Tag Archives: COVID19

Biden Presents Plan to Combat COVID19: ‘I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump and the American people can’t either’

Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic candidate for president, presents his detailed plan to combat COVID-19 and save lives, that includes nationwide protocols for testing, tracing, wearing masks and social distancing, and the logistics for vaccinating everyone, free, when a vaccine becomes available:I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump and the American people can’t either’© Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

It’s ridiculous, almost humorous – if not so tragic – to hear Trump complaining that Biden hasn’t been able to issue a nationwide mandate to wear masks, when he is ostensibly the president (he says so, “I’m president. Can you believe it?” and “I can do anything I want. I’m president.”) but has failed to serve in the function while abusing the power. Trump could have used his power to require Domestic Production of protective equipment like masks, gowns, gloves, and the all-important ventilators, rather than give out massive no-bid contracts to companies like Kodak that had no experience, or have his son-in-law Jared Kushner use political operatives to take calls from grifters who claimed to be able to procure PPE, while dismissing the need to set up testing or send out equipment to Blue States, because, well, they vote Democratic and have Democratic leadership. Trump (an anti-vaxxer) has contradicted his own medical advisers, politicized the once vaunted CDC, FDA, NIH, thrown out nearly $1 trillion in Operation War Speed, all the while sowing such doubt in the efficacy or safety of any vaccine that would be rushed through testing. And yet, Trump, who disbanded the Obama-era pandemic office, pulled out of the World Health Organization and international efforts to produce a vaccine, has actually blamed Biden for failing to have stockpiled testing and vaccines against a virus that didn’t exist until more than three years into his reign. The Trump Campaign is now chiding and misrepresenting and frankly lying about Biden’s proposals and position on coronavirus and vaccines.

Trump, who is now listening only to those health “experts” like radiologist Scott Atlas who confirm his own conveniences, now is embracing the “herd immunity” (he called it “herd mentality in the ABC Town Hall) approach – essentially doing nothing, telling people not to wear masks or socially distance, so that as many as possible will become infected until so many are infected or dead, the virus has no place to go. Problem with that is you would need 225 million out of the 330 million population to get the infection, out of which as many as 6 million would die. But there is actually no proof that there is immunity from COVID-19, or that immunity after infection does not last more than a few months, or whether the virus mutates (like flu viruses) so that it becomes a new disease all over again.

Actual medical experts, including CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield:  “We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” he said. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.” Dr. Redfield said as recently as this week, after Trump chided the use of masks, “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.” Trump’s reaction? He rebuked Redfield, saying he had “made a mistake,” “misunderstood the question,” and had taken back his statement.

Estimates put the number of lives that could be saved between now and December- now forecast to be as high as 215,000 MORE deaths- at 100,000 and it is likely that had a nationwide mask order been imposed, 100,000 of the 200,000 who have already died could have been saved. About 1,000 Americans are dying each day.

And let’s be clear, New York State and the surrounding states became a hotspot because Trump’s intelligence network did not want to mention that the coronavirus was coming in from Europe. While everyone watched for the spread to come from the West Coast from China, 3 million people who came from infected areas of Europe had already come through New York’s airports. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo was left to figure out on his own how to contain the virus before it completely overwhelmed the health care system. Now, Trump wants to dismiss the numbers of COVID-19 dead in Blue States – apparently, dead people in Blue States don’t matter – to make the absurd argument that the rates of death in the United States are somehow on par with the rest of the world (not).

Here are Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, after a vaccine briefing in Wilmington, Delaware, in which he outlined his own plan to get control of the coronavirus, save lives and restore the economy: testing and tracing, national protocols for mask-wearing and social distancing, an actual plan to distribute the vaccine free.

“So let me be clear, I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump — and the American people can’t either,” Biden said. 

“If I am elected president, I will begin implementing an effective distribution plan from the minute I take office. That is what I discussed with the experts in the briefing today.
 
