Return to Transcripts main page


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: 10,056 People In New York State Have Died Of Coronavirus; Source: President Donald Trump Has Been Fretting About Dr. Anthony Fauci For A While; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: Governors Will Discuss "Geographically Coordinated" Reopening Plan. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired April 13, 2020 - 12:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After we received that question yesterday, we reached out to the hospitals in the New York City. There was one, the MediSys (ph) 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 of the future. And to the Governors point I was on the phone with about a dozen of the hospital systems today and just what he said.

People get a little nervous about running out of masks and things like that but often they have like a 30 day supply or 25 day supply and we monitor that on a day to day basis with them and if so they need it we'll send it to them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --are saying that they're being asked ration PPE is that sort of - categorized?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I mean and I think Melissa spoke to that yesterday on the various protocols and we're working very closely with the hospitals as well as the front line workers to get the needed supplies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As you're talking about reopening the economy but also specific to schools what would have to happen first for schools to open specifically in New York City in regards to this plan?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, (D-NY): They have to work together Bernadette. I don't believe you have. You can't open one system it's the gears which is an anonymous analogy and metaphor that doesn't work for anyone except for me. But that's okay source for me.

You have three big years okay. You have transportation right you have economic you have schools let's take just those three. Do you want to start turning one gear they all intermeshed you have to turn the other two gears. You can't tell me to go back to work I live in Nassau County let's say I live in Westchester County because I did.

You can't tell me go back to work in New York City if you don't have the transit system operating. I take the train from Westchester to New York City. I can go back to work until unless you have a train unless you want everyone to drive which will be pandemonium in four minutes.

You want me to go back to work. Who's going to watch my children if the schools are closed right? For many working people in New York the education system is one who watches their children during the day. That was one of the problems with closing the schools in the first place where people were very critical.

Of the very clear everybody is a critic but people didn't want to close the schools because they said in the hospital workers will be able to show up because the children will be at home. And if hospital workers don't show up then you have a real problem because our major fear was the collapse of the hospital system.

So all of these things have to be coordinated and they have to be coordinated on a statewide basis. Now look when I closed all the schools in the downstate area there were many school districts that disagreed. We have like 700 school districts in the state.

Right now all the school districts basically make their own decisions. I know but in a situation like this you can't allow 700 school districts to make their own decisions. You can consult you can try to cooperate et cetera but we have to have one plan at the end of the day because then we have to take New York and try to coordinate it with New Jersey and Connecticut and Delaware and Pennsylvania and Rhode Island to the best we can.

And this virus doesn't understand school district boundaries. And these systems we're talking about don't work on any of these boundaries. Schools transportation jobs they don't work on a county basis it doesn't work that way Suffolk County that's a nice delineation for a lot of issues but none of the issues that we're talking about.

So the entire downstate area is one area metropolitan area. Then you have upstate you could argue there should be a differentiation based on numbers or could be a differentiation. And that's going to be the conversation when we bring Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania that's a look we have rural parts of the state which one situation. We have metropolitan areas that are all going to have to be talk through and reconcile.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --Massachusetts and Boron it sounds like they're focused on some --?

CUOMO: Yes. We're talking to a number of states. And again we want to coordinate as much as possible but focusing primarily on our tri-state area they talk about the tri state area. The more we can but you also have to balance the complexity in the unyieldingness with coming up with a plan relatively quickly that we can agree on.

So that's what we're going back and forth on. We're going to try to work with everyone. But again you have different states in different situations and you have to prioritize where you really need coordination? We need coordination with New Jersey and Connecticut first and foremost because that's where our work force comes from.

You have a total interconnection among those states people live in Connecticut they drive to New York City.


CUOMO: They living from your city they drive to New Jersey. There is a total interconnection among them and that's the primary place for coordination.


CUOMO: I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --plan there to or you are just trying to --?

CUOMO: To come later today before the announcement. If I tell you the announcement today why would you come here 2 o'clock? Except for my break your witness humor. Hello Nick had a question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor should the City of Buffalo and Erie County be considered kind of a hot spot in upstate New York considering that they've got the highest number of infections I think outside of the metropolitan area?

CUOMO: Well, you can have a hot spot depends how you wanted to find hot spot? Hot spot within one mile, hot spot within five miles, hot spot within ten miles and hot spot within a hundred miles?


CUOMO: How big is a hot spot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of public health experts --?

