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Doug Linde, Boston Properties President, Discusses Reimagining the Workplace Amid Coronavirus Concerns; NY Governor Cuomo Gives Update on Coronavirus Response; NY Governor to Meet with Trump in D.C. Tomorrow; U.K. Deputy Minister Resigns Over Lockdown Controversy. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 26, 2020 - 11:30   ET



DOUG LINDE, PRESIDENT, BOSTON PROPERTIES: More frequent and enhanced cleaning with EPA-approved materials. Higher ventilation and air filtration in our buildings. Lots of communication and signage. And PPE for us, which is hand sanitizers and masks.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: I want to go through some of the challenges. We can show, too, from your plant. There's a mock-up of one of your lobbies here. Every building is a little different, but you have the basic idea.

Stickers on the floor to tell people to space apart, space in the elevators, safety guidelines, hand sanitizer. You've got buildings across the country and you're doing this.

I just want to get you -- if you ask the American people now as they're being told it's about time to go back to work -- in some places different. You have a lot of New York properties, and it will be slower in New York City.

But 55 percent of Americans say they feel safe to go back to work, 33 percent said they feel unsafe. That graphic there says 39 percent. I'm not sure which number is correct. But if more than a third of Americans feel unsafe, how do you convince them?

LINDE: I think we do this very methodically and very slowly. In Massachusetts, where today is actually the first day where non- essential office workers can go back, we are clearly seeing a very modest amount of people entering our buildings.

And in Boston, our suburban and our Cambridge assets are open. The mayor of Boston, Marty Wallace, and Governor Baker put next Monday as the date for the CBD buildings in Boston. And that will be the first large-scale opening that we'll have. We expect that people will slowly start coming back to work.

The nice thing about Boston, particularly in the suburbs, in Cambridge, you can -- and Boston as well, you can drive to work, so the public transportation issue is less on people's minds -- (CROSSTALK)

KING: Doug Linde, I'm sorry. I have to interrupt you to get to New York City, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, his daily briefing. My apologies to you.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): -- that we've announced last week on the best "Wear a Mask" video. She's going to report on that today.

To my right, Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor. To her right, Gareth Rhodes, who has been an essential component of what we've been doing since day one.

It's a pleasure to be here today. I hope everyone had a good weekend.

I had a great weekend. Stayed at home Saturday. Went to the beach Sunday. Went to the "Intrepid" yesterday. Plus, I changed the oil in the car. So I had a good day, good weekend.

I want to thank the stock exchange for hosting us today. This is a beautiful room. I was here this morning. The stock market reopened today. So it's a pleasure to be here.

I want to thank Stacey Cunningham, who is the president of the New York Stock Exchange, for her hospitality and courtesy.

Let's start with the facts. Facts first. That's what the American people need. Number of hospitalizations down. Great news. Rolling average down, number of intubations down. Number of new COVID cases down to the lowest level since this ever started, just about 200. Amen.

Number of lives lost, 73. That's the lowest level that we have seen since this started. So, again, in this absurd new reality, that is good news. Any other time and place, when we lose 73 New Yorkers, it's tragic. It's tragic now, but relative to where we've been, we're on the other side of the curve, and that is the lowest number that we've had.

So we thank all the health care staff once again, doctors, nurses, who have been doing a fantastic job.

And you see we went up the mountain very quickly. That spike took us up very quickly. And it took a long time to come down, but we're still coming down.

Yesterday, was Memorial Day. And traditionally, Memorial Day is a pivot point. It's a transition point. Summer is starting. Fashion changes. Mindsets change. And it shouldn't be that much different this year.

Memorial Day is going to be a point where maybe we don't all run back to the beach. But we're going to turn the page on COVID-19. And we're going to start focusing on reopening and how we reopen and how smart we are in reopening. Because that's the whole issue. You look at what's happening across the country. It was never a

question of reopen or not reopen. The answer was always reopen. The question was always: How smart are you on the reopening? How intelligent are you on the reopening? How informed are you, how disciplined are you on the reopening? Because that determines how successful the reopening is.


The stock market reopened today. I had the honor of ringing the bell.

