Posts tagged with "New York Governor Andrew Cuomo"

Roll Call exclusive: States plan to independently vet COVID-19 vaccine data

September 18, 2020

Governors, including New York’s Andrew Cuomo, are publicly raising doubts about the FDA’s and the CDC’s ability to withstand pressure from President Donald Trump to develop a coronavirus vaccine at warp speed, Roll Call reported exclusively on September 17.

Those same officials are expressing skepticism about federal reviews of potential COVID-19 vaccines—with some going so far as to plan to independently analyze clinical trial data before distributing a vaccine, in a sign of how sharply trust in federal health agencies has fallen this year.

The wariness—which public health experts call highly unusual if not unprecedented—could undercut the goal of a cohesive national immunization strategy and create a patchwork of efforts that may sabotage hopes of containing the coronavirus.

State plans to review the data indicate how deeply any appearance of political meddling could disrupt vaccination and cost lives Roll Call says.

And it’s not a surprise that some red states appear more likely to rely on the Trump Administration, while blue states may scour the data and be more cautious about vaccinating their residents immediately.

CQ Roll Call contacted state health departments in 50 states and the District of Columbia and received substantive responses from a dozen:

  • Seven jurisdictions indicated that they would analyze the data independently: California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Michigan, New York, Oregon and West Virginia.
  • Another two—Montana and Wyoming—said they would only administer a vaccine that completed clinical trials and an outside committee’s review.
  • Three states —Arizona, Georgia and Oklahoma— indicated they would accept federal recommendations as usual.

 “The president says he’s going to have a vaccine. CDC is talking about a vaccine in early November. How convenient. It’s going to be an Election Day miracle drug,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said earlier this month.

Cuomo referenced the FDA’s emergency use authorization earlier this year of a drug touted by Trump, hydroxychloroquine, which the agency later withdrew after finding the drug was not effective against COVID-19 and could lead to dangerous heart conditions. “Some people are concerned that the vaccine may wind up being hydroxychloroquine,” he said, adding that the state health department will review the research before recommending that New Yorkers take any vaccine.

Nearly 200,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Research contact: @rollcall

Cuomo rips into CDC as Trump’s political tool; says New York won’t follow new virus guidance

August 27, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on August 26 that his state won’t be following the CDC’s new guidance on coronavirus testing—and urged others to do the same, reports CNBC.

The federal agency has quietly revised its guidance on coronavirus testing to say that people who are asymptomatic, but have been exposed to an infected person, might not need to be screened.

Previously, the Centers for Disease Control had recommended testing for anyone with a “recent known or suspected exposure” to the virus—even if they did not have symptoms. Indeed, the CDC’s previous guidance cited “the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission” as a reason why people without symptoms who were exposed to the virus be “quickly identified and tested.”

Numerous studies have shown that people who don’t have symptoms can still carry and spread the virus — even a few days before symptoms appear or if they never develop symptoms.

Shame on the people at the CDC,” Cuomo said, calling the change in guidance “indefensible.” 

The new guidance, published on Monday, August 24, advises that people without symptoms who were in close contact with an infected person for at least 15 minutes “do not necessarily need a test.” The guidance still recommends testing for vulnerable people; if they have come within 6 feet of someone with a confirmed infection for at least 15 minutes.

“We’re not going to follow the CDC guidance. I consider it political propaganda. I would caution private companies against following the CDC guidance. I think it is wholly indefensible on its face. I think it is inherently self-contradictory. It is the exact opposite of what the CDC has been saying,” Cuomo said on a conference call with reporters. “So either the CDC is schizophrenic or they are admitting error in their first position or this is just political dictations.”

Cuomo also criticized the CDC for failing to alert Americans to the threat of the coronavirus earlier, before it arrived in the U.S.A. and began to spread rapidly in parts of the country, including the New York tristate region.

“They either lied to the American people or they’re incompetent, because they didn’t track the virus in China. And they didn’t track the virus leaving China and going to Europe,” Cuomo said. “The CDC either totally missed it, or they were ordered not to speak about it. This just evidences, once again, political control over what’s supposed to be a public health organization.”

Cuomo went on to allege that the testing recommendations were changed “because they don’t want publicity that there is a COVID problem.”

“Because the president’s politics are COVID isn’t the problem, we’re past COVID,” Cuomo said. “It’s all about the economy, and the economy is doing great. We’re going to focus on the economy. And that’s his reelection strategy. So he’s using the CDC as a campaign rhetorical device.”

Research contact: @CNBC

‘Summit’ talks: What on Earth is the ‘Boyfriend Cliff’?

