8,561 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide
1,475 Patients in the ICU; 912 Intubated
Statewide Positivity Rate is 7.72%
161 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday
Governor Cuomo: "We are in a foot race. What's the foot race? How fast the infection rate goes up, how fast the vaccination rate goes up - and who wins. That's the whole predictive equation going forward."
Cuomo: "I'm telling you we are in a danger zone. The infection rate is going up quickly. The faster the infection rate goes up, the faster the hospitalization rate goes up. The hospitalization rate goes up, the hospitals reach capacity. Hospitals reach capacity, economy shuts down. That is what happens."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.
PHOTOS are available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Good afternoon. Good Friday afternoon. Today is day 314 of a very eventful week and the most crucial thing that happened, the most lasting thing that happened is what happened in Washington, DC.
We've seen a lot over the past four years. I've seen a lot over the past four years with this Administration, but I would have never imagined anything as horrific as what happened in Washington, DC.
This was not a political rally. This was not democracy in action. This was anarchy. This is an explosion of hate. This is the result of a leader who for four years actually appealed to the worst in people, appealed to fear and racism and discrimination, appealed to people's fear of different people. This country is made up of different people. That's the founding premise of the country. We're all different. That was how we were formed. That is the American franchise.
When you demonize differences, you literally tear the fabric of the nation apart and that's what this President has done from day one - the old political strategy, divide and conquer, divide white from Black, divide Jewish people from non-Jewish people, divide gay people, LGBTQ, from non-LGBTQ, divide old immigrants from new immigrants, divide, divide, divide, divide. That's what he excelled at. He martialed hate. He martialed fear, and that's what you saw happen in the Capitol.
You look at what these people were celebrating - it was racism. It was ant-Semitism, Camp Auschwitz. How disgusting a statement. Six million weren't enough. How repugnant and repulsive a statement. Confederate flag. This was KKK in Charlottesville who didn't wear a mask because they felt liberated in their hate by President Trump. It's so horrific on so many levels. I was in the federal government for eight years at a very contentious time. I was there during the Clinton Administration, secretary, Housing and Urban Development. This was during impeachment. This was the Newt Gingrich revolution. This was a really heated political environment. But nothing like this. Nothing like this. Nothing like the vitriol and hate that we saw here. From a security point of view, I'm shocked at what they allowed to happen. I remember walking into a federal building, you had to go through metal detectors, take everything out of your pockets, as a cabinet secretary. The security of government. The security of the American government. That is paramount. And international counties and anarchy groups watch this.
State of the Union address, several times, I was the person, the cabinet member who didn't attend the State of the Union. Why? They were so security-conscious that they said well, if everyone is in the capitol, it's an opportunity for someone to attack, so they had one cabinet member stay out, just in case there was, God forbid, an attack. Look at the level of security and the level of planning. And then they gave me all these briefings and showed me all these national security issues. What happened to the security of the nation's capital? I mean, if you're looking at this, any bunch of thugs, any mob, can literally take over the government, which is what they did. The police, what happened? What happened to the security forces?
I mean, look at the difference when President Trump wanted to walk across the street to hold the Bible in front of a church for a photo opportunity, he had the attorney general as the advance man. He had troops, he had tear gas, he had people on horseback clearing the way for a photo opportunity. When there are protests for civil rights with predominately Black and Latino protestors, look at how they acted. And here you had for hours, this crowd running rampant? They said to me at the beginning of it, maybe we should send down National Guard. I said well, by the time we assemble the National Guard and we get them down there, would be hours, I'm sure, given the police presence in Washington, D.C. They're going to have thousands of police in a matter of moments. It never happened. It never occurred. How, how, does that happen? And what signal does it send about the vulnerability of this nation? I mean, it is so disturbing on so many levels, I'll tell you the truth, I can't stop thinking about it.
This my friends is a moment in history. There are moments. What did you do at the time of 9/11? What was your reaction? What was your response? There are moments that define you that are a picture of your character and a picture of your soul and what you believe and who you are fundamentally.
COVID was a snapshot, a long snapshot but a snapshot. What did you do when COVID happened? How did you react? Did you stand up? Did you run away? Were you competent? Were you incompetent? It was a moment.
This is a moment in history and we're going to be defined by what we did in this moment. Certainly elected officials are going to be defined by this moment. Certainly federal elected officials are going to be defined by this moment. It's what statement we make as a people about what we believe about government and democracy.
