see people in China wearing masks, but nobody did it here, right? So it is introducing a whole new concept to people. And it’s not only making it okay, it’s making it not okay to not wear a mask. Not wearing a mask is not okay. And that has to be the culture and that has to be the attitude. It’s not okay if you don’t wear a mask, it’s not okay for you to jeopardize my health. I don’t think it’s right for you to jeopardize your health, but that’s your health. And by the way, you jeopardize your health.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (32:11)
You also jeopardize the health of your family when you go home and whoever else you’re interacting with, but you don’t have a right to jeopardize my health. So it is, as Rosie said, it’s respect. It’s civic duty. It’s humanity. It is New York. New York is 19 million people who start with the premise we can all live together in a very close area, right? Part of that acknowledgement is we’re going to respect one another and we’re going to respect each other’s space. And add, we’re going to respect each other’s air to respecting each other’s space, right? We’re going to respect each other’s air. Wear a mask. Thank you, Rosie. Thank you, Chris. Questions?
Speaker 1: (33:03)
Governor, I want to get the status on this bill the mayor is seeking regarding seven billion dollars he wants in borrowing. My understanding is you probably know, the bill was laid aside by the assembly, is your sense that something can be negotiated here? Would you like to see the city come up with an austerity plan, perhaps enact the financial control board to have some controls? Or would you rather just not see this bill pass now?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (33:26)
I haven’t had any serious conversations with the legislature on it but you’d have to have serious conversations, right? The first question is how much aid did we get from Washington? That we’re working on, that’s why I was there yesterday. That’s what I was making the point against state and local aid. What does the state get? What are the local governments get? What does the city get? After you find out what that fact is, what’s the shortfall and what are you going to do about it? Borrowing for operating expenses is a risky proposition. And it has to be done with caution, if at all. Because now you’re really rolling the dice on future revenues. And the reason the state has to be concerned, and I think the Senate, I spoke to some senators, state senators, who frankly were very smart about this and they were talking about the history.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:33)
Look, we’ve been through this. When you have a local government that basically goes bankrupt, the state has to step in and then puts in a financial control board. We went through this with Erie County, where there’s a financial control board, where we went through with Nassau County where there’s a control board, Yonkers, there’s a control board. New York City, we went through the situation in the ’70s, where New York City was basically bankrupt, the state had to step in. So first question is how much money did we get from Washington? Hopefully, they do the semi responsible thing. But the second question is going to be once you know what the Washington funding is going to be, how do you make up the shortfall? And there will be a shortfall, but that’s a very serious conversation. Because making up the shortfall is causing you, forcing you to estimate future revenues. When does the economy come back for New York City, six months, nine months, a year, 18 months, two years? And that’s a challenging conversation at best. So I don’t know, I think the legislature and I think the Senate did the responsible thing.
Speaker 1: (35:50)
They would have to do it now. In other words, they’re scheduled to go out of session as you know, presumably they could come back in September or earlier than that. Would you rather see it taken up then when we know what happens?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:00)
Well, they want to know what happens with Washington because they’re in the same position with the state budget, right? I haven’t made any state budget decisions because I want to see what happens with the Washington funding. Before you get to step two, finish step one, then go to step two. What’s my state budget going to look like? I can tell you what it looks like if I don’t get funding from Washington, 20% cut on schools, 20% cut on hospitals, 20% cut on local governments. But let’s see what happens with Washington. And we haven’t done that with the legislature. So I think it’s the same for the Nassau budget or New York City budget or Erie budget.
Speaker 2: (36:33)
Can you clarify exactly what is the guidance now to get tested? Is it asymptomatic and also symptomatic? And are you talking about antibody testing or the testing for when you’re ill? And then can I ask you a second followup, why wasn’t the mayor here today? When was the last time you talked to him directly? Don’t you think that getting on the same page with him would help clarify for New Yorkers what the guidance is towards reopening?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:55)
Yeah. First, we’re on totally the same page because it’s only one page. I don’t know where you see different pages, right? There’s state guidelines, period and that’s it. So there’s only one page. So you can’t be on a different page when you only have one page. The mayor has his schedule, I have my schedule. I talk to him all the time. But there’s only one page.
Speaker 2: (37:24)
And the guidance on testing [crosstalk 00:37:26].
