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WPCNR CORONA VIRUS NEWS. From the Governor’s Office. June 24, 2020:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont today announced a joint incoming travel advisory that all individuals traveling from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. 

The states are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North and South Carolina, Washington, Utah, and Texas.

This quarantine – effective midnight tonight – applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.  

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will continually update and publish on their respective websites a list of states to which the new advisory applies. This information will be updated regularly.

The tri-state measure will use uniform parameters and messaging on highways, airports, websites and social media across the three states. The three states will also ask hotels to communicate the 14-day quarantine to guests who have traveled from one of the impacted states. 

VIDEO of the Governor’s remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.  

First, I want to personally thank the governor’s on behalf of myself and behalf of all the people of the State. They’ve been extraordinary colleagues through this situation. We’ve been mutually supportive, they’ve been mutually helpful beyond the normal government relations or political relations. This was a situation that nobody had really faced before and I am thankful that they were personal comforts and sources of strength for me in being able to talk through this situation with them and come up with coordinated plans really made a difference. There were no states that were handed a worst hand, if you will, when this started than our states.

Remember what happened. We had some of the highest infection rates because we had people coming from Europe who brought the virus. They traced our virus in this region back to Europe and we had a federal government that told us the virus was in China, it’s in China, it’s in China. It wasn’t in China, it had left China and went to Europe and then it came here from Europe. January, February, March 3 million Europeans came in to our region of the country and they brought the virus. By the time we found out, by the time the federal government figured it out, we had viral spread all through the community.

We had the highest numbers to deal with in the country and you look at where we are now, we did a full 180 degrees. We went from the highest cases, the highest viral transmission rate to some of the lowest rates in the country. No one else had to accomplish as much as we had to accomplish in such a short period of time. No one else had to bend the curve as much as we had to bend the curve. When people take a deep breath and the political rhetoric dies down, those are going to be the facts.

I applaud my colleagues for doing an extraordinary job. We now have to make sure that the rate continues to drop and that’s what keeps me up at night and I’m sure keeps them up at night. We have to make sure we’re doing everything and we’re diligent and our citizens are diligent. We also have to make sure the virus doesn’t come in on a plane again. We learned that lesson. Been there, done that.

We’re announcing today a joint travel advisory. People coming in from states that have a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days. We have a calibration for the infection rate and any state that goes over that infection rate, that state will be subject to the quarantine.

It’s only for the simple reason that we worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down. We don’t want to see it go up because a lot of people come into this region and they could literally bring the infection with them. It wouldn’t be malicious or malevolent, but it would still be real.

We are jointly instituting that travel advisory today because what happens in New York happens in New Jersey, happens in Connecticut. I think it’s right, I think it’s smart and I’m glad that we’re doing it together. We’ve done a lot of good things together and hopefully we’re on the other side of this mountain and we’ll continue to see the numbers go down and we’ll continue to see the economic activity go up.

With that, I’m going to turn it over to my neighbor, Governor Phil Murphy. Phil, thank you again for everything Thank you for what you’ve done, not just for New Jersey, thank you for what you’ve done for New Yorkers. There’s no doubt that our partnership has made it better for both states. So thank you very much, Governor Phil Murphy.

Governor Murphy: Andrew, thank you and I echo your words of thanks and deepest appreciation for the partnership with you and with Ned. We live in the densest neighborhood in America, we’ve been clobbered by this virus. No region in the country has paid a bigger price with the loss of brothers and sisters. We’ve lost just under 13,000 members of our New Jersey family. New York has paid an enormous price. Connecticut has paid a big price as well. I can’t thank you enough for your partnership, guys.

We need to do things right inside the four walls in our respective states. We need the federal government, but boy, have we needed our neighbors and I can’t thank you and Governor Lamont enough for your partnership and the spirit of teamwork in this extraordinary chapter in our states and our nation’s history.

My echo is simple: This is a smart thing to do. We have taken our people, the three of us, these three states, through hell and back. The last thing we need to do right now is subject our folks to another round. This virus is risky enough on it’s own in terms of the potential to flare back up. So, doing something common sense as this is to say to folks, “Listen. It’s time for personal responsibility. If you’ve been in a state that has a high infection rate, do the right thing and that and that is taking 14 days and self-quarantining. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the common-sense thing to do. It’s the responsible thing to do.”

So I’m honored to be alongside my fellow governors today in support this notion wholeheartedly and I know the details will come from our respective health departments on exactly what this means, but it’s a really smart common sense, step, particularly as we have the three states have really broken the back of this virus. Thank you again for a for everything and for having me today.

Governor Cuomo: Thank you – thank you very much, Governor Murphy and again I do believe we’re all on the other side of the mountain, but we do determine what happens. It’s what our people do. It’s our policies and it’s not over until it’s over and I think this will be it will help us all. Thank you very much, Phil. And our other colleague and partner, Governor Ned Lamont from Connecticut. Governor, thank you very much for your partnership. Thank you for the personal support and personal friendship you’ve given me. Nobody wanted to go through this but you see sometimes in life when the pressure is on, you see the best and the worst in people and society and I think we saw that here and one of the high points, one of the best facets that came out of this was strong people got stronger, and strong relationships got stronger. And New York and Connecticut and New Jersey really stood together and I want to thank you very much. Governor Ned Lamont.

