Expands Testing Criteria Statewide to All New Yorkers
Creates State Enforcement Department to Supplement Local Enforcement
Renews Call for President Trump to Wear a Mask
Acknowledges Six Major Retailers Requiring Customers to Wear Face Coverings at All of Their Stores Nationwide
1.1 Percent of Yesterday's COVID-19 Tests were Positive
11 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday
Confirms 625 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 394,079; New Cases in 39 Counties
Governor Cuomo: "It's time for the President to actually tell the truth. The first thing he can do: Come clean with the American people, admit the threat of this virus. Admit you were wrong. It's not an admission. Everybody knows you were wrong. It doesn't cost you anything. At least have the courage to admit what everybody else already knows: you were wrong. And send a message to this nation that we have to mobilize our citizens, we have to mobilize our government, and we have to start doing something about this. And you want to take one easy step that will send a powerful message? Put a mask on it."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the reopening of New York City indoor dining, originally part of the city's expected entry into Phase Three on July 6, will be postponed as states across the country that previously reopened indoor dining are experiencing upticks in COVID-19 cases.
The governor also announced that New York State will expand its testing criteria to all New Yorkers statewide. New York conducts more tests per capita than any big country in the world and now has the capacity to expand the testing criteria.
Governor Cuomo also announced that New York State will create an enforcement department to supplement the local enforcement of COVID-19 guidance and restrictions.
The governor also renewed his call on President Trump to wear a mask.
The governor also said six major retailers are requiring customers to wear face coverings while shopping at their stores nationwide, including: Costco, C-Town, Gristedes and D'Agostino, Stop & Shop, Tops and Whole Foods.
AUDIO of the Governor'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 morning, good morning, good morning. Pleasure to be back in New York City. Everybody knows to my right, Melissa DeRosa. To my left, Dr. Howard Zucker, Health Commissioner extraordinaire. Let's talk about where we are today in the state, in the world, in the country, in the cosmos.
Facts: We're in the middle of a national crisis and we have to be careful. We have to be careful. We have dark clouds on the horizon and we've made tremendous progress. We've been through hell and back but this is not over and this can still rear it's ugly head anywhere in this nation and in this state. We're seeing troubling signs across the country that we should be concerned about. And I am concerned about them.
The situation across the country is getting worse, it's not getting better. Thirty-five states now see increasing COVID infection rates. Dr. Fauci, who tends to be a voice of reason, now says he wouldn't be surprised if he sees 100,000 cases a day. All they're doing, all these models are doing, is they're extrapolating from the facts they see today. That's a very important point to understand. I didn't understand it in the beginning. I thought they were projecting like a weather forecast. Weather is nice today, but we project it's going to be bad on Friday.
That's not what these projections do. They say given your numbers today, if you just factor out your spread and rate numbers, this is what's going to happen. They're taking your situation today and they're saying by where you are today, this is what's going to happen. When Dr. Fauci says the case rate could go up to 100,000 per day, he's saying by the current rate of increase, it could go to 100,000 a day. That, my friends, is frightening.
You look at where this country is compared to the European Union, which is the great irony. They had it first. We got it from them and didn't know it - that's the story of New York. They are now on the decline, we're on the incline and they have done a travel ban against us. Think about how ironic that is. They had it, they sent it to us, they dealt with it, we're going up higher and now they ban us. Look at what's going on around this nation. These are facts, it's not editorial comment. Facts.
Texas: Oh, there's no problem. No virus. This is all a Democratic delusion. Oh, the cases are going up that's only because the testing is going up. Really? Then why are more people going into hospitals? People don't go into hospitals unless more people are getting sick. Fact. Arizona. States that were in denial that underestimated the virus. Now, they're all singing a different tune. Now, they're starting to say we better take this seriously. We better start wearing masks. They're going backwards on their reopening plan which is just what we talked about happening.
You were in the room many times. I said if you reopen too fast, what's going to wind up happening is you're going to have to close. Then, that's going to be one of the worst situations. It's going to be worse for the economy, it's going to be worse for people and you're going to lose more people in the meantime. That is exactly what is happening. That is exactly what is happening. States are now having to roll back their reopening plan.
Fact, he buck stops on the President's desk. That is a fact. That's what it means to be the President of the United States. The buck stops on my desk. In this state, the buck stops on my desk. I am the Governor of the State. It stops on my desk. It doesn't just stop on the President's desk because he's the President. This is also the words that came out of his mouth. He was in denial of the COVID virus from day one. "It's just the flu. It's going to go away. It's going to be a miracle. It's not going up. It's only the testing that is going up." He denied the reality of this situation from day one. "Reopen right away, reopen right away. Liberate those states. I had all the demonstrations every day, liberate, liberate, liberate. You are artificially keeping the economy closed. There's no reason." That came from him.
