NEW YORK (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that despite the rise in statewide coronavirus cases, he is optimistic that New York can avoid another complete shutdown.
Cuomo said that no hospital in the state is currently forecast to reach the danger zone for capacity, indicating that a shutdown is not imminent despite recent warnings from him and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"I believe we can avoid a shutdown, and I believe we will avoid a shutdown," Cuomo said. "I'll go that far."
Cuomo then went as far to bet against a shutdown."
"I'm not a gambling man, per se, but I would bet with you," he said. "I would wager New York does not shut down, because I believe in New Yorkers and I would never bet against New Yorkers. And the shutdown is in the hands of New Yorkers. New Yorkers have the shutdown in their hands. Celebrate smart, healthy holidays, hospital management, we don't shut down. I bet on New Yorkers. I'll wager whatever you want there is no shutdown, because I always bet on New York."
He also debuted what he called a new mantra: "Slow the spread, stop the shutdown," chanting it several times.
"It's that simple," he said.
New York state nursing homes residents will start receiving the vaccine on Monday, according to the state health officials. Approximately 19,000 New Yorkers have been vaccinated so far, Cuomo said.
The same confidence cannot be had for New York City itself, where de Blasio says a post-Christmas shutdown is more likely than a statewide one.
"I don't say it with anything but sorrow, but I do think it's needed," he said earlier this week. "We are going to need to some kind of shutdown in the weeks ahead, something that resembles the pause we were in in the spring...If we implement that, my nomination would be right after Christmas. If we implement that, with some good luck and hard work and with the vaccine starting to help us, we could be out of that in a matter of weeks."
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree is a much different tune this year, with fewer crowds at Rockefeller Center.
The city is known to be bustling during the holiday season - just a year ago, there were thousands packing the streets and sidewalks - this year: calm.
"It's definitely not as much as I expected, which is a good thing, because it's better to see the windows," said Brie Gronock.
The windows at Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's in Herald Square are oddly easy to approach.
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Department of Health state law says hospitals must notify the state when they are three weeks from 85% maximum capacity, and he said no hospital in the state has given such notice.
"No hospital in the state believes that they are going to hit 85% by January 8," Cuomo said. "That's good news."
He reiterated his belief, though, that whether or not there is a shutdown is up to state residents.
"Nobody can answer that question today," he said. "People can have opinions...I understand local officials are warning of a shutdown, if the growth increases. I understand why."
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