Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Berates Campaign Manager for Slipping Poll Numbers; NY Governor Cuomo Gives Update on Coronavirus Response; Bloomberg Remotely Joins Cuomo News Briefing. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired April 30, 2020 - 11:30   ET




JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Any moment now, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, scheduled to give his daily coronavirus briefing. We'll take you there live when it happens.

As we wait, today is the last day of April, the month the president predicted the coronavirus would disappear and the U.S. case county would fall to zero.

The numbers on the right of your screen tell us just how wrong those predictions were. More than a million cases now. The death toll in the United States now climbing past 60,000.

The president's morning tweets, as always, tell us what's most important to him each day. Here it is today as we close this painful month. The polls show him losing to Joe Biden are fake. And the FBI, led by James Comey, the president says, mistreated Trump loyalists, Michael Flynn and Roger Stone. Never mind that one admitted his crimes in a pleas agreement and the other was convicted in a jury trial.

We see the president's anger elsewhere, too. Brand new CNN reporting details a shouting outburst at his campaign manager, blaming him for that bad polling data.

And in an interview with Reuters, the conspiracy-minded president sees the coronavirus -- get this -- as proof, quote, "China will do anything they can" to hurt his re-election prospects.

With us, CNN White House Jeremy Diamond and "New York Times" congressional editor, Julia Hirschfeld Davis.

Jeremy, I want to start with you.

The president lashing out at your reporting in a tweet. You were the first to report this. It's shown up in other reports as well. This is how we know it's true. The president tweets that it's not.

"Just told take news CNN reporting I shouted at my campaign manager."

He did shout at his campaign manager who then, as you report, made a trip to Washington from his home in Florida to try to mend fences with the president.

Take us inside what happened.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. Brad Parscale had been working from his home in Florida for much of the last month. But clearly, after this outburst from the president on Friday evening when the president berated Parscale for his sliding position in the polls. And also threatened to sue him, although it's not clear how serious the president was with that threat or what exactly he would sue his campaign manager over, particularly in the face of bad polls.

But it did prompt Parscale to come to Washington a couple days ago and actually meet with the president. I'm told he spent several hours at the White House. They actually patched things up, I'm told, Friday night after that angry phone call. I was told the president actually called Parscale back.

But nonetheless --


KING: I'm sorry. I have to interrupt the conversation.

The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, in Albany.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): To her left, Patrick Foye, chairman of the MTA. Dr. Howard Zucker you know, commissioner of the Department of Health. To my left, Melissa DeRosa, the secretary to the governor. To her left, Robert Mojica, who is the budget director for the state of New York. And wears a second hat today because he's also a member of the MTA board. He doesn't really wear a second hat. That was metaphorical.

What day is today? When I was Housing and Urban Development, I would sometimes say at a stay meeting, what day is today, what is the date. I worked with a great fellow, who was a Catholic priest, Father Joseph Hakela (ph). He would say, "Today is another day to do better," with this warm smile. "Today is another day to do better." He passed away, Father Hakela (ph). I have his picture in my room, and I was thinking about him last night.

Today is another day to do better. It's another day to improve. It's another day to be better, to make life better, to be better at helping people. Today is another day, another opportunity God gave us.

Hospitalizations are down. Good news. A net change in total hospitalizations down. Good news. A net change in intubations down. Good news.


New COVID cases, slightly down, 933, but still unacceptable. But down from where it was.

Number of lives lost, still terrible, 306. An optimist would say the numbers are on the decline. A realist would say that's a tremendous amount of pain and grief for hundreds and hundreds of New Yorkers who lost a loved one.

The big question everyone is asking, reopening, when, wow, where. I said from day one on this situation, we have to be smart. We're at a place we've never been before. Emotions run high. Be smart, follow numbers, follow data, talk to experts.

Don't get political even in this election year, even at this partisan time in this country where everything is political and everything is polarized. Not now.

And respond to facts and data and experts, not to emotion, which also runs very high right now.

If we do this right, it is a science reopening. It's not a political exercise. It is a science. It can be based on numbers and data. And that is true.

Everybody wants to reopen. The caveat is reopen, but don't reopen in a way that increases the spread of the virus, doesn't increase the rate of the spread of the virus.

How do you know that? You can test. You can get numbers. Test. Get a sample and see what's happening.

