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Seeking Relief: U.S. Facing Public Health & Economic Disasters; NY Gov. Cuomo Gives Update To Coronavirus Response; Gov. Cuomo: If Data Holds NY Is Past The High Point. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired April 19, 2020 - 12:00   ET



BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: We are going to get through this together. You can even email me. My email is Reach put to me but let's be honest about our emotions, talk through it and recognize it's OK to not be OK. We're going to wrap up this hour on Reliable Sources but Fredricka Whitfield picks up our coverage right now.

She is standing by for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's press conference which is starting any moment. Thanks for joining us.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Testing troubles. Coronavirus claims thousands more American lives.

DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a horrible thing that happened to our country and it should never ever happen again.

TAPPER: As access to testing remains a critical issue. When will it be safe for Americans to leave their home? And to the streets. The president back protesters pushing for states to reopen.

TRUMP: I just think that some of the governors have gotten carried away.

TAPPER: As governors try to decide how and when to lift restrictions on American life. I'll speak to the governors of Virginia, Maryland and Michigan, next. Plus desperate measures, unemployment spikes for the fourth straight week and struggling Americans are running out of options. Is more help on the way? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer join me to discuss in moments.


TAPPER: Hello, I'm Jake Tapper in Washington where the State of our Union is waiting for relief. Today marks 50 days. 50 days since the first coronavirus death in the United States, a day on which the Vice President of the United States told me, "We're ready."

It is now devastatingly clear we were not ready. More than 39,000 Americans are dead as of this minute, a number that has nearly doubled in just the last week. It's a toll that has left the nation desperate for relief from the ongoing public health crisis and mounting economic losses.

In the public health battle there are more encouraging signs that social and physical distancing measures are working to flatten the curve in the nation's hot spots but governors in states across the country say they still do not have the testing needed to safely begin reopening despite the Trump administration's assurances that testing is "sufficient."

On the economic front, the numbers are frankly overwhelming. More than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the last month. On Thursday the program designed to help rescue small businesses ran out of money, leaving desperate people at the mercy of ongoing political negotiations between the Trump administration and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill.

And let's start there. Joining me now the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Secretary Mnuchin, thanks for joining us. I hope everyone in your world is safe and healthy. It's been 72:00 hours now since the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program ran out of funds for emergency small business loans, having gone through some $349 billion.

Democrats say they want to make sure the next tranche of money goes to underserved small businesses and mom and pop shops as opposed to big chains such as Ruth, Chris, Steak House and Pot Belly. Are you going to try to fix that that? Where are you on negotiations?

STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Well Jake, it's great to be here with you and I think we're making a lot of progress. I've had multiple conversations all weekend with the leadership of both the Senate and the House. I spoke with Shuck - Chuck Schumer this morning already. I know he's on after and I think we're making a lot of progress.

And let me just say on this PPP program, it was three weeks ago that the president signed the law. We had the program up and running in a week which was unprecedented. It's impacted now over 30 million Americans and let me just comment, the community banks have done an extraordinary job.

60 percent of the loans have been approved by banks that have 10 billion of assets and below and 20 percent with 1 billion and below so the community banks have just done a terrific job here, getting these loans approved.

TAPPER: Two weeks ago you promised businesses "If you can't get a loan today or tomorrow, don't worry, there will be money." Some analysts and experts tell CNN that ultimately the Paycheck Protection Program might need upwards of $1 trillion. What do you think?

MNUCHIN: I don't think that's the case and you know, we're incredibly pleased with the participation rate and because of that we want Congress to approve more funds right away. We think that another $300 billion, that's what we're talking about should be sufficient to reach almost everybody and let me just comment, we've also reached an agreement on SBA disaster loan. So there'll be another $50 billion appropriated which can do over $300

billion for disaster loans so these two programs are unprecedented response to small businesses which I think you know is about 50 percent of the American work force.

TAPPER: And when do you think the deal will be done? When do you think there will be an agreement and small businesses that weren't able to get in on the first $349 billion will be able to some funding that they desperately need?


MNUCHIN: I'm hopeful that we can reach an agreement, that the Senate can pass this tomorrow and that the House can take it up on Tuesday and Wednesday, we'd be back up and running.

TAPPER: Oh, so you think a deal might be done today?

MNUCHIN: I'm - I'm hopeful. I think we're very close to a deal today and I'm - I'm hopeful that we can get that done.

TAPPER: Democrats are also pushing as you know for more funding for hospitals and for state governments in this bill. Republican Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland says "without sufficient federal relief, states will have to confront the prospect of significant reductions to essential services."

Will funding for hospitals and state governments be in this deal?

MNUCHIN: Well Jake, hospitals are very important and these are really the people who are on the front line and we have two issues. We have one, the issue of hospitals that are overwhelmed with Covid patients but we also have hospitals that are doing no business because there's no elective surgery.

