Sharing the lowest number of deaths to date, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo hosts coronavirus briefing from New Rochelle (May 29)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo offers his coronavirus briefing from New Rochelle on May 29, 2020.
It is Robert Monica, budget director of the State of New York. To my immediate right, Melissa Derosa, Secretary to the governor, to her right, Gareth Roads has been working with us from day one. Uh, thank you again. Thank you to Iona College President Kerry for having us here today. You know, it's a busy day and a distressful day on many levels, but let's proceed. Today is Day 90 of the Corona pandemic crisis. Follow the facts. They will show you the way A. J Parkinson. That's what we've been doing in New York following the facts. The facts today. Terms of the Corona virus a good number of hospitalizations air down net change in total. Hospitalizations is down. Intubation czar down and the new cases are down to 152 which is dramatic. Dramatic drop for us. Uh, one point. You know, we'll never get to zero. What is the bottom off the curve? I don't know, but but we're close and the number of deaths, uh, thank the good Lord continues to decline. It's at its lowest level ever of 67 deaths, and we hope and we pray that that continues to be the case. The question is on reopening Onda. As everyone knows, we've been looking at the numbers, looking at the metrics in terms of different regions across the state. The overall state was hit the hardest by this virus, and we're coming back as the smartest, uh, way were forced to learn mawr and learn faster and respond quicker because we were hit by the invisible enemy, the European virus, the virus from Europe. When everyone said, Watch China, well, they were wrong. The virus came to New York for a mate from Europe. We have metrics that have posted. We want all the people to know exactly what we're doing because they're the ones who decide what happens. So communicating this information has been key. From day one. We have now done even mawr testing. We took test more than any state in the United States per capita, we test more than any country on the globe. Per capita on that is helpful in a number of ways. It also gives us more and more information to make decisions, so we can now look at the number of tests were doing by a specific area in the state and see on a day to day basis what is happening with the spread of the virus by the number of tests in that area, and you can actually see a trend line from day to day, right? This is all about opening smart, which means what? Which means you're tracking the virus, and we can now track it on a day to day basis to help us inform us about our decisions and how we should react on. We have a new dashboard that actually tracks that information, and you can see remarkably clearly what is happening in terms of the spread of the virus, the severity of the new infections, new infections in the region. Eso everyone will know exactly what's happening and why we're doing it and what, where, what we're planning to do. The reason we are so rigorous about this is because many states and countries have reopened and they made mistakes. Yes, everybody wants to open tomorrow. I wanted open before we ever closed, but you have to be smart, and we've seen what has happened painfully, when cities and states and countries reopen too quickly, they had toe. They wound up closing again which is the worst situation. So be smart. We have the data, We have more data than almost any other place on the globe because of our testing, and we have had it reviewed at every level. All the local officials sign off the regional officials sign off the best state experts and then we go to global experts who have done this in countries around the world who frankly have more experience than we do because they've been through this, the crisis and the closing in the opening and the closing again on and we review all the data with them and I want to thank the more, very much for taking the time to go through the data. But these literally the best minds that you confined on the globe and when it comes to this and they have gone through all the data. So I feel feel confident that where we can rely on this data and the five regions that have been in phase one can now move to phase two because their data has been reviewed and Theo experts say to us it's safe to move forward because people have been smart and you haven't seen the spike so that they go to phase two. Phase two is all office based jobs, real estate services, retail reopening, barber shops, hair salons, reopening. That's all part of phase to their specific guidance on how to reopen and phase two. It's not Just open the doors and everybody has a party. It's 50% occupancy. In office buildings, sign Ege on markers, etcetera. No meetings without social distancing don't share food or beverages. I mean, I see people all the time sharing food and beverages. You really don't want to do that now. But again, the specific guidance for every area. Retail stores, 50% occupancy where the face covering a