Jul 13, 2020
NY Governor Cuomo COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript July 13
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press conference on July 13 to share updates on COVID-19. He says the state faces two new threats: travel and non-compliance. Read the full transcript here.
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Andrew Cuomo: (01:46)
Good morning, everyone. It’s a pleasure to be here this morning, beautiful New York City. To my left, we have Dr. James [Malatis 00:01:55] who’s been working on, among other things, the school reopening plan. And he’s here to talk to us about that today. To my right, Melissa DeRosa secretary to the governor. To her right, Rick Cotton, who is the Head of the Port Authority, who has been doing an extraordinary job overall building LaGuardia Airport, the first new airport in the United States in 25 years, redoing John F. Kennedy Airport. And then if that wasn’t enough, he had to deal with something called COVID, which obviously impacted the airports. And we are so lucky to have him, and I want to thank him very much for everything he’s been doing.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:39)
This morning, we’re going to be joined by Mayor Bottoms, mayor of Atlanta, and she’s going to join us this morning. Good morning. How are you, Mayor? Good to be with you. I don’t know if the audio is working, so I will buy some time. Mayor Bottoms, we’ve been watching you. We’re your neighbors to the north, and we’ve been watching you and what you’ve been going through. And first, I hope you’re feeling well. And I hope your family is feeling well. On top of everything, you have to be dealing with the COVID virus yourself. Then you have your hands more than full there. You have not only the COVID virus, but the other virus of racism and division and what was going on with Mr. Brooks. But we just want to tell you on behalf of New Yorkers, after what we’ve gone through, that you are exactly right, Mayor, what you are saying and what you are advocating.
Andrew Cuomo: (03:47)
It’s no longer a question of a theory or question of politics. We have facts. We have data. We went through what here in New York, we went through it in a worst case scenario. And it is about following the data and following the science and taking the precautions and doing what’s right. It is about masks. Masks work. We can tell you that, here in New York. We had the worst spike per capita on the globe, and we brought it down. And now you see these other States are going higher than New York. So those masks work. We were the first state to start mandatory masks, April 15th, and all the science now says, for sure, masks make a big difference. One of the models last week, the IHME model, it’s the Gates funded model that the White House uses, actually projected 40,000 more Americans will die, if we don’t have a national mask policy. So it’s clear.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:01)
But we just wanted to tell you that we feel for you. We are all one. We’re one community. I applaud your leadership. You really get to see what an elected official is made of, when the pressure is on, and you have more than risen to the occasion. You’ve been inspiring. They refer to you as a rising star, and they are all correct. And we are with you. Anything we can do for you or the city, we stand ready. We remember how good the people across this country were to us.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:37)
When we were in the midst of it, I asked for volunteers from across the United States nurses, doctors to come help in our hospitals. 30,000 people volunteered to come to New York in the midst of it and work in our hospitals. It was such an act of generosity and love. That was really touching. So we’re here for you, the concept of pay forward, whatever we can do on any level. We have people who’ve been through this and actually know, and we stand ready. But you’re right. Keep going, stay strong. The facts will bear out. It’s about saving lives and you’re doing exactly the right thing. And the numbers are going to show that. So thank you for taking some time to be with us today. Mayor?
Mayor Bottoms: (06:33)
(silence) across the country. And at the beginning of this pandemic, my charge to my team was simple. God bless the child who’s got its own. And I had no idea that we would have to go it alone in so many ways. I thought that it was more geared towards the lack of leadership we had at the federal level, but it has proven to be equally challenging at the statewide level. And my family is an example of what’s happening across this country. We had an asymptomatic child in our home for eight days before we knew that that child was asymptomatic. And by that time, my husband and I had contracted COVID unnecessarily, I would imagine, because we would have taken precautions to protect ourselves. Thankfully, by the grace of God, we don’t have underlying health conditions, and we are all on the mend. My husband is feeling a lot better, but for so many people across this country, that is not their story, and their outcome is so very different.
Mayor Bottoms: (07:43)
So in Atlanta, when we saw that we were in a very different place than the governor’s leadership was taking us, we convened an advisory committee in our city, comprised of health experts, small business owners, Fortune 500 representatives, colleges and universities, just really a representation of our community. And they made some very clear recommendations on where we needed to go with reopening a phased approach. We had made it into the second phase, but given where we are, our ICU bed capacity is maxed out in some hospitals. By the day, we’re getting closer to maxing out in others, our numbers are ticking up. I look at the numbers daily. I am seeing numbers that I have not seen since April. As of yesterday afternoon, we were up almost 23% over a week’s period of time. We’re headed in the wrong direction. So as a city, we recommended that we go back to phase one, which is essentially a stay at home order.
