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Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) Gives Update On Coronavirus Response; White House Economic Adviser Says, May Unemployment Could Be North Of 20 Percent; On Holiday Weekend, U.S. Faces A Test On Reopening. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired May 24, 2020 - 12:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN NEWSROOM: Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta. We go straight to New York and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo with his daily briefing.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I'll go a little bit on the rolling average but all part of the decline. So that's all good news.

Number of deaths ticked up, which is terrible news, but the overall line is still good. And the 109 families that lost a loved one, they are in our thoughts and prayers.

What does the governor do on Memorial Day weekend? People ask me all the time, what do you do? What does a governor do on Memorial Day weekend? You go to the beach. That's what a governor does. And he brings his friends. And I'm here with my friends today from far right, Gareth Rhodes, to my medium right, Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the governor. To my left, Robert Mujica, Budget Director for the great State of New York, and Dr. Jim Malatras, who is not a real doctor, but he likes to be called doctor.

So we're at the beach. Beaches in New York State, state beaches are open. Jones Beach, Sunken Meadow Beach, Hither Hills, Robert Moses Beach, campgrounds, R.V. parks open tomorrow, and we're excited about that. We remind all New Yorkers to be smart in what they're doing.

We're now decidedly in the reopening phase. And we have been following the numbers from day one, not emotions, following the science not the politics. This is not a political ideology question. This is a public health question. It's about a disease, stopping the disease, stopping the spread of the disease, and that's science. It's not politics.

We have all the numbers posted for all regions in the state. We want people to understand the numbers. We want people to understand what's going on because it's their actions that determine our future. So informing the people of the state, that's what I've done from day one, every day. And that's what we'll continue to do.

Also, we feel that this is a case of first impression. We have never been here before. We have never been here before in our lifetimes. That's true. But the country has been through this before, and you learn from the past so you don't make the same mistakes.

When we went through this in the 1918 pandemic, you go back and you look at the places that opened in an uncontrolled way, and you see that the virus came back and came back with a fury. So this is not, again -- again, it's not about what you think, ideology. It's what we know. These are facts. You go back and you look at what happened in the 1918 pandemic in St. Louis. Go look at Denver where they loosened up too quickly and the virus came back.

Article in the paper today, The Washington Post, 24 states may have an uncontrolled growth of the virus. They're talking about California and Florida may still see a spike in the number of deaths, okay? Those are all facts and they reinforce the point that we've been making. Follow the numbers, follow the science. And we have done just that. That's why you see our curve is coming down where many places in the country, the curve is going up.

Remember what happened to us was no fault of our own. Actually, it makes the point because what happened to us was we did not have the facts when this started. Everybody said the facts were the virus was coming from China. Those were not the facts. The virus had left China. The virus went to Europe and nobody told us. And people came from Europe to New York and to New Jersey and to Connecticut. And 3 million European travelers came January, February, March before we did the European travel ban. And they brought the virus to New York. And that's why the New York number was so high.


We didn't have the facts. We were not informed.

But once we got past that and we were in control, we have been smart, and smart has worked. We just have to stay smart even though it's been a long time and people are anxious, we have to stay smart.

You keep watching those numbers, The Mid-Hudson is still on track on the numbers to open Tuesday. Long Island is on track to meet the numbers on Wednesday. We have to get the number of deaths down on Long Island and we have to get the number of tracers up, but we're doing that.

We're preparing for Long Island to open. We're getting the transportation system ready. Long Island Railroad is run by the MTA. They're going to be cleaning and disinfecting all trains and buses every day, first time ever. We never disinfected buses and trains before. We never thought we had to. But we get it now and they're doing it every day.

They're going to add more cars to the trains so people can space out and socially distance when Long Island opens. I want people to remember that a mask is mandatory on public transportation. I think you're making a mistake, a grave mistake, if you don't use a mask in your own personal life.

We know that it works. We know that the first responders have a lower infection rate than the general population because they wore the masks. So I think if you don't wear the mask in your personal comings and goings, you're making a mistake.

But I do know, as governor, if you're going to subject other people in the public to your behavior, then you have to wear a mask when you can't socially distance, and that's true on public transportation.

Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps. I believe that sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena, do it, do it. Work out the economics, if you can. We want you up.

