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New Poll: 53% of Voters Pick Biden over Trump in 2020 Matchup; Biden Reaches Out to Sanders & His Supporters; NY Governor Cuomo Gives Update on Coronavirus Response. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired April 9, 2020 - 11:30   ET

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


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[11:32:04]

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Joe Biden can turn to the general election now. A CNN poll releasing right now shows he enters this new chapter in the lead. Here are the new numbers. If the election were held today, 53 percent of voters say they favor former Vice President Biden and 42 percent support the incumbent president, President Trump.

Biden has the edge on several big issues. He leads on when it comes to handling the pandemic, best to handle health care, and who is best to help the middle class. But President Trump does lead narrowly over another big issue, who would best handle the economy.

Biden's immediate priority right now, now that he is the presumptive nominee, is reaching out to Bernie Sanders and his supporters. Sanders suspended his campaign yesterday. Biden's outreach includes calling his former Senator colleague a good friend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's inspired and energized millions of supporters, especially young voters, to join him in championing a progressive vision for our country.

And He didn't just run a political campaign. He created a movement. And that's a good thing for the nation and for our future. While Bernie's campaign has ended, I know his leadership is going to continue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: With me to share their reporting and their insights, Lisa Lerer, of the "New York Times," Toluse Olorunnipa of the "Washington Post."

I want to apologize in advance is Governor Cuomo comes out in New York. I may have to end the conversation quickly.

Lisa, let me start with you.

You're Job Biden. Third time is the charm. You are the presumptive Democratic nominee. On your first full day as the nominee, you have national poll that shows you up by a pretty healthy margin over the incumbent president of the United States. And prior one is trying to consolidate the party and reach out to Sanders, right?

LISA LERER, REPORTER, "NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, that's exactly right. I think if Democrats and those on Joe Biden's team are feeling particularly good because they see Joe Biden has demonstrated strength in the areas that helped Democrats win back the House in 2018, those suburban swing districts.

That being said, he still has work to do. He tends to poll much lower with young voters, with liberal voters, the kind of voters that make up the core of Bernie Sanders' base and the Democratic Party.

Sanders has indicated, Senator Sanders, that he wants to unify the party but he also says he's staying in this race to capture delegates and influence the party platform at the convention. Look, who knows if there's a convention, who knows when there's a convention.

But I think that is a delicate line to walk, to want to both push the nominee and unite the party.

It will be an easier task than in 2016, largely, because Biden and Senator Sanders get along much better than Senator Sanders and Hillary Clinton did. But it's still a tough political line he has to walk now.

KING: And, Toluse, new reporting from our friend, Jeff Zeleny, here at CNN, saying Biden -- get this -- they're going to start the outreach to Sanders immediately. They say even today they're going to try to reach out, try to do some things together.

This is Sanders saying last night, I'm going to work with Joe Biden, but Joe Biden has to come to me a little bit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:35:02]

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): What we're working on right now is how we can best go forward together. Joe is not going to adopt my platform, I got that. All right? But if he can move in that direction, I think people say, you know what, this is a guy we should support and will support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Here in our poll total is some of the numbers that suggest this should be important to Biden. And it's important when it comes to the general election.

Look at matchups. These are among white voters, white non-college voters. Joe Biden gets 33 percent, but Donald Trump, the president, gets 63 percent. Whites with a college degree, suburban voters, he's especially doing well, 62 percent Biden -- I'm sorry to interrupt the conversation.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, of New York, with his daily briefing on the coronavirus --

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): -- in perspective an understand where we are on our scope of the journey through the situation.

It's been 18 days since we closed down New York. I know it feels like a lifetime. I tell my daughters every day, it's only 18 days since everything closed down. It's 39 days since the first COVID case in New York. If feels like a lifetime. It's 80 days since we had the first COVID case in the United States, 80 days. It's been an intense life- changing 80 days, but that's what it has been.

When we started this situation, that we are still in the midst of, before people get complacent, the end of March, the White House task force, Coronavirus Task Force, was still talking about 1.5 to 2.2 million deaths, OK? The best-case scenario with, quote, unquote, "mitigation efforts" was 100 to 240,000 deaths in the United States, which is breathtaking.

For New York, there were a number of models that were put out that we are following. The most frightening was Columbia University. That said, we could have 136,000 people in New York City only who would be hospitalized. Not infected.

