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Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) Holds Daily Briefing; Gov. Cuomo: Visit With President Donald Trump Was Productive; Public Health Concerns Grow As Some States Move To Reopen; President Donald Trump Says He'll Sign Immigration Executive Order Today. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired April 22, 2020 - 12:00   ET



GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I'm done, the wave it hit me, I'm still standing. Be aware because there might be a second wave or there could be a third wave. So don't be cocky just because you got hit by a wave and it didn't knock you off your feet.

There can be a second wave. And if you're not ready for the second wave that's the wave that's going to knock you down because you're not ready for it. So that's what I'm worried about and also to the local officials and to the local politicians.

I have no problem with them blaming me. It's a very simple answer. Say to everyone whatever they say I agree with you. It's the Governor because by the way it is the Governor it is. These are state laws that are in effect the local official can't do anything about them anyway because they can't contradict the state law.

So it was true. So the local officials can say it's the Governor blame him. It's true. And it will stop us from doing something that's counterproductive. And it'll also stop us from getting into a dispute between me and the local government where the net message will be to the people this disagreement or confusion among government.

And this is not the time for confusion or disagreement among government. So the state laws are governed. I get the local political pressure blame the Governor it's the truth and the state laws can't counter - the local laws can't counteract state laws anyway.

And to this political pressure this is a quote that I think people should take to heart. When the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility. Then they ceased to be free Heather Hamilton originally Edward Gibbon in the history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

When the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility then they ceased to be free. We have a responsibility today to ourselves and to others. There is a co-dependency and mutuality among people in society that is more clear and distinct than we have ever seen.

You sneeze I get sick, you sneeze I get sick. It is that close a connection. You have a responsibility to act prudently Vis a Vis other people because you're not just putting your own life at risk. You're risking my life and my children's life and my parent's life and you don't have that right. You have to act responsibly.

And to advocate for total irresponsibility let's all be irresponsible. No not here not now any questions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is Michael Bloomberg going to be doing? Can you talk about how that's going to dove tail with what the city and -- ?

CUOMO: Okay, let's try another new first and then normal. Let's - we don't need to speak over each other. I will answer your question. So let each person asks a question and then we'll go on to the next.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, talk to me specifically is Michael Bloomberg provided funding are you giving him the power to hire people? And Mayor De Blasio this morning talked about the city launching its own effort to do tracing and testing. How will the two things overlap?

CUOMO: They will all be coordinated. City's effort will be coordinated. Nassau Suffolk's effort Westchester's effort they will be hiring people independently. You have city employees that start with the number of employees those will be Westchester employees, state employees, and city employees. But it all has to be coordinated. There is no tracing that can work within one jurisdiction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Michael Bloomberg is leading--

CUOMO: --you're just finished.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coordinating council?

CUOMO: Yes. Let me just finished. You cannot trace someone within the boundaries of New York City because once the person goes outside of New York City well now that would be a Westchester person right?

I live in Westchester take me. I lived in Westchester. I've worked in New York City. New York City's going to trace me how? I'm in Westchester that's a different County, you can't trace me. Well, we'll go trace people in Westchester oh, no, no Westchester is going to say that's my residents don't come in here trace my residence.

All right let's forget the jurisdictional fight and the political local fight. We'll coordinate everyone. This is a monumental undertaking. Who's going to do it? We're all going to do it.


CUOMO: City, State Nassau, Suffolk, Jersey, Connecticut. Okay how do we do it? I don't know. We've never done it before. Michael Bloomberg will design the program design the training. He's going to make a financial contribution also put together an organization that can help hire the people because we have to expand this number tenfold.

And get this all done like this. This has to happen - you don't have months the plan will do this. You have weeks to get this up and running. Super ambitious undertaking and Mayor Bloomberg will help coordinate the entire effort. He'll be working with the state. I'm working with the city and the Nassau and Suffolk in Jersey and Connecticut.


CUOMO: I don't know what the financial contribution is does anybody now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's upwards of $10 million but what Mayor Bloomberg is doing is through the program at Johns Hopkins which he funds very heavily their public health program which is preeminent in the country.

He is helping us to design the programmatic operational and technological components of our contract racing program and they in partnership with us are creating an online curriculum to train the tracers to recruit them to interview to perform the background checks. And then we're going to coordinate all of the counties and also with New Jersey and Connecticut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: State probably has reported million people infected are you planning on contact tracing that cohort as well of quarter million people that have already been diagnosed?