I believe President Trump should resign. I believe if he doesn't resign, I believe he should be impeached. Well, he only has 13 days. That's not the point. The point is the statement that we do not tolerate this as a government. That's why impeachment. Now impeachment, will bring great anguish to the country. The last thing I want to see and this nation needs is another period of division, another period of hyper political activity. But if he won't resign I believe impeachment is appropriate. By the way, impeachment also means the President doesn't have the power to pardon and some of the pardons this President has done are really reprehensible. But I believe if he doesn't resign he should be impeached. But I believe he should resign.
I call on every New York federal official to call for President Trump's resignation. Don't put the country through impeachment. Don't wait for any Cabinet action. Call for him to resign as his own act, but call for him to resign.
I don't care if you're a Democrat, I don't care if you're a Republican, I don't care what you are. You're a government official. You took an oath. You saw the anarchy. You saw the hatred. You saw the vandalism. You saw the theft. You saw the breakdown of society. You saw this nation look like a joke internationally. Put your politics aside and Do what any reasonable American believes.
Now even in this political time we still have reasonable Americans. There is no reasonable American who looked at that screen and saw what happened and said this is okay. There's no reasonable American who saw what the President did and said this is okay. None. Are there hate mongers who say, yeah, that's right, overthrow the government? Sure there are. Sure there are those voices. But don't respond to those voices. Don't respond to those voices. Respond to what reasonable Americans, reasonable New Yorkers believe, responsible New Yorkers believe. Put principle over party. There is no Republican or Democratic elected official, federal official who can look in the mirror today and say I condone what happened. I condone what this President did. None. You support an orderly transition of power? President Trump resigns. Vice President Pence takes over. Vice President Pence governs for the remaining days. That's an orderly transition of power and a statement of principle.
Make that statement today. If you don't you will live with it forever. The question is simple. Were you with the mob? Or are you with the American people? If you're New York federal representative, are you with the mob, or are you with New Yorkers? That's what I ask you today. New Yorkers, Democrats and Republicans, they don't support mob rule. They don't support racism. They don't support anti-Semitism. They don't support discrimination. They don't support anarchy. No, New Yorker does, and if they do I don't care if you're a Republican. You don't want to represent those sentiments. You don't. No responsible elected official should.
Let our Congressional delegation show this country that we still have reasonable leadership and principled leadership and say, yes, this President should resign. The President should resign. Show that solidarity. Show that yes, there is some common sense left to government and some decency left in elected officials despite the crazy political times. And if you don't, you will live with it. You will live with it. The question will always be, what did you do when Washington anarchy descended? What did you do when they were climbing through the windows saying six million dead Jewish people wasn't enough? What did you do at that moment? And you will live with the consequences.
The numbers today - statewide positivity without micro-clusters 7.49, with micro-clusters 7.7, micro-clusters 8.3, 243,000 tests which is a large number of tests, 161 deaths, we remember them in our thoughts and prayers, statewide hospitalization up 13, discharges down 23, hospital admissions up 18, ICU plus 51, intubations plus 53.
We know these numbers. We know what is happening. This was all predictive. It is all predictive. Thanksgiving, holidays, socialization, holiday spread, the number goes up. We've said that since before Thanksgiving and we said celebrate smart, stop the spread, social gatherings, the infection rate went up.
You look across the state, Finger Lakes still highest percent of people hospitalized. Positivity rate, still the Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, Capital Region. Still makes the point, it depends on your behavior, your belief, and your community. It is community spread. How do you resolve community spread? The community acts differently. That's the simple truism here. New York City, Bronx is now spiking. Manhattan 4.4, Staten Island 7.8, Brooklyn 6.7, Queens 7.4.
We are in a foot race. What's the foot race? How fast the infection rate goes up, how fast the vaccination rate goes up, and who wins. That's the whole predictive equation going forward. How fast does infection rate go up, how fast does the vaccination rate go up.
I'm telling you we are in a danger zone. The infection rate is going up quickly. The faster the infection rate goes up, the faster the hospitalization rate goes up. The hospitalization rate goes up, the hospitals reach capacity. Hospitals reach capacity, economy shuts down. That is what happens.