So this is really an issue that impacts hospitals across the board. The good news is in the last bill we have $100 billion that's allocated. I've been working very closely with Mark Meadows who's overseeing this for the White House.

We've already distributed a lot of money and we've agreed to have another $75 billion in this bill parts plus an unprecedented investment in testing. I know everybody's focused on testing. We're talking about a $25 billion federal program, money that can be used with the states with new technology to invest in testing.

TAPPER: So it sounds as though there's going to be now money for testing, money for hospitals, money for small businesses but it doesn't sound like state and local government funding will be in this bill at the very least.

MNUCHIN: The President just heard from the governors and he's prepared to discuss that in the next bill. Right now we have a lot of money that we're distributing to the states. We have $150 billion that we've distributed half, we'll distribute the other half and the President is willing to consider that in the next bill.

But wants to get this over the finish line with focus on small business, hospitals and testing.

TAPPER: Two threats seem to me emerging in the business community. I know you - you have a lot of relationships there. Some business leaders say the economy needs to open up now so people can provide for their families even if testing isn't exactly where it should be yet.

Other business leaders say we need to reopen the economy but we need to do it once the right way even if it means waiting until testing is up to speed.

Where do you fall on these two camps?

MNUCHIN: Well, I was on the phone with the President, this week. I think you know we spoke to over 150 business leaders. He spoke to governors, he spoke to Republicans, he spoke to Democrats in both the House and the Senate and everybody agrees, we need more testing.

We're now up to about 1 million tests a week we can do which I think should give people a lot more confidence and that is ramping up very quickly and as the President has said, he's now put in place federal guidelines to make sure that we have a procedure to open up states.

Some states will be ready quickly, some states will take more time. The President's number 1 focus is the health of the American public and the number 2 focus is the economy and I think we have a very good plan to deal with both at this point.

TAPPER: More than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment for the first time in just the last month, essentially erasing almost all of the jobs created since the Great Recession. GDP is poised to plummet. How long do you think it will take for the U.S. economy to recover?

Will it be months or will it be years?

MNUCHIN: Well, let me just say you know, I'm very sympathetic to those who have been impacted by both the health issues and the economic issues. We've shut down major parts of the economy so it's not a surprise. There's a lot of people who are on unemployment.

The good news is part of the last bipartisan bill, there's enhanced unemployment insurance. There's also the direct deposit payments that we started sending out last week. I just like to give a quick pitch for people to go to and click on get my payment. We've had over 40 million people authenticate there.

We have 5 million people who have up loaded their instructions, we'd ask more people to do that. That combined with the PPP is getting a lot of money into the economy, into the hands of Americans.

TAPPER: But do you think it will be months or years before the economy is back to the strong position it was before the pandemic? MNUCHIN: I think it will be months. I definitely don't think it will

be years. We are going to conquer this virus. We are going to have to terrific breakthroughs. I know both not just on the testing but on the medical front, we begin to have virals.

I think there's things that are being developed for vaccines which will take a little bit longer but one of the things we heard is people want testing, people also will react very positively that they know if they get this disease, there will be medical treatments available as well.


TAPPER: Now you said two months ago that, "I don't expect the coronavirus will have an impact beyond this." That was obviously two months ago. Looking forward, Facebook is canceled events all the way through June 2021. They congressional budget office says coronavirus could affect the unemployment rate through the end of 2021.

The city of Los Angeles says it might not hold any concerts or sporting events until 2021. Isn't it almost certain at this point that the coronavirus will have an impact. I'm not saying as bad of an impact as we have right now but have something of an impact beyond this year?

MNUCHIN: Well Jake, let me just say, this is an unprecedented time. We've - we've never been in a situation where we've closed down the economy and I think rightfully so people are being cautious.

On the other hand as we get comfortable reopening the economy, I think we'll see a big rebound. So again, very sympathetic to the people, the Americans who are impacted by this, the economic impact. I do think we're all working very closely together and we're going to get through this.

TAPPER: You told lawmakers last month that the unemployment rate could theoretically climb, pardon me, as high as 20 percent if the U.S. does not do enough to help the economy. Some estimates have put the current unemployment rate somewhere between 15 or 18 percent. Do you think it's still possible that the unemployment rate could reach 20 percent?

MNUCHIN: I think if we're successful, if we get more money out to the PPP, we get more people hired back to work, we make progress on testing, we open up the economy, hopefully we won't be there.

But the good news is the President has put in place with bipartisan support an economic program that's going to help Americans get through this.

TAPPER: Stimulus checks for $1200 are being mailed out to many Americans. Some already got it through direct deposit but they're being mailed to help Americans through this crisis. For the first time ever President Trump name is going to appear on an IRS check that's being put in the memo line because the President is an authorized to sign the checks.

Did the president personally suggest this idea?

