Return to Transcripts main page


States Begin Loosening Restrictions As Deaths Reach 66,000; Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) Holds Daily Coronavirus Briefing; New York Area Governors Join Cuomo Briefing. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired May 3, 2020 - 12:00   ET



BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Coming into work so the rest of us don't have to. Thank you. CNN Leadership says this will most likely be this way until at least Labor Day. That's the plan. Through September with this work from home model just to give you a sense of how it works but the news wouldn't happen if some of us weren't coming in.

So to all of you behind the camera and all of you in the printing presses, thank you. That's a wrap on this week's "RELIABLE SOURCES." We'll see right back here this time next week.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: One step forward as coronavirus deaths kick past 66,000. More states dip their toes into reopening. And those that have not faced protests. Can the economy reopen now without many more getting sick? I'll speak exclusively to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, next and return to normal?

More than 30 million people are newly out of work and wondering what the future will look like.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a broke guy. I'm an optimist. To me that's the key.


TAPPER: Will there be more aid for struggling Americans. President Trump's Chief Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow joins me to discuss next. Plus Three's Company. First, he left the Republican Party. Now he's running for president.


REP. JUSTIN AMASH (I-MI): I believe I have to defend the constitution in whichever way works best.


TAPPER: Now will his candidacy affect the race. Libertarian presidential candidate, Congressman Justin Amash joins me in moments. Hello I'm Jake Tapper in Washington where the State of our Union is worried. More than 60,000 people in the United States have died from

coronavirus at this hour. Just think about this one coronavirus death in this country was reported every 44 seconds during the month of April and many experts predict another major wave of coronavirus could happen in the fall or the winter.

And yet President Trump spent his 'working weekend' at Camp David seemingly on Twitter, tweeting not primarily about those who have lost loved ones or livelihoods but attacking journalists, criticizing George W. Bush and the Mueller investigation, touting his own approval ratings and expressing happiness that Kim Jong-Un is apparently alive and well among other matters.

Today despite concerns from health officials that it's premature, Americans across the country are no longer under a stay-at-home orders. More than half of states are relaxing their guidelines and opening more non-essential businesses as states look to change the severe economic pain this pandemic has caused.

Top experts are now predicting the worst economy of our lifetime. In the last six weeks more than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment for the first time. To give you some perspective that's equivalent to the entire population of Texas. Joining me now to discuss the economic challenges from the White House, President Trump's top Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow.

Mr. Kudlow, it's good to see you. Thank you so much for joining us. I want to start with what the government is doing to help American through the crisis. Do you think there's going to be a Phase 4 stimulus bill and if so should it include money for state and local governments?

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, WH NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, I don't want to get too far ahead of the story Jake. There may well be additional legislation. There's kind of a pause period right now. You know we put up $3 trillion of direct federal budget assistance in one way or another the Federal Reserve is actually put in as much as $4 trillion - $6 trillion so it's a huge, huge package.

Let's see how it's doing as we gradually reopen the economy. We probably will have some ideas and I want to say this that regarding the states as you know, the President has from time to time spoken about linking that to sanctuary cities. I don't think anything's been decided yet regarding health care and all manner of medical equipment.

We have poured hundreds of billions into the states. Perhaps there'll be more of that. We'll wait and see. From our perspective too Jake, look, we know the economy is still in terrible contractionary phase, tremendous hardships everywhere. That's why we've put up several rescue packages led by President Trump and with the bipartisan support in Congress.

So we're working through that. It's going to be very difficult in the months ahead, no question. Having said that, I will note that the congressional budget office and a bunch of private forecasters, Wall Street journal surveys and so forth are looking for a very strong second half economic rebound and suggesting that 2021, next year could be one of the fastest growth rebounds in American history or recent history.

So we're trying to get from you know from one side to the other. We're trying to get through this. We're trying to work through this. I don't want to rule in or out anything right now. We are in discussions internally and with leading members of Congress.

TAPPER: Right but you talk about a pause, a moment of pause that we're in right now, the Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicated this week that he believes Congress needs to pass additional measures providing direct fiscal support to Americans.


I don't understand the reason for a pause. Why not take action aggressively now, considering how dire a situation so many Americans are in?

KUDLOW: Well look, first of all, we have to execute the last package and the numbers are very strong. These are the small business loans. As of I guess, Friday, we put up over $100 billion already just in a few days. That's of course on top of the prior $350 billion. Look, Jake, 175 million Americans - 175 million Americans have received federal assistance in one form or another.

That includes the direct checks of course and the unemployment compensation and the small business assistance so I guess what I would say to you at this particular juncture, let's execute the continuation of what we've already done. Let's see what the results are. The outlook in the weeks and months ahead directly is not positive as you've noted.

The unemployment is very, very high. Almost 30 million people. We are covering them with generous relief packages, just trying to stabilize things and get folks through this and then we will see - we will see in a couple of weeks Jake, what needs to be done and perhaps how to do it.

