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CNN NEWSROOM

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: Schools To Be Closed For Rest Of Academic Year; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: 289 People Died In Past 24 Hours; California Governor Gavin Newsom Warns Of Asymptomatic Spread, Need For Constant Testing; Former Vice President Joe Biden On Sexual Assault Allegation "This Never Happened"; Former Vice President Joe Biden Calls On National Archives To Release Personnel Records. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired May 1, 2020 - 12:00   ET

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


[12:00:00]

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): You know there is a whole, how about a cafeteria? There are a whole set of questions. How about a dorm room? So, they should start working on those plans now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you ensure that available childcare?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that teachers can realistically do this in schools? I mean, kids are kids, I mean; they would want to run around and be together.

CUOMO: Well, that is a very good question. And that's what we're talking to people all across the state, educators all across the state. You can come up with a plan which is by the way very hard right? You talk about special requirements. If you did this, if you require this in a classroom how many more class rooms would you need in the building, right?

But then there is the other question of K to12 and then how do I get students not to socially distance? How do you tell a 10-year-old to socially distance? So, we're going to air on the side of caution now that's for the rest of the school year.

Summer school, you would need to see in my opinion a drop in or stabilization of the infection rate for a period of time because kids are going to be kids. I think you are right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Schools are going to lose money. You guys are already talking about cuts. I mean, how they can manage all this? And we don't want classrooms; they don't even have money for that right now?

CUOMO: That's right, but you couldn't get them more classrooms for summer anyway, right? You couldn't build more classrooms in a way that would have any difference for summer schools or for the fall. Money is going to be tight depending what Washington does?

They're doing remote learning you know the physical consequences are going to be mixed because of this period. Some ways they'll save some ways it cost money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, do you - sorry to hurry up on this but do you anticipate a decision on pause this week again in terms of businesses?

CUOMO: May 15th is the decision on pause.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you are announcing prior to that?

CUOMO: Will announce it prior to May 15th.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And also, just a follow up. It has been two months since the first case was reported. You spoke today of what we have accomplished and yet there are 18,000 people dead at least over 300,000 people sick. How would you evaluate your performance during this crisis?

CUOMO: I try my best.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the regional reopening you said that Connecticut, New York and New Jersey should try coordinate - May 20th some restaurants may be in outdoor areas can - should New Yorkers expect that to happen here as well?

CUOMO: Well, we are aware of what New Jersey is doing? What Connecticut is doing? We are trying to coordinate with those states I said from day one. You will not have uniform policies across all the states but knowing what other states are going to do because states can have significant effect on a neighbor state, knowing what they do is helpful.

And then at the appropriate time we'll make those decisions. The decisions are on summer activities are very difficult. You want to look at the tension and you want to get people out of their homes and give them something to do.

But you want to keep the infection rate down. You have these mental health issues you have domestic violent issues you have a lot going on. So, you do want a relief valve, right? It is going to get hot in the summer hopefully.

And you want to have a level of activity, you don't want to overwhelm a neighboring state by keeping everything close but you don't want to have high density and violation of social distancing. That's what we are trying to work through for the summer activities. We have a little more time and we are talking about it now.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo giving his briefing Coronavirus briefing this one in Albany. The Governor saying at the top "The enemy is on the run" presenting some relatively optimistic numbers in terms of lower hospitalization rates lower intubation rate.

Still a stubborn death rate and a stubborn number of new cases coming in New York, The Governor also announcing no schools in New York will reopen this academic school year. He says summer school decisions will be made down the road a bit. He is probably more likely he believes schools will begin in the fall again.

The Governor also asked to rate his performance and he said I tried my best. That was all he would say there. He did say they want special attention now to focus on the 900 or so newly diagnosed that's what they've been averaging. Newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases from day-to-day to try to get a sense why is that number holding stable right there at that stubborn 900 or so?

Who are these people? Are they people who are at home still getting infected at home? Are they essential workers who are out every day so more of a focused research on that? Joining me now to discuss that and other challenges in the road ahead Dr. Michael Mina from Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Mina it is good to see you again. When the Governor talks about that, so you had this sort of steady number 1100 to 900 over the last week or so of new COVID diagnosis every day? So, he says essentially, he wants to do I'm going to call this CSI on these cases. Are they essential workers are they people getting on public transportation?

