Return to Transcripts main page


Dr. Lloyd Minor, Stanford Medical School Dean, Discusses Trump Saying Virus Will Pass With Or Without Vaccine; NY Governor Cuomo Gives Update On Coronavirus Response; Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt Remotely Joins Cuomo Press Briefing. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 6, 2020 - 11:30   ET



DR. LLOYD MINOR, DEAN, SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: Well, there are many things that will need to happen in order to bring this virus under control.

As more and more people are infected and recover from the infection, we suspect, we haven't yet proven, but we suspect that there will be immunity growing in the population from people who have been infected or perhaps who have had exposure to the virus but not had infection.

Now, we don't know how quickly that immunity will develop. And we're not even sure that people with antibodies today are immune to reinfection. That's an area of intense research interest right now.

So really, there are several different ways to get rid of the virus. One is by developing large-scale immunity in the population, either through infection or developing immunity through a vaccine or some combination of the two.

The other way, of course, to control the virus would be to have very effective antiviral medications. We know, for example, that -- when I began my medical career, you know, three decades ago, HIV was still essentially a 100 percent fatal disease.

Now, fortunately, we can successfully medically manage people with HIV infection. And we even have effective prophylactic treatments to prevent the infection.

We still don't have an HIV vaccine today. But we have controlled, we have managed HIV. And the search for a vaccine goes on. That's the other strategy that could be applicable for this virus, for the SARS COVID-2 virus.

But I think, however, I'm more optimistic about the development of a vaccine for the SARS COVID-2 virus than has been the case with HIV, although we certainly haven't given up the focus on an HIV vaccine.


MINOR: The other thing to mention is that --

(CROSSTALK) KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I was just going to say, and we know that you are a medical school. We know Stanford has been an integral part in all of that.

Doctor, thank you so much for coming in. I really appreciate your time.

MINOR: Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

Coming up for us, Texas begins restarting parts of its economy. Of course, this is despite a recent rise in cases. Could reopening cause a second wave, just as I was talking about previously?



ANDREW CUOMO, (D), NEW YORK GOVERNOR: A lot of questions, a lot of anxiety. A lot of opinions out there. Everyone has an opinion. Everybody has -- watch the news, talk to people, everybody has an opinion on what we should be doing. Everyone has thoughts that they want to share.

One of the things that makes me frustrated for my team is, I say I'm interested in your opinion. I'm interested in your thoughts. But let's start with facts first. Right?

And then once we agree on facts, then we can get to opinions and thoughts and beliefs. But let's start with facts. And that's what I have been doing for the people of the state of New York. Let me give you facts.

Our total hospitalization rate is down again. You see this curve. We talked about it on the way up, which was a painful journey. We talked about it at the, quote/unquote, "apex," which turned into more of a plateau, a flattening, and now we're seeing it gradually decline.

We would have liked to see a steeper, faster decline, but this is where we are. And it's a painfully slow decline. But it's better than the numbers going the other way.

You see it on total hospitalizations. You see it on intubations. And you see it also in the number of new cases per day. This is important because while we're seeing the hospitalization rate go down, and you see the number of new cases going down. Those number of new cases are still problematic, right?

So it means 600 new cases yesterday. With everything we have done, we still have 600 new cases yesterday. Either walking in the door to hospitals or people who are in hospitals who are then diagnosed with COVID. But that number is also going down.

One of the most stubborn situations and the most distressing are the numbers of deaths. And that is down from where we were, but it's still 232 yesterday, which is an unimaginable and painful reality that we have to deal with.

And when people talk about how good things are going and the decline and the progress, that's all true. It's also true that 232 people were lost yesterday. And that's 232 families that are suffering today.

Also, a caution in the number of deaths. I know the reporters and everyone likes to trace these numbers and document these numbers. I think we're going to find, when all is said and done, that the numbers are much different than we actually thought they were.

The amount of information that is now coming out that changes what we believed or what we were told happens almost on a daily basis. This was a virus that started in China. Now, last week, the CDC says, oh, it didn't come from China. It actually came from Europe to the east coast. That's how it got to New York and that's how it got to Chicago, et cetera.

That, by the time we turned off travel from China, the China travel ban, the virus was already gone, and it was in Europe, and then it came here from Europe. And we didn't know at the time. So February, March, flights were landing. People coming from Italy, from the U.K., et cetera. They were bringing the virus. We didn't know.

They're now saying that the virus may not have come just in February and March. The virus may have come late last year. They're doing testing in Chicago now on people who passed last November and December to see if they passed from the COVID virus. So I think this is all going to change over time. So a note of caution.

