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Study: Drug Trump Touted Made Coronavirus Patients More Likely to Die; NY Governor Cuomo Gives Update on Coronavirus Response; A Look at Coronavirus Numbers as States Reopen. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired May 22, 2020 - 11:00   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: You can also visit "CNN Heroes" social media where they are sharing the full stories of those teachers.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for being with us this week. We'll see you next week. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

"NEWSROOM" with John King starts right now.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Hello on this Friday. I'm John King, in Washington. This is CNN continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

Any moment now, we'll hear from New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo, his daily coronavirus briefing in New York City today.

Also, this hour, the president holds a Rolling to Remember ceremony at the White House, a reminder of the holiday weekend just ahead of us.

This year, Memorial Day is part of the 50-state reopening experiment. Annual events like parades and beach trips now regulated by the new rules of social distancing.

The president says all is well. In his view, irreversible. All 50 states are now open in some way. And the president's take is they should stay open even if the coronavirus cases explodes in the fall.

In the here and now, there are more states trending in the wrong direction. One of them, Alabama, worries about a possible shortage of hospital beds. We'll map out those trends in a moment.

But we begin with another violent collision between what the president thinks and says and the more disciplined world of science and data.

For two months now, President Trump has sold Hydroxychloroquine as a game changer, as a drug that saves lives. The president says he's finishing up a round of Hydroxychloroquine treatment. The sale of the drug has doubled, driven by the president's praise. But a new study published in the medical journal, "The Lancet" today

says the drug did not help, did not help coronavirus patients. Instead, it made them more likely to die. And it made those already sick more likely to develop an irregular heart rhythm that puts them at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

Let's get to CNN senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen.

Elizabeth, this study took data from more than 96,000 patients across six continents. Tell us, what did we learn from it and where should we be cautious?

DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this looked at hospitalized patients and this is by far the largest study done.

Let's get right to what this study actually looked at. They looked at dozens of hospitals in six continents, nearly 15,000 patients who took Hydroxychloroquine or Chloroquine sometimes in combination with other drugs. And then in addition, some more patients as a control group.

And what they found is that the people who were taking those drugs were about 33 to 45 percent more likely to die than the patients who didn't take the drugs. And that's even for taking into account that there may have been differences between those two patient groups.

They also were between about 2.4 and five times more likely to suffer from cardiac arrhythmias.

So this is yet another published study, by far the largest -- and the others were actually quite large as well -- showing that Hydroxychloroquine does not appear to be a very good thing to be giving hospitalized patients.

Whether it works as prevention, who knows? That hasn't been studied. Many experts telling me, is it even worth studying it given what they found in hospitalized patients.

KING: We'll come back to this.

But at the moment, we take you to New York City and the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): -- doctor of commissioner of health.

Good morning to all of you. Happy Memorial Day weekend. It starts today. Summer is now upon us.

This will be the 155th Memorial Day. The press gets to ask me questions.

Here's my question for you guys today. Where was the first officially recognized Memorial Day celebration?

No answer. Let the record show there's not a single submission from the assembled press. Waterloo, New York, Seneca County, 1866. President Johnson declared

Waterloo, New York, the birthplace of the Memorial Day parade. Since you are a press corps from the state of New York, I would hope you remember this going forward. There's the sign just in case you forget. Waterloo, New York, birthplace of Memorial Day.

Today is day 83 of the COVID-19 crisis. Some of my young guns saying, oh, it's 83 days, we haven't had a day off, it's Memorial Day weekend.

Life is about stamina. Stamina. It's Memorial Day weekend. Imagine if you were in a real war, overseas war, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War. Day 83 is nothing in the tour of duty.


News is good today. Hospitalizations are down. Net change in hospitalizations is down. Number of new cases per day is down. This is a level now that is lower than when we first began, so that's good.

Number of deaths painfully high at any number, right? And you see that this number has been stubborn on its way down, but it's 109 yesterday. They are all in our thoughts and prayers.

