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Homeland Security

New York State

Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces New York State to Assist States with High Infection Rates

June 26, 2020

A rush transcript of the interview is available below:

Good morning, everyone. Today is Friday. Even without a PowerPoint today is Friday. Today is 118 since we started the hellish experience of dealing with the coronavirus. Yesterday, we did 61,000 tests. 805 of them were positive. That is a 1.3% positive rate. That is the lowest seven day average rate [of any big state] in the United States of America per Johns Hopkins University. So, 1.[1] is the seven day average and it is the lowest [of any big state] in the United States. Just compare that 1.[1] to our high point in New York which was 50 percent of the tests were coming back positive, okay? So you have an appreciation for that.

Yesterday, 14 New Yorkers passed away. We will remember them in our thoughts and prayers. The three day average of deaths was 16. That was the lowest three day average of deaths since this began. So that is great news also. So we have the lowest seven day rate for positive in the nation. We have the lowest three day average for deaths since this began. Remember, for a point of comparison, we had 800 deaths at a point in time in this situation. And 915 New Yorkers were hospitalized from COVID yesterday. That is the lowest daily total since this began. So, lowest number of hospitalizations, 1.[1]% positive, that's the lowest seven day average [of any big state] in the nation, lowest three day average for deaths since this began.

Five upstate regions, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, Southern Tier, the Finger Lakes, enter Phase 4 of reopening today. That is good news. We have good news that our tracing system is working. There was an Oswego County apple packaging plant that created a number of cases which we traced back. There is also in Montgomery County an aluminum manufacturing plant that operates 24 hours and we have had a number of cases that we have tracked back to that. That is actually good news. Those clusters will pop up. The question is do you find them. Do you find them quickly? And do you address them? And that is what the tracing system does.

Gyms, theaters, malls, we are still looking at the science and the data. There has been information that those situations have created issues in other states. If we have that information, we don't want to then go ahead until we know what we're doing, right. This is a road that no one has travelled on before. Logic suggests if you see a problem in other states that you explore it before you move forward in your state, and that's what we're doing with gyms, theaters, and malls. Our Department of Health is trying to determine if there is any filtration system for an air conditioning system that can successfully remove the virus from air circulation. Is there a filter that can be added to an air conditioning system that we know will filter out the virus. The issue they're looking at is, are these air conditioning systems recirculating the virus, and you're not getting a high percentage about the air, the air conditioning system is recirculating and could be recirculating the virus. So that's the issue that we're exploring on that, and if anybody knows of a filter that successfully filters out the coronavirus, that we can add to an air conditioning system, that would be very helpful.

Last point is, what's going on in this country is now frightening and revealing at the same time. And I say it is time to wake up America and look at the undeniable facts. It's time to get smart. We had two theories that were put forth for this country during coronavirus. One theory, which came from the White House, was this is all going to be fine, it's going to go away, reopen the economy right away, get back to life as normal. That was one theory. The second theory was this is not a political situation, it's not an ideological situation, it's a public health crisis, and deal with it as such, and the virus will not respond to political theory. The virus must be treated through science. Study the data, and deal with it as a public health emergency. That's what we did in New York State. Also, we were handed the worst initial situation in New York State through no fault of our own.

Now with the advantage of hindsight and retrospect that everybody enjoys now we can look back and see that the virus came to New York from Europe. That is a fact. Scientists have traced our strain of the virus back to the European strain which may have come from China but then mutated when it was in Europe and therefore the strain can scientifically be traced back to Europe so we had 3 million people come January, February, March from Europe and nobody knew at that time, not the CDC, not the academics, nobody said we should be careful because the virus is coming from Europe, but it did and that's why our infection rate went up. That's where the cases came from. The flights from Europe land disproportionately on the East Coast, disproportionately in New York City. So we had the worst situation and we now have the lowest infection rate spread in the country because we handled it as a science.

The states that have handled it politically, that followed the White House guidance, they are all seeing a significant spike. They first said, well, it's just testing. I said, it's not just testing. Just because you test more doesn't make the virus go up, and I said look at the hospitalization rate. It's undeniable more people are getting sick. Otherwise why are they going to the hospital? And then we went through that political argument for a week and now you are seeing states, because they reached the point of undeniability, you see states changing course. Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, Idaho - they are changing course because their course was incorrect, because it followed the theory of, this is just politics, reopen quickly, and everything will be fine. The two theories were tested in the laboratory of reality and we see the results. There should be no continued argument. You have the results.

Look at the numbers. You tested both theories. What are the results from testing of the theory in the laboratory of reality called America? Let's get past this silly political argument, who's right, who's wrong, who's right, who's wrong. Just look at the numbers. It's not a debate when you have different facts and you now have different facts. It's time this country understands the facts and responds to the facts and gets serious about dealing with this virus as a virus and not dealing with this virus as a political issue a few months from an election.

The virus has made its position clear. It is not responding to politics. It's going to continue spreading and when it continues spreading you wreak havoc on the economy. The great irony here is the initial here was reopen because it's going to be better for the economy. Some of us said no, it won't be better for the economy. A rushed reopening will boomerang and more people will get sick and more people will die and it will be worse for the economy because it will destabilize the economy when they saw the path you were taking was incorrect. The rushed reopenings actually increased the viral spread, which was definitive evidence that it was a mistake.

That's where we are today. There is no now undeniable, irrefutable evidence that the rushed reopenings, non-scientific-based reopenings were a mistake. The numbers say that, the numbers have said that for the past couple of weeks. There was still a debate and denial and now states are changing course. The argument is over, the debate is over. There are no two theories anymore. There's one right path and there's one wrong path.

And let's get smart as a nation because we are worrying about a second wave, we are not through the first wave. This is all the first wave that is causing tumult in the country. We were supposed to have successfully dealt with the first wave before we could prepare and deal with the possibility of a second wave. It's June. This started in February and March. So, facts matter my friends. Facts matter.

To the people of New York, yes we are doing very well. Don't get arrogant, don't get cocky. We are only doing well because it is a function of our behavior. If our behavior changes, the numbers will change. How do the numbers change? New Yorkers reduce their compliance, masks, social distancing, compliance with the phased reopening. Local governments don't do their job, and they are charged with compliance. The state has handled the closing. The state is handling the reopening. The state determines when schools are closed. The state determines when schools reopen. The singularly important obligation of local governments is compliance. The only other possibility to raise the infection rate is people coming in from outside. On that we're doing everything we can and that was part of the multiple state quarantine.

That's where we are today, Friday. I have Robert Mujica with me. I have Gareth Rhodes with me. I have Melissa DeRosa with me. I have Commissioner Zucker with me. Any questions we'll take. You should also know that we're calling Arizona, Texas and Florida this morning. Melissa DeRosa is calling their Chiefs of Staff to see if there's anything we can do to be helpful to them.

We had numerous states who came to our assistance when we needed it and I was very appreciative. Massachusetts, Oregon, et cetera. That collegiality is very important and New Yorkers were very grateful for the help that we received. Sixty thousand people, health care workers. Sixty thousand health care workers volunteered to come to New York and help us. Sixty thousand. Think of that. We will never forget that graciousness and we will repay it any way we can.

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