“It will include: a detailed timeline for when people will get the vaccine, a clear delineation of priority populations, the specific means and mechanisms of shipping and storage at appropriate temperatures, the division of responsibility at every level of government.
 
“And I will provide the leadership necessary to carry this plan out. I will level with the American people. I will take responsibility. I will support rather than tear down the experts responsible for day-to-day execution. I will follow the science.”

 – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

I just concluded an hour and a half long briefing with seven of our nation’s top public health experts on the state of the pandemic, the steps needed to curb the spread of the virus, and the challenge of distributing a safe and effective vaccine once we have identified one.
 
Before I turn to those issues, let me say a few words about the president’s comments last night.
 
Even after acknowledging to Bob Woodward on tape that he was fully informed on the gravity of the danger related to COVID-19. He refused to warn the American people. And again, last night, in a televised town hall, the President revealed in no uncertain terms the lack of seriousness with which he continues to take this pandemic.
 
Nearly eight months after this crisis on the doorstep of 200,000 American deaths, President Trump refused once again to take responsibility or to take action. 

By his own admission he continued to lie about COVID-19. He doubled down on his catastrophic mistakes.
 
And, perhaps worst of all — he made clear that he still doesn’t have a plan to bring us out of this crisis.
 
He even said that quote — “a lot of people think that masks are not good” — undercutting the easiest and most effective means we have for reducing the spread of this disease. [Asked “who thought that?” Trump said “waiters.”]
 
This virus is still taking nearly a thousand lives each day.
 
And forecasts show that the numbers are likely to climb this winter.
 
But, incredibly, President Trump insists that he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
 
Not one thing.
 
Last Friday, we learned that another one thousand Americans died due to this virus.
 
On the very same day, Canada reported that not one person died of COVID-19.
 
And Trump wouldn’t have done anything differently?
 
If you’re a parent in America, preparing for another day that you can’t send your child to school, if you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, if your small business can’t open or you can’t go back to work because the virus is still spreading in your community, how does it make you feel to hear the President say he wouldn’t have done anything differently?
 
And if he gets four more years, why should we expect anything to change?
 
All President Trump had to offer last night was the same weak and feckless inaction — the same lies and empty promises — that we’ve seen from the very beginning.
 
He still won’t accept responsibility. He still won’t offer a plan.
 
Last night, he repeated what he has said so many times before: That even if he continues to offer only failing indifference some day, the virus will go away like a miracle.
 
It won’t go away like a miracle. The fact is, even if we get a vaccine, it will not be available to most of the population until well into next year. 
 
And we are heading into a dangerous autumn.
 
In fact, the University of Washington model — which the White House has previously touted — projects that cases and deaths are going to spike in November – and an additional 215,000 Americans will die by the end of the year. 
 
That’s more than have already died.
 
We need leadership right now to prevent that from happening. That same University of Washington model shows that if there is universal masking, we could cut those deaths by more than half. We could save more than 100,000 lives.
 
Even Donald Trump’s own director of the CDC told us that wearing a mask is the single most important step we can take to curb this virus. He said “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”


I spoke with the experts today about additional steps we can take to prevent needless deaths and suffering.
 
Uniform national guidance – and standards on social distancing – that can be applied to the particular circumstances of states and communities.
 
More effective approaches on testing and tracing.
 
If we do these things between now and January – we could save even more lives.
 
Last night, Donald Trump indicated he has no interest in doing these things. 
 
A president’s first responsibility is to protect the American people. 
 
And he won’t.
 
That is utterly disqualifying.
 
I also spoke with the experts about the paramount importance of preparing now for the swift, organized, and free distribution of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
 
I am profoundly grateful to the scientists and researchers working tirelessly to ensure that
a safe and effective vaccine becomes a reality as soon as possible.
 
They carry the hopes of our entire nation and the entire world.
 
And when their work comes to fruition – and it will — they will no doubt save countless lives.
 
But scientific breakthroughs don’t care about calendars any more than the virus does.
 
They certainly don’t adhere to election cycles.
 
