April 5, 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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11 PM Curfew Lifted for Casinos, Movie Theaters, Bowling Alleys, Billiard Halls, Gyms and Fitness Centers Beginning Today

4,434 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide

906 Patients in the ICU; 577 Intubated

Statewide Positivity Rate is 4.38%

57 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

Governor Cuomo: "I said today in Queens what I've said before - don't get cocky with COVID. COVID wins when you get cocky. This is a formidable enemy. You put your hands down at your side, you think it's over, the enemy attacks."
 
Cuomo: "We're focused on vaccinations. We announced today the Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign which focuses on the social equity campaign on vaccinations, making sure we're getting it to the communities that have been hardest hit by COVID. ... We are very aggressive in public housing, in churches, in community centers, in communities of color on the vaccination program. We have opened eligibility so more and more people are eligible and we now want to communicate that it's about making appointments and it's up to you - it's up to you to get a vaccination appointment and get a needle in your arm."
 
Cuomo: "The budget is probably the most complicated, the most ambitious and the hardest budget that we have done. This is a post-crisis budget. ... There are many very important points in the budget. The legalization of marijuana was important, we got that done. The public safety reform plan has already been a success. ... We talk about restoring New York, bringing the economy back."

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.  

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

 

Good afternoon, guys. I have Melissa DeRosa, Robert Mujica, Dr. Zucker, Beth Garvey on the phone with me. We have a lot going on so let me talk through a couple of items.

 
We're focused on vaccinations. We announced today the Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign which focuses on the social equity campaign on vaccinations, making sure we're getting it to the communities that have been hardest hit by COVID.

 
I did an event today in Queens on that. We are very aggressive in public housing, in churches, in community centers, in communities of color on the vaccination program. We have opened eligibility so more and more people are eligible and we now want to communicate that it's about making appointments and it's up to you - it's up to you to get a vaccination appointment and get a needle in your arm.

 
We're also working on the budget obviously and the budget is really a budget and COVID management and New York recovery. It's the most complicated budget that we've ever done and the most important budget that we've ever done because it's not a financial document primarily. It's an action plan primarily - manage COVID, learn from COVID, reform from COVID and rebuild New York for this post-COVID world.

 
On the COVID numbers, positivity was 4.3. We did 150,000 tests. 57 New Yorkers died from COVID yesterday on Easter, for those of us who celebrate it. They're in our thoughts and prayers. 4,400 hospitalized, that's up 61. 906 in ICU. 577 were intubated. The COVID numbers have basically been flat, slight uptick, slight downtick, but basically flat.

 
When you look at where COVID numbers are in the state, and this to me is probably one of the most important pieces of information that we talk about, number one in the state, Western New York, 4.7; Mid-Hudson, 4.6; Long Island, 4.3; New York City, 4.2; Finger Lakes, 2.6; Capital Region, 2.3; Mohawk Valley, 1.6; North Country, 1.6; Central New York, 1.3; Southern Tier, 0.7.

 
Western New York, back up at the top, that's on a seven-day average. In New York City, Staten Island, 4.9; Queens, 4.7; Bronx, 4.4; Brooklyn, 4.2; Manhattan, 2.7. Manhattan again the lowest in New York City. Staten Island which at one time was the highest, then actually reduced, now is the highest again on a seven-day average. Western New York if you remember, we had a real problem for a long time, Western New York, we communicated the message of the severity and Western New York improved. Western New York is now back on top. I'm not a scientist but to me it is undeniable that the behavior of the community makes the difference. Why do you have Manhattan at 2.6 and Western New York at 4.7?  Why do you have Manhattan at 2.6 and Staten Island at 4.9?  Why do you have the Southern Tier - which also had a dramatic rush of COVID at one point that was frightening for the state and for the Southern Tier - since then the Southern Tier has been very low. It is the behavior of that community. Wearing masks, social distancing, et cetera. "COVID fatigue, I'm tired, the weather's warm, there's a vaccine, the death numbers are down, hospitalizations are down, I think we're over it." Yeah, the community that accepts that philosophy first will have a higher transmission rate. I get it. We all get it, COVID fatigue, except it's not over, and there are still variants, and you can still get sick, and yes, people are vaccinated, but not enough. And it is up to that community's behavior. It is the same theory as when we had micro-clusters, because the micro-clusters were saying, you can identify behavior patterns by community, by neighborhood. And the micro-clusters targeted that behavior by neighborhood. And we targeted those neighborhoods. We closed down, we did heavy public education, people got the message, people said "oh, I don't want to get sick", they responded. Once people believe, "well, this is over, COVID's not serious, the behavior changes", and you're seeing communities where we did have problems, and then we had a very significant public education campaign, but more importantly, they knew in their community they had an issue. They saw people go into the hospital. They saw on the local news every night, numbers going up, X number died. And they responded. But, people are now relaxing. And as people relax with COVID, it's a problem. I said today in Queens what I've said before - don't get cocky with COVID. COVID wins when you get cocky. This is a formidable enemy. You put your hands down at your side, you think it's over, the enemy attacks. And that literally is community by community.