Mayor Bottoms: (08:51)
Also, we’ve instituted a mask mandate. The benefit of that is one, us taking a very clear position as a city that we recognize that masks, wearing masks help save lives. But also even in the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one of our largest job centers, we can also mandate masks there as well. And it’s very simple. Unless we have a coordinated approach across this country, we are going to continue to unnecessarily watch people die. And what makes it even more frustrating and even more disappointing, we didn’t have to look to Italy. We could look to New York, and you told us very clearly that if we didn’t do things differently in our cities and the states, we would find ourselves in the same situation that New York was facing. And unfortunately, you were correct because through the South, especially, we are getting there in rapid order.
Mayor Bottoms: (09:55)
And so I thank you for your leadership. I know that as a city, in the same way New York was able to get to the other side, I know that we will get to the other side, but it is going to take us taking responsibility for ourselves and taking actions that look at data and science and not just our opinions.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:16)
Right. Thank you very much, Mayor. And you’re right. The unfortunate and really frustrating point here is why did other states have to go through this? We knew what we were dealing with. New York went down the path before. We lived exactly this. Just learn from what New York did, learn from the numbers, learn from the data. And we knew that if you reopen recklessly, the virus was going to take off again. If you’re not doing precautions, the virus was going to take off. Now, New York’s problem is we have the infection coming from other states back to New York. We’re worried about our infection rate going up because of people coming from other states where the infection rate is higher. We have a cluster of cases in an upstate county called Rensselaer. People came up from Georgia, they had the virus, and they infected people in New York, and then it took off.
Andrew Cuomo: (11:25)
So you are on exactly the right track. Anything we can do to help? We’re at a stable period now. We have the virus way down low. We went from the worst infection rate in the country to the best infection rate, the lowest. So we have a little breathing space here. Anything we can do for you that you need? Any help on the testing, setting up the testing and the tracing? That is so, so important. And we’ve been through that. So you have an open offer, whatever you need. But we’re also 100% behind you, and we wish you Godspeed in your health recovering. And we hope that Atlanta, under your guidance, comes back quickly, and anything we can do, we stand ready.
Mayor Bottoms: (12:19)
Thank you, Governor. And that’s exactly what we need assistance with, testing. Testing that gets people results very quickly ,and also the contact tracing because we know that it’s extremely important for us to help slow the spread. So I appreciate your offer to help. And we certainly would be appreciative of that assistance.
Andrew Cuomo: (12:41)
Well, we can do that. I’ll arrange it with your team, but we’ll put together people who’ve done the testing for us and the contact tracing. We actually worked with Mike Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City. Because nobody knew what a contact tracing program was. And we worked with the former mayor who stepped up and brought Johns Hopkins to the table. And we came up with a training program and a whole software program. So I’ll send the team down to Atlanta, and they can work with your people, and whatever we know and whatever we can share, we will do. In the meantime, send my regards to the former mayor there, who I worked with, send my regards to all the people at the Centennial Park. When I was HUD secretary, I did a lot of work in Atlanta, a lot of good work. I have a lot of fond memories. So send my regards to everyone. I’ll get that team together, and they’ll come down to Atlanta, as soon as it works for you. Thank you for being with us, Mayor [crosstalk 00:13:50]
Mayor Bottoms: (13:49)
That you so much, Governor. I appreciate it.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:51)
Thank you. My pleasure. Thanks. Okay. Godspeed to the mayor. Where are we? Today is day 135. Let’s talk about some facts first. Where are we? 792 hospitalizations today. That is very good news. Lowest since March 18th. You look at our rate of transmission, all across the board, every region, we see good numbers. And again, we have more data than any state in the country. So we live and die by the data, and all the numbers are good. You look across New York City, the county numbers, they are all good, and they are all consistent. You have a little deviation from day to day. That’s statistically irrelevant, but there’s all good news in the numbers across the state and across the city. Death toll for yesterday is 10 people. Again, we’d love to see that number at zero, but compared to where we have been, that is a very good place to be.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:04)
You look at the three day average and you see there the whole slope of what we’ve gone through. You see the descent, and the experts say to me, you’ll never really get to zero on the number of deaths because people die. This is a condition like pneumonia, it attacks the respiratory system. So people who are very ill can a contract COVID, and it can be the cause of death, but that’s where we are now.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:40)
We did 51,000 tests yesterday, and it was just over 1%. So it is all good news on where we are as the state. And the numbers show that what we have done, in terms of our reopening strategy and our plan, has worked. We-
Andrew Cuomo: (16:02)
… our reopening strategy and our plan has worked. We have been reopening for weeks now, over one month we started a reopening. And we expected after the reopening, we expected the numbers to tick up. They haven’t picked up. They’ve actually gone down. So the reopening strategy has worked. New York State Smart has worked, and it shows that this nation can defeat COVID.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:28)