TAPPER: So the second tranche of money for the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program, the SBA just a few minutes ago released new number suggesting that that of that $310 billion, $175 billion --

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta. I want to take you straight live to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's press conference and joining him today will be New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy as well.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Beautiful day in New York City. Sunday for me is a day of reflection. To do a little reflecting, today is Day 64 since we closed down New York. Only 64 days. Feels like a lifetime. But only 64 days.

Today's numbers. The total hospitalization rate is down and that is good news for all concerned. 9,786 - below 10,000 which is a big deal for us. You have to go back to like May 18 or 19 to see where to get near that number. The March - I'm sorry. The number of total hospitalizations again is down.

The number of intubations is down and that's really good news because intubation is generally bad news. The number of new cases is 789. That's good news. We were hovering at about 900-1000. That may be just a reporting anomaly because this is over the weekend and the weekend reporting tends to be a little different.

And remember this reporting system, we just put in place. This never happened before where hospitals were reporting on a daily basis. So - and hospitals have a lot going on so I wouldn't bet the farm on any of these specific one day numbers but the overall trend is good.

The number that is the most important number that we look at which is still tremendously distressing is the number of deaths 280. And you can see that that number is not moved from medically in a relatively long period of time but the overall direction is good, even though it's very painful.

I think it's important that we take a moment and learn the lessons of what we've been going through. This has been unprecedented what we've been doing for the past 64 days. This was all an urgent situation. This was all hurry up. We had to quickly figure out a plan, quickly enact a plan but now we're a couple of months into it.

And I think simultaneously we should be learning the lessons of what we just went through. People talk about this like it's going to come and go and it's a once in a lifetime. I don't know that it's a once in a lifetime and I don't know that it's going to come and go.

There are people not talking about a second wave, they're talking about a possible mutation of the virus so caution would suggest that as we go through this, we learn at the same time to make sure if we have to go through this again or if this is a prolonged situation, that we are learning from what we're implementing.


Edmund Burke, great Irish philosopher, "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it." Wise words. The macro questions. Bigger than just New York questions, bigger than the governor's questions. What happened in China? You know people talking about it. Where did this virus start in China? How did it start? How did we not know? What should China have told us?

Above my pay grade but important questions. How did the virus get from China to the United States? And we assumed it got on a plane from China and flew to the United States. That was the first thinking. When this started, now it appears that that's not so. As we're going through this, what could we have done differently? More importantly what should we do differently if this is a prolonged situation or if there is a next time?

And again caution, I would assume there's a next time. Anyone who sits back and says well, this is the only public health threat that we're going to face. That's not the case. We're seeing increasing threats all across the border. Environmental threats, Mother Nature, natural threats, threats from emergency weather that we've never seen before.

And if you look back, as far back as 1918, when they had the flu pandemic that people talk about, it took 10 months. It came in three different waves and the second wave was worse than the first wave.

So even if you put aside all the modern day challenges, when this happened in 1918, it came in three different waves so let's be prepared and intelligent. Some of the lessons to learn, the CDC did a fascinating report that they put out on May 1 which starts to take a deep look at what happened and I think there's a lot of important information in that.

And it pointed to something that we've been looking at here in New York. The report says that when they look at the different strains of the virus in the United States, that there are different strains and we were all looking at the west coast.

West coast had cases well before the east coast, remember. Maybe six weeks before the east coast. Those strains came from China. What we saw in the state of Washington. What we saw in California. They came from China, flights from China land predominantly on the west coast.

What we have seen in New York didn't come from China but actually is a different strain of the virus that came from Europe. That's an important fact to know and to study. They then said in the CDC report, from February, you had 139,000 travelers coming from Italy.

1.74 million from other European countries where the outbreak was spreading wildly and rapidly so everybody's looking at China. Meanwhile the virus had traveled from China to Europe, was in Europe, spreading from Europe. We had Europeans travelers coming. They come to the east coast.

They land in New York. They go to New Jersey. They go to Connecticut. They're in the New York area. And we're all still looking at China. We were looking at China and the travel ban on China may have been helpful but the horse was already out of the barn in China. The virus had left. The virus was in Europe.

And meanwhile, we have European travelers coming here and they're bringing the virus, which is now a different strain of the virus to the east coast. This is from that CDC report. The deputy director - Principal Deputy Director delaying travel bans allowed for the virus to spread throughout the United States and contribute to the initiation, acceleration of domestic Covid cases in March.

Extensive travel from Europe, once Europe was having outbreaks really accelerated our importation in the rapid spread. The timing of our travel alert should have been earlier. That is a very important fact and something we have to learn from.

