March 12, 2021
Albany, NY

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

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Audio & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic
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Hospitalizations Drop to 4,634—New Low Since December 6 ICU Patients Drop to 935—New Low Since December 7; 639 Intubated Statewide Positivity Rate is 3.11% 74 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

Governor Cuomo: "Positivity, 3.11 percent. 74 New Yorkers passed away from COVID yesterday. They're in our thoughts and prayers. Number hospitalized, 4,634, down 101, lowest number since December 6. That is great news. 935patients in ICU, lowest number since December 7. 639 intubated yesterday. That is down 26. That's good news."

Cuomo: "The President's announcement last night is going to have a major ramification on states' vaccination capacity. He has moved up dramatically the amount of vaccines that are available and that is a good thing obviously."

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitalizations dropped to 4,634, a new low since December 6. ICU patients dropped to 935, a new low since December 7.

AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.

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

Good afternoon, everyone. We have Melissa DeRosa, Dr. Howard Zucker, Robert Mujica, Beth Garvey. Thank you for joining us today. I'll give you an update, COVID updated.

Positivity, 3.11 percent. 74 New Yorkers passed away from COVID yesterday. They'rein our thoughts and prayers. Number hospitalized, 4,634, down 101, lowest number since December 6. That is great news. 935 patients in ICU, lowest number since December 7. 639 intubated yesterday. That is down 26. That's good news. Positivity by region: number 1, which is not a good thing, you don't want to be number 1 in this - 4.4, Long Island 4.2, New York City 3.9, North Country 1.9, Capital Region 1.8, Western New York 1.7, Finger Lakes 1.6, Mohawk 1.4, Central New York 0.8, Southern Tier 0.6 - that comes out to 3.13.

In New York City, take a guess, Bronx, number 1, 4.9; Staten Island, 4.8, which is a turnaround; Queens, 4.6; Brooklyn, 4.3; Manhattan still only 2.82.

On vaccines, we administered 6 million to date. Percent of New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose, 21 percent. Percent of New Yorkers completed vaccine, 10 percent. We've done 178,000 vaccines in the last 24 hours. More than 1 million doses have been administered in the past 7 days.

The President's announcement last night is going to have a major ramification on states' vaccination capacity. He has moved up dramatically the amount of vaccines that are available and that is a good thing obviously. Remember when we started we were talking about June, July, August. The President is now talking about May 1. That means we have to have a tremendous increase in our capacity to vaccinate, and that is a logistical undertaking unlike anything we have done before so we're going to be preparing for that but the President's announcement that May 1 everyone will be eligible for a vaccine, what that means is in New York 15 million people will be eligible and we have to have the capacity to address those people as quickly as possible.Now the President said, it doesn't mean everybody gets a vaccine on May 1, but once you tell people they are eligible, then eligibility suggests, now I should be able to get it and we're going to have to dramatically increase our capacity to do that because we are not at that capacity now.

We've been working on a marijuana bill and had a number of conversations with members. The staff is working on it over this weekend. We've been making good progress.

The President has passed the federal budget bill which is good news for New York. In the federal bill we asked for $15 billion. It's still $2.5 billion short from what we asked for, but it is a major relief.

I'm going to sign the death benefits bill today. In May of last year we signed a bill into law that provided enhanced debt benefits for families of public workers who died from COVID. I extended it by Executive Order. Today I'm signing a new bill into law extending that through next year, 2022. It's the least we can do to say thank you and honor and remember the families going forward.

The vaccinations time off bill I'm also signing. It grants each employee in New York both public and private paid time off to get a COVID vaccine, up to four hours per shot. This corresponds to the President's new directive. This will ensure that all New Yorkers have an opportunity to get vaccinated. Our goal is to be the COVID-safe state.

There is also a bill on unemployment insurance benefit changes. Many states have overpayment waiver options. New York does not have that currently, but going forward we're going to ensure it. You earn less than $150,000 of the federal poverty level, through no fault of your own, you've been overpaid. This would constitute a hardship, so we're not going to require people to repay or have deducted from their future benefits. The pandemic was brutal on everyone and brutal economically and if this is a way we can help then that's what we want to do.

Let me make a statement and then we'll take your questions. As I have said before, and I firmly believe that my administration has always represented, women have a right to come forward and be heard and I encourage that fully. But I also want to be clear: there is still a question of the truth. I did not do what has been alleged. Period. I won't speculate about people's possible motives, but I can tell you as a former Attorney General who's gone through this situation many times, there are often many motivations for making an allegation and that is why you need to know the fats before you make a decision. There are now reviews on the way. No one wants them to happen more quickly and more thoroughly than I do. Let them do it. I'm not going to argue this issue in the press, that is not how it is done, that is not the way it should be done. Serious allegations should be weighed seriously, right? That's why they are call serious. As I told New Yorkers many times, there are facts and then there are opinions, and I've always separated the two. When I do briefings, I put out the facts and then I offer my opinions, but they are two different concepts.

Politicians who don't know a single fact but yet form a conclusion and an opinion are in my opinion reckless and dangerous. The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who take a position without knowing any facts or substance. That, my friends, is politics at its worst. Politicians take positions for all sorts of reasons, including political expediency and bowing to pressure. But people know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth. People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture, and the truth. Let the review proceed, I'm not going to resign, I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people. Part of this is that I am not part of the political club. Andyou know what? I'm proud of it. This is all that I'm going to say on this topic at this time. I made a promise to the people of the state. I have a job to do. I've been doing it for 11 years. This is probably the most critical time in the state's history. Everything that I have learned, in the federal government, as attorney general, as governor, I am bringing to the table at this moment. We have a budget due in two weeks for a state that is in fiscal crisis. It will be the most difficult budget we have done. We have to perform 15 million vaccinations, and we have to be ready on May 1 for eligibility for the entire state. Never been done before. And then we have to rebuild our state from the bottom up, because we have serious issues all across the state, especially in New York City. That is my job. That's why I was elected. That's what I am supposed to do, and that is exactly what I'm going to focus on.

The people of the state, look, they have known me for 40 years. They elected me attorney general. They elected me governor three times. I have been in the public eye my entire life. My entire life, I have been under public scrutiny since I was 23 years old and ran my father's campaign. New Yorkers know me. Wait for the facts. Wait for the facts. Then you can have an opinion. I am confident that when New Yorkers know the facts from the review, I am confident in the decision based on the facts. But, wait for the facts. An opinion without facts is irresponsible. I'm going to focus on my job because we have real challenges, and people who say avoid distractions, I'm going to avoid distractions, and I'm going to focus on my job. I have to get a budget done, I have to get vindications done, I have to rebuild the state. And I'm going to cooperate and wait for the reviews so we actually have the facts and then we can have an intelligent conversation.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

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