June 2, 2021
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photo & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces New York State 7-Day Average Positivity Rate is Lowest in the Nation

Video, Audio, Photo & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces New York State 7-Day Average Positivity Rate is Lowest in the Nation

Citi Field to Expand to Full Capacity for 90 percent of Stadium for New York Mets Games Beginning Friday, June 11

Announces First Round Winners of 'Get A Shot to Make Your Future' Vaccine Incentive

New $40 Million Global Campaign to Support Revival of New York State Tourism Industry

2021 Reimagined New York International Auto Show to Return This Year

Governor Cuomo: "Our message is simple. It's time to reenter society. It's time to reopen, it's time to re re-imagine. There's no place better to do that than the state of New York. We want any tourists this year considering their vacation, put New York at the top of the list, because we want you here. To New Yorkers who are considering your vacation, there is no reason to go anywhere else. You have it right in your own backyard."

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced New York State's 7-day average positivity rate is the lowest in the nation at 0.64%. The Governor also announced that beginning Friday, June 11, Citi Field will expand full capacity sections for vaccinated individuals to 90 percent of the stadium for New York Mets home games. Additionally, the Governor also announced the first-round winners of the 'Get A Shot to Make Your Future' incentive for a full scholarship to a SUNY or CUNY school. The Governor also announced a new $40 million global campaign aimed at revitalizing the state's tourism industry and that the 2021 Reimagined New York International Auto Show will return to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center this year. 

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of the event is available here.

PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.

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

Good morning. Good afternoon, actually. Changed the time today, different schedule. Let me introduce the people who with us here today. From my far, far, far, right, Eric Gertler, head of Empire State Development Corporation, which is our reimagine nation agency, reimagining the New Yorker economy, how do we reopen better than ever before? To my immediate right, Kelly Cummings, director of operations, who gets things done for the State of New York. To my left, Mr. Alan Steel, who runs the Jacob Javits Convention Center. That was his job. It morphed over time to running a COVID site, largest in the United States of America. You don't expect that to happen when you sign up for position to run a convention center, but that's what we needed the convention center to do, and that's what Alan and his team did, brilliantly, I might add.

Let's talk about where we are today cause it's exciting. We are physically in the Jacob Javits Convention Center, which was a great vision by the State of New York. It was one of the projects that was done to bring the economy back as an economic magnet for New York State. It did that very well for a long time, but convention centers, like everything else, evolve, they grow. And we therefore had to re-imagine the Javits Center, but Javits morphed and Javits in many ways became ground zero for COVID. My, frankly, most frightening memories about COVID all happened right here at the Javits Center. When we found out that we had been ambushed by COVID and that it had been coming here, landing on planes at our airports from Europe, and had been coming for months before we ever knew, when we found out it was too late. We were at 48 percent positivity, highest in the country, some say highest on the globe at that time. And Javits became the largest field hospital in the country. Nobody saw it at that time, but it was frightening to be here. 2,500 cots, little sleeping attendant areas, National Guard here, federal military here, Jeeps, all sorts of military equipment. It looked like the scene from a movie on post-apocalyptic America, but it was set up to be the largest field hospital in the country. Now it's the highest throughput vaccination center in the country.

So it has seen both ends of the spectrum. And talk about a 180-degree development. New York State had the highest positivity in the nation. Today, New York state has the lowest positivity of any state in the United States of America. Let's give New Yorkers a round of applause. This is the seven-day positivity, the weekly positivity. We do daily positivity, we also do weekly positivity numbers. New York for the past week, .64 percent, Massachusetts .68, Vermont .79. And that will bounce around from time to time with these numbers, but it is extraordinary for New York, to understand what New Yorkers have accomplished. And not only did we bring the number down initially, we have kept the number down to this day, and that's what this chart points to. If you had told us a year ago when we were walking through this facility, don't worry, you're going to turn it around and New York is going to wind up with the lowest positivity, I wouldn't have believed you, because New York was in such a unique precarious position. But the people of New York did it. No one else, it was their behavior, it was their sense of community, it was their unity that actually turned everything around.

