September 29, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo to Meet with Orthodox Jewish Community Leaders to Address COVID-19 Clusters

TOP Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript:...


Colorado Added to NYS Travel Advisory; Arizona and Virginia Are Removed 


Top 20 Hotspot ZIP Codes have 5% positivity rate 


Statewide Positivity: 1.1 Percent; 1.3 Percent with Hotspot ZIP Codes Included


2 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday


SLA and State Police Task Force Visits 1,075 Establishments; Observes 3 Establishments Not in Compliance


Confirms 1,189 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 457,649; New Cases in 49 Counties


Governor Cuomo Appoints Members of Clinical Advisory Task Force to Review Vaccines for Safety and Efficacy 


Clinical Advisory Task Force Comprised of Leading Medical and Science Experts to Review Every Vaccine Authorized by Federal Government for Distribution 


Governor Cuomo: "Attack these clusters. . .A cluster today can be community spread tomorrow.


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he will meet with Orthodox Jewish leaders to address COVID-19 clusters in communities downstate. The governor also announced that Colorado has been added to New York State's COVID-19 travel advisory. Arizona and Virginia have been removed. The advisory requires individuals who have traveled to New York from areas with significant community spread to quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine applies to any person arriving from an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at

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

AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.

PHOTOS are available on the Governor's Flickr page.

A rush transcript of today's remarks is available below: 

I hope those, our brothers and sisters, who celebrated Yom Kippur yesterday had a good day. We wish them a happy holiday. We have with us today from my far right, Dr. Howard Zucker, Health Commissioner of the State of New York. Beth Garvey, Special Counsel to me. Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor, and happy birthday to Melissa DeRosa. How do you celebrate a birthday when you're in State service? You do a briefing. To my left, Robert Mujica, Budget Director of the State of New York and Gareth Rhodes.


Let's go through some facts and then I will outline the strategy that we are going to begin deploying. Which we have been deploying but I haven't articulated yet. Today is 213. Statewide infection rate. We've been doing a lot more testing and a lot of targeted testing, so I want to make sure you understand all the data.


When you look across the state, Western New York 1.3 percent. That's not great, but it is better than it has some days, but we still have a caution flag in Western New York. Finger Lakes, .9 percent, North Country .2 percent. Capital Region, .9 percent. Long Island, 1.2. New York City 1.3. The findings are really within those numbers. Hudson Valley 2 percent. We've do more testing than any state in the nation, more testing than any country on the globe per capita. Why do we do that? Because when you have that level of data, you can really identify what's going on geographically across the state.


That's why we do all the testing and you can identify hotspots very quickly. Then you can target those hotspots. We have seen hotspots before, if you remember. We had some factories upstate that had clusters. We had certain gatherings that developed to clusters. But this is probably the largest cluster that we have addressed before.


The clusters are Brooklyn, Orange, Rockland. That's where we're seeing clusters. The activity in the cluster is very different than what's going on in the rest of the state. If you look at the top 20 zip codes and to put zip codes in context, there are 1740 zip codes in the State of New York. When you're talking about 20 zip codes, you're talking about 20 out of 1740 zip codes. You're talking about very targeted areas. We have zip codes where you have 18 percent positivity, 10 percent positivity, 8 percent positivity, 7 percent positivity. Orange, Rockland, Rockland, Kings, a couple in Queens and then you go back to Kings basically.


You see a much different story happening in these clusters. That's actually good news in some ways because you have effectively identified the genesis of the potential growth of the virus. You now, once you have this information, aggressively target these clusters. These are embers that are starting to catch fire in dry grass. Send all the firefighting equipment and personnel to those embers and stamp out the embers right away. That's what this data does.


Local governments need, we share all this data with the local governments. They're the first line of defense. They must respond. They have been very uneven across the state, as you know, and I've expressed my frustration with candor as the moment required. They have to respond and they have to respond directly.


We've also asked public schools, we've also asked private schools in the area. We've made rapid testing equipment available to them. Rapid tests does a test in 15 minutes so you can find a student, a teacher who is infected, get them out of the school right away. The rapid tests allow you to do a number quickly. We've also made them available to local governments.


Attack these clusters. That's what it is, attacking the clusters. Testing and compliance. Testing and compliance and the discipline and the capacity and the competence to do this. Government these days has to be competent. This is not about rhetoric and giving speeches and slogans. Do your job. You have a job. Do it. Competent government must do compliance and enforcement.