CUOMO: You will trace as many positives as you can. And as the testing number goes up that number of possible people to be traced is going up. The implication of your question is right. Won't you be identifying more positive people than you could possibly ever trace? Yes, I believe that's true.

I don't care how big an army you put together you now have let's say take your number 250,000 people tested positive. How do you start to trace 250,000 people? How many people do you need to trade this 250,000 people? That's why it's an extraordinarily impossible task and you do the best you can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that appropriate use of resources considering I mean the status of stride I mean 10 billion, $15 million. Quarter million people exponentially just looked around this room there are 30 people in this room. If one of us were in fact did the contact tracing on that I mean it's far as uncontrollable as media.

CUOMO: Yes. Look, contact tracing life is options. Going forward how do you educate yourself on reopening? What we need data? Where does the data come from? Data comes from testing. Now you have a hard data base of hospitalizations.

You can look at the hospitalizations and they will tell you how many people got sick enough to go into the hospital? That's all it tells you. You don't know how many people were infected. You don't know what is happening on the infection rate spread. All you know is the hospitalization rate.

So testing will give you first of all more data on how fast the infection is spreading? And how fast it's spreading where? You're going to get a very different number in New York City than you get in Buffalo than you get in the north country then you get in Albany.

Okay, that'll inform the regional reopening. And then what you're trying to do, to the extent possible the whole concept of testing - testing, tracing and isolation. Not just here but every state is talking about this.

To the extent you can. When you find a positive person trace it back and isolate him. Well, if you wind up with a population let's say we wind up with a 10 percent infection rate in the state or in the city that's you know a million people in New York City infected.

How could you possibly trace a million people? You can't, you do the best you can. But for every person you isolate Jessie that's one less person walking around infecting another 10 people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But isn't that - that they are - already that you know even if it's just 10 percent you know some estimates have said it might be 50 it might be 60. Like how much money could this possibly cost? And where's the money going to come from?

CUOMO: Well, if it was 50, 60 percent you'd be at a differentiate point. If you were at 50, 60 then you would be arguing with what called herd immunity. That would be - don't do any of this that's sort of Sweden and like Brazil.

Just let it go and whoever gets infected gets affected whoever dies, dies and at one point everybody a critical mass of the population is infected.


CUOMO: And then whatever happens, happen. It's not going to be 50, 60 and that that strategy some countries have adopted. A lot of people die with that strategy which is a downside. But it's not going to be 50, 60 my guess is it's going to be 10 percent about now in the high infection areas. It's a guess but I would guess 10 percent down state single digits upstate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You never really get a better understanding of this virus then we have --. And I wanted to know what we do in terms of convalescent serum, maybe doctor Zucker has better answers and monoclonal IO6 is that something that stays using.

CUOMO: You're right. Dr Zucker is in a better position to answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, on the question about this area we are working on this. There have been patients who receive this from within some of our hospital systems. The data we're still waiting to hear about the clinical results from that. So that is moving forward.

The more people that we have that end up positive and recovered the more zero will be available and more information we'll have on that part. On the monoclonal antibodies, so this Regeneron Corporation here in New York State has been looking at this issue and we've been speaking with them.

There is data suggest that the use of monoclonal antibodies may be beneficial based on how the monoclonal antibodies have been used for other conditions where they end up with the same kind of response for the - whether what's called cytokine storm where their lungs are damaged as a result of infections. So there may be a relationship here and we're working closely with them on that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Personal experience the oxygenation level went from the low 70 one day and overnight from midnight. I mean it was a dramatic turn of events.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that was part of--


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --right, monoclonal antibodies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's not in the state so I just want you to know. I'm not saying anything that's what you shared what Governor - what I shared was - let you know that you know is there a shortage of this monoclonal IO6? Is there - is this something that still has to be developed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the IO6 receptor antibodies there are two different companies that have been working on it and that has been given to patients across the state who have this in already and the monoclonal antibody there is a specific therapy for that, that's also in - not really experimental but has been provide to those who are ill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --upstate tracing, are you interested at all on moving that upstate to also do tracing? And also you said there's going to be announcement with nursing home inspections possibly today?

CUOMO: Yes. We're going to make the nursing home announcement tomorrow. It's in the works though we wanted to talk about this today. Tracing is going to be done statewide and testing has to be done statewide. Testing those two things for you remember the rate of viral infection spread so you have a calibration on the reopening.

And second on the antibody testing one of the upsides is you find people who have the antibodies so they can contribute for the convalescent plasma by donating their blood Joseph.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You talked a lot about reopening decisions upstate, but how about opening schools? It seems like in recent days you suggested that, that's becoming increasingly difficult is it unlikely that schools will open before fall?

