Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that three additional states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. meet the metrics to qualify for the travel advisory requiring individuals who have traveled to New York from those areas, all of which have significant community spread, to quarantine for 14 days. The newly-added states are Illinois, Kentucky and Minnesota. No states have been removed. The quarantine applies to any person arriving from an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.
Governor Cuomo also announced that the joint State Liquor Authority and New York State Police Task Force observed 26 additional violations of state social distancing requirements yesterday. The task force conducted 644 compliance checks last night.
The governor also renewed his call on Congress to include funding for state and local governments in the next stimulus package.
Governor Cuomo also offered to have Major League Baseball teams come play in New York if they are experiencing difficulties in their home states.
AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Thank you, operator. This is Governor Andrew Cuomo. Thank you all for joining us today - I'm joined by Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor, Robert Mujica, Budget Director, Dr. James Malatras, academic extraordinaire and Gareth Rhodes, who's also an extraordinaire.
The numbers today are very good, which is more good news for New Yorkers. Today is day 150. Happy anniversary. New York conducted 57,000 tests yesterday. The infection rate was 0.9 percent, 0.93. So, that was very good news yesterday. Congratulations to all New Yorkers who have produced that result. Nine New Yorkers have passed away from COVID - they are in our thoughts and prayers. 648 New Yorkers were hospitalized. The intubation rate was only 81 New Yorkers. The intubation is something that I watch - the overwhelming majority of people who are intubated never successfully leave intubation and 81 is the lowest number of people intubated since March 15th. If you remember how the numbers worked in a dynamic, when the intubations went up, it signaled that the number of deaths would increase and there were many days where the number of intubations went down but this was the lowest number since March 15th, so that's great.
Our job is to make sure we're doing everything we can to control COVID, which we are doing - anticipate possible future issues that might come along, and in that regard the future issues that we watch are the infection rate across the country spreading, number one. Number two our compliance of the rules that we now have in place across the state. On the situation across the nation, it is still very bad, and there are more states that have exceeded our thresholds for quarantine. Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Washington, D.C. are now added to the list. Puerto Rico is also added to the list so that means there are now 34 states, DC and Puerto Rico who are now on the quarantine list.
In terms of enforcement, I once again appeal to the local governments to do their job. This has been their prime function all through this COVID crisis. Their prime function has been to ensure compliance with the rules that we know are working. Our economy is reopening, the infection rate has stayed down because we have done compliance, if we have not done compliance, if we get lazy, if we get sloppy, you will see those numbers go up - I need the local governments to do their job. The state government cannot substitute for every local government's enforcement role - we just don't have enough resources on the state side. I need the NYPD to do a better job in New York City. There are some locations that have been especially problematic - the concert that happened in the town of Southampton was just a gross violation of not only the public health rules - it was a gross violation of common sense. It was grossly disrespectful to fellow New Yorkers and the Department of Health is going to do a full investigation as to why the town of Southampton issued a permit; as to what the promoters thought they were doing; how the event as it was going on was allowed to get out of control; how the local law enforcement didn't do anything when they saw that they had an event that was out of control and all the rules were being violated. So that investigation is ongoing. We're taking it very seriously. There have also been reports that we have been receiving about behavior in the village of Southampton that has been ongoing and recurring that also violates the public health regulations. The village of Southampton is located within the town of Southampton and both the town in the village leadership will be involved in that inquiry. So that is ongoing and has been used by the Department of Health. Violation of the public health law has civil fines and a potential for criminal liability so we're taking that very seriously. At the same time the State Liquor Authority has sped up its enforcement efforts. We teamed them with the New York state police that has been going on for about the past two weeks, the more intensive effort. Last night they visited 644 establishments across New York City and Long Island and an additional 26 violations were found and were issued, and that will continue. The 26 last night were from Manhattan primarily, 17 in Queens county - my home County - 9, so again when we talk about local compliance efforts and local government efforts, obviously we have more to do there.
I want to speak about the Republican Senate and their COVID bill and their response: Republican Senators, as you know, put in a bill that does not have state local aid funding and what it really does is give more flexibility to some of the states for all the money that was previously appropriated. That does New York no benefit because we don't need flexibility for money unspent. We don't have money unspent. We need additional funding. This is designed to help the Republican states who got funding for COVID in the previous bills who can't spend the money because they don't have the number of COVID cases. Why were they then appropriated the money, is a good question. This was pure politics. This Washington bill is not like the normal Washington bills, you know. Here's what's going on in Washington as far away, it's abstract, it's complicated, does it really make a difference in their lives, at the kitchen table - this bill does. Because if you tell me how much state and local aid we get from Washington, I will tell you the impact on day-to-day lives. This Washington legislation the — what the House passes, what Senator Schumer passes — this is going to determine people's property taxes. If they repeal SALT as they should, as they did in the House bill, your property taxes effectively will be lower. If they don't, they will raise your property taxes. If they don't provide school aid — state aid — your school aid will be roughly 20 percent less of what it was. That could also affect your property taxes. That will be determined by the state, state aid level of this federal bill. It will also determine the fares on the Long Island Rail Road and the New York City subway system. If the MTA does not receive funding, if the state doesn't receive funding— then we can't provide our funding to the MTA. That will raise fares for the New York City subway system, tolls on bridges and the fares on the Long Island Rail Road. The funding has to come from somewhere. If Washington plays politics, if the House members don't stand firm, if our two Senators, Schumer and Gillibrand, don't stand firm — you're going to see New Yorkers paying a higher subway and Long Island Rail Road fare. If they don't provide funding to the Port Authority, you will see construction slow or stop at LaGuardia Airport and JFK Airport. OK? There is nothing conceptional or abstract to this exercise. It is going to have a dramatic practical effect on New Yorkers. And I want New Yorkers to know the consequences. Because I want our federal representatives held accountable. This will determine your property taxes, your school aid, whether or not LaGuardia and JFK are rebuilt, and will determine the fares on the Long Island Railroad and on the New York City subway system. And the tolls on the buses — the fares on the busses and the fares on the rivers and the bridges, crossings.
