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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: Senate Bill Won't Work For New York, Need More Money; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: Our Cases Compared To Other States "Breathtaking"; Hospital System In New York Sees Tenfold Increase In Positive Patients; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: Ventilators Biggest Critical Need As Peak Looms, Hospitalization Outpacing Predicted Numbers So Far. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired March 25, 2020 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[12:00:00]

GOV.ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): And the reason we want to get that test is because then when you talk about the restarting the economy. You have a test that says you Andrew were exposed to in February and by the way you are recovered and you have antibodies go back to work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, how many ICU cases at this point?

CUOMO: I'm sorry I cut off Jessie and when I cut off Jessie then he gets annoyed at me and then I pay for the next week out. I'm kidding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The number of ICU spaces today is a third of the - or a third of the ICU beds that are currently available in the state. Do we still not have a bigger idea as to how much the availability of those beds currently is? So, it's 3,000 minus 888--

CUOMO: The ICU beds for our purposes are beds with ventilators, Okay? That's really, we can create today more ICU beds with ventilators we already have in house, right? So, we have 14,000 ventilators if we had to today, we could create 14,000 ventilated beds, if we were bumping up against capacity. Is that right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's correct. I think the term ICU bed in this world that we're living in right now is different. And so, a recovery room with a ventilator is an ICU bed. And so, I think that just fixing on the exact numbers, but we have asked all the hospitals for that information as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the state only has about 7,000 licensed respiratory therapists. We have 160 that have signed up. What - are there plans to try to increase that number? These are the experts that sort of get people breathing?

UNIDENTIFEIED MALE: We put out a call for about 1.2 million additional health care workers to come to New York State. That's going on a rolling basis, so you'll see many of these numbers, which the Governor presented today increase exponentially as those calls are going out.

It's not just in state. We've also asked for out-of-state retirees. We've had health care workers volunteer from Connecticut, New Jersey, and other parts of the country as well. And now we're arranging for them to come to this area as needed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if you noticed on that list, there were respiratory therapists in there who have volunteered as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to piggyback on that question, we've seen reports from federal sources saying that basically New York City will run out of ICU beds by Friday. Are you seeing similar reports and are you reacting to those?

CUOMO: No, I didn't see at those reports. I'm reacting to the numbers that we have. And you saw the numbers. The current number of ICU beds with a ventilator that's one number. If you bring, Jessie, the ventilators we have in hand and add those to beds, that number goes up 14,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how quickly will that happen?

CUOMO: We can move them, you know, in a day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you say they're in stockpile, is that a stockpile here in Albany, close to New York City?

CUOMO: Stockpile here, there are multiple stockpiles, which we did when we ramped up the whole disaster emergency management system. So, we have multiple stockpiles. We have these placed in multiple stockpiles, where you have to go to the city. There's a shorter trip. We have a stockpile on Long Island, a stockpile Mid-Hudson Valley, stockpile in Albany, stockpile in my basement, just in case the stockpile runs out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Haven't had trouble filling that out as of yet?

CUOMO: We have had the ICU. We have the ventilators in the stockpiles. We have not brought them from the stockpile to a hospital because we don't have a hospital that is called up and said I need a ventilated bed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --where these sort of medical providers being deployed are they being deployed to the front lines are they being you sent to working other parts of the hospital or what?

CUOMO: The workers?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reserved medical providers were being here called up and asked to volunteer?

CUOMO: They are not yet being deployed. I'll ask - if I'm incorrect, he can correct me, which he enjoys doing. I don't believe they're being deployed yet. They are reserve in case well, first, they're reserved for two purposes. You open new beds you now need staff for the new beds. We open up a dormitory, 200 beds.

Now you need staff to do the 200 beds. Or you have a hospital that has a severe shortage of workers because of hours or sickness. We would backfill. But Jim, I don't believe we're now deploying the reserves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's correct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you concerned, should we be concerned at all about the rollbacks of some regulations? You know, record keeping, medical malpractice protections and other, you know, regulations that have been rolled back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doctor?