Today, .61, the ICU rate is down, the intubation rate is down. Is COVID over? No. Eleven people still died from COVID, and they're in our thoughts and prayers. Again, the number varies from community to community because it depends on that community's behavior. Are they getting vaccines? Are they social distancing? The Finger Lakes is the highest in the state at 1.4. You go down to .56, .50, but you see the various across the state. In New York City, you see the variance, Staten Island at .7. Manhattan at .35. It's always been extraordinary how low Manhattan is. Manhattan has been the lowest positivity in the city for many weeks. And it's hard to explain why. Manhattan probably is the highest density, but it's something that we're studying for the future. You see the .64 is 58 straight days of decline. Vaccinations, we're at 19 million, 65 percent at least one dose, that's very good news. And we have a very high percentage of people who come back for the second dose. The conversion rate from first dose to second dose is about 97, 98 percent, so that's good news. 57 percent fully vaccinated.

So we're making incredible progress. We have a lot to be proud of, but we have more to do. Priority remains, get shots in arms. Focus for us now? 12 to 17-year-olds, at 9 percent of the population. Why are they so low? Because first they weren't eligible for the vaccine until fairly recently. All our messaging has been young people don't need to worry about it, it's the older people who should be really concerned. But, that's changed. Federal government now made the vaccine eligible for 12- to 17-year-olds and we're working very hard to get them interested in taking the vaccine. It's smart, it's right, there's very little risk. So we're focusing on that population.

One of the things we did, because the vaccination rate overall is dropping, so we have incentives for people to get vaccinated, and we offered a great incentive for people who are between 12 to 17. Come and get a vaccination, which you should do anyway, and you will be eligible for a raffle. The winners get a full four-year scholarship to a state college or university. Full four-year scholarship, 10 winners per week, and it runs through [June 30]. Since we announced that, 45,000 young people have come up and gotten a vaccine. Today we announced the first 10 winners, and here you see them. They're located all across the state, obviously. We have a number in New York City, but it's from Victor, New York, Bronx, Bayside, Albany, Chazy, Westbury, Penfield, Westchester, Syracuse, Queens. Congratulations to them. They just won a full four-year scholarship, room and board, to any state college or university. It's the SUNY system, it's the CUNY system here in New York. This is about a $100,000 value, this scholarship.

So congratulations to them and congratulations to their parents, as a parent, because funding college is a nightmare for families all across America. And for the students, it's great, but for the parents, it's also great that they know this is something they're not going to have to worry about. So congratulations to all of them. Remember, this goes through [June 30]. Get your vaccine, be eligible for the raffle. The raffle is the cherry on the cake, as far as I'm concerned, it's something smart that you should do anyway.

In general, we celebrated Memorial Day, and it is time to get back to living. Living. What have we been doing for the past year? We've been surviving for the past year. We've been afraid of COVID. "I don't want to catch COVID. I could die from COVID." Wear a mask. Stay home. We've been surviving. Surviving is not living. Surviving is not thriving. Life is about more than just survival. But that's the mode that we have been in for the past year.

We just wanted to survive, just to live, to protect our life and protect the life of our family members. We're on a new day, now. It's time to start living again, get out of the house, start to see loved ones again, socialize again. Participate in activities. We said, follow the science. The science says it is now safe because the vaccine was always the weapon that was going to win the war.

And the weapon is now hitting critical mass. And that's why you see the numbers coming down. So get a vaccine, go out and enjoy life. I think we're going to see a tremendous burst of energy. You have an unprecedented period of time. You'd have to go back to a past pandemic to come up with another situation where you had a city, a state, a country, a world on lockdown for one year.

It altered every social interaction, altered life for young people, old people, everyone in between. It's over. And you're going to see a tremendous outburst of energy, people wanting to get back to life, back to socialization, back to enjoying what life is all about. The vaccine helps you do that.

You're going to see venues opening up with a preference for vaccinated people. Radio City, I think made one of the smartest moves early on. Radio City said we're reopening, 100% vaccinated. Why? Are they trying to promote the vaccine policy? No, they're not in the vaccine policy business. I believe they believe the vaccine is smart, but from a venue's point of view, they want to maximize attendance.

If you have vaccinated, people come into the venue. There's two things. Number one, it helps you sell tickets because when you can tell everyone don't worry, the person you're sitting next to is going to be vaccinated. So you know they're not carrying the virus. Secondly, by the reopening rules, if you're vaccinated, you can see people one next to another.

