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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Gives Update On Coronavirus Response; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: We're The Number One State In Paying Taxes Into The Federal Pot; Mitch McConnell's State Kentucky is Number Three In Taxing Out More Than They Pay; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to Senator Mitch McConnell: I Dare to You to Pass a Law Allowing States to Declare Bankruptcy; U.S. Begins Reopening Experiments as Coronavirus Deaths Tops 50,000; President Donald Trump Dangerously Suggests Injecting Disinfectant as Treatment. Aired 12- 12:30p ET

Aired April 24, 2020 - 12:00   ET



GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We're now doing about 20,000 a day we want to go to 40,000 a day. Karen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: - 23rd primary people on both the left and the right are saying that it would not be a good idea because the Board of Elections is not up to carrying out the task. So if polls will be opened for people to go to?

CUOMO: Yes. Polls would be open.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And do you think the Board of Elections can carry this out of their problems?

CUOMO: Well, Karen likes this option you have an election. There are only two options either people go to the polls or people vote by absentee. There's no other way to do it right? We're saying you have both options you can go to the polls or you can vote absentee. I don't know what else anyone could expect anyone could do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you're mailing absentee option?

CUOMO: Excuse me for a second. What is the other option? People on the left and the right are unhappy.


CUOMO: What do they recommend? Right, there are only two things you have an election. You can go to the polls that day or you don't want to go to the polls you vote absentee we're doing both.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --big worry that there could be some kind of mistakes or you know the result will be valid because something might happen with something --?

CUOMO: Well, at the end you're against absentees then everybody goes to the polls. Is that what they want? No they don't want that either. Because they don't want people going to the polls because then you wait on line and you've come in contact with other people, right? So I like these options. Bernadette?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Just wondering sir you're sending an absentee application or an actual ballot?

CUOMO: Melissa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're sending an absentee application. So Article II Section II of the constitution allows for an absentee voting process. And there are two provisions one if you're out of county the other is a list of specific things that were enumerated in law by the legislature.

One of those is temporary illness. The Executive Order the Governor did a couple of weeks ago amended the temporary onus provision to include risk of contracting COVID. So we looked at this very closely I know some people thought that they should be you send everybody an actual ballot to vote.

And we don't think that that's within our constitutional right for the Governor's directive powers to override the constitution and create a mail in voting system or one otherwise doesn't exist. So what we're saying is everyone's going to get an application with postage. So this is easy.

Every registered voter gets one. They can fill it out. They send it back. And to the question of whether or not the Board of Elections can handle this? The provision the Governor did a couple of weeks ago allowed for anyone to already be able to do this. It's just that then you would have had to download the ballot, call to get a ballot, go to the BOE to get the ballot.

So all we're doing is making this more convenient so that people who don't have access to internet, don't want to leave their homes because of their fear of COVID are able to get an application directly sent to them with the return postage should be able to get the absentee ballot that are early executive order allowed for.

CUOMO: That's more is that --?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A week away from May 1st, loans New Yorkers have rent too, they have mortgages to do. Have you given any thoughts for rent freeze for renters or to extend mortgages by those three months so that those loans would be extended? So people are going to be facing a kind of a large payment when your moratorium is complete?

CUOMO: Yes. We're looking at that right now. What we do at the end of this moratorium? We have a number of options we're looking at.


CUOMO: We're looking at all options.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One follow-up question. We're now three weeks away from when the own pause orders because we don't May 15th. Parents were trying to figure out whether or not their kids are going back to school? Can we get a timetable on when you might make that decision?

CUOMO: About one week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About one week time?

CUOMO: So we give people some notice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, on the rent freeze in New York City that's controlled by the Rent Board in New York City and that's entirely controlled by New York City. I know Mayor De Blasio has been calling for them to do the rent freeze but that's outside of our actual jurisdiction. That's controlled by the city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you consider we'll do that in other cities in the state --?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's something that we're looking at but the pressure has obviously been in the city and that's what the conversation has been. And that's something that I know the Mayor is focused on.

CUOMO: It's really an issue in New York City.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When might a decision on that would be made so people can apply?

CUOMO: Well, the New York City decision, New York City has to make. What we do on our Executive Orders that are going to expire? We have a couple of - we have a couple of weeks still. So we'll give people timely notice but we're looking at all options.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --Task Force and this is particularly for Melissa to - spearheading it but has there been any update there on the safety of pregnant women giving birth during the pandemic and just how does that work in --?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to be giving the Governor a list of recommendations this weekend for executive action. So you'll be seeing something in the next couple of days but we've been meeting every day this week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, revenue shortfall opens the door for you to institute the cuts a local government to schools does you intend on working that power? What kind of cuts can those entities expect?