July 22, 2020

On July 20, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a detailed, colorful poster entitled New York Toughdepicting the surge of the coronavirus pandemic within the state as a steep mountain that New Yorkers worked hard to flatten by their cooperative actions to shelter in place, shut down all nonessential businesses, test for the virus, social distance and wear masks; and support the healthcare heroes who work at the front.

But in addition to this familiar visual metaphor, Claire Lampen, a writer for New York Magazine’s The Cut, noted that the poster “…also features a bunch of highly specific yet bewildering symbols: ‘Winds of Fear’ bluster around the mountain as the crisis builds; a mask mandate at the mountain’s peak helps usher New York into its first phase of reopening; and the economy, portrayed as a river (?), feeds into the “Sea of Division” (??).

However, “perhaps the most perplexing detail,” Lampen says, “is the “Boyfriend Cliff”—represented by a little crag [midway up the right side of the mountain] with a small man dangling from its tip.”

“Is the ‘Boyfriend Cliff’ where we dispose of … boyfriends once we are through with them? Does the ‘Boyfriend Cliff’ refer to a boyfriend named Cliff?” she asks.

Or does the “Boyfriend Cliff” symbolize your relationship falling off a cliff when you and the significant other you don’t live with, who (again) may not be a boyfriend, realize you won’t be seeing each other for a few months due to social-distancing recommendations.

Some think it’s a personal reference made by the governor. For example, Syracuse.com seems pretty certain the “Boyfriend Cliff” harks back to a comment Cuomo previously made at a press conference, concerning his daughter Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, her boyfriend (not named Cliff), and the Cuomo family’s Spaghetti Sundays.

Chrissy Teigen, who weighed in on Twitter, seems to agree with this reading. She reminded Cuomo that he had claimed to “like the boyfriend,” prompting Cuomo to clarify, “We do like the  boyfriend. Alll boyfriends face a steep climb.”

The Cut contacted Cuomo’s office for answers. Two days later, Peter Ajemian— Cuomo’s senior deputy communications director—offered an explanation. According to Ajemian, the “Boyfriend Cliff” is simply “an ongoing‎, playful bit the governor has been doing publicly with his family over the past few months to help lighten spirits during an incredibly difficult time.” And why a cliff? There is so much we still don’t know.

Research contact: @TheCut

N.Y. Governor Cuomo excoriates Congress for politicizing federal funding to hard-hit states

May 29, 2020

After a visit to the White House to discuss New York State-based infrastructure projects that could provide a “bailout with a legacy”—among them, plans for extending the 2nd Avenue Subway in the Big Apple and constructing two new tunnels across the Hudson River to carry Amtrak trains that service the northeast—New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sat down for a briefing at the National Press Club on May 27, delivering a fiery defense of federal funding to states that have been hit hard by the coronavirus.

He excoriated Congressional Republicans for politicizing aid to the states by giving preference to red states over blue. And in doing so, Cuomo specifically directed his message at critics such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida), The Washington Post reported.

 “Stop abusing New York. Stop abusing New Jersey,” Cuomo said to lawmakers in Congress, adding, “Stop abusing the states who bore the brunt of the COVID virus through no fault of their own.”

This hyper-partisan Washington environment is toxic for this country,” said the governor, according to a transcript posted by Yahoo. “We have people saying, ‘Well, we don’t want to pass a bill that helps Democratic states. It would be a blue-state bailout.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell , Republican of Kentucky, said Cuomo, is interested in “Stopping blue state bailouts.”

Senator Rick Scott of Florida (R) has said, according to Cuomo, “We’re supposed to bail them out? That’s not right.”

“This is really an ugly, ugly sentiment,” maintained the New York Governor. “It is an un-American response. We’re still the United States. Those words meant something.”

Cuomo said he isn’t asking the federal government to do his state’s job.

“I understand that states are responsible for the reopening … but, at the same time, the federal government has a role to play and it has to play a part. There cannot be a national recovery if the state and local governments are not funded. That is a fact.”

Washington is now debating a new recovery bill, he said.

“Previous bills have helped large business, small businesses, all kinds of businesses. Hotels. Airlines. That’s great,” maintained Cuomo. But state and local governments fund schools and hospitals, police, fire.

“The COVID states — the states that bore the brunt — they’re one-third of the GDP,” noted the governor. “How can you tell one-third of the country to go to heck and think that you’re going to see an economic rebound?”

“Also, state economies, that’s what the national economy is made of,” he said. “There is no nation without the states. They tend to forget that in this town.”

Scott fired back in a statement, declaring that Congress will not “use a health crisis and taxpayer money to bail out poorly-run states like Governor Cuomo’s New York.”

