Return to Transcripts main page


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: Almost Any Realistic Scenario Will Overwhelm Hospitals; United States Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 1,000; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: Feds Did Not Address State's Needs In Aid Bill; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Updates Coronavirus Response; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: We Have Enough Protective Equipment For Immediate Need. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired March 26, 2020 - 12:00   ET



GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It gives me such strength, such inspiration but I don't want to sugar quote the situation, the situation is not easy. But easy times don't forge character. It's the tough times that forge and that's what we're looking at right now.

People say to me you know people are getting tired of this situation. They have been home it is going on a couple of weeks they're getting tired but the truth that this is not a sprint. This is a marathon. We always said this is not going to be over quickly.

I understand people are tired. But I also understand that people in this situation are really stepping up to the plate and are doing phenomenal work. So the next time you feel tired, believe me I feel tired. But when I feel tired, I think of the first responders who are out there every day showing up.

I think of the police officers, I think of the firefighters, who are out there every day, the grocery store workers who are working double shifts just to keep food on the shelves because people are buying so much food because they are nervous.

The pharmacists who have lines going out the door and they're showing up every day, day after day and the transportation workers. We don't have the luxury of feeling tired because they have to get up and they have to drive the bus so nurses and healthcare professionals can get to work.

And those healthcare professionals, who were dealing with the virus that they did not even understand. They still don't understand. And they are working and many of them seven days a week. So yes, we are tired.

But, look at what others among us have to do and the challenge they are under and how they are stepping up? Who am I to complain about being tired when so many people are doing such heroic efforts?

And I also think this is going to be transformative and formative for society. You think about our children. I have my daughters here with me. This is the first time they face a real national adversity, right? Yes, we have a whole new generation who never lived through anything like this. They never went to war. They were never drafted. They never went through a national crisis.

And this is going to shape them. I can tell you just from having my daughter with me, yes, they are hurt, they are scared but they are also learning through this and at the end of the day, they are going to be better people for it and they're going to be better citizens for it. I believe that because they're rising to the occasion.

And as we go through this, let's make sure we are teaching them the right lessons and the right response and those lessons and that response are the lessons that we get from our better angels. And during this difficult time, let's listen to the voices of our better angels as individuals, as families and as a community and as a society.

We are going to get through this. The only question is how we get through it and when we get through it? But let's make sure at the end of the day that we can say we are the better for it and our children are the better for it and, I believe they will be. Questions?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the - New York our top of aid per - West New York you know what are the (inaudible) ventilators and PPE for the workers start?

CUOMO: We have stockpiles of ventilators. They are all across the state. Any hospitals that need ventilators, we get them ventilators from the nearest stockpile.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --stockpile to New York you were saying that - taken at the President is going to be taking steps to use the ventilators?

CUOMO: Yes, we are talking to the Federal Government about more ventilators. We are talking to the Federal Government about more over flow beds. We are shopping ventilators ourselves. We're splitting ventilators. We're converting anesthesia ventilators to normal ventilators. So, we are all over the ventilator issue.

The number of ventilators we need is so astronomical. It is not like they have them sitting in the warehouse in the Federal Government. There is no stockpile available. The Federal Government is doing what we are doing which is you have to find those ventilators or convert ventilators or get additional companies to manufacture ventilators. Yes, there is but is not a stockpile that is large enough to meet the national need.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Governor you said yesterday that the projections were showing that the hospital rates seemed to be slowing. Today we see a 40 percent increase in hospitalization, where the projections wrong or you - doing on protections. How do write those two figures?

CUOMO: You know - when you talk to the projection models, what they'll say is you will get a fluctuation. They don't know if it is a deviation in what the hospitals happen to report that day because remember this is self-reported data from the hospital Jessie.

So, they say you get fluctuation from time to time. Don't look at one day or don't look at any period less than three or four days, in sequence. So we just continue to watch. Excuse me, one second Karen--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the same - you said today and yesterday that PPE is not a problem but then we have this kind of troubling reports that some nurses were using trash bags and kind of improvising. Can you write us those statements?