Again, you see how quick that spike went up and you see how slow it is to come down. So we want to make sure we don't go back there ever, ever again.

We're talking about reopening. The question is not whether or not to reopen. The question is how you reopen smart. How fast and safe can you reopen? Reopen as fast as you can as long as it is safe. And you are safe if you're acting smart.

What does smart mean? Phasing it in by metrics. Just study what's happening. Continue to test so you can -- you have an idea of the growth of the virus. Trace those cases. Isolate those positives. Watch your hospital capacity. And monitor what's going on so all your actions are based on data.

We post all the data. Anyone in the state can go online, see where they are by their region.

The Long Island and mid-Hudson region, if the number of deaths continues to decline the way it has, and they get their tracing online -- every region has a certain number of tracers that they need to reopen, because we want to make sure when they reopen, they have the testing and tracing operation working. But if the number of deaths continues to decline, they get their tracing up and online, both regions could reopen this week.

In anticipation of that, we're going to allow construction staging. Phase one construction begins. Before you can begin construction, you have to have staged the construction. The materials have to be on- site, et cetera, et cetera. Safety precautions have to be on-site.

We're going to allow that construction staging now for Long Island and the Hudson. We're hopeful that the number of deaths continues to decline and then they will be reopening this week.

Testing is a big component of all of this. New York State tests more than any other state per capita. We test more than any other country per capita, so we are far ahead in terms of getting this operation online.

And this is a first case. Nobody has ever done this before, putting together this tracing and testing capacity. But we've signed up another 52 independent pharmacies. That brings the total number of sites in New York to 750.

And our message is very simple. Get a test. We have state-run sites where we have more capacity that we're now performing tests. We have some drive-ups where we're performing 50,000 tests, 5,000 a day. Get a test.

If you have any symptoms, which is basically the symptoms of a flu. If you have any symptom, get a test. If you're exposed to someone you find out is positive, get a test. Get a test.

You can go to this Web site and it will tell you the site closest to you.

In terms of tracing, all the regions that have come online have to have a number of tracers. That's why we're talking about mid-Hudson and Long Island has to get their tracing up. But every region has the tracing functioning.

Mike Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, volunteered to have his Bloomberg philanthropies put together a tracer program. Because there is no such thing as a tracing program.

How do you train tracers? How do you recruit tracers? What software do the tracers use? They've been doing this with Johns Hopkins. They've been fantastic.

We have that in place now and we have that in place now. And we're going to share that with other states online. And we're going to do that with the National Governors Association because New York is ahead. And we do have more advanced curriculum and training and protocols. So we're going to work with the NGA and make that available to any state that wants to use it.


Small businesses a priority. The federal government passed the small business assistance program. That has run out of money. And small businesses are taking a real beating in this situation.

They are 90 percent of New York's businesses. And they're facing the toughest challenges.

The economic projections vis-a-vis small businesses are actually frightening. More than 100,000 have shut permanently since the pandemic hit. Many small businesses just don't have the staying power to continue to pay all the fixed costs, the lease, et cetera, when they have no income whatsoever.

Minority-owned businesses face a far greater risk and have received less in federal relief.

So New York State is starting its own small business relief program working with private banks. We have over $100 million available to make loans to small businesses. We're going to focus on MWBEs that did not receive federal assistance and focus on really small business.

You know, the federal definition of a small business has what many could consider large businesses. But we're going to focus on true small businesses, 20 or fewer employees, less than $3 million in gross revenues.

People who are interested in participating in this program can go to the Web site that is on the screen.

It's Memorial Day weekend. We expect people to be getting out, going to parks, beaches, et cetera. We understand that. But we have to remain vigilant at the same time.

I know the weather is warmer. I know people have been cooped up. I know there's tremendous energy to get out. You have to remain vigilant.

You read in the papers that they're talking now about a possible second wave or hot spots for places that have opened too fast or opened without testing and tracing or opened without doing monitoring.

That would be the worst situation is if we went through everything we went through, you start to reopen, you're not doing the monitoring and the vigilance, and it actually winds up with another hot spot or cluster or worse, frankly.