CUOMO: We're looking at that now and we don't have the decision now. But I tell you the truth. I said to the Federal Government I've been talking about this for how long two months, two months I said how you can have a Federal Government in a position where they're not going to provide funding to state governments and local governments.


CUOMO: Small business airlines business program now some of these large corporations now apparently have been taking money from the government programs. And they're not funding state local. When you don't fund state and local you know who you don't found?

Police, fire, school teachers and school officials what was the possible theory of funding large corporations but not firefighters and not police are not health care workers? I mean it boggles the mind. And all they say was don't worry, right? Don't worry we're going to do it in next bill. We're going to do it the next bill.

We're going to do it in the next bill. I said to our congressional delegation, I said to our Senators Schumer and Gillibrand don't pass this past bill that they just did unless you're state and local funding because they're not going to do it. Don't worry, don't worry they're not going to do it.

As soon as the Senate acts, McConnell turns around and says I'm not going to do it the state should declare bankruptcy bailout to the blue states, bailout to the blue states again the most un-American, uncharitable ugly statement of all times.

Yes, New York had more Coronavirus cases than Kentucky you know why? The flights from Europe land in New York. The flights were not landing in Kentucky. That's why we have the Coronavirus cases. That's what the researchers now found.

Two months later that the virus went from China to Europe got on a plane and came here. And by the way the virus probably got on a plane in China and came here. But China maybe landed in California, the European flights landed here. That's why New York has Coronavirus cases.

Bailout New York you're not bailing out New York. New York has bailed you out, every year it's bailed you out. Mitch McConnell is a taker not a giver. New York is a state of givers we put more money into the Federal pot every year we're the number one state in donating to the Federal pot.

Number one Kentucky is the number three state in taking from the Federal pot. They take out more from the Federal pot then they put it every year, every year. But this is America states want Federal pot you put in what you can and the states that need it take it. Okay.

So for every year New York was the number one donor state putting in more money than it took out. Putting in more money than anyone else and taking out less number one donor state. Kentucky every year was the number three state that took out more than they put it.

So they were little - we were putting money into the pot, they were taking our dollars out of the path. And now he wants to look at New York and say we're bailing you out. You're bailing us out just give me my money back Senator. Just give me my money back.

I mean it's just ridiculous. States should declare bankruptcy, okay Senator pass the bill that authorizes states to declare bankruptcy. Sign the bill Mr. President. Our economy is coming back we're doing great pent up demand and stock market was to take off good.

Pass a bill allowing states to be bankrupt and then let's watch how the stock market takes off of that great news about our economic resilience.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: The Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo there was speaking in Albany, New York quite telling their passion at the end anger at the end at the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell daring him essentially to pass a bill to allow states to declare bankruptcy.

That after McConnell said he's not interested much more Federal spending in the Coronavirus response, saying maybe states can declare bankruptcy instead of getting billions from the Federal Government.

Quite telling if you've been with us over the past several weeks listening to Governor Cuomo on a daily basis he has shifted because his state is now as he says on the down side of the curve much less about the urgency of the day. Weeks ago this would have been about masks, about PPE about getting ventilators to New York about the overwhelmed emergency rooms.

Now the Governor more and more focusing on the fights to come down the road not the urgency of the day things like when does he reopen New York?


KING: How does he fight for what he believes is desperately needed Federal money to help the state out, out of its financial crisis? Other issues, about voting the Governor bringing up as well. So again it's interesting, very telling that it's much less about the urgency of the day much more about the path ahead.

With me to share their expertise and their insights the Chief of the Infectious Disease Division at the University of Nebraska Medical Center Dr. Mark Rupp CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash and our Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and CNN's Kaitlan Collins will join us shortly from the White House.

Let me start Dana Bash, I want to start with you on that point. In that these are gripping events almost every day from the Governor of New York because his state is and has been the epicenter. But the shift in recent days is quite remarkable and again there's no good news here but it does you can tell that it does reflect the progress in New York.

As the country is beginning to have this debate about have we corralled Coronavirus enough? To think about reopening the Governor says intubations are down, hospitalizations are down, the rush is down and therefore his time and energy seems to be much more spent on the fights ahead including the standoff with Washington.

