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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: State Is Doing More Testing Per Capita Than Any Other Country; Gov. Cuomo: States Need To Reopen On A Regional Basis; Gov. Cuomo: "Disrespectful" For People Not To Wear Masks; More States Easing Restrictions As Death Toll Tops 67,000; Internal Trump Administration Estimate Says Daily U.S. Death Toll Will Increase To 3,000 By June. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired May 4, 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): They are the most essential with the latest risk. Second phase professional services, retail, administrative support real estate third phase, restaurants, food services and accommodation fourth, art, entertainment, recreation and education.

Remember density is not your friend here large gatherings are not your friend. That's where the virus tends to spread. That's why those situations would be down at the end. And then we need businesses to also re imagine how they're going to do business and get ready to protect their work force, to change their physical environment to the extent they need to?

And to change their processes to make sure people can socially distance and people remain at a safe environment. That's going to be up to businesses to come up with ways to re configure their workplace and their processes to make it work and that's business by business.

Government can say these are the standards but a business is going to have to figure out how to do that? When you look at the state, there are some regions that right now by the numbers pose a lower risk and some that pose a higher risk.

We can tell you by region right now of those criteria that we went through, which ones are in place for which region? So which ones have the right hospitalization and the right testing regiment and the right contact tracing regiment and which ones still have work to do in those areas?

This is going to be region by region. Each region has to put together the leaders in those respective areas who put together this system and monitor this system literally on a daily basis. So they're getting all that input, all those specifics all that data and then day by day they're making a decision as to how to proceed with reopening based on the data, based on the facts?

And that'll be different for every region in the state. May 15th is when the statewide pause order PAUSE not PASS the Pause order the Pause order will stop all businesses stay-at-home. That expires on May 15th. May 15th regions can start to reopen and do their own analysis. These are the facts that they have to have in place to do it. Start now, don't wait until May 15th, don't call me up on May 15th and say well, the Pause order expired, I want to open. I'm going to ask you the questions I just ask, I just presented.

Do you have a healthcare system in place? Is your health system ready? Can your hospital handle it? Do you have testing in place? Do you have tracing in place? Have you talked to the businesses about how they're going to reopen?

So we have a couple of weeks. This is what local leaders this is what a community has to deal with to reopen safely and intelligently in my opinion. This can't just be we want to get out of the house we are going. No.

Let's be smart, let's be intelligent and let's learn from the past and let's do it based on facts. We are at a different time in place. The government is fundamentally in a different position than it was a couple of months ago. This is for real now, right?

Government politics it is not about optics, it's not about celebrities not about press releases this is not about what I put on Instagram yesterday. This is about government leader's performance, their expertise. This is a situation where they're confidence and their ability can be the difference between life and death literally.

What the government have done federal, state and local? What we have done in this state has literally saved lives. We reduced all the projected hospitalization rates dramatically by about 100,000 New Yorkers.

[12:05:00]

CUOMO: 100,000 fewer New Yorkers who were hospitalized than they predicted. 100,000 think about that. If we had 100,000 more people in our hospital system first of all our hospital system would have collapsed if the projections were true, if we did not change those projections.

We literally saved the lives. How many of those 100,000 would have been hospitalized and would have been died? So we have done great work at a tremendous cause and tremendous hardship. We just have to remain vigilant and smart and confident going forward.

And that's what New York Tough means. New York Tough means, we are tough but we are smart and we are discipline and we are unified and we're loving. And, it is the love of community and love of each other and respect for each other which is what has gotten us through this and we will continue too.

Thank you very much for taking the time to be here. Thank you for the social distancing questions for myself or any of my colleagues?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it is about time that you tell local police and officials to start ticketing people who are not wearing masks outside?

CUOMO: Mask wearing, I said - look I believe this is a time for a sort of honest and straightforward talk. I said that I think it is disrespectful of people not to wear masks. I mean, think about it.

You see all these commercials on TV, we thank you to our heroes, thank you to the nurses and thank you to the doctors and thank you to the transit workers thank you to the police officers and we should be thankful - right?

They went to work so all of us can stay safe and go home. The least gratitude you can show is at least wear the mask so you don't infect more people who place more of a burden on the hospitals and the nurses and the doctors who are all saying thank you for your great service.

