October 11, 2020
Albany, NY

Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic

TOP Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo...

Full New York State Positivity Rate Drops Below 1 Percent for the First Time Since September 24 to .96 Percent 

  

New York State Has Conducted 12 Million COVID-19 Tests 

   

"Red Zone" Focus Area Positivity is 5.74 Percent Yesterday; 6.13 Percent Positivity for Past Week 

   

New York State Positivity Without Red Zone Focus Areas Included is 0.84 Percent 

  

5 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday 

  

SLA and State Police Task Force Visits 777 Establishments; Observes 5 Establishments Not in Compliance 

 

Governor Cuomo: "We're dealing with a very specific situation, which is the clusters. The state itself is doing very well. Overall, the state is doing very well. We have such a sophisticated testing mechanism, where we take now more tests per day than most states take per week... the context here is very important, and I think it's important for people to understand. The clusters are generating the new cases proportionately, because that's what clusters do. Attacking a cluster is much easier than trying to attack a statewide increasing rate." 

 

Cuomo: "The hotspot clusters as you know are primarily in the Hassidic community... I say to my friends in the Hassidic community, the Hebrew faith teaches us pikuach nefesh which means, save a life. Under the Hebrew teachings, participation in a religious ceremony can be excused for matter of health and life and safety. Leviticus, love your neighbors, yourself, and the point here is to save a life and not to endanger others, not to endanger others in the same congregation, not to endanger others in the same community, and that's what is happening with these large congregations. It's an unfortunate situation. I wish it didn't happen but it is the reality. I wish none of this happened. I wish COVID didn't happen but that is the reality and you deal with reality, especially when it's about life and death." 

WYSIWYG

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. New York State has conducted 12 million COVID-19 tests. In "Red Zone" focus areas included as part of the Governor's Cluster Action Initiative, the positivity rate for test results reported yesterday is 5.74 percent and 6.13 percent for the past week. These "Red Zone" focus areas are home to 2.8 percent of state's population, yet have had 17.6 percent of all positive cases reported this week to New York State. 

 

New York State's positivity rate without the Red Zone focus areas included was 0.84 percent for yesterday's test results. The state's overall positivity rate - with Red Zone focus areas included - dropped to 0.96 percent yesterday, under 1 percent for the first time since September 24.  

 

AUDIO of the Governor's remarks is available here

 

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

 

Good morning, guys. Happy Sunday. Today is day 225. I'm joined by Melissa DeRosa, Robert Mujica, Commissioner Zucker, Beth Garvey, and Gareth Rhodes. Let me give you the numbers for yesterday. We did 118,000 tests. Let me just repeat myself for context here. We're dealing with a very specific situation, which is the clusters. The state itself is doing very well. Overall, the state is doing very well. We have such a sophisticated testing mechanism, where we take now more tests per day than most states take per week. That allows us to do a very granular analysis. Most states don't have that capacity, or don't have that desire.

 

If you look at the statewide numbers, which is what most states present, we are doing very well. The statewide numbers today without the hot spots in them: 0.84. That's doing extraordinarily well. We haven't been that low since September 24th. If you add in the hot spots, which is then a skewed sample, it's 0.96. 0.96 is the lowest it's been since September 24th, and that is very good. That's normally where the state's efforts stop. A state would announce a statewide average. They would say 0.96. Because we test as much as we do, and because we have such an ability to target, we then see clusters and we can track cases in very small clusters.

 

We're now tracking a cluster in about 2 or 3 percent of the population. No other state has this discussion, because no other state has the ability to target that way. We do, and that's a good thing because when you can target a specific cluster it means you can attack a specific cluster. Attacking a cluster is much easier than trying to attack a statewide increasing rate. A rifle is more targeted than a shotgun, right? Other states see the statewide number increase, and then they have to do statewide closings because they can't target the clusters. So, the cluster analysis, which you don't hear about in any other state, is because we have the sophistication to do it. The testing in the clusters is 5.7, which is not good. Now, even to put the 5.7 in a focus, the positivity rate of 5.7 in our clusters is lower than many states overall positivity number. So, the number in our clusters is much less than most states' positivity.

