April 1, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Announces Regeneron is Creating 500,000 Test Kits for State at No Charge

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Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Announces Regeneron is Creating 500,000 Test Kits for State at No Charge
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Corning Has Donated 100,000 Tubes and Provided 500,000 Tubes at Reduced Cost and Expedited Shipping to NYS; Puritan Has Sold Medical Swabs to State

Announces New York City Playgrounds Will Close to Address Lack of Adherence to Social Distancing Protocols; Open Spaces Will Remain Open

New PSA Provides Information on How to Apply for Unemployment Benefits, Reassures New Yorkers that Everyone Will Receive Full Benefits Even if Their Filing is Delayed

Reminds New Yorkers to Complete the 2020 U.S. Census Online, Over the Phone or by Mail

Confirms 7,917 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 83,712; New Cases in 42 Counties

Governor Cuomo: "New York is very aggressive on testing. We have been from day one, and we think that has helped us slow the spread of this virus."

Cuomo: "When do we get back to normal? I don't think we get back to normal. I think we get back, or we get to a new normal. Right? Like we're seeing in so many facets of society right now. So we will be at a different place."

Cuomo: "Our challenge is to make sure that transformation and that change is positive and not negative. Let's make sure we're taking the positive lesson and not the negative lesson."

Cuomo: "We also have to be smarter from what we went through. How do you make the economy more resilient? What happens when something like this happens again? And something like this will happen again."

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is creating 500,000 test kits for the State at no charge amid a nationwide shortage of test kits and swabs. The first batch of test kits was delivered to the State on Monday and the State will receive an ongoing delivery of 25,000 kits per day. Additionally, Corning has donated 100,000 tubes and provided an additional 500,000 tubes to the State at reduced cost and expedited delivery, and Puritan has sold medical swabs to the State. To date, the State has tested 220,880 individuals, with 15,694 new people tested just yesterday.

Governor Cuomo also announced that New York City playgrounds will close to address the lack of adherence to social distancing protocols. Open spaces in New York City will remain open.

Additionally, the Governor announced the launch of a new PSA that provides information on how to apply for unemployment benefits and reassures New Yorkers if their unemployment filing is delayed, they will still receive full unemployment benefits. The PSA is also available with Spanish subtitles here.

The Governor also reminded New Yorkers to complete the 2020 Census online, by telephone or by mail.

Finally, the Governor confirmed 7,917 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 83,712 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 83,712 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

County

Total Positive

New Positive

Albany

240

14

Allegany

9

2

Broome

42

4

Cattaraugus

7

1

Cayuga

3

0

Chautauqua

6

0

Chemung

22

2

Chenango

26

7

Clinton

25

4

Columbia

31

1

Cortland

8

0

Delaware

20

4

Dutchess

547

63

Erie

464

26

Essex

6

2

Franklin

9

0

Fulton

2

1

Genesee

13

3

Greene

18

2

Hamilton

2

0

Herkimer

12

0

Jefferson

12

0

Lewis

2

0

Livingston

14

1

Madison

51

10

Monroe

349

57

Montgomery

7

0

Nassau

9554

1010

Niagara

46

4

NYC

47439

4300

Oneida

50

10

Onondaga

217

23

Ontario

24

2

Orange

1756

200

Orleans

6

0

Oswego

17

2

Otsego

19

1

Putnam

207

21

Rensselaer

43

2

Rockland

3321

458

Saratoga

122

14

Schenectady

93

8

Schoharie

8

2

Schuyler

2

0

Seneca

2

0

St. Lawrence

34

4

Steuben

38

14

Suffolk

7605

892

Sullivan

121

12

Tioga

7

0

Tompkins

68

2

Ulster

221

10

Warren

18

0

Washington

10

0

Wayne

24

5

Westchester

10683

716

Wyoming

10

1

VIDEO of the Governor's remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here, with ASL interpretation available on YouTubehere and in TV quality format here.

AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.

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

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

Good afternoon. Lots going on today, coronavirus, also have that little thing called the State Budget that we have to get done. Let me give you an update on where we are.

I think everyone knows everyone - to my far right Dr. James Malatras; to my right Dr. Howard Zucker; Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor; Robert Mujica, Budget Director, numbers maven extraordinaire.

Overall the number continue to go up. We're still on our way up the mountain. The number of testing has increased. I'm very proud of this. The more you test, the more positives. I understand that but the more you test the more good you're doing. The number of tested is up 15,000, 220,000 total people now tested. Positive cases are up to 7,900. Total cases 83,712, down to one county that now doesn't have a COVID case.