And their timing, their approval, and their distribution should never, ever be distorted by political considerations. They should be determined by science and safety alone.
 
A vaccine would offer a way back to normalcy and a path forward to better days for all of us.
 
It won’t happen overnight. It will take months to distribute it to the entire population.
 

But I’m more hopeful than ever in the power of science to get us there.
 
One thing is certain, we cannot allow politics to interfere with a vaccine in any way.
 
Americans have had to endure President Trump’s incompetence and dishonesty when it came to testing and personal protective equipment.
 
We cannot afford a repeat of those fiascos when it comes to a vaccine. The stakes are too high American families have already suffered and sacrificed far too much.
 
So let me be clear, I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump — and the American people can’t either.
 
Last week, Senator Harris and I laid out three questions this Administration must answer —  to assure the American people that politics will play no role whatsoever in the vaccine process.
 
If Donald Trump can give honest answers to these questions — the American people should have the confidence and transparency they need to trust a vaccine and adopt it in numbers that make a difference.
 
First, what criteria will be used to ensure that a vaccine meets the scientific standard of safety and effectiveness?
 
Second, if the Administration greenlights a vaccine — who will validate that the decision was driven by science rather than politics?
 
Third, how can we be sure that the distribution of the vaccine will take place — safely, cost-free, and without a hint of favoritism?
 
The fact of the matter is developing a vaccine is only part of the battle.
 
Distributing a vaccine to the entire population is as complex and challenging as the most sensitive military operation.
 
I’ve been calling for an effective distribution plan for months.
 
If I am elected president, I will begin implementing an effective distribution plan from the minute I take office. That is what I discussed with the experts in the briefing today.
 
It will include: a detailed timeline for when people will get the vaccine, a clear delineation of priority populations, the specific means and mechanisms of shipping and storage at appropriate temperatures, the division of responsibility at every level of government.
 
And I will provide the leadership necessary to carry this plan out. I will level with the American people. I will take responsibility. I will support rather than tear down the experts responsible for day-to-day execution. I will follow the science.
 
With satisfactory answers to the three questions I laid out — every American— including me and my family — can have confidence in a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
 
This isn’t about politics. It’s about saving lives.
 
It’s about getting back to our loved ones and our friends.
 
It’s about getting our economy back on its feet.
 
Getting back to the movie theater, to the restaurant, to the ballpark.
 
It’s about getting back to our lives — and getting America up off the mat.
 
We can, and we must, be united in that pursuit.
 
No matter when that breakthrough emerges — no matter when that hope bears fruit.
 
That’s America at our best.
 
Thank you.
 
God bless our scientists and researchers — and frontline workers.
 
And God protect our troops.
 
I’ll stop and take your questions.

Biden ‘Build Back Better’ Plan for Jobs & Economic Recovery for Working Families

Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, offered his own plan to “Build back better” and revitalize jobs and the economy to benefit working families after the devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.(c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, offered his own plan to “Build back better” and revitalize jobs and the economy to benefit working families after the devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. This is from the Biden campaign:

Joe Biden believes to his core that there’s no greater economic engine in the world than the hard work and ingenuity of the American people. Nobody has more respect for the working women and men who get up every day to build and sustain this country, or more confidence that they can meet the challenges we face.
 
Make no mistake: America has been knocked down. The unemployment rate is higher than it was in the Great Recession. Millions have lost jobs, hours, pay, health care, or the small business they started, through no fault of their own.
 
The pandemic has also laid bare some unacceptable truths. Even before COVID-19, the Trump Administration was pursuing economic policies that rewarded wealth over work and corporations over working families. Too many families were struggling to make ends meet and too many parents were worried about the economic future for their children. And, Black and Latino Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, and women have never been welcomed as full participants in the economy.
 
Biden believes this is no time to just build back to the way things were before, with the old economy’s structural weaknesses and inequalities still in place. This is the moment to imagine and build a new American economy for our families and the next generation.
 
An economy where every American enjoys a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead. An economy more vibrant and more powerful precisely because everybody will be cut in on the deal.
 
