August 31, 2020
Albany, NY

Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces Covid-19 Hospitalizations, ICU Patients and Deaths Drop to New Lows

TOP Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo...

Hospitalizations Drop to 418—New Low Since March 16

 

ICU Patients Drop to 109—New Low Since March 15

 

1 COVID-19 Death in New York State Yesterday—New Low; No Deaths Reported in NYC

 

0.99 Percent of Yesterday's COVID-19 Tests were Positive; 24 Straight Days with Infection Rate Below 1 Percent

 

SLA and State Police Task Force Visits 1,110 Establishments; Observes 5 Establishments Not in Compliance

 

Confirms 656 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 434,756; New Cases in 41 Counties

 

Governor Cuomo: "Remember the initial projections were 110,000 to 140,000 New Yorkers would be hospitalized. A percentage of those would pass away. We never got anywhere near the 110,000 to 140,000 projection and that projection was the projection of all the internationally renowned models. ... New Yorkers have saved tens of thousands of lives. If New Yorkers did not do what they did tens of thousands of more people would have passed away. That is a fact from the projections so God bless the people of New York because they saved lives."

 

Cuomo: "We're releasing a letter today on the need for federal funding. The letter goes to our Congressional delegation. ... What it says to the Congressional members is we need federal funding. If we do not receive federal funding there is no way that the states and the local governments can cover the deficit. There is no combination of savings, efficiencies, tax increases that could ever come near covering the deficit and we need the federal government to assist in doing that. ... The consequences will be significant reductions across the board."

WYSIWYG

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU patients have dropped to new lows. Hospitalizations dropped to 418, a new low since March 16, and the number of patients in ICUs dropped to 109, a new low since March 15. Yesterday, one person was reported to have died from COVID-19 in New York State, which is the lowest single-day death toll. No deaths were reported in New York City. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at forward.ny.gov.

 

AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.

   

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

 

Good morning, everyone. I'm joined by Melissa DeRosa, Gareth Rhodes, Robert Mujica. Let me give you some numbers.

 

Today is day 184. 66,000 tests yesterday on a Sunday. We had 418 New Yorkers hospitalized - that's the lowest number hospitalized since this crisis began. 109 in ICU - that's the lowest number since this began. 51 patients intubated - that's up four from the prior day. We had a positive rate of .9 so we're under 1 percent or just barely and we had one New Yorker pass away from COVID. That is the lowest number that we have ever had.

 

One New Yorker passed away and that New Yorker's family is in our thoughts and prayers but I'd just like everyone to pause for a moment on that fact - one New Yorker passed away. There was a time when we were going through this when we literally had hundreds of people dying every day. I'm sure you all remember. And I asked New Yorkers, I beseeched New Yorkers to understand the facts and to act responsibly and I said that what the future holds is determined by what New Yorkers do and quote/unquote flattening the curve - we've used that expression over and over again - but flattening the curve actually saved lives.

 

Remember the initial projections were 110,000 to 140,000 New Yorkers would be hospitalized. A percentage of those would pass away. We never got anywhere near the 110,000 to 140,000 projection and that projection was the projection of all the internationally renowned models. Right? 110,000 to 140,000 - that was the same modeling firm that the White House Coronavirus Task Force used, the IHME model. The projection 110,000 to 140,000 - we never went over 20,000 hospitalized. That's how significant the flattening of the curve was, the reduction of the viral transmission was. No expert believed we would be that successful and I spoke to all of them. They just did not believe that a government could institute policies that quickly. Or, even more important, that people would follow policies with that level of compliance. Right? This is the United States. This is not China. China can dictate a policy and there is no conversation. And this isn't just the United States. It's New York. No expert believed that New York State could enact a policy and that New Yorkers would follow it to a level that would bring down the numbers the way the numbers came down.

 

One New Yorker passed away. New Yorkers have saved tens of thousands of lives. If New Yorkers did not do what they did tens of thousands of more people would have passed away. That is a fact from the projections so God bless the people of New York because they saved lives.

 

Western New York still has a caution flag flying. We did rapid testing yesterday. The number yesterday was at 2 percent. The hospitalizations are ticking up, so we need a real alert in Western New York and we're going to continue testing, but we need increased compliance and we need the local governments to respond in Western New York. 

 

Oneonta, we are continuing our efforts in Oneonta. Chancellor Malatras— I have to get used to saying that— I think made the right decision and the courageous decision, but we're setting up sites for our SWAT team testing in Oneonta. 