CUOMO: Doctor?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking at those issues as well. There are some concerns that have been raised, but as we mentioned, and at previous press conferences, the Governor said that we should look at our rules and regulations and adapt accordingly, so we're going to do that as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor--

CUOMO: If we did waive I was on the phone with all of the hospital administrators. The Department of Health I'm going to say this in a nice way, don't worry. The Department of Health has multiple regulations to run the best health system in the United States of America, and those regulations make it so.

[12:05:00]

CUOMO: The regulations can sometimes get in the way of expedition and facilitation and mobilization. So, we said in this case, we're going to relax many of the regulations so they can staff up, they can increase capacity.

You know, you ask a hospital to double capacity. We have all sorts of space regulations, you have to so, you need flexibility for them to do what we're asking them to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, how concerned is you the cure are worse than the disease mentality?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, do you--

CUOMO: I'm confused.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you plan to work on New York City - foreign power?

CUOMO: If I need to work with New York City, but right is run by New York City. Did you have a point?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I was just going to say, New York City is already doing that on their own, so it's not something that they need us on. But we talk to New York City 77 times a day, so if that conversation needs to be had, it will be had.

CUOMO: 78, to be accurate. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do they face that technical error with--

CUOMO: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you plan to try to fix up that or do you--

CUOMO: I can. You need to be a Congressperson. You need to be a Senator. I've communicated with all of them. I understand the Washington bureaucracy. I was there. But I passed bills when I was at Secretary. I know how hard it is. But I also know how high the stakes are here.

You look at the laws in the revenue, what you guys have been talking about to me. How do you do a state budget with that dramatic loss in revenue? And - has been saying well the federal government is going to offer a stimulus package that delivers additional funding to state governments.

Okay, here's the package. It gives us $3.8 billion. The whole is as big as, as high as $15 billion. How do you plug a $15 billion hole with $3.8 billion? You don't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Governor. How do you respond to the mentality out there, the philosophy that the cure is worse than the disease and the suggestion by the President that he might want to open up the country by Easter?

CUOMO: Look, I believe its part language, right? Nobody will say it is sustainable to keep the economy closed. It is not sustainable. We all get that. China got it. South Korea got it etc. That's point one.

Point two everyone agrees I believe, in this state, we do everything we can to save a life. We are not going to triage and say, well, these were old people these were vulnerable people they had to die sometime soon anyway, so let's move on.

I don't believe any American believes that. I know New Yorkers don't believe that. And as Governor of the State of New York, I can swear to you, I would never do that. So, then you have two parallel thoughts.

You have to get the economy running and you have to protect every life that you can. I believe there's a more refined strategy than we are now talking about. I don't think it's binary. I don't think you close down the whole economy, which is what we did. I did, too.

And then open up the whole society to business as usual. We now have learned that there's a risk stratification quotient. Younger people have less risk. People who had the virus and are resolved have less risk.

Start that economy by bringing in those recovered people, those younger people who are less at risk, and start moving that machine that way. Start restarting the economy that way, which is also the best public health strategy, right?

To the extent you have a young person, who's going out to the park, not playing basketball, because they're not allowed to do that, but they're going out, they're talking to friends, et cetera. They're then coming back into the house with an older person.

That is not a good public health strategy. So, there is a path that refines the public health strategy and starts growing the economy, and I think that's what we have to work through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roll back restrictions to you?

CUOMO: Go ahead.

[12:10:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will the Feds roll back their restrictions? Does that affect you? I mean, do you automatically roll back? Do you keep in place according to your

CUOMO: The federal government has done guidelines. They call them guidelines because they are guidelines. And then states can follow the guidelines. States can fashion the guidelines to fit their specific circumstance.

There's no doubt that New York has a different and bigger problem than anywhere else in the country, right? That's every number you see. That's every fact you know. So, there's no doubt. We have a greater challenge here in New York density, numbers, and one of the most intense economies.

So, that all has to be taken into consideration, and I don't think there is any cookie cutter, you know, what works for New York I don't know necessarily is going to work for Tulsa or San Antonio.

So we'll come up with a plan that works for New York. And the federal government isn't saying we mandate anything. They saying we're offering guidelines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you make of the President's team saying that anyone who's visited New York City should self-quarantine for two weeks? And second question, will you self-quarantine, since you were in New York City yesterday?