CUOMO: Yes, but it depends how you define hot spot? You know it is a two blocks four blocks is it two people or 25 infection rate, 15 infection rates? You know we have. I call them clusters. You have clusters that pop up across the state.

Soon as you see some smoke and you see a little fire run there and tamped it out as fast as you can. And in Buffalo we have had clusters that have popped up Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Rockland, right? They've all had clusters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, when you say you believe the worst is over are you in effect encouraging the type of behavior that you're trying to prevent? I mean this sort of optimism that might bring people out of their homes in the --?

CUOMO: That's why I've said the exact opposite 57 times. Stay the course, stay the course. Its working stay the course, stay inside take precautions right? That's why I say that a hundred times to end in knowing repetitive level.

But facts are facts. And I'm not going to lie to the public. Facts are facts. Numbers are numbers. I need the public to believe in the credibility of what we're doing right? Credibility comes from two elements in my opinion. Are you giving me all of the information or are you spending me? Are you deciding that you can't tell me facts because I may become too optimistic? Are you manipulating me with giving me information which is what I think you're suggesting?

No, you get all the facts. I'm not worried that you can't handle information. You get all the facts. Second what I am proposing we do is drawn from those facts, right? Here's all the information. I work for you. I give you all the information. No spin, no gloss no sugar no glazing. Here are the facts.

I'm not worried that you can't handle the facts you're going to get depressed. You're going to get optimistic. You're a rational. Here are all the facts. The second component here's what I propose based on those tracks. And I think it's the intelligent response to those facts.

I hope you will agree with me that it is the intelligent response and you followed the proposal because I need you to follow the proposal because it's all about you. If you the public if the people don't decide to do social distancing nothing works.

If the people don't decide to stay home nothing works. I could never be mandate. 19 million people you must stay in your house and if they say is New Yorkers can say I think you're being overly dramatic or you're too political or you don't know what you're talking about? What do I do when 19 million people defy the order?

Arrest 19 million people? They have to believe it. So they get all the facts. I'm not going to shape the information they get here all the numbers. But and here's my policy based on the numbers and here's what I suggest and I hope you think it is not only credible but competent and smart and I hope you accept this the best I can do.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: The Democratic Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo giving his daily Coronavirus briefing. He opened saying that he had some good news. He says the curve in New York continues to flatten and he showed you the case count has just literally flattened in recent days in New York.

He also brought some sad news the death toll in New York State now up to 10,056. You see the U. S. death toll to 22,154 on the side of your screen as those numbers have changed. New York State tends to be running around 47, 48 percent of the national death toll.


KING: There obviously the state hardest hit. The Governor says now the challenge is to move toward reopening but slowly and cautiously he says this is the time for smart competent effective government.

Let's discuss first the medical challenge they'll get to the economics. CNN's Medical Analyst and Epidemiologist Doctor Larry Brilliant joins us now. Doctor Brilliant when you listen to the Governor lay this out and he does so with great detail their case count does appear to have flattened but the question a couple weeks ago is what they have an apex in a drop or they have a plateau?

And it sure looks like if you look at the last five, six days they have a plateau so it is more encouraging news but you are by no means out of the woods right?

DR. LARRY BRILLIANT, EPIDEMIOLOGIST: You're exactly right John. Look let's just take a step back. We didn't know whether if physical distancing would stop or pause or help us pace this virus. We heard stories about how much was aerosol spread? How much was asymptomatic spread?

We look now at this plateau we see we have a tool that works. It is not going to reduce the number of cases or deaths on its own but it's a tool. Now that we have this beginning of a plateau this is not the time to pull back the tool. It's a time to double down.

Let's find all the clusters. Let's test everyone. Let's find the contacts, let's test them. Let's quarantine those then we can decide where and how we can let up? Let's not - let's not slow down let's double down.

KING: Let's talk about that for a minute because you understand most people watching we've learned terms. We've learned antibody testing. We've learned about personal protective equipment. We've learned about social distancing.

We've all learned new terms in this new normal but help us understand the science of that in the medicine that when the Governor says you know nobody knows how long will be at the plateau because nobody's been here before?

We are in a novel coronavirus so he's talking about a long period of time only when we have a vaccine he says it over. That's a year maybe a year and a half away from us. So he's talking about this interim period where first and foremost your point he said he needs more testing.

And he says New York has been a leader nationally and yet even in New York which has been leading the country in the number of tests he says he needs much more testing. And then this whole new paradigm about you start thinking about you know if you're going to put more people out in the streets more people starting to go back to work you know who is most essential?