You know that if the rate of transmission goes over 1.1, you are in an outbreak, you're in an epidemic. So you don't have to guess. It's not what it feels like. Get the numbers. Do the testing, get the numbers, rely on the numbers.

The second fact you have to deal with, as a science in this formula, do you have the hospital capacity available if that rate of infection increases? Don't go above 70 percent capacity, so you have a 30 percent buffer, so we don't wind up in the same mad scramble we were in last time.

Make sure you have ICU beds with a 30 percent capacity and make sure you have enough equipment. We're not going to go through who has a mask, who has a gown, who knows someone in China. Let's have at least a 30-day supply of stockpiled equipment, ventilators, masks, gowns, gloves, et cetera.

They are facts, there's science, there's data.

What's testing? Test, trace and isolate. That remains the key to controlling the rate of infection.

The testing is how you monitor the rate of infection. What's happening to the rate as you increase the economy, the economic activity? We'll take a test and we'll test enough people so we have enough data to make a decision.

We're increasing the number of tests. It's hard. Nobody has done it on this scale before. There's been a lot of back and forth. Met with the federal government. Met with the president. We have now a partnership in how to do testing. We're ramping up testing. We're moving very quickly in this state.

We do more tests in this state than any other state in the United States. We do more testing in this state than any country on the globe per capita, so we're doing it well, we're doing it aggressively. We've increased from about 20,000 tests to about 30,000 tests per day, and we're still ramping up, and that's good.

More to do on testing and more to talk about on testing but not today.

Today we're going to talk about tracing, which is the second step after testing, right? You test, you now know what's happening on the infection rate, you can gauge your decisions based on that infection rate.

Second step is trace those people who came up positive, all right? You tested, you have the data, you can adjust the opening valve, reopening valve. Now you trace.

When you get a positive, you talk to that person and trace back who they have been in contact with. You then test those people. You then isolate those people so you don't increase the rate of infection. That's what tracing is.


The faster you trace the better. You want to test right away, you think you have symptoms, you think you're exposed, come and get a test, do it today. Once you get that test results, you have data on what's happening with the infection spread.

You then right away, as quickly as you can, trace that person. Who have they met with, who have they been in close contact with over the past 14 days?

And you then contact those people and say you may have been in contact with Dan. Dan tested positive. You should check your symptoms. If you develop any symptoms, let me know right away, and we'll bring you in to take a test. That is tracing.

The problem is, it's not rocket science to do it on an individual basis. The problem is the scale that we have to do this at.

Yesterday, we tested 4,681 people who were positive. Yesterday, 4,681 people were positive. How do you now communicate with 4,681 people, trace back all the people they've been in contact with over the past 14 days, close contact, and contact those people? That is an overwhelming scale to an operation that has never existed before.

We do tracing now but on a very limited basis. That's why this is so hard, tracing. In and of itself, one person, it's easy. But 4,681 on one day, today, will have another 4,681 people. So just think of the scale of the operation.

Last week, we announced that Michael Bloomberg would lead the first- ever testing tracing isolation program. Figure out how many people, how to train them, what technology, how do we do this. And it's of a scale never been done before.

And, by the way, we need it tomorrow. There's no time to go get a university to do a study and a blueprint and then put a plan together. We need it tomorrow because we're literally doing it right now.

We're doing the testing. We're coming to scale on the testing. You need the tracing to come up to scale to meet what we're doing on testing. The estimate so far is you need 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people who are in the affected area. Statewide that would be about 6,400 to 70,000 tracers depending on what happens on the testing rate.

The more people who test positive, the more tracers. The less people who test positive, the less tracers you need. So these things are all linked, right? The better you do on reducing the spread of the virus, the fewer people you test positive, and the fewer people you need to trace back.

But it will require, under any estimate, a tracing army to come up to scale very, very quickly.

And Mayor Bloomberg has put together a great team who is going to work on this. He has great talent in his Bloomberg philanthropy. Johns Hopkins University working together with the New York State Department of Health.

This is that undertaking. And it is massive. And that's why bringing in a person with the talent of Mayor Bloomberg and the experience of Mayor Bloomberg to do this is essential.

Where do you get the army? We have Department of Health employees all across the state. Counties have them. Cities have them. The state has them. We'll martial those employees.