If you really want to say thank you, then respect them and respect their job and wear the masks so you don't infect people. Well, I don't want to wear a mask. It is not big a deal. And by the way you don't wear a mask for yourself you wear a mask to protect me. I wear a mask to protect you.

We owe each other a certain amount of reasonableness and respect in society. I owe you that level of respect. If I am sick, I should wear a mask. Local governments have the ability to enforce and penalize that's up to local governments.

But do I think local government should be enforcing it and should there be sanctions? Yes, because it is a public health emergency. You know this is not just do me a favor. This is a public health emergency and it is a statewide order that I put in place that I am proud of.

And local governments have the responsibility to enforce it and part of their right and their legal right is they can have a penalty or sanctions they impose. So Rochester can have one penalty, we can be appropriate to the community and New York City is a different situation.

Yes, I think local governments should enforce it and I think there could be a penalty because you could literally kill someone. You could literally kill someone because you didn't want to wear a mask. How cruel and irresponsible would that be?

No one said wear a mask all the time, right? Wear a mask if you may be in a situation where you can't socially distance. You go for a walk in the woods you don't have to be wearing a mask. You come to a point where from your walk in the woods where you are going to be in a parking lot or there is an entrance and an exit and you may run into other people, wear the mask.

You can have the mask down when you are walking in the woods but now you see someone coming the other way, I am going to pass by the other person, you put the mask on. It is the least that we can do, right? Everyone is killing themselves. People are working 24 hours a day, show some respect.

[12:10:00] CUOMO: Show some basic modicum of respect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible)

CUOMO: Yes, putting all of these new systems in place is an incredible task. Society now we have temptation to blame, well, who's to blame? Who's to blame? Nobody is to blame that we don't have testing capacity for millions of Americans.

We have never done this before. Our testing system was basically for the flu test or strep or some other blood test when the doctor would send you to a lab to get a blood test. We never had a testing system in that nation that could do this volume.

So this whole thing is a scramble. It was a scramble between the Federal Government and the state who's supposed to do it who is responsible. I had a good meeting with the President a while back where we sat down and we said look, the states controlled the lab. We have about 300 labs in New York State, we regulate them.

The states should be responsible for what they can do and we need the Federal Government to help what they can. The supply chain issue of reagents and manufacturing and et cetera, that's an international supply chain. Ironically so much of this stuff comes from China. It is like incredible.

On the testing the reagents the chemicals and as well as the PPE, when we were looking for masks and gowns and everything was in China, but the Federal Government has assumed that responsibility of that international supply chain the reagents et cetera.

The state should take it over at the state line. But hat supply has increased and we are distributing it. And as you saw we are doing more testing than any other states or any other country per capita. So we are coming online very, very quickly. We still have more to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor on Friday you announced that schools will be reopening for the rest of the school year as well to - said although we're waiting on state guidance to start making those plans? So have you started reaching up to schools yet or --?

CUOMO: Yes, they're going to give guidance on what plan they need to reopen schools which is basically the analog to what a business needs, right? I want to reopen my manufacturing company. Okay. How do you do it and keep people six-feet apart?

How do you do it in the cafeteria and how do you do it in transport? How do you run your business in a way that's going to now meet these social distancing guidelines? Same thing for a school part of the issue for the school was just the gatherings in the school.

You have 25 students in a class, how do you put 25 students in a class and they're six feet apart? Look at this space right, even these presses press conference. You need for 20 people you need a tremendous size room. How would you do that in the school? How do you socially distance students? Do you need more classrooms which mean that you need more teachers? How do you serve lunch? And what do you do on the bus? How do you keep fewer students on the bus? So those kinds of details have to be in the opening plan. They will get guidance on that.

But it is going to be easier said than done especially for schools. Because think about it the problem is the gathering. A school is a gathering. That's what it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible)

CUOMO: Look, I get the whole liberate movement. There is no reason for a closing of anything, just open everything up and let everybody go do whatever they want to do. I get that argument. I hear it and understand it and sympathetic to it.

Everybody wants out. I also know the facts of what has happened to the places who have done that? And what you suggest that was all those countries that saw a spike in the number of cases right afterwards.