And I'm going to connect some dots and you tell me if I'm writing connecting them. He wants the President to rebuff Mitch McConnell and pass a lot of Federal money to help the states get through this including New York.

He had a chance there, he was asked about the President's ridiculous comments yesterday about disinfectants and maybe it should - human beings ingest or inject themselves with disinfectants Governor Cuomo passed.

He said that's not my background, that's not my education. Democratic Governor could have teed that one up and attacked the President instead he passed it off to his health director because I took that as his work in the refs, he wants that money.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I was watching this thinking that this is a high stakes game of truth or dare. The dare was actually the word that he used on Mitch McConnell. I dare you to pass this bill because as you said a couple of times lets game out what that would mean for the economy especially Mr. President.

Shortly before you're going up for up for reelection and the hope at the White House of course and Andrew Cuomo understands this, is that by the time November gets closer the economy will be doing better. So he you know he's very angry at Mitch McConnell and he wants to make that very clear in a strategic way. He is very transparent about that.

The fact that he punted on the President on the Lysol thing was noteworthy but he did it in a very careful way. And well that is the truth part. He said to his health director Dr. Zucker you say it. I'm not so sure that's not my job, please you say it and he allowed him to do it in a very polite way.

So they were on the right side of science without you know making the President angry at a time that the Governor clearly wants him on his side on this very important next round of money and the threat that that Senate Majority Leader made about asking blue states or other states to any state to declare bankruptcy.

KING: Another piece of that as he said the President's absolutely right to ask questions of the World Health Organization about why we so closely with China at the beginning of this? Again Governor Cuomo is working the refs there. He wants his money. He wants the President to watch television as we know the President does watch those briefings and come down on his side.

Now let's move to the medical question to Doctor Rupp and Dr. Gupta. The country is going through an experiment now because 9 states beginning in Georgia most aggressively or testing the theory. Have we corralled the virus enough to start to go back to work?

Governor Cuomo State is the epicenter it has the most cases. It has the most deaths here in the United States. He says he's a week away from deciding whether to extend or start to change is New York stay- at-home order. It expires on May 15th.

Listen to his point here and again the Governor knows he has a national platform with these briefings. He knows hair salons, tattoo parlors other businesses opening in Georgia today, he says when it comes to New York he's going to be cautious listen.


CUOMO: If you say well, we're done can't stay in the house anymore let's just reopen. Just start businesses tomorrow let's go. What happens that's what happens? All the progress we made is gone and all experts or virtually all experts will say not only does the virus spread increase but it increases to a higher point than we had increased the first time.


KING: Doctor Gupta, weigh in on this one. Look every Governor gets to make their own decision. The President has guidelines but Georgia is Exhibit A and some Governors saying I'm going to go more aggressive than that. As you hear Andrew Cuomo make this case now he has a bigger state 19 million people.


KING: The incredibly dense New York City his challenge is very different than the Governor of Georgia. But he says caution the Governor of Georgia says let's go.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Everyone has been saying caution John that that's the thing I think is most striking about this. I mean public health officials the President said he is strongly disagrees with Governor Kemp's decision.

Dr. Fauci said I would advise him not to do it. Ambassador Birx said look we've provided the data. We made it as easy to use as possible. You need to have a 14 day downward trend. You need to have adequate testing in place. Those things aren't you know that you're not meeting the criteria in Georgia.

You know what - I don't know what else we can tell you to do here? And by the way the things that you are thinking about opening are places where you can't really physically distance hair salon, the nail salons, tattoo parlors, massage parlors all that sort of stuff.

I mean it doesn't really make sense from a public health standpoint at all. I mean obviously here in Georgia like everywhere else John I mean there is significant economic pressures. You know people want to open up their businesses again.

But I can tell you know just I live here I spent time with folks. I talked to them at least and what you hear is that a lot of places are still not going to open despite the fact that they possibly can. And the customers some will certainly go out but many are still going to stay home.

I mean they just don't have the confidence - you know that door handle contaminated? Has that person been tested? Has this place been disinfected? Has the ventilation adequate? Whatever the questions maybe we will get to that point I think at some point and at maybe two timelines John.

We're talking about an acute timeline in terms of possibly reopening some stuff. And then and sort of a more chronic timeline as we get back into the cooler months again. But that we're not there yet and it's you call that an experiment. People have referred to people living here as Guinea Pigs. I mean, no one wants to be referred to that way but I think you're right it is the reality.

