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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: Hospitalizations Still Declining Statewide; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: 216 Deaths Thursday, Down From 231 On Wednesday; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: "Finally Ahead" Of This Virus But Must Stay Ahead Of It; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: "No Doubt" Economic Impact Devastating But Must Get Through It; Vice President Mike Pence's Staffer Tests Positive For Coronavirus. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired May 8, 2020 - 12:00   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Can't take it straight up - the Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): --financial services but who has been working with the chamber on this situation has been doing an excellent job. We're at Marist College today it's a pleasure to be here. Dr. Dennis Murray, pleasure, thank you very much for having us.

Marist Gold Red Foxes we're in Poughkeepsie, which is right down from Albany, New York right down the Hudson River, beautiful ride today going down the Hudson River. Many people fishing little fishing and - striped bass season in New York location for me. But that's okay so is next year.

Albert Einstein. I do not like to state an opinion on the matter unless I know the precise facts. Good advice wouldn't be nice of all those talking heads on TV took that advice. No opinion unless you know the facts so let's talk about some facts. Total hospitalizations are down to 8,196, good news.

The change in hospitalizations you see has been going down changing in intubations are also down and that's really good news. The percentage of people once intubated that actually successfully come off a ventilator is very low so that is very good news.

The number of new COVID hospitalizations per day is just about flat has been flat for a few days. These are the number of new cases that are coming in the door every day or people who were in the hospital who then test positive for COVID. And you - these charts I look at the line more than anything.

And what the curve is actually saying more than the specific number. We would have hoped to see a steady sharp decline in those numbers right. We went up very quickly as you see on the left of the screen. We would have hoped that we would have come down very quickly hit the top and then come down that's not what's happening? It's more flattening out. Question when we look at these charts now will it flatten out or will continue to drop? When you look at the actual projection model that IHME this is one of the more accurate projection models.

They showed going down, but you even have several hundred cases in mid-June. So, these models have been instructive but not necessarily determinative in the past but that's what we're watching now going forward.

Same thing on the number of lives lost this probably the most important statistic and the most painful. 216 New Yorkers passed away yesterday. Its 216 families you see that has been persistently constant in the 200 range for the past few days.

We're also looking at that what is that curve doing with this Adeline do? Does it slowly decline? We would have liked to see again up and then a fast decline possibility that it flattens out at one point. But again, we don't know. We don't know. So, we go day to day, and we see, and we react given the facts that were presented with.

The lack of facts can hurt you. We've seen that I believe during this global pandemic. How did it happen? Why weren't we ahead of it? Not just for retrospective but also prospectively if you don't understand how it happened last time? And you don't learn the lessons of what happened last time?

Then you will repeat them, right? And there's a good chance that this virus comes back. They talk about a second wave. They talk about a mutation but if it was not this virus, another public health issue. And I think we have to learn from this and unfortunately you learn from it as we're going through it because we may not have the luxury of time.


CUOMO: If they are right on the speculation about a second wave in the fall or the winter but that's we have to start getting ready now. And it is shocking to me that so many months, so many weeks we talked about the virus were coming from China, from China, from China, from China now it turns out the virus didn't come to the East Coast from China came from Europe.

And all those talking heads that is a relatively new fact. When you then look back at the timeline of what was going on? I think it's informative we were talking about the virus in China last year the end of last year November and December.

We had the first case in the State of Washington January 21. We then had the China travel ban by the President on February 2nd which was a right move in retrospect. 6 weeks later you have the travel ban from Europe. And then we still have John F. Kennedy airport open in New York as what's called a "Funnel Airports" there about four airports in the nation that were left open for flights coming from China and Europe. And John F. Kennedy airport which is our main International Airport was one of them. When you look back November to April is a long period of time. And what happened apparently is the virus got on a plane from China.

Someone who is infected got on a plane and went to Europe and then from Europe the virus mutated in Europe and then flew to New York City, Newark airport flew to places on the East Coast flew to Chicago.

And you can see why right the virus wasn't going to stay in China and wait for us to deal with it in China. Everybody talks about how mobile people are and global interconnections et cetera and that's what happened.

But nobody was saying beware of people coming from Europe. We weren't testing people coming from Europe. We weren't telling anyone at the time if you have a European visitor or European guest make sure they get tested. They walk right through the airport.

Well I understand what happened in retrospect. But we have to make sure it doesn't happen again. From December to March 3 million Europeans came through our airports. You wonder why we have such a high infection rate.

You put 3 million Europeans coming into this market undetected you don't tell anyone there's no precautions. There's no testing and then you let people circulate in this dense environment you're going to have the virus spread and that's exactly what happened.