A cluster today can be community spread tomorrow. A cluster today can be community spread tomorrow. I don't know who first said that, but if nobody claims authorship, I'm going to claim it. A cluster today is community spread tomorrow. They have to do their job today.


I'm going to be meeting with religious leaders of the Orthodox community and local officials. If you look at those clusters and you look at those zip codes, you will see there's an overlap with large Orthodox Jewish communities. That is a fact. I will be directly meeting with them to talk about it. This is a public health concern for their community. It's also a public health concern for surrounding communities. I've said from day one, these public health rules apply to every religion, atheists - it just applies to every citizen of the State of New York. Period.

I happen to be Roman Catholic. I had to cancel the St. Patrick's Day Parade, which in many ways, is a holiday that's near and dear to the heart of many Catholics. Public health comes first. I'll be meeting with the leaders of the Orthodox community and the local officials in those areas to make sure we're all on the same page. Compliance and enforcement is key. I can't say it any more bluntly than that.


Mask wearing is a state law. It's a law. It's not, "it would be nice if you could;" "I really think you should;" "every health official says it's a good idea;" "it's a sign of respect." It's also a law, OK? So, yes, health officials say it. Yes, it's a sign of respect. Yes, it's good citizenship. It's also a law. I don't care what your political opinion is at one point. I don't care what your religious opinion is. Mask-wearing is a law. "Well, I'm politically opposed to masks;" "I'm religiously opposed to masks;" I'm ideologically opposed to masks;" I'm opposed to masks because they're a bad fashion statement." 


I don't care. It's a law and the local governments are supposed to be enforcing the law and they haven't been— many of them. And then we're shocked that there's a cluster. Don't be shocked. This is a very clear period of time. Your actions determine your consequences. That's it.  You enforce the mask ordinance; you'll have a lower infection rate. If you don't enforce the mask ordinance, you will have a higher infection rate. Those are the facts. We know the facts.  


Compliance and enforcement is key. Now, we have targeted many more tests and testing resources into those clusters. As I said, this is a firefighting drill for us, so we have really two sets of numbers in some ways today. We have the overall normal testing numbers, and then we have this effort that's been in these clusters where we have done a disproportionate, accelerated testing schedule, right? 


The 20 hotspot zip codes— if you average the 20, they're at 5 percent. As you saw, some of them were up to 18 percent. But if you average all 20, they're about 5 percent. That is five times the normal state rate, OK? That's why they're hotspot clusters. Statewide positivity is about 1, 1.1, and those hotspots are five times what the statewide positivity is. If you take all those tests from those hotspots, which again are disproportionate because we poured so many tests into those hotspots and add them into the overall state number, then we would be at 1.3 with that over sample. But we're at 1.1. 1.1 is— 1 percent is, basically the lowest infection rate in the nation and where do you want to be as a state? Ideally you want to be the lowest infection rate in the nation. That's 1 percent. These hotspots are five times that number.


The number of deaths are two. They're in our thoughts and prayers. Number of hospitalizations: 571, ICU was 147, intubations: 61.  


New York City— I understand there's a high level of anxiety in New York City. COVID has been very disruptive on almost every level in New York City. It has been disruptive to how people work, how people live, how people travel. Question of children going back to school: Yes, they are. No they're not, yes they are, people trying to make plans. 


The level of disruption has been extraordinary. That's not a New York City phenomenon alone. That's all across the state, that's all across the nation, that's all across the world, right? Disruption is in and of itself a force to be acknowledged and recognized. You're going to have a lot of PTSD from this period of time. We're already seeing substance abuse up, mental health issues up. This was a traumatic period. Don't underestimate it, and you're going to see the consequences of that trauma for months if not years in many different ways. Acknowledge that. The disruption causes anxiety, yes.


Many people in New York City are anxious, yes. I talk to them all day long. I'm a Queens boy. That's my orientation. Born and bred, not an import to the state; we love the imports. Come, move to New York, move to New York. But I'm the original species. I get it. I get the anxiety, but we have to keep it in focus and we have to address it. And remember, at the end of the day, we are New Yorkers. We've gone through difficult times before.


We've gone through 9/11. You can knock us down but we get up, we dust ourselves off and we come back stronger than ever. That is the definition of being a New Yorker. That is the culture of this place. This is a difficult place. It's a difficult place to make it here. The competition is intense. The energy is intense, but have we gone through tough times? Sure. And we come back better again and again and again. And we will again.  