Add to that foot race a new factor, the UK strain. The UK strain is here. One case in New York, two cases in Connecticut, one case in Pennsylvania, 26 in California. This is one nation. People get on a plane. They travel. It's here. It's here and it's spreading. This infection rate is frightening. I've spoken to global experts, UK experts, this is the Usain Bolt of infection rates. Usain Bolt was a phenomenal sprinter, holds records. That's what the UK strain is. It took over the UK in three weeks. The train is so powerful it overtakes the original strain.
So in the foot race, between the infection rate and the vaccine, you just add Usain Bolt on the side of the infection rate.
On the vaccine rate, New York receives 300,000 doses per week from the federal government. That's the entire dosage amount that we receive. You have to vaccinate 70 to 90 percent to achieve herd immunity. We have 20 million people. That means we have to do 14 million vaccinations at the low level of the herd immunity, 70 percent. That's 14 Million. How long does it take you to do 14 million vaccines? If you get them in the arms as soon as you get them, if you're getting 300,000 per week, 47 weeks. 47 weeks. You know what that means? We lose the foot race. That means hospitals are overwhelmed. We don't win that race. Hospitals we will close when you're 21 days or 15 percent capacity. You see the hospital capacity reducing across the state. We've done everything we can to increase capacity, adding 50 percent hospital beds, we're balancing patient load, we're finding additional staff, so we've increased capacity and we're still climbing.
If have hospital capacity continues to climb we are going to close regions and you can see where we are. We're 22 percent in the Capital Region. North Country is doing better for demographic reasons, but 21 days from 15 percent we close. Why? Because we then have 21 days to try to come up with alternative accommodations for hospitals and hopefully 21 days of a closed economy will slow the spread somewhat. It won't slow the spread entirely. This is not like the spring because this spread is more in social gatherings and many of the economies are partially closed, but that is what we are looking at. Do I have a crystal ball? No, but it's math. It's math and you can extrapolate out the numbers.
Look around. It's happening everywhere. You have hospital systems overwhelmed. UK closed, Germany closed, Italy closed, California, the hospitals have been overwhelmed. Hospitals get overwhelmed. You call an ambulance, the ambulance doesn't come because the ambulance has no place to take you. That's how frightening this situation is and how serious it is.
Well, how do you slow it? There is only two options. You slow the spread, slow down Usain Bolt, or you increase the vaccine supply. We can't increase the vaccine supply. We don't control the vaccine supply. It's all done federally and then we get a proportionate amount. What we get we have to get into people's arms. We started with group 1A, which are the nurses and the doctors, the hospital staff. Why? I said yesterday, silly analogy which I am prone to do, in the airplane they say when the oxygen mask drops down, put it on your face first before your child's face. Why? Because you're no good for your child if you're dead, that's why, to be blunt. We need the hospital staff safe. First, if they're infected, they won't show up to work, that reduces the hospital capacity. Second, if they're infected and they don't know it, they are then super spreaders. So, put the mask on the hospital workers first, keep that hospital capacity open, and the hospital capacity right now is most limited by staff shortages. We've increased the number of beds, we have a staff shortage, and we have nurses who are getting sick. That's why 1A is healthcare workers. And by the way, that is universal across the country. Universal.
Federal guidance, State guidance, anyone who has a head on their shoulders, do the healthcare workers first. Healthcare workers are called group "1A," they are all now eligible. There are 2.1 million healthcare workers in the State of New York. They are all eligible. Where do they live? This is where they live, regionally. And again, it's basically a breakdown of the population in the state. But they're all throughout the state in concentrations of population. We know who there are, we know where they live, we know where they work. The percentage that has been vaccinated to date, and this is the problem. North Country had done 37 percent of the healthcare workers. Finger Lakes 26. Buffalo 23. Southern Tier 23. Central New York 24. Mohawk Valley 23. Capital Region 29. Long Island 25. New York City has only done 13.
New York City not only is the lowest number, it's also one of the places of the greatest density, so we're concerned about it but those numbers are very, very, low, and they're just nowhere near where we need to be.
What is the percent of healthcare workers you still have to do? The inverse number. 63, 74, 75, New York City 87 percent of the healthcare workers still have to be done. Well not all healthcare workers will take the vaccine. That's right. Not all New Yorkers will get the vaccine. But we have to get to 70 to 90 percent. If you don't get to 70 percent, you don't have herd immunity, the vaccine doesn't work. The healthcare workers have to be a minimum of 70, all the expectations were they would be much higher than 70, because you can't have the general population below 70, and the healthcare workers are the most informed. Now doctors overwhelmingly are taking the vaccination.
