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CNN NEWSROOM

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: Passing The Buck Without Passing The Bucks; Detroit Doctor Speaks Out About Cases In Hard-Hit City; President Donald Trump Unveils Guidelines To Reopen American Economy; West Virginia Governor Jim Justice: The Goal Is To Get People Back To Work Safely; CNN Polls of Polls: 45 Percent Approve Of Trump's Job Performance. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired April 17, 2020 - 12:00   ET

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


[12:00:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, talking about additional Federal Funding presumably to kind of help reopening and restart the economy. Do you have any idea what that number is? Are we talking tens of billions of dollars hundreds of billions of dollars what would you like to see come from Washington?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Well, we know what we proposed right? National Governors Association which represents Governors all across the state country. All the Governors are part of the National Governors Association Democratic and Republican.

National Governors Association Chairman is Chairman Larry Hogan Republican Chairman. I'm the Vice Chairman I'm a Democrat. We have publicly requested 500 billion for states we publicly done that. So that's the number that's public put out in a press release and that's what it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --New York specifically.

CUOMO: We didn't get into the allocation. But the allocation should be proportionate to the need right? This allocation 500 billion for the states well, how do you allocated among the states? Allocated proportionate to need you know where the COVID cases are. You can look at a map you see the cases you know that because you see when the President talks about reopening different states are in different places.

Yes, different states have radically different situations when it comes to number of cases. So allocate the funding where the problem exists. You're trying to solve the COVID problem. Allocate the funding to where the COVID problem exists?

Pass the bills where they've done health care funding for quoting for COVID. You've seen the numbers. Some states that about $200,000 for every COVID case New York got about $12,000 for every COVID case. How do you justify that?

Well, because it's the Senate they wanted to give every state money so every Senator had something to go home and do a press release about. Yes I know but if the state didn't have any COVID cases how much did you give that state of tax payers money just so that Senator could go home and do a press release?

Give me a break. You can go press release with you know you don't need billions of dollars to the press release.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very quickly to follow up. The President said yesterday that some states with those start to go into Phase 1 almost immediately. How far away do you think New York is from something like Phase 1 or even Phase 2?

CUOMO: Well, Phase 1, Phase 2 it's what he's saying is depending on where that state is? But the President saying is it's up to the states. It's up to the Governor's. The Governors who have states that have fewer cases can reopen faster.

Yes, that's - that has nothing to do with the President or federal policy or anything. All he is saying is it's up to the states and your C states that have less of a problem opening sooner. That is undeniable and totally logical.

So it depends on that state where it is and it depends on the numbers. And the Governor's relying on numbers and has nothing to do with the Federal Government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --system we said that we've--

CUOMO: I've taught - when do we reopen? We are now 0.9 on the infection rate. 1.12 is the tipping scale with the numbers start to go up again right? So your margin of error right now is between 0.9 and 1.2.

You have many states with the infection rate is the minimum. We're at 0.9 we're right up to that line of possible outbreak. So the states that will open first by the data will have much lower infection rates than we do.

We were over the line. We were in outbreak territory right? We've gotten that down to a 0.9 but your margin of error is between 0.9 and 1.2 and what the experts will tell you is 0.9, 1.2 you're right on the line it's not that precise to science.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No doubt hospital rate that seems to be stabilizing and ticking down. A few questions are you there for stopping some of the things you've done to increase capacity like the field hospitals on the island?

And then is there any thought particularly in upstate areas of reopening hospitals and facilities to elective procedures there are reports that workers are being laid off? And then finally you know we have to reduce PPE standards we have a bunch of requirements to increase this capacity will any of that be now rolled back?

[12:05:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And is there any concern that reducing the standard PPE may - infraction or cost problems amongst healthcare workers? You know there are lots of infections there.

CUOMO: The CDC reduced the PPE guidelines not that their office alphabet soup but it was the CDC that had federal guidelines on the personal protective equipment. And they have different guidelines apparently when you're in a crisis than normally they went to crisis guidelines. And that's what many of the nurses especially are complaining about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --guidelines you - sets the policy here.

