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Interview with Governor Chris Sununu (R-NH); Governor Cuomo Updates About NY.. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired April 13, 2020 - 11:30   ET



SUNUNU: Well, I don't know what he's referring to. I can tell you it has gotten better from where we were originally so that's good. We have more access to RNA assays and a viral transport media, things like that and so we're putting our orders in to get there but we don't have enough.

Nobody has enough. Hopefully as the commercial market expand their ability to create more testing and not just the test but all the different pieces that go into a lot of the test that we use in our public health lab or I mean, all the devices are a little bit different.

You have Suffield, you have Abbott, you have Abbot rapid testing, you have the traditional way of doing tests so you're kind of going after all the different pieces of those testing capabilities at the same time with the providers all across the world.

Some are proprietary, some can be made more generically so to the previous governors comment, we're constantly scouring. We've had some success but we have to constantly keep scouring and fighting for it to be sure, it is just a limited supply for a massive amount of demand.

KING: Governor Chris Sununu, appreciate your time and perspective today. Sir, best of luck in the days ahead and hopefully, get up your great states soon and be outdoors. It will be a nice thing.

SUNUNU: Thank you Sir.

KING: Thank you. Take care. We're waiting for the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to speak. Also a Brazil drug study aborted quickly because of deaths. The President won't like that.



GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Cause nobody's been here before. But if you look at the number of total admissions, 18000, 18000, 18000, 18000, that's definitely a flattening. That is good news. Still going up a little bit by the way. Go back to the slide. Still going up a little bit but a basic flattening as opposed to increasing gaps. The total number of hospitalizations net, down, a little bit up, a

little bit down but overall just follow the line, don't get caught up in the day to day. As we say the three-day rolling average was which is more accurate than any one day is down again.

The net change in ICU admissions is down. Again, I discount this ICU admissions because the old demarcation of an ICU bed in the hospital and a regular bed in the hospital is gone. Almost every bed is basically an ICU bed. Net change in ICU admissions is also down.

Intubations is real. Intubations is the worst signal. People who are intubated wind up on a ventilator, most often do not come off the ventilator. Somewhere 70 percent, 80 percent, depending on who you talk to so this is a scary number.

When that's down, it's good and that is down. Three-day rolling average is down so that's good news. We were worried about the spread from New York City to suburbs upstate. And we have been very aggressive. When we get a little cluster spot that's acting up, we jump on it.

This is like watching a fire going through dry grass with a strong wind and it's blowing the fire and a couple of embers wind up on one side of the field and embers start to catch fire and that's a cluster and you have to run over to those embers and stamp them out right away before they grow.

But you see the stabilization there and that is been good too. This is a new take on it. We talk about net hospitalizations. This is the number of new COVID hospitalizations to date.


This is how many new f COVID diagnoses or people walking into the hospital had COVID so you see still about 2,000 people per day are walking in or being diagnosed with COVID so you still increasing the hospital population. Initially by 2,000 people who were testing positive for COVID but on the other side of the healthcare system, people are being discharged on the other end.

So the net is what we talk about because we've always been worried about lack of capacity in the hospital system, where you - where you pour the water into the glass and the glass overfills, where the hospital system just can't handle the number of people coming in.

And that's why we've been studying the net but this says you know take a deep breath. You still have 2,000 people per day who are coming into the hospital system. And the terrible news is as terrible as it gets and the worst news I've had to deliver to the people of the state as Governor of New York and the worst news I've had to live with on a personal level.

Number of deaths is 671, not as bad as it has been in the past but basically flat and basically flat at a horrific level of pain and grief and sorrow. This is 671 people who passed away on Easter Sunday. For me, I'm Catholic. Easter Sunday is the high holy day in many ways and one of the high holy days and to have this happen over this weekend is really, really especially tragic.

And they are all in our thoughts and prayers. That raises the death total to 10,056. Again for perspective 10,000 - 2700 lives were lost in 911 and 911 changed every New Yorker who was in a position to appreciate on that day what happened.

And the number of lives lost - lives lost was horrific after 911 and the grief was horrific. And we're at 10,000 deaths. New York 10,000 deaths. New Jersey 2,000 deaths. Massachusetts 756. And then you have the state of Michigan.

Why New York? Why are we seeing this level of infection? Well, why cities across the country? It's very simple. It's about density. It's about the number of people in a small geographic location, allowing that virus to spread and that virus is very good at what it does.