MNUCHIN: Well, let me just correct you and say the checks have not gone out yet and the reason why the checks have not out is we're hoping that more people as I said will go to


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): To my left is -

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta. I want to take you straight to New York and Governor Andrew Cuomo for his daily briefing.

CUOMO: Michael Dowling ran health care for the state of New York, Social Services for the state of New York. He was working with my father, came for one year, wind up staying with my father for 12 years in state service. So he's one of the really beautiful and brilliant leaders in the state and it's a pleasure to be with him.

And I want to say to all the people of Northwell who've done extraordinary jobs. Thank you so, so much and thank you for having us today. To my right is Melissa DeRosa. She is the Secretary to the Governor. To her right is, what's your name young lady? Mariah Kennedy Cuomo who is part of my team and it's a pleasure to have her with me today.

I'll been mentioning more about that in a second. Today's Sunday. That is a fact. I know these days tend to run one into the other but today is Sunday and I like to focus on the facts and the situation because facts are what's most important.

A lot of people have opinions and a lot of theories but Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who was a great senator from the state of New York like to say, everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not his own facts.

So let's give people of the state the updated fact. This is the chart of total hospitalizations. We've been watching this 24 hours a day for it seems like, most of our lives but it's only been about 40 days.

The total hospitalization rate is down again in the state of New York. We're down to 16,000. If you look at the numbers, we're at 18,000 people hospitalized for a period of time. It flattened there for a while, paused there. Then it went down to 17,000 but this is a low from our high point of 16,000.

Big question of whether we've been past the apex, past the high point and it turned out the high point wasn't a point but the high point was a plateau and we got up to a high point and then we just stayed at that level for a while but if the data holds and if this trend holds, we are past the high point and all indications at this point are we - that we are on a descent.

Whether or not the descent continues depends on what we do but right now we're - we are on a descent.


And that's in all the numbers. The hospitalization numbers are down. The 3-day average of the hospitalization rate is down. I was speaking to Michael and there - that's what he's seeing in his hospital system, that's what emergency rooms across the state are saying, that they see the - the maximum inflow is less than what it was.

So that all tracks with what the numbers are saying. This number of intubations which I watch carefully because intubations are the number of people put on ventilators and 80 percent of the people who are put on ventilators don't make it.

So this is a very important chart to look at and the fact that those numbers are down is very important. This is a reality check. With all the good news in the reductions, we still have 1300 people that yesterday came in and tested positive and were hospitalized.

1300 is a lot of people coming into the hospital system without diagnosis, less than it had been so that's good news but it is still 1300 people who are testing positive and need hospitalization.

We've been watching the spread of the virus from the New York City area and there have been little outbursts on Long Island and in Upstate New York and we've been jumping on those outbursts but overall, we have controlled it and the numbers are about the same.

Westchester and Rockland, where we had real problems. Remember, the first problem was with Westchester county, New Rochelle but Westchester, Rockland, Long Island, Upstate New York is still only about 7 percent of the cases so we're watching for a potential spread in other parts of the state.

But so far we have contained it and we've controlled - controlled it. Nursing homes are still our number one concern. The nursing home is the optimum feeding ground for this virus. Vulnerable people in a congregate facility, in a congregate setting where it can just spread like fire through dry grass.

We have had really disturbing situations in nursing homes and we still are most concerned about the nursing homes. The worst news of all for us to live with every day and in every day tragedy, we lost another 507 New Yorkers and those are not just very large numbers we see, that's every number is a face and a family and a brother and a sister and a mother and a father and people who are in pain today and will be in pain for a long period of time.

So we remember them in our thoughts and prayers but on this Sunday, day of reflection, thank you from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of all New Yorkers for what the people at Northwell have done, the entire team, talk about team effort, this is the team effort and to all our health care workers all across the state, 1 million health care workers, 445,000 hospital workers, 160,000 nursing home workers.

This - they have made all the difference in the world and you know, crisis like this, it tends to bring out the best and the worst in people. And certain people can break your heart in their response to this but on the other hand, other people can rise to the occasion and just give you such a sense of confidence in for human spirit and healthcare workers have done that.

I've been looking at this chart for 40 days and it looks like a bar chart. It looks like numbers in a line. I don't see it as a bar chart as we've been going through this. To me, it was a mountain that just kept building and building and building and you didn't know where the top of the mountain was.

And those numbers kept growing and we kept going up the mountain and we kept wondering where is the peak, where is the apex, what is the high point, when does this stop and we get to the top of the mountain and by the way, it's not a point and then it plateaus and it plateaus at a very, very high rate which means every day those health care workers have to come in and they're seeing a tremendous number of people, come in the door.

Overwhelming the capacity of the hospital and remember, we asked hospitals to increase their capacity 50 percent.


So if the hospital had a 100 bed capacity, now they had a 150 bed capacity and it stopped at that very high level on that plateau and it was day after day after day. People who were at their max and had given at all and then the next day, it's the same thing all over again.