store owner can tell you they don't want you to come in. If you're not wearing a face covering. Why? Because you don't have the right to. In fact, the store owner. You don't have a right to infect other customers in the store, and you don't have the right to walk into a store, and all the other customers run out because you don't have a face mask. Malls are closed except stores that open to external entrances, curbside but again, very detailed guidelines. Barbershops help. Hair salons are open, uh, by appointment Only. The professionals in those operations have to get a test every two weeks. We recommend that the professionals get a test before they reopen. That's not a mandate. That's a recommendation. And we recommend to customers to ask the barber or professional in the hair salon if they had a test before you use their services. That's a recommendation, but they have to get a test every two weeks on. If I were walking into a barbershop, I would say I would ask the barber, Did you get a test before you reopened? When was the last time you got a test on? If they got a test, they'll have a certification that have, Ah, on evidence of that test on, people will wear face coverings. But the basic rule is still. It's all about how we act. It comes down to that how the employer acts out. The store owner acts out the employee acts. How the individual acts have the local government acts reopening in New York City, eyes more complicated. Aziz, we know, but we are on track to meet all the metrics. Hospital capacity of 70% We want 30% hospital capacity, so God forbid something goes wrong. We have the hospital beds. We want to make sure we have the stockpile of PPE. We're not going through what we went through last time searching the globe for ventilators and masks and gowns. I mean that we learned that lesson the hard way this entire country did. But it be madness to go through that again, we have to have the testing in place, which we do the contract contact tracing eyes being brought up to speed. We believe all of these things can be done next week. Uh, the mt A preparations for reopening. But we think all of this can be done by next week. Uh, and we would be on track to open the week afterwards. One of the things we want to do and we have been doing is I want to focus on the hot spots again. Follow the facts. We have the data we can tell you by zip code where the new cases of comfort coming from. They are in New York City, their outer borough them or Brooklyn them or the Bronx, their lower income areas. They're more minority areas, and we know where they are by ZIP code. Some of these, of course, you have double the infection rate in those ZIP codes that you have citywide. Citywide, the infection rate is about 19%. 20% in some ZIP codes is over 40% the infection rate. We know where the ZIP codes are Next week. Let's do a full court press on the zip coats, and we've been talking to our colleagues in the city of speaking to the mayor about this next week. Hospitals PPE get that contact tracing up, UH, MT. A will finish their final preparations, But then hot spots, hot spots. Hot spots were in New Rochelle today, where we had the first hot spot in the nation. There was no such thing is ah, hot spot before New Rochelle had a hot spot. Congratulations. New Rochelle created a new term now used by every American hot spot in this regard, but we know where the hot spots are in the city. We want to focus on them next week. Be ready to open. We are on track to open on June 8th, which is one week from Monday and next week, as I mentioned, will be following up on these issues. Phase one should bring about 400,000 employees back to work in New York City. Remember that reopening does not mean we're going back to the way things were. Life is not about going back. Nobody goes back. We go forward on. It's going to be different. It is reopening to a new normal. It's a safe for normal. People will be wearing masks. People will be socially. Distance doesn't mean they don't like you. It's not a personal reflection. It's just a new way of interacting, which is what we have to do and where a mask get tested and socially distance it is. It is that simple, but that hard? It is that simple. But that hard. Those simple devices wearing a mask, hand sanitizer, they make all the difference. They make all the difference. You talk to all the experts. What advice? What should we do? Wear a mask? How can it be that simple? Because sometimes it's that simple. The doing is what's hard not the advice. Getting 19 million people to do it. That's what's hard, Um, and what happens is up to us up to us. People say, Governor, tell me what's going to happen next week, the week after. I can't tell you Onley. You know it's the person in the mirror. You tell me how the people of New York City respond. I'll tell you what happens in New York City. You tell me how the people in Westchester respond. I'll tell you what happens in Westchester, the New Rochelle hot spot That was all done by New Rochelle. So act of God was no external force. It happened because of what people in New Rochelle did. We know how we