In this time of crisis, Joe Biden has a plan to create millions of good-paying jobs and to give America’s working families the tools, choices, and freedom they need to build back better.
 
That starts with a real strategy to deal with the pandemic. We can’t solve the jobs crisis until we solve the public health crisis. Trump may have forgotten about COVID, but COVID hasn’t forgotten about us. On March 12April 27, and June 11, Biden laid out a comprehensive strategy to get the pandemic under control and effectively reopen the economy — an approach that will both protect the health and safety of our people and boost economic activity. He will start implementing that plan on Day One.
 
Biden will also provide further immediate relief to working families, small businesses, and communities. Biden will:

  • Provide state, local, and tribal governments with the aid they need so educators, firefighters and other essential workers aren’t being laid off.
  • Extend COVID crisis unemployment insurance to help those who are out of work.
  • Provide a comeback package for Main Street businesses and entrepreneurs.

 And, Biden will immediately put people to work by enlisting them to help fight the pandemic, including through a Public Health Jobs Corps.

But that’s just the start. The Biden economic recovery plan for working families will build our economy back better. Whenever America has had its back against the wall, we have acted together to lay the foundation — through public investment and a strong social contract — for the American people to pull together and push forward.   
 
The Biden plan will mobilize the American people in service of four bold, national efforts to address four great national challenges. As President, Biden will:
 
1. Mobilize American manufacturing and innovation to ensure that the future is made in America, and in all of America. We’ve seen the importance of bringing home critical supply chains so that we aren’t dependent on other countries in future crises. But Biden believes we can’t stop there — he is releasing a plan today to build a strong industrial base and small-business-led supply chains to retain and create millions of good-paying union jobs in manufacturing and technology across the country.

2. Mobilize American ingenuity to build a modern infrastructure and an equitable, clean energy futureWe’ve seen the need for a more resilient economy for the long-term, and that means investing in a modern, sustainable infrastructure and sustainable engines of growth —  from roads and bridges, to energy grids and schools, to universal broadband. Biden will soon release updated proposals to meet the climate crisis, build a clean energy economy,  address environmental injustice, and create millions of good-paying union jobs.
 
3. Mobilize American talent and heart to build a 21st century caregiving and education workforce which will help ease the burden of care for working parents, especially women. We’ve seen in this pandemic the immense burdens working parents, and especially women, carry in juggling their jobs and their caregiving responsibilities. We’ve learned anew how hard this work is, and how underappreciated those who do it are. Joe Biden will soon announce a plan to make it far easier to afford child care and to ensure aging relatives and people with disabilities have better access to home and community-based care; to elevate the pay, benefits, and professional opportunities for caregivers and educators; to create millions of good-paying new jobs in these areas with a choice to join a union; and to free up millions of people to join the labor force and grow a stronger economy in return.
 
4. Mobilize across the board to advance racial equity in America. We’ve seen again this year the tragic costs of systemic racism. Biden believes that addressing those costs has to be core to every part of the economic agenda, and also a distinct priority in its own right. As President, he will pursue a dedicated agenda to close the racial wealth gap, to expand affordable housing, to invest in Black, Latino, and Native American entrepreneurs and communities, to advance policing and criminal justice reform, and to make real the promise of educational opportunity regardless of race or zip code.

Building back better means an updated social contract that treats American workers and working families as essential at all times, not just times of crisis –– with higher wages, stronger benefits, and fair and safe workplaces. We’ve seen millions of American workers put their lives and health on the line to keep our country going. As Biden has said, let’s not just praise them, let’s pay them — a decent wage, at least $15 per hour, and ending the tipped minimum wage and sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities, and strong benefits so they can live a middle class life and provide opportunity for their kids. This starts with passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, providing public service and federal government workers with bargaining rights, and taking other steps to make it easier for workers to organize unions and collectively bargain. Biden will also address discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act as the next step in efforts to ensure women are paid equally for equal work. He will pass universal paid sick days and 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. And he has a plan to ensure that every American has access to quality, affordable health care, by providing a public option and lowering costs for care and for prescription drugs.
 