And it didn't reopen the way it was. It reopened smarter than before. Fewer people wearing masks, new precautions that the stock exchange has incorporated. Not because the government said they had to, but because the stock exchange is smart. They wanted to get back to business but they wanted to be smart. And they're doing it in a way that keeps people safe. And that's an example of exactly what we've been talking about.

So two tracks going forward for Memorial Day. Number one, monitor the reopenings. We're reopening in regions all across the state because regions are different all across the state, so we're reopening in regions. Monitor the regions.

We have a dashboard that is up. Every New Yorker can see the numbers, and what we're doing is gauged by the numbers.

Mid-Hudson opens today. They met all the metrics, all the numerical criteria, so they're opening today. Long Island will open tomorrow.

We're going to bring on the last of what's called the tracers who do the contact tracing after testing. And they'll be coming online today. And Long Island will open tomorrow.

Each region has a regional control group. I've spoken to many of the county executives across the state who are key on these regional control groups. And I said to the county executives, watch the numbers. When you see a cluster of cases, jump on it. Jump on it.

That's what the contact tracing is all about. What happened, where did they come from, is there any commonality among the people in the cluster? Is there a geographic identity to that cluster?

But that has to be done region by region. You have to stay disciplined and focused. Study the numbers. The numbers inform you. The numbers tell you what's happening. That dashboard tells you what's happening. And those regional control groups have to be disciplined.

Steve Bellone in Suffolk and Laura Curran in Nassau and Mark Poloncarz in Buffalo and Adam Bello in Rochester and Ryan McMahon in Syracuse -- focus on what's happening with those numbers. If you see a little movement, you pounce on it. Find out what it is, explore it and resolve it.

New York City is the one region that is not reopened yet in New York. And that's for obvious reasons. The numbers have been worse in New York City. The number of cases were worse in New York City. Again, nothing endemic to New York City.

What happened in New York City was the virus was coming from Europe and we didn't even know. Nobody told us. It was -- we all were told it was coming from China, China, China. Look to the west.

It came from the east. We're looking west, it came from the east. It was coming from Europe. And January-February, before we did a European travel ban, three million Europeans landed at our airports, and the virus came that way.

So once the virus got here, it spread. This is a dense area. New York City, public transportation. So it had the worst problem in the nation, one of the worst problems on the globe. So it's the one region that's not reopened yet. And we're now going to focus on reopening New York City.

And, again, we do it smartly. We have data. We have tests. We can focus on the new cases in New York City. Where are those infections still coming from? And we literally can now focus on those areas by zip code.

We've done so much testing. We do more testing in New York than any state in the United States of America. We do more testing per capita than most countries on the globe. We do so much testing that we can actually identify zip codes that are generating the new cases.

If you have that kind of intelligence, that kind of data, then you can target your resources right to those areas. Those zip codes tend to be predominantly minority communities. The infection rate is not spreading among the central workers. It's spreading among workers who have stayed home or are unemployed. It's spreading in the home. It's spreading in the community.


We're going to focus on those zip codes. We're going to focus on those communities. And we want to slow the infection rate even in those communities. And that will really bring the numbers down in New York City. We started that last week, but we're going to bring it to a new level

starting this week.

And you can see that the infection rate in some of these zip codes is double the infection rate in the city. The infection rate in the city, general population, is about 19 percent, almost 20 percent. In some of these communities, the infection rate is 40 percent. Literally double the citywide average.

And when we look at those new COVID cases coming into the hospitals, where are they coming from? They're coming from these zip codes. And we can literally identify it. So we want to attack the virus at the source. That's what we're going to be doing in New York City.

In New York City, we also have to get the number of tracers up and trained and online, and we'll be focusing on that. Statewide, we all have to remain smart. Regions that are opened,

regions that are reopening, New York City that hasn't opened yet where we have to get the numbers down, it's about citizens. And it's about what people do.

That's been the great riddle in this whole thing. We don't understand it. It's about government, government this, government that. Forget government. This whole trajectory is decided by people. It's personal behavior. That's all it is.

You tell me what people do today, I'll tell you what the infection rate is tomorrow. And it's simple. It's wash your hands, socially distance, use the hand sanitizer and it is wear the mask. Wear the mask.