got here. We know how we can get from here. If we act smart, the stores open in their smart. The customers are smart. People are smart people on public transit is smart. Then we won't see those numbers go up as we haven't in the upstate regions that have reopened and Long Island, that is reopened. The numbers have not gone up. Why? Because people have been smart and we have to continue to be smart on. We're going to be doing this in New York City without partners on. I want to thank the mayor very much and his team very much. Everybody in government has been working over time and none of us have been here before. But we are figuring it out. And I'm proud of the way New York is figuring it out. We wish we were never here, but once we were here, we have made the best of it on. We should be proud. And the mayor is looking fit and healthy and rested. I don't know why, but he's looking extraordinarily good on. It's good to be with him in this. This new way of everyone is virtual. Everyone is zoom. But it's not the virtual mayor. It is the rial mayor of the city of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Good to be with you, Mayor. Thank you so much, Governor. Governor, I'm worried that the Corona viruses affecting your eyesight because I feel I think last 90 days for all of us. A lot of long days. I know you and your team and worked extraordinarily hard, and I think we all we all look a little less than ideal. Thank you. Want to say? First of all, thank you, Governor. Thank you to your whole team for the extraordinary work happened over these last months. As you said, our teams talk all day long with a lot of common purpose, and we've done really important work with the same strategic view of the same approach. I want to thank you for that. Um, we are excited to get to the point of a recent for New York City. And when I talked to the people of this city this morning, I told them that the indicators were moving absolutely in the right direction, but that the key to getting to a point, a definition for that phase one came from the collaboration between you and me and the state in the city toe all get on the same page and make sure that we were confident that it was the right time to do it when I have talked and I think we are absolutely on the same page. The fact is, Governor, you've talked about the condition of the state and how incredibly different it is that even a month or two ago, I just want you to hear this good news about the city, our own health department indicators. We have set a threshold that We want to be under 200 new hospital admissions each day to know where in the safe zone today. Governor Onley, 61 new patients for cove it 19 or similar disease. That's breathtaking. How far we've come on that. We also have said we want to be below 15% of all new tests testing a positive result for the people taking those tests. And Governor, As you know, with your help, we've all been doing mawr and Mawr testing every day. Literally exponential growth. The days number will bring a smile to your face. Only 5% of those tested positive. So these are great indicators. The 3rd 1 We still have a little work to do, but I'm very confident. I know you are, too. And that's the number of people are public hospital icy use this morning, Governor, we announced that threshold that 3 75 threshold, we were damn closed at 391 patients. But as you and I have discussed, we've got about 40 patients that actually can be cared for outside of icy, used in a different setting, It gives them the long term care they need. We're gonna work with your team in the state to figure out the right way to do that, those folks will appropriately come off the number that's gonna put us under that fresh whole. Now, when you add all that together Aziz, you and I have discussed, we are on now, the gateway to the next big step and Governor is I affirmed to you. We're going to spend this coming week going out to the businesses of New York City. That would be part of phase one. We're going to be providing them with free face coverings were going to be providing them with a hotline where any employer can call to figure out how to address those practical questions. I've given a lot of credit to you and your team for the guidance you put out around phase one. Very remember questions. If we see something that's not right helping them correct, we're going to this aim for I have a hotline for workers. They're safe and they're getting the support they need. So, as you and I discussed this next week, we will be able to implement all that a lot of hands on direct work with small businesses and it will work in New York, New York have to continue to watch. I focus on those hot spots. If codes ta preparation the hospital numbers. There are about 100 hospitals in New York City. 11 are the hospitals. The mayor was referring to the New York City hospitals, but then there are about 90 other hospitals. They have tohave the beds available. They have tohave PPE available and will be working with them. But we'll get there for June 8th and June 8th. We have to be smart again. This is not happy days here