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Gov. Cuomo Updates NY Coronavirus Response; Gov. Cuomo: Deaths In NY Over Past Few Days Dropping For The First Time, The Major Problem Is Shortage Of Ventilators And Staff; Almost Half Of The U.S. Deaths Are In New York. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 05, 2020 - 11:00   ET



BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to RELIABLE SOURCES, live from New York City. I'm Brian Stelter.

We are standing by for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's daily briefing. You can see there, as soon as it begins, he'll pop up on that video feed and we'll take you live to Albany when he starts speaking.

As of 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time today, there are more than 114,000 cases of coronavirus confirmed here in New York state. There have been more than 3,500 deaths just in New York state.

There are, of course, other hot spots in other parts of the United States that are being carefully watched, that are absolutely serious, but New York state and New York City remains the number one epicenter of this pandemic in the United States. So we will hear from the governor in a moment.

Meantime, the surgeon general of the United States, Jerome Adams, speaking on television this morning, saying this coming week, the next seven days, will be the toughest, the saddest week in American history for many Americans. He's talking about, in the lifetime of Americans who are living today, he says this will be the hardest and saddest for most Americans' lives. He describes this moment as a Pearl Harbor moment and a 9/11 moment. Strong, important language from the surgeon general, not also matched by other federal officials.

Now, let me bring in "The New Yorker" staff writer Susan Glasser as we await Governor Andrew Cuomo's pres conference coming up here any moment.

Susan Glasser, your reaction to what we've seen from local, state, and federal leaders in recent days.

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I mean, that's the terrible tragedy of this, is that in some ways, it's not a Pearl Harbor in that we know it's coming. And we're bracing for, you know, the peak of this terrible disease this week in New York City or next week. The surgeon general compared it to Pearl Harbor, but what is notable to me is that we have been on this trajectory for some time. This is not a sneak attack by the Japanese. It's not even a sneak

attack by this virus. It's one of these, to me, it's been like watching a slow-motion car crash, and to seeing essentially the government often behind the eight ball in each step of the way has been, I think, particularly painful.

I'm curious to see what Governor Cuomo has to say as we prepare for what is very likely to be a painful week, not only of deaths in New York city, but recognizing that there is insufficient protective equipment for our medical personnel, that there is insufficient numbers of ventilators. It's a tough time for the United States, a humbling, if you will, of the richest country in the world to be so unprepared.

STELTER: We have viewers around the world watching and how they perceive and see the United States reaction versus the reactions of other countries that have also been crippled by this deadly disease.

Governor Cuomo tweeting ahead of his briefing saying, I wish I could promise New Yorkers this will be over soon. I can't. He said, I will continue to give you the facts and I will make decisions based on science and data. New Yorkers deserve nothing less.

Susan, that strikes me, because as we await the governor's briefing, I have been noticing just as a New Yorker, and I'm sure you're seeing this in Washington, how quickly Americans do react to what they're hearing from public officials, by government leaders. When in recent days the message has been consider a mask, wear a mask if you can, wear a scarf. Overnight here in New York City, half the population is wearing masks. It happened that quickly.

Are you seeing the same thing?

GLASSER: Absolutely. I made -- I ventured out to the farmer's market this morning in Du Pont Circle where there is serious social distancing in effect. They're only letting a small number of people in at a time, and I would say 60 percent to 70 percent of people were wearing masks of some kind as well as all of the vendors. So, people are listening.

But Governor Cuomo's facts and science-based approach, it is an implicit rebuke to what we have seen from the federal government, which has been very inconsistent in its messaging. Just yesterday, of course, we watched the president give another one of his briefings to the press that veered all over the place, a very inconsistent message. On the one hand, saying there will be death. On the other hand, saying, I want to reopen as soon as possible, and implying that there could still be sports seasons at a time when other people are suggesting that's not feasible.


And, of course, then veering off into attacks on the media, attacks on science, talking about unproven medical treatments. So, you know, it's a very inconsistent messaging at the federal level, which may in effect make the messages from governors and from local leaders much more important. I think that's a shift in our politics that we're seeing as people recognize, you know, the crucial role that on the ground leaders are playing in this pandemic.