Building back better means helping small businesses and entrepreneurs come out the other side of this crisis strong, while demanding more from corporate America. We’ve seen the second bailout in 12 years for big corporations and Wall Street. And we’ve seen the Trump Administration provide all the tools necessary to help big businesses and well-connected cronies, while small businesses had to jump through hoops and many couldn’t access the relief they needed. Biden will ensure that corporate America finally pays their fair share in taxes, puts their workers and communities first rather than their shareholders, and respects their workers’ power and voice in the workplace. And Biden will help small businesses manage through the pandemic and recover, so that millions of entrepreneurs can get back on their feet and carry this economy forward.
 
To see this agenda through, Joe Biden will make new, bold investments and speed up the timetable for many of the 10-year investments he has already announced.  He will pay for the ongoing costs of the plan by reversing some of Trump’s tax cuts for corporations and imposing common-sense tax reforms that finally make sure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share.
 
Today’s elevated unemployment will mean lower demand, which will mean lower growth for our economy (which relies on consumption). A robust jobs agenda will increase demand. That is why many economists agree that if we fail to make far-reaching, productive investments, it will undermine not only our long-term growth potential, but also our long-term fiscal situation. Additionally, for communities of color that are experiencing disproportionate rates of unemployment, and for young people entering the workforce, getting to full employment as fast as possible is critical to their futures and all of America’s future. Those who argue we can’t afford these investments are the same people who doled out trillions in giveaways to the wealthy and corporations the past three years. Now they’re saying there’s no money left for working families? Joe Biden fundamentally rejects that notion.
 
Biden is releasing details on the first part of his agenda, with a separate factsheet on his strategy for manufacturing and innovation to ensure the future is made in America, in all of America, by American workers.

Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, NYS Ramps Up Antibody Testing Critical to Reopening Economy, Calls Upon Federal Support, Partners with NJ, CT; Seeks Heroes Compensation Fund

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo points to success in flattening the curve of coronavirus infection in the state which already has more cases than any other country, but warns against complacency, saying it is the stay-at-home policies that have worked (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Governor Offers Full Partnership with Federal Government as Part of State’s Continued Efforts to Bring Mass Testing to Scale; New York Will Partner with Connecticut and New Jersey to Create a Regional Testing Partnership

Announces $200 Million in Emergency Food Assistance for More Than 700,000 Low-Income Households Enrolled in SNAP

Governor is Working with Congressional Delegation to Create a COVID-19 Heroes Compensation Fund

Announces New Partnerships with Private Sector to Provide Free Housing for Frontline Medical Workers

Releases ‘New York Tough’ Video Showing How New Yorkers are Spending Their Time at Home, Building on Ongoing State Efforts to Reach All Communities in New York with the Life-Saving Stay Home Message – Video is Available Here

Confirms 10,575 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State – Bringing Statewide Total to 170,512; New Cases in 54 Counties

The reason that the national coronavirus numbers are plateauing is because New York State, with more coronavirus cases than any other country, has brought down the rates of new infections, even as the daily death toll remains high. But it is not clear whether COVID-19 has yet to strike places where the numbers seem relatively low, because there is not sufficient testing. Trump is pushing to reopen the economy – desperate to be able to go into the election with a strong economy, low unemployment rates, high Dow – without care that lifting stay-at-home mitigation will trigger new spikes in infections and new waves, as are already being experienced in some Asian countries.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has received high marks for his command-and-control that clearly has resulted in significantly lower rates of infection than a slew of statisticians predicted could happen if steps to contain the virus were not implemented, said as much. Looking ahead to how and when the state could get back to work, he warned against doing it too early or too suddenly. Testing – both to diagnose and to determine if someone has the antibodies to effectively be immune to the coronavirus – is critical and he called for the federal government to exercise the Defense Production Act to get private labs and manufacturers to bring tests up to scale, that is, by the tens of millions.—Karen Rubin, news-photos-features.com.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York State is ramping up antibody testing, a key component of any plan to reopen the economy. The state is currently conducting 300 of these antibody tests, and is on track to conduct 1,000 per day by next Friday and 2,000 per day by the following week. As part of the state’s continued efforts to bring mass testing to scale, the Governor offered a full partnership with the federal government to conduct this important work. In the interim, the Governor announced that New York, Connecticut and New Jersey will create a regional testing partnership to bring mass testing to scale for residents in these states.