What kind of protective gear? How often do you take people's temperatures? Walk us through the challenge ahead.

BRILLIANT: So you know I lived in India for 10 years and worked on the smallpox eradication program. Now that's a very different, very different virus. That killed 1 out of 3 but you could see it on people's faces there wasn't any asymptomatic spread. And we had a vaccine but we learned some important lessons.

When we thought that we were in the clear and we let up and we stopped finding every case drawing a circle of immunity around it went away and looked the other way the virus came back. The density of susceptible as has hardly been touched by the million and a half cases that we've had worldwide.

It's hardly been touched by the half a million plus cases we've had in the United States. What we've done is we've learned how to pace the epidemic? We should use these furloughs, these little breathing spaces that we have to find every case or every cluster and then we don't have a vaccine but we have a very strong tool in quarantine.

Find every case test them contact trace and quarantine. That'll get us through the time that we need to until we have anti-viral and vaccines. That's the new normal.

KING: That's the new normal but sadly as we speak on this day we are not ready to ramp up to the point as you make that do that testing to do that identification and to quarantine those who need it. Dr. Larry Brilliant as always we appreciate your insight as we go through this.

BRILLIANT: Thanks John.

KING: Thank you sir as we go through this very busy week ahead. Let's bring in our CNN White House Correspondent now Kaitlan Collins. Kaitlan, the medical conversation there with Doctor Brilliant you heard Governor Cuomo talking about yes it's his job as the Governor of the State of 19 million people to as soon as possible get people back to work.

He says he's thinking about it but he says he has to be very careful. Just before the briefing, just before we heard from the Governor of New York the President of the United States tweeting out "This is my decision, not the Governor's" that's my paraphrase of the President's two tweets.

But that's what he's saying in his tweet. It was interesting listen to Governor Cuomo he never mentioned President Trump in discussing his challenge of reopening the New York economy but he did say especially when it came to his neighbors in New York, Connecticut and then a few other regional partners.

He was going to try to do it not with the President but with a group of Governors listen.


CUOMO: The optimum is to have as coordinated original 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.


CUOMO: 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.


KING: That's his take. The President this is one line of those two tweets Kaitlan Collins. It is the decision of the President and for many good reasons. The Governor's clearly don't see it that way.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No they don't and that's what we've been hearing from several Governors not just Democratic ones but even Republican once who have been saying they're the ones who are going to make the decisions here.

And John we've heard that from them since the President was floating that Easter deadline which of course now has come and gone about reopening the country. But a lot of them saying they were actually going to be making their own decisions based on the data they have for their states.

And the President declaring this morning that he has the power to open up these states, the country if he wants to really he doesn't because he isn't the one who close them down. It was these Governors who were issuing the stay-at-home orders that states you saw follow state by state.

And some of them were very belated on doing that including my home state of Alabama one of the last ones to issue a stay-at-home order. And of course the people in that state we're still going out and still doing things despite those federal guidelines that the White House had put out because their own Governor had not put something out now.

Of course these Governors are going to looking to the White House for guidance on what to do? They've been saying that multiple times not only when it comes to the gear they need their hospitals but when it comes to reopening the country. They are going to be wanting to know how the Federal Government is planning this.

And we know that comes as the President is preparing to open that Task Force. But Trump saying that he does have this authority we have not heard any Governor's since agree with the President on that and before that we'd only heard them say that really they will be making their own decisions.

And really John ultimately it's going to come down to the people and when they feel comfortable going back to work and sending their kids back to school and go into the stores freely. That is really going to be what makes the ultimate decision about opening up the country? It's the consumer.

KING: The President seems to have a different opinion at the moment but we will see. We should hear from him later today. Kaitlan Collins live at the White House I appreciate it.

When we come back Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum joins us to discuss just this tension with the Governors. The constitutional balance over reopening the country and the President is also mad at his Top Infectious Disease Doctor how does that factor in to the planning going ahead?


[12:20:00] KING: Two big issues among the many challenges facing the President of the United States right now. One is the debate over went to reopen the nation's economy amid the Coronavirus crisis. We're also learning as that plays out about more frustration from the President about his relationship with Dr Anthony Fauci.

Sources telling CNN the President has been fretting about Dr Fauci for a while. He's mad about something he said Sunday here on CNN and in overnight the President re-tweeted a message with the "#Fire Fauci" so how will the President's evolving relationship with Doctor Fauci and other members of the administration affect the nation's response to the pandemic?

