New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said during a press conference Wednesday that the bipartisan deal on the Senate’s $2 trillion response bill for the COVID-19 outbreak is not enough for his state, which has been experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.
The deal, which was reached by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) early Wednesday morning, will include four months of unemployment insurance and prohibits “businesses controlled by the President, vice president, members of Congress, and heads of executive departments from receiving loans or investments from treasury programs,” according to Schumer.
After attributing the recent surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York state to the “density that we’re dealing with” — which he argued is why the “burdensome requirement” of social distancing is effective and necessary — Cuomo said that he and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio plan to pilot closing NYC streets to help alleviate density and open the streets to pedestrians.
Cuomo went on to say that his team has been talking to the White House about the concept of “rolling deployment” to coronavirus “hotspots” in a time when New York has “the greatest need in terms of numbers.”
“Once you address that hotspot with that intensity and intense equipment, intense personnel, then shift to the next hotspot,” Cuomo said. “And have more of a rolling deployment across the country than a static deployment — rolling deployment could work here. And on behalf of New York, I said we will be 100 percent helpful.”
On the topic of the Senate considering a $2 trillion emergency coronavirus package, Cuomo called the bill “terrible” for New York state.
Although the legislation would designate $3.8 billion for the state, Cuomo said that it would entail a revenue shortfall of at least $9 billion because the response to the outbreak has already cost the state $1 billion.
“New York City only gets $1.3 billion from this package — that is a drop in the bucket as to need,” Cuomo said. “I spoke to our House delegation, congressional delegation this morning. I said to them, ‘this doesn’t do it.’ You know, I understand the Senate theory and the Republican theory. But we need the House to make adjustments.”
Cuomo also addressed President Trump’s and the White House coronavirus task force’s remarks during their briefing Tuesday evening. When asked about Trump’s goal to have America back up and running by Easter, Cuomo gave a nuanced answer.
“I don’t think it’s binary. I don’t think you close down the whole economy — which is what we did. I did, too — and then open up the whole society to business as usual,” Cuomo said, before arguing that the “path that refines the public health strategy and starts growing the economy” would involve bringing young people and those who recovered from the virus back to work first before those who are more at risk.
Cuomo deferred to New York state health commissioner Howard Zucker on the White House’s guidance to quarantine after visits to NYC. Zucker argued that it’s important to follow CDC guidelines on social distancing whether in New York or elsewhere, but offered a mixed message when asked about the White House’s guidance on recent New York visitors self-quarantining for two weeks.
“I would not follow that,” Zucker said. “I believe that you should follow the guidelines in general that you should social distance. And if you were in New York and you go somewhere else — these cases are all over the country. It’s not just New York. We are at the forefront, as the governor has said, but it’s elsewhere.”