Nurses are somewhere between 85 to 70 percent depending on where you are, where the facility is. But the minimum we can have with the healthcare workers is 70 percent. We hope to get that number up to 80 percent because you are going to have drop off with other groups in the population. For the healthcare population, 1A, 2.1 million total, 479,000 have been vaccinated. That's 23 percent. That is not 70 percent. We have 430,000 unused doses. We need a million additional doses just to take care of the healthcare workers.
The plan was to use the hospitals to distribute to the healthcare workers. Why? Because they're healthcare workers, and they're in hospitals. That's why. And use the hospitals to do the healthcare workers, because 1A is all healthcare workers. That's why we used the hospitals as the primary source of distribution.
The hospitals were slow. Week 1 they did 30,000 vaccinations, week 2 they did 102,000, week 3 they did 148,000, and they said they were ramping up, they were ramping up, they were ramping up. I understand. But they're ramping up too slowly. This Monday I said to them, you have until Friday to ramp up, use it or lose it. This week, they did 195,000, which is more than they've ever done, and that's week 4 to date. We haven't finished week 4.
This week will be over 200,000 which is significant progress. And I was direct with the hospitals, and they have responded plus or minus. You have some hospitals that have done a great job and they're at 100 percent of the allocation. You have some hospitals that are not doing a great job. Why? Because there's levels of competence in these organizations. It's not that everyone doesn't want to do it. Everyone wants to do it, but this is reality, and that's life. If you have 200 institutions you're going to have a range of competence in those institutions. That's a fact of life. If you have 200 barber shops, you're going to have a range of competence. If you have 200 plumbing companies you're going to have a range of competence.
And the most competent, most efficient hospitals are up near 100 percent, and the less competent administrations are lower. The hospitals have increased, I thank them for their efforts, but it's still not enough. So, we're going to accelerate the distribution, and what we're going to do is add new distribution networks to supplement the hospitals. Again, the thought with the hospital workers were, that's where the healthcare workers work, and that's where the healthcare workers are comfortable, but we're not pleased with the rate of distribution so we're going to supplement the hospitals with additional networks. We're now recruiting and organizing thousands of new providers.
The larger distribution network will include private doctor networks, what's called FQHCs, county health departments, ambulatory centers - this is the urgent care, CityMD, et cetera, and the pharmacy network. There are 5,000 pharmacies in the state of New York. Pharmacies distribute the flu vaccine, they do this, they know how to do this. We have 1,200 pharmacies that are already committed and will be ramping up next week and we'll continue to use the hospitals also, but we're going to bring in a much larger distribution network to do this. Five hundred pharmacies will come online next week, and we'll have hundreds of additional distributors coming on next week.
On Monday they will begin accepting reservations for vaccinations. I'll discuss in a moment. This is a very large group of people and it can't just be show up at the pharmacy, it's going to be, much the way it was with COVID testing, go to a website, find out the location nearest you, make a reservation, and that will happen on Monday. The network will distribute to 1A and 1B. The new providers must prioritize their health care staff. Why? The same reason 1A is a priority. We don't want a nurse who is COVID positive treating 100 patients a day. Healthcare workers can be superspreaders, so the new providers, pharmacist, vaccinators, et cetera, get your people vaccinated first. Hospitals continue to prioritize the unvaccinated 1A because again, we have to get those healthcare workers up to at least 70 percent. So, keep them as a priority.
The large union groups that have the ability, I'm asking them to attempt to organize their own administration of the vaccine. Many of the police department I have spoken with, they have EMS, they have EMT, they have medical offices. They can administer literally their own vaccine. Fire departments, same thing, they have EMS, they have EMT. Many county health departments can administer for their police, volunteer fire, et cetera. So, whenever we can get a large group to have an alternative distribution, that's good, because it relieves pressure on the remaining distribution network.
Transit workers, we're speaking with. If you have a provider network that you work with, which many large unions do, then let that network do the vaccinations. Teachers union, et cetera. So, wherever possible we want to get those distribution mechanisms segregated. The local health Department in those cases will give the police, the fire, the teachers, correctional officers an allocation on a weekly basis and then, to the extent they can take care of themselves, fine. If they can't fine, we'll take care of them in the larger network, but to the extent we get groups to organize their own distribution, that will free up the distribution mechanism to focus on the largest group in 1B: 75 plus New Yorkers.
