March 12, 2020
Albany, NY

Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo is a Guest on 1010 WINS

Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo is a Guest on 1010 WINS

Governor Cuomo: "New Yorkers, we have an instinct if it sounds too crazy to be true, it probably is not true. Well, this is all crazy rumors now. Anxiety is high, I understand it. People are nervous about the coronavirus. But no, subways are not closing down, roads are not closing, New York City is not closing down.

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was a guest on 1010 WINS to discuss New York's latest emergency measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

AUDIO is available here.

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

Larry Mullins: With me on the line we want to go immediately to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is joining me. Thank you for joining us tonight, sir.

Governor Cuomo: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Larry Mullins: And I understand that there are a lot of rumors out there right now that are of concern to you. First and foremost is that there is the possibility of a shutdown of the subway system, and perhaps some of the bridges and roads. Can you clarify it for us?

Governor Cuomo: Yeah it's just not true. Look, we're New Yorkers, right, and we have that -- I'm born and bred a Queens boy if you can't tell from my accent. And New Yorkers, we have an instinct if it sounds too crazy to be true, it probably is not true. Well, this is all crazy rumors now. Anxiety is high, I understand it. People are nervous about the coronavirus. But no, subways are not closing down, roads are not closing, New York City is not closing down. First of all, no city in the State can legally close down unless the State let it close down, the State government. Second, I spoke with Mayor de Blasio. We came up with a set of intelligent regulations that we agree on to reduce density that will slow down the spread of the virus, and I feel good about that. No gatherings of over 500 people and a place under 500 capacity only half of the physical capacity, the occupancy rate, because we want to reduce the density so we slow down the spread of the virus and we can make sure our hospital system can manage. But that's all this is, and you know the deep breath here, and it is deep breath time, the virus my guess is you have many New Yorkers who already had the virus and didn't even know they had the virus. 80 percent of the people who get it will resolve naturally. The only people we have to watch out for are senior citizens, people who have a compromised immune system, or people who have an underlying illness, especially a respiratory illness, because this is basically pneumonia. So, we're worried about that population and we want to make sure we can handle them. But, 80 percent of the people they'll think they had the flu and I believe many New Yorkers have already had it and didn't even know it.

Larry Mullins: Governor, out of curiosity, has his honor had a test for the coronavirus?

Governor Cuomo: Have I had a test?

Larry Mullins: Yeah.

Governor Cuomo: No. We don't have tests just because we're sort of nervous and we want to know. The federal government doesn't have enough of a testing capacity so that anyone who wants a test can have a test. We have a protocol to have a test. You had to be exposed to a person who was positive et cetera, and I don't meet any of those criteria.

Larry Mullins: Now let me switch gears and talk about schools. We understand that some schools in the country, Ohio in particular, has shut down their school system in the wake of all this. Any word about that, any thoughts about that, has anybody even mentioned that as a possibility?

Governor Cuomo: No, again that's regulated by the State and the way that works is we close the CUNY schools and the SUNY schools and we're going to move to distance learning, again, just to reduce the density. The good thing about this virus is it seems like it doesn't affect our children. Children may be carriers, but we don't see in any of the data from China, South Korea, Italy where children are affected. If a child is positive in a school, we close the school down for 24 hours, so we can clean the school and assess the situation, so you'll see schools here and there close down K-12. If someone was positive, just so we can clean up the school and we take a beat and assess the situation, but beyond that, no.

Larry Mullins: Okay, and your thoughts also - it's been a day or so since the coronavirus containment area was announced up in New Rochelle. How's that going?

Governor Cuomo: That went very well. Again, that's common sense. We had the highest density cluster of cases in the country in New Rochelle. We had more cases in New Rochelle than New York City, believe it or not, and New York City is 100 times the size of New Rochelle. So we had this particularly dense cluster. We did close several schools right next to the cluster and we limited large gatherings in any facility. And again, that's designed to stop the spread. How does it spread? It spreads when someone coughs or sneezes or infects a surface. So when you have a lot density - that will increase the spread. So it worked very well in New Rochelle. The name was a very bad name - "Containment Area" - because it wasn't really a containment area. It's not that people were quarantined - you could go in and go out. You could go wherever you want to go - we just closed some of the schools and some of the gathering areas.

Larry Mullins: Yeah a lot of people were calling in and texting in and saying, "God it's like martial law up here, we got the National Guard in and such." Final thoughts - what economic impact do you think will eventually have on the state if this things continues for a long time?

Governor Cuomo: Real quick on New Rochelle. The National Guard came in to help clean the area. The economic impact is going to be severe. It is going to be severe on the State. Just forget everything else, you just have a lot of people who decided not to travel, not to go to a hotel, conferences cancelling, a lot of workers told the business is going to close short term. So there will be tremendous economic consequences. But that is not just out state. That is going to be every state and that is going to be a federal concern. You will have people who miss mortgage payments. You will have unemployment insurance that goes way up. And that will be beyond any state's capacity to deal with and that is going to have to be a federal responsibility.

Larry Mullins: And final thoughts to those who are wondering where do we go now? A lot of people are feeling helpless. Where do we go? Do we go to work? What happens if we cannot go to work? Your thoughts sir?

Governor Cuomo: You are going to see this get worse before it gets better. Again, you saw the numbers rise in all these countries. You are going to see the same thing here. China, it went up. And then because they got on top of it, it plateaued and it is dropping. South Korea the same thing. Italy did not handle it as well and it overwhelmed their hospital system. So, everything we are doing is with that in mind. We have studied these situations. We do need to do what we need to do. We do need to slow the spread. We did need to reduce density, etc. Everybody needs to play their part. But again, we know the numbers. Johns Hopkins has a study. They study every coronavirus case since it started in China. 120,000 cases - every case. The fatality rate on 120,000 cases is 4,000 cases.

Governor Cuomo: ...The fatality rate on 120,000 cases was 4,000 cases, again on that vulnerable population. And we don't want to lose anyone, but we lose in this country 8,000 people every year to the flu, right? So we have to keep this all in perspective: We're going to be fine. We're going to do what we have to do. But we will get through this just like we've gone through many, many difficult situations.

Larry Mullins: Okay, Governor Andrew Cuomo. We know you're very busy sir, we thank you for taking the time to give us a call here on the 1010 WINS hotline.

Governor Cuomo: Thank you for having me. Thank you.

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