And many of those people didn't stay in New York. They just landed at JFK connected to another flight and flew to a city in the United States. That's what happened. Flights from China proportionately go to the West Coast of the United States.

But the European flights they come to the East Coast. 3 million Europeans is a lot of people. And again, it was months of people coming and people circulating before we were really put on notice.

So, learning what happened is important so we don't make the same mistake again twice, right? And we're better prepared in the future. And I think a word of caution would be today we must consider an outbreak anywhere there's an outbreak everywhere.

If you hear about an outbreak in China, you hear about an outbreak in Korea just assume that it gets on a plane, the next day somebody who's infected gets on a plane and can go anywhere on the globe literally.

One fact, we do know about COVID is we know that there is still a lot that we don't know about this virus. And some things that we thought were facts are now being revisited. We were told if you had the virus you then had antibodies you would then be immune from getting it a second time.

Now there are some questions about whether or not you're immune? How when you when you would be even if you have the antibodies? We were led to believe that the good news about this virus was it didn't affect children which were taken as great news, right?


CUOMO: Now we have a new issue that we're looking at which is something we're just investigating now. But while rare we've seen some cases where children affected with the COVID virus can become ill with symptoms similar to the Kawasaki disease or toxic shock like syndrome.

That literally causes inflammation in their blood vessels. This past Thursday a five-year-old boy passed away from COVID related complications and the State Department of Health is investigating several other cases that present similar circumstances.

This would be really painful news and would open up an entirely different chapter because I can't tell you how many people, I spoke to who took peace and solace in the fact that children were not getting infected. We thought that children might be vehicles of transmission.

The child could get affected and come home and in fact the family. But we didn't think children would suffer from it. If this is true some of these children are very, very old. So, caution to all people who again may believe that their child couldn't be affected by COVID.

This information suggests we may want to revisit that "Fact that assumption" and if you see any of the symptoms that are on the chart that your child is evidencing, a caution should be taken because this is something that we're looking at.

And again, there has been at least one fatality because of this and there may be others that are now under investigation. So, this is every parent's nightmare, right? That your child may actually be affected by this virus but it's something we have to consider seriously now.

Another fact we do know about this and a common thread with the virus is that it affects minority communities more dramatically nothing biological about the minority. Community but demographically socially the infection rate is higher.

New York State does not have the same disparities we see in other states around the country thankfully. But we do have a disparity it's again a relatively modest but something that we won't tolerate, and you see it in the Hispanic community, you see it in the African American community where they are disproportionately affected.

We asked the hospitals to look at the new cases that are walking in the door to see what we can learn about where we are now? Because we've taken so many actions, so many dramatic actions closed down schools, closed down businesses we're testing.

We still have new cases. We're getting additional information on these new cases now. And when you look at the new cases and where they're coming from in the state? It's clear that a majority of the new cases and a disproportionate number are coming from minority communities 21 zip codes with the highest rate of hospitalizations. 20 have high have greater than average black or Latino population. So this is something that we're focused on and we're going to address and we will address immediately. And we will have more information on this in the next couple of days. We must also adjust to the changing circumstances.

Given the shutdown many aspects of society have been closed down or have are less operational court system is among them. It's done a lot of work. Thanks to what the court system has been able to manage by remote telecommunication at cetera.

But we passed the law in New York called the Child Victims Act which was long overdue which allowed the survivors of sexual abuse as children to file a claim. We then had a window of time that they could actually file the claim because of the reduction in court services we want to extend that window and we'll extend it for an additional five months until January 14th.


CUOMO: Because people need access to the courts to make their claim. Because Justice too long delayed is Justice denied, Martin Luther King Junior. So we will extend that window for people to bring their case.

The good news on the overall is we're finally ahead of this virus right for so long we were playing catch up. We talked about the facts and circumstances that we found out about it. It was in China, it had moved, and we were playing catch up, we were behind it.

Now I feel for the first time we're actually ahead of it. We have showed that we can control the beast. If you look at those numbers coming down remember our numbers are coming down in New York most states in this country, you still see the numbers going up.

You take New York out of the national numbers and you see the cases are in the incline. We have it on the decline, so we have the beast on the run. There's no doubt about that. We haven't killed the beast, but we are - we're ahead of it.

And hospitalization rates coming down and the death rate are coming down. So that's all good news and I feel that we are for the first time in this engagement. We're actually ahead of the virus. We have to stay there, and we have to figure out what the next move is that the virus is going to make?

And we have to stay ahead of it. But we are ahead of it. And we are in control of our own destiny. You know why is that virus on decline? Why are those cases going down because we are making the number of cases go down?