 

So, the context here is very important, and I think it's important for people to understand. The clusters are generating the new cases proportionately, because that's what clusters do. They are generating the new cases. The clusters are in the same areas that we've been talking about. 5 New Yorkers passed away from COVID yesterday, they're in our thoughts and prayers. 820 New Yorkers were hospitalized, that's down 6 from the prior day. These numbers are all weekend numbers. As I've cautioned you before, take them all with a grain of salt because they're weekend numbers. 186 were in ICU. 84 were intubated. By region, New York City: 1.1, that's what's obviously driving the number up. [5:58] that's not good. Capital Region: 0.6 is good. Central New York: 0.9. Finger Lakes: 0.9. Long Island: 1.0. Mid-Hudson: 1.1, that's Rockland, Orange. Mohawk Valley: 0.2. North Country: 0.2. Southern Tier: 0.9. Western New York: 1.4.

 

We've had an ongoing issue with Western New York, and it is not getting dramatically better; it's not getting dramatically worse, but it's not getting dramatically better, either. Hot spot counties, Orange: 2.5. Rockland: 2.1. Broome: 3.4. Brooklyn: 1.5. That is where we are. What do you do about clusters? You do enforcement. You do aggressive enforcement. That's what you do. Well what does aggressive enforcement mean? When we did the bars and restaurants we identified them as problem areas that were generating clusters. We put together an SLA State Police Task Force. We've done almost 100,000 establishment visits. 100,000 bars and restaurants. We've taken about 15,000 enforcement actions on those 100,000 visits. That's enforcement. 100,000 visits is hard to do. I know. It's also called the job of government. It's the job of a regulator to pass a law.

 

You don't enforce a law, the law is useless. If accomplishes nothing. It actually accomplishes a negative. The negative is people see that law isn't enforced, they dismiss the law. The other negative is government issues another law but government can't enforce it or doesn't enforce it, incompetent government, ineffective government, waste of time government, why do we pay these people, government, government isn't the solution, government is part of the problem, government is impotent, let's all join together and be anti-government because the government is useless. 100,000 visits, 1,500 enforcement - when I say I'm looking for enforcement from the local governments, that's how I define enforcement.

 

The hotspot clusters as you know are primarily in the Hassidic community but they are in those geographic areas and anyone in those geographic areas is obviously more likely to come in contact with the virus and that's the geographical significance of the hotspot areas. Hotspot areas are not done by any arbitrary means. They're not Census tracks, they're not zip codes, they are literally from the cases. If you look at where the cases are, you put the points on a map, that's the geographic area.

 

To the Hassidic community, I've spoken to the leaders of the Hassidic community many times. I've longstanding relations with them. I understand the desire to hold large religious ceremonies. I understand that. I understand how important it is to their culture and to their religion. I also understand that it, as a matter of fact, jeopardizes human life.

 

This is not academic. The number of hospitalizations are coming from those communities. We know what happens. People get the virus, people get sick, people go into the hospital, people die. That is the trajectory. Not as many people as died originally. We know have more information about the virus, the doctors are in a better position to treat the virus, there are different therapeutics, there are different experimental drugs, President took Regeneron, Eli Lilly has a drug, Remdesivir has shown to work, hydroxychloroquine has shown not to work, but people die.

 

I say to my friends in the Hassidic community, the Hebrew faith teaches us pikuach nefesh which means, save a life. Under the Hebrew teachings, participation in a religious ceremony can be excused for matter of health and life and safety. Leviticus, love your neighbors, yourself, and the point here is to save a life and not to endanger others, not to endanger others in the same congregation, not to endanger others in the same community, and that's what is happening with these large congregations. It's an unfortunate situation. I wish it didn't happen but it is the reality. I wish none of this happened. I wish COVID didn't happen but that is the reality and you deal with reality, especially when it's about life and death.

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