CUOMO: Self-quarantine in New York State?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President's team said anyone who traveled to New York City should self-quarantine for two weeks.

CUOMO: In New York?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In New York City.

CUOMO: No, I don't think if you were in New York City, you must quarantine in New York State. You don't have to go back to New York City to quarantine. I'm going to quarantine in New York State.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you make of that victim and what will him - self quarantine? CUOMO: That is a medical advisory. Most important thing in life is to know what you don't know. I don't know medicine. I would turn to the doctor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I think you need to follow the CDC guidelines, and the CDC guidelines recommend that you stay a distance away, social distancing as well, whether it's in New York or not. And this is beyond New York, as the Governor's mentioned. It's not just in New York that these cases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Feds are saying that if you've been in New York City, you should quarantine for two weeks, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would not follow that. I believe that you should follow the guidelines in general that you should social distance. And if you were in New York and you go somewhere else these cases are all over the country. It's not just New York. We are at the forefront, as the governor has said, but its elsewhere.

CUOMO: Last question because you're so polite and you wait and you--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To rate the budget, is New York going to have to resort to emergency loans? If so, what would that look like? And you know - with what happens like short term budget cuts or authority or things like that.

CUOMO: If we don't get more funding from the Feds, I don't know how we write the budget. And that's why this Senate bill is so troublesome. I know the politics of play nice and don't say any - don't put any pressure on any other elected official.

Otherwise, they'll say you have sharp elbows and you don't play nice in the sand box. This is not a time to play nice in the sandbox. I represent the people of the State of New York. I get paid to represent them. I'm an attorney. I'm an advocate. I'm a New Yorker born and bred. I'm New York tough.

If you are hurting the people of the state, I'm going to do everything I can do to defend them, and I'm going to fight for the people of New York to the best of my ability. And we need more federal help than this bill gives us.

The House bill would have given us $17 billion. The Senate bill gives us $3 billion. I mean, that's a dramatic, dramatic difference. I'm going to go to work. Thank you very much, guys!

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: I'm John King. You've been listening to the Governor, Andrew Cuomo of New York, "We are still on the way up the mountain." that is Governor Cuomo's message this morning, meaning coronavirus cases in his state, especially New York city area, keep climbing.

The Governor says the virus now hospitalizing more people more often than the initial state projections had predicted, but there are some early signs, the Governor says, that the stay-at-home orders might be working in New York. The rate of doubling hospitalizations is down some.

Let's get straight to New York and CNN'S Shimon Prokupecz. Shimon a stock warning from the Governor there he says there is data that shows it may be getting a little better, but he is looking ahead to that apex two or three weeks from now and worried about his hospital capacity.

[12:15:00]

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, John, and the apex is the key thing. This is all what we keep hearing from the Governor. They are preparing for that apex. But we should talk about some of the good news, some of the good signs here.

Certainly, one of the most important things in all of this is that the social - the density, the social distancing is working, and they're seeing signs of that. Remember that hotspot in Westchester, in New Rochelle. We've all been there. I was out there.

He says that they're seeing signs that the rate of infection is actually decreasing there because of the steps that they've taken. So, there are good signs. There are good signs that social distancing is working. There are also signs that the rate of hospitalization is decreasing.

It doesn't mean that more people aren't going to get infected. It doesn't mean that more people aren't going to get sick and need hospitalization. But the point is, he feels that right now, given what they're doing, there are signs that some of these methods are working.

And I think it's very important to note that. Of course, the big concern is the ventilators. The Governor's saying that they still need more ventilators and that is something that is top priority, and they are working on that.

He also says that there is, right now, there is enough protective equipment for the nurses and the doctors at the hospitals. It is going forward in the weeks to come that they're going to need more of this, and that is something else that they are working on.

The other thing is some stats here John and I think it is important to note the number of hospitalizations over 3,000 across the state and of course, the number of people in the intensive care units.

That is the number that is probably the most important number and why they need more ventilators. That number is going up. We are now at over 800 people who are hospitalized, who need ventilators. They are in these intensive care units.