[12:05:00]

KING: When you have a number that's so stubborn like that, what's the importance of trying to figure out is it one or two populations or is it more widespread is that the idea?

DR. MICHAEL MINA, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLIOGY HARVARD T.H. CLAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Absolutely. So, you're trying to understand how to control this in the future? We have to understand what's going on now. And this is one of the areas for contact tracing can become very important to try to track down every single case understand what commonalities there are between these people who are continuing to get infected?

Is it because these people are just walking on the sidewalk? Is it the transportation that they're using? Now really trying to get at the bottom of where they're getting inspected despite the general shutdowns that have been in place is going to be crucial to really being able to control this as we move into the future.

KING: And as we move into the future as we try to figure this out another thing that we have seen in the State of New York is the Governor of saying I tried my best. He thinks the steps they took did at least flatten the curve. Now they're in the stubborn period.

I want to listen to another expert this is Doctor Michael Osterholm talking about looking at you see the meat packing industry, you see other places where this - you see the Coronavirus then quickly it spreads like fire. His long-term outlook, listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: Once he gets into a meat packing plant for a long-term care facility or prison look how fast it spreads? And the point being is that this is going to continue to do that and tell us 60 or 70 percent of the population has been infected which then basically brings to where we call herd immunity. This is going to continue until that happens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Explain in more detail what that means and how long are we talking about? If you agree that we're going to have a problem to you get 60, 70 percent of the people get infected how long of a track is that?

MINA: Yes. So, I entirely agree with Doctor Osterholm. Certainly, this virus will continue to transmit amongst people who have not yet had it. So, herd immunity is this idea that once you have enough immunity in the population so let's say for example.

I'm infected with the virus if I go out and I bumped into a whole lot of people who are still susceptible. I can transmit it to them. But if but if 80 percent of the people that I run into are already immune to the virus then I probably might go - I might go outside today not transmitted to anybody.

And so that's what we really need to do. We need to get to a point where some - has that level of immunity and it's only then that we really stop population transmission. What we're seeing right now is there is very little population level immunity in the broad population across the United States for example maybe 5 percent.

We're still not sure the exact number but that means 95 percent of the population will still be able to contract and spread the virus. And we see it spreading like wildfire in nursing homes and factories all across the country as a result.

KING: Among every Governor now is trying to figure out when to reopen and then how fast to reopen? What we're to keep restrictions were loosened restrictions? I want to listen here to take a California Governor obviously the country's most populous state he has extended his stay-at-home order for now. Listen to how he considers the challenge ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA):You may be asymptomatic feel fabulous actually may have just been tested and been positive without knowing few days later after negative test you may have contracted the disease that being asymptomatic and now spreading it to your loved ones back into the community.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Part of the challenge he's getting at there, it is not just availability of testing today but you're going to have to have it what how regularly? How often? What is the cycle of testing going to be as you put more and more people back into the workplace and into the community?

MINA: That's right. That's why so the viral testing is a very difficult type of testing to look at. You can - you can monitor somebody if you test them once you don't know if they've been infected yesterday and now today or negative or if they might become positive tomorrow and that their viral load is still too loaded measure.

And so, it really is viral testing with these nasal swabs and the PCR test we've called it requires repeat testing over and over. And that's why if we're going to use viral testing for surveillance efforts it should be coupled to these antibody tests, the serological antibody test we've heard about which give somebody an understanding of this they have already been exposed maybe a month maybe a year ago obviously with this virus it's not a year ago yes.

But to combine the two testing modalities can be very important to give a concrete example if you go into a nursing home today and you measure that 10 percent of the residents are positive you have no idea maybe two or three weeks ago 50 percent could have been positive. And your measuring them on the downsizing of the epidemic on the operate there or maybe two weeks from now 30 percent will be positive.

[12:10:00]

MINA: So, having that the antibody testing conjunction with the viral testing will become crucially important to really be able to monitor and tracking control these outbreaks.

KING: Dr Michael Mina as always appreciate your expertise and your insights. Thank you so much.

MINA: Absolutely.

KING: Thank you. Up next for us shift to politics Joe Biden denies sexual assault allegations from a former aide saying "It never happened"

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KING: Joe Biden today emphatically denying he sexually assaulted a Former Senate Aid 27 years ago. It is the first time the presumptive Democratic Nominee has addressed the allegation. Biden says it is important his accuser be allowed to tell her story and that she would be treated with dignity. But he says "It never happened."

