March 12, 2020
Albany, NY

Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Calls Into NY1 With Lewis Dodley

Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Calls Into NY1 With Lewis Dodley

Governor Cuomo: "Look we have two issues we're dealing with. One is the virus, which we can handle. The second is the anxiety and fear that is being generated because of the virus... New York City is not going to close down. First of all, legally, no city in the state can close down if the state government doesn't want it to close down. So it's not even a legal possibility. Second I spoke to the mayor myself, we're on the same page, the same regulations are in effect in New York City that are in effect all across the state."

AUDIO is available here.

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

Lewis Dodley: As the City declares a state of emergency because of the spread of coronavirus, more and more events and spaces are shutting down. We are joined on the phone by Governor Andrew Cuomo who announce restrictions on public events today. Thanks for being with us Governor.

Governor Cuomo: Thanks for having me Lewis.

Lewis Dodley: Let's start by saying we are getting a lot of compliments about the way you are handling the situation. What is the latest?

Governor Cuomo: Well, thank you very much for that. And New Yorkers are a tough audience. The latest is I feel very good about the way New York is handling this. We have been watching this virus from China to South Korea to Italy. So we know what to expect. We know that the numbers say and we have to have our public health service system fully up and running. We need to make sure that we are slowing the spread of the virus so that our hospital system can manage those that need hospitalization. Remembering Lewis that first of all 80% of the people that get this virus will self-resolve. We are then talking about 20% which may require hospitalization. Then a very small number who are in the vulnerable population: senior citizens, people with compromised immune systems, people with underlying illnesses, especially respiratory illnesses who may need intensive hospitalization. And we need to make sure we are slowing down the virus spread so that we can manage it in our hospitals, and that's why more and more testing, which we're doing, reducing density, which are the regulations we put out today, increasing our hospital capacity. We're doing all of those things.

Lewis Dodley: Tell us a little bit about the restrictions - the large crowd restrictions that are going to be put in place.

Governor Cuomo: New York City - all throughout the state - the density is the issue. Right? The virus transfers when people are proximate to one another or on surfaces, stainless steel, plastic, et cetera the virus can live for a period of time. So we want to reduce density, so we're saying gatherings over 500 will be postponed and then under 500, it's 50 percent of the occupancy of the space, which will by definition mean people won't be in close contact and there'll be a spatial barrier, and we believe that will help reduce the spread of the virus. Again, to make sure we can calibrate it and manage it in our hospital system.

Lewis Dodley: So we're getting word about some erroneous indeed possibly inaccurate text messages - are you hearing about that? What should people be cautious about these things?

Governor Cuomo: Look we have two issues we're dealing with. One is the virus, which we can handle. The second is the anxiety and fear that is being generated because of the virus. And that has many sources - how the federal government is handling it, you have all these people spreading rumors, but that's just what they are - they are rumors. New York City is not going to close down. First of all, legally, no city in the state can close down if the state government doesn't want it to close down. So it's not even a legal possibility. Second I spoke to the mayor myself, we're on the same page, the same regulations are in effect in New York City that are in effect all across the state. The mayor has said there's no plan to close down to New York City, there's no plan to close down the subways, those are all just rumors. And look, I'm a born and bred New Yorker, I'm Queens, New York. We have to take a deep breath here. We are New Yorkers. We are gutsy. We are gritty. We've been through a lot and we will get through this. We went through Ebola, we went through H1N1 - I mean we've gone through our share and we'll get through this. We just have to stay smart, we'll be prepared and that's exactly what we're doing. And when you hear a rumor, use that New York instinct and when that New York instinct says this is too crazy to be true, it's normally too crazy to be true.

Lewis Dodley: The mayor said that he expects possibly 1,000 confirmed cases here in the city as early as next week. Do you have a number like that statewide you have in mind?

Governor Cuomo: Look, there's no doubt that you're going to see an exponential increases in the number of cases. We've seen it in every country. We've watched the trajectory in every country. We know the virus spreads exponentially. The question is when do you stop the increase? And that depends on what we do. You see different trajectories in different countries and how they reduced the increase and that's purely dependent on how receptive their response is. We've been pushing the federal government very hard, because obviously this is a national issue and a big part of it is the CDC and the FDA et cetera. But we're New Yorkers, we're also accustomed to doing what we need to do on our own and that's what we're doing. We're taking these actions, because if the virus was left to spread on it's own.

Lewis Dodley: Well, Governor Cuomo you are clearly on top of it. Thank you for your time.

Governor Cuomo: Lewis thank you and remember the spirit that made New York, New York. We are going to get through this and we are going to get through it together.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640