CUOMO: I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since the policy we use the CDC guidelines on these issues where about use of masks PPE equipment accounts we continue to use. But the issue is how and when can a health care worker go back to working with the mask?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So are we thinking about changing any of this? And do you have any concern that this may have caused higher infection rates?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't feel it costs higher infection rates at all we've very - health care workers worked extremely hard to protect give themselves and make sure there isn't any further infections.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --in the hospitals?

CUOMO: We are not. First you take all these numbers with a grain of salt right? Caution is you could have a surgeon could have a second wave look at Wuhan look at China look at Italy went up went down went back up be careful. But are we at a point where we are now immediately in danger of exceeding the hospital capacity we developed?

No that's why we're in a position to give back - giveaway ventilators or lend ventilators to New Jersey and other states et cetera. So I don't believe we are in a place today where we are - I'd risk of going over capacity.

UNIDENTIDFIED FEMALE: I want to talk to you about the rate of infection. Have you calculated the rate of infection forecasting in New York specifically with --?

CUOMO: We have not done those calibrations yet. This is all the rate of infection analysis is very difficult and there are a number of premises that they're making in the calculation. So we don't have discrete rates of infection yet now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would appear that we have lower rates in our State of New York and you know our area has made strides and in the economy in the past few years it's been devastating. We've already seen some small businesses go under. Is it important to find out what that rate of infection is to try and get parts of upstate open that are not seeing those numbers?

CUOMO: Look, it's important to get the economy open wherever you can as soon as you can whenever you can. People had a nice break and they were in their homes. I think everybody is well past. I had a nice break. I want to get back to work. I have to get out of the house.

I love my family but I have to now get out of the house and I need a paycheck and I needed yesterday. So everyone is in that same position. At the same time people will say I don't want to go out and get sick and die right?

So that's death is bad and even though staying at the home and not getting a paycheck is bad. It's not as bad as death right? The young and the young here so as soon as we can and lower infection rates places and lower death rate places are in a better position than places with a higher death rate and higher infection rate.

So yes, calibrating those differences is important and balancing the economic need and the personal need with the public health need and death that calibration is everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When do you think you'll start to make that separation is what I'm asking?

CUOMO: I think you'll see it clear. You know we're right on the line now across the border. You'll see clusters in upstate also. You'll see nursing home issues in upstate one of the reasons they keep asking about nursing homes.

Nursing homes are the vulnerable point. The vulnerable population in the vulnerable sets a nursing home. And we've seen that across upstate. So it's not just about - yes, everybody wants the economy running. But everybody wants to be safe at the same time and that's what we're working through.

[12:10:00]

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --outbreaks we're seeing some numbers that is about to you know 55 deaths at just one nursing home and there are 21 facilities on this - over 20 dozens. My first question is why you know the - to inform the public about deaths happening in their communities? Why are the public not known about all of these new risks outbreaks?

CUOMO: Yes. I think they have. We've been talking about nursing homes every day for the past 30 days. The first outbreak was in Seattle, Washington which was a nursing home that's how this country was introduced to it.

We said 157 times the most vulnerable population are seniors the most vulnerable place are nursing homes. So I think we that had - and we've special precautions for nursing homes. I think we've been talking about it all along.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --to say the network--

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Andrew Cuomo the Governor of New York giving his daily Coronavirus briefing. The Governor on the one hand saying he is encouraged the state appears to have hit a plateau in terms of Coronavirus deaths. Coronavirus patients Coronavirus intensive care units and intubations but noting the death total still in the 600 on a day to day basis been averaging 665 or more.

The Governor saying it is a sad plateau for the state of New York. And then talking at the end about a couple of key asks of the Federal Government. He says as the state begins to think about re opening New York State not there yet he says. But as it begins to think that it needs Federal help with testing and he says he needs Federal money to help with his state budget crisis as well.

Let's discuss the situation in New York what it means for us as we look nationally? Dr. Glenn Wakam is a Resident Physician at the University of Michigan. He was working at community hospitals in the Dearborn area when the Coronavirus pandemic hit us. Dr. Wakam appreciate your perspective today.