Additionally, for the Senate, not to provide state aid is totally hypocritical to their professed goal. Their professed goal is to help the economy, create jobs, right? It's all about the economy. All through this, their emphasis has been on the economy. "Reopen, reopen, reopen. Don't worry about public health." People die. That's been their argument. When it comes to state aid, they're totally hypocritical. Every economist says if you do not provide state and local aid, you will hurt the economy. They all say it. Federal Reserve Chairman Powell said it to the Senate Banking Committee in May that when you look back on what happened on the 2007, 2009 financial crisis, the lack of support for state and local governments slowed the nation's economy. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the same thing, that the country would face a more significant problem and protracted recession than 2007-2009. The National Governor's Association, bipartisan, Democrats and Republicans, by the way there are more Republican governors than Democratic governors, made the same point and said we need an additional $500 billion dollars. Harvard University economist Gabriel Chodorow-Reich said the same thing, that the stimulus, for every dollar in state spending that is cut, it hurts the overall economy by $1.50 to $2 dollars. So, on that theory, on the pure Republican, conservative theory, on the Wall Street Journal theory, Fox TV theory, Rupert Murdoch theory, "help the economy," state aid helps the economy.
So, from their political, hyper-political position, this is what their philosophy calls for. There is going to be total transparency and accountability on this. I just wish the consequences were not so high. But this is not the normal federal dance that they are playing where nobody will know what happened, where they can deceive the American public with their fog that they create. New Yorkers are going to know and Americans are going to know. They are going to know whether or not their property taxes went up. They are going to know whether or not the fares went up. They are going to know whether or not LaGuardia was rebuilt and JFK was rebuilt. And they are going know whether or not there were dramatic layoffs by their state and local government. And they are going to know whether or not the economy came back quickly or whether just more politics were played in Washington or if there was more incompetence - either way people are going to know.
Last point, we have Republican members in the New York delegation. Their silence has been deafening. I understand political allegiance. I understand that many of them have sworn their loyalty to their Republican, conservative philosophy, but once in a while they could stand up and actually represent the people of their district. And again, we are talking about the people of their district's property taxes, aid to education and economic recovery. There is no state budget this year. There is a federal budget. The state budget this year is effectively being crafted by the Congresspeople and the United States senators. They are making these determinations and everybody talks about transparency and accountability so let's have it.
Last point, the Major League Baseball is struggling with the challenges of playing ball in the COVID crisis. I have said from day one I thought that it was a very good idea to get sports back without fans, but it would be televised, et cetera. I think it would be good for the economy, I think it would be good for the psyche, I think it would be good for the nation's soul. We want everybody to stay home, curtailed activity, don't go to the bar, don't drink. Okay, let's stay home and watch a ball game. But then there has to be a ball game on TV. And I understand that Major League Baseball has had problems with that.
I have offered suggestions to Major League Baseball over the past, getting spring training for the Yankees and Mets in New York was a big deal. Getting the Blue Jays to play in Buffalo, that's an exciting, big deal, it's great for Buffalo, great for New York. Here's my suggestion, I understand the challenge they're facing - New York State could host any Major League Baseball game that any teams want to play and they could play those games in our stadiums. New York State has one of the lowest infection rates in the United States. New York State has a full Department of Health protocol system in place, we have a testing system in place.
I offer to Major League Baseball, if you're having problems playing in other states, come play here. We will set up a health protocol - they could fly their team in on a private aircraft, they could go from the airport to a hotel where they would be quarantined, we would test everyone, we would get the test results back and then they could play ball in our stadium, then they could get on a plane and fly home. We have the ability to do it. We have the testing resources to do it. We have the Department of Health experience to do it. It would be great for the New York State economy. And I think it would be great for New Yorkers and Americans. So, I offer that to Major League Baseball. The way we made it work for spring training camp, the way we made it work for the Blue Jays, we offer the same assistance here. I understand every team wants to play in its own city in its own state, I get it and that's great. But if that's not practicable for any reason, come play here. There's no fans anyway so it's just about the coverage, and New York is the media capital. So I offer that for what it is worth because I would love to see a robust baseball season.