That's what you're going to see going all across the nation. Well, we're a rural area - we're not going to get it. Oh really? COVID is in upstate New York if you want to talk about rural areas. We have rural areas. And just the way it's gone through rural New York, it will go through rural America.

Total numbers, 83,000 tested positive. 12,000 people currently hospitalized. That's up 1,200 people. 3,000 people in ICU. 6,000 patients discharged. That's up 1,167. People go into the hospital, they get better, they leave the hospital.

Most impacted states, New York is at 83,000. New Jersey is at 18,000. That's Governor Phil Murphy, who has been a great partner to me. Governor Ned Lamont also in Connecticut has done a great part. We've done a lot of great work as a region, which is very unusual. You know those lines between states often become walls. Not with Governor Murphy, and not with Governor Lamont. We're working together. And we're going to work cooperatively with New Jersey because they have a real problem.

California's ticking up. Michigan's ticking up. Florida is even ticking up. Massachusetts. But no one is anywhere near where we are, right? 83,000 compared to 18. Number of deaths, 1,900, up from 1,550. That number will continue to go up. That is people who have been on ventilators for a period of time. If you go on a ventilator, there's roughly only a 20% chance that you will come off the ventilator. The longer you're on the ventilator, the lower the chance you come off.

We're still looking for a curve. We're still looking to see where we hit the plateau. Total number of new hospitalized, again, you see the number goes up and down, but the overall trajectory of the number is up. Change in ICUadmissions, bounce here, bounce there. But the overall number is still up. Change in intubations, same thing. The line is basically a line that is going up. Change in the number of discharged, the line is going up. Why? More people going in, more people get treated, more people coming out.

Everyone asks the same questions, and they're all good questions. When is this going to be over? What happens? How does it end? And people want answers. I understand people want answers. I want answers. The answer is nobody knows for sure. Anyone who goes on cable TV and says, or network TV and says, this is what is going to happen, that's not true. Nobody knows what's going to happen. And I understand the need for closure, the need for control. We're at a place we've never been before, we're out of control. I need to know, I need to know. Nobody can tell you.

What you do know are facts. And you know, facts are funny things. What you're now getting are subjective facts, people who are optimists want to interpret it one way. People who are pessimists want to interpret the other way. People who bring their own subjective agenda tend to interpret the numbers a different way.

For me facts are facts and the facts that we offer the people of this state and the people of this country, they're not pessimistic facts or optimistic facts. They're not interpreted facts. They're just the best information we have as of this time and I think that is empowering and in some ways relaxing.

As I've mentioned to you, I say to my team all the time, I'm interested in your opinion, but I'm interested in your opinion second. I'm interested in the facts first. Give me the facts, unjaded by your opinion, because once a person has an opinion or once a person wants a certain outcome and they look at the facts through that filter, then you can interpret facts differently.

Just give me the straight facts. Sergeant Joe Friday: just the facts, ma'am. Just the facts. No opinion. There's something empowering to that.

We look for the facts to projection models. That's how we gage what we do. We follow the projection model. Every day you get additional data, they run that data into the model and they refine the model. Basically then we have a composite model because you have many different people out there with many different models. We use McKinsey, which is a consultant to the State, for this purpose to basically look at all the models and come up with a composite model. If people wonder, well where do you get these numbers, Governor? How do you decide what you're going to do? We have a model, we have a projection and that's what we follow.

The current model - and the model, by the way, even more maddening - the model changes the more data that comes in. Because they started with assumptions and presumptions and then the more data that comes in either affirms or discounts their presumptions that they started with. So they refine the model over time and the model changes and the numbers change. But what we're looking at now is the apex, top of the curve, roughly at the end of April. Which means another month of this. The apex, the recent number is you can need 110,000 COVID beds. What does that mean? Beds for COVID people as opposed to other people who are in the hospitals for other reasons. Thirty-seven thousand ventilators. That is our current model.

That model is based on minimal impact from social distancing. Meaning what? One of the great variables is how effective is the social distancing? Are people doing it? Are they complying with it and to what extent? And how effective is it? Nobody knows that answer, so they do different projections depending on how well social distancing works. How well people comply with it and how effective it is. Minimal social distancing impact is where we get the 110,000, 37,000 ventilators. High compliance with social distancing, you still have 75,000 COVID beds as opposed to 110,000. You have 25,000 ventilators. So when I keep pushing for high compliance on social distancing, it's because high compliance on social distancing will reduce the number. This is why they began talking about flatten the curve, flatten the curve, flatten the curve with social distancing. This says this is the difference between high compliance with social distancing and less compliance. If you have high compliance, you're down to 75,000 COVID beds, 25,000 ventilators. Less, it goes up to 110,000 and 37,000.