Person from the Grossman School of Medicine, "Knowing the number of flights coming into New York from Italy was like watching a horrible train wreck in slow motion." [12:15:00]

This - nobody was watching Italy and Europe at the time. Nobody was even thinking about it. "Today we must consider an outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere." A. J. Parkinson and I think that's - those are words to remember going forward. Outbreak in China in a number of days is going to be in Europe.

From Europe, it's going to come to the United States assuming it didn't come from the United States immediately from China. Another lesson we have to learn is our hospital system. You know we talk about our hospital system. We don't really have a public health system.

We have a hospital system. And we learned the hard way about the capacity, the equipment and the management of our hospital system. New York City, we have only 12 public hospitals. They are the health and hospitals corporation that are run by New York City but there's only 12 hospitals in that public hospital system.

44 hospitals are private hospitals. They're private institutions. They're regulated by the state but they are private institutions. They have their own area of expertise. They have their own basic clientele and they're doing business as individual entities like an individual college, right?

We don't - we have a system of colleges but each college is individual. It's the same thing with hospitals. Each hospital is an individual entity. Long Island, we have four public hospitals. We have 19 private hospitals. Westchester, one public hospital, 12 private. Rockland, one public, two private. Hudson Valley, rest of the state two public hospitals, 87 private hospitals.

So really your healthcare capacity in the state is all in the hands of private hospitals, right? You have 176 private hospitals in the state. That's the capacity. But that means you have to not rely on those private hospitals, get them all to be part of one system which day to day, that does not happen.

They're operating themselves. We have again state regulations that say this is how much you must operate but they operate as individual entities. In the middle of this outbreak, we had to go back and do what we call the surge/flex management system where we said to all 176 private hospitals, we have to work together and we have to manage this system as one.

Because hospitals were getting overwhelmed. Maybe within the public system, they can share patients and doctors and staff because you have in New York City HN and HHS hospitals. OK, you can share among your 12 but we have to get these 176 hospitals now all to work together even with the public hospitals and hospitals were getting overwhelmed.

So now you need a system to share patient capacity, share equipment, share ventilators, share staff. That had never been done. We did this all basically on the fly and we put together a de facto public health system. But it was a lot to do on the fly and we need to institutionalize

these lessons. Part of what we have to learn is what happened with the equipment. I mean this was just a situation that nobody anticipated. It happened all across the country. You couldn't get enough gowns, you couldn't get enough mass. We're going to put in a state requirement now that every hospital has to have a 90-day supply, stockpile, their own stockpile of all the PPE that they could need for a 90-day supply at the rate of usage that we saw with this Covid virus.

So every hospital has to have 90-day supply. Period. We can't go through this day to day moving masks all across the state, right? This mad scramble that we were in and still are in many ways. Also as a nation we can't go through this again. There was competition among states. There was competition among private entities to get this equipment.


Federal Government was trying to buy it. I'm bidding on behalf of New York. We're bidding against other states. Texas, California, other states across the country are trying to buy the same masks from the same vendor. We literally won the bidding up the price.

I'm - have people in China. I'm trying to contact people in China who can figure out how to buy masks from China. It was just totally inefficient and ineffective. State of Massachusetts, Governor Baker was good enough to work with Robert Kraft who had a personal airplane that he sent to China to get masks.

And Massachusetts was good enough to give us some of the masks that a private airplane picked up. I mean this is not - this is not the way to deal with this situation, right? Plus we just drove up prices by our own competition. It was a limited supply. It was primarily in China and then you have 50 states and all these private entities and the federal government trying to buy it from China.

It just - it made no sense so let's fix that. New York state alone buys about $2 billion of medical supplies this year. $2 billion this year and that's one state and that's us purchasing from China and around the world. We're going to form a consortium with our seven northeast partner states which by about $5 billion worth of equipment and supplies.

That will then increase our market power when we're buying and we will buy as a consortium, prices are consortium for PPE equipment, ventilators, medical equipment, whatever we need to buy, when you put all those hospitals together, all that public health capacity together.

Which will make us more competitive in the international marketplace and I believe it will save taxpayers' money. I also believe it'll help us actually get the equipment because we have trouble still getting the equipment and just buying the equipment because these vendors on the other side, they're dealing with countries, they're dealing with the federal government. Why should they do business with one state, right? When they can do

business with an entire country so this consortium, I think will help us get the equipment and get it at a better price. We will come up with a regional identification of all the equipment we need.

Basically it's all standard equipment. A mask is a mask. A gown is a gown. Let's come up with the total amount that we need. Let's stop doing business with vendors who we found to be irresponsible and we found out the hard way. I can't tell you how many orders we placed with vendors who were acting basically as brokers, who just started businesses in the middle of this pandemic because they saw an opportunity.

So let's compare notes among the states to find out who is good to do business, who is not good to do business with. Let's see if we can't do the purchasing in this country and let's see if we can - if we can't do the purchasing in this region. You know, why are we buying all this material from China? Literally billions of dollars of PPE and would do it in coordination with the federal government.

But I want to thank our neighbors, our neighboring states. The word neighbor has a different connotation, you don't normally think of the surrounding states as neighbors. You think of the person next door as a neighbor but they are neighbors and they've acted as neighbors.

I can't tell you how supportive Governor Murphy in New Jersey and Governor Lamont in Connecticut and all the other governors in our coalition have been. Literally where you can pick up a phone and I can say, I need help with masks, do you have any extra masks? Do you have any extra gowns? Can I borrow this? Can I borrow that?

Really the way you would deal with a neighbor in an extraordinary circumstance, right? You'd knock on the door and say, can I borrow this? That's how these states responded and it was really a beautiful, generous way of operating that - that was an inspiration to me.

You know, it wasn't I'll have my lawyer call your lawyer. It was whatever I can do, I'll do.


And in that spirit, we want to keep that coalition together. We want to work together. We're doing regional planning now on the reopening because every state is linked to every other state. We do something in New York, it affects New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, etcetera.

People are very mobile right now so it's a very important relationship for us, both productively and from an efficiency point of view and they've been great and they're joining us today. We have the Governor Phil Murphy with us. Governor Ned Lamont. Governor Tom Wolf and Governor John Carney and we'll start with our neighbor from the great state of New Jersey. Governor Phil Murphy. How are you Governor Murphy?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Glad to be on with you. I will be brief and say, I echo literally everything you've said including the (inaudible) in terms of what this has been like. The deficiencies as well as the inspiration which was derived from our - our neighbors and notably beginning with you and all the other governors who are on the - today.

It has been truly an inspiration. On behalf of 9million of us in New Jersey, I say thank you. You know, we are - we're in the same boat. We are begging and bartering for equipment, PPE, ventilators, etcetera and we're still doing it.

Someone said to me couple of days ago that gowns have become the new ventilators and so we're still out there and so the notion of coordinating together as a region makes enormous amount of sense. So sign me up and sign New Jersey up. We've moved in New Jersey alone to 21 million pieces of PPE in the past two months, a line of business we had to get beforehand and so this makes so much sense.

I really look forward. Again, as you suggest that we coordinated actively as we closed our governments. We now have a regional council where we could - governors today but also we're on in Massachusetts. This is a perfect extension of that relationship and I got one of your - your comments that not only should we not have to be scouring the world for this but it ought to be made in U.S. states, better yet made in our states. (inaudible) And so that's something that I think we all will strive for. We're doing that in New Jersey. - to make this stuff here.

And lastly, you said this - we all got to do within our own four walls - the regional cooperation matter so much and it's the right example of that. I think it's a brilliant extent of our ongoing cooperation.

And lastly, none of this in lieu of partnership with the government as you rightfully pointed out. We have to all be with what's good for our own citizens, what's good for the region and work continuously with federal government every step of the way. Thank you for having me on today. Thank you (inaudible) to you Governor Cuomo and to each of all governors in this group and really looking forward to working with you in the better days ahead.

CUOMO: Thank you. Thank you very much Governor Murphy. I think the governors on this forum, we've learned so much about PPE over the past few weeks, I think we can go make gowns ourselves at this point. I think - I think we've learned now. Give us some sewing machines. I think we can - we can actually contribute.

So thank you very much Phil. God bless you and stay well and anything you need, we're here, thank you. We'll go now to governor Lamont, great state of Connecticut. Governor Lamont, thank you very much for being with us and thank you for all you've done, not just for the people of Connecticut but for the entire northeast. Good to be with you Ned.

GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): And back at you (inaudible) on behalf of Connecticut. New York and Andrew Cuomo has been a very good neighbor for us. And as you know, we got into this together, we realized what we had to do. When it came to closing down parts of our service academy, we did that together. We're opening it up together and that's the way it works best. And as you pointed out when it comes to the purchasing, look, we can -

we've learned something, right? We can wait for the national stockpile. We can wait for that plane to land from China. Let's see what we can do ourselves. And as you pointed out we're much stronger together. I wouldn't mind having some of that New York purchasing power. Thanks for sharing that with Connecticut, going forward.

And just as importantly, what we can produce together as well. I mean Phil Murphy, you got that amazing pharmaceutical industry and New Jersey, help us out with the reagents and what we can do in terms of gowns from being produced in Rhode Island. What we can all do together to make sure that this next round, we control our own destiny.


And to those that say you know, where have you been and you're ordering up all the Christmas trees and they're going to arrive on December 26, I say, I'm afraid this is still beginning as you pointed out Governor Cuomo and we're planning for the next round of this - if there is a next round, making sure that we control our own destiny going forward. We do it much better together. Thanks for getting us together Andrew.