It is a killer. It is very good at spreading. It is very contagious and the dense environments are its feeding grounds. We learned that lesson very early on. Remember, we had one of the first hot spots in the nation. One of the most intense clusters was New Rochelle, New York.

New Rochelle is in Westchester county. It's not in New York City. Why New Rochelle? And that's what I was so concerned about early on. We didn't know what - what we were looking at. Why New Rochelle?

Because in New Rochelle, one person or two people who were infected were in dense gatherings with hundreds of people and it spread like wildfire. So it's not just a dense city or dense community, it's any person in a dense environment.

You can be in a very rural county. You know people think New York, oh it's all New York City. No, no we have counties that have more cows than people by population. You can be anywhere but if you have a person who's infected in a room of 200 people, 300 people, 400 people, now you have a problem.

This goes back to the Spanish flu where some cities canceled parades. Other cities didn't cancel parades. We went through these numbers when we had the decision on Saint Patrick's day parade which Bernadette still will not forgive me for.

But you can have a parade in a relatively small city but you bring people together and this virus has a feeding frenzy. Where do we go from here?


Question of reopening? Which everyone wants to do and everybody wants to do yesterday. I am - and I am at the top of that list. We have to understand on the reopening, as much as we have this emotion, we want it to happen, we want it to happen now and we can't take this anymore and everyone feels the same.

It is a delicate balance. Remember, what we have to do in reopening and remember, it has never been done before. None of this has been done before so anyone who says to you, oh, I know what we should do. I know. Yes, you don't know because nobody knows and that's the one thing that we have learned over and over again.

And this place has never done this before. Also you look around the world. You see warning signs from countries who have opened and my point is to our team, I want to learn from those other countries, frankly.

And I want to make sure we know from our studying and assessment of what's going on in other countries that what worked, what didn't work and let's learn from those lessons and you can now go back and look at Wuhan province and look at Italy and look at South Korea and see what they did and see what worked and what didn't work so let's learn.

So we'll listen to the experts. We'll follow the data but remember this is a delicate balance. What are we doing on reopening? We are easing isolation. We want to increase economic activity. That will happen essentially through a recalibration of what are essential workers.

Remember, we never turned off the economy, right? The economy is still functioning. You can get in your car, you can get gasoline, you can go to the grocery store, you can shop. You can get on a bus. The economy is functioning. We never turned it off. We turned it way, way down.

And it's just the essential services that have been operating for the essential services have all been operating. What you will be doing in essence on the reopening is re calibrating what is essential, right? You'll - you'll start to open that valve on the economic activity and you'll turn that valve very slowly.

Reopening the economy, more essential workers. Do it carefully, do it slowly and do it intelligently. More testing and more precautions at the same time that you're opening that valve. More testing so you have more information about who should be coming in etcetera.

More precautions because you know that works as you're calibrating and opening the valve. And while you're opening that valve, watch the meter, what's the meter. The meter's the infection rate. The meter is those daily hospitalization rates.

And there is a cause and effect. You have density, you are more people infecting other people. You will see it within a matter of days in that hospitalization rate. So yes, open the valve slowly, advised by experts, keep your eye on the meter. The meter is the infection rates and watch that infection rate.

And if you see that infection rates start ticking up which would be undermining everything we have accomplished as far, then you know you've opened the valve too fast. That is the delicate balance that we have to work through. And that is what has never been done before.

And nobody can tell you today, I know how to do that because it just hasn't happened. So what do we do? First, we come up with the reopening plan. I'm not interested in political opinions. I'm interested in what the experts say about this. To the best, they can tell you but you have public health experts.

They can study South Korea. They can study China. They can study all the data that we have. You have economic experts that can help you decide what is the next notch of essential workers that can actually start the economy back up and have a consequential change but that is a real plan. And that has to be developed and that has to be smart.


The wider the geographic area for that plan, the better because this virus doesn't understand governmental boundaries. Well, I'm Westchester county so you virus have to stop before entering here and follow my rules. No. The virus follows its own boundaries and its own guidelines and it doesn't have any.

The geographic area that is an economic area, a work force area, transportation area, that's the relevant area that we have to be looking at. You have to coordinate all these systems. You can't start one system without starting the other systems.