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (37:27)
The guidance on testing is on the website. But it’s now so broad, it’s if you have any symptoms, which are basically flu like symptoms. So if you cough, you sneeze, you have a fever. Any symptoms you are exposed to a person who was COVID, you’re an essential worker, a frontline worker, healthcare worker. You’re going to be in a retail store where you may be open to the public. It’s virtually open.
Speaker 2: (37:55)
But not asymptomatic people are still not being recommended.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (37:57)
Well, asymptomatic, who, if you’re an essential worker or you’re at a retail store, then yes.
Speaker 3: (38:05)
[inaudible 00:38:05] you met the President yesterday and talk about infrastructure, one of the things that came up was the fast tracking the LaGuardia AirTrain. Did you also talk about the fast tracking [inaudible 00:38:14] out of the USDOT? If not, why not?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (38:18)
We’ve talked about that issue. I was talking about primarily job creating activities yesterday. So LaGuardia AirTrain would create jobs. Also create an AirTrain, which we need. The Cross-Harbor Tunnels, creates jobs, et cetera. So we were focusing on job creation, Second Avenue subway, which is in Manhattan, goes up Second Avenue. Congestion pricing, we’ve spoken about a number of times. That’s not necessarily a job creator, but it is very important for the city and the state. And it requires a federal sign off that was still waiting for.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:00)
I have spoken to him about that on previous occasions, but yesterday there was a discussion on different topics, which is job generation.
Speaker 4: (39:09)
In terms of the executive order, why the exception on the executive order, are you concerned about conflicts that arrive [inaudible 00:00:39:17].
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:19)
Yeah. It’s New York, you can have a conflict if you say good morning, right? But you have a store owner, it’s a private store. He’s the store owner. He, by executive order has the right to say, if you’re not wearing a mask, you can’t come in. You don’t have a right to expose the store owner to a virus. You don’t have that constitutional right. You don’t have a right to expose the other patrons in the store to the virus. You don’t have a right to walk into a store and cause all the other patrons to run out, because you’re wearing a mask, not wearing a mask, you don’t have that right. So yeah, could somebody complain to the store owner, “I think I should have the right to come in even though I don’t have a mask?” Somebody can say that, that person would be wrong, but they could say it.
Speaker 5: (40:18)
I have two questions though. The first is, how much of a heads up will New York City get before reopening? Will it be like, all right, well, New York City will reopen in two days for instance. And the other question is, do you have any thoughts on what’s going on in Minneapolis right now?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (40:31)
We talk to the city multiple times a day. We have one set of state numbers and guidelines and metrics, et cetera, so we’re all watching the same numbers, et cetera. So there’s no surprise because we’re literally in constant contact. I think the situation was so disturbing and ugly and frightening. It was just frightening that a law enforcement officer, anywhere in this country could act that way. Especially after everything we’ve learned. Sometimes you say you rationalize in your own mind, well, this is terrible, but we’ll learn from it. How many times do we have to learn the same lesson? I mean, we went through it in New York, we had the Garner case in New York. It’s happened all across the country. How many times do you have to learn the same lesson? And look, a prosecutor will do the case. I was a prosecutor, I was the attorney general. I don’t prejudge a case. Maybe there are facts that I don’t know, but I’ll tell you if I was a prosecutor, I would look at be looking at that case from the first moment, because I think there’s a criminal case there.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:54)
Does anyone want anything from Rosie, Chris? Luis.
Speaker 6: (42:03)
You said that you were waiting on clarity from the federal government for federal funding before making any decisions on state budget cuts. But as you wait, which could be awhile, has the state taken any measures to control spending, whether it be hiring freezes, not redoing contracts, delaying payments?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (42:23)
Yes, all of the above, all of the above. Look, whatever the federal government does, there’s still going to be a shortfall, right? Well, let me take that back. Maybe the federal government becomes enlightened and responsible and actually funds the amount necessary to close the gap, which would be smart and right. But if they don’t do that, there’ll be a shortfall we’re preparing for a shortfall and reducing expenses all across the board.
Melissa DeRosa: (42:58)
And just to add to that, the Governor did do an order and I believe it was at the end of March when everything first started happening, we did an across the board hiring freeze. We asked our labor brothers and sisters to forgo the increases in their salaries that were guaranteed by their contracts, which they all agreed to do. And that includes the two percent increase for management confidential workers. So we have taken those steps.