There was no reason to have these states on the increase. New York inherited a spike. Remember where we started, we were handed this high infection rate because nobody knew the virus had come from Europe. So we started with a high spike. We had to get that spike down. The other states didn’t start with a spike. They just had to stop it from increasing. And with all we did in New York and all we knew, they were just blind to the reality.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:10)
And again, I want to congratulate New Yorkers who really stepped up to the plate and they did what they had to do. And it was hard. Social distancing, closed businesses, closed schools, stay at home. It was hard, but they did it. We now get to the question of reopening schools. There is a state formula that will determine if it is safe to reopen schools. So open schools or not, there’s a state formula that determines it. There are then state guidelines as to how that school reopens. State formula determines if it reopens. If it reopens the second question is how, and that will be done by state guidelines. But the question of school opening is like the question of reopening the economy, reopening the schools, reopening the economy. It’s the same conversation.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:12)
And by the way, it’s the exact same conversation with the president of the United States. We talked about reopening the economy and he said, “Just reopen, just reopen the economy. There’s no reason for any of this stuff. Phases, data, masks. It’s all baloney. Just reopen.” Yeah, we saw how well that worked, go ask Florida, and Texas, and Arizona how well that worked.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:40)
On schools what does he say? “Reopen the schools. Just open them up. Don’t worry.” Yeah, he was wrong on the economic reopening. He’s wrong on the schools reopening. Everybody wants to reopen the schools. I want to reopen the schools. Everybody wants to reopen the schools. It’s not do we reopen or not? You’ll reopen if it is safe to reopen. How do you know if it’s safe? You look at the data. You don’t hold your finger up and feel the wind. You don’t have an inspiration. You don’t have a dream. You don’t have an emotion. Look at the data.
Andrew Cuomo: (19:19)
We test more, we have more data than any state, look at the data. If you have the virus under control, reopen. If you don’t have the virus under control, then you can’t reopen. We’re not going to use our children as the litmus test. And we’re not going to put our children in a place where their health is endangered. It’s that simple. Common sense and intelligence can still determine what we do, even in this crazy environment.
Andrew Cuomo: (19:57)
We’re not going to use our children as guinea pigs. I say to the experts, “It’s very simple. If I’m making the determination as to whether or not I would send my daughter to school, if it’s safe, I’ll send her. If it’s not safe, I’m not going to send her. And you can determine that by science.”
Andrew Cuomo: (20:20)
So the formula is this, school’s will reopen if that region is in phase four, and the daily infection rate remains 5% or lower over a 14 day average. You’re in phase four, and you’re under 5% infection rate. That means the virus is under control. That means it’s safe to reopen. And then the schools can proceed to reopening in that region. Exactly how? You look at the state guidelines. This determination will be made the first week in August.
Andrew Cuomo: (21:11)
Second question is what happens if between the first week in August and the day school opens the virus spikes? I don’t want to be in a position where we made a determination August 7th and then the virus spikes, but we already said the schools are going to reopen. So the safety valve, there’s a floor, schools will close if the regional infection rate is above 9% on a seven day average.
Andrew Cuomo: (21:49)
So you get a green light, reopen in a region if you’re in phase four and the infection is 5% or lower. If the infection rate goes over 9% on a seven day average, that means the virus is moving rapidly and it is not intelligent to open. That’s the green light, and that’s the red light, and it’s the way we’ve done the economic reopening. It’s purely on the numbers, purely on the numbers. It’s on the science. We’ll make the first decision; we’ll look at the numbers the week of August one to seven, the week, because it’s a rolling 14 day average, different regions are in different positions on the 14 day average. Between August 1st, you get a green light on August 1st, between August 1st and the day the school opens we continue to monitor every day. And if the infection rate goes over nine, then we hit an emergency stop button. It’s very simple. It’s clear. Once you get a green light to reopen, then how you reopen, you follow the guidelines and we leave it to the 700 school districts across the state to come up with the specific plan pursuant to those guidelines.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:22)
We have done State Health Guidelines. The state Department of Education is doing State Education Guidelines, which will incorporate our health guidelines. We had a great Reimagine Education Advisory Council that did a lot of work to come up with the guidelines. Jim Malatras ran it for me. I’m going to thank them all very much for the good work they did, they’re education officials from all across the state. They came up with guidelines that will say the districts have to have flexible plans. There have to be safeguards. They’re prioritizing safety, maximizing available space, focusing on arts, career, technical education. They have to be innovative.
Andrew Cuomo: (24:10)
How do you use remote learning? How do you use innovative models? Best practices, and all the guidelines will be up today. We want masks and PPE whenever students or staff cannot maintain social distancing. Masks work. They work for children. They work for teachers. They work for everyone.
