March 9, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: At Novel Coronavirus Briefing, Governor Cuomo Announces State Will Provide Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer to New Yorkers Free of Charge

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

State Will Produce Up to 100,000 Gallons of Hand Sanitizer Per Week and Distribute to Most Impacted and High Risk Communities and State Agencies

 

Governor Confirms 37 Additional Novel Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Total to 142

 

NYS Health Department and Education Department Will Issue Guidance for Schools Who Have Students Who Test Positive for Novel Coronavirus

 

Governor Today Will Send to Legislature Paid Sick Leave Bill That Specifically Protects People Who Stay Home from Work Because They Are Being Isolated or Quarantined as a Result of Novel Coronavirus

 

Urges Federal Government to Approve NY Presbyterian's Use of State Coronavirus Test; at Governor's Urging FDA Approved Northwell's Testing Yesterday Evening

 

Governor Cuomo: "We are introducing New York State Clean hand sanitizer made conveniently by the State of New York. This is a superior product to products now on the market. The World Health Organization, CDC, all of those people suggest 60% alcohol content. Purell, competitor to New York State clean - 70% alcohol. This is 75% alcohol."

 

Cuomo: "Context, all these numbers, what does it mean? All day long people keep calling me up and saying, 'Here are all these numbers, what does it mean?' It means you find the positives, you reduce the spread. What is the bottom line? What does this mean? People are reacting like this is the Ebola virus. This is not the Ebola virus. This hysteria that you see, this fear that you see, the panic that you see is unwarranted. We have dealt with worse viruses. This spreads like the flu, but most people will have it and they get on with their lives."

WYSIWYG

During a novel coronavirus briefing earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the state will provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer to New Yorkers free of charge. To help combat price-gouging and ensure New Yorkers have access to this vital prevention method, the state will produce up to 100,000 gallons of hand sanitizer each week in 1.7 oz., 7 oz. and gallon bottles. The hand sanitizer will be made available to residents free of charge, and distribution will be prioritized by the most impacted and high risk communities, including the New Rochelle community, and state agencies, including the MTA.

 

Governor Cuomo also confirmed 37 additional cases of novel coronavirus in New York State since his last update from Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 142 confirmed cases.

 

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

 

AUDIO of today's update is available here.

 

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

 

A rush transcript is available below:

 

Thank you all for being here. We have some good news. We have some less than good news. Gubernatorial prerogative says that I get to pick. I am going to start with the good news.

 

Everybody knows who is here. On my far right, Kelly Cummings who is Director of State Operations. The good Doctor Howard Zucker. Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa.

 

We are going to start with a participatory press conference. This is a participatory press conference today. So with some good news, there will be a prize for whoever answers the question correctly. I have been lamenting about an issue for the past few days. Well, I have been lamenting over a number of issues over the past few days, but one in particular that is egregious and I have raised it almost every press conference for the past week. What is that issue that I have been raising as egregious for the past week?

 

CDC had allowed testing is a good answer. That is true but it is not the answer I am looking for. Remaining calm. Who said price gouging? Price gouging is most egregious. Price gouging on what? Theft of medical supplies. What else? Hand sanitizer.

 

Okay, so we are problem solvers. New York, Empire State. Progressive capitol of the nation. You are a problem solver. You have price gouging on hand sanitizer and a high demand on hand sanitizer. What do you do? Distilleries? Close down bourbon? Never. What else do you do? Make your own hand sanitizer. Can you do that? You should be governor. Open the curtain please.

 

We are introducing New York State Clean hand sanitizer made conveniently by the State of New York. This is a superior product to products now on the market. The World Health Organization, CDC, all of those people suggest 60% alcohol content. Purell, competitor to New York State clean - 70% alcohol. This is 75% alcohol. It also has comes in a variety of sizes and it has a very nice floral bouquet. I detect a little lilac, hydrangeas, tulips. Floral bouquet. We are making it in the State of New York. Corcraft, actually, is making it for the State. Corcraft makes glass cleaner, floor cleaners, degreasers, laundry detergent, vehicle fluids, hand cleaner, and now they make hand sanitizer with alcohol.

 

Our current capacity is 100,000 gallons per week and we're going to be ramping up. We'll be providing this to governmental agencies, schools, the MTA, prisons, etcetera, because you can't get it on the market and when you get it it's very, very expensive. So that is now in production. We'll start distribution. We're going to distribute it to New Rochelle which is a hotspot for us because literally we're hearing from governments having trouble getting it.

 

Also to Purell and Mr. Amazon and Mr. eBay, if you continue the price gouging we will introduce our product which is superior to your product and you don't even have the floral bouquet so stop price gouging. This is also much less expensive than anything government could buy. Just to give you an idea, a gallon bottle is $6.10. The seven-ounce bottle is $1.12, our cost, and then there is a very small size, here it is, which is 84 cents, so it's cheaper for us to make it ourselves than to buy it on the open market. And I want to thank Kelly Cummings who got this going and Corcraft very much for their good work.

 

With that, we'll turn it over to a couple of other measures. The CDC has been speaking with us on how to handle hotspots. The CDC is going to be coming out with additional guidance soon but New Rochelle is a significant hotspot even if you look at the overall map of the United States. So we will be talking about school closings in that area. We have closed the schools now. The question will be duration but we could be talking weeks. Dr. Zucker has a discussion with the CDC and the FDA later on about how long to keep those schools closed but I think at this point it is fair to say we're talking about a number of weeks.

