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NY Governor Cuomo Gives Update on Coronavirus Response; New Jersey & Connecticut Governors Join Cuomo Press Conference on COVID-19 Travel Advisory; Dr. Saju Matthew Discusses NY, NJ, CT Travel Advisory from Specific States; Grim Economic Forecast from IMF. Aired 11:30a- 12p ET

Aired June 24, 2020 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[11:33:22]

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: I'll take you straight to Albany, New York. The governor, Andrew Cuomo.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): -- on behalf of all of the people of the state. They've been extraordinary colleagues through this situation. We've been mutually supportive and mutually helpful beyond the normal government relations or political relations.

This was a situation that nobody had really faced before. And I can tell you that they were personal comforts and sources of strength for me and being able to talk through this situation with them. And coming up with coordinated plans really made a difference.

And there were no states that were handed a worst hand, if you will, when it started than our states.

Remember what happened. We had one of the highest infection rates because we had people coming from Europe who brought the virus. They traced our virus in this region back to Europe. And we had a federal government that told us the virus was in China. It's in China. It's in China.

It wasn't in China. It had left China and went to Europe and then it came here from Europe. January, February, March, three million Europeans came into our region of the country, and they brought the virus.

And by the time we found out, by the time of federal government figured it out, we had a viral spread through the community. So we had the highest numbers to deal with in the country.

[11:34:58]

And you look at where we are now, we did a full 180 degrees. We went from the highest cases, the highest viral transmission rate, to some of the lowest rates in the country. No one else had to accomplish as much as we had to accomplish in such

a short period of time. No one else had to bend the curve as much as we had to bend the curve.

And when people take a quick breath and the political rhetoric dies down, those are going to be the facts.

So I applaud my colleagues for doing an extraordinary job.

We now have to make sure that the rate continues to drop. And that's what keeps me up at night and I'm sure it keeps them up at night. So we have to make sure we're doing everything and we're diligent and our citizens are diligent.

We also have to make sure the virus doesn't come in on a plane again. Learned that lesson. Been there, done that.

So we're announcing today a joint travel advisory. People coming in from states that have a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days. And we have a calibration for the infection rate. And any state that goes over that infection rate, that state will be subject to the quarantine.

It's only for the simple reason that we worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down. We don't want to see it go up because a lot of people come into the region and they can literally bring the infection with them. It wouldn't be malicious or malevolent, but it would still be real.

So we are jointly instituting the travel advisory today because what happens in New York happens in New Jersey, happens in Connecticut. And I think it's right and I think it's smart.

And I'm glad that we're doing it together. And we've done a lot of good things together.

And hopefully, we're on the right side of this mountain and we'll continue to see the numbers go down and we'll continue to see the economic activity go up.

And with that, I'll turn it over to my neighbor, Governor Phil Murphy.

Phil, thank you again for everything. Thank you for what you've done not just for New Jersey. Thank you for what you've done for New Yorkers. There's no doubt that our partnership has made it better for both states.

So thank you very much, Governor Phil Murphy.

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Andrew, thank you.

To echo your words of thanks and deepest appreciation for the partnership with you and with Ned.

You know, we live in the densest neighborhood in America. We've been clobbered by this virus. No region in the country has paid a bigger price with the loss of brothers and sisters. We've lost just under 13,000 members of our New Jersey family. New Yorkers paid an enormous price. Connecticut has paid a big price, as well.

And I can't thank you enough for your partnership, guys.

We need to do things right by inside the four walls in our respective states. We need the federal government. But, boy, have we needed our neighbors.

And I can't thank you and Governor Lamont enough for your partnership in the spirit of teamwork in this extraordinary chapter in our states and our nation's history.

Listen, my echo is simple. This is a smart thing to do. We have taken our people, the three of us, these three states, through hell and back. And the last thing we need to do right now is to subject our folks to another round.

And this virus is risky enough on its own in terms of the potential to flare back up.

So doing something as common sense as this is, to say to, folks, listen, it's time for personal responsibility. If you've been in a state that has a high infection rate, do the right thing, and that -- and that is taking 14 days and self-quarantining.

And it's the right thing to do and it's the common-sense thing to do and it's the responsible thing to do.

So I'm honored to be alongside my fellow governors today and support this notion wholeheartedly.

And I know the details will come from our respective health departments on exactly what this mean. But it's a really smart, common-sense step, particularly as we have, the three states, have really broken the back of this virus.

Thank you again for everything and for having me today.

CUOMO: Thank you. Thank you very much, Governor Murphy.

And again, this -- I do believe, we're all on the other side of the mountain, but we determine what happens. It's what our people do, it's our policies, and it's not over until it's over. And I think it will help us all.