You know what is funny in this country? Sometimes if the President speaks people listen - even if the President is Trump. Sometimes they listen, and those Republican governors listened, and a lot of Republicans listened and won't wear a mask. He's holding rallies, bringing thousands of people together in close quarters, no masks. What signal does that send to the American people? Couldn't be a problem, here's the President of United States bringing thousands of people together, no masks. Can't be a problem. If there was a problem, the President wouldn't do it.
Wrong, buck stops on his desk and it's what came out of his mouth. He denied the reality of the virus. Well, you know what Mr. President, reality wins every time. You don't defeat reality. Denying reality does not defeat reality and he has lived in denial and he has been denying the scientific facts from day one. He has been denying what every health expert in the United States of America was saying. He denied what his own CDC said. His CDC when they first projected this March 13th, said at a minimum, 2 million people would be hospitalized - at a minimum - his CDC.
You know how many 2 million is? The nation only has 900,000 hospital beds and they said 2 million will require hospitalization. Look at what they were saying. The Peter Navarro memo in late January, 1 million could die. He denied it all. Denied his science advisers, denied the CDC, denied Dr. Fauci, denied them all. Reality wins and reality won. And now the country is suffering because of the President, and its time for him to change course. When you're in a hole, stop digging - Will Rogers.
It's time for the President to actually tell the truth. The first thing he can do: Come clean with the American people, admit the threat of this virus. Admit you were wrong. It's not an admission. Everybody knows you were wrong. It doesn't cost you anything. At least have the courage to admit what everybody else already knows: you were wrong. And send a message to this nation that we have to mobilize our citizens, we have to mobilize our government, and we have to start doing something about this. And you want to take one easy step that will send a powerful message? Put a mask on it. Put a mask on it. Next time you're smiling at the camera put a mask on it, Mr. President. It's the best thing he could do.
Meantime, New York State is doing great. On the numbers, we're doing great. But I feel that there are storm clouds on the horizon, you look at our numbers today they're still great. 879 hospitalizations, four straight days on the 900 lowest, five-day average since we started the nightmare. Number of deaths is 11. We don't want to see anyone die, but the highest was 800, and 11 is just about as low as it's ever been. The three-day average on number of deaths, we had 10, 8, 8 and 11. So that's headed in the right direction. We did 56,000 test yesterday positive rate of one 1.1, which is also very good news. You look at all across the regions, the numbers are all solid and the numbers are all steady.
You look even within the city of New York and the numbers are good and the numbers a steady we don't see any red flags anywhere. We have the data fully analyzed every day. Remember, the key to what we are doing is the testing. People talk about that from day one - nobody really did it to the level we're doing it. We just finished 4 million tests in New York. We only have 19 million people in New York. So, it is an extraordinary number of tests, and that's what's been guiding us.
This is extraordinary to me, but I have a weird sense of what's extraordinary. New York State is doing more tests per capita than any nation on the globe. Look at that chart. South Korea, Canada, UK, the rest of the U.S. States, Italy. And look at how many the state of New York is testing per capita. That's the key to our success. If you test, you will find people who are positive. And if you find people who are positive, you then have the tracing in place. You can find out where they got it, you can isolate them, and you reduce the spread. That's how it works - that's what we always said it worked. We just had to make it work, which was the challenge, right? You want to lose weight? Eat less, exercise more. Simple formula. You will lose weight. Caveat: That eating less is hard, that exercising every day, that's a pain in the neck. But you want to manage the COVID virus? Test, trace, masks, social distance. That's the formula. Hard to do. We have 750 testing sites across the current state. Think about setting up 750 testing sites. They never existed before. Hard, but we did it.
We're now expanding our testing criteria. We have so increased our testing capacity that we can expand our testing criteria. We prioritize testing criteria in the beginning, if you remember people who were exposed to a positive person, people who were essential workers, people who are in nursing homes - we prioritized them. We never put members of the press on the priority list. Nothing personal. We're now opening testing to all New Yorkers. We have that much capacity. All New Yorkers can now go get a test, and what I'm saying to a New Yorkers today is, "Go get a test. It doesn't cost you anything. It doesn't hurt. I did a test - I've done a number of tests, I did a test on TV. I didn't flinch. I cried afterwards, but on TV, I didn't flinch." It doesn't hurt. Take a test. And it's now open to everyone.
Capital Region enters Phase Four today. New York City, we have new problems. These are the storm clouds I was talking about. What we have done from day one is we've been smart about what we did in handling COVID. What does that mean? It means we didn't get political, we didn't get emotional, we didn't get hysterical, we didn't panic. We were smart. We did what we had to do, testing, tracing, et cetera. And also, we anticipated future issues, right. If you're only dealing with the issue you have in front of you, you're going to lose. You have to anticipate the issue coming down the pike. And you have to get ahead of it.