Speaker 7: (43:22)
Does that include layoffs? And a second question, because that’s just a follow up to his, have you been following the city’s plans to reopen like restaurants, putting tables outside, the stock exchange telling employees not to take mass transit? So what are your thoughts on those plans and do you think that those are going in the right direction?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:40)
Yeah. Let me just, a follow up question, is still a question. So it was still two, but that’s okay. I like that though, that’s why it’s New York City. It was a follow up, doesn’t count as a question. We haven’t done any layoffs. We hope not to do any layoffs. And again, we have to see what Washington does because everything will be a factor of that. In terms of opening guidelines for businesses, they are set. You can find them on the website. They apply to every business across the state, it’s one set of rules. There are no different rules for New York City than there are for Buffalo than there are for Albany. I want to be able to say to every New Yorker, I believe it is safe to reopen. I believe it’s safe for my kids, I believe it’s safe for your kids. And we don’t change what is safe from one place to another. So there are no different rules for New York City.
Speaker 2: (44:47)
You mentioned public transit, is there a threshold at the MTA thinks of amount of riders that’s safe? And what is the plan to reopen public transit, temperature checks, reserved rides and what will you do budget wise without congestion pricing?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:01)
Yeah, the budget is going to be a problem.
Speaker 9: (45:03)
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:03)
Yes. The budget is going to be a problem, but the federal government part of the funding from Washington is for the MTA, right? That has nothing to do with congestion pricing. The MTA is going to have a full reopening plan. Socially distancing on buses, subways is not really that possible. That’s why the reopening is gauged to metrics on the drop in the virus because you can’t really say to people, “The virus is still raging. Get back on a subway. Get back on the buses.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:35)
From the cleaning to the disinfecting to stopping the hours during the night for a few hours to disinfect the trains, which I know was controversial, but I think it was right. Those trains have never been cleaner. I think we finally have homeless people getting the care they need rather than sleeping in subway cars, which is long, long overdue for every New Yorker, including for the homeless. I think that was all very smart. They’ll have a full reopening plan ready to coincide with the economic reopening that we announce.
Speaker 10: (46:15)
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (46:16)
Who didn’t ask a question? Anyone didn’t ask a question? Yes?
Speaker 16: (46:18)
The partnership with Chris Rock and Rosie Perez… What does that mean for New York? Then what exactly are they going to be doing?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (46:23)
They are going to use their voice, their skill, their talent, to communicate better than I have. They’re going to be doing an ad that we’re going to run from New York state to communicate to New Yorkers just what they said to you today, how important it is to do the testing, and wear the PPE, and how it’s part of our social responsibility, and it’s also smart for individuals. You want to add anything to that, Chris, Rosie?
Rosie Perez: (46:54)
I would just like to say that in regards to his executive order that I’m so happy to hear about, about authorizing private small businesses to have someone leave if they’re not wearing a mask, if we can have that precedent made, it’s going to lessen, also, the anxiety of going into a store. It’s going to lessen, hopefully, the fights that are breaking out in stores when someone sees someone without a mask. There’s enough fear that’s going around. Wearing a mask like we’ve been stating is not just about respecting you, yourself, or your community, and your fellow neighbors. It’s also respecting the store owners.
Rosie Perez: (47:42)
It’s also decreasing the anxiety because what’s coming out of this pandemic, what a lot of people don’t talk about, what the governor does talk about, is also the mental illness ramifications of all of this. When you see people lose their temper inside the stores, it’s just because everyone’s on their last nerves. Getting tested, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing your hands will decrease all of those anxieties. Giving the stores that authorization, I think, is… I hope and pray that it’s a positive step forward so that we don’t have to see these crazy YouTube and Instagram videos of people just losing their mind.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (48:23)
Yes. Backing it, Rosie is exactly right. I share that thinking 100%. I think this will reduce conflicts. Look. It’s one thing you don’t wear a mask and you’re walking down the sidewalk. That’s one situation. You don’t wear a mask and you walk into a small retail store, and now you’re exposing people to you without a mask. They’re surprised by this. They’re in a smaller confined space. That is a conflict waiting to erupt, right? You don’t want to wear a mask, stay on the sidewalk. Try to stay within the social distancing guidelines. If you go in a store and you know you’re going to expose other people, you have to wear a mask. You’re right. That’s where you’ll see real conflicts.
Speaker 11: (49:18)
Rosie and Chris, what do you see in your neighborhoods in terms of mask wear?