And I think it's going to be worse when the final numbers are tallied. We're also not fully documenting all of the at-home deaths that may be attributable to COVID. So I think that the reality is going to be actually worse.

But there's no doubt it's a time of unprecedented anxiety, stress. People want answers. People want answers now. Haven't had a paycheck. They don't know where their job is. They don't know if they're going back to work, where they're going back to work, when they're going back to work. And they want answers now. I understand that fully.


But before we look for answers, let's make sure we're all understanding the same question, right? And the question here is not do we open or reopen the society, when do we reopen. We have to reopen the society. It's like asking, when do you start breathing. You have to breathe.

The economy must function. People need incomes. The economy has to work. The state needs revenues. People have to be able to live their lives. You have to be able to get out of the house. You have to be able to see friends. You have to be able to see family.

It's not a question of do we reopen. It's a question of how we reopen. That's really the question that we have to grapple with and that we're dealing with in New York. Our position in New York is the answer to the question, how do we

reopen, is by following facts and data, as opposed to emotion and politics. Right? Everyone has emotion. I want to go back to work today. I want to see my family today. I want to be able to go to a bar and have a couple drinks and socialize with my friends today. I do, by the way.

But it's not about emotion. It's not about political position on reopening. There's no Democratic position, Republican position. This virus kills Democrats and Republicans. There's no politics to this. Deal with facts and deal with data. And use that to instruct you.

Even more important at a time of high emotion. Understand the emotion. Appreciate the emotion but deal on the facts and the data. And you have it.

You can calibrate by the number of hospitalizations the infection rate, the number of deaths, the percentage of hospital capacity, the percentage you're finding on antibody tests, the percentage you're finding on diagnostic tests, positive/negative. You're collecting tracing data. Make your decisions based on the information and the data. That's what we're saying in New York. That actually works.

And by the way, we know it works. When you look, there's a chart today that was published by the "New York Times." You look at what's happening in New York, yes, our line is going down. Our number of cases is going down. We have turned the corner and we're on the decline. You take New York out of the national numbers, the numbers for the rest of the nation are going up. They are going up.

To me, that vindicates what we're doing here in New York, which says follow the science. Follow the data. Put the politics aside and the emotion aside. What we're doing here shows results. The hospitalization rate is down. The number of deaths is down, and the number of new cases is down.

For me, I have been focusing on this number of new cases. That's where our health professionals are focused. Why? Because with everything we have done, closed schools, closed businesses, everybody shelter at home, all of the precautions about wear a mask, wear gloves, et cetera, you still have 600 new cases that walked in the door yesterday. Week before that, we still saw 1,000 new cases every day.

Where are those new cases still coming from? Because we have done everything we have to close down. How are you still generating 600 new cases every day? Where are they coming from?

Again, let's look at the facts. Let's look at the data. Let's understand. And see what we can do. So what we have done over the past few days is we asked hospitals, look at just those new cases who are coming in. Yesterday, 600 new cases. Where are those people coming from? And what can we learn from those people to further target and refine our strategy?

When you look at where they're coming from, they are primarily coming from Downstate New York, which is not surprising. Basically, equally distributed. Long Island is 18 percent. So that's a number that jumps out at you. Rockland, Westchester, which is where we did have a problem, that's down to 11 percent.

When you look at the racial breakdown of who's getting hospitalized, you see it's disproportionately minorities. Disproportionately African-American and Latino. Again, in Downstate New York. Higher percentage male, 52/48. We don't know exactly why. But the virus doesn't discriminate generally.


And a very high percentage comorbidities, which is what we have been talking about and which we understand, which is not a surprise. This is a surprise.

Overwhelmingly, the people were at home. Where there's been a lot of speculation about this, a lot of people, again, had opinions. A lot of people have been arguing where they come from and where we should be focusing.

But if you notice, 18 percent of the people came from nursing homes. Less than 1 percent came from jail or prison. And 2 percent came from the homeless population. And 2 percent from other congregant facilities. But 66 percent of the people were at home, which is shocking to us.

Disproportionately older. But, by the way, older starts at 51 years old. I'm a little sensitive on this point. But if older starts at 51 years old, then that's a large number of us old folk in this state and in this country. So that whole vulnerable population being old. Well, old is now 51 and up. So think about that. So 60 to 70, 20 percent. And 70 to 80, 19 percent. But 51 years old is old. OK. Then I am very old.