STELTER: Let me bring in some other guests while we await Andrew Cuomo's daily briefing out of Albany.

Gregg Gonsalves of the Yale School of Medicine is with me.

And Nisha Mehta, she's the founder of Physicians Side Gigs. It's a Facebook community of over 50,000 verified physicians.

Nisha, I'll come to you in a moment.

But, Gregg, your impressions of the federal government's response. We're talking here about local, state, and federal responses to this rising death toll and this increasing crisis. Your reaction, Greg?

GREGG GONSALVES, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, EPIDEMIOLOGY OF MICROBIAL DISEASES, YALE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, as Andy Slavitt, who is President Obama's former head of Medicare and Medicaid Services, and this is the biggest health care risk in a hundred years, and moreover, the bumbling and the chaos is still continuing. And so, there's real question of who is in charge in the White House. Is it the task force led by Vice President Pence, or is it Jared Kushner and his news (INAUDIBLE)?

We're still not seeing the scale-up of tests we've been promised, the production of ventilators, and as Susan intimated the questions of the administration to implement the provisions of the $2 trillion emergency stimulus act that just was passed is under question. You know, so this may be a public health crisis but I've been working in public health for over 30 years, and as somebody who watched the AIDS epidemic unfold in this country, I recognize it's a political crisis first and foremost.

So, South Korea, Germany come to mind who have done much better than we have, and it's been a colossal management and leadership failure that brought us to this precipice.

The big problem for me is I'm wondering where the deep investigative reporting is in all this. There's a great "Washington Post" piece today, but a lot of time, we get this rather eerie (ph) version, engaging with the ramifications of what people say on the White House podium. We get headlines like governors disagree or experts are concerned rather than challenging the president and his actions.

You know, we need to know what's going on, how and why our response is still failing and who is responsible. You know, we all want to get through this and for it to be over sooner rather than later, but the status quo is making it far worth and is going to make it drag out far longer than it should. And we need to know the real story to what's going on within the White House, within the CDC, within all the federal, state, and local agencies that should have been on the ball for this pandemic starting in December.

STELTER: Gregg, let me hold that thought and bring you back after the governor's briefing. Governor Andrew Cuomo now speaking in Albany.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Number of patients discharged, total discharged up -- is 12,000, 1,700 discharged in one day.

Number of deaths is up. That's the bad news. It's 4,159. And we pray for each and every one of them and their families. And that is up. And that is the worst news.

But the number of deaths over the past few days has been dropping for the first time. What is the significance of that? It's too early to tell. This is the impact by state.

But as I said, the interesting blip maybe in the data or hopeful beginning of a shift in the data and the number of cases, total number of new hospitalizations is 574, which is obviously much lower than previous numbers. That's partially a function of more people being discharged.

But you see ICU admissions are also down. The daily intubations down slightly from where it was. Again, you can't do this day-to-day. You have to look at three or four days to see a pattern.

Discharge rate is way up. And that's great news. And the state-wide balance of cases has been relatively stable for the past few days.

There is a shift to Long Island. Upstate New York is basically flat. And as Long Island grows, the percentage of cases in New York City has reduced.

This is -- for those people who look at the data, there is a -- you have all these projection models.


And what's been infuriating to me is these projection models are so different that it's very hard to plan when these models shift all the time. But there's always a difference of opinion on what happens at the apex, right?

Everybody, all the models say you go up until you go down. Thank you very much.

Then there's a difference of -- is the apex a point or is the apex a plateau? In other words, do you go up, hit the high, and then immediately drop? Or do you go up and then there's a plateau where the number of cases stays high for a period of time and then drops? There's a difference of opinion.

So, you have to think of that when you think about what you're seeing in the numbers because you could argue that you're seeing a slight plateauing in the data, which obviously would be good news because it means you're plateaued for a period of time and then you start to come down.

And we're all feeling our way through this, and we have the best minds in the country, literally in the globe, advising us, because New York is the first. I also think it will be very helpful for the other states that follow. I was just talking to Dr. Zucker about codifying everything we're learning because when the next states start to go through this, we hope that they can benefit from what we're going through.