But they did it, they got us through the plateau and now they're getting us down the other side and we just pray to God that it remains down on the other side so it's - it's been a lot of pain and a lot of anguish for a lot of people but the skill, the courage and the love of our healthcare workers, of our first responders, of our police, of our essential workers, they have really gotten us through all of this.

We also want to thank our neighbors. 95,000 medical professionals, who agreed to help in this state and outside of this state who said they would come and help us and I want to thank the other states and communities who we put out a call for help and we got help from all across the country.

It reminds me in that post 911 time, when we needed help and other communities in the northeast needed help and people came from all across the nation and they just wanted to help and they just showed up. That's what happened here and that when I talk about seeing the best and the worst of people at a time of crisis, that outpouring of generosity, I'm sure you felt the same, gave us such a sense of confidence, that we're not in it alone.

And humanity and the love of the American people was there for us and I said, we need your help today but New Yorkers also never forget and thank you for the help and we will be there when you need us and we will be there when anyone needs us.

Right now, our neighbors in Massachusetts are looking at an increase in cases. I spoke to Governor Charlie Baker yesterday. They may need 400 ventilators and we know how important ventilators are if their numbers keep going up and if they have to scramble.

And I said that you were there for us and we're going to be there for you. If they need 400 ventilators, we've already identified them and we will bring him over on 24 hours' notice and we wish them well and anything they need, we're going to be there.

So the recent news is good that we are on the other side of the plateau and the numbers are coming down but that's good news only compared to the terrible news that we were living with, which is that constant increase.

And remember, you still have 1300 people who walked into the hospitals yesterday, testing positive. So it's no time to get cocky and it's no time to get arrogant, right? We still have a lot long way to go and a lot of work to do and this virus has been ahead of us every step of the way.

We've been playing catch up from day one in this situation. So it is no time to relax and this is only half time in this entire situation. We showed that we can control the beast and when you close down, you can actually slow that infection rate.

But it's only half time. We still have to make sure that we keep that beast under control. We keep that infection rate down. We keep that hospitalization rate down as we now get all get very eager to get on with life and move on.

So it's not over and this - we have a whole second phase and in the second phase, first do no harm, don't jeopardize what you've already accomplished by seeing that infection rate increase. We have to be smarter, especially when it comes to the new frontier of testing and how we test and how aggressively and how we get that organized.

And then when we talk about rebuilding, we have to talk about not just rebuilding but let's learn from this horrific experience and let's take these lessons forward and how do we build the back better than before?

I don't want to have gone all through this and then just say we're reopening. No, no, no, we have to open for a better future than we have ever had and we have to learn from this. And as we go through this, remember, I know people are eager to get on with life, we have slowed the infection rate down to 0.9 percent.


0.9 percent means one person infects 0.9 percent of a person, less than one. That means the virus is slowing. If one person is infecting 1.2 people, the virus is increasing and is an epidemic and an outbreak and is out of control so we have a very small margin of error here as we navigate, going forward.

Any plan that is going to start to reopen the economy has to be based on data and that means it has to be based on testing and this is a new world for all of us, testing. How do you get testing up the scale? How do you get it up to scale quickly? And how do you find out where we really all right now in terms of this virus?

You have all these scientists and all these experts who are basically trying to extrapolate from the data but we don't really know. How many people were infected? How many people had coronavirus but self- resolved? We don't really know because we haven't been able to do testing on that large scale.

But we're going to start. We're going to start here in the state of New York with antibody testing. Antibody testing means you test a person to find out if they have the antibodies which they would have if they were infected with the coronavirus and we're going to do that in the most aggressive way in the nation.

Where we're going to sample people in this state, thousands of people in the state, across the state to find out if they had the antibodies. That will tell us for the first time, what percent of the population actually has had the coronavirus and is now at least short term immune to the virus.

This will be the first true snapshot of what we're really dealing with and we're going to be doing that over the next week in the New York State Department of Health, will be running that. There's also another set of tests which are called diagnostic testing.

Diagnostic testing is whether a person is positive or negative and we're coming up to scale on this even though it is very, very hard. Northwell is leading the parade on this and I just looked at some of the technology they're bringing in. All these different manufacturers who make different machines to run different tests.

And there's a number of big manufacturers and Northwell is bringing in as many as they can but this has to be brought to scale. Nobody's done testing at this level ever. And we have to do this in partnership with the federal government because there's all sorts of logistical questions and supply chain questions and people can't get certain chemicals.

They need to do tests and the chemicals are made in other countries so we have to do this with the federal government. I spoke to the head of the CDC yesterday and he was very smart and very informed and we talked about how we can do this together.

Talk about being smart, the federal government's talking about passing another piece of legislation which would help in the reopening and they want to help small businesses and that's great. They also have to help state governments and local governments, which have not been supported in the previous legislation.