75 years old and older. This is the group that is most at risk. This is the group with the highest death rate is by far the largest group in 1B are New Yorkers who are 75 years old. And these are people who have been hyper-cautious now for many, many months, and they've been in their apartment, they've been in their home, they haven't seen their family, they are afraid to go out, they are afraid to get COVID. This is the group that desperately needs the vaccine.
The Department of Health is going to hold a webinar on Monday for all the new providers and people who want to participate. Again, there are 5,000 pharmacies, we want to make sure they all understand the rules of how to participate. There are hundreds and hundreds of doctor networks that will qualify. We want to make sure they all get signed up and they know the rules. All the county health departments and the unions who are thinking of doing administration themselves, the webinar will be for you and that will be on Monday.
1B is a very large group; 3.2 million New Yorkers in 1B. 1B: 870,000 teachers; 200,000 police and firefighters; 100,000 public safety workers which is correctional officers, et cetera; 100,000 public transit workers; 1.4 million 75 year olds. That's why, to the extent we can get those public employee groups to manage their own vaccine allows us to focus on the 1.4 million 75-year-olds. And again, that's by far the largest group and those are people who desperately need it.
Where are the 1B population? They are spread across the state again by population centers. The state will allocate vaccines to the distribution network proportionate to the group and the region. In other words, the United States government distributes the vaccine dosages by population. New York gets its relative population to the rest of the nation. I worked very hard to make sure there was no politics in the distribution. The federal government doesn't always love New York. I worked very hard to make sure we got our fair, proportionate population percentage and we do. That is the way that I am going to distribute the vaccine: purely on the numbers by the percentage and that is the way we will distribute the vaccine locally. Police officers, firefighters, whatever the percent you represent of 1B will be the percent that is allocated to your group. All treated fairly and proportionately by group and by region.
Capital Region, Western New York, New York City, Long Island — it's all numerically proportionate to where that population exists. Within that region, the police get what the police represent, the firefighters get what the firefighters represent by percentage and the 75-plus get what they represent by numbers. So, for example, 75-year-olds and older are 1.4 million. That's 45 percent of the 1B population. Whatever we get, we'll distribute regionally by percentage and 45 percent of that will go to 75-year-olds. For example, Capital District has 5.9 percent of the 75-year-olds, they get 5.9 percent of the portion for the weekly allocation. All groups will be treated equally and fairly and if there's willful fraud, they will be disqualified.
I spoke to a number of local officials over the past few days. One of them said, "you know, I'm a former police officer. I believe police officers should go first." One of them said to me, "I'm a former teacher. I believe teachers should go first."
Let me be clear, I can argue that police officers should go first, I can argue that teachers should go first, I can argue that 75-year-old people should go first, I can argue that corrections officers should go first. I can argue for any of them. I will argue for none of them. I will argue fairness for all of them. No local official has discretion to prioritize one group over another. No provider, no pharmacy, no doctor's office can decide they want to give vaccines to firefighters over doctors. This is a crisis. Everyone needs it. We're going to do it fairly. We're going to do it fairly. This is a valuable commodity. I understand there'll be fraud. I understand there'll be theft. I'm telling you, we are going to monitor it carefully.
Also during IB, the state will mandate social equity distribution by local health departments: public housing, houses of worship, low-income tracts. The state will mandate. The state doesn't like to mandate. "Oh, the state has mandates. They're telling us what to do." I'm very reluctant to mandate. In this case, I'm not reluctant. This has to be done with social equity and social justice in mind. Blacks died at twice the rate of whites. Latinos died at one-and-a-half times the rate of whites. The infection rate was higher in poor communities. The COVID testing was lower in poor communities. We're not going to decide in this state who lives and dies by race or income. That is not going to happen.
If we just use the pharmacies and the doctors' networks, the healthcare deserts that have fewer pharmacies, fewer doctors' offices, less access to healthcare are going to be once again at the bottom of the line. That's not going to happen. I said from day one, and I believe the nation should've done this but New York will do it; we're going to make sure it's done fairly and we'll have special efforts and I understand we'll require special efforts to get it into those communities but that is a state mandate and the state will itself implement social equity programs. To the hospitals, I say continuing vaccinating. If it was up to me, I would have the hospitals open 24 hours, seven days a week. If I ran the hospital, that's what I would do. The numbers are low, many, many healthcare workers who are clamoring for the vaccine. I would say 24 hours, seven days a week. Get the numbers up, but my two cents is they should all stay open.