And remember, we are still learning about this COVID-19 virus. And one of the things I find most infuriating is the facts continue to change with this virus. Nobody's fault. But since we didn't know about the virus, we had certain assumptions that, quote, unquote, "experts" made, and those facts changed from day one.

From day one it started that this virus was coming from China. So everybody is looking to the west coast, from the west, and it turns out the virus came from the east. It came from Europe and it walked right through our airports and nobody was screening and no one was doing anything.

And that it was not in March. It was coming here January, February and march. The virus was here much sooner than anybody knew.

A fact was if you have the virus and you have the antibodies, then you're immune, so we can put together a work force that can go back to work. People who had the virus now have the antibodies. Now they're not so sure if you're immune if you have the antibodies.

It started, children were not going to be affected by the coronavirus. Now we're not so sure that children aren't affected. And we're watching carefully this inflammatory syndrome that is starting to hit children who are COVID positive or have the antibodies for positive.

Most recently, CDC says infected surfaces are not a major source of transmission. When we started, it was about infected surfaces and you could get it from infected surfaces, and that was a major problem. We have a very aggressive disinfecting campaign going on across the state, public transit, et cetera.

Now the CDC says that's not a major source. It's airborne. It's droplets. That's a major source.

If the major source -- if they're right, and the major transmission source is airborne, it takes you back to wear a mask. Wear a mask.

And, you know, this reminds me in some ways of the education we went through after we learned about the HIV virus and transmission of the HIV. I remember how many times and how long we had to talk to people about wearing a prophylactic and how it could make the difference between life and death.


The mask can make the difference between life and death. The mask can make the difference between life and death. I know it's a small thing. It's de minimis. It doesn't look like much.

But now, if it's primarily airborne, you know the mask works. How do you know the mask works? First responders have a lower infection rate than the general population. Nurses, doctors in emergency rooms have a lower infection rate than the general population.

How can that possibly be? Because they wear the mask. And they do the hand sanitizing.

You feel out of control? You can't protect yourself? You can't protect your family? Yes, you can. That's what the mask does. You want to be in control of yourself? You want to greatly increase your odds? Wear the mask.

By the way, I'm not just asking you. The mask is mandatory in public settings. Public transportation, if you're in a taxi or an Uber, private carriers or any time you're in public within six feet of another person, the mask is mandatory.

It is not just a nice thing to do or responsible thing to do, a citizen's duty. It is mandatory that you wear the mask within six feet of another person in public.

You don't have a right to infect another person. You don't. Look at the Constitution. Tell me where it says you have the right to infect another person. You don't.

So smart? How do we reopen smart? It's up to you. It's up to us. And that's both the beauty and the conundrum of this situation. It is wholly dependent on social action. Wholly dependent on social action.

You tell me what people do, I will tell you the results, period. The government can say whatever it wants. I can sit up here and say whatever I want. I can't control it. People can control it.

May 5th we announced "wear a mask in public" campaign, and we asked people to submit videos, and we would pick the winner by vote of the people. And the winner would become a public service announcement.

We had over 600 submissions for videos. We showed you the five finalists that are now open for voting.

Here's another question for the astute press corps. The voting has been open for two and a half days. You can go to a Web site now and you can vote. How many votes have been cast thus far on the Web site? How many people have gone to the Web site in two and a half days, watched the videos and voted for the best video? What's the number of people who went to the Web site in two and a half days?


CUOMO: No. I said there was 600.


CUOMO: This is emblematic of my interaction with the press.


CUOMO: I did not say that. I said 600 people submitted videos. Of the 600 submissions, five were picked as finalists. People could then vote on the five finalists.

The question is: Over two and a half days -- you're all political geniuses. Over two and a half days, how many people do you think went to the Web site to vote for one of those five finalists?


CUOMO: Fifty?


CUOMO: Five?


CUOMO: Twenty-five?

Sixty-five-thousand people. Isn't that amazing? Zach wins.