We had the McKenzie model, which suggested 110,000 people could be hospitalized statewide. We had a second scenario from McKenzie, which is 55,000 people hospitalized. And then the Gates Foundation, thank you very much, funded the IHME study, which said a high point of 73,000 statewide.

Any of these scenarios are devastating for New York. Because, remember, we only have a 53,000-bed capacity system statewide and 36,000 beds in New York City. So any of these scenarios are problematic.

Luckily, the current trend, if it continues, and if we continue the flattening of the curve, we're at about 18,000 people hospitalized right now.

We've increased the capacity of the system dramatically. We have moved pieces around the state like never before. Our health care system has done a phenomenal job in doing an insurmountable task. Our federal partners, the Army Corps of Engineers, they have really just all done a great, great job.

And our theory -- and I believe my job as governor, prepare for the worst, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Now, we at about a 90,000-bed capacity in our system overall today even with all we've done. Even 90,000 beds, as you see, doesn't compare with the most problematic scenarios. So 90,000 beds, we can handle the McKenzie moderates in the area. We don't make the McKenzie severe scenario at 110,000.

I believe at 90,000 we have a plan to get to 110, converting dormitories, et cetera, et cetera. But it would be a massive undertaking and a massive scramble. We do make the Gates-funded projection model. The Columbia University

model we can never -- that would just be a nightmare. That is the one that keeps me up at night because you couldn't get anywhere near that projection.

But all of the statisticians said, look, we don't know how effective you can be at closing things down and social distancing, because we've never done it before. But they all said that's the chance to so-called flatten the curve if you actually got people to comply with all these measures and we have never seen it done before in this country and we don't know if you can do it.

[11:40:24]

So that is the big "if" in the equation. And that remains the big "if" in the equation. You can flatten the curve. We are flattening the curve by what we're doing. And we're flattening the curve so far. We should all be concerned, especially New Yorkers.

Well, we're flattening the curve, that's good news. It is good news. Well, now I can relax. No, you can't relax. The flattening of the curve last night happened because of what we did yesterday and the day before and the day before that. This is all a direct consequence to our actions.

If we stop acting the way we're acting, you will see those numbers go up. And I show the projection models because we can't handle the worst-case scenarios. We can't even handle the moderate-case scenarios with all we've done. So it is essential that we keep that curve flattened because we don't have an option of handling the curve if it goes higher.

The additional good news is the hospitalization rate does suggest that it's coming down and we are flattening the curve. We had 200 net increase in hospitalizations, which you can see is the lowest number we've had since this nightmare started, actually.

A change in ICU admissions is the lowest number we've had since March 19th or so. So all of this data suggests that we are flattening the curve so far, and the numbers are coming down so far.

Number of intubations is down. The day-to-day average of intubations are down. So far, our efforts are working. They're working better than anyone projected they would work, and that's because people are complying with them.

There are always two questions. Can you enact these policies? And can you enact these policies in a way that people will follow? We can enact a policy and people thumb their nose to it and continue doing what they're doing. So there has to be a social acceptance and adherence to the policy.

New Yorkers are doing that. They're acting responsibly and diligently. And we are saving lives by what people are doing today. Our expression has been "New York tough" because every day is tough on many, many levels. I get it. But every day that we are New York tough, we are actually saving

lives.

And don't underestimate this virus. I think that is a mistake we made from day one. We used the collective "we." We used the global community. This virus is very, very good at what it does.

We lost more lives yesterday than we have to date. We understand. And all the experts have said -- Dr. Fauci said from day one to me, you will see the deaths increasing after the hospitalizations because the deaths increase the longer a person is in the hospital, the longer a person is on the ventilator.

I understand the scientific concept. I understand the data. But you're talking about 799 lives. The highest number ever. It's gotten to the point, frankly, that we're going to bring in additional funeral directors to deal with the number of people who have passed.

If you ever told me that, as governor, I would have to take these actions, I couldn't even contemplate where we are now.

And to put all of this in perspective, I lived through 9/11. And 9/11 was supposed to be the darkest day in New York for a generation. We've done everything we can since 9/11 to make sure 9/11 didn't happen again.

We lose 2,753 lives on 9/11. We've lost over 7,000 lives to this crisis. That is so shocking and painful and breathtaking. I don't even have the words for it. And 9/11 was so devastating, so tragic.

[11:45:18]

And then, in many ways, we lose so many more New Yorkers to this silent killer. There was no explosion, but it was a silent explosion that just ripples through society with the same randomness, the same evil that we saw on 9/11.