CUOMO: No. My pleasure. Thank you very, very much governor and you're right. Look, we're spending billions of dollars. Why not buy from our own vendors in our own region? Why are we buying from China, right? I'm sure there are a lot of businesses within our own states that if they knew they had that kind of a purchasing, that they were looking at, that they would either adopt their businesses or grow their businesses so we could buy from them.

Plus you're right, we would control our own destiny rather than everyone trying to figure out how to buy from China. So thank you very much Governor Lamont. God bless you. We're here. Thank you. Let's go now to Governor Wolf from Pennsylvania. Good to be with you Tom. Thank you very much for everything you've been doing. Thank you for being a great neighbor to the state of New York and all your surrounding states.

GOV. TOM WOLF (D-PA): Thank you Governor Cuomo. Thank you very much for organizing this again. A few weeks ago we all got together and announced that we were going to work together to fight this - this pandemic and we said then that by working together, we can do a lot more than we can do if each of us works on our own.

And I think today is a specific example of that we can work together to buy the things that we need, to allow our healthcare system to have the capacity it needs to fight this this fight. We need to help our hospitals. We need to help or health care workers. We need to help our long term care facilities, our first responders, all those things.

And what - what you're doing here and what we're doing is actually pulling together to make sure we're doing all those - all those things and part of this is testing. It's not just the equipment. We - we really need to work together to build the capacity to test or we're not going to be able to give our citizens the confidence they need to - to go back to work.

They're not going to have the confidence we need them to have to go back to school or back to the store or to go back to worship. So all those things are really important and by working together, we can - we can pool our financial resources. It's really important and significant. As you pointed out Governor Cuomo, we can actually pull the brain power that exists in the great institutions in our areas and the manufactures who can make this stuff.

All that we can pull together and - and if we can do that with - with even with something as difficult as testing, I think we're going to make sure that we get through this in the best possible way so thank you for pulling this together. This is really important and I'm proud to be with you.

CUOMO: Thank you. Thank you Governor Wolf. And you're so right. Look, we are - we're creating in some ways new industries, right? Whoever heard of the testing industry or the tracing industry or these reagents, that all these tests now use, even the demand on PPE.

I mean this is a whole new world for all of us. But there's also an economic opportunity and we should take advantage of it because we need it and it's not going away and it's going to be a major industry, going forward so let's make sure it happens here but Tom, thank you very much. Thank you for all the help and thank you for everything you're doing. Really. You're an inspiration to all of us. Thank you Tom.

And we have Governor John Carney with us from Delaware. John, thank you very much for being with us. Thank you for all the help. Thank you for all the support. Thank you for the friendship through all of this, which is also very important. Just the personal support is important as we're going through this as colleagues. Thanks for being with us today, John.

GOV. JOHN CARNEY (D-DE): Yes thank you Governor Cuomo for including Delaware in this coalition. Thank you for your great leadership there in the state of New York and particularly metro New York City with your colleague governors on either side of you. You're an inspiration frankly, to all of us. Our hearts go out to you as we see the numbers, I was really happy to see your numbers on the chart at the beginning of your conference today as they a trend downward.

That's really a very good and positive thing and thanks for including us, a state of - we like to refer to ourselves as a state of neighbors. There's just shy of 1 million Delawareans here on the southern end of this geographic coalition on this side, about 95 and the Amtrak Northeast Corridor which connects all of us. The two governors at the bottom of my screen are great partners.


Gov. Wolf and Gov. Murphy on either side of the state of Delaware. Really important coordination and collaboration but this particular initiative with respect to purchasing together PPE and most importantly I think as Governor Wolf mentioned testing equipment and capacity is so incredibly important for a small state like ours to have the purchasing power.

Governor Cuomo of New York and New Jersey and Connecticut and Pennsylvania and Massachusetts and Rhode Island is just so incredibly important for us, in terms of getting the right pricing.

And you know if we're going head to head with New York, we're not get - we're not going to get it. If we're along shoulder to shoulder with you or with Governor Murphy and Governor Wolf, we've got a good chance of getting a better price and getting a product that we need.

And I think through all this too, the other thing that was really interesting to me and joining the coalition was just all the assets that that the other states can bring to the table in terms of intellectual capacity, your research institutions, your hospitals because we know that they're going to be breakthroughs and we hope in testing and other kinds of technologies that help us as we respond to this.

So I couldn't be happier to be part of this coalition, a part of your leadership team Governor Cuomo with again, my two neighbors here in the southern end of our coalition and to each of you, thanks for the great work that you're providing to the citizens of your state.

I tell people all the time, it's going to be way harder, the decisions we have to make and reopening our economies in phases than it was shutting things down in my view just because of the balance we need to strike there and we - we'll do that working together and with the expertise that this coalition and the purchasing power in particular of this initiative will bring to the state of Delaware.

CUOMO: Thank you. Thank you John. Thank you Governor Carney and Governor Carney is right. The - it was easier to shut down than it's going to be to reopen. Shutting down was you walk into the basement, you take the power switch and just go from on to off, right? There was an urgent need. It was an emergency.