We are reducing the number of infections. If we didn't do anything you would have seen that infection number keep going straight up. We reopen irresponsibly you will see that infection number go straight up. We are reducing the rate of infection by our actions, wearing the masks the close downs, the precautions.

We turn that curve, no one else. And we are going to determine what that rate of infection is going forward? You tell me how we behave today? I will tell you the rate of infection three days from now. You tell me how we behave today? I'll tell you the number of people who walk into a hospital in 7 days or 10 days. It is that clear cause and effect. It is that clear. That's also liberating.

Finally, our destiny our future is in our hands. And it's not subject to the whims of the virus. We are in control of the spread of the virus. And that is - that is good news to me. We just have to stay there, and we will because we are New York Tough, Smart, United, Disciplined and Loving. The great State of New York is showing the way forward once again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A reopening question for you. We are all eagerly awaiting May 15th and 16th and what you've told us so far has us anticipating that you'll talk about manufacturing construction likely upstate.

Is there anything that might get added to it even if you can't tell us now is there a possibility, we'll get a nice surprise thrown in that's a little more than maybe what we're expecting on those two fronts?

CUOMO: Yes. I think the nicest surprise could be that we are acting reasonably and responsibly and based on the facts and based on the data right. I get the emotion everybody would like to see everything reopen tomorrow, me first and foremost, right?

Everyone on every level, personally economically et cetera. But as I said at the end we are now in control. And we have the virus on the run because we have been smart and because we have been disciplined. And I know that's hard and we want to stop doing what's hard that's human nature.

But you tell me what the virus is doing? You tell me the facts on the virus? I'll tell you what we can do in terms of reopening. You tell me what that infection rate is? What that hospitalization rate is? I'll tell you the facts.

Your anticipation is right, if you look at these numbers now in use factor them forward upstate New York the numbers are dramatically different than downstate. It's like a different state. And we'll be talking about construction manufacturing reopening in upstate.


CUOMO: In downstate I don't believe those numbers are going to change dramatically enough to make a difference in the next few days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So not a lot of improvisation meaning, you're more of a stick to the plan--

CUOMO: I'm liable, show me the facts and the numbers kind of guy, yes, because we know what happens when we don't do, right? We've seen the full spectrum here. We've seen what happens when you go by gut instinct and by emotion and by politics?

We know what happens? You make a mistake that's what happens. We also know what happens when you are factual, and evidence based and make decisions on the numbers as opposed to on the politics?

And this is a virus you know part of this is math, right? It's just numbers, it is like an equation. You can punch into a computer the hospitalization rate, the infection rate, the testing rate, the antibody rate and say what will happen if I increase activity 15 percent?

And it will tell you the infections are going to go here and the hospitalizations going go here and the death rate is going to go here. There is a science to this. Now this science is contrary to emotions and politics.

I get that. I get it all day long. You know everyone's yelling at me. We have to reopen. I have to get back to work. I need a paycheck. I get it. I hear it. I see it. I read the posters they yell at me. I hear. But I know if because we've seen it around the globe you can pull up the countries that reopened because they had political pressure and then saw that infection rate go right through the roof and then he did a 180 degree turn around two weeks later oops we made a mistake.

I don't want the, oops we made a mistake. And I don't want to have hundreds of more people going to the hospitals because of oops. I don't want to have hundreds of more people possibly die because it was oops because I responded to politics.

So yes, my advice to the people of the state from day one here the facts I'm giving you the facts. Why because really, they make that determination. I'm not in a position to enforce any of these rules. I can't make anyone wear a mask of 19 million people so I'm not going to wear a mask. What am I going to do?

19 million people said I'm not staying home. What can I really do? You know what can government do? But I lay out the facts and New Yorkers have understood the facts. They don't like them nothing cheery about some of those facts.

But layout the facts and they've acted responsibly. And we get to May 15th. I'll layout the numbers, here are the numbers and this is what the numbers say.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --numbers came out today, 20.5 million jobs were lost. What is your message to adequate New Yorkers? And other than unemployment benefits how can they find their footing?

CUOMO: Look there was no doubt that this is a horrendous period to live through. And the greatest problem for most people besides the social issues et cetera, the isolation and the emotion that goes with that and the emotional trauma that goes with that by the way which is a problem unto itself.

The economics are devastating. I'm not working. I live paycheck to paycheck. It's been over a month for some people six weeks, two months. I haven't gotten a paycheck. I don't know if my job is still there. And the bills keep coming, right? Nobody put the bills on pause. You know those people still or everybody still sending a bill. So that's a tremendous pressure on people. And then the unemployment rate 20 percent some people say that numbers underestimated it is really close to 25 percent which is just I mean just imagine that largest and greatest since the Great Depression.