And so you look at a New York where again there's no good news here there's less sad news. But you see the plateau at the top and the Governor making the case that he can see the beginning of a decline perhaps. He's at a plateau now he's hoping it does this. He's wrestling with the balance between safety economic reopening making sure you don't overwhelm the hospitals.

From your perspective in Michigan where you have had to deal with a spike as well mainly in the Detroit area but an issue statewide where are you today?

DR. GLENN WAKAM, RESIDENT PHYSICIAN, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: Yes. Thank you for having me John. I really appreciate the opportunity. That's a great question and you know I don't really want to go above my pay grade speak for the State of Michigan or the area of Detroit.

But I think from my personal experience and I see that spent time with. We've had some encouragement in terms of the trends of the pace of admissions. We've had some more wins than losses in terms again some excavations.

But again that's my one experience where I personally worked and I know there's very much places in Detroit specifically but in the whole state that are in the full throws of this. And so I think the encouraging signs are great.

And you know that's a real testament to Governor Whitmer's leadership here. But I still think we need to be cautious.

KING: Cautious is a good word and we're just showing the trend in the cases there in Michigan and you do see a - you're beginning to see what looks like a downward trend. Again the question is do you get a spike?

We'll continue to watch as Michigan one of the many states now trying to figure. Your Governor says she's going to wait at least a couple more weeks before she starts thinking about reopening. She hopes that line continues. You wrote a very moving piece about what you're learning as a doctor.

You're giving medical care but you also learning a lot of other things as you go through this crisis. I want you to listen, this is the Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker a couple of days ago raising a point that you have been quite poignant about. Let's first list of the Governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER (R-MA): It was an extraordinarily painful process for their family to go through this loss of our critical ritual that people believe in and hold on to this chance to say goodbye.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The Governor talking there and choking up about a friend's mother going dying and you're not there. One of the cruelties on top of the cruelty of COVID-19 is the isolation and the separation for everybody but especially for those who have a loved one who is in peril in a hospital. Walk us through some of that?

DR. WAKAM: Yes. You know it's very heartbreaking and that sort of was the crux of the piece that I and my co-authors wrote. And it stemmed from the one experience I had of taking care of patient with a terrible prognosis after suffering from COVID-19.

And during this decline I was speaking with this family member and it really struck home that she was not able to see him before he died. And you know he ended up dying when she was just outside the hospital. And it was just a really jarring experience for me and that's you know not even to touch on how dramatic it was for her?

[12:15:00]

DR. WAKAM: And so we sort of put that into words sort of a cathartic exercise and fortunately the New England Journal thought it was worth publishing and it's really resonated with people. Because I think no one can imagine the fathom the pain of not being able to see a loved one that's dying.

KING: And you talk about maybe trying to make advances in technology. So at least they can there could be some more presence you can obviously be as close. That's a very important piece and I hope people read it. Doctor Wakam thank you for your perspective and thank you more importantly for the work you're doing every day.

DR. WAKAM: Yes, thank you John for having me. And if I could just also really thank the nursing staff in the ICU and the respiratory wards and everyone who's doing like the hard work every day I would really appreciate the opportunity. And thank you for having me.

KING: I meant. I meant, thanks for adding that in and not only to your colleagues there but across the state and across the country as well. It's an important point we cannot say thank you enough at this moment. Doctor Wakam again thanks so much. When we come back the President puts out its new guidelines telling states here's a road map to reopening holiday following that's next.

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[12:20:00]

KING: One big Coronavirus question when can the country return to normal? The President put out his criteria to reopen the states yesterday. 14 days is the important benchmark. The guidelines require a downward trajectory of confirmed cases in tests for two weeks.