again, it's over. We have to be smart, and we're going to remind New Yorkers of that. I want to make one a point about, uh, the larger context of what's going on in Minneapolis today, which I'm sure is very distressing to all of us on. I want to begin by offering our personal thoughts and prayers to the family of George Floyd on behalf of all New Yorkers who have seen that incredible vehicle video. We can imagine your pain, Uh, and you are in our thoughts and prayers. I would also suggest that when we think about this situation and we start to analyze the situation and the reaction. Let's not make the same mistake that we continually make, which is we tend to see incidents. This is an incident and isolated incident. People focus on an isolated incident. It's not an isolated incident. It is a continuum of cases and situations that have been going on for decades and decades and decades. These air just chapters in a book and the title of the book is continuing Injustice and Inequality in America and these Air Just chapters. The chapter started modern day Rodney King in Los Angeles 1991. Abdullah Louima in New York 1997. Amadou Diallo in New York, 1999. Sean Bell in New York 2006 Oscar Grant, Oakland, California 2009 Eric Garner, New York City 2014 Michael Brown, Missouri, 2014. Laquan McDonald, Chicago, 2014 Freddie Gray, Baltimore, 2015. Antoine Rose, Pittsburgh, 2018 I'm not Aubrey in Georgia. 2020 Briana Taylor in Kentucky, 2020. George Floyd in Minneapolis, 2020. That's that's why the outrage. That's why the frustration and the anger it is not about one situation. It's about the same situation happening again and again and again and again and seeing the same thing and not learning the lesson. And then is that happening in a broader context in a broader circumstances, which is what's going on with the Corona virus, which effects and kills more minorities than anyone else? You look around this country and you look at the people who are who are dying of the Corona virus. It is this proportionate African American people, and it's just a continuing injustice. And that's the frustration. And that's the protests. Nobody is sanctioning, uh, the arson on the thuggery in the burglaries. But the protesters and the anger and the fear and the frustration, Yes, yes, and the demand is for justice. When the prosecutor came out and said, Well, there's other evidence, but I can't tell you anything more than that that only inside id the frustration, injustice in the justice system, how repugnant to the concept of America and over and over and over again, Uh, I stand figuratively with the protesters. I stand against the arson and the burglary and the criminality. I stand with the protesters, and I think all well meaning Americans stand with the protesters. Enough is enough. How many times you have to see the same lesson replayed before you do so. This country is better then this. It has been better than this, and it shouldn't take this long to win the basic discrimination and basic injustice. Any questions? Governor about the June 8th reopening what becomes the challenge and begins to become the challenges commuting. So earlier today, the mayor used the word improvised when answering whether some New Yorker would decide whether to drive in or to take the subway. Is that the right way to look at it? You have to sort of improvise and make that decision. Or should there be guidance and ideas for how we do this? Yeah, there is, uh, well, improvise, I think the Mayor's point. Waas. It's up to you, you know you want to go into New York City, you go into New York City the way you want to go into New York City. If you want to drive, you can drive. Uh, you want to pay that parking. You want to deal with that traffic? That's that's your business. If you want to take public transit, you take public transit. I understand why people would be anxious about public transit. That's why the empty A is doing extraordinary work. They really are. I mean, people used to complain about how the empty a clean trains and buses, right? They didn't clean the trains and buses well enough. Well, they're now disinfecting them. I'm that standard. It was just unimaginable, right? You can disinfect the train, they're doing it. Closing the subways at night helped, but the disinfecting trains that transit this, in fact that using UV lights, the using all sorts of chemicals they're experimenting with with films that you can spray on that kill a virus for 30 days that are leading technology so the public transit system will be operational is operation. And we wouldn't operate it unless it it's safe. People have to wear masks. Ah, but the public transit system will be safe and individuals will make their own choice, as they always do. Right ways. Choice. Take the train or take the car. Um, but as they said, taking the car has obvious environmental issues and is incredibly expensive about staggering the work ships. How big a push on employers to step work shifts in offices when we get there. Thistles always been about finding this new normal and everyone doing their part on an individual level and employers private