Andrew Cuomo: (24:33)
We have social distancing, six feet separations. We have cohort structures in the guidelines, guidelines on transportation, food service, aftercare, extracurricular activities, every child and person entering will be screened. Tracing has to work in the schools, cleaning and closure procedures; that’s all in the guidelines. And again, we’ve done the health guidelines, State Department of Education, which I do not run, it’s a separate agency, they’ll do the Education Guidelines incorporating ours.
Andrew Cuomo: (25:11)
Well then what’s the bad news? All our numbers are good. All our numbers are good. Bad news is we have to keep them that way. And there are challenges. There were two threats. First is lack of compliance by New Yorkers. We get arrogant. We get cocky. Weather’s warm. The numbers are good. “I heard the governor, he said everything was good, there’s nothing to worry about.”
Andrew Cuomo: (25:39)
I never said there’s nothing to worry about. I never said that. I said the numbers are good. I worry every day. “Well you just worry a lot.” No, I’m not really a worrier by nature, the circumstances cause me to worry. We have to remain compliant. And the local governments have to do their job and enforce compliance. “Well, it’s hard with younger people.” I understand. “Well, some people don’t like to wear a mask.” I understand. “Well, socially distancing is difficult.” I understand.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:13)
We have to do it. If you don’t do it, the virus will increase period, period. This is not my opinion. I’m not guessing. We know it as a scientific fact. That’s the first threat. Second is the virus comes to New York, and this is a very real threat. And it is déjà vu all over again. The first federal debacle was losing track of the virus that was supposed to be in China, and not knowing it left China and it went to Europe, and then it came here from Europe. And the federal government has now admitted this. It was one of the great federal blunders in history, costs thousands of lives in New York, and billions of dollars. They just missed it. Yeah, it was a terrible miss, and a terrible mistake, and it’s what created the spike in New York.
Andrew Cuomo: (27:22)
The second federal mistake is even after everything we went through, they allowed and pushed the other states to reopen recklessly, and you now have the virus out of control in other states. And it’s going to fly back to New York.
Andrew Cuomo: (27:45)
The first mistake brought it from Europe to New York. The second mistake will bring it from Georgia to New York, and Texas to New York, and Arizona to New York, and the 38 states that see the virus going up. Both times New York did nothing wrong. It was the federal government that caused our problem, and then frankly wanted to have nothing to do with the solution. They caused the problem, and then they said, “You’re on your own.”
Andrew Cuomo: (28:20)
Literally you have 39 States that are now seeing the virus increase and come to New York. So we talk about the valve. I talk about the valve, the reopening valve, and we talked about monitoring it all along. You now have to add two additional measures or dials to the valve.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:42)
One is now you have to watch the effect of noncompliance, and make sure the local governments are doing their job. The second dial is now the effect of the national outbreak, and people coming here to New York with the virus. Those are the two new complications that have been added to the mix.
Andrew Cuomo: (29:04)
And look, it is the federal government, because it is the federal government. Sometimes it is what it is. And this has been gross negligence. They have been denying the reality of the situation from the beginning. “It doesn’t exist. It’s going to go away. By Easter we’ll reopen. When it gets warm, it will go away like it’s a miracle.”
Andrew Cuomo: (29:28)
It didn’t go away. There was no miracle. You denied reality. This is their political agenda, over public health policy. That’s what this is. This is politically inconvenient in an election year, so deny it. Yeah, except you are jeopardizing public health, and you’re losing lives by your denial and your political agenda.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:03)
And then when the federal government didn’t step up and handle this, this was a federal crisis, why is New York State, or the State of Georgia, or the State of California, or any of these states handling the COVID virus? It’s a national issue. The president did a federal emergency declaration. You know what a federal emergency declaration means? It means a federal emergency. You know who’s in charge of federal emergencies? The federal government. That’s why they use the word, “Federal,” in all of those expressions.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:47)
I was in the federal government. When there’s a federal emergency, it’s the responsibility of the federal government. They just abandoned their post and said, “It’s up to the states.” And by the way, they got offended when the states asked for any resources or help from the federal government. If they’re not going to step up and address a problem that hurts every state in the United States, then what is the point of the federal government? I mean, if you don’t see that as your role, what is the role?
Andrew Cuomo: (31:26)
And now the president is attacking science. What a surprise! No surprise. He’s been attacking science from day one. The denial of reality was to deny science. And he’s done that from day one. At the end of the day, science trumps politics. Politics does not trump science. You don’t defeat a virus with politics.
Andrew Cuomo: (32:03)
… a virus with politics. You defeat a virus by using science and medicine. That was true from day one. President now says his own health officials are lying about the virus, his own CDC health officials are lying about the virus. Well, if the president is telling the truth, you know what he should do? He should fire them. He should fire them. You know what I would do if I believed my health commissioner was lying? I would fire him. If I said in this room, “My health commissioner is lying about the coronavirus,” you know what your first question would be? “Governor, if he, you say he’s lying, how do you not fire him? How do you keep him in charge of health policy if you say the person is lying?” Because someone is clearly lying to the American people, and people are dying because of it.
