Gov. Cuomo: ‘I believe there will be distrust from Americans about a COVID-19 vaccine’

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a conference call with media Thursday to give an update on the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts.

Earlier this week, the governor said that the pandemic will wage on for the foreseeable future, and that New Yorkers need to be prepared for that, but Thursday he spoke about planning what comes next in regards to the handling of the coronavirus.

“We start to think ahead — dealing with COVID is not checkers, it’s chess — so let’s start to think ahead,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’re dealing with the fall, the next step is going to be dealing with a vaccine. We all hope and pray that the vaccine comes sooner or later. When the vaccine comes out the first question will be: Do the American people trust the vaccine? I do believe there will be distrust about the vaccine, because I believe there’s distrust with this federal administration.”

Earlier Thursday, the governor released a letter from the National Governors Association, to which Gov. Cuomo is the president, to President Donald Trump regarding the pandemic

“Dear President Trump,

States have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, working tirelessly to protect and care for our residents during this global pandemic. Governors are willing to assist your Administration’s efforts to ensure a national vaccination campaign is implemented smoothly and efficiently. However, additional guidance and clarification is needed on the roles and expectations of states in a successful COVID-19 vaccine distribution and implementation plan. 

To that end, as Chair and Vice-Chair of the National Governors Association, we request a meeting with you and your team to discuss what is required to ensure a strong partnership, including but not limited to: the delineation of federal and state responsibilities; the funding needs associated with those responsibilities; and the planned supply chain management and vaccine allocation process.

We look forward to a productive conversation together.”

The governor said New York State Department of Health will review any federally-approved vaccine before recommending its use for New Yorkers, but the governor is concerned with how the White House will handle the administering of a vaccine once its approved by the DOH.

“Government does not do these large operational complex functions easily or well,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The federal government has shown that it does not have the operational capacity to do these things. That’s why the federal government, at the beginning of COVID, just delegated it to all to the states. It is a massive, monumental undertaking, and if you listen to the White House it could be just a matter of weeks away, and I’m telling you there’s no simple answer.”

The governor said the state continues to monitor the downstate hotspot clusters. While the areas with the highest rates of infection in New York are less than the infection rates of many states currently, the governor urges that people continue to follow compliance.

“In New York we talk about micro-clusters,” Gov. Cuomo said. “These are small situations. This is a Sweet 16 party on Long Island, this is a bar in Broome County that violated the rules they are episodic, but one episode can create dozens of cases.”

The governor said another issue is religious gatherings. He said some congregations have ignored the compliance rules from the onset of the pandemic, but for the most part, he says groups are following the rules.

“The majority of orthodox groups I’ve been speaking with are cooperative,” Gov. Cuomo said.

The governor said he has asked the DOH to begin accelerated testing in school areas in the “yellow zones,” outside the immediate “red zone” hot spot clusters.

For Thursday’s numbers, the governor announced the following data:

  • Day 229 of the pandemic in New York state
  • 133,212 tests conducted
  • 1,460 new positive cases
  • 4.84% infection rate in hotspot clusters
  • 0.99% infection rate outside of hotspot clusters
  • 1.09% infection rate overall statewide
  • 13 New Yorkers died from the virus Wednesday
  • 897 hospitalized (down 41 from the day prior)
  • 197 in ICU
  • 95 intubated

Each region’s percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows:

REGIONMONDAYTUESDAYWEDNESDAY
Capital Region1.7%1.2%0.8%
Central New York2.3%1.2%1.0%
Rochester & Finger Lakes1.0%0.7%1.3%
Long Island1.1%1.0%1.1%
Mid-Hudson1.8%1.6%1.6%
Mohawk Valley0.7%0.1%0.5%
New York City1.3%1.2%1.0%
North Country0.5%0.1%0.5%
Southern Tier2.2%1.0%1.1%
Western New York1.5%1.0%1.6%

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