 

I believe colleges are the canary in the coal mine. I believe what you're seeing across the nation is going to continue. When colleges open, students come back, congregate settings, socialization, the infection rate goes up. Either the college administration is rigorous and disciplined in their administration of the precautions, or the viral transmission rate goes up and then the college has to close and go to remote learning. What we're seeing with colleges, I think is going to be replicated— excuse me— replicated on K-12. I think you will see schools, school districts reopen. I think they will have plans; the plans will say, they're going to test this percent and this percent and this percent. The school district will say here are our compliance measures. If they are not followed, you will see students come back. You will see students get infected. You will see the transmission rate go up and then you will see schools closed. Now, some of that is inevitable: 700 school districts. It is inevitable that when you bring a concentration of people together, the viral transmission is going to go up. The question will become, like on colleges, how well did that administration actually enforce compliance and what was their parameter for number of students infected before the school takes quarantine measures, goes to remote learning, etc.? That's a decision for the school district. That's also a decision for the local government. A local government could close a school district, or the state could close a school district, but school districts would be well-advised to look at what's happening in colleges. Colleges have a somewhat more complicated situation, I understand that. You have more socialization on the college campuses, but the basic dynamic is the same and you will see it replicated. So don't be shocked when we get to September and school districts say, "we're starting with in-person and the in-person will have a percentage of testing" and then schools wind up going to remote or cancelling certain classes, etc. That is going to happen.

 

Enforcement with the SLA— again, what we're seeing on college campuses. I've told the local governments until I'm blue in the face, they have to enforce the bar and restaurant regulations. They're not doing that uniformly across the state. The State Liquor Authority and the State Police are complementing it. Last night, they observed 1,000 establishments and found five violations, so the rate of compliance is getting much better, but remember with the super-spreader concept, one bad bar situation, one bad restaurant situation, can infect dozens. The five establishments were in Queens and no actions were taken outside of Queens. I again say in New York City, they're using just the sheriff to do compliance with limited NYPD enforcement is a mistake. 

 

We're releasing a letter today on the need for federal funding. The letter goes to our Congressional delegation. It's signed by myself with George Gresham from 1199, Gary LaBarbera, John Samuelsen, transport workers; Michael Mulgrew, teachers; Andrew Pallotta, teachers; Henry Garrido, DC-37; Wayne Spence from PEF; and Mary Sullivan from CSEA. What it says to the Congressional members is we need federal funding. If we do not receive federal funding there is no way that the states and the local governments can cover the deficit. There is no combination of savings, efficiencies, tax increases that could ever come near covering the deficit and we need the federal government to assist in doing that. Period.

 

If the federal government does not pass an economic relief program, they will, in effect, be responsible for the consequences. The consequences will be significant reductions across the board. It is mathematics, my friends. The gaps are so large, $30 billion for the state, $9 billion for New York City, $12 billion for the MTA, $3 billion for the Port Authority; $4.5 billion for the local governments outside of New York City - which New York City is 9.

 

Well, increase taxes. I don't care how much you increase taxes to you couldn't make up that deficit. I don't care how many savings you find, you couldn't make up that deficit. I don't care how many efficiencies you find, you couldn't make up that deficit. There would have to be cuts. Then all the labor leaders, because it's a half truth, which is a half-falsity - as people say cuts, but don't cut day care. Cuts, but don't cut education. Cuts, but don't cut CSEA. Cuts, but don't cut DC-37. It doesn't work. It's not true. It's not real. Fully fund hospitals, okay, fully fund hospitals - and what? Get the money from where? Deeper cuts to education? Well, fully fund education, that's a top priority. Okay, and cut where? Hospitals? Well, increase taxes. Yeah, mathematically it doesn't get you anywhere close to the deficit.

 

It's numbers, it's math. I understand politics if anybody can say anything, but you may want to ask before you quote them and write it in an article. Just explain to me how this coincides with reality. Fully fund this area and decimate every other area. We're going to release that letter to the Congressional delegation. It's unclear whether the White House is willing or the Senate is willing to actually be reasonable, but if they're not, then I want them to understand the consequences.

 

Last point, the New Jersey and New York and Connecticut coordinate very closely. We coordinate with our 7-state Northeast coalition. New Jersey has gone to 25 percent on indoor dining. Today they've done that all across the state. New York State has already been doing indoor dining and restaurants all across the state, except New York City. When New Jersey goes to 25 percent indoor dining, I understand that - especially for Southern New York and New York City area - you will now have restaurants right across the river in New Jersey that are open for indoor dining and restaurants in New York City that are not open for indoor dining.

 

I understand that that means people can go through the tunnel or go over the George Washington Bridge and go to a restaurant in New Jersey where they can't do that in New York City. I'm aware of that competitive disadvantage for New York City restaurants. We're coming in to Labor Day. Labor Day we'll see more people going back to school. That is a factor we have to watch. We're coming into the fall, flu season. Flu season is a factor that we have to watch. I'm very aware of the balance. I am aware that the restaurants in New York City are very unhappy with doing no indoor dining. I understand the economic consequences. I understand their argument will be exacerbated when they say New Jersey can go to 25 percent and it is something we are watching and we are considering.

 

I want as much economic activity as quickly as possible. We also want to make sure the transmission rate stays under control. That is the tension. I get it with restaurants, I get it with casinos - I get it - and we're trying to find the balance and we're calibrating every day. I understand this argument from New Jersey will exacerbate the discussion. By law, it is a state decision. It is not up to Queens, the Bronx, Westchester, Nassau - it's a state decision. It's not up to New York City. I understand and we are calibrating.

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