Transportation method, we thought maybe they were taking public transportation. And we have taken special precautions on public transportation. But actually, no. Because these people were literally at home. And 2 percent of car services, 9 percent were driving their own vehicle. Only 4 percent were taking public transportation. And 2 percent were walking. And 84 percent were at home. Literally.

Were they working? No. They were retired or they were unemployed. Only 17 percent working. So that says they're not working. They're not traveling.

They're predominantly downstate. Predominantly minority. Predominantly older. Predominantly nonessential employees. And that's important.

We were thinking maybe we were going to find a higher percentage of essential employees who were getting sick because they were going to work. That these may be nurses, doctors, transit workers. That's not the case. And they were predominantly at home.

So now that's only three days. That's just about 100 hospitals, 1,000 people. But it re-enforces what we have been saying, which is much of this comes down to what you do to protect yourself. Everything is closed down. Government has done everything it could.

Society has done everything it could. Now it's up to you. Are you wearing a mask? Are you doing the hand sanitizer?

If you have younger people who are visiting you and may be out there and may be less diligent with the social distancing, are you staying away from older people? Older starting at 51, by the way.

And but it comes down to personal behavior. This is not a group that we can target with this information. It's really about personal behavior.

Another issue that we're looking at and we're trying to understand, what is happening in these hot spot clusters that you see popping up? You see it happening across the country in meat plants where you have a significant number of people getting infected. And there's now a meat shortage in the nation.

Well, we have a hot spot in New York State. We have a hot spot in Upstate New York, Madison and Onita Counties. And it's around an agricultural business, but it's not a meat processing plant. It's actually a greenhouse farm. And we have dozens of cases coming from the employees in this situation.

So what does that tell you? Well, it's not really about meat or vegetables. Right? There's nothing about the fact that it was a meat processing plant because we have a vegetable processing plant. It is about worker density and large gatherings. That's the caution flag here. That's the message.

It's not about poultry. It's not about meat. It's not about vegetables. It's when you run a facility with a large number of workers in a dense environment.

And we learned that already in New York when we had the New Rochelle hot spot, which was the first hot spot in the nation, New Rochelle/Westchester.


And the lesson was, one or two people infected who go to a large gathering or a dense that virus just takes off on you. And we learned that in New Rochelle. They're learning it again in meat processing plants and poultry processing plants across the nation.

And we just went through it, again in -- and we're going through it now in Madison and Oneida Counties. So that's something that we have to watch and keep in mind.

Also at the same time that we're going through this reopening exercise, I want to make sure we don't miss the opportunity in the moment. And the opportunity in the moment is that we went all through this. Let's learn the lessons and let's take this moment in history to actually improve from where we are and to build it back better.

I want to set the bar high and set the goal of not just replacing what we did. OK, everybody, go back to where we were. I don't want to say that we spent all this time, all this pain, all this suffering, lost all these deaths, only to go back to where we were. Go back to a better place! How do you take, how do you find the silver lining in this viral storm and actually improve your situation?

We're on Long Island. We went through Superstorm Sandy. It was horrendous! Thousands of people displaced. But we learned and we built back better. Long Island is better for having gone through Hurricane Sandy. Well, how can you say that? Because it's a fact. We learned. We improved from a horrendous situation.

Well, how do we do that here? And that's part of what we want to do. You know, people talk about making changes in society. Change is very hard to make. Change is hard in your own personal life, right?

How many New Year's resolutions did we make as a society that are still in effect here in May, right? I was supposed to lose five pounds. I was supposed to be running every day. I was supposed to never lose my temper. Forget it. One week. Maybe 10 days for the temper.

But history does show that people are ready for change at certain moments. And I believe this is one of those moments, like a Superstorm Sandy, like a 9/11, like we've seen after natural disasters around the country, where people say, I get it, and I'm ready to make changes. And that's what we want to do.

And that's what we talk about when we say, look, this is not just about reopening. It's about rebuilding. It's literally about reimagining and moving the state forward at this moment. And we want to do that.

How do we come up with a better transportation system? How do we have more social equity in society, a better safety system, better housing, better economy, better education, better health care system?

And we need the best minds available to take this moment to put together with the best thinking that we can find to make the best improvement.

One of the lessons is in public health and our hospital system, we worked in an impossible situation when this all started. We were told that we may need 130,000 hospital beds for COVID. That was the initial projections. We only have 50,000 hospital beds in this state. How do you get 50,000 hospital beds to a 130,000 capacity? It was impossible.