CUOMO: Yes, we have called the individual hospitals, there is no doubt that in the past few days you know, may be the distribution is a little start and stop but we have enough PPE and the New York officials City officials say they have enough PPE for the New York City hospitals. Nurse is that right? You have to say.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I spoke to - he is from outside and I this morning reacting to "The New York" post story. I know we all saw and he assured me that they have all the PPE that they need there. I checked in with Mitch - New York City they've got all the PPE that they need in New York City.

So as these individual stories are popping up, they are reacting them in real time, but they continue to assure us they have what they need at the moment and we've assured them if they don't then we'll get them what they need immediately.

CUOMO: We have enough PPE in stock for the immediate need. Not past the immediate need but for the immediate need and we keep shopping.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The quarter of the evaluation is that something that you would do? Would you do it in conjunction with the legislature? And what advice would you give to the School Districts and local government how to cope with that?

CUOMO: Look, we are all coping with the same thing first of all, right? The Federal Government has a revenue loss, state governments have revenue loss, city governments have a revenue loss, so no one can say, Karen, well, I don't accept this reality of a revenue loss.

It is a reality for everyone and everyone has to adjust to it. I am sure there will be some people who say well, I should not have to adjust to it. You know, I should be held harmless from reality. No one is held harmless from reality. Go tell any family out there you know, that reality does not count. So everyone is going to have to deal with reality, I can't protect them from reality.

The way the - and again we have never done this before does not mean we can't just that we never have. But we are thinking about is quarterly or something like that adjustments that are almost mathematical reflections of what the revenues are?

In other words, you know what the revenue projection is and you know how much money you have made for that, right? And whatever that deviation is would be automatic. It would be done by the division of the budget.

I don't believe the legislature is going to come up here every quarter and go through numbers at this rate with the spread of the virus. You know, I don't even know that it would be responsible to ask for a convening of the legislature periodically.

But, that's a general concept we are talking about. This is all a reaction to the Federal Government did yesterday. I was shocked that they were so irresponsible in addressing the states and the city's needs.

I mean, I never believe that they would pass a piece of legislation that did not address it. They just did not address the revenue short fall. They provided money for COVID, the amount of money we are spending on the virus but they just did nothing on the revenue loss.

You know, they know we have to fund education. They're all saying in their speeches, education, education, it is our children's future and then they do absolutely nothing in the legislation. So, I just - I want to keep it in check as I said emotion is a luxury right to be angry is a luxury.


CUOMO: We don't have the luxury right now let's just deal with the facts let gets through it. Let me ask - who is the mastermind of the budget if I said anything wrong or is that what the plan is? Sometimes he has plans that he does not tell me about, Karen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No we will look at our revenue forecast right now the Governor said 10 to $15 billion is how much we projected to below forecast. So, we project that out the quarters and by monthly. Those are time span you'll see what revenues are every month and we'll adjust spending according to how the revenue comes in?

And that'll be reflected and everyone will see those, the controller will see those. And the goal is to be transparent up front so that school district can see this is what would happen if we don't reach the revenue forecast? So, they would know what would happen each quarter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, get some reports about hospitals - say that they are close to running out of the PPE suppliers in the next week and half or so certainly is that. Is there a plan to may be correct more of that to --?

CUOMO: Yes, first of all Nick, anyone can give you a report that they're close to running out of PPE in a week and a half. I am close to run our PPE in a week and a half, right? That's the status across the country. When I said we have enough of the immediate future. I mean immediate future. We don't have enough of the long-term supplies. The numbers are that fast.

But, any hospital anywhere whatever we have we'll distribute. And we'll distribute it on an as needed basis. So to say I need it in a week and a half frankly we are dealing with hospitals that need it tomorrow or the day after.