McConnell’s office pointed to remarks the Senate majority leader made Tuesday, when he said that “there may be some additional assistance” for states in the next round of coronavirus relief legislation “if it’s directly related to COVID-19.”

Cuomo also pushed back on the notion that the coronavirus came to the United States from China, an argument that Trump and GOP lawmakers have increasingly made as the pandemic has swept across the country.

“It didn’t come from China. It came from Europe, and we bore the brunt of it. And now you want to hold that against us because we bore the brunt of a national mistake?” he asked.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

New York City partners with Salesforce on COVID-19 contact tracing program

May 11, 2020

New York City—the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, with over 26,000 deaths from the disease and more than 55,500 recoveries  celebrated—is partnering with san Francisco-based Salesforce, to build the city’s COVID-19 contact tracing program, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on May 8.

Salesforce will deploy a call center as well as a customer relationship and case management system that will help the city to track people who have had contact with those who have tested positive for the virus—and isolate them before they become sick, according to a report by CNBC.

De Blasio explained that the city is implementing a “test and trace corps” that will be tasked with testing New Yorkers for the infection.  The partnership will be “up and running” by the end of May, he said.

“It will allow us to track every case, analyze the data constantly, keep the right information on each and every case, manage the whole process efficiently,” de Blasio said. “This is going to be a huge effort, just think how it grows and grows over the weeks, but it’s something that if we do right continually will constrain this disease.”

The goal is to hire 2,500 public health “foot soldiers” by June, who will be trained using the contact tracing program led by Mike Bloomberg in partnership with Johns Hopkins University. There have been nearly 7,000 applications for the program already, de Blasio said.

A spokesperson for Salesforce confirmed the company’s partnership to CNBC, but didn’t provide any further details.

In late April, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tapped Bloomberg to head the state’s contact tracing program. Bloomberg said his team is developing three smartphone apps to help the state trace every person who comes into contact with someone infected with Covid-19.

Cuomo has said the state will need to hire at least 30 contact tracers per 100,000 people in order to begin reopening the state’s economy, CNBC noted.

Research contact: @CNBC

Trump, Cuomo clash on reopening country

April 16, 2020

President Donald Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo—the latter of whom has risen to greater prominence nationwide and higher performance ratings during the COVID-19 crisis—butted heads this week over who has the power to reopen the country, which has largely shut down in response to the pandemic.

Two coalitions on both coasts announced by nine Democratic governors—and including including Cuomo and California Governor Gavin Newsom— have eclipsed the president’s authority-saying they will form plans on when and how to start reopening their states, with little mention of the president, The Epoch Times reports.

And they have the authority to do it, for two reasons:

  • First, according to the Centers for Disease Control, states “have police power functions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of persons within their borders.”
  • Second, the president, himself, delegated authority for the coronavirus mitigation effort to the governors early on, instead of risking responsibility for the (possibly unsuccessful) effort at the federal level.

However, Trump told reporters late on April 13 that he, alone, had the authority to decide when to reopen the country; and then reversed himself at another point during the briefing, saying that the governors could decide when to reopen their states.

“We will soon finalize new and very important guidelines to give governors the information they need to start safely opening their states,” he said, referencing a new committee he formed to explore when and how to reopen.

Asked what would happen if some states refuse to reopen, Trump suggested those governors would be voted out of office.

“They’re going to open. They’re going to all open. They want to open. They have to open. They have to get open. Every one of those states, people want to go,” the president said. “We have local government that hopefully will do a good job and, if they don’t do a good job, I’d step in so fast.”

The situation is different in some states that have seen few cases of the CCP virus, compared with some of the hardest-hit states such as New York, Louisiana, and Michigan, Trump said.

Vice President Mike Pence backed the president, The Epoch Times reported, remarking, “Throughout the long history of this country, the authority of the president of the United States during national emergencies is unquestionably plenary,” or absolute.

“You can look back through times of war and other national emergencies,” he said.

“It is possible for federal, state, local, and tribal health authorities to have and use all at the same time, separate but coexisting legal quarantine power in certain events. In the event of a conflict, federal law is supreme,” the agency stated.

In direct opposition, Cuomo, who has veered between praising and criticizing Trump, said early on April 14 that Trump shouldn’t try to force states to reopen.

Noting that Trump is not a “king,” Cuomo told MSNBC’s Morning Joe hosts, “The only way this situation gets worse is if the president creates a constitutional crisis.”

“If he says to me, ‘I declare it open,’ and that is a public health risk or it’s reckless with the welfare of the people of my state, I will oppose it.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also pushed back on Trump’s assertions while California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has repeatedly referred to that state as a “nation-state,” said the West Coast compact will focus on reopening based on “health—not politics.”