And by the way, we don't really have a public health system. We have separate hospitals all across the state. But they don't really function as one system. They never really work together on a day-to- day basis. They don't share patient load. They don't share PPE. How do you do that? And we scrambled and we made it work.

But now how do we institutionalize that? And how are we ready for the next COVID or the next whatever it is? How do we use telemedicine better? How do we better allocate our health resources? How do we harden the health care system? But let's take the lessons we just learned and institutionalize it.

And we've asked Michael Dowling to do that. He was a big part of the scramble that we went through to make it work and Northwell was a leader. It's the largest, in my opinion, the most innovative. But how do we take that and institutionalize it so we don't have to go through this again? So next time something like this happens, we can just open a book and it says, here's what we do, step "A," step "B," step "C."

And we thank Michael for his service with that. He'll be working with Dr. Zucker from the Department of Health.


Another area is education. We went to remote learning overnight. That's what happens when you close the schools. OK, all the students go home. We're going to go to remote learning. Well, what is remote learning?

And we weren't really ready for it. We had all talked about it. Thought about it. There was some. But we were not really prepared to do it. We then had to do it. We implemented it.

And God bless the teachers in this state. They did a phenomenal job. And God bless parents who had to figure out quickly how to use computers and technology and Zoom this and Zoom that. But how do we really learn those lessons?

And we went to Bill Gates, and he's going to work with us on reimagining the education system. And I want to thank him very much.

How do you create a testing and tracing system? By the way, what is a testing and tracing system? Right? We never did this before.

Well, we have to take thousands of COVID tests, antibody tests, diagnostic tests. And then we have to trace, have an army of tracers to do this. We're doing it for the first time ever. But how do we learn and institutionalize it?

Yes, we have to do this with COVID, but we're not going to go through all of this trouble and then just forget it. This will happen again. Some people say this virus comes back in the fall or the winter, or there will be another health emergency.

But Michael Bloomberg has generously said that he would work with us and use his philanthropy to develop that testing and tracing.

And then on a larger scale, how do we really use new technology in the economy of tomorrow? And that's the lesson that we're all learning, right? Work from home. Telemedicine. Tele-education. It's all about technology and a better use of technology. And really incorporating the lessons into that.

And probably the best mind in this country, if not in this -- on the globe, to do this is, I believe, a true visionary, especially in the field of technology, and that's Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, obviously. And just saw a future that no one else envisioned and then developed the way to get there.

And we've asked him to come work with us to bring that kind of visionary aspect to government and society. Let's look at what we just went through. Let's anticipate a future through that lens and tell us how we can incorporate these lessons.

And Mr. Schmidt, who has tremendous demands on his talent and his time, has agreed to help us and head an effort to do this.

Eric, thank you so much for doing this. And thank you so much for being with us.

ERIC SCHMIDT, FORMER CEO, GOOGLE: Well, thank you, Governor. You have been doing an incredible job for our state and, frankly, for the nation, and I'm really pleased to help.

The first priorities of what we're trying to do is focus on telehealth, remote learning and broadband. We can take this terrible disaster and accelerate all of those in ways that will make things much, much better.

The solutions that we have to come up with have to help the people most in need. People are in different situations throughout the state, and we need to consider all of them and not pick one or the other. So, the intent is to be very inclusive and make this thing better.

We need to look for solutions that can be presented now and accelerated and use technology to make things better. My own view is that these moments are a chance to revisit things that are not getting enough attention. And we have systems that need to be updating and need to be reviewed.

My commitment is to make this period, this sort of awful period, to be a period, as you describe in Long Island, where New York State, New York City, everyone comes out stronger.

The public-private partnerships that are possible with the intelligence of the New Yorkers is extraordinary. It needs to be unleashed.

CUOMO: Great.

You are the person to help us do that. We all ready. We're all in. We are New Yorkers, so we're aggressive about it and we're ambitious about it.

And I think we get it, Eric. You know, we went through this period, and we realize that change is not only imminent, but it can actually be a friend, if done the right way.

And I hope that when we look back on this time, we talk about all the pain, all the suffering, but we also say it was a moment in time where we came together and we brought a creative aspect and an innovative aspect and we worked together in ways we never did before. And we made this place a better place.

And I can't thank you enough for doing it.

Eric, thank you very much. I look forward to continuing the conversation and working together.

Mr. Schmidt, thank you.

SCHMIDT: OK. Thank you, Governor.

CUOMO: Thank you.

That is exciting.


Last point, today is National Nurses' Day, as you know. Nobody knows better than New Yorkers how our nurses really step up with our health care professionals.