And this is almost a point of cultural communication. Wearing a mask is now cool. I believe it's cool. If I could sign an executive order that says wearing a mask is officially cool, there's a certain amount of informing the public in accepting a new type of standard.

Wearing the mask has got to be something you do every day. When you get up, when you walk out of the house, you put the mask on.

I said the other day, you know, New Yorkers want to reinforce it for other New Yorkers. This is cool. You want to encourage people to do this.

By the way, you can have a colored mask. You don't have to have a boring mask like my mask. I'm a boring guy. They have colored masks. They have masks that say things. Some people coordinate their outfit with the color of their mask. And this has to be part of literally who we are and what we do every day.

That does not mean when someone doesn't wear a mask we should be rude to that person or be obnoxious to that person. But this has got to be part of every New Yorker's fashion and design and clothing and outfitting, wearing the mask. It makes a real difference.

If you think that's all talk, answer for me why all the first responders have a lower infection rate than the general population. The only difference is they wore a mask. And they wore the PPE. So wear a mask. Everyone has to do their part.

Second tract is, while we're reopening, supercharge the reopening. Right? Stock market opened today. We want that economy to come roaring back. We want it to come roaring back. And that's not going to happen just by wishing it to be so. We have to take an affirmative action. We have to be part of that. And today is page one of that chapter.

I don't believe that the economy just bounces back. Some economists say we artificially stopped the economy. We release it, it went down, it's going to come right back in a straight line. I don't believe it comes straight back. I believe it bounces back, but it bounces back differently.

We talk about the normal and the new normal. I think you're going to see the same thing with the economy. I don't think it comes right back to where it was.


It's not like bouncing a basketball. If you bounce a basketball, it goes down and comes straight back up. It's like dropping a football. You drop a football, depending on how it hits, it goes off on different angles. The economy is going to come back up. I don't think it comes straight back up.

And I think there will be winners and losers in this new economy. I think the top end of the economy will be fine. They always are. It always works out for them. You look at the 2008 recession after the mortgage fraud, we did the bailouts, the big banks were the first one to come back fine.

But I don't think the economy comes back for everyone everywhere the same way. I think you're going to see American workers who are laid off. That's why I'm pushing the Americans First law in Washington.

I think you're going to see corporations use this as an opportunity to, in their words, restructure, to get lean, to show the analysts we can increase the profit. How do you increase the profit fast in a corporation? You lay off workers. That's what you do. And I think you're going to see corporations do that.

We've lost thousands of small businesses. They're not just going to reopen their doors. So you're going to see pain in this new economy. And let's start to anticipate that, and let's start to deal with that now.

We know that government can stimulate the economy. This country has done it in the past where we have engaged in major public works that made the nation better, and when we did it, we stimulated the economy.

You look at all the great things that this nation did, building the Hoover Dam, the Lincoln Tunnel, all these magnificent public improvements that made the nation a nation and created thousands of jobs at the same time.

Now, everyone has been talking about the need to do major infrastructure in this nation, every president, Democrat, Republican. President Clinton talked about it. President Bush talked about it. President Obama talked about it. President Trump talked about it. Vice President Biden talks about it. We have major infrastructure needs. We're not building. The rest of the world is passing us by. It's true.

Well, then, do something about it. Don't just talk about it. Everybody has identified the same problem, Democrats and Republicans, but nobody has done anything.

If there's ever a time to actually take on this overdue need of major infrastructure construction, now is the time. There's no better time to build than right now.

You need to restart the economy. You need to create jobs. And you need to renew and repair this country's economy and its infrastructure. Now is the time to do it.

It's especially the time to do it when some of the volume is lower, right? The time to fix the hole in the roof, we would say in Queens, is when the sun is shining. That's when -- what? You don't think that's a Queens expression? That was a Queens expression, as far as I'm concerned.

That's when you fix the hole in the roof when the sun is shining. The time to do this work is now when you need the jobs and the volume is low and New York will lead the way.

We are going to accelerate our big infrastructure programs. We have the Empire Station Project, which is building a new Penn Station, which is long overdue. That Penn Station has been torturing people for too long. Let's now accelerate the Empire Penn Project while the ridership is low and when we need the jobs.