Everyone is saying, well, it's up to the states to come up with a reopening planets, it's up to the governors, up to the governors. Fine and that's true and right and legal but the governors in the states have to have resources and yes, you have to help small businesses, you have to help the airlines, you have to help all these private sector interests as well as citizens.

But if you don't help the state government and local government then how are we supposed to have the finances to reopen. And if you don't give state and local government support, you know we're the ones who support the schools. We support the police. We support the fire. We support the hospital workers.

We support the transit workers so if you starve state and local government, all that means is we have to turn around and reduce funding to the people who we are funding. If we don't get federal assistance, you're looking at education cuts of close to 50 percent in the state of New York.

Where school districts would only get half of the aid they got from the state, last year. You're talking about cuts to hospitals from the state. I mean, how ludicrous would it be to now cut hospital funding from state governments.

So the governors' bipartisan Democrat and Republican in this crazy political environment, where you can't get Democrats Republicans to agree on anything, all the governors agree and have said to Washington, make sure you fund the states in any next bill you pass.


And we ask for $500 billion. Again on a nonpartisan basis. We also must remember as we go forward, what we have done so well thus far, the mutuality and discipline that we've shown. I have many school districts in the state, over 700 school districts, they're calling, saying they want to open up their local schools.

They want to make these decisions. Local officials are calling. We have beaches, we have parks, we have businesses, we want to make decisions. I understand the pressure that the local school districts are under. I understand the pressure that the local officials are under.

I understand the mounting political pressure. You know people see those numbers come down, they're like OK, let's go. Let me get out of my house. I get it but we have to stay smart and we have to stay united. Now is no time as I said, to get arrogant. We're working with our regional states, our partners New Jersey, Connecticut, etcetera, the surrounding states.

We're coordinating with them and we have to continue to do that, the weather is getting warmer, the numbers are coming down. Cabin fever is getting worse. I believe that's going to be a documented disease when this is over. Cabin fever. But we have to stay smart and we have to stay coordinated. We've been working with the New Jersey and Connecticut because whatever one state does affects other states, right?

You live in Nassau or you live in Suffolk, you live in New York City, you can get in your car and be in New Jersey, you can be in Connecticut in a matter of minutes. So it's very important to plan accordingly.

It's not that we can be on the same page on everything but at least, let's know what each other is doing. So for example, on state parks, we're cordoning what our policies are because you could see people go from one state to another.

I was in Albany yesterday, talked to a couple who drove up from Queens for Thai food to Albany and I said, you came up for Thai - for Thai food from Queens? You know, it's a 2.5 hour ride. And they said yes, we just, we had to get out of the house. I said just for Thai food, you know at Queens, they have Thai food. Also very good Thai food, I'm from Queens.

But it just shows how people need to get out and do something so we get it. New York state parks are open. New Jersey, they're closed. Connecticut they're open. New York, our beaches are closed. In New Jersey, the state beaches are closed. Some of the local beaches are open.

Connecticut, they're open. Connecticut, marines are open and New Jersey and New York also so staying coordinated with our partners is very important and it's important within the state also.

I get the political pressure that everybody is under. I get the political pressure that local officials are under. But we have to be smart and we have to be coordinated. People have to have the best government from government officials in the state of New York.

Government matters today, in a way it is not mattered in decades and it's important that government sends the right signal and one message and there's no confusion because if people don't have confidence in government right now, if they think there's chaos or confusion or politics, that that would be a terrible message to send.

We've done a great job as government officials. All of us Democrat, Republican, state, local. We have to keep doing it and now is not the time to send mixed messages and also on a very parochial level, I get that in the conversations I've had people feel political pressure. Here's the simple answer.

The state's emergency powers now govern in this emergency. Blame me. Blame me. Somebody's complaining about a beach, somebody's complaining about whatever business is open, schools open, blame me. It's true, it's right, it's the state law and I don't have any issue with that so blame me.

Also, as we're planning the reopening, let's set the bar a little higher.


And let's all start to think about this now. What did we learn during this? Personally, what did we learn? Socially, what did we learn? Collectively, what did we learn? And how do we incorporate that into our reopening, right? How do we have a better healthcare system when we reopen? How do we have a better transportation system, better telecommuting, a smarter telemedicine program, better technology in education?

How do we have more social equity? You can see the disparate effect of this disease and how it reinforced the disparity and the inequity in society. How do we remedy that? And how are we more cohesive as a community for having gone through this, right?

So it's not just reopened, it's not just build back. It's advance. Use this is a moment in time where they look back when they write the history books and they say boy, they went through a terrible time but they actually learned from it and they improved from it and moved forward.

We had 911. Yes, we built back, we built back different, we built back smarter. We had Hurricane Sandy. Devastated Long Island. I was governor. I didn't say we want to replace. I said we're going to learn how to do a new grid system. We're going to learn how to do better infrastructure and we did.