Interestingly, both are looking at the same point of apex, it's just a lower apex. Both models say you apex at the end of April, just a lower need at that apex. And that is what we want because this all comes down to at the apex, can your hospital system manage the volume of people coming into the hospital system. That's all this is about at the final analysis.

Now, there are also different models out there based on different presumptions. People studied China, people studied Wuhan. Well if you have the same compliance that you had in Wuhan. Wuhan basically just locked up society. I don't even know that if the federal government enacted the Wuhan model that the American people would comply. We have a totally different social structure, governmental structure. So you have different models that project higher or lower. What we're doing with McKinsey is studying all of them and coming up with a moderate model that is a basis for us to make planning decisions. Because I have to make decisions and I want to make the decisions off the numbers so that's what we're doing. It's not to say that there aren't other people with other opinions. There are many people with many opinions and some have the apex happening sooner, some have the apex happening later. You can find people who believe the apex will come in 7 days. You can have people who say the apex won't come for 6 weeks. You have that kind of range. You have a board range on the number of beds. You have a broad range on the number of ventilators. Our course for planning purposes is a moderate model because in truth, the higher models we don't even have a chance at meeting that capacity anyway.

You say over 110,000 beds. There is no possible way we could get there. So in some ways, an overly aggressive estimate doesn't even mean anything to us, because it's just unachievable. People ask well what's going to happen? And Dr. Fauci said yesterday or the day before, the days blend together, estimated 100,000 Americans may pass away. Some people have said 100 to 200,000 Americans may pass away before this is over. When is it over? When you achieve what they call herd immunity. How do you say 100 to 200? That's a broad range. Well it goes back to the other point. Nobody really knows. But 100 to 200, you're saying a significant amount of people lose their lives. There is a group that is funded by the Gates Foundation, thank you very much Bill Gates, that projects 93,000 Americans will lose their life by the time this is over. That model suggests 16,000 New Yorkers will pass away by the time this runs its course. My guess is, so when Dr. Fauci says 100,000, there are models out there that make these types of projections.

And what would that mean to New York? That would mean about 16,000. Frankly that would mean that New York is only 16 percent, roughly, of the number of deaths. I don't even understand that since New York is so much higher right now. But what that does say to the rest of the nation is, this is not just New York. If you believe these numbers. 16,000 deaths in New York, that means you're going to have tens of thousands of deaths outside of New York. So to the extent people watch their nightly news in Kansas and say well this is a New York problem, that's not what these numbers say. This says it's a New York problem today. Tomorrow it's a Kansas problem, and a Texas problem, and a New Mexico problem. That's why I say to my fellow governors and elected officials all across this country, look at us today, see yourself tomorrow.

And let's address it in New York, and let's cooperate to address it in New York, because it's going to be in your town tomorrow, metaphorically. And if we learn how to do it right here, or learn how to do it the best we can, because there is no right, it's only the best we can, then we can work cooperatively all across this country. The other thing this model says, people say, well when is it over? Two weeks, three weeks, four weeks? This model projects you're going to have a high death rate through July. If this model is correct, this could go through the summer. Now, other people talk about getting back to work, starting the economy, April, May, June. This model says it could go on through July.

Now the question has become nuanced. Well, could you still be dealing with a virus and get the economy up and running and get people out of their homes? Yes. I think there are ways to do both. Not picking between human life and the dollar bill, because no one is going to pick a dollar bill over human life. But can you come up with public health strategy that is consistent with people getting out of their homes, and starting to get back to work? Yes, you can.

My opinion is the best way to do that is to come up with a rapid testing procedure where people can test. They know who's positive, they know who's negative, and they know who can go back to work and come up with a test quickly, and they're starting, that is readily available, that people can do at home, so you can take the test, know where you are, and we can start ending this terrible situation that we're in. Also, you come up with testing and rapid testing. Not only do you get up, and get the economy running, you end the anxiety. The anxiety is what is most oppressive here. Not knowing. Not knowing if I'm positive, if my friend is positive, if my loved one is positive. Not knowing when this is going to end. The anxiety of dealing with this isolation, day after day after day, it's like a bad groundhog movie, you know. Day after day after day. When does it end? How does it end? I don't know. I'm out of control.