We want people to be able to watch sports to the extent people are still staying home. It gives something to do. It's a return to normalcy. So we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible and we'll work with them to make sure that can happen.

All veterinarian practices will begin on Tuesday. That's a service that is necessary and has been necessary for a period of time. That will start on Tuesday. And I want people to remember that there are people who have paid a very high price. Everybody has paid a high price for what we've gone through. Some people have paid an extraordinarily high price.

You have people who literally don't have enough to eat. The demand on food banks has skyrocketed. That's true all across the state. It's true here on Long Island. And we encourage people who want to make donations, philanthropies that want to make donations to make them for the purpose of food banks. You know, this is a period where it gets very basic. You have housing and do you have food, right? And let's make sure no New Yorker goes hungry.

Also, as we go forward, we've been talking about the light at the end of the tunnel and we're dealing with it today in the here and now. But we also have one eye on the future. And when we finish getting through this, which we are, we have to start talking about building back better, not just building back, building back better.

Same attitude we had here on Long Island after Hurricane Super Storm Sandy devastated Long Island. I said I don't want to just replace what was. We went through too much pain. We learned too much just to replace what was. Let's build back better, a new power grid, new, more resilient homes, new, more resilient roads. So when mother nature comes back, she'll back with a fury, we're in a better position because we learned from Super Storm Sandy. Let's do the same thing here.

What do we really think? This is the last time we're going to have a public health emergency? Does anyone really believe this is the last time? Like Super Storm Sandy? Well, it's a once in 500-year flood. Yes, sure, once in 500 years. It happens three times a year now. This can't be once in 500 years. There are new rules. I believe there's going to be another public health emergency, different virus, this virus, some other public health emergency.

[12:10:08] Learn from this, build back better.

We asked Eric Schmidt, who is this former CEO, Executive Chair of Google, who is very good at seeing issues and seeing possibilities to chair a commission for us to look at the situation and say, how do we learn from this and how do we prepare going forward? And we've put together a commission that is going to work with him that represents all aspects of the state, all aspects of the economy. But I want them to get to work. I want them to come up with ideas. And let's make sure that we're better for what we've gone through.

And start preparing for a new chapter in this saga. We're writing history in New York. We're writing history in America. That's what we're doing. We're writing history for a whole modern day governmental and societal response.

Chapter one was dealing with the emergency, stabilizing the health crisis. That was chapter one. We have just about completed chapter one. We have started chapter two, which is reopening after you have stabilized the health crisis, and we're starting to write chapter two.

Chapter three, which we're going to be begin to preparing for soon, is rebuilding and recreating the economy. I don't believe this economy just bounces back. I don't believe it's going to be enough just to go back to where the economy was.

Too many small businesses have closed. You'll see many of these corporations are going to use this as an opportunity to lay off workers. I believe that. Many businesses will have gone through this period where workers were at home. They have fewer workers. They used more technology. And they're going to decide, well, we don't need as many workers. That's going to happen. You'll have people who decide I don't want to go back to work. I'd rather stay home and do it from home.

So we're going to need to stimulate that economy and government has a role to play in that. It always has. How does government stimulate and lead the way to these new economic opportunities? How does that Eric Schmidt commission come up with new ideas that we can jumpstart to grow the economy?

That's what the next chapter is going to be about. It's going to be about government working with the private sector, working with businesses to jumpstart the economy, to stimulate it, to get some big projects going that get the business sector engaged and confident and believing once again. It gets people into a position where they'll invest once again because they believe in the economy.

Build new airports, which makes this nation more competitive. That's what we're doing at La Guardia. That's what we're doing in JFK. This nation hasn't built a new airport in 25 years. When are you going to start? Now is the time to start. How do you improve the mass transit system? How do you rebuild all these roads and bridges that have been failing for so long? Everybody talks about it and nobody has done a darn thing. How about new technology for education? How about new telemedicine? We learned not everybody has to show up at the doctor's office. Well, let's invest and build that new healthcare system. We talk about a new healthcare system that can do testing and tracing and has surge capacity in hospital beds. Let's build that new public health system. And let government get ahead of it and let government lead the way.

