Cuomo Touts Phased Reopening Approach, Says Decision On Schools This Fall Is Still Pending
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted New York's progress in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor said there were just nine lives lost due to COVID-19 overnight.
Cuomo said the state's phased reopening approach has been working.
"We're actually down from where we were when we started reopening," Cuomo said. "The question was, when you start reopening, activity will go up, number of cases will go up, can you control the increase? That was the question. We haven't needed to control the increase, we've actually had a slight decline, and now we're basically running flat. And that is great news. That is really great news."
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Cuomo said the adjustments that have been made to the phased reopening - such as postponing indoor dining at restaurants in New York City - are helping to keep the numbers low.
New York City entered Phase 3 Monday. Westchester County is set to enter Phase 4 tomorrow.
The governor said no decision has been made regarding school reopening in the fall.
WATCH: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Gives Coronavirus Briefing
"We obviously very much would like to," he said.
The governor has mandated that all school districts across the state come up with a fall plan.
"We're not going to say that children should go back to school until we know it's safe, right? We have some time, this is a very fluid situation. We'll get the data. We will make a decision. In the meantime, I'm telling all school districts to come up with a reopening plan. But we don't yet know if we are going to reopen," Cuomo said.
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Casinos and movie theaters remain closed, and the state fair in Syracuse will not go forward this year.
The state is continuing to study the viability of using certain air filtration systems indoors that are capable of filtering out the virus.
"We're spending time on it because I think there's a real possibility that we could actually have a positive contribution here," Cuomo said. "Because if there is a way to filter the air and there's a way to get COVID out of the air, then we want to do that. And if we can do that without an exorbitant expense for existing HVAC systems, that's something we have to look at."
Cuomo said that New Yorker's have "crossed the mountain."
"We don't want to have the challenge of crossing a mountain range. One mountain was enough. The last thing we need is to see this virus spike again," he said.
He said there are two threats to a resurgence. The first is complacency by New Yorkers.
"That is a real threat, and it is a threat that I am concerned about. You look at the festivities over July 4th, you see gatherings that are not socially distanced, they're not wearing masks," he said. "I don't know how else to say it. Actions have consequences. Our success was a function of our action. You change your action, you change your behavior, you're going to change that outcome. It's that simple."
He urged New Yorkers to "stay smart." He urged local governments to enforce social distancing regulations and to make sure people keep wearing masks.
He said the second threat is the overall rate of infection in 38 states across the U.S., which he called "a frightening situation."
"Denying COVID is really advancing the COVID virus," the governor said. "We're not the United States of denial. We have never been a nation that has excelled because we refuse to admit the problem. We admit the problem, and then we overcome the problem."
The governor called on President Donald Trump not to be a "co-conspirator of COVID." He called on Trump to "acknowledge to the American people that COVID exists, it is a major problem. It is going to continue until we admit it and each of us stands up to do our part. If he does not acknowledge that, then he is facilitating the virus, he is enabling the virus."
Cuomo held up a mask, and asked the president to wear one.
"How did this become a political statement? This is common sense," Cuomo said. "Just wear the mask and say to the American people 'This is real.'"
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