Governor Cuomo also announced an additional $200 million in emergency food assistance will be available for more than 700,000 low-income households enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Those enrolled in SNAP and not yet receiving the maximum benefit will receive an additional payment to bring them up to this amount in March and April. The supplemental benefits will be issued in April and delivered directly to recipients’ existing Electronic Benefit Transfer accounts. Households eligible for the supplement that live in counties outside of New York City will begin receiving the supplemental emergency benefit starting on April 13, and all eligible households will have received it by April 24. In New York City, the emergency benefits will be issued starting on April 14, and the issuance completed on April 25.

Governor Cuomo is also working with New York’s Congressional delegation to create a COVID-19 Heroes Compensation Fund to support health care and other frontline workers and their families who contracted COVID-19.

The Governor also announced new partnerships with the private sector to provide housing for frontline medical workers. Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky will contribute $2 million to help provide rooms in union hotels at no cost to frontline workers. As part of this effort, 1199SEIU is partnering with Airbnb to offer housing to its members — comprised of hospital and other healthcare workers — as they fight the COVID-19 crisis statewide. Additionally, the InterContinental Times Square, Yotel and the Hudson Hotel are providing an additional 800 free rooms for health care workers coming to New York City from out of state, collaborating with the Hotel Association of New York City, MetLife and the Related Companies.

As part of Governor Cuomo’s social media awareness campaign, the state today released a video that features New Yorkers showing us their reality as they stay home under the state-wide Pause restrictions. Working in partnership with Resonant Pictures, the state put out a call for photographs of life in the city over the past three weeks. The video, set to the iconic song by The Fray, truly illustrates “How to Save a Life,” during the pandemic.

“The data has shown that what we do today will determine the infection rate two or three days from now, so we must continue to do what we are doing even though it is difficult –because it is working,” Governor Cuomo said. “The key to reopening is going to be testing. New York State has been very aggressive on testing, and our state lab is now developing an antibody test which is fast and non-invasive. The State Department of Health can currently do 300 tests a day and by next Friday, they will be able to do 1,000 tests and 2,000 tests the following week. That’s great, sounds like a lot, but 2,000 tests are still a drop in the bucket, and I’m proud of how New York has advanced on testing.”

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo on needing a stimulus bill that actually addresses the needs of state and local governments: “ou need a fair federal stimulus bill that is not a political pork barrel bill. You know where the cases are. You know where the need is. I understand the political dynamics of the U.S. Senate but this is not a time to be passing bills that really are to make sure your home state gets enough funding. That’s not what this is about. This is about helping the country coming back and focusing on the need. When I says the bills were unfair to New York, the past bills, it is not just that I am advocating to New York. Look at the need. Look at where the cases are. Look at where the damage has been done.” (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Here is more of what Governor Cuomo said in his daily briefing:

“New York State has been very aggressive on testing and our state lab has been very aggressive on testing. Our state lab is now developing an antibody test which is a fast and not invasive test. The State Department of Health can do 300 tests a day. By next Friday, they will be able to do 1,000 tests and 2,000 tests the following week. That’s great, sounds like a lot but 2,000 tests are still a drop in the bucket, and I’m proud of how New Yorkers advanced on testing. You look at how quickly New York State has moved on testing and how many tests we have done – we’ve done a higher percentage of tests in New York State than other countries have done and New York State far exceeds what this nation as a whole is doing on testing. Even with our high capacity and high performance on testing it’s still not enough. It’s not enough if you want to reopen on a meaningful scale and reopen quickly so the testing front is going to be a challenge for us.