Trump responded to Cuomo on Twitter, claiming the New York governor has been calling him every day “begging for everything,” including items that should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals and ventilators.

“I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!” Trump wrote.

Research contact: @EpochTimes

Cuomo: Millions and millions of tests needed before U.S. economy can be rebooted

April 13, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on April 10 that millions of COVID-19 tests must be administered nationwide, if the country’s economy is going to reopen safely and effectively, according to a report by The Hill.

“This is going to be a horrendous transformational period for us,” Cuomo said in an appearance on MSNBC‘s Morning Joe.

“I don’t think we ever get back to normal. I think this is one of the new normals now in public health,” he said.

The governor added that just how smoothly American society and its economy will be able to reopen will directly correspond to what the steps the government does or does not take.

“This is such an important period for government and the political discussion,” Cuomo said. “Nothing is pre-charted here. It’s all a function of what we do.”

He added: “How good are we at getting this testing up? Are we better than we’ve been in the past? Is it going to take us months to come to scale on rapid testing? That’s the only way to get people back to work. You have to have millions and millions of tests, frankly, better and faster than we’ve done to date.”

This isn’t the first time that Cuomo has signaled that widespread testing to see who has had the virus is essential to America’s ability to get its people back to work, The Hill said.

Cuomo has said that New York State has developed a test that sees whether a person has developed antibodies to fight COVID-19. It has been well-documented that not everyone who contracted the virus will show outward symptoms consistent with the disease.

“We cannot restart life as we knew it without testing,” he tweeted earlier this week.

But Cuomo’s stance on testing differs from President Trump’s opinion on the matterThe Hill noted. In his daily coronavirus press briefing Thursday, Trump punted when asked about the need for widespread testing—saying that it would be nice but not required.

“We want to have it and we’re going to see if we have it. Do you need it? No. Is it a nice thing to do? Yes,” Trump said. “We’re talking about 325 million people. And that’s not going to happen, as you can imagine, and it would never happen with anyone else either.” 

Trump has expressed optimism that the country could start to ease social distancing recommendations by early May. The White House’s social distancing guidelines run through the end of April.

Cuomo isn’t alone in his call for comprehensive testing, though.

“In a setting where there will still be spread and we’ll still be slowly exiting the epidemic; we need capacity to test several million people a week (and probably more) to get broad enough coverage in community to detect outbreaks early and make case containment strategies work,” Scott Gottlieb, Trump’s former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, tweeted Thursday.

According to the COVID Tracking Project, the United States has tested about 960,000 people in the past week.

Research contact: @thehill

3M to send 500,000 respirators to New York City, Seattle

March 24, 2020

The 3M Company will send 500,000 respirators—face masks with protection suitable for a healthcare system deluged by COVID-19—to New York City and Seattle as the two cities combat the COVID-19 outbreak, its CEO announced in a statement released on Sunday, March 22.

While U.S. government agencies have not been specific about the sources and numbers of crucial, urgently needed, medical supplies that are being manufactured and distributed nationwide, 3M CEO and Chairman Mike Roman said,” … we’ve ramped up to maximum production levels of N95 respirators and doubled our global output to a rate of more than 1.1 billion per year, or nearly 100 million per month. In the United States we are producing 35 million respirators per month; of these, more than 90% are now designated for healthcare workers, with the remaining deployed to other industries also critical in this pandemic, including energy, food and pharmaceutical companies.

“ As a global company, we also manufacture respirators in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, and our products are being similarly deployed to support the COVID-19 response in those respective regions.”

Already, he said, “… more than 500,000 respirators are on the way from our South Dakota plant to two of the more critically impacted areas, New York and Seattle, with arrivals expected starting tomorrow [Monday, March 23]. We are also ready to expedite additional shipments across the country.”

The company is aiming to double its global capacity to 2 billion within the next year. 3M is working with the U.S. and other governments to see if other manufacturing strategies or partnerships can expedite doubling the capacity.

Roman also said the company has maximized the production of other products related to fighting the virus, like hand sanitizers and disinfectants..

“We are all in this together, and 3M will continue to do all we can to help protect lives and get the world through this crisis,” he said in the release.

3M’s announcement came as state leaders are calling on the federal government to access medical supplies as hospitals and other health care facilities experience a lack of equipment because of the growing number of cases, The Hill reported—noting that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) called on the federal government Sunday to order the manufacturing of medical supplies, so states do not have to battle each other to get access.

New York and Washington states have been hit hard by the virus, with more than 15,000 cases and almost 2,000 cases, respectively, The Hill said.. New York State has seen the most deaths with 117; followed by Washington State, with 94, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Research contact: @3M