You can't start the economic system without starting the transportation system. And if you can't run the transportation system then you can't reopen the economy. Just doesn't happen. You have to coordinate the schools with the transportation, with the economic system. These systems work in coordination.

They're big gears and each gear intermeshes with the other gear and you can't start one gear with the other gear stopped, right? That's the coordination. You're going to need federal support and you're going to need smart legislation passed by the federal government that actually attends to the need.

As opposed to normal political considerations. Testing is going to be key. And that's a new frontier for us also. This state is probably the most aggressive state in the nation in actually getting the testing up. We test more than any other state. We test more than other countries.

We test more than the other states, leading states combined in testing but that's still not enough and we have to do more and we know that the precautions work. The masks work. The gloves work. The temperature taking works. It's abnormal. It's different but it works and we have to do it.

And while we're doing this, we have to remember to stay the course and not jeopardize what we have achieved. And we have achieved much. This afternoon, I'll be joined by other governors. We've been talking to other states. Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island for the past couple of days about coming up with how do we come up with the reopening plan.

And can we work together on our reopening plan? And we'll be having an announcement this afternoon with other governors about just that, the reopening plan. And as I said, the optimum is to have as coordinated, a regional plan as you can. I understand intergovernmental coordination can be somewhat of an oxymoron. But to the extent we can work with Connecticut and New Jersey and

Rhode Island and Delaware and Pennsylvania, I want to. It is smarter for everyone, for people of their state and for the people of my state. And this is a time for smart, competent effective government.

Nothing else matters. I want to make sure that we - I can say that the people of this state, we did everything we could to the best of our ability and the optimum is a geographically coordinated plan. I don't believe we could ever get to total coordination with the other states because other states have a little different set of circumstances and facts.

I don't even believe we should have a uniform plan without recognizing the state by state distinctions. But to the extent we can coordinate, we should and we will. Last point, is the personal point. When is it over?

I have this conversation a 100 times a day. I had it last night with my daughters. When is it over? And it's - it's a difficult conversation because people want it to be over so badly, right? I went the fear to stop. I want the anxiety to stop. I don't want to have to worry about my brother anymore. I don't want to have to worry about my daughters.

I don't have to worry about my mother. I want it over. I want to get out of the house. I want to get back to normalcy. I've been living in this weird, disorienting, frightening place. I'm afraid to touch people. This violates the human behavior and needs. When is it over?

It's not going to be over like that. It's not going to be, we flip a switch and everybody comes out of the house and gets in the car and waves and hugs each other and the economy all starts up.


I would love to say that's going to happen. It's not going to happen that way. It can't happen that way. Can it happen in some communities across the country where frankly they have very low infection rates. And they could come up with A testing regimen where if they find one or two cases, they quickly jump on those one or two and they isolate and they track? Yes.

But is that going to happen here? No. Is that going to happen in any community that has a significant issue? No. There is no going to be - there is going to be no epiphany. There is going to be no morning where the headline says Hallelujah, it's over. That's not going to happen.

What will happen is there'll be points of resolution over time. What does that mean? There'll be points of resolution. There'll be points where we can say, we've accomplished something, we should feel better, we should feel more calm. We should feel more relaxed.

And it will be incremental. We're controlling the spread. We are controlling the spread. You look at those numbers. You know what it says. We're controlling the spread. I was afraid that it was going to affect my family, no matter what I did. We're past that. If you isolate, if you take the precautions, your family won't get infected. We can control the spread. Feel good about that.

Because by the way, we could have gone to a point where we said we can't control this damn thing. We can't control it. It's in the air. It gets into your house. It doesn't matter. You close the door, it comes under the door. You could have gotten it.

We're not there. Those numbers say we can control the spread. Feel good about that. The worst is over. Yes, if we continue to be smart going forward because remember we have the hand on that valve, you turn that valve too fast, you'll see that number jump right back.

But yes, I think you can say the worst is over because the worst here are people dying, that's the worst. The worst doesn't get any bad than this worst and this worst is people dying. That's the worst. And Winston Churchill, I mentioned the other day. The end of the beginning.

Yes, we can control the spread. And we can reduce the number of people who die and our healthcare system can do phenomenal work and rise to the occasion and deal with this beast. It is not overwhelmed the healthcare system. We have controlled the spread.