“Why can’t New York just develop more tests and do more testing? How do we get New York State Department of Health to scale? That’s an issue that we’ve been working on it’s harder than it sounds. You need certain reagents so you can do the testing. You need certain materials so you can do the testing. It’s very hard to get these reagents right. You’re in a situation where countries all across the globe are trying to do the same thing.

“Federal government has something called the Defense Production Act, DPA they call it, which I’ve been saying from day one is a very powerful tool for the federal government to use when they need to secure a product in the defense of this nation. This is in the defense of this nation. The federal government has used it effectively. They’ve used that in this situation more as a point of leverage than anything else, basically saying to a company, you know, we need you to do this, we do have the Defense Production Act that we could use. But we need an unprecedented mobilization where government can produce these tests in the millions.

“New York State Department of Health is doing is doing several thousand. We have 9 million people we want to get back to work. You need more than several thousand tests per week if this is going to happen any time soon. Private sector companies on their own, I don’t believe will be able to come to scale. We’re working with the private sector companies. They have the tests but they don’t have the capacity to come to scale. You’re going to need government intervention to make that happen and the federal government is in the best position to do that.

“New York State offers to be a full partner with the federal government. We do have the largest number of cases in New York. New York is an economic engine. I can’t do it as a state. If I had a Defense Production Act in the state, I would use it. I would use it. I don’t have that tool, the federal government does. Any way we can partner with the federal government to get these tests up to scale as quickly as possible, we are all in. I like to operate as a coalition with New Jersey and Connecticut because we are the tri-state area. I have spoken to Governor Murphy and Governor Lamont of Connecticut. They will join in a testing coalition. So, I ask the federal government if you are willing to step in and use the federal powers, New York State and New Jersey and Connecticut would partner with the federal government. And let’s get the testing up to scale quickly so we can start to build that bridge to reopening the economy.

“Second on reopening, you need a federal stimulus bill. You need a federal stimulus bill – they passed a couple already. But you need a fair federal stimulus bill that is not a political pork barrel bill. You know where the cases are. You know where the need is. I understand the political dynamics of the U.S. Senate but this is not a time to be passing bills that really are to make sure your home state gets enough funding. That’s not what this is about. This is about helping the country coming back and focusing on the need. When I says the bills were unfair to New York, the past bills, it is not just that I am advocating to New York. Look at the need. Look at where the cases are. Look at where the damage has been done. The federal government is trying to address that damage. You know where it has been done. Look at the chart on where the cases exist. Look at the number of deaths, the number of cases, the number of hospitalizations and help those places come back and come back quickly. That’s what the stimulus bill is supposed to be doing.

“Also, let’s make sure we are learning from what we just went through and are going through. Because there are lessons I think we should all be aware of over the past few months. And before you take a step forward, let’s make sure we know what we are stepping into. A question I had from day one, when you look back at this, where were the horns that should have been triggered back in December and January. Where were the warning signs? Who was supposed to blow the whistle? The President has asked this question and if think he’s right. The President’s answer is the World Health Organization should have been blowing the whistle. I don’t know enough to know if that’s right or wrong, but I know the question is right and sometimes the question is more important than the answer.

“How did this happen? I still want to know how this happened. Because the warning signs were there. And if you don’t know the answer, then how do you know it is not going to happen again, right? Fool me once – January, you go back and look at the headlines in January and you see questions and you see warnings. Now, they were all over the map, but we saw what was happening in Asia. We saw what was happening in Europe. Where were the international experts saying, ‘Well, if this is happening there, this is what we should expect to happen in the United States? Or prepare to happen in the United States?’ January, February, you still had sources in this country saying basically there’s nothing to worry about. You know, how did that happen? Did we really need to be in this situation where the United States winds up with a higher number of cases than the places that went before? We sat here and we watched China. China winds up have 84,000 cases, we wind up having 474,000 cases. I mean, how does that happen? We saw South Korea. They wind up with 10,000 cases. Italy, where we saw a collapse of the whole health system, winds up with 143,000 cases.