I'm signing an Executive Order that is going to make additional staff available to do vaccinations, so hospitals, this new network will have more people who they can hire. In addition to the thousands of distributors we're bringing on line, DOH is going to set up mass distribution sites over the next several weeks. For example, we're going to use the Javits Center, which is going to open next Wednesday, where we will just do mass distribution sites and we can do thousands of vaccines. Now — and I want to make sure we all understand this because I guarantee you, this is the song we're going to hear for the next several months.
Our distribution network will far outpace our supply. Our supply is the problem. Here's the reality, dose of reality. It's a good line. To finish 1A, we need 1 million doses. 1B, we need 3.2 million doses. Put 1A and 1B together, you need 4.2 million doses. We get 300,000 doses per week. At this rate, it will take us 14 weeks to do 1A and 1B, 14 weeks. 14 weeks. 14 weeks is an eternity of time. But it will take 14 weeks to do 1A and 1B. 14 weeks, that's April 16th before we get through 1A and 1b, which is just the healthcare workers, the public employees, high risk, and 75 plus, okay? 75 plus leaves a lot of members of the general public out. But, even if you're 75 plus, it's 14 weeks before we can get through the entire population. And again, 75 plus, that's 1.4 million people. It's the largest single group.
So, when you're talking about 14 weeks, we're talking about more of a scheduling and a planning operation than anything else. Don't say "well, the Governor said I'm eligible, I'm over 75 years old, but I can't get a vaccine done." It's going to take 14 weeks to get all 75-year-old people done. We'll start to identify pharmacies next Monday. You'll call the pharmacy. The pharmacy will give you an appointment. Don't be surprised if the appointment is three months from today. That is the necessity by the supply we receive. Well get more drugs. I can't. If I could, I would. Pfizer, Moderna, hopefully the supply increases.
President-elect Joe Biden is making some moves that I think are very smart. I'm working with his team on moving supplies as quickly as possible. Maybe Johnson & Johnson comes online, maybe AstraZeneca, maybe the supply goes up. But, we can only distribute what we receive, and 14 weeks is a long time.
I'm going to put a new unofficial rule in effect, which is Matilda's Rule. Matilda is my mother. My mother is 75 plus. Barely, 75 plus. I know what's going to happen. My mother wants the vaccine. My sisters call regularly and say, when can mom get a vaccine? They're now going to hear, "oh, Mom is eligible for the vaccine." Yes. That doesn't mean, mom, that you can get the vaccine tomorrow. Monday you can make a reservation, but it's going to take 14 weeks. My mother is very sweet, and my mother's a very loving person, but my mother also has a stern side. So I just want to be clear with my mother, and with everybody's mother, and with everybody's father, and with everybody's grandfather. We're talking about 14 weeks until the federal supply is increased. So, let's calibrate our expectations.
This is about planning and this is about scheduling. To the local teachers, et cetera, plan on one fourteenth of your allocation per week. I would suggest you then schedule and prioritize within your group who should go first. Teachers, and I leave it to you, teachers who are in the classroom go first, teachers who are older go first, you know. I leave that to the union. Police, who goes first? You'll be receiving roughly one fourteenth of your total allocation per month. Same thing with transit workers, et cetera. This is going to be more of a planning tool than anything else. Federal government increases, knock Formica they do, as soon as we get an increase, we'll increase the supply. It's very simple.
But, the one refrain, which everyone will say, is "I need more." Every local health department's going to say "I need more". Every police department needs more. Every 75 plus needs more. Everyone is going to say "I need more." And they're all going to be right. We are rationing a scarce commodity that we don't control. It's from the federal government. And by the way, the first person to say "I need more" is me. I've signed numerous letters to the federal government saying I need more. I believe the federal government should be releasing the second dosages now rather than holding the second Pfizer dosages. I think they should be expediting the approvals of the other vaccines. I need more. So before a reporter asks me next week, "well, I was speaking to the local health department and they say they need more."
Let me preempt that. I need more. 300,000 just for 1A and 1B is 14 weeks. Somebody like myself, I'm not even in the planning stage right now. That's the reality. So, let's prioritize and quickly use what we can. We have many distributor options. The slow distributors of the vaccine will not be used from the program. If we have a slow distributor, we'll just move on to a faster distributor, because we want needles in arms.