But we're looking at this seriously now because by the data, we could be either very near the apex or the apex could be a plateau and we could be on that plateau right now. We won't know until you see the next few days. Does it go up, does it go down, but that's what the statisticians will tell you today.

As we have said before, the coronavirus is truly vicious and effective at what the virus does. It's an effective killer. People who are very vulnerable must stay isolated and protected.

I mean, that was the point from day one. That was the point with Matilda's law, my mother. You have to isolate and protect those people.

If a very vulnerable person gets infected with this virus, the probability of a, quote/unquote, cure is very low. And that's what this has really been about from day one. That small percentage of the population that's very vulnerable, major effort that has impacted everyone to save the lives of those people who are in the very vulnerable population.

If you're not in a part of that vulnerable population, then you will get sick, 20 percent require hospitalization. But the hospital system is very effective and it makes a real difference. And that's why the highest number of people ever now being discharged, right?

So you're just seeing the evolution of this whole story. You're seeing the narrative unfold, right? We're all watching a movie. We're waiting to see what the next scene is.

And as the movie unfolds, you start to understand the story better and better. Rush of infection rate, rush of people into the hospital system, hospital system capacity explodes. More people are in, but more people are coming out. Seventy-five percent of those people who have now gone into the hospital system are coming out of the hospital system.

It also helps with the capacity of the hospital system because obviously, the more people who are coming out, it makes it easier to handle the large influx that's coming in.

Having said all of that, the operational challenge for the health care system is impossible, because the system is overcapacity all across the board. It's just overcapacity.

So what we're basically saying to a system is you have to manage with the same resources that you have, same staff, an overcapacity situation. And that is putting a tremendous amount of stress on the health care system. You're asking a system to do more than it has ever done before, more than it was designed to do with less. I understand that. And I get that. And day in and day out, the

commissioner and everyone at this table deals with the health care system. I understand what they're dealing with. I understand they're being asked to do the impossible.


And they are being asked to do the impossible.

But life has options. And we don't have any other options. So you get to a situation, and you do what you have to do in that situation. And that's where we are.

The only operational plan that can work, right, because you know the system doesn't have the capacity, doesn't have the supplies, doesn't have the staff. So, how do you handle this surge overcapacity? We call it -- we have to surge and flex, which means you have to deal with, if you're an individual hospital or hospital network -- yes, you're going to be over capacity.

And the only way we can make this work is if we flex the system so that we take all hospitals, all hospital networks, some hospitals are in networks, and we work together as one system, which has never been done, right? We have public hospitals, we have private hospitals. We have Long Island hospitals. We have New York City hospitals.

In totality, it's the health care system, the state manages, regulates the health care system, but they're all individual hospitals, and/or individual networks and they're accustomed to just doing business and managing their own affairs. That doesn't work. We have to balance the patient load among all of these hospitals.

So, if one hospital starts to get high or has a projected high intake, we have to shift that patient load to other hospitals. That means some patients who show up at their neighborhood hospital may be asked, can we transport you to another hospital, which is not in your neighborhood, but actually has more capacity? So we have to adjust that patient load among all of the hospitals, which is a daily exercise, and it's very, very difficult.

We're running short on supplies all across the board. Some hospitals happen to have a greater supply of one thing or another. One hospital has a greater supply of masks. One hospital has a greater supply of gowns.

And when we're talking about supply, hospitals are accustomed to dealing with 60-day supply, 90-day supply. We're talking about two or three or four-day supply, which makes the entire hospital system uncomfortable, which I also understand, because we're literally going day-to-day with our supplies, with our staff, et cetera, which is counter-intuitive and counter-operational for the entire health care system. And I understand that also.

The big operational shift will be that Javits coming online, if we get that up and running efficiently. That's 2,500 beds for people who test positive with the COVID virus. That is a major shift for the systems. And at a time when we desperately need a relief valve for the system, Javits could do that. So, we're working very hard to get that up and running.

But that rolling deployment, that flexibility, there is no other way to do that, to do this on a state level. You know, I can't say to a hospital, I will send you all the supplies you need. I will send you all the ventilators you need. We don't have them. We don't have them.