So, again, that is why we are hearing from the Governor that ventilators, ventilators, ventilators. This is something that they need and they are going to continue to work on that also positive signs. You know, he's complimenting the President, and the President's team, they're working together.

Jared Kushner is someone he's been in touch with who's been working with the Governor. So, yes, there's still a lot more work to do. There's still a lot more that the state and that the city needs, but he says there are signs, at least for now, that things are working.

So, some hope, but of course, we are nowhere near out of the woods here. There's still a lot to come. And as you said, John, it's that apex. We are anywhere from two to three weeks away from that, and that is when we can see significant more issues come along, John.

KING: And to that point, Shimon, you're in New York today. You've spent some time in Washington. Politics is a funny business even it seems, in the middle of a global pandemic. On the question of the federal government helping New York State, I want you to listen here. We talked about this yesterday Governor Cuomo Tuesday versus Governor Cuomo Wednesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Only the federal government has that power. And not to exercise that power is inexplicable to me. I do not for the life of me understand the reluctance to use the federal Defense Production Act.

The President and his team, I think, are using the DPA well, because it's basically a form - it's a leverage tool when you're dealing with private companies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Um, those are two very different people and that's the same man.

PROKUPECZ: I certainly sense a different tone in listening to him today from yesterday. Yesterday, we were in a very dire situation and sobering to hear the numbers as he was describing the apex, of course, putting pressure, going after the administration, saying that they needed more help.

It seems that, perhaps, maybe something has changed. He was very complimentary of the President. He mentioned Jared Kushner. He mentioned that he spoke to administration people last night. He's been in talks with them today. He did say that they were sending more ventilators.

So, perhaps there has been some movement in some of the conversations that the Governor has had with the administration. He also knows that he needs to play nice, right? We all know, having covered that the President long enough now, that you have to play nice sometimes, and what you say publicly is just as important as what you say privately to the President.

So, we could be seeing a different tone here from the Governor because of that. Look, you know, it's very clear that he's trying to work through this, he's trying to work with the administration, and we'll see.

The point in all of this, of course, is the ventilators. That is the key thing here, John. That is what he wants. That is what he needs. And that is what this state is going to need in the days to come, John.

[12:20:00]

KING: All right, pretty vivid display there, the golden rule of the Trump age, which is praise of the President on television gets you farther and may get you more results than criticism of the President on television.

Shimon Prokupecz, appreciate your frontline reporting in New York. Joining me now to consider the conversation, Dr. Carlos del Rio he is a Professor of Medicine in Global Health at Emory University in Atlanta and our Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay let me start with you on the question of the good news from the Governor. He says the doubling of the hospitalization rate has slowed quite significantly. He also said, look, it's only several days' data, so let's be careful.

Let's not get too optimistic, if you will, but he does seem to think that the social distancing in New York is starting to work. Is that a valid bet or is it too soon to tell?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I think that there are some encouraging signs here because you want to look not just at how quickly the numbers are growing, but as you point out, the Governor pointed out, the pace at which they are growing as well.

So, a lot of people look at this doubling rate, right, just trying to predict how many resources they're going to need? So, for example, you say there are some 800 patients in the hospital, you know, and you say it's doubling every four days or so.

You start doing the quick math, after a couple of weeks, the number you're going to arrive at is around 30,000, 40,000. So, that's where they're sort of thinking about these, you know the projection for the ventilators, for example, but you've got to use the best data you have.

Hopefully, the inertia, if you will, John, of this growth starts to slow down. I know that's a little bit of a nuanced point, but it's not just the numbers. It's how the numbers change as far as a trend goes, and that's at least encouraging, but let's sees how the next few days go as well, John?

KING: Let's see how the next few days go? Dr. Del Rio, comment on that point. When you listen to the Governor, he says by far, his state ten times the next state. His position is that he's the canary in the coal mine and this is definitely moving elsewhere. Do we know that to be true or is New York unique in terms of its density and in the number of these cases?

