Cuomo On Coronavirus: New York In ‘Much Better Place,’ But ‘Not Home Yet’
The governor called Tuesday’s meeting with President Donald Trump “a productive visit.”
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York has reached a “much better place” in the coronavirus pandemic, but “we’re not home yet.”
“We’re in a relatively good place. In downstate New York, the curve is on the descent,” the governor said during his daily briefing. “The question is now how long is that descent. Is it a sudden drop-off? Is it one week, two weeks, three weeks, six weeks? We don’t know. But better to be going down than to be going up.”
Cuomo said total hospitalizations and intubations continue to decrease, but the number of new patients is “still problematic,” and the death toll is “breathtakingly painful.” Another 474 New Yorkers died Tuesday, down from 481 the day before.
He called his meeting with President Donald Trump “a productive visit.”
“We spoke truth, we spoke facts, we made decisions and we have a plan going forward. That was accomplished yesterday,” he said. “I feel good about, personally, because it’s what should have happened.”
The governor said he urged the president to supply more state funding.
“You have to help state governments, because state governments fund the people that the federal government can’t fund,” he said. “State and local governments, we’re funding police, we’re funding fire, we’re funding teachers, we’re funding schools. You can’t just ignore them.”
He also said Trump agreed to waive the state-match requirement for FEMA funding.
“Normally, a state has to pay 25% of the FEMA cost. That would be a cruel irony for New York and adding insult to injury,” he said.
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The main point they discussed was more widespread testing and tracing.
“You test a person. If the person winds up positive, you then trace that person’s contacts – contact tracing,” Cuomo explained. “You have to start with a large number of tests, and we set as a goal yesterday to double the number of state tests, to go fro 20,000 on average to 40,000. That is just about the maximum capacity for all of the laboratory machines in this state.
“Once you do all those tests, every positive you have to go back and trace. The tracing is a very big, big deal,” he added. “Once you trace and you find more positives, then you isolate the positives.”
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Cuomo said the region will create a “tracing army,” with the help of former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg.
Bloomberg will work with Johns Hopkins University to design the state’s contact tracing program, recruit and train staff and coordinate with New Jersey and Connecticut. He is also contributing upwards of $10 million.
“He’s had quite a bit of experience in this area. It’s a very big undertaking, and we thank him very much for taking it on,” said the governor. “It is going to require a lot of attention, a lot of insight, a lot of experience and a lot of resources.”
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In closing, the governor addressed the pressure some local officials are feeling to reopen the economy.
“This is a profound moment. We make a bad move, it’s going to set us back,” he said. “I get the pressure, I get the politics. We can’t make a bad decision, and we can’t be stupid about it. This is not going to be over any time soon.
“I know people want out, I know people want to get back to work, I know people need a paycheck, I know this is unsustainable,” he added. “I also know more people will die if we are not smart.”