In the meantime, what's the treatment for anxiety? What pill can I take? I can't distribute pills, I've tried, the Health Commissioner stopped me. I was going to issue - that's a joke. But he would stop me, if I went to do it. Here's my treatment for anxiety: facts. Facts not rumors, not hearsay, not anecdotes. Logic and action. Facts, logical facts, correct facts and action. This is about doing things, accomplishing, doing things. Accomplishing. Doing things that are responsive to the problems you've identified.  This is no time for incompetence. It's no time for apathy. It's no time for indecision. It's a time for action. COVID is real. If you don't do the testing, you don't do the compliance, you don't have the hospital beds— more people die. That's the reality of the situation. You make a mistake on testing, you open schools and you're not ready— people get sick. That's the reality that causes me anxiety. 


It should. It should. Constructive anxiety, not negative anxiety, but the anxiety is the body's way of saying there's possible danger. By the way, there's possible danger. Deal with it factually. Deal with it logically. Take action. People have seen the New York State government acting all through this, every day. I said here's the problem - deep breath - the problem can give you anxiety, but here's the solution and this is what we're going to do where the action actually alleviates the anxiety because people know that intelligent action is being taken and that makes them calmer. When they are calmer and they have confidence, then they actually start to think more logically, alright?  


We are announcing the New York City Stabilization and Recovery Program. Stabilization and recovery. Stabilization means all this disruption, first stabilize the situation and then let's talk about long-term recovery.

On the stabilization, let's talk about schools. Many many New York City school parents are anxious. The principal's union came out and increased the anxiety because the principal's union said, the schools aren't ready to reopen. That increased parents' anxiety. Why? Because they're principals. When you're called to the principal's office that was real. When the principal's office calls a parent, "I have to talk to you about Johnny." That's real. They are principles. I respect their opinion. I respect the statement from the union. I knew and I know that they did not do that easily or cavalierly. I take their opinion very strongly.


At the same time, you have Michael Mulgrew and the teacher's union saying that the schools are safe to reopen. Why would the teacher's union be saying the schools are safe? Why would Michael Mulgrew want to endanger his teachers if the schools were unsafe? You have the mayor saying the schools are safe. Who's right? Who's wrong? Who knows. New York City did a plan. They say we will do X number of tests and we will do this cohorting. We have these policies in place. We will know tomorrow by the data. The schools must report to the state the data. They're doing testing. The numbers will tell you the facts and once you have the facts you can operate logically. If the schools are not safe, I'm not going to allow them to operate, period.


For me the equation is very simple. Would I send my child to that school tomorrow knowing the facts I know? That's my decision point. We'll get the facts and we will know. And will operate logically. And I say to every parent in the city of New York, if those schools are not safe, I will not allow them to operate. How do we justify the principal's union versus the teacher's union versus the mayor? We get the facts. We get the facts. Everybody has this theory. Nobody's been here before. This has never been done before. Who's right? Who's wrong? Who knows? You'll know when you have the facts.


This state can close down any school in the State of New York. That gentleman right there with a very attractive blue tie signs a letter and closes down any school in the state, New York City, Buffalo, Long Island. You have my word as a parent, as a citizen, as your representative. If a school is not safe, I will not allow it to operate. Take a deep breath and we're going to have the facts. They'll need to report the testing data - or by the way they won't report the testing data and if they don't report the testing data it means they already violated their own plan, that they were supposed to be taking tests, right? So, if you don't get data, that's the answer. They can't get the data but we also all agree, if you can operate the school safely, we want children back to school. That's best, by every expert, if you can operate safely you want the students back in school. The question is, can you operate safely? We will know by the facts. Okay, that's schools.  


Crime. New Yorkers are very concerned about crime. Why? They should be. That's a fact. It's not illogical. They should be. Shootings with victims are up over 100 percent. That's why New Yorkers are concerned about crime. The percent of shooting victims: 86 percent black and brown. 86 percent black and brown. That's why the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Islandthat's why they're concerned. The crime problem in New York City is real. I don't believe in denial as a life option. If you deny a problem, you will never solve it. You deny a substance abuse problem; you'll never solve it. You deny an addiction; you'll never solve it. Government is the same way.