[12:15:00]

CUOMO: Saw a spike in the infection rate saw a spike in the hospitalization saw a spike in the number of deaths. I would like to see as few New Yorkers pass away as possible. So yes, people want to get out. On the other hand we want to do it in a responsible way. That's the whole question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --for something that 80 percent or 90 percent of us don't have the Coronavirus.

CUOMO: No 80 percent or 90 percent of us don't get the coronavirus. Nobody has gotten the Coronavirus before. Some people say well, this is like flu yet it is not like flu. Even 80 percent 90 percent of us don't the flu, right? But this is a different beast that we're dealing with and we learn it the hard way.

You don't hear anyone saying anymore this is like the flu. That was back in January/February. That was before we had 18,000 people in our hospitals in New York. This is not flu. Let's take one more.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: The Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo his daily Coronavirus briefing in Rochester today the Governor moving around New York as he begins to outline the challenge ahead. The medical numbers in New York continue to improve hospitalizations down, intubations down.

The Governor says like other Governors he is now aggressively thinking about the reopening but if you listen to Governor Cuomo, it is very clear that he knows 30 plus states around the country already have at least a limited reopening. He's trying to go slow and setting out clear standards for each of the state's region.

May 15th is when the New York Pause order would expire. The question is will any of the region be ready by then. The Governor laying out the case as particularly on issues like saying complement to the White House saying the supply chain has increased when it comes to testing but he is still not sure all of the regions of his state are ready with the testing capacity they would need to reopen.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is standing by for us in New York. Shimon it is interesting when you listen to the Governor he understands the President is pushing states to reopen. States around the country are beginning to reopen. He's trying to layout clear metrics to explain why he thinks in the case of New York especially around New York City is going to be some time.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is and that is because you need tracing and the testing. Those are two big components that he needs. He wants to see before any city or anyone in this region starts to reopen and that's the thing. He's been going on about this for the last few weeks.

He wants the testing and he wants the tracing. And he calls for a new system and they're going to need new systems in place to get these regions reopened in New York City. He did say that you know there was some optimism in this and that he thinks that by May 15th, some of the regions in this state are going to be able to reopen.

And that's based on density that's based on what they are seeing in the everyday stats that you are getting from the hospitals and new some of the testing as some of the new results that they are getting from that testing. So there is some optimism.

Of course he's talking about manufacturing and construction jobs. He is talking about certain retail with curb side pickup he's going to allow some of that to reopen. And also important John in all of this is that he is putting it on the local leaders of these regions. Come up with a plan come up with a system.

He wants to see those plans he wants to see those systems that are going to be put in place so that then they can all decide whether or not it is safe to reopen. But at least there are some positives in that they are looking towards this May 15th towards lifting some of the restrictions that are now being in place across the state John.

KING: Shimon Prokupecz for us. Governor Cuomo again saying the medical news in New York is getting better but he is signing a cautionary note saying the counties and the regions of the state better are prepared as he gets ready to allow some limited reopening. Shimon thank you very much.

A quick break here when we come back. The Mayor of Columbus, Ohio, he says he wishes the Governor would require masks in his state.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:20:00]

KING: Today 16 more states begin easing restrictions on businesses. Some standouts Arkansas residents can go back to the gym today and in Indiana, social gathering is up to 25 people are now allowed in most of the state.

California is not on this map but two counties in the north Yuba and Sutter are defying the Governor and allowing business like restaurants and malls and gyms to reopen. By the end of this week, at least 42 states will be partially reopened though but not all are seeing a dawn ward in cases.

South Carolina, Kansas and Missouri for example you see it right there seemed to be trending up or may be at a plateau. Today in Ohio manufacturing and construction companies can open up again. Retail stores can reopen next Tuesday, but are already starting to ease in with services like curb side pickup.

With me now to discuss, the Mayor from Columbus Ohio Andrew Ginther, Mr. Mayor it is good to see you. I want to put up this state if you look at the state trend right now certainly from the last couple of weeks of April, Ohio has come down but if you look at your particular County Columbus and Franklin County there is the state on the map right there.

If you go back to you know mid April there you see you're down may be you call it a plateau in the last several days but on a lower level. But if - I was looking at your website a little earlier Mr. Mayor and in Franklin County in Columbus is more dicey, right?