Reopening is more of an art form and I thank my governor, my gubernatorial colleagues for doing this together. We also have a Governor Raimondo from the state of Rhode Island and Governor Baker from the state of Massachusetts who are part of a coalition. You know you go through situations in life which are unexpected. OK. You do your best and then you learn from that and then you grow and that's what we're trying to do here today.

Because people expect more from government than ever before. I believe this has been transformative for generations. Think about when was the last time government was this vital. I don't know maybe in a war, World War II when government had to mobilize overnight.

But literally for decades you haven't seen government this essential to human life, literally. And government has to work and it has to work well and it's not for the faint of heart now. And people want government to perform. And government is making decisions every day that affect their lives and they deserve the best government, right?

They're paying for it. They deserve and they deserve competence and expertise and smarts and for government to be doing creative things and learning like we're doing here today. At the same time, government is working. We're trying our best. We're working seven days a week, 24 hours a day. We're doing a lot of good work, a lot of creative work but this is not just about government.

You know it's too easy to point fingers but this one has to do that. This one has to do that. Every person has a part in this. Every person has a part. And driving around New York City today and I was here yesterday.

You know we all are very thankful to our healthcare heroes, our front line workers, our essential workers. You watch television. There were all these nice commercials. Thank everyone for what they did and we should. Nurses, doctors, police officers, transit workers, God bless them. But if you really want to say thank you, make their life easier by not getting sick and not making someone else sick.


An individual's role is act responsibly and intelligently for yourself, for your family and for your community. Wear a mask. Wear a mask. I mean that's the basic step, right? Socially distance. If you can't socially distance, you're in New York City, you're going to walk up next to a person, wear a mask, OK. It's not the most attractive garment ever created. So what?

Well, I don't know like you know, it feels uncomfortable, unnatural. So what? You want to honor the healthcare workers and the people who literally gave their lives in some cases for what they did here, act responsibly. Wear a mask. I know the weather is getting warmer. I know people want to get out of the house. Fine. Wear a mask and socially distance.

That is your social responsibility in the middle of this overall pandemic and when we talk about New Yorkers together and the spirit of unity and how people are helping one another and how tough we are and how smart we are and how disciplined we are and how we love one another, show it. You know how you show love?

By wearing a mask. Please. Questions.

REPORTER: Governor, you talked about a different strain being here, coming from Europe. Is it a more deadly strain you think? Is there a reason to believe why the death toll was so much harder here than in other places?

CUOMO: You know I don't know. Some have said that. It's - it's not my field exact but they said it. Two totally different strains. I've heard from some medical professionals that our strain was actually more virulent than the strain that came from China that whatever the mutation was that happened in Europe made our strain more virulent.

Once it comes to New York and again nobody was anticipating this European connection you know, people from Italy. Nobody was saying watch out for those people from Italy. They were just walking through our airports. Right? We had the federal officials at all our airports and they were doing

that screening that they were doing. They were screening people from China still. Nobody was screening people from Europe and the European travel ban, the full ban didn't go into March or something like mid- March, we didn't do a full European travel ban.

So they were coming. Nobody was screening. Nobody was testing. Nobody was looking. Nobody even knew to look. When they - wherever they came in New York, nobody was on notice. You know nobody said watch for Italian people from Italy. Watch for people from Ireland in the U.K. Nobody. So it was just we were totally unaware of it.

Then apparently it's a different strain. Then once it gets to New York, now you have that density in New York, right? And density is the enemy here. And that New York dense housing, dense transportation, dense sidewalks. In that density, it takes off like a fire through dry grass and then it spreads. It's in New Jersey, it's in Connecticut, that whole area.

But especially since nobody knew, I mean nobody knew, right? We were doing this every day. Did you - nobody ever talked about transmission through Europe.

REPORTER: Carlin, CBS 2.

CUOMO: I know that.

REPORTER: I have the mask. The question I asked -

CUOMO: I see your eyes though.

REPORTER: You talk about the road to recovery and reopening as being an art form. Your fellow governors feel the same way. How much of this is based on some personal observations in the last couple of days and gut instinct as opposed to the numbers and benchmarks you say are so important?

CUOMO: Good question. First, follow the data. I believe you can do this as a science. You know is it science or is art? Let's say it's a combination but drive it as a science. Do it by the numbers. You know we're calculating the spread of the virus, right? That is a mathematical equation on some levels and the more you open, the higher the rate of infection will spread.

That is in our view. Question is how much does it spread? How fast does it spread? And how fast is it spreading compared to your health care capacity? That is a formula. You can just plug numbers into that formula. And that's what we're doing.


