Governor Cuomo: "We've been tracking the numbers. We track the numbers every day. Today for the first day we had a drop. We have to wait for tomorrow's numbers but the optimistic view is that we're starting to see a turn in the curve and then the turn in the curve can either be a plateau, where you have a high rate and you bounce up and down but basically at about the same level and then start to drop, or it could just be a precipitous drop down which would obviously be most beneficial."
Cuomo: "This disease goes right at the lungs and you need a ventilator for people who need to be intubated. ... Every state was left on its own basically. The federal stockpile can't meet the need and it has been chaotic. There's no one who will doubt that. But, you know, at one point, you have what you have and you have to do with what you have. You know the old expression - you don't go to war with what you want; you go to war with what you have. We're doing 'New York smart', 'New York tough' and we're sharing."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was a guest on MSNBC's Politics Nation with Al Sharpton.
AUDIO is available here.
A rush transcript of the Governor's interview is available below:
Al Sharpton: Welcome, Mr. Governor.
Governor Cuomo: Good to be with you, Reverend. Thank you for your words and thank you for your leadership.
Al Sharpton: Thank you. Let me say this - you and I have known each other, worked over 30 years. You have always been a straight shooter whether we agreed or not on any given subject. We always were straight with each other. I never found anyone more straightforward than you. Where are we in this pandemic? Are we anywhere near the flattening of the curve? You said that New York is an example of the rest of the country. The country has come to know and trust your word. Where are we at this hour, Governor Cuomo?
Governor Cuomo: Well, thank you. Thank you for your kind words, and right back to you. You're right. We haven't always agreed but we always have been 100% straight. I think the dialogue has always been helpful. The short answer is, Reverend, nobody knows. We've been tracking the numbers. We track the numbers every day. Today for the first day we had a drop. We have to wait for tomorrow's numbers but the optimistic view is that we're starting to see a turn in the curve and then the turn in the curve can either be a plateau, where you have a high rate and you bounce up and down but basically at about the same level and then start to drop, or it could just be a precipitous drop down which would obviously be most beneficial.
Al Sharpton: Now, where are we in terms of the ventilators? I know you've been asking for equipment. You have been asking for ventilators. The President said he sent to New York, he sent to other places, and the governors are playing politics. Where are we with the health equipment that we need? This is not about politics; this is life and death. Where are we, Governor Cuomo?
Governor Cuomo: Look, we don't have it. We don't have the supplies we need. What we're doing, Reverend, which we have never done before, we have about 100 hospitals in downstate New York plus or minus, and literally on a daily basis we share supplies and staff among the hospitals. Who has masks but doesn't have gowns? Who has gowns but doesn't have chemical agents to do testing? And we literally on a day-to-day basis go back and share material because we just don't have it. Ventilators, which nobody could really have predicted this situation that you would need thousands of ventilators, we only had 4,000 ventilators in this state when we started. This disease goes right at the lungs and you need a ventilator for people who need to be intubated. Otherwise you can't be of any help to them. Every state was left on its own basically. The federal stockpile can't meet the need and it has been chaotic. There's no one who will doubt that. But, you know, at one point, you have what you have and you have to do with what you have. You know the old expression - you don't go to war with what you want; you go to war with what you have. We're doing New York smart, New York tough and we're sharing.
Al Sharpton: Now, what are you saying to governors and others around the country -- you gave that warning, today it's New York, it will be you next, what are you telling them they should be aware of and how they can get ahead of the curve that you didn't have the benefit of?
Governor Cuomo: well, we are the first ones in, right? And we're at a much higher intensity level than anyone else. Your point earlier was very right. This is a function of density, more urban areas, more dense communities, because it communicates faster. But we are writing a playbook, if you can, we're going through all the lessons we learned, so we can share it with other states. and more importantly, what I'm saying to my governor colleagues around the nation is look, the federal government can't help you here if they wanted to, we have to help each other. And there will be a different time when it gets more intense in different parts of the country. And as soon as New York gets through this, Rev, we'll help every other community and not just with lessons and learning, but we'll send our people, we'll send our equipment to help any other community that we can.
Al Sharpton: Lastly, there has been a sense of unity where people that maybe have not worked together before are trying to work together that I've seen around New York and a lot of that spirit I would give you credit for trying to set that tone. And even President Trump and you have talked often, he's even returned my phone call, though I will not say that I've stopped raising serious questions about him. But in the spirit of unity, what appeal have you made to New Yorkers that has resonated so that so far we have seen New Yorkers and hopefully it can be duplicated, understanding we're all in this together.
Governor Cuomo: Reverend, a little context. remember, there's been no governor in this nation that's been more critical of the president than I have been, and the president hasn't attacked any governor in this nation more than he's attacked me.
Al Sharpton: Oh, you watched his briefing yesterday, I see, but go ahead.
Governor Cuomo: Yeah, it's not that it stopped, but it is toned down. What I said to the president is we have to put the politics aside here. We disagree on a lot of issues, but we agree on one thing, which is that we have to work together to save lives. And if he helps New York, I'll be the first to say it. And if he's not doing his part on New York, I'll be the first to say it. To the New Yorkers I say you look at those nurses and those doctors and those emergency rooms and they are the heroes of today. The way the NYPD and FDNY ran into those burning towers on 9/11, these nurses and doctors who are walking into these emergency rooms every morning, they are staring death in the face and they keep going and New Yorkers have to do their part. This social distancing, the masks, staying at home is the least that we can do. And New Yorkers rise to the occasion and they understand our social obligation one to the other. And I think they're responding.
Al Sharpton: So we can say that we do not know if we flattened the curve until we see the numbers tomorrow, and we still don't have all of the equipment that we need.
Governor Cuomo: For sure. We need tomorrow's numbers, and then the next day. some people say, well maybe it's a one-day bounce, maybe it was Saturday reporting. There's all different theories. So we need to see the numbers.
Al Sharpton: All right. Thank you for calling in. I really appreciate it. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Governor Cuomo: Thanks.