The first instinct is to deny. "Oh, you're wrong. There is no crime problem." Yeah, New Yorkers are not wrong. There is a crime problem and we have to address it. This is not a New York City phenomenon either. The tension post George Floyd's murder between police and the community has never been higher. It's all across the nation. Everybody knows that but it has to be resolved and it's not going to resolve itself on its own. The police have a position. The community has a position. You see these repeated flare ups: another video; another video; another video; cop versus protester; protester versus cop. it's over and over and over the same thing. "Well I think it's going to get better. It's going to change when the weather changes. It's going to be gone by Easter. Oh it's nothing different than it's always been." Sound familiar? That was Trump on COVID.


Denial. Denial doesn't work. Didn't work with COVID, it's not going to work with crime. It's a real issue. And it's also an opportunity. Redesign your public safety function. Why is the answer to every 911 call a person with a gun? Why? Why is the only answer to a 911 call an arrest? How about if it's substance abuse issue? How about if it's a mental health issue? Why is your response from a public safety point of view always a gun? You know the expression, when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When all you have is a gun and a badge and the ability to arrest, that's your only solution to that issue.


A more multi-faceted public safety function that has mental health response, substance abuse response, a domestic violence response, and then for violent crime, where someone's life is at risk, yes, a person with a gun and a badge who's equipped to arrest. That has to be redesigned. New York City has 35,000 people, $10 billion budget doing public safety. What's the best way to spend $10 billion? Of the 35,000 people, how many should be mental health people? How many should be substance abuse people? Good questions. They have to be answered. Who's going to answer them?


We say in the State each community has to answer them because they're going to be a little different. New York City's different than Buffalo, is different than the Adirondacks, is different than Suffolk County. You design the approach that works for you. local governments, have that collaborative, put people in the room, public safety experts, mental health experts, community representatives, and redesign your public safety plan. It can be fun. It can be exciting, right? nothing is static in life. We're redesigning our education system now, remote learning, who ever heard of remote learning a few months ago? We're redesigning education, we're redesigning medicine. Tele-medicine, who ever heard of tele-medicine? We're redesigning medicine. We have to redesign our public safety function. That's good news, but paralysis in this dysfunctional situation is bad news.


People are dying. That's a fact. It has to be resolved. Politically it's a quagmire for a local politician to step into. Why? Because it's controversial. You know what politicians like to do? Avoid controversy. That's what politicians like to do. I'm a little exceptional that way. I'm wired a little differently. To get the local officials to do it, I said let's do this, if you don't have a redesigned public safety unction by next April, you're not going to get any state funding in the budget. You know what that means, you're not going to get any state funding? It means your bankrupt. They can't survive without state funding. So you have to have it done by April. But, I said you should start doing it now. Because April is around the corner, and this is not going to be a fast process and it's not an early process. So you should start doing it now.


146 jurisdictions in New York State are already doing it. It's not just New York City. It's every community with a police department. 146 started for next April. You know what jurisdiction didn't start? New York City? "Well, we redesigned in the past." The past is the past. That's why they call it the past. Today it's not working. It's not working today. I don't care what you did in the past. It's not working today. And today you have to come to the table and make it work because this situation is not sustainable. People will die. And when you're talking about New York City's stabilization, I'm nervous about schools, I'm nervous about crime, I'm nervous about homelessness, I'm nervous about cleanliness. Now you're really nervous. And now you have a population that is really destabilized. There's a cumulative effect to these situations. That night of looting really shook people up. What I'm saying is, we're resolving them. And we're going to resolve this issue also.


The mayor can lead the collaborative. If he doesn't want to lead it, the head of the council can lead it, and by the way, the Council has to pass the plan. Has to be passed by the Council. The head of the Council can do it. Public Advocate could do it. Comptroller could do it. But somebody's got to do it. Or, say I don't want to do it. And then I'll find somebody to do it. Maybe it's better that it's not a political official. But somebody has to convene and lead the effort to redesign the public safety functions. People in New York City, the leaders in New York City say, well here's how I think it should be done. This is what I think public safety should look like. Great. Do it. I need somebody to do it.


Government is about action and progress. You want to be a progressive? Make progress. That's how FDR defined the word progressive. Everybody talks about it like it's a new word. Zack Fink talks about it like it's a new word, I'm a progressive, I'm a progressive, new, new, new progressive. No. Zack Fink did not make up the word progressive. Nobody made up the word progressive one year ago, two years ago, three years ago. You know who was the progressive? FDR. Al Smith. Big campaign poster in my room in Albany. Original. FDR for progressive government. I brought in Zack Fink. I said you think you came up with progressive? I want to show you a poster. You know what he said? FDR stole it from him. How can that be? But anyway, that's a different conversation.