MAYOR ANDREW GINTHER (D), COLUMBUS, OHIO: Absolutely. That's why this partnership with the Republican Governor and big city Democratic Mayors across the states has been so important to you know listen to public health experts and do the right thing based on health and safety.

We believe there could be a slow gradual reopening of the economy while keeping the health and safety of our residents as our top priority. That's why we think this slow gradual opening to the economy across the state and here in Central Ohio while continuing to expand testing access to testing.

[12:25:00]

GINTHER: Limiting restrictions that have been there in the past and offering clear guidance on large group gatherings that's going to stay in place. And we're encouraging people to only leave their homes for those basic necessities or to report for work. That's how we continue to slow the spread and protect the health and safety of Ohioans.

KING: I want you to listen to your Governor here. You're talking about the cooperation which is the good thing. We go to several states and you'll see a lot of feistiness between Democratic Governor --when the Governors of one party Mayor are of another party with some disagreement.

It is great that of this cooperation in Ohio. But you do have a disagreement on this point. Here is the Governor talking about whether to require masks and his decision to not do that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. MIKE DEWINE, (R) OHIO: It became very clear to me after we put out the order that everyone in retail who walks into a store, customers would have to do that, it became clear to me that that was just a bridge too far. People were not going to accept the government telling them what to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: So the Governor won't require it. I assume that you are very much urging people to do it.

GINTHER: Absolutely. We started a public/private partnership here with our business community are feeling profit community where we are raising awareness, educating people on why face coverings and masks are so important? Not to necessarily to protect ourselves but to protect our neighbors because so many folks have the virus and don't know about it and may not have symptoms.

But we know that face coverings and masks are absolutely critical. We want to continue to slow the spread and reopen the economy the right way and have that be sustainable and avoid a resurgence of the virus later this year that masks and facial coverings are so important for that.

KING: We have been covering for the last week plus these hot spots, Coronavirus hot spots at meat packing plants, poultry packing plants all around the country waiting to see when would the impact hit Middle America? We're seeing it in your community.

I want to read you a statement that put up by Kroger who was in the Columbus dispatch yesterday. There is plenty of protein in the supply chains; however some processes are experiencing challenges. At this time in Central Ohio we have added purchase limits on ground beef, chicken and fresh pork to support responsible shopping.

What's the impact in the community where you know people who were trying to get through this pandemic? I assume this just adds additional anxiety to what is already a stress time?

GINTHER: Well, yes, that's why it is so important for folks in the media in elected leadership positions to reassure folks. There is plenty in the supply chains. We've dealt with this you know at the beginning of this onset with toilet paper and hand sanitizers.

So it is really important for folks not to go crazy. Buy what you and your family need and continue to make sure that they have healthy options that they need in their households. This is not a time for us to go out and buy everything that we can to provide you know produce additional anxiety or concern in American households.

KING: Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for your time today. I'm still hoping as we get from May, June, July and beyond Franklin County one of my favorite campaign stops as you go across the country in an election year like this. Hope to say hello in person down the road a little bit. In the meantime, good luck.

GINTHER: Thank you, John.

KING: Take care sir. Breaking news to bring you right now, a troubling projection this hour from inside the Trump Administration about the consequences of reopening. The Centers for Disease control estimates predicts the daily Coronavirus death toll in the United States might hit 3,000 by early June. That's well above the current level of about 1750 deaths per day.

The number of new cases also projected to grow exponentially so 25,000 new infections per day to possibly 200,000 per day by the first of June. Let's discuss and let's begin with CNN's Elizabeth Cohen.

Elizabeth when you look at this, there are some projections here. We always have to be careful about projections, but the President's own scientific experts are putting together a report that if you look at the graphs says the death - you have case rates now they are going to go up. You have death rates now they are going to go up as you go through this reopening process?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, this is modeling done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control their modelers are among the best of the best. And I would guess that they also conferred with modelers across the country. These are very sobering numbers.

And John, it tells us two things. One it tells us that these efforts we have been doing for the past six or seven weeks, staying at home and social distancing what the public health folks call mitigation. That helped, it did help flatten the curve to some extent however it did not get rid of the problems.

So there was a lot of hope it would get rid of the problem it didn't. Are we better off now for having done that mitigation? Experts I am talking to say yes. But we still are not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination.