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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: Coronavirus deaths are stabilizing at a "horrific rate"

Cuomo says virus deaths in New York are "stabilizing"
Cuomo says deaths in New York are stabilizing, but at a "horrific rate" 05:05

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that 783 people died in New York on Friday due to COVID-19. On Thursday, 777 people lost their lives to the virus. The day before that, the state reported 799 deaths.

The number of deaths is somewhat stabilizing, he said, but stabilizing at a "horrific rate."

Friday's fatalities raise the total death toll in New York from the coronavirus to 8,627. The state remains the U.S. epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Cuomo said, however, that the numbers of people being hospitalized and admitted to ICUs are on a downward slope. Intubations are also down. 

"When does this nightmare end?"

"I'm sure everyone's living with the same question: Every time you wake up you say, 'When does this nightmare end?'" Cuomo said.

Cuomo reiterated that reopening the state economy was intrinsically tied to public health, and said he would not ease up on coronavirus restrictions until he was certain it would be safe to do so.

"In my opinion, you can't ask the people of this state and this country to choose between lives lost and dollars gained," Cuomo said. "No one is going to make that quid pro quo."

Cuomo said he would gather a team of the "best minds" to study the economies around the world that have already reopened, and determine whether there could be a "second wave" of the virus if the restrictions are eased too soon.

"The worst thing that can happen is that we make a misstep and we let emotions get ahead of logic and fact," Cuomo said.

On NYC school closures: "It is my legal authority in this situation"

Cuomo said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's announcement earlier Saturday that city schools will be closed for the rest of the year was "the mayor's opinion." He said the "decision will be coordinated" between New York City and other metropolitan area county leaders.

"It makes no sense for one locality to take an action that's uncoordinated with others," Cuomo said.

He added that de Blasio does not have the authority to close city schools unilaterally.

"It is my legal authority in this situation," he said.

Cuomo: "I'm not running for anything"

Cuomo also said he was working to keep political considerations out of the coronavirus response. He alluded to the idea among some Democrats that he could join the presidential race, saying "I'm not running for anything."

"I'm governor of New York, thank you, and that's where I'm going to stay," Cuomo said. He added that he had a strong relationship with President Trump, saying the president has "really responded to New York's needs."

Cuomo also called on Congress to pass more federal stimulus legislation, but said it needed to do more to help New York, such as include a repeal of the cap on the state and local tax deduction. The limit on the deduction, commonly known as SALT, primarily affects people living in areas with high property values, such as New York and California.  

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