That's the kind of time frame that we are dealing with. But we do everything we can we're buying from China we've people calling and volunteering private planes to go to China to pick up materials. I mean, it has really been an extraordinary but anything we have we will distribute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --you know state Senator - said that the gig worker task force there is just wasn't enough time to resolve outstanding differences - state budget deadline. What's your response?

CUOMO: You know the Gig Worker Task Force I have to step back Zack. I said I want to do everything because I don't want to just do a budget I want to do the policy initiatives we need to do because my expectation at this point is there is going to be a budget and nothing else. Normally we pass a budget and then we come back for weeks and discuss policy matters.

I don't know at this rate that there are going to be weeks of legislative discussions afterwards. So I am trying to get as much done as we can in the budget. The caveat is there were some issues that you really have to talk through and think through and the language is important and the details are important, otherwise, you pass a bill, it is not about passing the bill, right?

The legislature focuses on passing the bill. I focus on passing the bill that's the best and smartest bill you can pass and that you're not going to have to come back and redo the next year because you did not think it through.

The Gig economy is a complicated issue. And, I don't believe we're going to get the Gig economy done in time for the budget. If they do come back and they do stay for weeks and we have time to talk it through, fine but if you are asking me are we going to be ready by next Tuesday? I don't think so.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, you've have said the health officials have said that out patients testing should not be promoted it should not be "Encouraged, promoted or advertiser it" saying completely the opposite that we should be testing and testing is much as possible. How do we square the two if we are seeing conflicting messages from the state and city governments?

CUOMO: You test - if the city does not have the capacity, it is a capacity issue, right? If you have the capacity to test, test because flatten the curve. How do you flatten the curve? There are only two ways. Density control, keep people away from each other and test. How did China do it? How did South Korea do it? How did everybody do it density control and testing?

If you don't have the capacity to test and you can only test people for example who are coming in to your hospitals then you don't have the ability to do it. But, if you have the ability to do it then do it because it is a way to flatten the curve. If you don't have the capacity and the ability then you don't do it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Same hospital holders struggling right, first with the capacity and people are running at 125 percent at this point how closer we're sending patients upstate where there is more availability?

CUOMO: We have - it goes in tranches. We have more overflow capacity within that hospital system you would distribute patients, right? So within New York City, one hospital is 125 percent let's say. Okay, distribute within that hospital system because not all of the hospitals are at capacity.

Second, you have overflow facility that we are constructing. I am going back to Javits tomorrow and the other one that we've been discussing. You'd only do the regional distribution once you get pass everything you can do within that area.

I am not eager to redistribute people from down state to upstate, there are just practical consequences, the family would have to travel further to visit them et cetera, so that's the last option.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There seems to be a migration of families and individuals from the New York City area into upstate counties. Would you consider either your travel ban or authorizing these counties to mandate of 14-day quarantine?

CUOMO: The counties can come with whatever suggestions they want. I am not going to mandate any travel ban on my agenda.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (inaudible) unfortunately quarantined right - from New York States into the Seattle Senate right now. Do you think that's an appropriate step? And do you think people do - you know --?

CUOMO: Yes, I am not a doctor. I have a sister who's a doctor. I refer it back to Dr. Zucker's comment from yesterday. He is health commissioner from the state. He had strong opinions on that issue and I refer back to that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) one person to force that provision, do you think that's appropriate state? Do you concerns with a --?

CUOMO: Well, Dr. Zucker's position was it is not necessary and I would agree with Dr. Zucker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you talked about the apex side, how many days - until we run out of ventilators?

CUOMO: How many days on the most conservative estimate until we run out of ventilators? The maximum projection of an apex number for ventilators was about 40,000, right? We have maybe about 12,000 in that range of ventilators. That's before you talk about anesthesia machines, before you talk about splitting and that number changes. We don't have an estimate for when we would get there and hopefully we never do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --for getting forward testing kits up state? CUOMO: Any hospital that need more testing kits. Again we don't have enough hospitals tend to like to have supplies for a prolonged period of time which I understand. So they want to have one month supply or three-week supply. We don't have that ability.