CNN's MJ Lee is covering this story for us. MJ the Vice President was quite emphatic?

[12:15:00]

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He was and you know John the past few months have already been so unusual for the 2020 campaign given the Coronavirus outbreak. And now Biden and his team having to answer a whole slew of questions about an allegation from the 1990s that he insists did not take place.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No it is not true. I'm saying unequivocally it never, never happened and it didn't.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEE: For the first time Joe Biden personally addressing a sexual assault allegation dating back to 1993.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: This never ever happened. I don't know what is motivating her. I don't know what - I don't know what's behind any of it. But it's irrelevant it never happened it never happened. I'm not going to start questioning her motive I'm not going to get into that. I'm not going to start - I'm not going to go after Tara Reade for saying these things is simple what the facts are? Do any of the things she said do they add up?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: The presumptive Democratic Nominee for President defiant and unequivocal denying that he sexually assaulted Tara Reade an aide Biden Senate office in the early 1990s. Reade telling CNN but in 1993 she was ordered to take a duffel bag to her boss in the corridor somewhere on Capitol Hill Reade alleging that Biden had her up against a wall spread open her legs with his knee and put his fingers inside of her.

Reade also among multiple women who said publicly last year that she experienced physical interactions with Biden that made her feel uncomfortable. But none of those women including Reade at the time accused Biden of assault. Reade alleging she complained to multiple colleagues in Biden's Senate office in 1993 about sexual harassment but not about the alleged assault. Biden saying such a complaint does not exist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: I'm confident there's nothing no one ever brought it to the attention of maybe 27 years ago this is any assertion at all. No one that I'm aware of in my campaign at my Senate office at the time is aware of any such request and or any such complaint.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: But three people close to Reade telling CNN they did hear about the alleged sexual assault. Reade's former neighbor Linda Lacoste telling CNN this week Reade told her about it sometime in the mid 1990s saying somebody putting their hand up your skirt that's something you don't forget. Reade's friend declining to speak on the record telling CNN Reade confided in her in 1993 within days of the alleged assault.

And in 1993 segment on CNN's Larry King Live appearing to feature Reade's mother who died a few years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, hello. I'm wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington. My daughter has just left there after working for prominent Senator and could not get through with her problems at all. The only thing she could have done was go to the press and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: The anonymous caller not naming Biden or describing in any detail what problems her daughter confronted. Reade telling CNN the voice on the show belongs to her mother and that she told her about the alleged assault the night that it happened.

CNN has interviewed half a dozen Former Biden aides who worked in his Senate office in the early 1990s. All of them said they were not aware of any sexual harassment or assault allegations. Biden seeing Reade's stories should be fully examined.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: From the very beginning I've said believing women means taking the woman's claims seriously. When she steps forward and then vetted look into it this is - that that's true in this case as well. Women have a right to be heard and the press should rigorously investigate claims they make. I always uphold that principle. But in the end in every case the truth is what matters and in this case the truth is the claims are false.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: The allegation coming as Biden prepares to take on President Trump in the General Election. More than a dozen women leveling allegations against Trump ranging from unwelcome advances to sexual harassment and assault. Trump has denied those allegations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Have been falsely charged numerous times and that there is such a thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: Now there are a lot of questions now about whether there might be any kind of documentation about Reade's complete because remember she said that she verbally told several colleagues about sexual harassment and that she also filed something with the personnel office on Capitol Hill about the sexual harassment as well.

The alleged sexual harassment and Biden saying today that he believes those personal papers are in the National Archives and that he would call on it to do research and release anything that might be related to a complaint John.

[12:20:00]

KING: M J Lee thanks for that report. Please stay with us also joining us for the conversation CNC Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash and Maggie Haberman White House Correspondent Veteran Political Reporter for The New York Times.

Maggie I want to start with you obviously this is a difficult day for the Former Vice President an important day he decided there's been a lot of pressure quietly among Democrats begin to address this finally but we're going to hear from Tara Reade this weekend that is the next important chapter in this is it not?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it is. Look I think that hearing intervene speak for herself I think seeing her on camera. I think will be important for people in trying to assess these claims. I think that Biden finally address this morning which is something as you know that a lot of Democrats had wanted him to do.