Andrew Cuomo: (33:26)
Trump’s COVID scandal makes what Nixon did at Watergate look innocent. Nobody died in the Watergate scandal. Thousands of people are going to die in this COVID scandal, and that is all the difference in the world. You look at the facts, the facts clearly demonstrate Trump was wrong from day one, and New Yorkers have been right from day one. There’s no argument. There’s nothing to tweet about. The facts are in, the numbers are in. Look at the number of bodies, look at the infection rate, New York’s numbers have declined while the nation is going up. New York is down 70%, these other states up over 800%. Florida up 1300%. Who’s right, who’s wrong? What’s there to argue about? Those are the numbers. Tell me the numbers are wrong. It’s all across the country and it is undeniable. And it’s now a threat to the State of New York.
Andrew Cuomo: (35:10)
We have done a quarantine for the highest risk infection states. We know there’ve been instances of noncompliance. Noncompliance can lead to outbreaks. We’re seeing it in Rensselaer County now where people came up from Georgia. We’re going to have the Department of Health issue an emergency health order today that will mandate that out-of-state travelers from the states that are quarantined must provide a location form before they leave the airport. The airlines will hand it out on the plane. It will also be available on the web. You can fill it out electronically or you have to fill out the piece of paper on the airplane. You must give officials at the airport your form as to where you came from and where you’re going before you leave the airport. It will be enforced in every airport in the State of New York. Downstate, the Port Authority will enforce it.
Andrew Cuomo: (36:15)
If you leave the airport without providing the information, you will receive a summons immediately with a $2,000 fine. If you leave the airport without filling out the information, not only can you have a $2,000 fine, you can then be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete mandatory quarantine. Okay? None of this is pleasant, but we’ve gone through this before. We went through this when Rick Cotton and people at the Port Authority watched three million Europeans, people from Europe, come into this state and bring in the virus. Fool me once. We can’t be in a situation where we have people coming from other states in the country bringing the virus again, it is that simple.
Andrew Cuomo: (37:20)
Again, Port Authority will do the enforcement in Downstate New York. The other airports will do it in Upstate New York. The general point is we have to stay diligent. New Yorkers have been truly amazing and what they did was historic. They tamed the beast because they are New York Tough, which means smart, united, disciplined, and loving. Those were the facts, I now want to give you an opinion. This case, it’s a very personal opinion. Personal opinion, but very personal. There’s personal, but then there’s very personal, which is even more personal than just personal. We went through 11 days of hell. Everybody processed it their own way. I saw it as climbing a mountain, and you had to climb that mountain every day and every day was hard. And every day climbing the mountain, you didn’t even know how high the mountain was. And at the same time you were designing the mountain because our behavior was going to design the mountain and design the plateau and the peak. “When will the virus stop?” “When you stop the virus,” is what the experts would say to me. It was like a cruel riddle every day.
Andrew Cuomo: (38:43)
“When do the deaths stop? When does the infection rate stop?” “When you stop it.” What does that mean? When the social distancing works, when the close-down policies work, when the masks work. So you’re climbing a mountain and you were designing the curve of the mountain. It ends when you say it ends, right? This was traumatizing for people. And on a personal level, economic level, it was frightening, it was isolating. Everyone had their own demons they were dealing with. I had my own demons and my own fears. I’m afraid for my mother, afraid for my kids, afraid for my brother. Everyone had their own pain and their own trauma to deal with. But what we went through and what we did was historic because we did tame the beast, we did turn the corner, we did plateau that mountain, and then we came down the other side. And they will be talking about what we did for decades to come. It really was an historic moment. Personally traumatic, socially traumatic, and historic.
Andrew Cuomo: (40:14)
So, I love history. I love poster art. Poster art is something they did in the early 1900s, late 1800s when they had to communicate their whole platform candidacy on one piece of paper, right? You wanted to run a campaign, they didn’t have the TV commercials, they didn’t have mail, they didn’t have any of these things, so they got their whole message on one piece of paper. And it always fascinated me. I use so many words. What if somebody said, “Okay, no words. Paint me a picture that tells the story of what you’re trying to say.” That’s poster art. And it’s helped me because it’s been like a relief valve. Not that I don’t have joy every day dealing with you guys, but I could go and just use a different side of my brain. And this was the most famous, the William Jennings Bryan with the octopus. He’s fighting the octopus and the octopus is corporate trusts that are taking over the economy. Right? You could almost do that again today.