Accelerating LaGuardia Airport, which will be the first new airport in this nation in 25 years. Traffic is low, passenger volume is lower, let's accelerate that construction now.

And let's do things that we've been talking about for a long time but we've never actually pulled the trigger on. We know that we need renewable power. We know we can generate renewable power in Upstate. We know we need it Downstate. Let's build the cross-state transmission lines to develop that renewable market upstate and satisfy the need downstate.

We know they have low-cost hydro power in Canada. Let's run the cable, the transmission lines from Canada to New York City to get that power down here. And let's stop talking and let's start doing. Let's invigorate this whole renewable market.


And, there are other bigger construction projects that we have been talking, talking, talking about, which we have to do where we need federal help and federal approval. Let's put those on the table.

The air train to LaGuardia. New York City is one of the only major cities that has no train from the airport into the central city.

We have been talking about the cross-Hudson tunnels where the Amtrak trains come through that are old and crumbling. If they become a problem, you literally stop Amtrak travel to the entire northeast.

Let's stop the politics on it and let's get it done and let's build those new tunnels.

The 2nd Avenue subway, the extension of the 2nd Avenue subway going from 96th Street to 125th Street, would open that whole 125th Street area. It would bring a whole new chapter of revitalization to New York City. Let's do that in partnership with the federal government.

I am going to Washington tomorrow. Scheduled to meet with the president to talk about a number of things. But this is one of the things I want to talk to the president about.

If you want to restart the economy, you want to reopen the economy, let's do something creative. Let's do it fast. Let's put Americans back to work. And let's make America better.

It is common sense. It is common sense. So many of the things that we need to do, you don't need to be a government expert or an engineer to figure out. It is common sense. You have infrastructure that's crumbling, you need to jumpstart the economy, you need to create jobs. Do it now. Do it now. And that's one of the things I'm going to talk to the president about tomorrow.

Last point, we did the "Wear a Mask" New York PSA contest. I asked my daughter, Mariah, to help out and volunteer, pro bono, no money. Supervised by a nice, easy-going boss. Mariah agreed. And she did a fantastic job.

And frankly, this contest has gone much bigger and generated much more energy and excitement than I anticipated.

With that, I will turn it over to Mariah.


We launched the "Wear a Mask" contest in May, asking New Yorkers to create ads about people wearing a mask --

KING: The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, his briefing in New York City today. He was at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the opening bell.

The governor presenting a relatively optimistic picture about the coronavirus medical situation. The lowest number of deaths in quite some time. The governor says that's still tragic but heading in the right direction. He says hospitalizations down, intubations down.

Much of the governor's attention focused on the rebuilding. On this, he is very much, at least theoretically on the same page as the president of the United States, saying it's time to super charge the economic reopening.

The governor says he'll come to the White House to see the president tomorrow to talk about whether the federal government will partner with New York on some very major infrastructure projects, most of them are transportation related, to get people back to work now. He says ridership and air traffic is down.

The governor of New York, again, is coming to Washington tomorrow to meet President Trump. Sometimes they sound alike. Sometimes they're very different. It's been a complicated relationship throughout this pandemic. That's something to watch there.


We'll be back in just a moment.



KING: Some global perspective. Now U.K. health officials say 134 more deaths have been reported in the last day. That brings the death toll in the U.K. to more than 37,000. The number of confirmed cases there also rising, more than 2,000 just in the last day. Now more than 265,000 cases across the U.K.

Let's check in with CNN correspondents around the globe for some of the latest headlines.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Here in London, the British prime minister is facing his first casualty in his handling of allegations that his chief adviser broke lockdown regulations.

A deputy minister has said that Dominic Cummings, who is special adviser, chief adviser to the prime minister, didn't come to the same conclusions of the interpretations about the lockdown advice that the government gave to the country that most other people would have come to, and that's why he's resigning his position.

The prime minister has also had reaction from within his party as well. One M.P. wrote, saying Cummings should either apologized, offered some regret or offered his resignation.

And on top of that, one recent poll taken in the last few days as the story broke indicates that the government's popularity and Boris Johnson's popularity is falling, falling significantly, now into negative territory.


Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


KING: We're at the top of the hour now. I am John King, in Washington. This is CNN continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.