Long Island today is better for having gone through Hurricane Sandy, as terrible as that was. We have to do the same thing here. How do we come back even better? So the long and the short of it is, thank you to all New Yorkers for all the good work, to our health care workers, a special thank you to the police, the fire, to the transit workers.

You know the economy is not been closed down, right? All the essential services have still been functioning. You still could go to the grocery store to get food. Lord knows, you could go to a healthcare institution and get healthcare. The transportation work, the buses worked, all these people who kept everything working, we thank them from the bottom of my heart, our hearts.

But also remember, we still have more to do and New Yorkers know that because New Yorkers are tough but tough doesn't mean just tough, tough is easy. It's tough but smart but disciplined but unified and but loving and that's who we are as New Yorkers.

Last point on a personal point, I have my daughter Mariah who is with me and she is the third daughter for me and she just came home if you will, she was quarantined so now I have all three daughters with me. And they can't appreciate this but it's such a comfort to me personally to have them home.

You know when your child is not at home, especially in a difficult time like this, you're always wondering where are they, are they OK? Are they doing what's right? And every instinct is you want to be able to protect them and when they're not there, you have this constant hole in your heart, right?

And this constant question as you're going through the days or you're trying to do everything that you have to do but you still have this question in the back of your mind. Where's Mariah? How is she? So that they are now all three with me gives me a great sense of comfort.

And in this crazy situation we're in but for the craziness, I would never have my three daughters with me again. You know, they're 25, 25, 22 years old. The last thing they want to do is hang out with Pop, right? They have places to go, people to see. You know there. They're taking life by the horns.

So I get this beautiful silver lining in the midst of this hell where my daughters are with me again. And we get to celebrate family and we get to bring back traditions and we get to enjoy each other and have really in depth conversations that we haven't had in years, right?

And reconnect in a way we haven't had the opportunity in years. Today is Sunday and I come from an Italian-American household, where we had a great tradition on Sundays, the family had to come together at the table, you have to be there.

They called the dinner but it started two clock in the afternoon or somewhere in the, I don't really know why they called it dinner but everybody was at the table. Spaghetti and meatballs every Sunday. I started my tomato sauce before I left.


We're going to go back. We're going to sit at the table, have our spaghetti and meatballs on Sunday and I know what I'm going to talk to them about. My daughters Mariah - and Mariah brought her boyfriend who's also here. The boyfriend is very nice and we like the boyfriend.

Advise to fathers. The answer on what do you think of the boyfriend is always I like the boyfriend, always because there's only two options. Either you like the boyfriend in which case you say I like the boyfriend or you don't like the boyfriend but you can never say you don't like the boyfriend.

I learned this lesson the hard way otherwise it triggers NDS. NDS is Natural Defiance Syndrome, it's not documented but is it is a psychological condition where if you say as a father, I don't like him, Natural Defiance Syndrome kicks in and then they like the boyfriend more because he is opposed by the father.

So the answer has to be I like the boyfriend. In this case I actually like the boyfriend but even if you don't like the boyfriend the answer can only be that I like the boyfriend but we're going to be at dinner with the boyfriend and we're going to have our spaghetti and meatballs.

They won't eat the spaghetti and meatballs because they - when I cook it, they just won't eat it but they move around the dish and that's all I can ask. But I'm going to tell them, going to recall to them how important that meal was on Sundays to have the family together, to take the time to sit and to talk and to reconnect.

People talk about the Italians and they love the food. Yes, they love the food but the food was just a magnet to get the family to the table, right? It was just the device to get people to spend two hours at the table and that's where you talked and you went through the week.

And I used to do it at my grandfather's house. My father, mother, my kids, we used to - all the siblings would go to my grandfather's house. My grandfather's name was Andrea. I'm name for him Andrew and at the end of the meal, my grandfather would always say he was at the head of the table and he would say OK, that was my vacation.

And then he would get up and they would do whatever they were doing. I never really understood what he meant and later in life, I said to my father who was his son. I said, what I mean, that was my vacation. He said well, your grandfather never had a day off. Your grandfather work seven days a week.

He ran a little grocery store, Delicatessen in Jamaica and he works seven days a week and he was saying that was his vacation. He never took a vacation and everybody would take a vacation on TV in the TV commercials. That was his vacation. The three hours at the table for dinner with his family, that was his vacation and then he would go back to run the store.

You think of how our immigrants work in this country and wherever the immigrants are from, what that whole immigrant philosophy and drive does for us and I'll end where I started. You think of all the essential workers, you know while we had to stay at home.

I'm tired of staying at home. Yes, think of all the people, all the essential workers who have to go out there every day and work in the middle of this, who frankly would've much rather stayed home.