Andrew Cuomo: (41:25)
So over the past few years, I’ve done my own posters that capture that feeling. I did this one for the state of the state ship of state that was sailing in this sea of division, back in January. Well, in any event. So I did another one for what we went through with COVID, and I think the general shape is familiar to you. We went up the mountain, we curved the mountain, we came down the other side, and these are little telltale signs that to me represent what was going on. That big arrow that goes right up through it, that was the economic models, right? We needed 120,000 beds, we needed 140,000 beds, and those models shot straight up. We had to bend the curve despite those models. We needed 30,000 ventilators, that model said. We almost get to the top of the mountain, economy falls. Get it? Economy falls like Niagara Falls. But then, then the economy drops, the economy falls, and the economy comes running down.
Andrew Cuomo: (42:55)
Timeline on the bottom, from day one to day 111, it’s roughly scaled. And then little visuals of what was going on. Starts on day one, little octopus is the tale back to the William Jennings Bryan poster. Zach got that right away. First comes on a cruise ship, the COVID virus, right? We start the daily briefings as Jim Malatras and Stephanie Benton. Hand sanitizer, we have the winds of fear are blowing. Everybody’s afraid. We have the plane bringing three million people from Europe and that’s how COVID came through the clouds of the federal government, CDC, et cetera. Testing, hospital surge, Javits Center, we’re down the curve together, right? 111 days of hell, the New Rochelle hotspot, first hotspot cluster. Testing tracing, nasal swab, cute little button nose. I’m driving once again. One of those few benefits of this, I get to drive myself now. Subway disinfection. We’ve turned the corner, mask up, social distancing. The sun is on the other side of the mountain, we just had to make it to the other side of the mountain. There’s the man in the moon.
Andrew Cuomo: (44:34)
It’s just the flu, phase one, we’re now coming down the other side. Boyfriend cliff is there. “Tell the people the truth, they will do the right thing.” They made the boyfriend look like a Zack Fink, I’m not sure why. Who’s pulling down the curve? New Yorkers, healthcare workers, the essential workers, out-of-state volunteers, 30,000 people from out of state volunteer to come help us. I have my three daughters there. That’s captain. They have him a little ponchy. He’s on a diet. He’s not that bad, but he’s on his way. Stock market reopens, we come down the other side. There’s the briefing table. Out of state ban. Follow the facts. It’s Arizona, Texas, Florida going up. Last little sign, “Caution ahead. Caution ahead.” We climb the mountain, we’re down the mountain. Be cautious, what we’re talking about today, do compliance, watch people from other states. And we’re still in the sea of division, which I talked about in January, even worse. George Floyd murder, racial tension, protests, even worse than it was.
Andrew Cuomo: (46:05)
So New York Tough; smart, united, discipline, loving, in case you haven’t heard that before, because love wins at the end of the day. Love is the rainbow. Timeline on the bottom. We forged community, and community wins, and you were part of it. And I’m going to give you a poster because you were part of it. Andrew?
Governor, I have two questions. First, I thought you had indicated at the end of last week that you yourself might travel to some of the other states to [inaudible 00:46:38]. If you went to one of these states, have you self-quarantines?
Andrew Cuomo: (46:42)
No, essential workers don’t have to self-quarantine when they come back. I’m an essential worker.
The second question has to do with the threshold.
Andrew Cuomo: (46:50)
I think I’m an essential worker. Some people will tell me I’m not that essential but-
So threshold for schools, you talked about the percentage testing positive [inaudible 00:46:58] the floor being 5% [inaudible 00:00:47:01]. Given that New York is somewhere around 1% right now, if you were below it, [inaudible 00:47:08] somewhere around 4% at the time you’re making a decision [inaudible 00:15:12], might that be an alarm bell right there?
Andrew Cuomo: (47:15)
Yeah. Well look, yes. You can follow the number, that’s what’s nice about this. There’s no politics, there’s no personal opinion, there’s no vagary. Look at the number. You’re at 1%. Okay, as long as you don’t go over five, you have a green light. If you see two, three, if it’s a consistent basis, then yeah, start to worry, because if the number’s going up, the number goes up. And if the number goes over five, you hit the red emergency button. So if you see two, three, four, yeah, you’re probably headed for five, unless you do something very dramatic very quickly.
I wonder if you [inaudible 00:48:03]-
Andrew Cuomo: (48:02)
Governor, I wonder if you could respond to AOC’s comments, I believe it was yesterday, regarding an uptick in violence in the city. She said it’s probably the result of people not having their rent canceled, people needing to steal for bread. I think that’s what she’s been saying. That’s not the case [inaudible 00:48:14]. I’m wondering number one, your reaction to that and is that the kind of comment that ends up [inaudible 00:48:22]?