The President also did a complete 180 from saying he has total authority to force economies to open to saying hey the Governors will call the shots in each of their individual states. New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo moments ago making a point Mr. President yes we do decide but not Governor Cuomo says because the President says so.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: We need to support the states because the states are the ones who are doing this. Reopening is up to the states right? That's the federal decree it's up to the Governors. The Governors will decide. The states have to decide everyone is in a different position and it's up to the states which I agree it also happens to be the constitution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: With me to share their reporting and their insights two of the town's best White House Reporter CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Josh Dawsey of "The Washington Post" So the President just moments ago as we're getting ready to start the segment is tweeting attacking Governor Cuomo I won't read it all but we can put it up on the screen.

He says Governor Cuomo should spend more time doing and less time complaining. That is the President's there. This Josh Dawsey came a few minutes after the President also tweeting in the last hour liberate Virginia, liberate Michigan, liberate Minnesota.

There's a goal and this following a segment on Fox News. There's a global pandemic that has paralyzed the American economy. There's a lot of pressure on the President of United States on questions like testing and supply lines and so. He has decided the best use of his time is to watch Fox News.

JOSH DAWSEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, the way the President has been very antsy to get things reopen this week as we've seen. On Monday he says I have total authority to make decisions and he's backed away from that. Now he's essentially saying it's up to every state to decide.

But he's still putting pressure on the states behind the scenes. Yesterday on the call with the Governor is he knows that I'm testing is totally up to you. You have total leeway you're going to call your own shots. But you know experts, public health experts even a lot of Republican Senators and allies say we cannot have mass reopening without more testing.

You have a lot of folks in these state that are not ready to go back at, Governors that are skeptical of people going back to work backed out to eat back to bars back to libraries, theaters that sort of thing and a President who is agitating increasingly more so and more so for a return to a normal economy.

KING: More so and more so. And Kaitlan on the one hand you could take those tweets liberate Virginia, liberate Michigan, liberate Minnesota as the President may be encouraging protests especially in Michigan we have seen a protest against Governor saying to reopen.

The White House is going to explain whether or not that's what he means but that would be an easy inference if you're reading his Twitter feed. And to Josh's point about testing, Governor Cuomo just made the case again no state can do this even a big state like New York cannot ramp up testing to the scale necessary to reopen the economy and have the necessary testing.

This is an interesting ripple. Lindsey Graham not necessarily in the same page about who should pay for it but listen to Lindsey Graham Republican Senator of South Carolina Trump ally the key to opening up the economy is mass testing. There are parts you could safely begin to reopen the economy but the real key is mass testing. You have to have mass testing it has to be science based.

The President of the United States Kaitlan has said no you have to have some testing not mass testing.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And now he's saying it's not the Federal Government's responsibility when the President has been taking a key role and saying that actually they could direct states to do what he believed he thought was best.

And the President has taken several efforts a lot of them did not pan out to try to actually ramp up testing in certain states that when they didn't turn out the President then is now putting it back on states including that public private partnership that he touted in the Rose Garden.

It still has only resulted in a handful of those testing sites in certain parking lots of Walmart, CVS and things of that nature. So what you're seeing is the President repeatedly put this back on states not saying it's like a team work type thing like what you're hearing from Doctor Birx.

And the thing is this comes after the President is hearing this concern not just from his critics and not just from Democrats but also from his closest allies like Lindsey Graham and other Senators on a call yesterday Business Executives the day before but it doesn't appear that this is registering with the President because he is not talking about a partnership with the Federal Government.

And that's likely where this tweet about Governor Cuomo came from because the President has been watching these press conferences almost daily. He watches them very closely. Sources say and Governor Cuomo was saying it is going to have to require help from the Federal Government to ramp up testing in New York.

And it's also notable John that in the President's tweet he talks all the assistance in New York has got that's because it had the most cases of anywhere else in the United States. Almost it's up there with Washington and Seattle and of course New York has had the most issues that is why they received the most funding and the most Federal assistance.

[12:25:00]

KING: Right, and the Governor's thanked him for most of that help and just said they need more especially now as they go forward. And it's it if this creates a fascinating moment this is the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it's supposed to be Kaitlan. We lost Josh Dawsey's feed I think.