You know, New York State has led the way in so many difficult times in history. New York was the first. I'm not just saying that as a New Yorker, there they are, those arrogant New Yorkers. Read the history books. Read where FDR came up with his great ideas. He used New York as a laboratory when he was governor and then he brought them nationwide. But we were the first. We started it first. And people look to New York for guidance and for example.

And New York was bold and was creative. They talk about the New York energy, the New York mojo. Yes, that is New York.


We did things that other people didn't think could be done. And we did it over and over and over again.

We're at Jones Beach today. Jones Beach is indescribably beautiful, yes. It's also something else. It was a tremendous feat of ambition and vision meeting competence. Jones Beach built by Robert Moses. You know what's funny about Jones Beach when he started to build Jones Beach? There was no beach. There was no beach.

People assume you have a beach because mother nature put a beach there. There was no beach. This was all built. This was all marsh. This is seven miles of fill. They filled a seven-mile stretch, 14 feet high. It took so much fill that they dug the channel, a canal, and used that fill to build a beach. How ambitious. You're going build a beach seven miles the long, 14 feet of fill? Well, that's impossible. No. They did it in three years.

And it was a marvel because they believed in themselves, because you had smart government. You had competent government. People believed in government. And they do again because government did work for people here. It saved lives.

So let's get that kind of ambition back. Let's get that kind of optimism back. We've built New York. Mother nature didn't build this. She gave us a beautiful harbor but everything else was built. And we did it and we can do it again. And that's what it means to be New York tough and smart and united and disciplined and loving.


REPORTER: Governor, the bar and grill in Patchogue, the Dublin Deck are reportedly -- was crowded with a lot of patriots on Friday night. Some video is showing without masks (ph). Any thought?

CUOMO: So the Dublin Deck in Patchogue was crowded on Friday night. I do not know the Dublin Deck. I'm sure it's a great establishment. Does anybody know about Dublin Deck in Patchogue?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. From what I understand, it was raining on Friday evening. So the bar allowed patrons to come inside to pick up the food. That's at least the explanation that was conveyed to the Suffolk County police. And from what I understand, the Suffolk County police broke it up.

But I do want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that crowding of any kind is against what we're advising and everybody should be wearing masks. From what I understand, the photos show that people were in this space and they weren't wearing masks. That's stupid, stupid for you, it's stupid for your surrounding patrons, it's stupid for the bar.

And so I take them at their word that that's what happened. But moving forward, they should be on notice. And, again, the enforcement is up to the locals.

CUOMO: It's supposed to be curbside pickup, right? That doesn't sound like curbside pickup.

REPORTER: Near at Jones Beach, we're limiting the number of parking spaces with orange cones. It looks like half the spaces are taken up by orange cones. I'm just wondering when the weather this week gets warmer and warmer and we start getting crowded people with quarantine fatigue looking for some relief coming here, are they going to find that there's no place to park and that they just took an hour trip for nothing and then go back home with a (INAUDIBLE)?

CUOMO: Well, the observation should be technically correct. There should be orange cones in half the number of spots because we said 50 percent capacity is now a max. That's to make sure that we have social distancing on the beach. We can do social distancing on the beach because we're at 50 percent of max. We have not reached 50 percent of max so no one has been turned away.

But as the weather gets warmer, I expect more people will come. And the reopening of the economy is going to be across the board, right? We start gradually. We start slowly. We make sure we're all being smart so the virus infection rate stays down. And then we continue to reopen.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) if the summer goes on, whether it'd be a possibility maybe (INAUDIBLE) a number of rising case (ph) or even on certain days?

CUOMO: If you can get to that point, you could. But if we keep -- if we remain smart, you can increase economic activity without necessarily increasing the viral spread, okay?


This is a perfect scenario. People start to come out. More people are coming out. But they're all being smart and wearing PPE, they're staying away from each other, they're using hand sanitizer and the virus' infection rate doesn't go up or it goes up little bit. As long as you're controlling the virus infection rate, then keep continuing opening. And that's why I keep hammering the smart part of this.

If you are wearing a mask and you're doing the hand sanitizer, you could increase your activity and not infect anyone. And that's what we have been doing so far. But what does next week look like? Next week is a function of what we do today. That sounds too glib. That's factually true. You tell me how people act today. I will tell you the infection rate three days from today.