Andrew Cuomo: (48:26)
Well, look, an incorrect… I don’t know what she said, so I have no comment on what she said, but people have theories. An incorrect theory doesn’t wind up being correct because there’s a void. And I think we have been talking about what’s going on. I don’t think there is one answer, but I think you raised a good point last week. I think there are a number of contributing factors, and you put all those factors together, and that’s what you’re seeing going on. There’s no one factor, and that’s why it’s a little more complicated. In politics, they want to be able to say, “It’s just this.” It’s not just this. There are a number of factors. But I don’t think you have violent crime, which is murder, et cetera. More than robbery, I think that the violent crimes have been more drug-related, et cetera, on the facts. Yeah.
Melissa DeRosa: (49:32)
On the rent issue specifically though, as I’m sure you all remember, the Governor did an executive order back in March that said there couldn’t be any evictions on commercial or residential rent through June. We then extended that for anyone who was COVID-hardship-related through the end of August. In the interim, the legislature passed legislation that said that you can’t be up for any rent evictions during this crisis, which is a bill that we signed, I think, a week and a half ago. And so I’m not sure how it could square that it’s people that are not able to pay their rent when right now there are no evictions on the table legally. So [crosstalk 00:02:04].
Andrew Cuomo: (50:05)
Yeah, it is factually impossible that somebody committed a crime so they could pay their rent. If you can’t pay your rent, you cannot be evicted right now.
And if I could just ask you about the nursing home report. I want to get your response to criticism [inaudible 00:02:22]. Specifically, one of the issues they raised was that they did not include hospitals or people who are nursing home residents. Does that mean that data going into the report [inaudible 00:50:36].
Jim Malatras: (50:36)
They used the publicly reported data and the curve shows what the curves… The facts are the facts. So I think it didn’t material impact the overall outcome, which was the timing of the fatalities happened well before any of the admission policy that the workforce itself was a driving factor because that’s when the infection came in early on. So those material facts would not be changed one way or another, but the Department of Health was basing it on the public data that everybody has.
Andrew Cuomo: (51:03)
Yeah. It’s where you count the death that’s act… If the person goes into the hospital, passes away in the hospital, we call that a hospitalization death, as opposed to trying to trace every from how long did the person have to be from the nursing home into the hospital, or you’d have to do it the other way. Back it out of the hospital deaths, increase the nursing home, and reduce the hospitalization. But you add the two numbers together, it’s the number.
Governor, test testing supplies and PPE are increasingly in short supply nationwide. How much progress have New York hospitals made towards realizing that 90 day goal that you set in early May to stockpile PPE? And how does that seven state consortium you also announced about that time play into that?
Andrew Cuomo: (51:53)
The consortium is more of a longer term production mode. If you put those states together, can we manufacture our own? And does one state have the capacity to manufacture masks and one state have the capacity to manufacture gowns and one state have the capacity to manufacture the reagents for the testing, et cetera. The 90 day PPE is going to be a firm regulation. They must have 90 days of PPE in supply, period. There’s no wiggle room on that. We gave them a period of time to ramp up. There’s a cash flow issue, storage issue, et cetera, but everybody has to have 90 days of PPE in their own stockpile. Lesson learned. And that’s a state reg.
Any idea how many days an average hospital in New York or New York City would have on hand at this point?
Andrew Cuomo: (52:59)
They should have 90 days on hand now, or they would have had to get a waiver from the Department of Health because they didn’t have the cash flow or something like that, but I’ve not heard of anyone getting a waiver.
Jim Malatras: (53:16)
And to the Governor’s point, and it’s the 90 days at the highest burn rate, which is the requirement at the peak of a new wave or something like that. And we’re tracking this. Many of the hospitals, we check it regionally as well, have more than 90 days. They’ve actually gone extra cautious. Some have 120 days worth of materials so we’re tracking all of that. I don’t know of any waivers either, but we’ll check on that.
Andrew Cuomo: (53:40)
That did not apply, Zack, to testing equipment. That was only hospital PPE.
Speaker 1: (53:45)
Andrew Cuomo: (53:48)
What was the second question?
Speaker 1: (54:06)
If the state [inaudible 00:06:10].
Andrew Cuomo: (54:15)
Yeah, I don’t think… The state funding formula goes by legislation now. It’s a set formula for every school district in the state 700 school districts. I don’t think there’s any variance in the law that would allow you to shift funds from one school district to another. On the death rate across the state, look, it is very, very good news. That’s why I literally say congratulations to New Yorkers. We followed the data. We have a model that worked and worked all across the state. It is working. We are reopening. The other regions outside of New York are even further down the road on reopening and the numbers are all good. Yes, we have compliance issues, especially downstate New York and Long Island, but it’s been great news.
Andrew Cuomo: (55:19)
I want to look ahead. If it was just today, I’d say great. All great, but we’ve all learned the hard way, look ahead. What’s the next shoe that could drop? I’m worried about people coming to New York. You are not a hermetically sealed bubble, right? Somebody lands in New York, they come through Rick’s Airport. They come through JFK, LaGuardia, Newark Airport. I remember the first positive we had was a health worker coming back through the airport. And I remember what that started. First case. What Uber did she get into? Who at the gate did she say hello to? Where did she pick up her bag? What Uber driver? Who did she shake hands with in her hotel lobby? It came in through the airports. It will come in through the airports once again.