Chris Rock: (49:27)
Well, in Brooklyn, I’m seeing probably 40%… people wear a mask. It’s the kids, really, aren’t wearing a mask. It’s sad. It’s sad that it’s become that our health has become a sort of political issue. It’s a status symbol almost to not wear a mask.
Speaker 12: (49:56)
What are you hoping to accomplish through this partnership?
Chris Rock: (50:00)
I’m just hoping to help. I have complete trust in the governor. We’re soldiers for New York. It’s 100,000 dead Americans. I will go wherever I’m called.
Speaker 13: (50:20)
Do you see people speak out in neighborhoods, self- policing within the community of people, giving others a hard time if they’re not wearing a mask?
Chris Rock: (50:28)
You see that a little bit. You see that a little bit. Most people, New York, try to mind their business.
Speaker 14: (50:33)
Have you spoken out to other people in the neighborhood?
Chris Rock: (50:36)
No, I haven’t. I give them a nice side-eye. I give them…
Rosie Perez: (50:45)
I try to bring some levity into the equation. I say, “Hey, do the right thing. Put your mask on. Come on, people.” I also see what really boggles my mind… We talk about how the communities of color, communities of low income and poor… When you step into the communities that are affluent where you see hipsters and yuppies walking around without a mask, I go, “What is it? Is it arrogance? Is it a arrogant defiant act that you’re doing? Do you think that you are not going to be affected? Okay, fine. That’s your thing, but you’re affecting me, too.” That, I really do not understand. People are not talking about that. We’re encouraging Latinos and African Americans to wear a mask that come from low income communities. Well, you know what? Everyone needs to get onboard. Everyone, put your arrogance aside. Put your ego aside and come together. The governor said it’s about humanity. If anything that I could do, be a cheerleader, let Chris tell a few jokes to get people put a mask on… We will do whatever we can to be part of this campaign.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (52:06)
Yes. Just to reinforce Rosie’s point, this is predominantly an issue with younger people. I think part of it is the way this was communicated initially. It was initially communicated, “Don’t worry if you’re a young person. This is only about old people, and young people won’t get it.” That turned out not to be 100% true. I think that was the first message that went out there. I remember there was a video that went all over the place about a young guy who was in Florida partying. He’s on the video. He says, “Yes, coronavirus. Young guys don’t get it. Only old people get it. I’m not going to let it stop me from partying,” when they were partying down in the Florida beach.
Chris Rock: (52:53)
Now he’s dead.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (52:57)
You can’t find that video anymore. I think that’s the way it came out. Part of this is correcting that. It’s not just one community or another. I think it’s young people all across the board. Plus, they’re young. They’re superheroes. They’re Superman, Superwoman. Nothing can affect them, which is not true. Even if it were true, you can kill your mother, your father, or your grandparents, or whoever you happen to come across. Let’s take one more.
Speaker 15: (53:24)
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (53:25)
Because they have to get to work. I’m going to sit here all day.
Speaker 15: (53:26)
Right now, New York City has the same amount of deaths-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (53:28)
Anyone didn’t ask a question? Okay, go ahead.
Speaker 15: (53:28)
New York City has a mix of confirmed and probable deaths, which is now about the same as the amount that New York state is reporting in total. The city managed to come up with a tally of confirmed and probable deaths. Does New York state have any plan to do the same so that New Yorkers can understand, really, overall what an impact this has had on our state?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (53:52)
Yes. Just so we’re clear, some states… Different places do it differently all across the country. They’re two different numbers, right? Confirmed death is confirmed death. Then there’s another calculus, which is probable, but we’re not sure. We’ll tell you when we find out. That’s probable. They’re two different numbers. Do you know, Melissa, on our count, which one do we provide?
The city provides the probable and the confirmed. The nursing homes are reported the probable and the confirmed.
Speaker 15: (54:23)
When does the state plan to provide the probable death number?
I’ll have to check in with DOH about that. I think it’s only 10 states in the country, are currently providing probable and confirmed. As the governor said, this is an uneven accounting. Even when you look state to state, I think everyone needs to consider that when they’re doing the state to state comparisons. I’ll check in with DOH, and we’ll get back to you.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (54:41)
Yes, because they’re probable. Confirmed death means confirmed. I don’t know what, really, probable means. Okay. Thank you all very much. Chris, thank you. Rosie, thank you.
Rosie Perez: (54:51)
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (54:55)
Now he’s dead. Terrible. Let’s take one picture like this.