You also have a lot of government employees who are at home, now getting paid but are not working. What government employees who are now existing, city, state, county, can we deploy to become tracers? And then train them, et cetera.


After you go through all of that, if you don't have enough, you're going to have to hire people. Then you have to train them right away because nobody has done this before. They're going to need help. They're going to need technology. They're going to need monitoring. They're going to have to be tested before they can do this.

So it's a massive undertaking. And that's why Mayor Bloomberg's involvement and his generosity here is so important, And we want to offer a big thank you to Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who, I believe, may be joining us by telephone or some technological means.

There he is.

How are you, Mayor Mike?


CUOMO: Good to see you.

BLOOMBERG: Governor, I'm fine. And it's good to see you.

And I want to thank you for all your good work leading this great state through this crisis, and to deliver facts and data to the public, and also a sense of hope, which really is important.

I know your daily press conferences have become must-see TV for a lot of people.

And for the record, I thought your advice to fathers on what to say about a daughter's boyfriend was exactly right the other day.

Anyway, the question on everybody's mind continues to be, how can we begin to loosen these restrictions and begin reopening the economy. And one of the most important steps we have to take to reopen the economy as safely as possible is to create a system of contact tracing, as you just outlined.

When social distancing is relaxed, contact tracing is our best hope for isolating the virus when it appears and keeping it isolated. The governor has recognized that.

And since Bloomberg philanthropies has deep experience and expertise in public health, we're glad to support the state in developing and implementing a contact tracing program.

As Andrew said, the contact tracing is a way to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus but don't know it. And doing that requires a lot of well-trained people who are coordinated and managed effectively.

It is a very big undertaking just because of the scale. So we've enlisted the best public health school in the world at Johns Hopkins University. No offense, but it's named the Bloomberg School of Public Health, which our foundation works very closely with on public health and other issues.

And we've also teamed up with the non-profit organizations, Vital Strategies and Revolve to Save Lives.

To get the contact tracing program up and running a lot, it has to happen first. And hiring, training, deploying and managing a small army of New York, as the governor said, is really the great challenge.

To help the state recruit contact tracers, we've brought in a staffing organization. And we're also teamed up with CUNY and SUNY, both which will help identify job applicants. And I want to thank them for their work and joining us.

To help the state with training, Johns Hopkins has developed a training class which can be taken remotely. It will cover all the basic information of epidemics, contact tracing and privacy. There's also a test at the end of the training which you have to pass

in order to be hired. So we're not going to put up people there that don't know what they're doing.

We'll also put technology to use in other ways. Vital Strategies is developing three new smartphone apps. The first will help contact tracers find information and data quickly.

The second will help the public provide information to health departments.

And the third will allow those in quarantine to access the guidance and services they need, including the ability to report any symptoms they may be experiencing.

Vital Strategies is also working directly with the state to develop protocols and work-flow materials for contact tracers and managers. That includes a comprehensive playbook that will detail the steps needed to do contact tracing effectively.

And I want to make it clear, we will release that playbook publicly so cities and states around the country can use it and so can nations around the world. That way the work we do here in New York really can help fight the virus globally.

We'll also bring in a group of outside experts to conduct an evaluation on the program so that other states and countries can see what worked well and identify areas they can improve on.

And we'll learn as we go and make adjustments and share what we've learned. Sharing and spreading best practices is something that Bloomberg philanthropies works on with cities around the world.


In about an hour, I'll get getting on a call with mayors around the country, which is a call we hold every week. It's been a good way to share information and strategies. And I know all of the mayors are following the news of the contract tracing program that we are stating here and that other states have also begun the process of starting.

Now, before I turn it back over to the governor, let me echo something he has said repeatedly and really is important to remember. As tough as these times are, we are New Yorkers. We have been through a lot together. We are going to get through this together again.

So, Governor, back to you. And thank you for everything you are doing. Together, we're going to lift this and get back to a normal life. And we are so proud of the way the citizens in this state are behaving.

Thank you all.

CUOMO: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Mayor Bloomberg.

This is such a great asset for the state of New York and all the people in it.

This is a monumental undertaking. So many of these things we talked about never existed before, testing of this magnitude, contact tracing of this magnitude. It's never existed. So we have to design new systems and new approaches to this.