That's why it is supposed to be. We have a 50 state Republic. The Constitution says the state's make most of the big decisions. So now Governors have to go through this and as we look at the guidelines and we look for 14 day trajectories in cases going down there are other standards as well.

But that's the first one. Are you going down over a 14 day period? We see some states Arkansas is down 4 days in a row California down 3 Delaware down 3 Maine down 4 Michigan down 5 Nevada down 4 Washington down 3.

So there are places to look at as they start to walk through this but in most of those states you're still looking at a week or longer away assuming the trajectory stays on. Each Governor has to make a difficult decision listen to the call for way the Governor of West Virginia put it. As he now ponders how quickly do I reopen?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): Our goal in every way shape form or fashion to be able to get us back to work and to get us back to a life that is close to where we were before. But and here's but and this is the but, but, but. My number one job is to protect all of you as best I possibly can. I don't like the fact we got 13 deaths no matter what you do your dad got if you do a background you don't in this situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Yes. I bet every Governor in a country would agree with that.

COLLINS: Telling the dad going to do, dad going you don't. He was saying essentially talking about these concerns that they're having about the testing because they all want to reopen. They all have the same goal that the President does.

And the question here is the timeline and how you're going to see these states play out? And that's what's so interesting about what George was talking about how the President has gone back and forth this week on whether he has the authority or whether it's going to be the state's making these decisions?

We're seeing these Governors really wrestle with this. And so that's what's really notable about the President's tweets saying liberate Minnesota, liberate Michigan, liberate Virginia. He was asked yesterday about those protests because a lot of them have been his supporters. You've seen them with the Trump flags and "Make America Great Again"

And the President kind of hedged on it when he was asked in person but now he's saying liberate these states. Of course that is what these Governors would like to do as well. And that is seemingly the goal of the phases that the President put out yesterday.

But they're saying it's going to take a lot more time and even his own health advisers are saying we put out these guidelines so these states can get ready to do testing. Contact tracing is another massive effort that they're going to have to undertake here.

So they're saying it's going to take more time. The President seems to be trying to spend that time line up.

KING: And Josh, we just it's - it's just the fact that we are in April now in the President's reelection year and that is a factor released a concern as he goes through all these decisions. If you look there is a new Pew Poll out that says a large number of Americans think the President was too slow or too late to react to this.

There was a new Gallup Poll out today we can show you the line up as they track Presidential approval rating over time. They do this consistently for every President. That is just a CNN poll of polls here averaging them all out. President's approval ratings currently at 45 percent when you average them out 51 percent disapprove the disapproval numbers up a little bit.

The Gallup number shows you - just the chart shows a dropping down. When you do the reporting inside the White House how much of a factor is this in the President's decision making that you know you cannot separate the two? He is an incumbent President in a reelection year who has had his economy go from boom to bust like that?

DAWSEY: Well, the President's political advisers for months have caste his key asset as a booming economy. You know 401(k)s being higher, the stock market being higher. Low unemployment big jobs growth every month.

And that was going to be central to their argument after winning the election. And now they have projections coming from some inside the building that they get up double digit unemployment that you could have tens of millions of people out of work. You could have certain key states that the President needs to win when things are very grim.

So you can guess that as an economic comeback story potentially for the President there are different ways to run. But it certainly complicates me - and makes it far more difficult if the economy is not humming along.

You also seen a ferocious effort this week John to try and re-craft the narrative that the President was not slow to respond. We've done reporting at "The New York Times" CNN and others that going to detail how they were weeks and weeks and weeks were not enough testing decisions were made? I'm not other things were done to get ready for this. But the administration is really trying to push hard aback on that because they know that the economic malaise are coupled with a growing pervasive sense that not enough was done early on to stop this from happening.

Or you couldn't stop it from happening but to stop all of our other - of this from happening both could be dealt here for the President.

KING: Josh Dawsey and Kaitlan Collins I appreciate the reporting and prospective as the administration faces a very important phase ahead. Up next for us we take a closer look at Florida, it is ramping up Coronavirus testing with two new walk up sites.

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