Cuomo Tells People Having Large Holiday Parties to 'Handle' Sick Family Members: 'Don't Call An Ambulance'

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo offered a "deal" to people who are holding large holiday gatherings, saying if any family member gets COVID-19 as a result of their "reckless" decision, they should "handle it" themselves.

Cuomo rebuked the politicization of coronavirus restrictions during Monday's pandemic press conference, highlighting that limits on indoor gatherings to under ten or so people is "probably the only" issue where both President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden's teams are in agreement with one another. Cuomo challenged people like Staten Island Republican councilman Joe Borelli that if they want to host large holiday parties, they should also volunteer themselves and extended family members to help patients in a COVID-19 field hospital.

The Democratic governor, who has been widely derided for his own handling of coronavirus patients in nursing homes, offered a "deal" to people hosting large family gatherings this holiday season: "Invite whoever you want...but you handle it" without health care workers or emergency responders.

"I'll make a deal with you right now," Cuomo said Monday in New York City. "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. Don't call an ambulance and expose an ambulance driver. Don't go to the hospital and expose a nurse and a doctor and an 11-99 worker 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," Cuomo continued.

Citing a rise in New York's coronavirus infection rate and a surge of 3,500 hospitalizations over the weekend, state health officials ordered hospitals to confirm a 90-day PPE stockpile and to increase bed capacity by 50 percent. Cuomo said officials are waiting to review the "post-Thanksgiving effect" before updating definitions of red, orange and yellow "hot spots."

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Cuomo's state restrictions on houses of worship, which sought to limit attendance at religious services to 10 or 20 people. Many conservatives and Trump supporters claimed the executive action was an example of government overreach, but Cuomo has reiterated that pandemic precautions are not a political issue whatsoever.

Although the governor did not address anyone by name, he extended his holiday party restriction "deal" to "tough guys" like GOP Councilman Borelli, who has mocked Cuomo's COVID-19 rules inside people's private homes. The governor was responding to a person over the weekend who declared, "Nobody's going to tell me how many people I can have in my house, it's my house. If I want to have my family over, I can have my family over."

"You want to be able to behave in a risky way and if you get sick then other people have to risk their lives because you were risky. Is that fair? Because that's what they're asking," Cuomo said. "You want to be a tough guy - a 'tough guy' being gender-neutral - I'll tell you what a tough guy does: go volunteer in a field hospital in Staten Island and help COVID patients if you're a tough guy."

New York's infection rate, which is defined as the number of positive tests for a length of time divided by the total number of tests for the same time period, is not doing worse than the national average. But he said that's no excuse to host large family gatherings for Christmas or other holidays.

According to state health records, 55 New Yorkers died on Saturday alone from complications tied to coronavirus.

Newsweek reached out to the governor's office as well as the New York state department of health for additional remarks Monday afternoon.

andrew cuomo mask holiday parties
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is seen on May 26, 2020 in New York City. JOSE PEREZ/Bauer-Griffin/Contributor/Getty Images