And there was - there is confidence to be taken in that and that's an accomplishment and it was a heck of an accomplishment. Those healthcare workers for the rest of my life, I will say nothing but thank you to them. And I was not sure that we could keep the tide from overwhelming our hospital capacity. And they did.

Feel good about that and I believe the worst is over if we continue to be smart and I believe we can start now start on the path to normalcy. And we can have a plan where you start to see some businesses reopening, understand that - understanding the delicate balance.

I think there will come a point where there's an announcement that we have a medical treatment. That you can get sick but they found an antiviral medication that can help you treat the disease so take another deep breath when we get to that point because OK, you get infected but there's a drug regimen that can help you.

And then you'll get to a point where they announce we have a proven vaccine. That's when it's over. That's really when it's over. They have a vaccine, it's been tested, it's been proven, they can produce it. You're going to get a vaccine. This is a thing of the past. Don't worry about it. Close the chapter, move on. OK, when do we get there?

12 months to 18 months. I can't believe you said 12 months to 18 months. That Cara said to me. It's 12 months to 18 months. When Dr. Fauci says how long till a vaccine. He says 12 months to 18 months. When the FDA is asked how long until you get a vaccine. They say 12 months to 18 months.


That is the point. When you - when you ask me when can I do a deep breath for the first time in 5 weeks? When they say we have a vaccine. That's when it is over. But there will be points between now and then where we should feel more confident and we should feel better.

Well, I want it to be over tomorrow. I get it. I want it to be over tomorrow. I want it to be over tomorrow more than you want it to be over tomorrow. But that's not reality so let's calibrate our expectations and in the meantime, stay the course because we have accomplished a lot.

Through heroic efforts of healthcare workers, police officers, transportation workers who showed up to drive those trains and buses every day. I mean, people just doing extraordinarily, brave, generous courageous things every day. Literally, putting their lives at risk for the public.

And we have flattened that curve by people's actions. Which remember is why those projection models were all wrong. The projection models were high, they weren't wrong. It's a bad word. What they were saying is this is where the infection will go if unabated. What's the question mark on whether or not you can abate it?

Can you put forth a government policy but more will people listen to the government policy? You have 19 million people in New York. I could stand up here all day long and say you must social distance. You must stay home. If New Yorkers don't believe it, if Americans don't believe it, if they question their government, if I don't have credibility. Why do I stand here and go through all the facts?

I'm not asking any New Yorker to take my word for anything, I'm not asking any American, take my word for it. Here are the facts. I'll give you the facts. The good facts, the bad facts, the ugly facts, you get all the facts. You tell me what you decide. They decided on the facts that they would comply and they've done things, I would have never dreamed that they would do.

And they've actually made significant progress. Do not reverse the progress that we have made in our zeal to reopen and get back to normal. That's going to be the challenge going forward but we'll do it because we are New York tough and tough is not just tough.

We know what tough is but tough is also smart and tough as also united and smart is - tough is also disciplined and tough most importantly is loving. Well, that sounds counter-intuitive. They sound repugnant. No, no, no, no.

Toughest people are strong enough to say love. The toughest people and that's New Yorkers. Questions.

REPORTER: - they're running out of swabs to do test. Is that something happening elsewhere in the state? Is there anything the state can help with?

CUOMO: We on a daily basis - you're talking about medical equipment for hospitals?

REPORTER: Swabs. Yes. Hospitals are saying they're running out of swabs.

CUOMO: Yes. I'll ask the commissioner and check the comment specifically but just so you know how this works. On a daily basis, every hospital does an inventory that they send to us, that says what they have and what they need.

And any hospital that is short in urgent need of anything, we provide them with that material on a daily basis. We do not have any hospital that has said to us, we have an urgent need for x that we have not been able to fulfill.

Two caveats. You can have employees in the hospital who say I don't like this protocol. I don't like what the hospital is telling me to do. That's a different set of issues. Second caveat, you can have a hospital say I only have a 3-day supply. And that makes me very nervous.

I normally have a 2-month supply. Yes, I know that. Nobody has a 2- month supply of anything. So operating on that constrain timetable, that's where we are but Jim.

JIM MALATRAS, AIDE TO CHRIS CUOMO: After we received that question yesterday, we reached out to the hospitals in New York City. There was one, the Medesis network that would like some new swabs. We are sending them 200 test kits today so they'll have that but they're not out. They just wanted some for the future and to the governor's point, I was on the phone with about a dozen of the hospital systems -