 
Vaccines, we've done 10.5 million shots in arms. One in three New Yorkers have gotten at least one dose. Over 4 million have been fully vaccinated. That's about 20 percent of the state. Tomorrow morning, all New Yorkers 16 plus will be eligible. 1-833-NYS-4-VAX, number four, vax, is the phone number. Or you can go online, ny.gov/vaccine. The supply is coming from the federal government, start and stop, but this week it's up. We have the distribution center. It's continued supply from the federal government and then it's citizen responsibility and citizen action showing up and rolling up their sleeve. We have 189 community-based pop-up vaccination sites. We have 13 mass vaccination sites operating now. We have six mass vaccination sites in partnership with the federal government. We have 69 churches that are now serving as vaccination sites. We're partnering with SOMOS, which is a doctor's physician network that runs community clinics. So we are hyper-aggressive on getting a vaccine to people and to communities of color who have had the highest COVID rate.

 
The mass vaccination sites are the highest throughput sites, and we're trying to balance both. In other words, Javits Center has one of the highest throughputs of any site in the country. And Javits, people who've gone to Javits Convention Center in Manhattan and gotten a vaccine. They all rave about the operation. The mass vaccination sites have the highest through-put, they are the most efficient, but you have to drive to the mass vaccination site. We have them located throughout the State, but you have to go there.

 
The pop-up sites, the community-based sites, bring the vaccination to you. We go to your public housing complex, we go to your church, we go to your community center. There we focus on reaching the communities primarily of color. They do not do as high a through put, but they are more effective at getting the vaccines to the communities that actually need them.

 
Today we launched the public awareness campaign in connection with the Equity Task Force which is the Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign. It makes the case to Black New Yorkers, Latino New Yorkers that this is safe. We're trying to get past that hesitancy and trust issue and the Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign will be running statewide.

 
We're also working on the budget at the same time. As I said before, the budget is probably the most complicated, the most ambitious and the hardest budget that we have done. This is a post-crisis budget. We have federal funds, we have State funds, we have reconstruction we have to do. We have relief that we have to do and we have to rebuild an economy in a post-COVID world where economies all across the globe are all trying to rebuild.

 
In many ways, I think it's an international competition. Who can rebuild first? Who can learn the lessons first? There's an opportunity for New York in that. The budget, yes, State finances like a normal budget, plus COVID relief, plus COVID reform - learning the lessons from COVID - plus reimagine New York, reinvent New York. Those are the themes I laid out in my State of the State and we put in the budget, but it makes it complicated. You put on top of that you can't be in the same room with people and yeah, Zoom is great. Zoom is not as good as being in a room with 20 people and being able to sit there for 10 hours and hash it out. That has been a complication to it.

 
There are many very important points in the budget. The legalization of marijuana was important, we got that done. The public safety reform plan has already been a success. 497 jurisdictions, about 90 percent, have submitted reform plans to the State. 497 and we have about 450 plans in. This is a remarkable achievement and it is vitally needed. We talk about restoring New York, bringing the economy back. Economic development, yes. But you know the first question is, is the community safe? Is New York City safe? All the social unrest post George Floyd - what have you done about it? Have you reconciled it? Have you resolved it? Have you learned from it?

 
The tension is palpable between the police and some members of the community. It's all across the country, by the way. George Floyd and the social unrest afterward was not unique to New York by any stretch of the imagination. New York is the first State to do something about it. It's a difficult topic and it's a no-win topic for the local politicians. Politicians tend to stay away from no-win topics. That's why we said in New York you must address this problem. Denial is not an option, and if you don't have it by the date of the budget, then you're going to get a monitor, there will be withholding of funds, and people said, "oh this is very difficult." Yeah, except New York has made more reforms - through a collaborative mechanism - more public safety reforms than any state in the nation. There is no other state that did this. There is no other state where you have 90 percent of the jurisdictions that have a police force having successfully completed a police reform, public safety reform plan, which had to be done through a collaborative and which had to be passed by the council of the city. So, it's not just a lot of proposals and white papers, and speeches, and rhetoric. They had to come up with a plan; they had to pass the plan through the city council. Everyone complained, but you know what, 90 percent of the public safety forces in the State of New York are reformed, and that is a phenomenal victory. I am not saying that every plan is the be all and end all. I think some of the plans are just a first step and we'll need further advancement and refinement, but they were all passed by their legislative body, and signed by their chief executive, and they are the first start of that reform, right? Social unrest, demonstrate, legislate, reconciliation. Demonstration, legislation, reconciliation. There is a social injustice, demonstrate. We saw the demonstrations. Legislate reform, make it real, stop the speeches, real progress, real results, change the law and that's how you get to reconciliation. 90 percent have done that in the State.

 
Green energy is in the budget that is going to make us the green energy capital of the world. Affordable internet is in the budget. Nursing home reform legislation is in the budget. So, it really is very comprehensive. The houses, I applaud them. They've been working very hard under very difficult circumstances. When I talk about Zoom, I only do it with the Leaders. The Leaders then have to turn around and they have to do it with all their members. So, it's been a complicated process on top of a complicated product. But this budget will set the trajectory for the State for the next 10 years I believe. So, we have a conceptual agreement on all issues, I think it's fair to say, the Senate, the Assembly and myself. They are working it through with their conferences. We're dotting some "i"s and crossing some "t"s, but that's where we are.

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