Let me give you some details.

Governor Lamont: Hi, but it’s not going to leave on that airplane. It only goes by working together with New York, New Jersey and the other states in our region are to make sure that we maintain the protocols, the social distancing, the masks, everything we have done successfully over the last few months to bring our positivity rate to less than three percent.

And I got to say, I am blessed to have you guys as fellow governors as well as Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the northeast region has taken this seriously. And that’s allowed us has a region to power through and get our positivity rates very low. But we’re not an island. And as we look around the rest of the country, you know, we have seen not just spikes, but we’ve seen real community spread of a better than 10 percent positivity rate in a number of these states that we’re talking about right now, and if was limited to you know the nursing homes, or the prisons are something containable perhaps we would not be as concerned, but right now we’re seeing places within some of these states where we have a positivity rate of a 20, 30, 40 percent. In many cases younger people, folks who travel, 18 to 35 who are maybe not at risk themselves but are highly infectious.

So, you know working with Phil and Andrew over the last you know week or two, we reluctantly came to the conclusion, that this is what we’ve got to do to make sure that our region stays safe and our state stays safe as we make sure that we can safely get our businesses back in our schools back up and operating this fall. We will be monitoring this carefully. We’ve got the quarantine in place will be doing publicity and social media, reaching out to the travel agents, doing everything we can to tell people, if you come to Connecticut, you come to New York, you come to New Jersey, you come safely and you follow the protocols starting with a quarantine. Andrew, Phil, great being with you guys.

Governor Cuomo: Governor Lamont, same here. Thank you very much and hopefully we’re on the other side and we stay on the other side. Governor, thank you very much. Ned, thank you.

Okay, let me give you a couple of more details on this the infection rate formula will be 10 per 100,000 on the seven-day rolling average or 10 percent of the total population positive on a seven-day rolling average. So, any state that has an infection rate above that would require 14-day quarantine.

As of today, the states that are above that level are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah, Texas. That’s as of today. The states themselves can change as the infection rate changes. And we will update daily what states are above that infection rate. But as of today, those of the states that are above the infection rate. And again, it’s just common sense it’s. It’s the spirit of community.

If you’re in a place that has a high infection rate, we understand that and we’ll help you any way we can and we’ve been helpful in reaching out to every state across the nation. But we don’t want to see the infection rate increase here after what we’ve gone through, and that’s the 14-day quarantine. That is a uniform policy across the three states. Each state will be responsible for the enforcement of that policy within their state.

Let me give you a couple of other faxes as we are here on day 116. The number of hospitalizations is 1,071, that’s the lowest level of hospitalizations we have seen since this nightmare began. Again, when I say we’re on the other side of the mountain, sometimes I’m talking to myself, I’m often talking myself, but this is the mountain I’m talking about. We’re on the other side on the decline. We just don’t want to see us reverse and we are at the lowest level we have been on hospitalizations since this started. We paid a very dear price for it.  

Our tests, we did 58,000 tests yesterday, highest number of tests in the United States. Without to test, you don’t know where you are. We are at 1.1 percent positive. You can see the testing by region and all the regions are constant since the reopening, including New York City, which we’re watching very carefully. But we watch it on a day-to-day basis and right now all the numbers look good.

Within New York City, we look at the numbers by borough. We also look at the hot spots in the boroughs. We know that there are some zip codes that are much higher than other zip codes. So we also study those hot spot zip codes. The number of deaths is 17 today. This is right about where the lowest numbers have ever been. Again, that’s more great, great news. And again we don’t want to see these numbers reverse. Number of lives lost on the three-day average, again, is just about as low as it’s ever been. So, all the numbers are good. What we’re doing works. Our approach has been vindicated and the phased reopening by data works.

I said from day one I think these states, this theory over handling it politically, that people had a political theory of how to deal with the virus, you can’t have a political theory on how to deal with the virus. You can’t. It’s a virus. It doesn’t respond to political theory. It responds to science and data. So we’re going ahead with our metrics and our phased reopening. Five regions are set to enter phase four on Friday. Those are the five regions on the map.

On phase four, we have low risk outdoor arts, low risk indoor arts entertainment, museums, film and movie production, higher education and professional sports. By the way, the spring training for the Yankees and the Mets starts July 1 in the great State of New York. I spoke with the Yankees and Mets organization today and confirmed that we are on track. And our Health Commissioner is going to be working with Major League Baseball on the protocols that are in place. Phase four, we are going to increase the number of people who can be at a religious gathering from 25 to 33 percent. We’ll also increase the number of people who can be in a social gathering from 25 people to 50 people.

We are continuing to study of malls, movie theaters, and gyms. There’s new information that comes out on this virus every day and anyone who thinks this is a static situation is wrong. So we are continuing to study the most recent developments. We’re looking at what happened in other states. There are some reports that malls, bars, certain social clubs with air conditioning that air conditioning may not be cleansing the air of the virus and just recirculating the virus. So we are studying that and as soon as we get some more information we will make an informed decision.

