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New York State

Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo on White House Response to COVID-19 Pandemic: 'Where Was the National Strategy? Where Was the National Leadership? It Did Not Exist. And to The Extent It Did, It Was Wrong and That Is What They Are Going to Have to

June 26, 2020

A rush transcript of the interview is available below:

Elyse Young: The White House Task Force today is going to hold its first coronavirus briefing in nearly two months. Governor, what do you expect from that briefing or have you been told in advance what's going to happen?

Governor Cuomo: No, Miss Young, look, the White House Coronavirus Task Force I think, I don't know what they're going to say, I have no idea, but I think it's been a loss to the American people that they haven't been briefing and they haven't been giving facts. I think what we see now clearly from across the nation is we did not have an intelligent way to deal with this virus. That is inarguable. "Well, you are Democrat. That is just what you say because you are a Democrat." No, just look at the facts. Forget the politics. To the extent that we are still capable of having a rational conversation, let's depoliticize it. Let's just deal with facts because the politics so changed the conversation, and when you put it in political terms, people don't know who to believe. There are still facts and there is still data.

Look at what these other states are doing. Look at what Apple has done. Look at what Disneyland has done. Apple, Disneyland, these are just corporations that are taking actions - dramatic actions - for their businesses based on data. These states that are now slowing, this is the last thing they wanted to do. This is wholly inconsistent with everything they said. This is wholly inconsistent with everything that has come out of the White House. It has been clear there was no national strategy. It has been clear there was no national leadership. It is now clear that to the extent people followed what was coming from the White House, it was wrong. It was wrong. "How do we know that?" Look at the results. It was wrong. And I say to my friends in the media, I get we are in a political year and get it is back and forth: "He said, she said. He said this, she said that." I get that. But there are still facts, my friends, and there are still facts to report on.

And look at what is happening with the spread of the virus, and look at the differentiation between states that were aggressive on the reopening or minimized the risk and look at New York. How do you explain that New York, that had the worst problem in the United States of America - fact, a worse problem than many, many countries - fact, New York went from the worst infection rate to one of the best? How do you explain that? But that New York followed science and data and other places did not. I will end where I started. You have definitive evidence. Forget the words. Forget the hype. Just look at the evidence. And the reason I am pushing this point so hard is until we are willing to get smart and look at facts and look at science, this virus is going to kill more people. And it is wreaking havoc on the economy.

That White House Task Force, they had a wide range of how many people would get sick and hospitalized. They said from day one, the range went from like 2 million to 20 million. That was their range. 2 million people hospitalized to 20 million people hospitalized. 2 million people hospitalized, their low range. Do you know how many hospital beds we have in this nation? About 1 million, so even their best case scenario was catastrophic. That was their advice. Where was their strategy to have an intelligent reopening that would avoid catastrophe? Where was the national strategy? Where was the national leadership? It did not exist. And to the extent it did it was wrong, and that is what they are going to have to explain to the American people.

Their plan - more people hospitalized, more people sick, more people die, worse for the economy. That is what they are going to have to explain. And when they say "Oh, no, no, this is just testing." Really, then why are more people in the hospitals and why are more people dying if it is just testing? Last time I checked, you didn't die from a test.

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