Couple of other points. On Monday, we're going to have the State of the State. This is going to be a different State of the State than past States of the State because these are different times. It's going to be a much more specific, action-oriented State of the State. Fewer global abstract policy proposals and more specific initiatives, because that's what we have to do. We have to deal with this COVID today, deal with the vaccine, and then post-COVID reality. Post-COVID is a different world, post-COVID is a transformed world, post-COVID is a transformed economy. How do you rebuild an economy? How do you take advantage of the new opportunities post-COVID? That's going to be the State of the State.
A couple of items that are going to be in the State of the State, which I'm going to talk about now, so they won't be in the State of the State. At a time when the Trump administration seeks to strip Americans of their voting rights we did see a lot of concern through the election time, and we want New York to be a champion of democratic reforms. I'm going to propose legislation to speed up the counting by requiring County Boards to process absentee ballots as soon as they're received and begin counting and reporting them on election day. We're also going to extend the time for absentee ballots from 30 to 45 days before an election, and extend Early Voting hours. It worked well, extend it.
One of the most horrific results of the pandemic has been a striking increase in domestic and gender-based violence. I'm going to propose a new office to address just this, but also authorize the courts to make abusers pay damages, including housing and moving costs related to domestic violence. I worked, I ran a not-for-profit called HELP. I worked with many victims of domestic violence. I can't tell you how many times I heard, "I couldn't leave the house because I had no place to go. I couldn't leave the house because if I went to my family's house he would follow me, and my family didn't want that trouble." Too many people stay in the house because they don't have an alternative. That has to stop, and it will stop in the State of New York. We also want to create a new crime, which is a misdemeanor for domestic violence people who buy guns. Right now there is a loophole in the law, we want to close that. If you're an abuser, you should not be allowed to buy a gun in the State of New York.
We also have to do more on eviction protections for tenants. We've made great strides in New York, but we need to do more. We have to advance legislation, and I will, that places a statewide moratorium on commercial evictions until May 1. You have a lot of small businesses that can't pay the rent and are getting evicted, and we should have in law that you can't evict those small businesses until May 1. Also, I'm proposing a law that says no penalties for late or missed rent payments during the pandemic through May 1. In other words, when a tenant gets a bill for backed rent it can't then have all these penalties, and late fees, and charges that make payment of the past rent even more onerous.
And then on the good news side of things, Pier 76 on the West Side of Manhattan, which is just a phenomenally amazing site. You know, if you can just imagine - that's the Hudson River, and that is the West Side and this is a pier that just goes out into the Hudson River. It has been used as a tow pound for many, many years. The City of New York said 20 years ago that they would stop using it as a tow pound because it's just a phenomenal piece of real estate. Last year the legislature passed a law saying that the NYPD had to vacate by this January 1 and penalizing the NYPD if they didn't, a $12 million penalty.
That piece of real estate will then be transferred to the state. The state will transfer it to the Hudson River Park Trust and it will be a public space. And we're going to put out proposals for designs that are going to start this month. But this is going to be a magnificent asset to the West Side, and especially during these tough times and tough days - a beautiful open public space that will just be a great place to take in New York. I think it will be a visitor attraction. Long-term, the Hudson River Park Trust will decide what the use of it is, but in the interim we'll make it a great public space, and I'm very excited about that. I want to thank the people who worked on this for a long time. Sometimes government can be slow, and sometimes you have to really fight the fight to get it done. I especially want to thank Deborah Glick who championed this effort and wouldn't take no for an answer, and I respect that. But that is good news and I feel good about that.
And I feel good about this: go Bills! I have to work on my State of the State tomorrow because with the new Washington alignment and the new Senate it changes my State of the State, so I can't go. I wanted to go, I was planning to go, I can't go. I said I would give my ticket to a nurse as a token of all the appreciation we have for our frontline heroes. And I asked ECMC, Erie County Medical Campus, to ask the nurses at ECMC who did the nurses in the center believe deserved that ticket. The nurses picked Brianna Brandon, and Brianna is bringing her mother to the game. So, congratulations, have fun. I wish I were there, but in some ways I'm even happier that you're going to be there instead of me because we love you, and we love what you did, and we love what you represent, and we want to show you this respect and this gratitude. Go Bills.