It's not an exercise. It's not a drill. It's just a statement of reality. You're going to have to shift and deploy resources to different locations based on the need of that location. I think that's going to be true for the country.

The federal government, everyone says the federal stockpile, federal stockpile. There's not enough in the federal stockpile to take care of New York and Illinois and Texas and Florida and California. It just -- it's not an option.

The only option I see is there's a national deployment -- everybody says this is war time. It is a war. And the virus is the enemy, where New York, help New York today. Thank you, state of Oregon.

We're dealing with this curve today, and this intensity, and then nationally, we shift the resources to the next place that is most impacted, right? Just what we're doing in New York City, in New York state on a microcosm, we shift resources from the Bronx to Brooklyn to Queens to Nassau.


Shift national resources and state resources from New York to Florida to Illinois, whatever is next on the curve. We're going to do that in any event. We get through this. People have been so beautiful to us. And it is the New York way.

We're going to codify everything we've learned, and we get past this curve, whatever part of the country goes next, we will be there with equipment and personnel and however we can help.

Federal government is also deploying approximately 1,000 personnel to New York. That's doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians. The immediate priority is to deploy those people to help the New York City public hospitals, the New York City public hospital system, HNH, was a system that was under stress to begin with, before any of this.

So, obviously, you add more stress to institutions that were under stress, it only makes the situation more difficult. So, we're going to deploy all the federal personnel who are coming in today, 325, to the New York City public hospital system.

I talked to the hospital administrators on a daily basis. We get them on a conference call and we do this shifting of supplies, and balancing of patient load.

I know that I'm asking them to do really difficult things. I get it. I don't enjoy being in this situation. I don't enjoy putting them in this position. I know their staff is all overburdened, but all I can say is thank you to the administration of this health care system, and most importantly, thank you to the frontline workers.

I mean, these people, they are true heroes in the truest sense of the word. What they do day in and day out under very difficult circumstances. And we thank them all.

On a different somewhat lighter note, there's an accompanying affliction to the coronavirus that we talked about early on. It is cabin fever. It is a real situation.

Not medically diagnosed, I asked Dr. Zucker. There's no definition for cabin fever, but I believe it exists.

It's a feeling of isolation. It's often accompanied by radical mood swings, resentment of people around you, varying degrees for no reason whatsoever, just an upwelling of resentment, especially towards people who are in apparent positions of authority in this situation, which I have noticed. Irrational outbursts can come at any time without any warning -- just irrational outburst, frustration, anger, with no rational basis.

Cabin fever in many ways also threatens the essence of our Constitution, which is premised on people insuring domestic tranquility and it can be disruptive to tranquility. I can attest to that.

It's a real thing. Think about it. It's only been one month, but it's been a long month.

Positive interventions for cabin fever, I'm going to take up running again. I used to run back in the normal days before this job. But I'm going to start running again.

My daughter Cara, we're going to run as a family. We're going to go out there. Cara has a head start. She's out there doing five miles every day.

She thinks she can beat me. Give me a couple weeks, I'm going to be right there. Right there. Fast like lightning.

Going to do it, going to make the dog come. The dog is also experiencing cabin fever. He's a little disrupted.

The order of the pack has changed. Different people, he doesn't know where he fits. He has anxiety. He's going to come out and run.

Think of ways to deal with it. I don't have any great answer. But a little perspective on the whole situation is also important.

I challenged my daughters, this is terrible, this is terrible, this is terrible. This is terrible. I have been saying it's terrible. It's been terrible for society, the economy, personally.

But, you know, let's look back at history, right? Generations have gone through terrible times. So my challenge to them is, you find me a generation that has had a better overall situation than where we are right now.


Go back, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, 1918 flu pandemic. You find me a generation that hasn't had a challenge to deal with. And we're going to have that discussion.

And also, keep in mind on perspective, this is going to be over. You see on the story developing, you can start to see how the story ends, right? They will have a vaccine. Will it be 12 months or 14 months or 18 months?

There are a number of treatments that are being expedited and are being tested right now. Dr. Zucker in New York is working expeditiously and cooperatively with the FDA to try all new treatments, the convalescent plasma, receptor antibody treatment, we're working on, the hydroxychloroquine we're working on aggressively.