I think the testing is going to be the best mechanism to try to work through that. On the good news front, we have new testing available in New York. Regeneron, which is a great New York company, has created 500,000 testing kits at no charge. Thank you, Regeneron. And they are distributing them, of course across the state. Corning, another great company has donated 100,000 tubes, and 500,000 tubes, at reduced cost. So we can do more tests. New York is very aggressive on testing. We have been from day one, and we think that has helped us slow the spread of this virus.

My favorite topic - young people must get this message. And they still have not gotten the message. You still see too many situations with too much density by young people. They can get it. They're putting their lives at risk. This can kill young people. Rare circumstances, but it can. But you get infected, you give it to someone else. So think about somebody else. And I've said this 100 different ways. The compliance is still not where it should be. You saw the models on the differential in the compliance versus major compliance and minor compliance. So we're going to take more dramatic actions. We are going to close down the New York City playgrounds. I've talked about this for weeks. I warned people that if they didn't stop the density and the games in the playgrounds - you can't play basketball; you can't come in contact with each other - that we would close the playgrounds. I spoke to Speaker Johnson from New York City, who feels very strongly about this and did from day one. We agreed initially with the mayor that we would try compliance and the mayor was going to try to use the NYPD to enforce compliance, social distancing in playgrounds. It is still a problem. We're working with the speaker; we're working with the mayor, but we're going to close down the city playgrounds and leave the open spaces available. So use the open space in a park, walk around, get some sun - great. No density, no basketball games, no close contact, no violation of social distancing, period. That's the rule.

Other good news - we are working with all the hospitals in the state to do something they have never done before, which is to act as one, to cooperate to share supplies, share staff, support one and other, shift patients among hospitals, which really has never happened to any great extent. And the hospitals have been very cooperative and I want to thank them very much.

In this war, we must plan forward for the next battle. Meaning, we have been behind from day one. This virus has been ahead of us from day one. You don't win a war that way. The next battle is the apex. The next battle is on the top of the mountain. See that curve? You see a curve? I see a mountain. The next battle will happen at the top of that mountain. That's where it is going to be joined. And that's where the enemy either overwhelms our healthcare system, or we are able to handle the onslaught of the enemy at the top of that mountain. And that's what we're planning for every day.

But I want to offer you a different perspective that I'm starting to think about and I think we all should start to think about.

As a society, beyond just this immediate situation, we should start looking forward to understand how this experience is going to change us, or how it should change us, because this is going to be transformative. It is going to be transformative on a personal basis, on a social basis, on a systems basis. We're never going to be the same again. We're not going to forget what happened here.

The fear that we have, the anxiety that we have, that's not just going to go away. When do we get back to normal? I don't think we get back to normal. I think we get back, or we get to a new normal. Right? Like we're seeing in so many facets of society right now. So we will be at a different place.

Our challenge is to make sure that transformation and that change is positive and not negative. Let's make sure we're taking the positive lesson and not the negative lesson.

You could get wary of intimacy, and contact, and density. "Social distancing, don't go near anyone." What a terrible thing to live with as a human being. What a cruel torture. "Isolate yourself from other people. Be afraid of hugging someone." Just think how emotionally and personally repugnant that concept is, right? We crave human connection, and now we're being told that could be dangerous. You can't kiss. You can't hug. You can't hold hands. So how we come out of this, and making sure that it's positive and not negative. How do we learn from this? And how do we grow from this, right?

Society, life - you will get knocked on your rear end. You will deal with pain. You will deal with death. You will deal with setback. You will deal with suffering. The question is, how do you get up? First, do you get up? And second, if you get up, how do you get up? Do you get up smarter? Do you get up wiser? Or do you get up bitter, and do you get up angry? And do you get up fearful? We are in control of that.

And we have to start to think about that. We also have to be smarter from what we went through. How do you make the economy more resilient? What happens when something like this happens again? And something like this will happen again. "Oh, no, this is a once in a lifetime, never again." Something like this will happen again. We're seeing it in the environment. We're seeing it with floods, we're seeing it with hurricanes. Something like this will happen again. You can't just turn off the economy like a light switch.

How do governments work together? You can't figure it out on the fly - what the federal government does, what the state government does, what the local governments do. Figure it out before. Learn the lessons from this. Telemedicine, and tele-education. We have closed the schools. Well why weren't we ready with a tele-education system? Why weren't we better with telemedicine? Why didn't we have the capacity to have that's lines on people coming in to give the same basic diagnosis and the same basic advice? Why don't we have medical supplies made in this country? Why are we shopping in china for basic medical supplies? Why don't we gear our medical research to these types of threats and challenges, which we know are on the horizon? We know these viruses are changing. We know they mutate. Why don't we get ahead of it?