CUOMO: When you say my opinion, when you say you're not going to open schools you may as well say you're not going to open businesses because the two are connected. I don't know how you really open businesses without opening schools?

You want me to go to work, hallelujah but what do I do with my kids? So the two to me are very connected. The school year is up in June. To say we're not going to open businesses until June. I'm not there yet. I don't think people are there yet.

This is a situation that changes week to week. So let's get the information week to week. Let's get the data and then we'll make a determination plus we're trying to coordinate with Jersey, Connecticut other states. So let's get the data in the meantime schools will not open until we say schools will open statewide.


CUOMO: Opening schools is very difficult. I would not open a school unless we knew that the schools were disinfected. That they had a protocol going forward to disinfect the schools that they had a protocol where there was going to be a certain amount of social distancing and protective personal behavior in the school. That is a very, very big undertaking Job.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: You were listening to the Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, his state of course the epicenter in the Coronavirus fight. These briefings are always interesting. Today's as well was remarkable.

The Governor knows, as the epicenter, he has a national platform for these daily briefings. He used it today not only to update us on what he says is progress in his state but to say it would be reckless. We can't be stupid.

The Governor lecturing essentially the country offering himself without mentioning it by name as a counterpoise to the President and to some of his Republican gubernatorial colleagues who were saying it's time to go more quickly times to go more quickly in the opening debate.

As it comes to New York he did say New York is in a better place we're not home yet but we are in a better place. Noting a drop in hospitalizations, a drop in intubations even what he called a gentle decline in the number of New Yorkers dying on a day to day basis.

But the bigger message was the political message from the Governor today. He also announced that Former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg will help New York ramp up a giant contact tracing army.

Governor Bloomberg will contribute financially but also help coordinate between New York Connecticut and New Jersey as they deal with the monumental task of trying to trace new cases especially after you start to reopen the economy.

Let's continue the conversation. Our Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us. CNN Medical Analyst James Phillips -- he is an Assistant Professor of an Emergency Medicine at George Washington University and our Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash.

Dana I want to start with you. Normally we come out of these briefings then we start with the medical news but what was most interesting was listening to the Governor. He knows what's happening? Just today the President tweeting this morning states are safely coming back. Our country is starting to open for business again. The President leaning forward the Governor of Georgia leaning forward, the Governor of Florida leaning forward, the Governor of Texas a bit more cautious but beginning to open up listen to the Governor of New York saying be careful?


CUOMO: I get the pressure but we can't make a bad decision. Frankly, this is no time to act stupidly. I don't know how else to say. And I've said it innumerable times to local officials on the phone. I get the pressure I get the politics we can't make a bad decision and we can't be stupid about it.


KING: That's one take of it Dana. He said it over and over and over again in similar words saying if we are reckless things will go up. He's not just talking about the State of New York he knows he has a national platform here.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No absolutely. And there's no question with that as you said without saying the names or the states. This was a direct contrast intentional contrast that he was making with the Governor of Georgia and the Governor of Florida who are saying it's okay to open by the week's - end of the week tattoo parlors and nail salons where it's impossible for anybody to understand how those are doable with social distancing measures in place?

And so he's very keenly aware of as you said the platform he has of the voice he has right now particularly given how bad it has been in New York that it's just been such a hot spot? But the other thing that I found interesting in his presentation and the temperament of Andrew Cuomo is that he takes people along and allows people to see that it isn't easy.

He's not just saying no we're not going to do this. He did say it's stupid and you shouldn't - you should be careful but he's also being very transparent in how difficult it is? And when it comes to leadership that makes it easier to digest for people if you see that he even he is struggling that it is a hard decision, just keep things in place.

You know it's a tactic that certainly could work for him and maybe he could be emulated by people in the White House even if it's not the President perhaps his top medical people who were asked questions and very diplomatic almost to a fault when asked about these state's yesterday.

KING: Right and Sanjay to that point you live in Georgia where the Governor has been quite aggressive. He says he's going to put his foot on the pedal to reopen. The Governor of Florida moving forward as Dana said. Some other Governors a bit more slowly even as Governor Cuomo was

speaking he's a politician so maybe people are watching saying he's a Democrat. He just wants to pick a fight with Republican Governors.

Even as he was speaking the IHME which is one of the modelers out at the University of Washington a model often cited by the White House came out with a new analysis that essentially like Governor Cuomo says hey Governors you better be careful here right?


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, very much so. I mean you know the these are models so you know we dig into these models and the models do change but what they're saying for example for Georgia is that the - it really needs to - the reopening really can't be considered until the middle of June.