KING: And Doctor Rupp, part of the calculation is what you can sustain as Governor Cuomo was lying through his thinking. He was talking about yes the death toll is coming down it is still 400 plus a day which is terrific. But it was 750, 780 ninety plus if we just went back a couple weeks ago.

Intubations down, hospitalizations down but the thing he keeps mentioning and I want your help on this one. He says you still have this stubborn 1200 to 1300 a day of new COVID diagnosis across the state of New York. Your State of Nebraska is smaller there are few states as big as New York.

But one of the questions every Governor has to make is have I corralled this virus? Contained this virus enough so that if we get a spike which we will get a spike the question is how big? When people start to go back to work, are we in a place where my hospital system can handle it? When you see 1200, 1300 cases still in New York for all the "Progress" they have made what does that tell you about the challenge?

DR. MARK RUPP, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER: Well, I agree. I think that you do have to take a judicious and very cautious approach to this. You have to ascertain what is sustainable within the healthcare system and what can you support?

Clearly has already been pointed out you know the economic hardships are very real. We do need to start moving towards opening up the economy and opening up society. But you have to do that in a safe way in which you have testing available.

Public health has to be able to identify cases do the contact tracing and then your healthcare system does have to be able to take care of those people that will continue to get sick. This is pretty obvious that we do need to be careful with this.

KING: Everybody stay with us because one of the ways we get advice as we watch the President of the United States every day. And the White House tells us and says again today that the President always makes clear. They insist always makes clear American should get their Coronavirus treatment advice from their doctors not from him.

But we also know the President is not shy about offering his ideas and his suggestions. His latest is both absurd and dangerous. How dangerous? CNN's Kaitlan Collins joins us now live from the White House. Kaitlan, the President yesterday talking about the virtue of sunlight but also the possible therapeutic help of disinfectants.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, in this comment the President made followed a presentation by the Head of Science in the Department of Homeland Security where he was talking about how basically they had found results that ultraviolet light, sunlight and disinfectants could kill Coronavirus on surfaces and in the air.

And then the President started musing about what would happen to the human body? Talking about older violet light being used in some way for humans who have Coronavirus of course we know the connection between ultraviolet light human body and skin cancer and what happens there.

But then the President also pondered the idea about disinfectants. Listen to his full comment that he made after he got this presentation yesterday from the DHS officials.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If supposing we hit the body with a tremendous - whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light. And I think you said that has some - but you're going to test it. And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body you can - which you can do either through the scanner in some other way.


TRUMP: And I think you said you're going to test that too. Sounds interesting right? And then I see the disinfectant for it not to go out in a minute, one minute and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning because you see he gets on the lungs and it does a tremendous number in the lungs. So it will be interesting to check that.


COLLINS: And John the DHS official they're made clear that looking at this as a treatment is not something that they do. The President was pushing this idea and after he did that and you saw attorneys, doctors and lawmakers come out and even the makers of Lysol and say that you should not ingest disinfectants they had very strict warnings about that on the outside of their products as everyone has seen.

And the White House put out a statement from the Press Secretary basically saying that the President has always said that people should consult with their doctors about treatment and accusing the media of taking the President, his words out of context though of course you can see exactly what he said they are yourself.

KING: Yes, we could see what he said himself. Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thank you. Doctor Rupp, I want to come back to you out in America on this one. The President has done this in the case of Hydroxychloroquine. The studies would suggest at least caution some people say the study suggests that's a bad idea.

But let's just leave it a caution the study so far. When the President says things and his aides say and I guess they're right. He was just saying doctor should look at this. The medical community should study whether this helps. He wasn't saying Americans at home should run out by Lysol and make some kind of a cocktail or whatever.

But when the President says things like this do you see reverberations out in America? Do patients ask questions? Do patients do things maybe acting on Presidential advice as opposed to their physicians' advice? DR. RUPP: Well clearly we urge for patients to consult responsible medical authorities before taking any kind of rash action. You know the virus is very sensitive to disinfectants and it's very sensitive to ultraviolet irradiation. We use those in the hospital to disinfect surfaces and we use radiation to reprocess some of our PPE or personal protective equipment.

But this clearly is not designed to be ingested or injected or applied to people's skin or really any other human type of application. So you know people would be ill advised to ingest any of these disinfectants.

I think it does bring up an interesting topic that as we get into the warmer more humid months with more sunshine we may find that that has some impact upon the transmissibility of Coronavirus that it will not be as long survived in the environment.