So you want to open faster? Be smart. And we'll just calibrate it to the infection spread. What you're protecting against is what they're talking about for those other states. That infection rate goes up, number of deaths goes up, you overwhelm the hospitals again. That's what we're protecting against.

But if we stay smart, and we have been smart, you look at the numbers compared to other states. There's a dramatic difference on what's going on because we've been hammering the smart. Stay smart. Watch the numbers and I'll tell you what happens next week when we see what people do today. And if those numbers stay down, they just keep increasing the economic activity.

Let's do one more. You don't have one more?

REPORTER: This is about the COVID testing.

CUOMO: You like getting the last question, to be honest.

REPORTER: I like getting first.

CUOMO: You like first? First and last, I think, is good. You don't want to be stuck in the middle.

REPORTER: Well, the question I have for you is about testing. Some people are reporting that when they go for a test that you say anybody can get, they get to third degree, and the get prioritized. Is that what you want happening or should anyone who wants them gets them easily?

CUOMO: You get prioritized and you get to third degree. You get prioritized because what we -- all of us -- want is the most likely people infected the fastest, right? So if you're showing symptoms, go to the front of the line. If you know you're in contact with a COVID- positive person, go to the front of the line, because we're really worried about you. And if you're Infected, I don't want any delay. I want you to know right now so you can isolate and we can start the contact tracing.

Third degree, yes, we want to know where you were, what makes you think you were infected, how old you are. Because getting that data is very helpful to us. We're now focusing on where the cases are coming from.

And where do you live? I live in Nassau. Where in Nassau? What community? Are you an essential worker? Have you been working? Yes or no. Just to give us data. It's all private but we want to get the data so we know where is the infection coming from so we can really, like a laser beam, focus on those areas.

REPORTER: What about being denied (ph), saying, no, not you, not him?

CUOMO: That's not the situation we're in. We have extra capacity. We have drive-ins. I just passed one. We can do 15,000 tests a day. We're only doing 5,000 tests a day. So it's not that we're at a capacity level. We have more capacity for the public than we are now using. And that's why I keep encouraging people to come out.

But, yes, there's a prioritization. If I think you're positive, and there's a likelihood you're positive, I want to get you tested by 1:00 P.M. so you're isolated at 1:20 and you don't infect anyone else, right? It's about keeping that infection spread number down.

All right. Let's enjoy our Memorial Day weekend. Thank you all very much for taking the time. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo there on the hopes ahead and at the same time cautioning people not to let their guard down this holiday weekend. The number of deaths in New York from coronavirus standing at 109, that is up from the day before where the governor said yesterday that number was 84.


Joining me right now to talk more about all this, CNN's Evan McMorris- Santoro and CNN Chief Media Correspondent and Anchor of Reliable Sources, Brian Stelter, and E.R. physician, Dr. Rob Davidson. Good to see all of you.

Evan, you first. The governor, you know, cautioning that it looks like all systems are go on reopening, however, it's still imperative that people take all the precautions, not to let their guard down, continue to wear masks, wash hands their hands, et cetera. And he also said that training camps for a lot of professional sporting teams will be a place where you're going see some of these athletes working out.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Fred. I mean, that's the right -- that's the right highlights to pull from this, I think.

It's remarkable how different these press conferences sound this weekend versus some of the times you and I have spoken several weekends ago. The governor saying that New York is now decisively in the reopening phase. But, of course, that is a slow process in New York and one that will take weeks and weeks, and in New York City where I'm standing, it's still a long way off.

But the governor is saying that if people maintain personal responsibility, personal responsibility on people to do the things like wear masks and keep social distancing and as long as they can keep measuring the declines that they're seeing, they can keep opening things up.

So a real shift from that hard lockdown that we've been in to now this conversation about maybe having some sports come back, sports probably without an audience, but the training camps, meaning the first phase toward that coming back.

Other areas of the state may be talking about opening up in the next couple of days, maybe. Some beaches, state-owned beaches available for people to recreate on. R.V. parks he mentioned tomorrow maybe opened up again. But, again, all of that with the caveat that they're going to closely monitor and see if people are actually doing what needs to be done to keep those numbers down.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Davidson, as an E.R. physician, what are your concerns and thoughts when you see images of people at the beaches this weekend, many of whom are not wearing masks or not necessarily respecting, you know, social distancing but at the same time, you know, they're getting the green light from their states to enjoy themselves, get out, that, you know, the beaches are open for business. What are you expecting to see in your E.R. and other hospitals as a result?