And they didn't know what the virus was and they're out there, working with the public, exposing themselves. Why do we have a higher rate of infection among African-Americans, Latinos, etcetera? Well, who are the essential workers?

We have a higher rate of infection among the essential workers because they were out there, driving the buses and they were out there driving the trains and they were out there, running the hospitals and the emergency rooms and the nurses and the police officers.

They didn't get to stay home. And they got sicker and they died more than anyone else because they were there, honoring their responsibility to their job and to public service. And let's remember that and let's remember them.

Yes, we're all going through a tough time and it is a tough time but a lot of people have shown a lot of courage and a lot of beauty and they've had very tough lives and let's appreciate them at the same time.


Any questions for myself or Michael Dowling or Melissa DeRosa. No questions for Mariah Kennedy Cuomo because that would be trouble. I'm just kidding.

REPORTER: Good morning - or good afternoon rather. The Covid - website seems to be - do you have any idea why that is and if it hasn't been - over the nursing home?

CUOMO: The - which Covid?

REPORTER: The health department. Online.

CUOMO: I don't know why the Covid tracker would not be up to date. That's the first I've heard it but I will check. It should be up to date because the numbers, I just gave you, the up to date numbers so I can check why they don't have that on their website.

REPORTER: You mentioned - over the next week. I'm wondering if you have a more concrete - when to plan to start and what's the status of the FDA - your request to the FDA to approve testing?

CUOMO: The FDA has approved the state's antibody test. That's what we're going to be rolling out this week. Now that we have the approved test, we're going to be rolling it out to do the largest survey of any state population that has been done.

And we'll take thousands of tests, antibody tests over this next week, all across the state to give us a real snapshot, a real baseline of exactly how many people were infected by coronavirus and have the antibodies.

So we'll have the first real statistical number on exactly where we are as a population and you know, they talk about herd immunity. We talk about infection rate and we're all trying to extrapolate from that but we have not had hard data on where we are.

And that's just one of the testing right? Diagnostic testing is are you positive or negative, how do you do that fast, how do you do that large? Antibody testing tells you if you had the virus and are past it. This whole world of testing is complicated. It's going to Northwell.

All these different manufacturers make a very big expensive machine and then each manufacturer has their own test and you have to buy that test from that manufacture and then you have to buy the chemicals that go with that test and Northwell must have you know 7-10 different machines from different manufacturers that are all running different tests.

And each one of those tests, that are all for Covid but you have to go back to that manufacturer and get all the new supplies to run the tests and that is what gets very complicated and I go back and forth with the federal government on this.

We have to figure it out. The states can do the tests but when I go back to the manufacturers, they will say, I can't find the reagents, the chemicals that are used in the test. Well, how do you get more reagents? I have to get them from China. I have to get them from this country. I have to get them from this country.

I can't help them do that. I can't do an international supply chain. And that's where the federal government has to help because no state can do that and the same manufacturers who are selling to me, to New York, they're selling to Chicago, to California, to all these other states.

So everyone has to do their part. I know it's hard and I know it's complex but everything we're doing here is hard and everything's complex.

REPORTER: Governor, what's the stake in terms of getting this decision wrong with New York in America? You've got people on the streets in cities across the country saying coronavirus is a scam. You have the president tweeting out to liberate states. What's your experience here in New York, what would you say about that?

CUOMO: I'll answer your question and ask Michael to follow up afterwards on the - on the testing and the machines we saw on how that works. The - look, nobody can say- what - anyone can say anything. God bless America.

My grandfather would say God bless America. First amendment anyone can say anything. So yes, anyone can say anything, right? It's conspiracy theories. Everybody's a theory. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, God rest his soul, anyone can have an opinion, not anyone can have their own fact. Anyone cannot have their own facts. Facts are facts. Opinions are opinions so yes, some people say coronavirus is a hoax. Yes, God bless America.


600 people died, two days ago. 500 people, those are real deaths. That's real. That's a fact. That's a fact, OK? 16,000 people in hospitals who test positive for coronavirus. That is a fact. I don't care what you think or what your opinion is. That is a fact so you can't say, it's a hoax because that is a fact. OK?

So that's a fact and I'll leave that at that. People are anxious. They see the numbers coming down. You exhale a little bit and they should exhale. Look, I was afraid. Nobody said that we can stop the growth of the virus. People said we think maybe you can, if you do socially distance and you close down and you do masks but nobody said we know for sure.

So my fear was always, we'll do all this and the virus will still increase. That would have been a really bad place to be. You did everything you could. You closed everything down and the virus continued to spread. That would have been really frightening.

That didn't happen. We controlled the beast. We apexed, we plateau-ed, it's coming down the other side. That is good news. OK, so we exhale. We can control the beast. Yes, but the beast is still alive. We did not kill the beast. And the beast can rise up again.