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE & GLOBAL HEALTH, EMROY UNIVERSITY: Well, I think that New York is unique, but it's also no different than many other cities, so I think he is right, he is the canary in the coal mine, and many of us in cities like Atlanta are simply seeing the same phenomena, just a couple days behind.

So, we're trying to do the things that he's been doing in cities like Atlanta to prevent us from getting there. I think we've all learned throughout this crisis what happened somewhere. I mean, we could have learned a lot from Italy and done a lot of things before now.

We could have learned a lot from Korea. We could have done a lot of things they've done in testing. So, implementing lessons learned I think is something that really has failed across this crisis over and over and over.

KING: Sanjay, as you listen to the briefing there, both the Governor and his state Health Director, Dr. Zucker, essentially contradicting the White House Task Force, the recommendation that anyone that's been to New York city in recent days should self-quarantine for 14 days.

They seem to say, look, that's not in the CDC guidelines we don't take just social distance. You don't need to self-quarantine. Whose advice is best?

GUPTA: Well, look, you know, I was surprised by this advice when I heard it yesterday at first from Ambassador Birx and then it came up again I think at the press conference. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I mean, first of all, as Dr. Zucker, Howard Zucker, I believe, the Commissioner there in New York, pointed out, there is cases, you know, everywhere around the country.

So, you know, is there a reason to sort of, in this case, single out New York? Yes, New York has the most cases, they're earlier on the curve, but as Dr. Del Rio just said, these other cities are just a few days behind.

Second of all, we should all sort of be quarantining, right? As much as you can, work from home. Kids are home from school. You know, don't go out as much. That has been the general advice.

I guess what confused me and a lot of other people, somebody flies to Florida, if they have to - again, for some particular reason - in Florida, so the person is then supposed to quarantine in Florida? Is that going to work? Is it really going to be enforced?

You know, the virus is here, John. It's spreading. That's clear. The numbers that we're looking at, they are numbers that reflect the image of this country 10 to 14 days ago. It has spread a lot over the last 10 to 14 days and I don't know that singling out New York City for quarantine makes sense in that regard. Everyone should be doing this.

KING: Well, Dr. Del Rio, comment on that point. My point, as someone who doesn't understand the science as well as you two doctors does is consistency of messaging from political leadership? If one group says something and the White House and another group says something in Albany, New York, that's confusion to someone who doesn't understand the science, who's not a medical pro, could impact their health.

DEL RIO: Well, absolutely right. And the problem is that in a rapidly moving epidemic, as you showed previously, even with the Governor, what I said today may not be what I tell you tomorrow. And things are changing very rapidly and our messaging is changing.

When I heard this from Ambassador Birx yesterday, I was in my mind saying, well, what does she know about cases going to other states that need to be communicated? And is she telling us that message because she has some data that we haven't seen?

[12:25:00]

DEL RIO: So, I think when you talk about crisis communication, transparency, timeliness, truth is really very important. So, we have to hear consistency, but we also need the information to be done transparently and in a timely manner.

KING: Sanjay, one more quick one on the issue of things change every day. I understand there's new science about the potential mutation of the Coronavirus? What do we know?

GUPTA: Yes, no, I think this is potentially very good news, or at least good news, John. I mean, there's always a concern that this virus is going to mutate. People worry that it's going to mutate into something deadlier. That actually doesn't happen very often, but that is often people's concern.

What they're learning - and again, always with humility, John, because these are early days, but what they're learning so far is that there doesn't appear to be a lot of genetic change with this virus. It appears to be relatively stable.

Now, here's really why that's important, is because as you know, they're working on vaccines now, you know several different candidates for a vaccine. They've got to basically predict, what is this virus going to look like a year from now? Or at least several months from now, and make the best vaccine for that.

If the virus stays stable, then their bet, they're hedging their bets a little bit, but it's going to be more likely to be accurate and have a more effective vaccine so stability of a virus good for the future of vaccine John.

KING: Learning new things every day. Dr. Del Rio, Dr. Gupta, appreciate it very much. It is the most important thing we can do is get facts and smart insights for us. Up next for us we move back here to Washington, what the $2 trillion stimulus package means for you and your bank account and if it's enough to help the American economy?

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