Third is the economy in terms of stabilizing New York. And here's the economy in a nutshell. We have tremendous losses because of COVID. We're not liable for them. I'm not accepting liability. I'm not accepting the premise that New York State or New York City should pay. We didn't do anything wrong. The federal government should pay. The federal government was wrong. It's the federal government that allowed us to be ambushed by COVID. It's the federal government that missed that the virus went from China to Europe, and they missed it for three months. And it's the federal government that missed people were getting on planes in Europe and coming into New York. It was the federal government that does the border control at the airports. It was the Department of Homeland Security that was supposed to be protecting the border. You know how they wanted to build the wall in Mexico? Protect the country. Protect the country. Protect the country. Yeah, in the meantime COVID is walking in the door at JFK and Newark International Airport. While you're spending billions keeping us safe from Mexicans, we were invaded by Europeans with COVID. And you were totally asleep at the switch, and we had no notice.


The other states at least had several months' notice. We had no notice. So, the federal government is liable, they're going to pay that bill -- not us. You know when you're at a dinner table and they put down a check and you're there with a number of people? If you're not liable for the check, don't touch it. Once you pick up that check and look at it, now you're liable. How is New York City, New York State going to solve the deficit? We're not. It's Donald Trump's deficit. He has to fix it. Rupert Murdoch says New York City and New York State should pay. Yes, because he is a Donald Trump supporter. No, Mr. Murdoch, Donald Trump pays, or you could pay, but New York City and New York State is not going to pay. Either the Congress could come up with a package. I spoke to Speaker Pelosi yesterday, she is talking to the White House about coming up with a relief package; or in November Donald Trump could lose, Joe Biden could win. Joe Biden will do a state and local relief package, or the Senate could become Democratic. Senator Schumer becomes the Senate Leader. He will do a state and local package. He will make sure New York is covered in the state and local package. Why? Because he's a great Senator. Why else? Because he's a New York Senator and he has to come home to run. 


So, those are very real possibilities. Either Congress passes, or Joe Biden wins, or the Senate goes Democratic. In any of those cases, it's a federal problem. Worst case scenario from New York's point of view, Donald Trump wins and the Senate stays Republican. Then what happens? Yes, then they try to kill us, which is what they've been doing from day one. And then we have all bad options. To close a $50 billion deficit, which would be a historic deficit, you would have to do all of the above. You would have to raise taxes, raise income taxes, number one. You'd have to cut the budget and cut expenses, and you would have to borrow. You'd have to do all three. None of them positive for the economy. It would only be a question of how much damage you do for how long, but you can't close - it becomes math. 


You can't close $50 billion without tax increases, millionaire's tax, billionaire's tax, wealth tax, cutting expenses dramatically, and borrowing. If we did that, you're looking at a bad spell for New York City and New York State, and I'm not going there. We'd have to do a financial control board for any locality that borrows. I would never sign a bill that allows borrowing for a locality in this environment without a financial control board. All the financial decisions couldn't be political, which is the political process now makes these budget decisions, right? I'm going to give this much to this union, but I'm going to lay off this union. Right? Those are political decisions. These would have to be financial decisions, and they'd have to be done by a financial control board. But, I'm not picking up the check because I don't assume, or accept, any liability; it's all Washington. And if Trump wins again and the Senate Republicans win, yes, we have a terrible economic forecast. 


Cleanliness. I'm getting a lot of complaints in New York City about the cleanliness of the city, the garbage piling up. That adds to schools, crime, economy, and now garbage piling up. Literally people saying there's an odiferous environment because of the garbage piling up. I don't know what's going on in New York City. If they can't do it, I have offered to send in the National Guard to come help pick up the garbage. The State can bring in trucks, personnel, and clean up the city. I think that would be important. This is a public health pandemic. Cleanliness matters. You know, we made millions of gallons of hand sanitizer, right? Cleanliness matters. So if the New York City Department of Sanitation and resources can do it for one reason or another, I can deploy the National Guard who will come in. I understand there's a higher level, because people are staying at home, but in this environment, we don't need people complaining about cleanliness of the City.