So there is no doubt that this is a terrible period but we have to get through right? That was Winston Churchill when you're going through hell keep going. You have to get through. If we make a mistake and we react too quickly, the situation is only going to get worse and only going to get longer.

I understand unemployment benefits a problematic and then not enough in the first place. I understand the speculation about whether or not my job is going to be there is terrible? We have taken some extraordinary measures to help people deal with the situation, the no evictions I think is a significant point.


CUOMO: Nobody can be evicted from their home. We're providing assistance in a number of different ways. But we have to get through it. We have to go through it. And then not to get philosophical but you know my grandfather used to say, he was right.

If you have your health you can figure out anything else, right? And if you don't have your health then nothing else matters. And we've all lived through that where we have all these issues all these problems and then somebody comes home and says I went to the doctor's office and they said I have to go for another test I may have this, right?

And somebody says they have terrible health problems and everything else becomes unimportant immediately. We have people who are dying. We have people who are dying. We make the wrong moves. More people could die.

And it could be someone in your family or could be you and even if it's not you God forbid you get sick and you bring the virus home and someone who's more vulnerable dies. That is the problem that we can't stop that is the problem.

KING: Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo in Poughkeepsie today. You heard him right there at the end of the part we were taking, we make the wrong move fear more people will die. The Governor has become a voice of caution in the reopening debate that is now going on across the United States and around the globe.

On this day critical, a new employment report showing millions of Americans lost their jobs last month and as the country debates whether to go back to work whether it's safe to go back to work another case of Coronavirus at the work place one would think would be the safest place in the United States the White House where the President works and the Vice President works.

Yesterday we learned a military aide who works very closely with the President tested positive today an aide to the Vice President of the United States testing positive. The Vice President right now on his way to Iowa but that trip delayed more than an hour. His plane sat on the tarmac some aides who were planning to travel with the Vice President taken off the plane because they had been in contact with this aide who we now know has been infected.

Let's get straight to CNN's Kaitlan Collins covering this story for us at the White House. Kaitlan here we go, two days in a row, two days in a row someone who works in the White House again is that America and the world debate going back to work, the place one would think would be the safest work place in this country two cases on consecutive days.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes John, what you're seeing play out is what a lot of people who would feel more comfortable about going back to work. So, they could get tested pretty quickly like what you see at the White House is happening with the senior staffers.

The question is who is the staffer of the Vice Presidents that is tested positive because as you know they work in the executive office building next door to the White House - to the west wing. They're not necessarily always in the west wing but of course the Vice President spends a good amount of his time there.

He's been there very frequently lately because of course he's the one leading the task force which meets in the situation room. He's been at many events with the President over the last several days. So that's really the big question of just who this staffer is. How closely they work with other senior staffers in the west wing?

What we do know what we're still trying to figure out those details is that this person was not scheduled to be on that trip that the Vice President took to Iowa today. But the reason that his plane Air Force 2 got held up on the tarmac it was sitting there for about an hour after they were scheduled to take off and raising questions of what was going on?

And then of course the reporters who were on board saw several staffers get off the plane and that's because they're believed to have contact with whoever this person is that is now tested positive. So of course, this is going to raise a lot of questions about what it's going to change inside the west wing.

Whether it's going to change any other protocols after we saw just yesterday that valet testing positive, you're now seeing the President be tested daily. The Vice President would be tested daily and senior staff would be tested on a daily basis as well, John.

KING: Okay. So Kaitlan I just want to walk through this with you. And I'm going to walk through some of my experience covering the White House. And then I want some input from you on whether we have heard anything?

We saw the President just moments ago a laying a wreath with the First Lady on a very important day the 75th Anniversary of the victory over Europe. He's at the World War II Memorial. He laid a wreath there, but he is in pretty close proximity to some heroes, some American heroes of World War II.

Now the President is not wearing a mask, a day again he was tested again that test was negative. He will be tested daily now but we know one of his military valets tested positive. Now the Vice President deciding to go on to Iowa for this trip even though one of his staffers has now tested positive other aids taken off the plane.

You mentioned the delay at the White House. This is the dilemma every business in America is going through. Many of the staffers work across. If you are looking at Kaitlan, you see the White House behind her there's a driveway over her right shoulder to take you to the Eisenhower Executive Office building, many administration staffers work in that building.

It's a big office building when you come down the stairs to come across the White House there is a long railing most people touch the railing. Those are the surfaces were not supposed to touch then they come across, they open the door to the west wing which is on the right side of your screen there you can't see it it's blocked by--