DR. ROB DAVIDSON, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Well, I think they are getting the green light with the caveat that they should be social distancing, they should be wearing masks, and to a large extent, we're not seeing that advice being followed by many people. I worry that the president still won't wear a mask in public and is modeling bad behavior for individuals around the country.

I know here in West Michigan where I practice, we have a business that just had a little mini-outbreak and we're seeing increased number of cases in a small town. And, to me, this is what the second wave will look like. Lots of different places with mini-outbreaks we're going to have to stamp out, that's why we need a massive national testing regimen that we still don't have. I think that is our path to a sustained reopening of America.

WHITFIELD: And when you talk about that second wave, you see that second wave in the near future, perhaps even this summer as opposed to earlier on in the midst of this, you know, pandemic that we've all been experiencing some two months or so now.

Experts were saying the second wave could potentially come in the fall. You anticipate it sooner?

DAVIDSON: Well, I do think we're going have a significant, you know, kind of outbreak resurgence in the fall when flu season comes. But, yes, whether you call it a second wave or just a series of outbreaks in various places, we now see in Minnesota, they're nearing ICU capacity. In Montgomery, Alabama, they're nearing ICU capacity.

These hotspots are going to pop in many places. I worry that some governors are not using the precautions that Governor Cuomo, that Governor Whitmer is here in Michigan and others. And, yes, I think we're just going to have to, again, increase our ability to do testing, so we can test and trace and keep this at bay and continue to press the president and those in his administration to model good behavior on wearing masks.

WHITFIELD: While the New York governor says the number of deaths within the last 24 hours is 109, you know, Brian, each person, you know, represents a mother, father, sister, brother, grandparent. So even at 109, that number is just too much.

But then you look at The New York Times today, the front page of it, you know, underscoring that the U.S. is near 100,000 deaths naming all of these individuals. How important is it that The New York Times is, you know, underscoring by this image with the names of just how serious -- what a toll this nation has taken?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And as The Times says, an incalculable loss for the country. I think it's important for The Times and CNN and other news outlets continue to show the human toll.


Because what we've seen in various states, let's take New York, for example, where I am now, you know, the surge was massive.

So coming off that surge can seem like a real relief instead of 700 New Yorkers dying a day, 100 a day. That is still a very serious impact.

And there's a fear, of course, that we're seeing a plateau happening in a number of states at a high level. A plateau where cases are not falling, they're just plateauing, they're just leveling off, and it's going to stay that way for awhile. If Americans get numb to that, numb to the daily loss of their fellow citizens, especially older Americans, then it has really serious consequences.

You know, and I think what we're seeing from government officials, like Dr. Deborah Birx, who was on some of the Sunday shows today, saying we have to look at the data, listen to the data, learn from the data. The problem, as the doctor was saying, the president isn't always doing that. So, Dr. Birx is saying the right things, urging cautions.

So is FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, who is on Twitter today saying, this has not been contained, keep please keep wearing your mask. I think what he's doing, I think, he's looking at the pictures we're seeing from the beaches and expressing the same concern that doctors and health experts on television are expressing. It's as if, in some ways, it's a lot harder to gradually reopen, Fred, than it was to close down in the first place.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And Dr. Birx, when she was on the networks earlier today, she also said that it was her opinion, while she respects the data, and that is what she is following, she said, this uptick in numbers of infections is largely because there is more testing that is taking place. She wouldn't necessarily associate those numbers with more people are out and about or, Doctor, that people are observing. People are not necessarily, you know, respecting social distance and wearing masks.

Do you believe that it's because -- or the uptick in some of the numbers of infections is as a result of more testing? I know you just said a moment ago you want to see more testing, but there has been more testing in some corners. Do you believe that attributes to the numbers?

DAVIDSON: Well, it has been more in some areas. But we're still sitting under 400,000 tests a day on average. We need to be near a million tests a day on average. And so, you know, time will tell.