companies doing their part. And I've been frankly amazed pleasantly at how creative and how thoughtful the employers have been in staggering their workplace, staggering our staggering days. They, the employees have been responsive. Also, the employees won't come back otherwise. You know the market works here. People want to work. People need jobs, but they're not putting their health at risk. So I think the employees are demanding response from employers. But I think employers have been very creative on that will continue. Governor TA Capacity. You have to see if that is an issue social distancing as we maintain it. Uh, in other circumstances, I don't know that you'll be able to maintain strict social distancing on a bus or a train. I don't think that's reality. Let's grab me. He couldn't comment. Chris is also an empty a board member, not just the budget director. When the train is late, I blame Rob Olsen eso They can't do strict social distancing, but they can do the cleaning protocol that disinfecting protocol you have to wear a mask, you have to wear a mask on. That's going to be part of the protocol, and they're going to be doing best. They can stagger volume on trains, etcetera, and they're gonna have personnel who are working to limit how many people get onto a train and do the stages. Rob, you were guidelines you'll see. And as the governor mentioned, right, the empty A is cleaning all the cars. They're doing the disinfecting. They're also requiring wearing the masks and you'll see throughout the guidelines for all the re openings to mitigates not being able to social distance, it's wear a mask when you come within six feet. So that's why you have the order on the MTR, which is always wear a mask that is more than likely that you will come within six feet, but once you wear a mask, you limit any risk. TDC has also said that surface contact with the virus is not a significant, uh, transmission of the disease, so that combined with the disinfecting combined with adding service. Right now we're at close to 80% of service, with only 10% of the ridership, so as you fee as you go into phase one, you're talking about increasing by about 400,000 people. The number of people travelling to work trains can easily manage that. The guidelines will also talk about recommending staggered hours, staggered start and stop times for employers, which is something frankly, we've encouraged from before the coronavirus. Right, Because we have high traffic during certain times peak traffic. So all of those things to gather will mitigate it. But the empty A, the trains and the buses will be safer and cleaner than they were before. So when governor talks about going back better, that was before you're gonna have an empty A. That was better than it was before. Cleaner with it was before and safer than it waas before we started in March. You look someone in the platform hate. Sorry. Trains phone. You got away. We're encouraging Is there's other cars, right? So right now you're saying Well, there will be people. Is the governor mentioned on the platforms? There are other cars, often on the same train, right? The initial middle cars can be full while other cars are empty. So will encourage people to go into the other through the other cars. They're not strict limits on the number of people that could get in. But like when you get to an elevator, you see eight people get into the elevator. You may sometimes say, Hold on. I'm gonna wait for the next one. You can do the same thing with the train and say I might not get into it. But wearing a mask next to other people that are wearing mask even if you're not socially, distance has been safe. That's what we're encouraging in all of our guidelines and that we consistent with the empty Yeah, I was just get right to you. Uh, the individual responsibility also pertains to riding the public transit system. And yes, we we will need a cooperative public Where if you're on a subway platform and you see the subway car is crowded, Okay, wait for the next one. Uh, if you see the bus come and the bus is overcrowded, okay, be responsible. Wait for the next one. Eso people will be part of that. Also, also remember this This is only phase one. Part of the intelligence of the system is you don't go from 0 to 60 miles an hour. You go from 0 to 20 miles an hour. This means 400,000 people. Phase one into the system. 