We know that. This is a temporary reduction in the virus rate. The virus rate is wholly dependent on what you would do. You tell me what you do today. I'll tell you the infection rate three days from now. You tell me what you do today as a society, I'll tell you how many people are going to walk into a hospital three days from today.

It is purely contingent on what we do. Well, the numbers are down. We have to get out of the house. We have to get back to work. I need a paycheck. I get it. But you go back to where we were, infection rate will go up, that hospitalization rate will go right back up again.

So all this was a calibration. How do you start to reopen, start to increase activity, start to bring people out, make sure they socially distances etcetera, make sure you're doing it intelligently so you start to reopen but watch that hospitalization rate and that infection rates because if that starts going up again and you don't immediately correct or you made such a dramatic movement that the virus infection spreads, you can go right back to where you were in one week's time.

And if we went through all of this and lost all of these people and forced essential workers and hospital workers to do unbelievable tasks to get us through this crisis and we recreate the crisis, then shame on us. Michael, you want to speak about the testing and the machines and the reagents and the supply chain?

MICHAEL DOWLING, PRESIDENT & CEO, NORTHWELL HEALTH: Yes, the governor said they are separate - diagnostic testing - whether or not - positive - and we're continuing to do all that testing and we're continuing to expand that testing capability. Then you got the antibody testing which is where we had to recalibrate, get a lot of new machines, get a lot of new equipment and begin - we are now doing some antibody testing.

We will over the next week - this is a Northwell alone - all the systems - we will anticipate getting up to doing 10,000 tests a day, antibody tests a day. Eventually - potentially to get to 20,000 tests a day. And we are also working with all the other health systems of the region, all the other health systems, we collaborate. We have every other day meetings. All of the land people from all the various systems that are getting together.

We've had discussions this morning. And so all collaborating to make sure we expand the capacity in the antibody testing. And the anticipation is we will be able to do hundreds and thousands of tests and again working with the labs across the state.

It does mean that we have to keep one side of the lab working on diagnostic testing and another side of the lab develop or changing - building the capacity to develop the antibody testing.


The goal is to do the maximum amount of testing as we possibly can because that's the way that we can - the economy can be reopened and healthcare can get to be reopened. If you don't do the testing, as the governor said, and you make a too quick a move to open too quickly, then you can walk into the scenario that the governor just described.

That would be one of the most dangerous things that we could ever possibly do.

CUOMO: Thank you, Michael. Also you see, remember the context here. We have accomplished what no one thought could be accomplished. The top experts, the CDC, the President's coronavirus task force, they all had multiples of more infections projected and multiples of more deaths projected.

CDC, Coronavirus White House task force, they were talking about 2 million people hospitalized in this country just a month ago. 2 million people. You know, how many hospital beds we have in this country? One million. Their low estimate was for double the hospital capacity of the nation.

On like March 13. That's what the top experts were predicting here in New York state, McKinsey, Cornell, Columbia, the Gates funded operation, they all had multiples of what we did.

This is a great success story on everyone's behalf. You know, people weren't so angry and frustrated right now, this has really been a great triumph. What the federal government did, what the states did, what the healthcare workers did. The way Americans responded and acted responsibly. It is better than any of the predictors.

The President is right when he gets up there and says "the models had many more people dying." The President is right. All the experts said that. So this was heroic efforts that changed that curve. God bless America but don't under appreciate what you just did and don't go backwards. That would be a real mistake.

REPORTER: I have a three-parter. It's weddings, funerals and the President. So weddings, just push it out, maybe clarify about clerks only being able to marry people now that you're allowed to marry again and then secondly, efforts to alleviate bodies coming into funeral homes and thirdly, what's your faith in the President, looking forward?

CUOMO: I've taken a lot of actions during this period of time. The action that probably is because to me the most amount of grief is what I said about marriages. Marriages, you can now do - you can get a marriage license online and we've authorized marriages online by any licensed or legal official who can perform a marriage.

So I said yesterday well, no one has any excuses anymore, right? Now it's a simple yes or no. Will you marry me? Simple yes or no. You lose all those possible excuses. Well, I have to set a wedding date. I have to do this - you do tomorrow. It's all online. You can get your certificate. You can get your license.

You can do it online. The judge can do it. Any official can do it so it's no excuses anymore. Yes or no, will you marry me? I get all sorts of bad, ugly comments about that. The - Melissa well, I'll ask her about if she knows anything about funeral homes. Do I have faith in the President?

Look, what the federal government did working with states as I just said, was a phenomenal accomplishment. We bent the curve, we flattened the curve. Government did it, people did it but government facilitates people's actions, right?

We had a double the hospital capacity in New York state. That's what all the experts said. President brought in the Army Corps of engineers. They built 2500 beds the Javits that Michael and Northwell were operating.

That was a phenomenal accomplishment. Close to 1000 people have gone through Javits. Luckily we didn't need the 2500 beds but all the projections said we did need it and more by the way.