I mean, unfortunately the lagging indicator of where we are is hospitalizations and then, unfortunately, it's deaths. And we're not going to see that for two or three weeks with hospitalizations, for another few weeks with deaths. Once we get to that point, the cat is out of the bag and then we are chasing just like we were. And Governor Cuomo said that we didn't know cases were coming from Europe. We're not going to know where the cases are, where they're going up, unless we massively increase testing.

And then getting back to the idea that 100 deaths in a day in New York is good news, well, it's certainly better than 700. But I applaud The New York Times for putting names and brief bios to the numbers because, you know, I've been doing this for 20 years, I see death up close. I have to tell families about their loved ones dying. The president doesn't. So many people don't. And I do think we need to bring it back to the humanity of it.

WHITFIELD: Yes, it's a powerful image to see. And once you really look at it, you know, in this tactile kind of way to see all of these numbers filling up this page on a Sunday New York Times, it is really indeed very powerful.

All right, Evan McMorris-Santoro, Brian Stelter, Dr. Rob Davidson, thanks to all of you. I really appreciate it.

All right, still ahead, a dire economic warning from the White House. Top adviser Kevin Hassett warns unemployment for the month of May could stand at 20 percent and still be in double digits the rest of the year. See the CNN interview, next.



WHITFIELD: White House Economic Adviser Kevin Hassett telling CNN today unemployment for the month of May could hit 20 percent and that the jobless numbers could still be in the double digits come November. Hassett spoke to CNN's Dana Bash about the economic strain on Americans.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You think unemployment is going to be even higher.

KEVIN HASSETT, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, it's going to be quite a bit higher. And there was some technical things that kind of messed up on an economics lecture, we would go into them. But it could be if they fix the numbers and the thing that they mischaracterized last time, that you'll end up with a number north of 20 percent in May. BASH: North of 20 percent? Wow.

HASSETT: That's right.

BASH: Now, all 50 states, as I just said, are starting to reopen. Some Americans though are still seeming like that they're not comfortable going out. I want you to look at poll numbers that we have on the screen. I can tell you that they say that less than half of Americans say it's safe to send children to school, go to a restaurant, or get on an airplane.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell said this week that for the economy to fully recover, people will have to be fully confident and that may have to wait until the arrival of a vaccine. Do you agree that the economy won't get to full speed until there's a vaccine?

HASSETT: I think it will depend on what else happens. And so if the warm summer months come and the case load goes down dramatically, you know, then maybe people will start to move about more than they're doing now. But I absolutely agree, we have now, because of the wonder of the internet and cell phones, you can actually look at social distancing data kind of in real-time.

And you can see that even though in some states, as many as 90 percent of businesses are open now, that you're not seeing the kind of movement about that you would see if the virus were completely gone. And so, for sure, it's going to be something that's a negative that's holding things back. And that will probably be true going into the fall.


But, remember that if you look at the Congressional Budget Office outlook for GDP, which I think is about what we should expect, they have the worst ever quarter in the second quarter in U.S. history or the worst ever quarter in U.S history, but then the best in the third quarter. And so what's going to happen in all likelihood is that you're going to see the second quarter drop a lot and the third quarter skyrocket. And then the question is that when you skyrocket, you get back to where you were when you started and the CBO doesn't quite think so.

And I think that that second part of it, you know, not quite getting back to where you started is the thing that Jay Powell, Chairman Powell, is talking about.

BASH: Well, that same CBO report that you talked about says that unemployment could still be at 9 percent at the end of 2021. I know you won't be there to talk about this, or we don't expect that to happen. Maybe you will. I should say, maybe you will, maybe you'll leave the White House at that point.

But in terms of where we are right now, going into November, do you think that it is possible, you said maybe north of 20 percent next month? Do you think it's possible that unemployment will be in double digits in November? HASSETT: Yes, I do. But I think that all the signs of economic recovery are going to be raging everywhere. And the only thing we're going to really be debating as economists is are we going to get back to where we were? Is it going to be kind of a long haul to get there?

I have two close friends, both conservatives, Harvard professors, and one of them thinks it's going to take many, many years and the other one thinks that it's going to happen virtually overnight and that other friend, Robert Barro, has said that he thinks that it looks a little bit like at the end of World War II, the countries that didn't have their capital stocks destroyed by the war, that when the war ended, they pretty much got their economies going at a rate of 40 or 50 percent a year.