Thank you very much, Phil.

[11:40:01]

And our other colleague and partner, Governor Ned Lamont, from Connecticut.

Governor, thank you very much for your partnership. Thank you for your personal support and personal friendship you've given me. Nobody wanted to go through this. You see, sometimes in life, when the pressure is on, you see the best and the worst of people and society. And I think we saw that here.

And one of the high points, one of the best facets that came out of this was strong people got stronger and strong relationships got stronger. And New York and Connecticut and New Jersey really stood together.

And I want to thank you very much.

Governor Ned Lamont.

(AUDIO PROBLEM)

CUOMO: Technical glitch.

Can we get Governor Lamont back?

One second for Governor Lamont.

Let me give you some details - oh --

(CROSSTALK)

GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): -- on a jet airplane. But it's not going to leave on a jet airplane.

It only goes by working together with New York, New Jersey and the other states in our region to make sure that we maintain the protocols and social distancing, the masks, everything that we have done successfully over the last few months to bring our positivity rate to less than 3 percent.

And I've got to say, I'm blessed to have you guys as fellow governors, as well as Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The northeast region has taken this seriously. And that's allowed us, as a region, to power through and get our positivity rate low.

But we are not an island. As we look around the rest of the country, we've seen not just spikes, but we've seen real community spread of better than 10 percent positivity rate in a number of these states that we're talking about right now.

And if it was limited to the nursing homes or the prisons or something containable, perhaps we would not be as concerned. But right now, we're seeing places within some of these states where you have a positivity rate of 20 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent. In many case, younger people, folks who travel, 18 to 35, who are maybe not at risk themselves, but are highly infectious.

So working with Phil and Andrew over the last week or two, we reluctantly came to the conclusion that this is what we've got to do to make sure that our regions stay safe and our states stay safe as we make sure that we can safely get our businesses back and our schools back up and operating this fall. And we'll be monitoring this carefully. We have the quarantine in

place. We'll be doing publicity in social media and reaching out to the travel agents and doing everything we can to tell people, if you come to Connecticut, you come to New York, you come to New Jersey, you come safely and you follow the protocols, starting with a quarantine.

Andrew, Phil, great being with you guys.

CUOMO: Governor Lamont, same here.

Thank you very much. And hopefully, we're on the other side and you'll stay on the other side.

Governor, thank you very much. Ned, thank you.

OK. Let me give you more details on this. The infection rate formula will be 10 per 100,000 on a seven-day rolling average or 10 percent of the total population positive on a seven-day rolling average. So any state that has an infection rate above that would require 14-day quarantine.

As of today, the states that are above that level are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah, Texas. That's as of today.

The states themselves can change as the infection rate changes and we will update daily what states are above that infection rate. But as of today, those are the states that are above the infection rate.

And again, it's just common sense and it's the spirit of community. If you're in a place that has a high infection rate, we understand that, and we'll help you any way we can. And we've been helpful in reaching out to every state across the nation.

But we don't want to see the infection rate increase here after what we've gone through and that's the 14-day quarantine.

[11:45:00]

That is a uniform policy across the three states. And each state will be responsible for the enforcement of that policy within their state.

Let me give you a couple of other facts as we are here on day 116. That's the lowest level of hospitalizations we have seen since this nightmare began.

And again, when I say we're on the other side of the mountain -- sometimes I'm talking to myself, I'm often talking to myself -- but this is the mountain I'm talking about. We're on the other side, on the decline. We don't want to see it reversed.

And we are at the lowest level we have been on hospitalizations since this started. We paid a very dear price for it.

Our tests, we did 58,000 tests yesterday, the highest number of tests in the United States. Without the test, you don't know where you are. And we're at 1.1 percent positive. You can see the testing by region.

And all of the regions are constant since the reopening, including New York City, which we're watching very carefully.

But we watch it on a day-to-day basis. And right now, all of the numbers look good.

With New York City, we look at numbers by borough. We look at the hot spots in the boroughs. And we know that there are some zip codes that are higher than other zip codes so we also study those hot spot zip codes.

And the number of deaths is 17 today. This is right about where the lowest numbers have ever been. And again, that's more great news. And again, we don't want to see these numbers reverse. The numbers of lives lost on the three-day average, again, is just about as low as it's ever been.

So all of the numbers are good. What we're doing works. Our approach has been vindicated and the phased reopening by data works.

I've said, from day one, I think these states and this theory of handling it politically, that people had a political theory on how to deal with the virus. You can't have a political theory on how to deal with the virus. You can't. It's a virus. It doesn't respond to political theory. It responds to science and data. So we're going ahead with our metrics. And --

KING: You are listening to the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. We haven't done this in a while, listened to the coronavirus update.