So, we're trying all of these treatments. Some of them show real promise, but you can see that where the story ends. I think -- and this is opinion, not fact -- I think you see the return to normalcy when we have an approved rapid testing program that can be brought to scale. We're now testing rapid testing programs.

But when you get to the point where you can do rapid testing of scale and people can start to go back to work because they know they're negative, we continue to protect the vulnerable population, which is where this was about, but we liberate, as my daughters would say, they're seeking liberation. We liberate people who can go back to work because we know that they're not in a vulnerable category and they're negative.

And I think that is -- it's under development now, the rapid testing, and we're part of it. But that is going to be the answer, I believe. And we get through it because we are New York state tough.

Thank you.

REPORTER: Governor, in terms of the data that you're seeing this 594, which is a slight different yesterday, how many straight days would you say or statisticians say you would need to see sort of similar numbers to say that we have hit the apex?

CUOMO: Jesse, you guys think I don't give you straight answers. You have to talk to the statisticians. They will not give you a direct answer on anything. We don't know.

See, when you start with the first two options, it's either straight up and straight down, right, or a total V, or maybe it's up with a plateau and we're somewhere on the plateau. They don't know.

That's right. They don't know.

So if you look at this three-day roll as opposed to day to day, you could argue you're seeing a plateauing, but they want to find out, they want the future data to determine if this was a plateau.

So in other words, next week, they'll tell you after they have a few days whether we're on a plateau or it was just a blip. Is that accurate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's accurate.

REPORTER: We're still anticipating needing 110,000 beds for coronavirus patients considering the number of hospitalizations that seems like a big number?

CUOMO: We had -- when we started planning, right, we had models that we were planning against. And they had worst-case, best-case, middle- case.

The worst case was even higher. The worst case was like 170 -- what was the worst case?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hundred forty thousand.

CUOMO: A hundred forty thousand beds was the worst case, 110,000 was more of the moderate case. I don't -- look, I hope, I hope we're somewhere near the apex, right, or we're somewhere near the plateau.

So I would hope that we don't need anywhere near that number of beds. That's the good news.

The bad news is the number of beds doesn't really matter anymore. We have the beds. It's the ventilators. And then it's the staff. That's the problem.

REPORTER: Governor, have you been getting state-wide crime stats from DCJS and what's been the trend over the past month? Has crime declined?


Is that a silver lining in all this?

CUOMO: The -- it's interesting. When you close down society, a lot of bad things happen, economic, etcetera, but a couple of good things happen. The -- anecdotally, we're hearing the crime rate is down. The number of people going to hospitals who are not related to the coronavirus is also down. There's fewer traffic fatalities, less crime, less trauma cases coming into hospitals. But we can get you the actual crime data. Has anybody looked at that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that the crime rate in New York City is down. We can get you this stat statewide.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there any plan to give volunteers any sort of additional health care insurance coverage? There's some concern among volunteers that the insurance that they have right now won't cover if they get sick with coronavirus.

CUOMO: We have Department of Financial Services, which regulates the insurance industry, is looking at that question. We're not sure that the fears are justified. I understand the fear that they may not be covered. But we're not sure that that's correct yet. They'll -- we will do everything in our power to make sure people are protected and have insurance for this. And we're looking at that right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, we haven't seen the executive order yet that for -- to redeployed ventilators from upstate to downstate. Why haven't we seen that? And also, what would you say to people in western New York, in the southern tier, in the Adirondacks who have concerns that this may lead them vulnerable on the coming days, in the coming months as the apex moves up?

CUOMO: The -- I would say this, John. The executive order, I'm adding a couple of other things to the executive order to extend a few policies that are going to expire. The concept here that people have to get is nobody can handle this alone, nobody.

The people of New York City cannot handle this alone. The people of Nassau can't handle it alone. The people of Suffolk can't handle this alone. The people of Westchester can't handle it alone. People of Buffalo can handle it alone. People of Albany can't handle it alone, period. That is just a fact. This virus will overwhelm the resources of any single community. It's also true nationwide.