And while he was cautioned about the analogy and it was just in a private email, I think that Professor Barro's view that we don't -- our capital stock hasn't been destroyed, our human capital stock is ready to get back to work so and there are a lot of reasons to believe that we can get going way faster than we have in previous crises that --

BASH: But I just want to underscore what you're saying, is that as the president is on the ballot in November, you think that it could be double-digit unemployment still?

HASSETT: Yes. Unemployment will be something that moves back slower. I think it could be better than that but, you know, you're going to be starting at a number in the 20s and working your way down. And so, of course, you can still not be back to full employment by September or October.

Again, if there were a vaccine in July, then I'd be way more optimistic about it.

BASH: Vice President Mike Pence says that negotiations for another stimulus bill are actively underway and Americans have a lot of questions about what relief may be on the way. In the interest of time, I want to take through some of the proposals. And if you can answer with a simple yes or no, it would be great.

First, on extending the extra $600 per week in unemployment insurance beyond July, yes or no?

HASSETT: So, just to be clear, the president is going through all the options and he's deciding what he wants to do and that's a work in progress. So yes or no Kevin answers right now aren't necessarily reflective of what is going on at the White House.

I think that we have to look at U.I. I think that a lot of Republicans are concerned that the benefit makes it so that people get more for not working than for working. And so we look forward to working with people on potentially reforming that.


WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, the Jersey Shore is open for Memorial Day weekend, but are people following the new guidelines? We'll one-on-one with Governor Phil Murphy, next.



WHITFIELD: A major test of reopening is happening across the nation, a holiday weekend during a pandemic. The Jersey Shore is among the many beaches across the U.S. now open but with some restrictions after New York, New Jersey has seen the most number of deaths from the coronavirus. The Democratic governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, spoke to CNN.


BASH: It is Memorial Day weekend. Many people mark this as the unofficial start of the summer. You did open beaches in your state with restrictions, like capacity limits, social distancing, and, in some counties, no swimming at all. Are people following your guidelines?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Dana, it's good to be back with you. It's too early to tell. I think for the most part, New Jersey has done an extraordinary job following our guidelines. I say it's too early to tell not only just because it's Sunday and we're in the middle of the weekend but the weather has not cooperated. It was miserable yesterday. It's cold today. I'm heading down to the shore myself right after I finish up with you. I'll see it with my own eyes.

But for the most part, folks have been extraordinary in doing the right thing in the state now for going on two and a half plus months. And I fully expect that will continue on the beaches even when mother nature begins to cooperate with good weather.

BASH: Governor, many parents can't even think about returning to work without wondering where they're going to send their kids. You haven't set a date for reopening daycare centers or camps. What should parents do?

MURPHY: Well, you're absolutely right. Daycare is at or near the top of our list. We understand we can't open up our economy as we have begun to do already and continuing to do and not give working parents an outlet and an opportunity to have their kids properly looked after.

Right now, it's limited only to essential frontline, healthcare, first responders. We have to open that up. My guess is that sooner than later, the big nuts to crack are going to be daycare, not just camps, but back-to-school in August and September, and mass transit.


Those are not easy ones to get stood up again in a way that remotely looks like it's an all normal. So that's a work in progress in all the above.

BASH: The CDC published reopening guidance for places of worship, that includes providing hand sanitizer, encouraging the use of masks, cleaning their facilities daily. I want you to listen to what the president said about this on Friday.

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship. That's not right.

I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now. If they don't do it, I will override the governors.

BASH: Yesterday, your fellow Democratic governor in Minnesota, Tim Walz, announced that he will allow places of worship to open and accommodate up to 250 people. Are you going to follow his lead?

MURPHY: listen, I have not read into the decisions in terms of the facts in Minnesota. My job is in New Jersey. I actually spoke to the president directly late in the day on Friday. We'll get there on houses of worship. We actually have opened up our outdoor limits now to 25 people out of doors. We'll get to the indoor activities sooner than later, and that includes probably at the top of the list worshipping. We want to do that. I personally want to do that. But we've got to do it right and at the right pace.