But an important update on the top of that briefing. New York now implementing, along with its neighbor, New Jersey and Connecticut, what the governor called a coronavirus travel advisory, a joint travel advisory between the three states.

He said, if you're coming from a state with a high positivity rate, a high infection rate of coronavirus, right now, there will be a 14-day quarantine policy in place in each of those three states.

The governor was talking about how important it is. It is quite remarkable if you go back a couple of months to the beginning where we talked about how bad things were in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Those states now among the best in terms of performance, in terms of lowering and flattening the curve, and lowering the positivity rate and their tests and the like.

Let's bring in one of our public health experts to walk through this. Dr. Saju Mathew is with us.

Doctor, it is so striking, when we had our first conversation months ago, it was about New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New England, which was the leading -- leaning on the bad side of this going up the Hill. They are now in much better shape, if you look at the map and if you look at the testing and the hospitalizations. Does this make sense? The governor listed -- he said it's a rolling standard. But as of today, the citizens of nine states, travelers from those nine states would have to quarantine themselves, including Arizona, Florida and Texas, which we all know are having what Dr. Fauci calls it a dangerous surge right now.

DR. SAJU MATTHEW, PUBLIC HEALTH SPECIALIST: Hey, John. Always nice to be on your show.

Listen, I was absolutely thrilled to listen to Governor Cuomo. That's exactly what we need as a leader. We need a leader who listens to the science, who made sacrifices, who talked to his people on a daily basis.

And I'm actually really excited that he is going beyond that and not just celebrating early and saying, listen, we did all of the hard work and we don't want the virus back in our state, so we're going to impose this restriction.

And it makes total sense. Certain countries in Europe are doing that. In fact, they're talking about not even letting Americans get into their continent.

I commend Governor Cuomo in doing that. And that is exactly the way to try to kill this virus.

KING: One of the things he said there is, without testing. you don't know where you are. That's a very different message than we hear from the president of the United States.

The president of the United States calls it a double-edged sword. And he keeps saying he's not joking, even though his staff said he never gave the order, but he's said several times, and several times he's talked about asking for less testing so that the numbers don't look so bad.

As a scientist and as a doctor, that's the backwards approach, right?

[11:50:07]

MATHEW: Exactly, the backwards approach. I've gone from being frustrated to just mad. I'm absolutely beside myself. As a public health specialist, that's exactly the opposite of what we're supposed to do.

I'm a primary care physician, John. If you came to see me, how would I know if you have high blood pressure unless I check it. How would I know if you have diabetes unless I check your sugar? How many do we know how many people have COVID-19 unless we test them? That's where it all begins. You have the test, you have to quarantine and you have to isolate.

Now with these seven states, John, that are showing escalating, soaring numbers of new COVID-19 cases, you know, the hospitalizations are going to follow. They're already there. That's a bad metric. I was talking to a colleague of mine here in Atlanta saying that,

listen, there are 20 million are unemployed. We need to be able to reach out to some of them and train them and see if they can help us with contact tracing. That is something that's absolutely lacking in this country.

It's not enough to it tell somebody you have COVID-19. You have to tell them to isolate. We have to contact trace everybody they've been in contact with going backwards and forwards as well.

KING: The challenge continues. Big important announcement from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey today.

Dr. Mathew, appreciate your insights. Thank you, as always so much.

MATHEW: Thank you, John.

KING: Quick break. We'll be right back.

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[11:56:23]

KING: A grim economic forecast from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF says global growth this year expected to shrink to its lowest point since the Great Depression.

Richard Quest joins us with more on that.

Pretty bleak outlook, Richard.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE & CNN HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Extremely. A catastrophic outlook is the way the fund describes it, John.

There's two sides to the equation. This year will be worse than expected. The actual downturn will be worse. And next year, the uptick will not be as good as they'd hoped.

There are two reasons. First of all, simply they undervalued the numbers so far. But more worryingly, they now expect social distancing and mitigation measures to have to be further and longer and deeper than originally.

That's why, John, if you look at the way they define this, what's happened has happened. But the worrying part is what goes on forward.

You're seeing this today. You're seeing it in the news from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the sort of announcements taking place in this country at the moment.

They are going to make recovery harder because the situation is worse than expected, not just here but elsewhere. And that's why the IMF says this is a catastrophe.

KING: Catastrophe. Look at the numbers on the screen. Global growth shrinking. A tough stretch and a long stretch ahead of us. It will be tough.

Richard Quest, thank you very much. Appreciate the reporting.

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