A lot of Democrats who felt well, they wouldn't say publicly that they themselves are being left in a difficult position having to defend this one. He wasn't defending himself. We will see what happens after she speaks there have been some contradictions in her claims but that said.

I think the most striking thing that Biden said one of the most striking things he said this morning other than obviously denying it was that women have a right to be heard. That has been the principal of the "Me Too" movement which is a movement that Democrats in particular have a spouse.

And I think it's going to be incumbent on a lot of Democrats who support Biden to show that that holds true here as well as in the allegations against Republicans.

KING: It is an excellent point Maggie makes. Dana Bash in the sense that if you look at prominent women who have publicly said they support Joe Biden through this including the Speaker of the House, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Senator Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams the Former Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate.

The Washington figures there especially if we go back to the Kavanaugh confirmation drama the speaker in those Senators were all very adamant that the judge Kavanaugh's now Justice Kavanaugh's accusers should be heard and should have a threshold of credibility that was how they put it they should be believed there's been a lot of anxiety among Democrats about this. What is the mood after the Vice President came forward and did that interview?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a bit of shy of relief only because he did it and he was so emphatic in saying nothing happened. The problem is when you look at the end of the interview and speaker - pressed him on an unanswered question which is what about the University of Delaware?

His whole focus the campaign's focus is if there was something filed we want the National Archives to look into it and just see if anything is there. And what about the University of Delaware where all of his Senate papers are?

He didn't have an answer for why they can't do the same kind of search at the University of Delaware? He was relying on the kind of the age old you know understandable role in it without a controversy that people don't have any of their papers public until after they're gone from public life.

But this is not bad. I mean this is an exception. And when you're trying to put forward a brand new strategy of transparency to not have an answer to that question whether it's a red herring or not it could be we're talking about politics here we know how this works.

And already my inbox is full as I'm sure all of yours are from Republicans seizing on that and taking it to you know Democratic members of Congress Democratic candidates running for Congress and Senators as well.

So it's going to trickle down - already is trickling down that unanswered question to other candidates on the back on the ballot and so that's probably why that is not over yet.

KING: Into that point, I want to listen to the part of the - this is should - asked him several times this question I want to listen part of how the Former Vice President described? He's making a distinction.

His Senate papers were given to the University of Delaware his personnel records or his sort of the day to day management of the Senate office he believes those records would be the National Archives. He says if her personnel file through the archives in the question of what about the notes at the University of Delaware he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: The record like this can only be one place. It would be at the - it would not be the University of Delaware. The National Archives is the only place there would be anything having to do with personnel records. There are no personnel records in the Biden papers at the University.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: So, MJ Lee here so - I think it does open a very legitimate question. Let's assume there are no personnel records in the Former Vice President is absolutely right they are not at the University of Delaware.

But that does include a personal correspondence and I get it a past public officials have tried to keep from the public I say his private advice to Barack Obama or something that was said in an overseas trip with Vladimir Putin oh we might be having an optic offhand conversation. He doesn't want that to come out in the middle of a Presidential Campaign.

[12:25:00]

KING: But could he not ask a couple of reputable people you would have to include a Republican to go the University and work on a where they just inventory the documents in did a name search just to make sure there's nothing in any of that correspondence that has the name Tara Reade. LEE: Well look, I think as Dana pointed out when Joe Biden was pressed on that particular issue in this interview, he didn't have a clear response. And I'm going to assume that that's something the campaign is certainly thinking through right now because so many of his critics and people who are calling for transparency are going to fixate on this issue.

I have to say though I think it's important to point out if we're going to talk about this potential documentation or any paperwork that might exist and the issue of transparency. I'm very certain that any of Biden's ally's supporters surrogates are also going to be talking about the fact that there's somebody in the White House right now who had not held himself up to the standard of being extremely transparent even on something as obvious as tax returns right?

And I do think this is where we get into a potentially very ugly back and forth on the issue of transparency. What kind of papers are there? Which candidate is more transparent? Which party is more transparent? When really, I think the bulk of the focus should be on the reporting that reporters have been doing on what happened in trying to determine is there corroboration on either side?

KING: A very important point M J Lee, Maggie Haberman and Dana Bash I appreciate your insights on this difficult story. We'll continue the reporting as we go forward. Up next for us here the Mayor of Los Angeles explains how he's able to offer free Coronavirus testing and just who will be eligible?

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