So that is a hopeful possible sign. But again nobody should be out there using these disinfectants either ingesting them or injecting them that would be extremely caustic and dangerous.

KING: Extremely caustic and dangerous. And Sanjay one of the things we see and you could see it in the face of Doctor Birx when the President was saying this at the briefing. He at times makes his own scientists very uncomfortable. He at times makes his own scientists in that case she was cringing.

During our CNN Town Hall last night you had the Head of the FDA, the Food & Drug Administration was part of the program. And you raise these issues let's listen.


STEPHEN HAHN, FDA COMMISSIONER: And no I certainly wouldn't recommend the internal ingestion of a disinfectant.

DR. SANJAY: Doctor just I think we should be clear though that the idea of doing some kind of UV light therapy which is sometimes used for local issues in the body but not for a widespread viral infection and the idea of injecting disinfectant.

I mean there's - those questions may be getting asked, but there's absolutely no merit to that. That doesn't need to be studied. You can already say that that doesn't work right?

HAHN: And I think Sanjay that is exactly what a patient would say to a doctor and that would be the answer of the medical experts to anybody who answered that question.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It does not work.


KING: Here's my question to you Sanjay. And this is what gets me frustrated and I'm a lay person so I don't understand the science. But when the President makes these suggestions or floats these theories. Again his aides say he's not telling anybody to do this. We're in the middle of a pandemic, people are watching around the country and around the world wondering is it safe to go back to work? Who should - what's the guidance? What's the test? How do we strike this delicate balance?

And we have to - people out there are going to say no you don't have to? Yes, we do and the President of the United States says something like this. We have to fact check it and we take time on that it could be better spent on the actual science of where we are?

DR. SANJAY: It's very frustrating John. I mean there's a portent topic to discuss an important development that may get sidelined a bit because this becomes the topic for a period of time. You know and I think you know we can't equivocate on this stuff. We have to be very blunt on the stuff because it does start to crazily take hold in some way.


DR. SANJAY: I think what was also striking to me that it was couched in this idea that look patients are going to their doctors and asking about this. Patients are going to their doctors and asking if they should inject disinfectant to themselves? I don't think so.

I am a doctor, doctor Rupp is a doctor. I ask him if any patient has been asking him that certainly no one's been asking me that. I think most people know that. I'd say everybody knows that you don't do that. So you're creating a mythical issue only to have it knocked down.

And you're right put the scientists on the spot. I mean Doctor Hahn was - you know was uncomfortable for him. Dr. Birx, it was uncomfortable for her as well. And you know the idea that somehow we have to then go out and explain to people this isn't the case.

It's a waste of time. It's ridiculous and it could be harmful. By the way no studies need to be done. You say hey we'll look, we want to study this. Sounds very reasonable let's study it. No we don't need to study it because we already know the answer.

And by the way to study something like that means that you would inject some people not inject other people and then compare them. So you're going to inject people so that you can study this. I mean this is it's lunacy in some ways and always really and it doesn't need to be done. We should just dispense with that.

KING: And yet and Dana you have to do this more than many if not most at the company. Call around and ask the President's team why did he do that and what did he mean?

BASH: I mean this is one that is very hard to get an actual answer on. I'm just - that's the honest that's the honest truth. There had to have been and we're digging in on. Real conversations inside the Task Force meeting or if not inside the Task Force meeting outside that the President was having.

I mean you know - we all know by now. We are all experts on how Donald Trump gets information. It is from his - from people behind the scenes but it's also people who call him on the phone, a tweet that he sees something he sees in conservative media and then whole either tweeted or blurted it out.

And it is entirely possible that that is what happened in this situation. The bigger question is whether he understands not just how dangerous it is but you know the last thing any President wants to be is a laughing stock.

And this is provided almost humor - you know gallows humor for people to say can you believe the President of the United States did this? Again if it weren't so dangerous and so scary it would be funny.

KING: And again potentially from that official, the briefing he's not a scientist but the officials from the Doctor Home Security information to Doctor Rupp's point about disinfecting hospitals by disinfecting services about the possibility that the summer makes this less horrible and offer some opportunity to regroup and plan for potential second wave.

But the President - this is something he cannot control and he wants to control everything. So he takes that information and tries to bring it into something else. So it is beyond lunacy was Sanjay's word. I'll end with that one.

Dr. Rupp, Dr. Gupta and Dana Bash I appreciate it very much. Coming up for us, the CEO of a California company on the testing front tier.