“I raise the question because the answer, again, is less important than the question, but before we move forward let’s make sure we’re not repeating the same mistake that we made, right? George Santayana. ‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ I don’t want to repeat what we just repeated, what we just went through over this past month.

“So, what are the relevant questions? Is there going to be a second wave? Let’s look at the countries that have gone through this reopening process and what can we learn from them? Right? Well, we have to start to reopen. Let’s look at what the other countries who have gone before us, what they did, what worked and what didn’t work. When you take just a cursory review you see caution signs. Hong Kong appeared to have the virus under control, they let its guard down, the virus came back. Hong Kong recorded the biggest rise in cases and a new wave of infections. Is that true? Could it happen here? Article yesterday, Italy has seen a bump in the number of cases. You know, before we take a step make sure we are more informed and more aware than we were in the past. They’re talking about a second wave in Singapore.

“You got back and you look at the 1918 flu epidemic. That was over 10 months. There was a first wave, there was a second wave. The second wave was worse than the first wave because the virus mutated. Third peak and the whole experience was 10 months. Is there any extrapolation to where we are today? I don’t know the answers. This is not what I do. It’s not what a state does.

“But, we know the questions and we should have the questions answered before we take a step forward. Yes, no one has been here before. These are totally uncharted waters. But we do know that none of this is predetermined and it is all a function of our actions. We are in total control of our destiny here. What we do will effect literally live and death for hundreds of people.

“So, where do we go from here? First, keep doing what we’re doing. Stay home because that works. We are flattening the curve, we must continue to flatten the curve. We have to get testing to scale. That is an entirely new exercise. It’s something we still haven’t done well in this country. We need both diagnostic testing and antibody testing. We need millions and millions of them. We need them in a matter of weeks, not months.

“We have to be more prepared as a nation. We should never go through this scramble that we went through with states competing against other states to buy masks from China. I mean, we should just never have been here in the first place, but certainly we should never be here again. And then let’s make sure we study the waters ahead and proceed with caution before we set off on the next journey. When we talk about reopening, let’s study the data and let’s look at what has happened around the world. Let’s make sure the best health minds in the country are giving us their best advice.

“How do we go forward? We stay New York tough. New York tough means more than just tough, it means discipline. It means unified. It means loving. And it means smart. Now is a time to be smart. Now more than ever. That’s what it means to be New York tough and we are.”

“The actual curve, today 18,569, is much, much better. How do you create a curve so different from the projections? In fairness to experts, nobody has been here before, and a big variable was what policies would put in place, and a bigger variable is whether people listen to the policies you put in place. Just because you announce a policy– to close businesses and everybody stay home – if people don’t take seriously or feel is political, they wouldn’t follow it.”

Finally, the Governor confirmed 10,575 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 170,512 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 170,512 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

CountyTotal PositiveNew Positive
Albany42647
Allegany264
Broome1127
Cattaraugus181
Cayuga2711
Chautauqua202
Chemung590
Chenango605
Clinton433
Columbia744
Cortland171
Delaware392
Dutchess1,598105
Erie1,40947
Essex102
Franklin110
Fulton183
Genesee659
Greene346
Hamilton30
Herkimer364
Jefferson431
Lewis60
Livingston293
Madison998
Monroe74244
Montgomery291
Nassau21,5121,372
Niagara15610
NYC92,3845,356
Oneida17214
Onondaga36911
Ontario518
Orange4,532442
Orleans242
Oswego360
Otsego412
Putnam48749
Rensselaer9112
Rockland7,122457
Saratoga18210
Schenectady19124
Schoharie120
Schuyler51
Seneca150
St. Lawrence782
Steuben11728
Suffolk18,6921,279
Sullivan31824
Tioga181
Tompkins1050
Ulster53070
Warren433
Washington261
Wayne412
Westchester18,0771,073
Wyoming301
Yates21