What do we do? We move forward and we do the work that we need to do. We're going to start an effort called New York Loves, which is going to be a coordination of all the charities and not-for-profits and foundations and people who want to help.

There's been a tremendous outpouring of support from organized not- for-profits, et cetera, but also people just wanting to donate, people just wanting to help. The best effort is if we can coordinate all those resources to make sure there's not duplication and we're actually addressing the right need.

So the state Department of State, Rossana Rosado, secretary of state, who coordinates not-for-profits, we will coordinate all the people who want to donate and help. We will work with the local governments that need help.

Also let's learn the lessons of what we're going through now because we haven't finished going through it. Let's learn how and why this virus kills, especially why we have higher fatality rates among African-Americans and Latinos and what we do about it. Let's understand it. But let's also address it.

We're going to be doing more testing in African-American and Latino communities with more data. We're going to open new testing sites primarily in African-American and Latino communities with SUNY Albany, the Department of Health, NorthWell.

Collect the test results but also collect the information we need to come up with policies to fix this. Where do people live, where do people work, what is their socioeconomic status? Where do they socialize? What are their previous health conditions? Why do they have these higher rates and what do we do about it? And let's do that now.

Rapid testing and testing is going to be the bridge to the new economy and getting to work and restarting, right? We're not going to go from red to green. We're going to go from red to yellow. Yellow is let the people who can go back to work start going back to work.

Well, how do you know who can go back to work? Test them. You have rapid testing capacity. We have to bring it to scale. We have to bring it to scale quickly. That's something that the state is working on as well as the federal government.

Let's also find a treatment for this disease. Convalescent plasma, which is plasma from people who were infected that can then be used to treat people who get infected,.

We need that plasma from people who were infected. We're starting a blood drive and asking those who have recovered from the virus to contact us and to donate blood so we can develop the convalescent plasma treatment. And there's a Web site on the screen they can go to for help.

We have to be prepared and stay prepared. We have to have the supplies. We have to have the right laws. We have to have the right procedures.

Because, remember, the 1918 Spanish flu came in three waves. We're on the first wave. Everybody is assuming, well, once we get through this, we're done. I wouldn't be so quick to assume that.

This virus has been ahead of us from day one. We've underestimated the enemy and that is always dangerous, my friends. And we should not do that again.

There's an article in the "L.A. Times" that says the communities that have dealt with this before, like Wuhan, Singapore, are now seeing a second wave of infection. There's a theory that this virus can mutate and change and come back.

So this is not -- we're in a battle, right, but this is about a war. And we're only on one battle here. Even once we get through this battle, we have to stay prepared for what could come down the road.

We also have to start to repair the immense damage. Before you start talking about restarting the economy, you're going to have to address the damage that's done to society today, which is intense, the economic damage.

[11:50:11]

People who are now living no poverty. People have been without a check, without a job for weeks. And most people in this state live paycheck to paycheck. And all of a sudden, the paychecks stop.

We are doing everything we can on the unemployment benefits and increasing the unemployment benefits. But you have family that are in true economic hardship and impoverished because of this situation.

What do we do with the housing market? Our health care system? We have pushed to the max. We have pushed people to the max. We have pushed facilities to the max. We have beds in lobbies, in conference rooms, in hallways. I mean, we did what we had to do to be ready.

But we have done a lot of damage in the midst that had to be undone. That's something we are working on immediately.

And we need the federal government to be responsible. And we need the federal government to pass legislation that helps. We have to stabilize the state and local governments across this country.

New York State has had the highest number of cases, by far and away. Our costs have been the highest in the country.

The past legislation that was enacted, we were told would bring $6 billion for health care. When we did our state budget a couple of weeks ago, we believed what they said and we thought we were looking at $6 million in health care funding.

Turns out, when we read the language, it was about $1.3 billion for the state of New York. Which is much different than $5 billion or $6 billion dollars. The funding disqualifies one-third of New York's Medicaid recipients, which nobody said.

And to our federal representatives -- I spoke to Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand. This is no time for politics. This is a time to enact legislation that actually addresses the needs.

And I was in Washington for eight years. I get how the political process works in Washington. Not here and not now, my friends.

We also have a significant mental health issue that comes with what we have done, the isolation, the disorientation. It is a growing problem. We have a growing problem with a number of domestic violent cases.

