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Cuomo: We have to plan to 'pivot back to economic functionality'

New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCuomo calls a sheriff who won't enforce mask mandate a 'dictator' New York City to reopen field hospital as COVID-19 cases spike White House largely silent on health precautions for Thanksgiving MORE (D) said Monday the state has to begin planning to move forward economically after shutting down all nonessential businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“There has to be a balance, or parallel tracks that we’re going down,” Cuomo said at his daily briefing, in terms of public health and economic viability. 

“I take total responsibility for shutting off the economy in terms of nonessential workers, but we also have to start to plan the pivot back to economic functionality. You can't stop the economy forever,” he added. 

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE signaled he may lift restrictions intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, tweeting late Sunday night that “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.” 

He added that the White House will make a decision “as to which way we want to go” after the end of the 15-day period implemented in the White House plan released last week. 

Asked about Trump’s remarks, Cuomo said “you have to walk and chew gum in life,” adding that no executive has the “luxury of being one-dimensional.” 

“I am very proud of the measures we’ve taken to address this public health crisis,” Cuomo said.

“But I’m also very aware you cannot — it is unsustainable to run this state or run this country with the economy closed down,” he added. 

The governor said officials are looking to create a plan to get the economy back up and running while also taking public health strategy into consideration. 

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“I think there is a line, a dot, where those two lines cross,” he said, in reference to public health and economic policy. “You have to identify it, and that’s what we’re doing to do.”

But the governor said he had no second thoughts on the actions the state has taken even if it will have political consequences. 

New York, which has the most cases of the virus in the U.S., is among several states to have shut down all nonessential businesses.  

Cuomo said as the state evaluated the risks he “turned the valve a little” more and more, before reaching the point where he closed all nonessential businesses. The New York State on PAUSE order went into effect Monday morning. 

“I’m sure there will be political consequences, I know people are very angry about it,” he said, adding that one man told him he will never be reelected.  “Frankly, I don't even care about that. I did the right thing and I'm proud of it. At the same time, at one point you have to open the valve … because that is oxygen for the economy and this is not sustainable.” 

Cuomo also acknowledged that the number of cases in New York has continued to increase. 

Health experts have warned that actions may not immediately result in a reduction of cases, but overall mitigation practices can help flatten the curve to create a lower peak number of cases. 

New York is also testing for COVID-19 at higher rates per capita than other states and countries, Cuomo said. 

The state is testing 16,000 people per day, up from 1,000 tests per day the state was doing when it was first given authority to test 10 days ago, he said.