CUOMO: The competition is still open. And we're going to show you now five of the runners-up.

I tell you, of the 600, all 600 are going to be put up. They are amazing what people did. Really amazing.

But we're going to show you five of the runners-up. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: United we stand and divided we fall. We mask up not just to obey the law but to obey the laws of nature. We hope for immunity within our community. We pray for normality in this calamity.

I mask up not because I fear of getting sick but because I fear of getting you sick. I mask up because days, weeks and months of hot breath and acne bumps is better than knowing my wife will soon have to raise a fatherless son. Mask up.





KING: The governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, his daily coronavirus briefing in New York City today. At the end, they're playing five more of the entrants into a statewide contest for public services announcement. The governor playing those. There are five finalists, 65,000 votes so far. A few more days to vote if you want to get involved in the New York mask PSA contest.

The governor playing those to make his point heading into Memorial Day weekend. He's saying he must be vigilant. If you've been with us for the last couple of months, you know, early on, his briefing was demonstrated by devastatingly painful numbers, about the increase in cases in New York, about the deaths in New York, about the hospitalization, the stress in New York.

The medical news is now much, much better, improving. The governor now focusing on the economic reopening. He says the beaches will be open across much of New York this weekend. Day 83, he said.

He's also talking about a new statewide fund, $100 million, designed to help minorities and women-owned small businesses. He said many of them have been passed by the federal funding programs to help with the coronavirus response. The governor announcing a new program there.

We have to remain vigilant is the governor's big message, heading into Memorial Day weekend. He says he understands, the weather is nice, people want to go get out and about in his state and across the country. He's urging people, while playing those videos at the end, to wear a mask.

A quick break for us. When we come back, we will look at the state of play across the country on this Memorial Day weekend. Some states trending in the right direction, some holding steady, and a few are areas of concern.


KING: Let's take a closer look at the coronavirus numbers this hour beginning with the national numbers. And 1.6 million cases, 95,000 deaths. The next awful milestone here in the United States we will cross those soon. And 2,5000 new cases, and 1200-plus deaths recorded on Thursday.

All 50 states now at least partially reopened this holiday weekend. There's a new Centers for Disease Control data point that could complicate the reopening push. And 40 percent of coronavirus transmission, the CDC now says, is occurring before people feel sick, meaning among people who are asymptomatic.

Let's take a look at the map and see what changed this work week. If we go back, this is May 18th, the beginning of the week. Back then, we had 17 states headed up.

If you're orange or red, your case count is going up. Dark red means your case count is going up too quickly. Fifteen states in the beige, they're holding steady. Eighteen states are heading down. This is as we began the work week.

Just watch now. As the numbers change, some of the states change as well. You see Texas , heading up. Louisiana, heading up. Where are we today? Texas and Louisiana now holding steady. Each state through reopening has to go through this.

It's not just about cases. What's your hospitalization reopening rate? What's your stress on the system, if you will?

Where are we now? Seventeen states heading up. You see more states in the dark red, out here. That's your trouble sign. That means your cases are crowing at a quick rate.

If you're highlighted in white, that means you changed significantly during the week. If you're green. like Idaho, you changed significantly for the better. If you're in these orange states, including Vermont, you changed significantly for the worse.

Again, that doesn't necessarily mean you need to pause the reopening. It means you need to watch your hospitalization rate, what's the rate of infection. We're going to go through this for months, states going up, states going down.

Just today, a handful of states, including Pennsylvania, including North Carolina, including Indiana, including Alaska, take new steps in their acceleration of their reopening plans. More people getting back to work. More services reopened. More things to watch as we watch the data as we go forward weeks and weeks.

Including beaches opening on the east coast. You see several states here, from Virginia to Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, opening beaches. Most with significant restriction.

[11:29:58] But as we head into this holiday weekend, more beaches are reopening, including in the state of New Jersey, which, next to New York, was among the states hardest hit. If you go back to the end of the month, New Jersey's cases were up here.