If we can provide few days' supply that's what we are looking at which makes them uncomfortable? I understand. But that's just the situation we are in. But any hospital that needs supplies immediately, the Department of Health can provide them.

Anyone who needs a test and if the hospital does not have the supply, we have multiple testing units that can go test a person. So they just have to contact the Department of Health.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This question - you were asked yesterday but just to re-emphasize. There is no planning place for like a ventilator protocol where certain patients will be prioritized over others.

And also unleash your construction workers, is there a reason they're being treated is essential workers we've working plans from someone who are feeling like they're working on top of each other, if these are not sanitary conditions. Why construction workers are look --?

CUOMO: Yes, we're looking at that now. I understand the point and I hear the point. I think some construction is essential, right? But, it is something we are looking at. I understand the point and it sounds right to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --format of labor today reported 3.3 million have filed for unemployment. What's your message and it is probably a lot more considering people can't apply, have been waiting in line? What's your message for the people who lost their jobs over the last several days?

CUOMO: Yes, it's not - no one has lost their job I would say to provoke them.


CUOMO: We have all lost our jobs. It is different. When you lose a job it tends to suggest maybe you did something wrong or maybe it was your performance, statement of evaluation of you. This is nothing having to do with you.

It is the circumstance that we are in. We must correct it. There is the strength in the fact that all of us, right? When it is just you then you are on your own. When it is all of us that suggests we have to do something about it because the collective demands it. That's where we are.

I am sure it is a terrible feeling and a frightening feeling for everyone, Nick. Nobody has been here before. I am out of work, my business is closed. I don't have a paycheck, I can't leave the house. The house has the family in it or I am all alone. No one has been here before. And that's why look, this is going to change us. I really believe that. It is going to help form a new generation. I can see it in my daughter's eyes when I talk to them about this every night I can see the fear. I can see their eyes opening wide. They're taking it all in. What does it mean?

This is going to form a new generation and it will transform who we are and how we think? But you are not alone. You are not alone. Nobody is alone. We are all in the same situation.


CUOMO: Let's do someone wasn't answered a question if that's okay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are the plans for schools beyond the original shutdown order particularly for a school board elections, regions examine in the frame? What is the longer term plan for school districts?

CUOMO: We're looking that on - at an ongoing basis unless you want to add something to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only modest case that is the L.A. exams the math and science exams were suspended basically cancelled for this year while state education department. As Governor said the school closure plans are set to come back on we are looking at that right now.

CUOMO: One more someone - did I answer your question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --already said they're close to at least April 20th this order only goes to April 3rd. So just - how the cultured school would be planning for that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are evaluating, the Governor is evaluating that now and there is going to be decision on whether to extend the closure. Remember the 180-day waiver ends effectively April 1st. So whether to extend it or not, that is being consider by us right now and by the Governor right now.

CUOMO: Let's take one more from someone who - anyone has not asked a question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plan with April you mentioned - you gave people back to work and you have to start. Do you have a plan for that now or is that still something that you are working at.?

CUOMO: It is something the nation is working out, something that we are working through. I think the smartest way forward is a modified public health strategy that dove tails and complement the get back to work strategy, right?

What we did was we closed everything down. That was our public health strategies just close everything. All businesses, all workers, young people, old people, short people and tall people, every school, closed everything. If you rethought that or had time to analyze that public health strategy, I don't know that you would say quarantine everyone. I don't even know that that was the best public health policy. Young people then quarantined with older people were probably not the best public health strategy.

The younger people could have been exposing the older people to an infection. So how do you modify the public health strategy to make it smarter from a public health point of view but also starts to get you back to work?

Younger people can go back to work. People who resolved can go back to work. Once we get this antibody test show that they had virus and they resolved can go back to work. That's how I think you do it. It is not we are going to either do public health or we're going to do economic development restarting.

We have to do both. We are working on it. And I think that's the same thing the Federal Government is working through. I am going to go to work, guys. Thank you very much.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: You have been listening to the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo 51 plus minute his daily news briefing in the State of New York.