On the issue of homeless. It's getting cold. There are homeless encampments. There are homeless people living on sidewalks, living under scaffolding. There's no reason for it. We're better than that. I've worked on the homeless issue since I've been in my twenties on every level. I ran a not-for-profit, I managed it in the federal government, I did a plan for the nation in the federal government. Homeless people should be offered safe shelters with services. Many of the cities and the states closed their shelters during COVID. It's time to reopen those shelters. You can open schools, you can open bars, you can open restaurants, you can open gyms, you can open flexible art studios, you can open a shelter; you have to open it with precautions, but open the shelter. Get homeless people off the street. Keep them safe. Get them a test. Get them treatment. This is imminently doable; it should be doable. It should've been done a long time ago. Remember, we had homeless on Subways for years, remember?


We had the same circular conversation. It doesn't make sense to let people sleep on the subways, put themselves in danger. What kind of society says, oh yes, I respect you, you can sleep on the subway all night? That's not respect. We fixed that problem and we can fix this problem. Homelessness is now a public health concern. If there is a homeless person on the corner who is sick with COVID and people are walking past that person, now it's a public health concern for that homeless person and also for all New Yorkers who are walking past that person. So there's no reason for it. Reopen the shelters. There are 680 shelters across New York State. New York City, there are 130 shelters for adults, 32 percent are empty, 27 at less than full capacity. We're putting out guidance on how to operate a safe shelter but, you know, it's common sense. We've done this on a number of facilities now and we know how to do it.   


On the long-term recovery, I'm focused first on the stabilization of New York, the long-term recovery, we have to find out how many of these changes we're seeing, how many of these disruptive patterns are permanent. You have people working from home, people who don't want to go into the office, people who are living in other places, is that short term or is that long term, when do they come back or have they just readjusted their lifestyle so they're saying I'm not going back to the office five times a week and I'm not having my employees come back, I like it better. They give up the office space, they work from home or some hybrid. We don't know. We have to assess that and I also think there are some factors that will still be calibrated in that equation and one of them is when you get a vaccine.


If a vaccine is safe and ready by the end of this year that's one situation. If it's ready by the end of the beginning of next year, but if you start to say spring, summer, and I mean the full vaccine. You have to have it, it has to be safe, and you have to administer it to 19 million people. How do you do that and how long does it take you to do that? And that safe question is already complicated because there is a sense among the American people that the vaccine process has been politicized. Why? Because the vaccine process has been politicized. Because the President says he calls the FDA and thinks the FDA is being political on their approval process. The President accuses the FDA of being political. You wonder why the American people don't trust the vaccine. Because the President said the FDA is political. Now what happens? The FDA approves it while the President says it was political. The President overrides the FDA and then for sure it's political because I never saw a doctor certificate hanging on the wall when I went to visit President Trump. Rob came with me. Did you ever see a doctor certificate in the Oval Office? No. So he's not a doctor so people have to feel that it's safe.


We want to make sure we can tell New Yorkers it's safe and then we want to have a distribution plan and we're putting together our own group to determine, once the FDA says it's safe we'll have a New York group of doctors and some of the best doctors around the world who will review what the FDA did so I'll be able to say to New Yorkers it is safe. At this rate you could have a vaccine, polls that say half the American people wouldn't take the vaccine right now because they don't believe it's safe. I want to be able to say to New Yorkers it is safe, take it, and I want to have the best distribution because ideally we want to be the first COVID-safe state in the nation. What's out goal? New York is the best. Highest goal, first state to immunize, vaccinate everybody. That's our goal. You set the bar high. Yeah, it's New York. You set the bar as high as you can. This is the group that's going to review a vaccine once the FDA says it's safe. If this group reviews the FDA data and protocols and efficacy and if they say it's safe I will say to the people of New York it's safe, we're going to administer it, we should take it.


Again, we want to have the best vaccination program in the nation, be the first COVID-free state. Think of all the lives you'll save if you're the first COVID-free state and think of the business opportunities if you're the first COVID-free state. I said this last week and President Trump tweeted New York is now going to be the last on the list to receive the vaccination. You know what that is? It's called a threat. It's called a threat. If you have your own state review I'm not giving you the vaccine. That's what he's saying. It's a threat. It's also unethical. It's also illegal. He can't use government power to stop the distribution of a vaccine to New Yorkers because he is personally upset. But that's what he said and what I say is don't threaten New York. It doesn't work. I know you're mad at us. I know we rejected you. I know you feel that you are a subject of scorn and a joke in New York when you were here. I know the tabloids mock you. I know the people in this state overwhelmingly voted against you. But be bigger, be better, remember the oath you took and try not to threaten and try not to do anything criminal. That's my advice but the treats don't work. We know how to handle bullies in New York. We've come across our lot because we are New York tough, smart, united, disciplined and loving.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office