I would guess if we continue to see the progress that we've made in New Jersey and notwithstanding an extraordinary toll over 11,000 blessed souls lost for the past several weeks, we've seen a lot of good progress in the data. And I would hope we'd get to houses of worship sooner than later but we want to make sure we do it right responsibly and that we don't to kill anybody by doing it too fast.

BASH: Another Democratic governor in Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, he has said that groups of 50 people, even in places of worship, can't gather until there is a vaccine, treatment or no cases. And as you know, experts say a vaccine is at least a year away. So will, in your state, groups of 50 people, including churches, be able to gather indoors within the next year?

MURPHY: I would hope so, Dana. I would hope so. Again, I have not read into the Illinois data and facts. I'm -- 100 percent of my life is focused on the reality here. We're the densest state in America. Our death toll is second only to New York. We still have, in terms of per capita reality on new hospitalizations, total hospitalizations, new fatalities, we're still number one or two in the nation. So I would hope we would get there.

Again, sooner than later, indoors no ventilation, sedentary, close proximity, those are bad factors. So the question is what can you do about ventilation, what can you do about distancing, as you rightfully put out, hyper-cleaning, et cetera, face coverings. I don't think we give enough credit to the impact that face coverings can have. Again, I think we'll get there but I can't tell you when.


WHITFIELD: Still ahead, nearly 40 million Americans file for unemployment since mid-March but some people are in no rush to get back to work. Why? That's next.



WHITFIELD: As some jobs begin coming back online, some low-wage workers said they're better off collecting unemployment benefits. CNN's Kyung Lah explains why some people are in no rush to get back to work.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is it going? My name is Andrew and I'm calling from Reliable Staffing.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As businesses look to reopen, job recruiters, like Andres Nunez, search for people to take the jobs. Yet one out of every five calls he makes --

ANDRES NUNEZ, JOB DEVELOPER, RELIABLE STAFFING: They don't want to come out. They don't want to come out because the price isn't right.

LAH: How does unemployment fit into that piece?

NUNEZ: People would rather just get the unemployment.

LAH: Because in many cases, it pays more. Unemployment benefits average more than $350 a week nationwide in state benefits, plus, an additional $600 per week in federal stimulus funding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before unemployment, I was lucky to make between $250 and $300 a week.

LAH: This recent college graduate who asked her name not be used, was laid off from a bowling alley in Ohio in March. Her untaxed unemployment is three times her old take home pay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been able to pay off my car three months early.

LAH: You are making more money not working. What do you think about that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's lessening the stress of going back to work.

LAH: Exposure to the virus is the biggest concern, she says, as the economy reopens. Bowling alley calls and wants to hire you back but you have this option of unemployment. Which one do you choose?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See, that's actually a hard question. This is the first time I've felt financially stable in a long time but then again I'm very much the type of person where I feel like to feel like I'm earning my money in the same way. Like everyone has, in my mind, a right to live comfortably and not have to worry. And I think this level of unemployment money is allowing that to happen.

LAH: But that doesn't help employers, like Josh Souder.

JOSH SOUDER, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, I.E. ENTERTAINMENT GROUP: I have employees that won't return my calls. I had one employee show up and quit two days later to go back on unemployment.

LAH: Souder runs the Drunken Crab in North Hollywood, California. When we met him at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, he had just laid off 75 employees.

SOUDER: I'm worried about having a heart attack, to be perfectly honest with you.

LAH: Today, his dining room sits empty, carryout only.

Unemployment verification requests are delivered by the handful. A few employees are back. As far as the others?

SOUDER: The amount of money people are making on unemployment right now, quite honestly, is more than what we were paying them before.

LAH: Do you feel like you're competing with unemployment?

SOUDER: No question. I don't blame them, but we do need workers to come back, eventually. This is a limited amount of money that you will receive for a limited amount of time that will run out.


LAH: The federal stimulus money, the $600 per week is set to expire at the end of July. The unemployed woman you heard from in our story, she said that this entire experience has taught her that her wages and the wages of people who might work at a theater behind me, well those wages simply are not high enough in this country, especially if you consider college loans and health care.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.

WHITFIELD: And thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, see you back here in one hour two o'clock, eastern time.

Fareed Zarakia GPS starts right now.