KING: The Governor ending there on the economic impact of the Coronavirus. Early on in the event if you were watching the right of your screen the big headline the number of deaths in New York jumped 100 from yesterday to today 285 yesterday, the Governor says the total today is 385 and with that addition, the death toll in the United States because of the Coronavirus passed to the 1,000 mark.

That is one of the startling developments from the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo there. He also said that there is no way which ever projection you look at, he says it is inevitable that the hospitals systems in the State of New York will go beyond capacity and will be overwhelmed the question is by how much?

As he tries to plan that out and is part of that - the Governor saying they're now building 9 1000 bed overflow hospitals most of them in the New York City and counties immediately surrounding the New York City area.

Let's discuss what we heard the importance of what we just heard with our Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Northwell Health Dr. Mark Jarrett both with me.

Dr. Gupta, I want to start with you. When you hear the Governor of New York announce 100 additional deaths from yesterday to today and say his apex is still probably 14 days or more out there. What does that tell you about the path of this virus just in New York and then when you step back and think about the country?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it tells me two things. First of all we know New York is considered one of these hot spots and that not only do the numbers continue to go up but the pace at which the numbers are going up is also increasing. I hope that makes sense to people.

We are following the numbers sort of day-to-day. But what I think a lot of public health officials are really trying to figure out is the trend of this. They're going to bounce around the pace sort of had slowed down a little bit and then comes backup.

The point being, John, we don't really know where we are on this curve right now? As Dr. Fauci said yesterday the virus is the only thing that can really dictate the timeline. The second John is that New York is - they're doing 25 percent of the total testing for the whole country is happening in New York.

What that means is there is a lot of other place around the country that because they have not done adequate testing, they're earlier in the curve they're going to seam earlier in the curve but we just can't take our eyes off these other cities.

We talked about Louisiana hardly having any cases last week and now well over 1,000 and Michigan had 15 case last week now well over a 1000 Florida and Georgia increasing by more than 20 percent now every day. There are all these other places I get the focus on New York. That's by no means the only place in the country we need to be thinking about.

KING: That's a critical point Sanjay and the reason I think as we focus on New York, we need to do what you just did. New York is first in this wave if you will and Governor calls it the canary in the coal mine. We need to see what lessons we are learning? What mistakes are being made and what are the numbers?

And to that point, Dr. Jarrett you coming, I want you to listen to your Governor. You are in New York, the Governor went from 50 percent to 75 percent to 100 percent shutting down businesses, he has lectured young people. He has gotten on the case of Mayor of New York City saying, get people out of the parks.

You would have to say it again everyone is going to make mistakes here that he has been very aggressive in recent weeks. And yet listen to him talking about what's inevitable he says for the state's hospitals system.


CUOMO: Almost any scenario that is realistic will overwhelm the capacity of the current healthcare system. So little reality, keep the curve down as low as you can. You can't get the curve down low enough so that you don't overwhelm the hospital capacity.


KING: Help us understand that on the street level where you are Dr. Jarrett, the Governor says that's coming. He also was reasonably optimistic in the short term about what we have talked a lot about in the recent days which is masks and gowns and personal protective equipments. His assessment connects with what you are experiencing?

DR. MARK JARRETT, DEPUTY CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, NORTHWELL HOSPITAL: Well, we are certainly in New York seeing a rapid rise in number of cases and raise in the number of patients that are hospitalized and many who wind up in the ICU.

So we are at that rising point in the curve. We are hoping that things that we put into social isolation and social distancing would be effective and hopefully decrease the curve. Whether we'll out strip our search capacity is not clear, we probably will, I know the other health systems and Northwell Health is working very hard to plan for this to build extra surge capacity.

Changed some of the ways we're doing work. Use a lot of our capacity that was devoted to elective surgery to repurpose that. And I think everybody else is doing the same and hopefully we'll be able to respond in an appropriate way.