If you need help during this stressful period -- and I suspect more people need help and acknowledge they need help -- we have support line and we have thousands of people who volunteered to help and people should reach out and ask for it.

We have to stay ahead of this virus. We're watching Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk. The numbers are coming down in New York City. You look at the concentric circles around New York City, the natural spread and natural concentric circles are poor and suburban communities, Rockland, Nassau, Suffolk.

Westchester we had problems already. One of the first hot spot in the nation, New Rochelle in Westchester. Now, we are seeing numbers creep up in Rockland. Nassau and Suffolk the numbers are creeping up. So we're watching those areas. We sent additional equipment last night.

The overall point is you stay-at-home and you save a life. Period. Stay-at-home and you save a life.

And I know New Yorkers. We are born and bred. The instinct is, well, this is good news and we can relax and, by the way, I have been dying to relax and get out of the house and end this Groundhog Day reality.

Yes, you are not out of the woods. Now is not the time to misunderstand what's happening.

We have done great things and we saved lives because we followed these policies. The moment you stop following the policies, you will go right back and see that number shoot through the roof. We are not prepared to handle the highest numbers in those projections models.

Whatever we do, you can't take a 50,000-beds system and get it to 136,000 beds. It's an impossibility. I am a person who never says no and believe New York can do everything if we try. I am telling you we have to keep that curse flat.

[11:55:24]

Today, we can say that we have lost many of our brothers and sisters. But we didn't lose them because they did not get the best health care they needed.

The way I sleep at night is I believe we did not lose anyone that we could have saved. That's the only solace when I look at this numbers and look at this pain. That has to be true. That has to continue and that is a function of each and every one of us have done.

So New York tough. Yes, we are tough. But tough means we are smart and we are disciplined and we are unified and we are loving. If you don't want to stay home for yourself, stay home for someone you love. Right? That's what the stay-at-home campaign is all about.

If you want to have reckless disregard for your life, it is not about your life. It is about the health care workers who'll have to treat you in your room. It's the vulnerable person who you infect and could kill by your actions.

Sometimes it is not about you, right? It is not about me. It is about "we." That's where we are.

Questions?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: We are not planning nursing homes of COVID patients.

CUOMO: I'm sorry? UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do we need nursing homes just for COVID patients?

CUOMO: No, I don't think we have -- we're not planning nursing homes for COVID patients.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Governor, millions of people are nationwide and hundreds of thousands here in New York, we've got consistent reports they can't get through to operators at the New York State Department of Labor. This has been going on for weeks. What sort of assurances can you offer residents that they can get these benefits, particularly in times of economic hardship?

CUOMO: The technology at the Department of Labor, the system just crashed because of the volume. Right? It is one of those unanticipated consequences of a situation like this.

Again, Jesse, nobody has been here before. We'll learn for the next time.

But, yes, you have -- the government shuts down the private-sector economy. You have millions out of work. The next shoe to drop is millions of people calling in unemployment benefits, crashing the system that handles the unemployment benefits because you got a hundredfold increase, which is what has happened.

We have 1,000 people who are working on just personnel for that in coming system. Think about that, 1,000 people working on processing applications for unemployment benefits. That was like the number we used to get of applicants. Now we have 1,000 people processing applications.

We are working with Google to come up with an online mechanism that bypasses any phone certifications. The phone certification was important. You want to make sure people are applying are also qualified. So we are doing everything we can.

The good news is, whenever you sign up, your benefits are going to be retroactive. You will not have received the check. I get that. And that's causing anxiety. But it is not like you are getting the same benefit because you did not get through on Monday and you did not get through on Thursday.

Melissa has been working on this system.

You want to update?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure.

Just to give everybody a little bit of context, the numbers will come out later today, but last week, there were 350,000 unemployment claims in New York. Going back to March 9, we're at 810,000 unemployment claims. So far, 600,000 of those claims have been successfully processed. You've got over 200,000 that are still in partial status. What happens is, you go online and fill out the application. If you

fill out the application in full, you are done. If you leave any of the fields blank, they'll tell you to call the system. You call the system to follow up. That's what's causing the crash in volume and the system goes down.

As the governor said, we have been working with Google today. Between 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., the system is going to go down to reboot. So 7:00, the new applications going online. It's streamlines. There are fewer questions.

[11:59:57]

And once you get to the end of that, and you successfully fill it out, it is going to say you are finished with the process. If there's information left blank, it will say, don't call us, we'll call you within 72 hours.