Our wisdom here in New York, our mental wisdom and our ethos is we'll help one another. This surge flex. Every day we sit there allocating among hospitals, shifting down, shifting masks, shifting patients. Nassau needs this, Suffolk needs this, Westchester needs this, and that's the only way we're doing it, by shifting those resources.

We will come to a point where that wave will run right through the state. And we're going to have to do that for Albany and Rochester and Syracuse and the North Country and the Hudson Valley. That is going to happen. And I guarantee the people of this state, that is long as I'm governor of this state, we won't lose a life if we can prevent it. And we're not going to lose a life because we didn't share resources among ourselves.

Anything anyone needs in Buffalo to fight this virus when it hits Buffalo will be there. If it comes from Montauk's point, and I have to get in a truck and drive it from Montauk point to Buffalo, it will be there. And that's the way we've governed this state, and that's the way we've operated. That was our mentality, post 9/11, that's how the state has operated for the past 10 years, and that's how we'll be going forward. Whatever any community needs, we will be there.

Now I understand the fear. Well, if I lend you my ventilator, what happens when I need the ventilator? That was FDR in the garden hose, right? First of all, smart is you don't want your house to burn down, don't let the neighbor's house burned down. When the fire hits the neighbor's house, it's in your self-interest to put out the fire in the neighbor's house. Not only is it the right community, moral, ethical thing, it's the smart practical thing.

[11:35:24] Why did Oregon send us 140 ventilators? Because they're very nice people. Yes. Governor Brown is a great leader. Why else? Because they see the fire spreading. And they say, better we put out the fire before it gets to us. I'm sitting in upstate New York right now and I see that fire coming up, I say let's go put that fire out before it gets to us. But even if the fire gets to you, every hose in the state that can be sent to you, because they don't need it will be sent to you.

And all we're asking is for ventilators that you aren't using now and you don't foresee using in the foreseeable future, right. I say to you, John, do you have any ventilators that you're not using and you don't think you're going to need in the foreseeable future? Yes, I do. I have 10. OK, let me borrow to the 20 percent is what gets you to the 500 ventilators. So go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many of those 500 has the state taken possession of?

CUOMO: None.


CUOMO: None. I just want to know where they are if we need them, right, for planning purposes. We know wherever ventilator is in the state of New York now. They're all dots, right? We know where every ventilator is.

I want to know as we're going through this day to day to day to day -- and we have, by the way, hospitals, they get down to two or three ventilators. I mean, that's how tight a margin we're operating on. I want to know, what's Plan B, what's Plan C, if we get to it, and where are they?

And then look, it's a ventilator. So you know, we had one here, it's on a stand, it's on wheels, you can move them on a day to day basis. Nobody's going to get caught short. It's not like you can't move ventilators from one place to the other. And you look at the curve, that's why I say even nationally, you cannot do this any other way. I don't see any other operational model.

It's when a place is at the apex, all the firefighters run to the apex with their hoses and then the next placed on the apex, you redeploy to the apex. New York City, the apex is either very, very soon or we're on a plateau, do what you can then and then we redeploy. You know, it's -- we talk about the family of New York, right?

I must have said that one million times, family of New York, family of New York, yes, yes, yes. What does family of New York mean? Mutuality, cooperation, sharing benefits and burdens. OK. This is the time the family has to come together. This is the time, not just out of spirit and love, out of necessity. You cannot handle this without your brothers and sisters. You can't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, are we getting an update on the frontline workers, the hospital employees who have tested positive for COVID-19.

CUOMO: What update would you like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many there are, what the plans are?

CUOMO: We can get your numbers for that. I don't know off the top of my head. Do you know how many -- how many healthcare workers have tested positive?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll find those numbers. We'll find out.


CUOMO: Oh, yes, look -- oh, yes. You have a -- you have a problem across the board on number of essential staff who gets sick. You have it in the Police Department, you have it in the Fire Department. And the healthcare system as it's the key cornerstone system, right now, it's especially problematic in the healthcare system, and that's why the recruitment of the volunteers, 22,000 people nationwide, 60,000 people reserve volunteers, were pumping them into the hospitals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, officials in Rockland County, there was a great deal of concern out of Rockland County yesterday about the growth of the virus there. There was some suggestion that you were not aware of the situation in Rockland County. Can you give us an update on that and have you spoken to them?