In the beginning I was always saying this virus has been ahead of us, and we're reacting, we're always reacting to the virus. The virus did this, now we have to scramble, the virus did this, now we have to scramble. You never win that way. You have to get ahead of the virus. So what we now do is we anticipate what could happen and anticipate the issue before it happens. In hockey they talk about, ice hockey, they talk about don't skate to where the puck is, skate to where the puck is going to be, right. Anticipate and get ahead of it. That's what we've been doing with the COVID virus. Factor forward, what's going to happen, how do we get there. Stay ahead of the virus. And we have to stay ahead of the virus.
Citizen compliance is slipping. That is a fact. That is a fact. Look at pictures. Look at any street in Manhattan. Go to the east village, go to the west side, go to Brooklyn, go to Queens, go to the Bronx. Citizen compliance is slipping. I get it, I understand it. Been inside a long time, the weather's warm, I miss my friends, governor says everything's good, governor says everything's good. I bring a mask, I don't really wear it. I do that chin move, you know the chin move, feel good that I have my mask, doesn't do anything. I get why the compliance is slipping, but it is a very real problem. Even if you are young people, and even if the compliance is slipping among young people, young people can get sick. Look around the country, look at the places where young people are getting sick, and they're now sitting in ICU beds. That was old information and bad information that young people don't get sick. And, young people can infect older people, inadvertently. You can go home, see an aunt, see your parents. You can walk past someone, have a conversation. You infect older people, older people can die. That's what we're talking about. So even if you want to risk your own young life because you believe you're immune and you're a superhero, why would you risk someone else's life? That's a problem.
Second problem, government is supposed to be enforcing compliance. That is the governmental role. And that is not happening to a sufficient basis. I have said from day one, we have been clear from day one. Local governments don't have any legal authority to determine opening, reopening, of schools, businesses, restaurants, offices. That's not what the local governments do. That's a function of state government. All the openings and all the reopenings. They're done all by the state government. Every county in the State of New York, every city in the State of New York. That's my job.
Their job, local government's job, testing, tracing, enforcement of compliance. That is their main job. I take all the abuse for the opening and reopening: too slow, too fast. I don't have a problem with that. They had one job. Testing, tracing and enforce the compliance. They must do it. If you have citizen compliance dropping, and you don't have local governments enforcing— then you're going to see the virus go up. Period. One plus one equals two. One plus one equals two. And you see it. If you open your eyes, you see the citizen compliance slipping. You see government compliance not correcting it. What's going to happen? The virus is going to spread. It's that simple; it's that clear. That is the reality. The virus spreads— we're back to the mountain. Some of you weren't here yesterday. I'm going to bring my mountain back just to remind you of what happens. I left the mountain in Albany. My bad. I'm bringing the mountain back.
Citizens slip, local government doesn't comply— we're back to the mountain. That is what's going to happen and that is an arguable fact. The state's going to create its own enforcement capacity to supplement the local government's enforcement, but I do not have the resources, the personnel to do this statewide. We have State Police, we have health inspectors, we have state and local authority— but there are 500 police departments in this state. 500 police departments. I cannot supplement 500 police departments, so the local governments have to do their job.
Second problem, second storm cloud: we know the virus is increasing. We have 16 states that are now quarantined from New York. Last week it was only eight. Now it's 16. We don't pick the states. We have a rate of infection. And if a state is above that rate of infection, then they're quarantined. Sixteen states. That's how fast the infection is spreading. Chances are, whatever we do, people from those 16 states are going to make their way here. And that's how we got infected the first time. We got infected from people coming from Europe through our airports. Now we can get infected from people coming from Florida, Arizona, other states through our airports. Our infection rate is low— we know that. How does it go up? People come in from the outside or we start to get lack of discipline on the inside.
Phase Three dining, we are going to postpone. And it's going to be postponed until the facts change and it is prudent to open. But the facts have to change. Because at this point, it isn't prudent. Everything else is going to continue. Everything else is continuing all across the state. This is a New York City-only modification because frankly, it's a problem that is most pronounced in New York City.
The Capital Region today goes to phase four. All the numbers are good across the state, but we do have a problem in New York City. And again, it's partially the other states going up and we're worried about that. And it's partially lack of citizen compliance and lack of local government compliance enforcement. I've asked the people to do it 157 times. I understand they're getting bored. I've told government that is their job. And I've told them "do your job." If they don't— those two things happen— the virus goes up, period. We're also urging people to wear masks. We have a number of national franchises agreeing to have their stores wear masks in the states where it's appropriate. So this is not just a New York thing: "wear a mask." We were the most aggressive on masks; we were the first on masks. California just went the masks like last week, believe it or not. So, we did it right and these national manufactures and now joining with us.
We've been following the facts and following the data and it's working. We did the impossible. We went from worst infection rate in the United States to best infection rate in the United States. Isn't it amazing what New Yorkers did? I mean, it's really incredible when you think about it. And we have offered our help to states across the nation who may need it. Stay New York, tough, smart, united, disciplined. Most of all, loving. Loving.