This problem is bigger than anyone of us. But it is not bigger than all of us. And using the expertise and the talents that we have, we get everyone to get together here, we'll do this.

The mayor is exactly right. New York, he says as a New Yorker, in my cases, we duck the challenges first, we figure it out, and then we work with others places to actually learn from what we have done. I think this is going to be one of those examples.

We want the best system that we can have to get New York open and to protect New Yorkers. But, it will also be a laboratory to put together the best system ever put together so we can share that with other governments. That's what Mayor Bloomberg does so well. He did as mayor and he does it now through his philanthropy.

So we'll develop a system here and then, what we learn, we hope can benefit other people.

We'll be coordinating this contact tracing on a tri-state basis. Because many people who come into New York live in Connecticut or New Jersey, go back and forth. We don't want to get limited by jurisdictions when you do this contact tracing.

Somebody turns out you have a trace that takes you to a person in New Jersey, well, we work in New York and we can't go to New Jersey. Having that tri-state alliance makes sense. So I am working with Governor Murphy and Lamont on that. I want to thank them very much.

Next problem. Across the morass, right? Problem to problem across the morass. In this situation, every day is a new problem that pops up. OK. Let's handle it. Next problem.

In an emergency crisis situation, what happens is problems compound, right? You're in the middle of a hurricane, the power line goes down. Now the power lines go down, now the heat is off. Heat is off, now people are freezing in their homes.

We did not anticipate that. I know but that's what happens. One problem creates another problem. It is like a bad game of dominos. These problems compound each other. The combination is often unforeseen.

We have that now within New York City subway systems. "Daily News" today, front page story, which crystallized it, but it had been happening for weeks but no one is anticipated it. You have a virus outbreak and the conditions on the New York's subway system, for variety of reasons, rapidly deteriorated.

When you think about what happened, you can put it together in a retrospective. COVID outbreak happens. New York City is a place of density. Subways, busses are a place of density. New York employees who run that system, care for the system get sick and call in sick, as they should - they don't want to infect other people -- the number of MTA employees come down.


Number of NYPD, New York Police Department, they get sick and their numbers come down. You have fewer MTA workers and fewer NYPD workers on the trains and in the stations.

We have now a greater need than ever to disinfect the subways, busses and stations. Why? You have thousands of people going through these subway stations and these buses, trains and stations. Officers who are sick. We have fewer people to monitor and maintain the system. And this all happens in the midst of a public health emergency.

You have more homeless people who are on fewer trains and you have fewer outreach to the homeless people. You put all of this together, and at the same time, we need our essential workers to go to work.

I said the other day, I had two great nightmares from day one. Nightmare one, you did everything you did and closed down and et cetera and you did not stop the rate of increases of the virus. That could have been a nightmare. Can you imagine that? We did all of this and we still see that virus going up. That would have been a real problem.

Second nightmare, the essential workers saying, I am not going to work. The train operators and food delivery people saying, too dangerous, I am not going and I am staying home, too. You don't have food. You don't have power. And you don't have transportation. You don't have electric. And now you see society in a really difficult situation.

So we need those essential workers to go to work. I am pushing every day to get our essential workers to go to work, even though they see a lot of their colleagues getting ill.

You need those nurses and doctors in difficult circumstances. That's why I say they are the heroes of today, all of the essential workers.

How do they get to work? They need the public transit systems through New York City and across the state. They need buses and trains and subways to get to work. We need them. They need the buses and they need the subways. And, we are, as a society need a spokesperson from the state. I know it is hard but I need you to do it. We need them to do it.

But what's our obligation? Our obligation is to make sure we do everything to keep them safe, right? You want them to deliver the food. What your obligation is, is to do everything that you can do to make sure they are safe while they are doing it.

MTA understood where we were with the global pandemic. They stepped up operations and cleaning of trains and buses every 72 hours, which is an amazing undertaking when you think about it, to clean all those buses and trains every 72 hours.

But we know the virus can live for hours or even days on a surface, which means, if somebody positive walks onto a train this morning, that virus can be there tomorrow and the next day. That changes the focus of the problem.


You want to honor the essential workers. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We'll fly airplanes. We'll have peak public demonstrations of gratitude. Yes. Even better than that is what you do and how you act. Let's make sure we are doing everything we can. Let's clean, disinfect those trucks - those buses and trains every 24 hours.