Speaker 2: (56:34)
[inaudible 00:08:39]. Offices and retail locations. Do you believe this might eventually pave the way towards an extension of the 50% capacity limits?
Andrew Cuomo: (56:52)
It could, but the air filtration to me… You know when we talk about being smart, right? What have we done in New York? We’ve been smart. Why? Because we’re smart and common sense. Look at everything you can. This air filtration is a major function. It’s not the most sexy of functions and you won’t hear many governors talking about air filtration, but you have a filter that can filter out the COVID virus? Wow. Why aren’t you using it? We then ran into all sorts of complications. This HPAC system fits, at this doesn’t et cetera, but we put out guidance.
Andrew Cuomo: (57:40)
The HEPA Filter is the best for those systems that can take it. Otherwise, you have to have a Merv 13 for a large congregate setting is the best or down to a Merv 11. That’s the floor and the ceiling, if you will. But I’m excited about the possibility and we’ll see how it goes. If the infection rate stays down, then you’re going to see us continue to increase the capacity. And if the air filtration is one of those devices that keeps the infection rate down, great.
Speaker 2: (58:14)
Andrew Cuomo: (58:16)
Speaker 2: (58:17)
Where are you going to go this weekend? [inaudible 00:58:22].
Andrew Cuomo: (58:20)
Yeah. We’re talking to a few states and we’re seeing what they need and the best way to get it to them.
Speaker 1: (58:28)
I’ve been listening to the Board of Regions meeting. This morning they were discussing those guidelines that you mentioned. And a lot of concerns came up about making sure kids are on the same page if they’re learning in a part time or a hybrid model. How much is this something they need to be preparing for on the state level?
Andrew Cuomo: (58:45)
Yeah, I don’t know what you’re listening to, what they’re saying or what it actually means. So we’ll see what guidance they put out at the end of the day and then we’ll take it from there. Sir.
Speaker 3: (58:59)
[inaudible 00:00:58:59]. Uptick in gun violence in the city. Where in his press conference, the mayor tied it largely to widespread availability of illegal guns. You just said that you don’t tie the uptick to one single cause. Do you agree with the mayor there or do you think that there are-
Andrew Cuomo: (59:17)
I have not heard that there was an uptick in the availability of illegal guns. Is there?
Speaker 3: (59:22)
That’s what the mayor pointed fingers at when he was talking about the recent uptick.
Andrew Cuomo: (59:27)
I haven’t heard of that. Have you ever heard of that?
Melissa DeRosa: (59:32)
No. And I would just caution that last week it was bail reform and it was the choke hold ban and it was Rikers and then it’s rent and now it’s this. I think that this is a really complex issue that is really incredibly important to the safety of the people of New York and that people should refrain from tossing around theories with no facts behind them.
Andrew Cuomo: (59:50)
Yep, go ahead. Let someone who I didn’t answer. Yes.
Speaker 4: (01:00:02)
[ inaudible 00:01:00:06]. If you adhere to, two parted question, what would you ask, Governor Cuomo, and what would you [inaudible 01:00:20]?
Andrew Cuomo: (01:00:20)
Ooh boy. I would ask Governor Cuomo, did you really design that poster or did somebody else design that poster? Was that really you or did somebody else do that? I would say if answering is me, I would say, “Yes, I designed it. I resent that question. I don’t like the implication of it. I think it was personally derogatory and hostile.” So yes, I said I designed it because I designed it. What would I ask Andrew Cuomo separating him from Governor Cuomo? I would ask Andrew Cuomo, how are you doing through all of this? And when you look back, what do you think on a personal level?
Andrew Cuomo: (01:01:24)
I would say that’s a personal question and I think it’s inappropriate to ask me at this venue and I’d get a little defensive. And then I would say, “I think at the end of the day, we will actually be stronger as a society for what we went through. I think my family is stronger as a family for what we went through.” I would say it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I think it was the hardest thing a lot of New Yorkers did, but I think I am stronger for it. I think my family is stronger for it. I think we’re stronger for it as a society on the theory that, that which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. I just hope we never have to go through it again. And I hope this nation gets the message and those other states get the message so we save lives in this country and if they follow what New York did, we will save lives and nothing is more important than that. Thank you guys. Thank you very much.
Speaker 4: (01:02:37)
Any thoughts on using convention centers or-
Andrew Cuomo: (01:02:37)
Speaker 4: (01:02:37)
… other spaces for schools?
Andrew Cuomo: (01:02:44)
Any school that wants to propose that can.