MTA subway system was up to the highest number of riders since this started. The MTA subway system, you know, there can be a silver lining in the middle of a storm. The system is cleaner than ever. I am a lifelong New York City boy, board New York City person, and I’ve seen the subways, and we’ve had numerous discussions on how to clean. “The subways are dirty and they should be cleaner.” They are cleaner than they have ever been period – period. I defy anyone to find a time when the subways have been cleaner.

Remember, we were talking about trying to clean them, get out the old newspapers, coffee cups, et cetera. We were for years stymied to help the homeless who are on the subway system, which was really a terrible crisis for the homeless and for society. They are now cleaner than ever. They are literally disinfected. Forget cleaning, they are literally disinfected and that is a positive that has come out of this, and I applaud the MTA for doing this. To disinfect the subway was not a simple task. You had to figure out how. What equipment, what technology, what’s safe, what chemicals, what’s safe for the employees to put down, what’s safe for the riders the next morning. But they did it.

On the reopening, we had a great debate in this nation as to how to reopen. Well, reopen fast, reopen fast, government shouldn’t be in the way, this is all overblown, this is just the flu, reopen, reopen. Okay. Some states did that. There was a different theory, theory that I advocated, the state followed, which is it’s a virus, don’t use political rhetoric, use science and metrics, and phase the reopening by the data. The results are in. We tested both theories. The arguments over. Two different theories, we tested them. And now we know what happened.

The reopening, done smartly, done intelligently, done on the data, is better for the public health, we saved lives, and it’s better for the economy. It was never a choice between saving lives and reopening the economy. It was always, you have to do both or you do neither. The concept that you could open recklessly, see the virus transmission go up, and think that was going to be good for the economy, was bizzaro land. And you see that today because you see states with an increase in viral spread, it’s up to about 27 states that now have an increase in the virus spread, and you see the stock market going down every time the virus goes up. Why? Because it was never one or the other. And now you see countries around the globe saying we may not want to travel to the United States because of the virus. The only way to get the economy back was to have a smart reopening plan. That was always, always true. And now, the proof is in the pudding. Because we’re seeing it all across the board. And what New York is doing is counter to what you see across the nation. They are going up, and we are going down. 27 states going up.

So, nationally, we should admit the reality. Denial is not a life strategy. It never is. Those 27 states are going up, more people are being infected, and more lives will be lost. They’re offering excuses. “Well, it’s because we’re doing more testing that the numbers are going up.” That is just factually not true. The numbers aren’t going up because you’re doing more testing. The numbers are going up because more people are getting sick. You know how more people are getting sick? More people are going into the hospitals. When more people are going into hospitals, you know what it means? It means more people are getting sick. And don’t tell the American people anything different. They know that when people go to a hospital, it’s because people are sick. And you look at Arizona, you look at Texas, you look at all these states, you know what you see? You see an arrow going up, because it was misguided to say we’re going to reopen the economy. What you’re doing is you’re putting people’s lives in jeopardy, and you’re hurting the economy.

New York is the exception. Dr. Fauci, who is, in my opinion, one of the sane and smart voices in Washington, yesterday said, that New York is an example of actually doing it right. In New York, we have to remain vigilant. Everybody has a role to play. Individuals, businesses, and government. Look, this is a different moment in history. Government has to work now. This is not normal politics. Political rhetoric, tweets. This is government actually having to perform a job. Government, people expect government to work now. You see how engaged people are, how they’re following government? And they know when it works and when it doesn’t work. Their complaint with the federal government right now? They have been incompetent in how they handled the situation, because they have been, and local governments have a role to play.

We have to keep that infection rate down. The key to that is the local governments being diligent on compliance, and I had this conversation with local governments all across the state five times a day. The state is in charge of opening or reopening. The state put the metrics in place, the state closed down the businesses, the state is responsible for reopening. Local government has no authority. That took a big political burden off the local governments. Nobody wanted to shut down the economy. The President didn’t want to shut it down. Nobody wanted to tell people to stay home.

I took the responsibility for shutting, the state has the responsibility for reopening. Local government can’t shut anything. Local government can’t reopen anything. They can’t shut a school, they can’t open a school. They can’t shut business, they can’t open business. That’s all the state’s responsibility and I assume it 100 percent. I get 100 phone calls every day from angry people who want this open or this open or this open. Okay, local governments have a responsibility. They have to ensure compliance. Social distancing, mask wearing, businesses following the rules. Bars, restaurants, people on sidewalks, local government has to do that.

I understand it’s not easy. I understand it’s not popular. Welcome to government in the middle of a global crisis. They have to do that job and they have to be competent at doing that job. The worst case scenario is what Governor Murphy just said. After we’ve gone through hell, imagine if we have to go back and do it again. The other piece of the equation is people have to do their part.

You know who bent the curve in New York? New Yorkers. Nobody else. They wore the mask and did the social distancing. They did it. Weather is warm, the news is good in New York. Yes, it is, but that does not mean people can now relax. The news is good because we did what we had to do. The news is good because we were New York tough and smart and united and disciplined and loving.

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