Let's get some perspective now. I will bring in Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. He's also now Senior CNN Political Commentator. Senator it's good to see you from afar during all this. It is good to see old friends and good friends even through this technology.

Help us through this moment. Let's start with Doctor Fauci. Doctor Fauci did an interview yesterday in which he said something that was candid, that was common sense that if you started the restrictions earlier lives would have been saved. We do know from "The New York Times" story over the weekend that there were there was a recommendation of the initial Coronavirus Task Force to have limited shutdowns in late February.

And of course we didn't get to this President's guidelines for almost a month after that. Why does he get so mad the President when his people tell the truth?

RICK SANTORUM (R-PA), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Well I think it is Monday morning quarterback and I think that's what's sort of upsetting. I mean if you look at the time when the commission recommended there were maybe what a half a dozen or a dozen people have died in this country from the virus.

So I mean to suggest a dramatic step like that when it looked like there wasn't a whole lot of concern would've been a very - well I just think unusual thing to do and probably unwarranted thing to do at that time. So I just think the President looks like he's you know he was ahead of the curve on the as you know he talks about this all the time.

On shutting travel down from China didn't get credit for that get criticized for that imagine if he would have done this he would have probably been criticized for this too? So he just thinks that you know we need a team that looks forward instead of trying to second guess everything it was done in the past.

No disaster in the history of this country's been handled with the palm. I mean it's - they've all tough, they're all difficult. And you know yes, the President has made mistakes. He has also done some good things and it seems to be on a pretty good footing right now.

KING: You think so. I hope you're right about that going forward. One of the things the President bristles that though forgive me Senator is the exercise of our democracy in the sense that the documents in "The New York Times" story obtained through the Freedom of Information Act has transparency of government.

I get it we're in the middle of a crisis. If you're the President in a reelection year, you don't want to talk about that right now. You want to talk about that later. And you're actually right he was right about China. Chuck Schumer called him a racist. The Governor of Washington didn't like it.

That was the right call but it's also fair to say when he made that right call he did not take urgent steps to more quickly ramp up testing to more quickly do a few other things that that might have helped him well that would have helped him at the time.

SANTORUM: No look, like I said I don't think the President gets a perfect score on his response but he gets some high marks for doing things that were controversial. He gets lower marks for probably not heeding the advice on some things earlier on.

But I think overall what he's done is he's broken the glass. He's allowed the government to function in a way that it hasn't functional long, long time to explain it a lot of things moving forward from testing to therapies to a whole bunch of things.

I know the FDA is working overtime on all this stuff and as I - you know I know personally because I've been involved with some companies that are trying to work with this. They're doing - they are bending over backwards to make these therapies available and I think the President deserves some credit for that.

KING: Help me out on this constitutional question here. You're constitutional conservative. You have different views maybe on Federal powers.


KING: The President tweeted earlier today that it's his call. We live in a 50 State Republic it's the way the founders had it. I spoke to the Republican Governor Chris Sununu of New Jersey the Republican Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan out over the weekend. Governor Cuomo of New York just saying you know this is up to me and I'm going to try to work with my partners in the region.

The President cannot order the reopening of the American economy correct?

SANTORUM: That's correct. Now I think but the President can set a tone. And I think if the President goes out and says you know look in these particular areas because of whether it's geographical or whether hopefully as your previous guests have said that we have more robust testing because I think that's a very, very important thing and hopefully a lot of private.

You know there's a big effort out there to try to get businesses to do testing on their own and testing their employees not to send people to the hospital just to do screening. So their employees can feel safe coming to work.

I mean, everybody from Major League Baseball to manufacturers are looking at how they're going to look at their employees and be able to give them some security? So but the President can set a tone for that. I agree the President can't nor should he try to overrule. It won't work but what he can do is set a tone saying it's time to start to get back to work.

And we need to work with Governors regionally and act to be able to activate certain areas and to put protocols in place to give people comfort. And Kaitlan said it best. I mean just because the President says go back to work people aren't necessarily going to go back to work. They're going to have - want some level of comfort and putting a plan in place that does that is key.

KING: Senator Santorum I appreciate your perspective. To your point there's a bit of that in the President's tweets saying a decision by me in conjunction with the Governors. So the part you out is there in part of it then you read the other part it is the decision of the President for many good reasons. So we'll see how this one sorts itself out in the days ahead? That's similar we often find ourselves.


KING: All right, we really appreciate your insights. When we come back, a new warning about a drug the President often talks about or at least one of its relatives, chloroquine.