You still have to run society. Let's talk about first responder capacity. We now have first responders who are getting sick, and the workforce is dropping. That was inevitable, right? That was going to happen. What's the backup to that situation? And let's talk about societal stability, and engagement at times of crisis. You can't just tell everyone, "go home and lock your doors and sit on your couch and order takeout," for the foreseeable future. That's not who we are. It's not even a mental health issue. It's just, it's a personal health issue. It's how we relate to one another. We're not built to be isolated for long periods of time and not have human contact. So how do we deal with that?

And these are the types of questions that we have to start to think through. But not today. That is the next challenge, I believe. And that is what we're going to have to think about soon. But for now, one crisis at a time, as they say. And we are planning to handle with the current crisis, preparing for the battle on the mount, which is what we are doing every day. And that's what we are doing. And not only are we doing it, but we have to succeed at it. You know? Government process is very good at saying, "well, we're trying. We're working on this. We're doing our best. We're doing our best." Winston Churchill, "it is no use saying we're doing our best. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary." Tad harsh goes with that expression, which I think you could say, tad harsh. Handsome, but a tad harsh, but it's true. And that's what I say to my team every day. This is beyond best efforts. This is beyond, "I'm working very hard." We have to get this done. We have succeed. We have to find a way. We have to make it happen, because too much is at stake.

Last point on a personal note - my brother Christopher, as I told you yesterday, tested positive for the coronavirus. He's at home. He's doing fine enough. He has a fever, he has chills, symptoms of basically a very bad flu. But I want - I think this is illustrative in a number of ways. First of all, anyone can get this disease. Relatively young people, strong people, people who take a lot of vitamin pills. People who go to the gym a lot. Anyone can get this disease. There is no superhero who is immune from this disease. That goes for a New Yorker, as well as a Texan, as well as a Californian. Anyone can get it. No one can be protected from it. I couldn't protect my own brother. With all he knows, and as smart as he is, he couldn't protect himself. So, anyone can get it. And everyone has to be protected. I understand the data. I understand 80% self-resolve, 20% going to the hospitals. Christopher is not in the category that is problematic, by all the data he should have it, he'll have it for a period of time, and he will then resolve. If he has bad symptoms, he'll go into the hospital, he'll be treated, and he'll be released. That's what all the numbers say.

Even though that's what all the numbers say, when he told me he had the coronavirus, it scared me. It frightened me. Why? Because we still don't know. We still don't know. And even if there's just a 1 percent, 2 percent chance, it's frightening. It is frightening. It frightened me. And I deal with all sorts of stuff, and I've seen all sorts of things, and it frightened me. Why? Because we're talking about my brother. We're talking about my little brother. This is my best friend. Talk to him several times a day. Basically, spent my whole life with him. And it is frightening on a fundamental level. And it's frightening because there's nothing I can do, and I'm out of control, and there's nobody who can tell me, and Doctor Zucker can't tell me anything, and Tony Fauci can't tell me anything, because nobody really knows. And this situation is the same situation for everyone. For everyone. So yes. I'm frightened for my brother. I'm worried about my brother, as everyone is worried about everyone in their family, and everybody they love.

I take solace in the numbers, and the facts, because you can't divorce yourself from the facts, otherwise you go to a place of irrationality. But we're emotional beings. And as an emotional being, it is frightening, and it is unknown. And it is threatening, and it is scary and people are dying. He's going to be okay. I believe that. He's in his basement. And I sent him over a book that could be helpful. "Beginner's Guide to Striped Bass Fishing." I hope he picks up some tips from that.

But I also want to say to him, because I want him to know, he found out yesterday morning that he had coronavirus. He did his show last night. He did a show last night from his basement. What a gutsy, courageous thing to do. And we talked about it. And in some ways this can be very instructive, I think, to many people. Because everybody wants to know well what happens if you get coronavirus? All right, he did. And he does this show every night. Maybe some nights he won't be able to do it, but he does this show every night.

So, what's the positive? Show the country what it means to have coronavirus. And that information, that experience can be helpful to people. And that's why he did the show last night. Okay, I have coronavirus. But you know what? Here I am. I'm doing my show. I didn't fall over. I didn't collapse. It's not a death sentence. Here I am. I'm doing my show. Kudos to him. My pop would be proud. I love you little brother. And even though this isn't a flattering picture, I did not pick this picture with your mouth open, but it is suitable in some ways. Any questions, comments?

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640