Governor Cuomo: "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."
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: "The question is, how do you get up? ... 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."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo called on everyone to be conscious of how COVID-19 will transform our society and to think about the lessons the pandemic has taught us moving forward.
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:
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.