That's the R0, that's the rate of transmission. We want to keep the rate of transmission below 1.1. We're now at about 0.7 so we have a margin of error 0.7 to 1.1. Over 1.1, you're now an epidemic, outbreak status so part of it is this mathematical formula and that's what we're trying to educate our local partners about in local government. You want to talk about reopening your region, your city, your county,

etcetera. When will the state reopen my region? Well, here's the formula. Plug the numbers in and look at what the formula says. That's the science of it. And with all this political talk and all these political opinions, I like to stress the science because it belies the politics and the emotion.

Look at the numbers. Look at the numbers. The art form is look, I've been in the federal government. I've been in state government. I was the Attorney General. I did emergencies in the federal government all across the nation, all across the world.

So you bring an educated, your word was gut instinct, you bring an educated gut to it. I bring an educated gut to it because I've gone through this before. But educated gut plus stick to the science. Stick to the numbers.

REPORTER: So what does your gut tell you at the moment?

CUOMO: My gut says the weather is going to warm. People are bored. People want this over. They see the numbers going down. They can take false comfort. Oh, it's going down. That means it's over. No, no. We never said it was over. We said the numbers are going down.

We said roughly 1000 new people every day walking to the hospitals. Oh no, it's - it's basically over. No. Well, I hear other states are reopening. No. We're not out of the woods and we are this very dense environment and you can see that virus pick up dramatically and it is not going down.

It's not, it is going down. There's no it. We are bringing it down, right? That number was going like this. The only reason the numbers are now going like this is because New Yorkers grabbed that projection curve with two hands and pulled it down. And that's why it went like this.

You go back to your old behavior, that number goes right back up. And it's warm and you want to get out of the house and everybody antsy and I haven't gotten a paycheck and I'm worried about my job. I know but big caution sign to me. Let's watch the numbers. Numbers are going down but we are very dense environment. We've had more cases. We almost overwhelmed the whole healthcare system.

So caution moving forward and look, how people cannot wear masks, that to me is even disrespectful. It's disrespectful. It's disrespectful to the nurses, the doctors, the people who have been frontline workers, the transit workers. You wear the mask not for yourself. You wear the mask for me.

It's a sign of respect to other people. And you make me sick. That's disrespectful. I have to go into the hospital. I have to call an ambulance. That's an ambulance driver. I have to go to an emergency room. That's a nurse. That's a doctor who has to put on PPE that somebody has to buy and pay for. They have to risk being exposed to the virus because you wouldn't wear a mask. Because you wouldn't wear a mask? You put so many people at risk because you didn't want to wear a mask.

I think that's disrespectful by you. It's disrespectful of your relationship an obligation to one another. Yes, we're all individuals. We're individuals who live in a community in the middle of a global pandemic. Just be responsible and show respect.

And I don't think that's too much for each of us to asked of one another. That's a basic common decency in this situation.

REPORTER: Governor, there's you know, based on media reports from yesterday, we've seen a lot of people going out to Central Park, the beaches in Coney Island to spaces all over the city. Is there enough enforcement right now of social distancing and is it actually safe so long as people wear masks and keep a little bit of space for people to linger sometimes all afternoon at those parks and other spaces across the city?


CUOMO: Look, ideally if you're protecting yourself and your loved ones or by the way, if you're a member of a vulnerable population, the idea is to stay indoors, there's no doubt. However you can't stay indoors forever and the weather is nice and getting outside, getting some exercise, getting fresh air is good.

Staying socially distance and wearing a mask are basic precautions that should keep you safe. Not as good as staying in the house but should keep you safe. But that assumes people around you are wearing masks. People around you are acting responsibly so it's not even a situation that you can control yourself, right?

What happens to you is dependent on what I do and how I act. I don't wear a mask, I sneeze on a park bench. You walk up two minutes later and sit down on the park bench. Or by the way, you walk up a half an hour later maybe and sit on a park bench and you put your hand down and then you wipe your face. Now you have a problem because of me.

That's why the mask wearing and on the local enforcement, I know the New York City. I know Mayor De Blasio has made a real effort. I've said to all the local government heads, enforce it. Enforce it because it's not only wrong, a public health risk, it really is such a little thing to ask of people at a time when people are doing so much.

So much. With the transit workers yesterday, they're going train to train disinfecting, getting on their hands and knees and hazmat blowing disinfectant under the seats, over the seats, on the ceiling, wiping it all down. People doing unprecedented work. And you can't even wear a mask? No.

REPORTER: Is a few dozen summonses enough? That's what the NYPD commissioner said yesterday. About 46 summonses issued yesterday. Is that commiserate with the level of need to -

CUOMO: Well, look, we've said this from day one, right? We're in New York state and we're also operate in the state of reality. Will you ever get 19 million people in the state to comply because you give them a summons? No. They will comply because they know the facts and because they choose and deem that it is intelligent and reasonable to comply.