It's actually 4 days later now than it was before. And again these models do bounce around. But the point is that it's nowhere close. You know it in the past it was the beginning of June perhaps end of May but now it's even further along.

And frankly, as you look at this map here a lot of places around the country the model suggesting it should be delayed in terms of the reopening. I should emphasize this point John because you know whenever we look at the data and we say well the downward trajectory or whatever's happening you know gives us some comfort and starting to think about reopening it.

The models also say yes but the reason we can say that these numbers are going down and then what the assumption is, is that the stay-at- home orders will stay in place to a certain time. It's - there is always that assumption that you will continue to have the stay-at-home orders and the belief that if you start to reduce them the numbers will go up.

And John one more point. This is a little bit more of a subjective thing but when the stay-at-home order start to get opened up like for example if they start to happen here in Georgia on Friday there are people who are going to become infected.

The Governor has acknowledged this. But we may not recognize those infections for a period of time because you know as you know the incubation period can be a couple of weeks sometimes shorter. But the point is that for a while for a couple week people may say, hey look we're fine Georgia is fine.

We don't see any impact from having reopened and then you wait a couple of weeks and you start to see people starting to become symptomatic. You wait another week after that people start coming to the hospital and sadly a week after that if people are going to die it happens then.

So you're talking about a month down the line. You have to have the patience here. We close late and now we're thinking about reopening early that's a problem here in Georgia. KING: Right, it'll be two, three weeks maybe even more before we begin to see and maybe they pull it off and maybe they handle it right and if so we'll give them credit. If the case numbers go up we'll have more political controversy.

Doctor Phillip I want you to come into the conversation. The point Dana was making and Sanjay too about the complexity of this. You have to do this with your patients every day. They come in with certain conditions you need to talk them through it.

Here's option A, here's how long it will take? Here is option B here's how long it will take? Here's the potential side effects, here's the course going ahead. When you listen to Governor Cuomo to Dana's point, he's talking about all of these challenges including the complexity of this contact tracing army.

He says they have hundreds now if you look at New York City in the surrounding counties but they need thousands. He's grateful for the new help of Mayor Bloomberg. But when you hear him talk this through do you get a sense that we're having that?

Again he has a national platform but we listen to the White House the President often says America was not meant to be closed, we must reopen. He does not get into the nuance the complexity. The months long challenge and then the manpower the coordination all the things necessary to pull this off.

DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: It's the problem with us not having a national strategy set by the White House. You elude through the contact tracing which has been made readily apparent and its importance.

You know the Center for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health they released those guidelines last week that had recommended up to a 100,000 people might be needed in the public health service to be able to do the level of contact tracing that's necessary.

And I think that serve as a primer for the conversation that we're having now. You know Mr. Bloomberg is a part of that school and his idea of funding and I think is very important. We're not going to be able to get the majority of the country back open in any safe way without expanding testing and in particular contact tracing.

And notably amongst the lack of planning from the White House even their guidelines and their gateways to reopen the country leave out contact tracing as a requirement for states. And what we're seeing from some of the southern states and cash in particular the Mayor of Las Vegas in her words.

I find it frightening. I mean medically it's maddening to see this sort of counterproductive movement towards opening the country up without truly considering the medical problems that are going to come from that.

So I'm wondering who's advising them from a medical standpoint or are they just not taking advice from physicians and epidemiologists.

KING: And it's a fascinating question because we are at this crossroads moment like it or not agree or not with your Mayor, your Governor you're starting to see this in pockets of the country. To Sanjay's point we will track it as we go ahead to see whether they can pull the socks off successfully or whether there are major setbacks.


KING: Dr. Phillips, Dr. Gupta and Dana Bash I appreciate very much your perspective. As we listen to that again it's a competition, it's a competition. Governor Cuomo trying to take a lead role in the go slow debate as other Governors and the President of the United States are in the go debate. We will watch as this one plays out.

Up next for us Twitter diplomacy President Trump tweets he will soon sign a new Immigration Executive Order that after announcing that plan earlier also in a tweet. We'll look at what's inside in a minute.


KING: President Trump says he will sign an Executive Order today that will limit immigration into the United States. But the order will not do what the President promised in a late night tweet Monday. A tweet we now know caught his aides off guard and led to quite the policy scrambled.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins live for us at the White House. Kaitlan so the President tweets and his aides say and get to work.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is a pattern we've seen throughout the Trump Presidency. But it did happen just again strikingly in the last few days because this has been something that the President.