400,000 is not a significant number in New York City, right in a normal operating environment. So you start to open gradually. Used to talk about turned the valve. Just trying to have a little bit and watch how the system operates and see how it works. And then if you have to adjust, adjust. Nobody's been here before. I'm not. I've never said I know how this is gonna work. Uh, we know the answers. Nobody can give you the answers. They don't even know the questions. Nobody reopened New York City in history. Nobody reopened in New York City. Nobody closed down New York City in history. It'll be my claim to fame. First governor to close down New York City Uh, so reopening Phase one, that's all. Now, Phase one is worked very well in the other regions, and starting slowly has worked very well. Could you see little adjustments that you have to make, frankly, little things you wouldn't have thought of when you start open stores you start open attractions on, that's on Lee 400,000 people, and we'll learn and will adjust the biggest challenge because we mentioned superseding events. Commute is different than just not being team social justice to the store for a couple of seconds, 45 minutes or something even bigger, he rolled a challenge to me. The biggest challenge if I were personally my power prioritization for next week are the hot spots, the ZIP codes, twice the infection rate. They're driving the new cases. So they're a health care issue, and it's the largest area of deaths. When it's the area of hospitalizations is the area of deaths. And look, I understand the economic consequences. Uh, this state will have an historic economic problem from this situation, and I get that painfully. But for me, from day one, it's been about the number of deaths that has what this this has been about that for me from day one. Any of those numbers I know we can deal with, we can fix deficits. We can fix shortfalls. We can fight with Washington for funding. The one number that we can't fix is the number of deaths. That's the only number that keeps me up at night and the hot spots. Higher infection rate, higher hospitalization rate, higher death rate. So that's first governor. Many local officials in the five upstate regions were expecting to start face to earlier today. Some have cold process confusing and that they need more communication. What's your response to that? They thought it was earlier today than one oclock. Then they believe that it would start. Today is today in today's. They wanted it this morning instead of one o'clock. Well, the I can understand that, uh, but we want to make sure that the data was reviewed by all the experts. Ah, County executive may be very good at what they do, but they're not a an expert in viral transmission in a global pandemic. I may be competent as a governor, but I am not expert in global transmissions in a viral of a viral pandemic. So I wanted to make sure we had the best minds. Look at all the data before we stepped forward. Because of you, it's stone to stone across the morass. If you take a step and you're not on a stone, but you step on a lily pad going across the morass, you will sink, and that's bad. So I wanted to have the best minds review all the data to give us their opinion. They both signed off on it. And the difference between this morning and one o'clock. I never talked to anyone about timing morning or one three years Jersey Medicaid, Allowing your face dining He's done earlier than phase three town towers spaced apart way we're still looking at. So we're still looking at the guidance, right? Some areas have opened up outdoor dining in advance of indoor dining, so we're still looking at those guidelines and haven't decided yet. But there's a possibility that you could separate outdoor dining. It's a little different, depending on which parts of the state right and where, what access you have to sidewalks and spaces for after a dining. But that's something that is on the review. Yeah, talk about never having done this before, so you're right is a restaurants, and now a new category. Outdoor dining is that the same as a restaurant? And then what they'll say back in the office is, well, outdoor dining on Second Avenue in Manhattan or in Albany. Uh, what is the size of the sidewalk? What is the volume on the side book? Are they socially distancing from the table on the sidewalk? But we have to look at it. Okay, one more. You mention the protest in the outrage with protesters. You saw some of the protests in New York City yesterday. Obviously, people are gonna protest whether anything you'd like to say about safety. I'm not commenting on the A safety or behavior of any particular protest you had. You had a lot of violence when some of these protests. Yeah, well, even but on any particular protest, obviously obey the law. I'm against any of the criminality that has gone on arson, thuggery, etcetera. But Martin Luther King, the right to speak up the protest, the frustration I stand with that Because I get it, I get it. Look, my for my life time as basically as an adult, I've lived this asking this from Rodney King forward. I mean, I was there for Amadou Diyala. Uh, I was there for having a Louima, and then you have ever garner. And then you have George Floyd. It's the same case. Just change a couple of facts is the same exact situation. And when does it change? It's not like a situation that you can't understand. Here is a minority. Here's an African American here. They are being abused and it's the same situation. It's been 30 years since Rodney King. I'm a duty yellow in New York. Reporter won a Pulitzer Prize for the reporting. Wow. Great job by journalists. Great job showing the injustice and what happened. What was the resolution? Where was the progress? Eric Garner? No, I'm with the protesters. Thank you very much. Open early or you. Thank you.