Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) scolded New Yorkers for gathering with friends and families in the comfort of their private homes, identifying such gatherings as contributing to the spread of the Chinese coronavirus and defending his order limiting gatherings to no more than ten people in private homes. He also floated volunteering to assist coronavirus patients in a hospital as an alternative to private Thanksgiving gatherings, though he failed to explain how that was safer.
“This is a dramatic shift,” Cuomo said during Monday’s press conference, referencing the spike in cases caused by small gatherings:
Hospitalizations are climbing — statewide.
What can you do?
Cut out the small gatherings. Now.
65% of all cases are traced to small gatherings.
Gov't can't enforce who's in your living room. But you can.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) November 30, 2020
While he acknowledged that part of it is the nature of the holiday season, he also said people are gravitating toward small gatherings due to “reduced social options.”
“I can’t go to the bar and hang out. I can’t go to a restaurant and hang out. I can’t go to the movie theater and hang out. Come over to my house, and we’ll hang out. It’s just an adaptation of social behavior to the circumstance,” Cuomo said.
“We have a rule in effect, no more than ten at an event,” Cuomo said, defending his mandate by pointing to other states that have similar rules in effect.
“People say, ‘Oh I can’t believe the New York rule, no more than ten.’ Many states have a rule of no more than ten,” he said, adding that Kentucky is instituting a rule of no more than eight.
While Cuomo has publicly asked local governments to enforce his edicts, he admitted that the government does not have the ability to monitor the number of people an individual invites into his or her dwelling.
This is a nationwide problem. I understand the people say I don’t like the restrictions. “I have COVID fatigue. How can you say I shouldn’t have more than ten people in my house?” Look. The truth is the government doesn’t have an ability to monitor it. But you want to know what is smart, what is reasonable, what is protective of other people and yourself? This is where the spread is coming from. It’s a small gathering spread. We have to communicate this now to people the way we communicated masks. Seemingly the safest place — my home, my table, my family. Yeah, even that place is not safe.
Because of that, Cuomo’s administration will roll out a new public education campaign focusing on small, private gatherings.
“This is not government being overly dramatic. These are just facts,” Cuomo continued, arguing that his emphasis on limiting private gatherings is supported by “President Trump’s people and Joe Biden’s people.” He also cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, which advised Americans to gather with “no more than your household” for Thanksgiving.
“So whose politics are you playing if Donald Trump says the CDC mandates it and Joe Biden’s advisers say it’s smart?” he asked.
“Whose politics? Your own politics? You’re waving the political flag. Whose flag are you waving? It’s agreed to by both. It’s a fact of being smart, and luckily most of us are smart,” he continued.
The Democrat governor also used the opportunity to detail a conversation he had with a man over the weekend, who was purportedly incensed by Cuomo’s mandates, particularly his limit on gatherings in private homes.
“Nobody’s going to tell me how many people to have in my house. It’s my house. I want to have my family over I can have my family over,” Cuomo said, quoting the man.
“I said alright. I’ll make a deal with you right now. You do whatever you want in your house. Invite whoever you want. But here’s the deal. If somebody gets sick from what you did, you handle it,” Cuomo said, telling the man that he should not call an ambulance or go to the doctor and “expose” others because he “wanted to be reckless”:
I said don’t call an ambulance and expose an ambulance driver. Don’t go to the hospital and expose a nurse and a doctor … because you wanted to be reckless. You handle it. Stay at home and take care of yourself. But don’t expose people, and don’t ask people to risk their lives because you undertook risky behavior. “Oh no, no I won’t agree with that.” I said, “Oh I see. You want to be able to behave in a risky way and then if you get sick, then other people have to risk their lives because you were risky.” Is that fair? But that’s what they’re asking.
“You want to be a tough guy … go volunteer in a field hospital in Staten Island and help COVID patients if you’re a tough guy,” Cuomo said, adding, “You want to celebrate Thanksgiving? Bring your whole family and your extended family and go volunteer in a hospital and help COVID people.”
“That’s how you celebrate Thanksgiving. Don’t create more COVID-positive people and expect other people to come to your rescue. That’s not the spirit of Thanksgiving,” he added.
Cuomo did not explain how it was less risky to willingly expose an entire family to coronavirus patients in a hospital rather than gathering in a private residence with no known positive cases.