QUEENS, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave an update regarding the coronavirus in New York from JFK International Airport Monday morning, where he would be departing on a plane to Savannah, Georgia shortly thereafter.
The governor said the state continues to show positive trends in regards to virus data. There were eight COVID-19 deaths statewide Sunday; 716 total virus hospitalizations is the lowest number for New York since March 16, according to the governor. Also, of 49,342 tests performed Sunday, 519 tests came back positive — 1.05%.
“The positive rate is about 1%, that’s where we’ve been so were holding steady,” Gov. Cuomo said. “You look across the regions of the state, you see good news all across the region. The progress is all very good, so we did the impossible as New Yorkers; they really stepped up and conquered the COVID virus now we just have to stay there. We have to progress the progress we’ve made.”
Despite the positive data trends, the governor warned against two factors threatening New York’s progress.
“We have two main threats,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The first threat is the number of congregations that we’re seeing across the state, but especially in downstate of the younger people. You can get sick in your 20s. You can get sick you can die in your 20s, people have. Even if you live by the theory of you’re a super hero, you will take the virus and will give it to someone else.”
The governor said young people need to realize that asymptomatic transmission means the virus can impact others.
“So from an aspect of any social responsibility at all it’s not just about you,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It’s about who you could infect, and who you could hurt, and it is continued unabated and it’s getting worse and I’m telling you it is a problem.”
The governor didn’t mince words in his message to young New Yorkers.
“I’m telling you it has to stop, I’m telling you in plain New York speak, as a born-and-bred New Yorker, it’s stupid what you’re doing, it is stupid,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Don’t be stupid, that is good advice in life. What they’re doing is stupid and reckless, for themselves and for other people, and it has to stop.”
Regarding the new alcohol service rule, which requires food to be ordered as well, the governor said bad business owners are hurting the responsible ones.
“The bad restaurant and bar owners are going to make it worse for the good ones,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Most restaurants and bars are complying, they’re going through a very tough economic situation, but they’re living by the rules. The bad ones who are exploiting the situation, and breaking the law, are going to make it bad for everyone.”
The governor said if bars and restaurants remain irresponsible in their service operations, it could been a rollback of New York state’s phased reopening plan.
“We will have to roll back the bar and restaurant openings if the congregations continue,” Gov. Cuomo said. “And if the local government doesn’t stop it, that is what is going to happen.”
Regarding the second of the aforementioned threats facing New York, the governor said an alarming number of cases rising in other state could mean more breakouts here.
“We see the infection rate increasing all across the country; it’s a fact, it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse,” Gov. Cuomo said.
The governor again was critical of Washington’s handling of the pandemic.
“The federal government is still in denial about this virus,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Five months later, this country is still totally unprepared to deal with this. They’ve done nothing in five months, this is so unnecessary that we are here and we’re seeing Americans lose lives, it did not have to be this way.”
The governor said he would fly to Georgia Monday to help with teams there fighting the virus.
“When New York was at its worst point, to come into our emergency rooms, come into our hospitals to help fight this dreadful disease, 30,000 people came to help us,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I was floored. I was touched. To tell you the truth I was inspired. We don’t forget and we live by the same code of generosity and love and community. So we’re doing everything we can now to pay it back and help states and people all cross the nation.
“We’re sending drugs to Florida, we’ve been working with Atlanta, Georgia on their needs,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’ve been working with Houston, Texas and were going to go to Savannah today.”
The governor was skeptical about the possibility of herd immunity when asked about it during the Q&A session with media.
“Herd immunity is a question of fact,” Gov. Cuomo said. “What percent of the population has been infected and is that percent that high that we’re near herd immunity. We’re nowhere near herd immunity. We’re at about 20% in NYC which is probably the highest in the state. To get to herd immunity you have to get to 60-70%.”
As the state continues to reopen, school districts across New York are to submit their specific reopening plans to the state government by the end of July. Cuomo said last week the state would make a “universal decision” in the first week of August about the prospect of schools reopening for the fall.
MORE | Gov. Cuomo on schools: ‘We’ll reopen if it’s safe, we’re not going to use our children as guinea pigs’
As the cases across the nation continue to rise, the governor announced a travel enforcement operation at airports across New York State to ensure travelers are following the state’s quarantine restrictions and to help contain the rates of COVID-19 transmission.
“The main way people are coming through the state is from the airport,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We don’t have a mechanism to get to people who may be driving into the state.”
News 8 WROC will provide updates for this story as they become available.