And that's how I've started this from day one. Look, I could've done a closed down order and New Yorkers could have upset that with no works. They could have just not complied with it, right? And then what would I do? Run around given summonses? It wouldn't work.

Went through all the facts, explained why and then we close it down, people complied. It's going to be the same with masks and personal behavior. This is a new level of personal behavior now that we're asking people to undertake and I think they will get it. I think it's not going to happen because of law enforcement but law enforcement has a role.

But I think they have to understand it and they have to get it and I think if New Yorkers, you know the best - the best enforcers of social behavior are other enforcer, other New Yorkers, right?

I think if New Yorkers get it, you walk down the street without a mask, I think other New Yorkers are going to let you know and as long as they do that within the bounds of decorum, I don't think that it's a bad thing.

REPORTER: And when you talk about lessons learned, has something to be learnt here regarding PPE and equipment being manufactured overseas and would you say that it is time to maybe, rethink globalization policies and the direction this country has been going in for the last 30 years?

CUOMO: I don't - I don't know that you have to go to globalization policies act. The - you're not going to change the macro-economic forces but I think there is a lesson to learn and what we're trying to actually deliver on. This is - this is an emergency service, right? In a snowstorm you have to be able to get solved and you have to be able to have snow plows, right? In a hurricane, you have to have pumps.

In a public health emergency you have to have PPE. I mean and nothing works unless it's step one, you have to have the PPE. That we have to go to China for the PPE and you think about that. You couldn't even get it in this nation.


We will start making our own in the state. But that's a national security issue to me. Yes, you have to be able to get masks and gowns or whatever medical equipment you need so this nation can run a health care system in the middle of an emergency.

Yes. Yes, I forget the macro-economics. Just from a national security point of view, I think yes, you have to be able to do that. You can't be dependent on China to have the basic equipment to save lives in the United States. That's what this came down to. I mean think about that. Robert Kraft, God bless him. Owns the New York - New England Patriots.

New England Patriots haven't done New Yorkers a lot of favors over the years but great sports team but Robert Kraft has to send a private plane to China to pick up masks for Massachusetts. That's how we handle a global pandemic?

I have to call Mr. Kraft and say, can you do me a favor Governor Baker as long as the plane is going, can you pick up some masks for me? I mean that's how that happened, right? It's two major states in the middle of a pandemic. Robert Kraft is sending a plane. Do you guys want to comment anything?

MELISSA DEROSA, SECRETARY TO GOV. CUOMO: No, I would just add on your point before when you asked about the higher cases in New York versus the west coast, the virulent strain which as the governor said there are sort of mixed - mixed reviews out there but it's important to remember, it's not just the - the travel ban here didn't happen until I think it was March 16 after they did the first version where they closed down to most of Europe.

And then the 16th was when it went into effect including the U.K. whereas they did the Asia travel ban at the end of January, early February and so those flights from Asia go to the west coast. The flights from Europe come to New York and New York.

CUOMO: But look at that variance. End of January, you do the China travel ban. You don't do the U.K. travel ban to the middle of March. End of January to the middle of March, the virus was not hanging out in China, waiting for you during that period of time.

January, it got on a plane, went to Europe and then spread in Europe and then from January to mid-March was coming from Europe right here.

DEROSA: And then I think on top of that, there was a false sense of security and that they - the CDC was doing testing so they were coming back and saying there's no cases in New York but the people that they were testing, they were testing a very select few that were coming off of planes from their hot spot designated regions and then they were letting everybody else come right through the front door without doing temperature checks, without checking to see if they were demonstrating any of the symptoms that you would have and so I mean in retrospect, what did everyone think what's going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it was here -

DEROSA: According to The New York Times report last week, they think there were 10,700 cases here in February.

CUOMO: One more Sir.

REPORTER: On the overnight subway closures, are there any benchmarks you're looking at for when we might see overnight subway service again so that would also involve subway cleaning so what would overnight service return looks like?

CUOMO: Look, the subway service will return when the pandemic ends. You tell me when the pandemic ends, I'll tell you when the subway service resumes but for that, look, we don't - we don't really have a choice in truth. Most of these issues we don't have a choice. You do what you have to do.

We didn't have a choice whether or not we bought PPE from China. We don't have a choice whether or not we disinfected trains. I am so grateful to the front line workers who show up every day. You know think about what we did here. We had to explain to New Yorkers how vicious this virus was so they would actually honor the close down. This is what we were just talking about.

The next sentence out of my mouth is yes, it's vicious. We need to close down. Next sentence is but I need the essential workers to come to work tomorrow morning. What you just said, it was a vicious virus, I should stay home but now the essential workers have to come to work? Yes. Because we need people to run the buses and the trains and we need the nurses and we need to doctors and we need food on the shelves.

You want to see things go bad in a hurry? No food on the shelves. Right? No electric power. You want to see panic and anarchy. You needed those essential workers. So God bless them.