If people are not vaccinated, you have to socially distance, you have to leave seats in between. That reduces the capacity for the venue. The venue wants a full venue. They want the revenue from a full venue. The entertainer wants a full venue. The sports team wants a full venue, so you will see more and more venues moving to more and more vaccinations.

The vaccination card that you get. This opens doors and allows you to participate in life in a way you are going to want to do. You're going to want to go to Radio City Music Hall. The Mets are announcing that at their home games, 90% of the seats will go to vaccinated people. 90%. Why? Because they want a full crowd. Because the players want a full crowd. So they're going to 90% vaccinated, 10% seats for un-vaccinated. You will see other sports teams doing that. You will see movie theaters starting to do that. You will see restaurants starting to do that because it is a safer environment. And it's more conducive to business. It also allows more business sales.

So it's another reason to get the vaccine. You have your own safety, you have the safety of people who you may infect, if you're not vaccinated, the safety of your family, you then have the incentives now to get a vaccine. Then you have another incentive, which is a passport to allow you to start to enjoy life once again and get into these venues.

Our goal is to have New York State as the reopening and re-imagining capital of the world, meaning on the reopening to see a surge of consumer activity and a surge of social activity. We want it to happen here. We want to capitalize on this moment.

Re-imagining capital that we don't want to just reopen society, reopen to where we were a year ago. No, life is not about going backwards. It's about going forwards. We want to re-imagine and open up better and different and stronger than ever before.

Javits is a metaphor for that once again. Went from ground zero to now reopening as a re-imagined facility. It's 50% larger, 1.2 million square foot expansion completed during COVID. So the day before COVID to today, Javits is 50% larger. It's opening bigger, better, stronger than ever before. And it's reopening with one of the premier events in this country, which is the New York International Auto Show.

And I want to thank Mark Schienberg, who represents the New York State Auto Dealers, for working with us. The International Auto Show's going to be August 20th to 29th. Tickets go on sale June 30th. The goal is 1 million visitors to the Javits Center over nine days. 1 million visitors is the high number that we've had in the past, but we believe it's achievable because now Javits is even bigger than it was in the past.

And this message of New York Reopened and New York Safe in New York Re-imagined we want to broadcast this all across the world. We want people coming to New York and we want people to know they are welcome, and we want them to come make us the venue for their re-entry into living and thriving and enjoying once again. Our messages to domestic and international tourists, this is the place you want to visit. This is the one state where whatever you want to do, you can do it in this great state of New York.

To people who live within this state, to New Yorkers. You're planning your summer vacation. Forget traveling, forget getting on a plane, going to Europe where you still have COVID infection rates at a much higher than the United States, stay in New York. This state has anything you could possibly want to do. And staying in New York and vacationing in New York is smart and it is safe. You know, this state is responsible when it comes to handling COVID. So if you want to vacation and you don't want to have to worry about COVID, vacation in the state of New York.

Downstate New York, New York City, you think of New York City as New York. Upstate, they think of upstate as New York. You put the two together. Upstate New York has the most beautiful rural areas. It has the Adirondacks. It has the Finger Lakes. It has wineries. You can bike, you can fish, you can hike, as well as you can, anywhere else in the United States. You can go to Long Island that has beaches and vineyards that are remarkable and rival anything anywhere on the globe.

And then yes, of course you have New York City. Which is the cultural capital of the world. We're reopening the museums that people have missed for the past year, the greatest restaurants and the greatest diversity on the globe, the greatest history and history in this city that tells the tale of the nation, literally. As well as sports - that is sports teams that are reopening and that are doing great. The Islanders are doing fantastic. The Knicks, big game tonight, go Knicks. The Nets are doing great. The Islanders are doing great.

And tourism is also a big business for our bottom line. 2019, it was 265 million visitors. 73 billion in direct revenue, 117 total economic impact.

So our message is simple. It's time to reenter society. It's time to reopen, it's time to re re-imagine. There's no place better to do that than the state of New York. We want any tourists this year considering their vacation, put New York at the top of the list, because we want you here. To New Yorkers who are considering your vacation, there is no reason to go anywhere else. You have it right in your own backyard. We are going to advertise this message with our 'I love New York' campaign, we're starting an international ad campaign for tourism. New York is back and New York is the best and we want people to be part of it. Our phase one advertising plan is $5 million is being run by ESD and you will see a sample of the downstate ad that is going to run it.

Beautiful. I'm sold.

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Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
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