 

For all schools, we're going to set a policy that if a student tests positive in a school that school is closed for an initial 24-hour period so that we can do as assessment of the situation and the facts and then make a determination going forward given the facts in that particular school district and the Department of Health is going to be doing a joint regulation with SED on that.

 

Paid sick leave quarantine, we'll be sending up a bill today. As you know I proposed paid sick leave which before any of this coronavirus even began but it's even more important now. I think it's especially important that if government is ordering a quarantine, even a voluntary quarantine, that places a personal hardship on a person, that person should get paid, and we're going to be sending up a bill to the legislature; I'm going to speak to the legislative leaders about that today, because we have a significant number of people now on quarantine, and I don't want to add to the burden that we're creating, and I think to the business community, it's in their interest that people actually stay home and stop the spread, so I feel good about that law, I just want to get it passed.

 

I want to reiterate a point that we've made before: The people at risk here are senior citizens, people with a compromised immune system, people with an underlying illness, but they should take it seriously. And for people in that category, they should adjust their interactions, so-called "social distancing." I had this conversation with my mother. I said, "Look, you want to be careful; this is not the time to be going to large gatherings. So use your discretion, use your intelligence. It's not the time to be getting on a long plane flight." The fear and the hysteria is outpacing the reality of the situation, but the reality of the situation is people in that target group should be careful, so let's be realistic on the overall hysteria and hype that we're now living through, but the reality is for that vulnerable population, they should be taking precautions.

 

We have our Port Authority Director, Rick Cotton, who has been doing a magnificent job handling the airports, JFK is one of the main airports for people coming in on those oversea flights. Rick Cotton does have - has tested positive for the coronavirus, so he is going to be on quarantine - he will be working at home. He is the Executive Director of the Port Authority so he has been at the airports obviously. When many people were coming back with the virus, he'll be working from home and now the senior team that works with Rick will also be tested so several of them may be on quarantine and they'll be working from home.

 

The testing - we'll go through the latest numbers, but let's also remember the context for testing if we can: The more you test, the more positives you will find, and you are testing primarily a suspect group because we're testing people who we believe came in contact with a positive person. We want that data because we want to find out who's positive so we can isolate them and reduce the spread. But it is not a random sample, it is not statistically representative of anything. It's testing a particular universe that we believe may very well have been exposed to a positive person. So it's not statistically, I don't know what it means, I take it as good news because I want to be finding the positives so we can isolate them and we can reduce the spread. And that's what the testing is all about.

 

So, we did additional testing, we've been basically testing around the clock now. Westchester, you see is up to 98. New York City 19, Nassau 17, Rockland 4, Saratoga 2, Suffolk 1, Ulster 1. Westchester is our problem, as you see from the numbers. That is a relatively small community in New Rochelle - 98 cases, more than the City of New York, that makes the point about gatherings. And that's my conversation with my mother and that's the caution flag. This communicates, transmits more easily than the flu and in Westchester what happened was there was a number of large gatherings, several hundred people, and it transmitted through that congregation. But this is the hotspot, one of the hotspots, nationally by the way, is the New Rochelle hotspot. So it makes the point about how it can communicate in gatherings and why people have to be careful. But those are the recent numbers - 142. With 142 cases it puts New York, well it puts New York actually ahead of Washington. They just updated these numbers - California 111, Massachusetts at 28. And you can see the other national cases.

 

Context, all these numbers, what does it mean? All day long people keep calling me up and saying, "Here are all these numbers, what does it mean? It means you find the positives, you reduce the spread. What is the bottom line? What does this mean? People are reacting like this is the Ebola virus. This is not the Ebola virus. This hysteria that you see, this fear that you see, the panic that you see is unwarranted. We have dealt with worse viruses. This spreads like the flu, but most people will have it and they get on with their lives.

 

Many people have it and not know that they have it. So we have a 142 cases. Oh a 142 cases. What does that mean? Only 8 of the 142 are hospitalized. Well how can that be? The others are at home like they have the flu. Eight out of 142 - those are people who predominately have an underlying illness. Remember this is basically pneumonia. When is pneumonia dangerous? When you have an underlying illness. Not just this virus. For decades, when is pneumonia problematic? When you have an underlying illness and that's what this is. So 8 out of 142 puts it in focus and puts it in perspective. And this is the single most demonstrative fact, okay. All this hyperbole, all these opinions. What's the fact? Johns Hopkins tracks every Coronavirus case since it started. What happened? One-hundred and eleven thousand cases, 3,800 deaths, 62,000 recovered, 45,000 pending - still recovering. That's it. That's tracking every Coronavirus case.

 

It's not good that 3,800 people passed away. That's true, that is very true. By the way, 10 times that number will pass away from the flu this year. Now, people don't realize that. They don't think about it. But that's what the flu does on a seasonal basis. So a little perspective. We have to keep it all in perspective and with that, I'll end there and take your questions.

 

But I am a man of my word, here's your prize please come up. This is a collector item, this is - you can't use it, cause it's a collector item. It's more valuable - you can sell this on Ebay in about 10 years. It's 001, it's the first gallon container off the line. This is literally number one and it is for you. Please come and claim your gallon. Very well done.

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