CUOMO: Well, I know what's happening in Rockland County and the numbers in Rockland County, you do too because we see them every day. On that specific situation with the Muncie Community, Doctor Zucker spoke with them. You want to tell us?

HOWARD ZUCKER, COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH, NEW YORK STATE: So I spoke with the community and explained the need to abide by the six-foot distance and also the issues of social distance and to stay at home and reiterate all the points that the government's made over the course of all these press conferences with everyone there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On a separate --

CUOMO: Excuse me one second. Let's just fully answer that question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've spoken to county executive Ed Day. I think that there was a little bit of a disconnect between the locals on the ground understanding the authority that Executive Order 202-11 gave them on the ground. They've got Public Health Law Section 12 and 12-B and they've got the local building code that they can enforce.

And there are civil and criminal penalties that are associated with that. Obviously, that's the last case scenario in New York City. They have been issuing tickets. So they do have teeth behind these executive orders. And I'm not sure that they understood the full weight of the force that they have behind them. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On a separate suburban question, in New Jersey,

there's been some -- Governor Murphy has said basically, stay in your primary residence, don't go to second homes. In some parts of Long Island, there's been concerned that people are going from New York City to these communities on Long Island. Have you given any consideration to similar sorts of orders telling people not to go out to Long Island with the Hamptons or places like that?

CUOMO: I have not. I'll take a look at the New Jersey order, but I have not. But I haven't heard -- I haven't heard any local officials raise concerns about that here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Zucker, when you say you spoke to the Muncie Community, could you tell us what that means? When did you -- who did you talk to talk to? Did you talk rabbis? Did you talk to government officials?

ZUCKER: I spoke with the rabbis in the community and there was some government -- there were some officials from the county on that call and convey the importance of what, what needs to be done to prevent the spread of this virus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what would be the response of the rabbis?

ZUCKER: I was just in a conversation with them. They heard -- they heard what the concerns were.


ZUCKER: They sure did.

CUOMO: We work very closely with the community in Muncie, as you know, and the Orthodox community in Rockland. I get the issue, but look, also, they understand what happened in New Rochelle, the New Rochelle cluster, which is where we had our explosion.

One person in a gathering, whatever the gathering -- and, look, we're coming into Palm Sunday, Easter week, Passover, I had to cancel the St. Patrick's Day Parade. You know, that's -- a lot of people got offended at that, but you can't have large gatherings where you could have one of two people infecting people. And just because it's a religious gathering, you know the virus is a non-religious enemy. Let's take one more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, the Tesla plant in buffalo, Elon Musk said nine, 10 days ago at this point that he was going to start producing ventilators there as fast as humanly possible. Have you had any discussions with him, with Tesla about what -- is anything going on at that plant with ventilator production?

CUOMO: Does anybody know? I've been a little hyper-focused.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been talking to Tesla. They're actually not talking about making the entire ventilator. They're talking about making one part of the ventilator. They're trying to ramp up to get up and running as soon as possible, but nothing has materialized yet. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it hasn't started --


CUOMO: The problem with ventilator construction is the supply chain. Nobody can make you a ventilator right now in two weeks. That's General Motors, that's Ford, that's Elon Musk, I don't care how big and how powerful.

You can't make ventilators that fast because there are parts that have to come from other countries. And their timeframe, frankly doesn't work for our immediate apex because whether we're talking, you know, two days, or 10 days, you're not going to make ventilators at that time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, the President said yesterday that he wanted professional sports leagues to potentially open it by August, September, including the NFL. How do you feel about that? Do you think that's realistic?

CUOMO: I would love to see sports back to help with cabin fever. But this is not about hopes and dreams and aspirations and what you would like to see. None of us like being here. Follow the data. Follow the science. Let the professional, doctor, healthcare professionals tell you when it's safe to reopen, and that's when you reopen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you asked -- have you asked the president to come to New York to see what's going on here? Would you consider that?

CUOMO: Look, he's welcome to come. My guess is they would say they trying to keep the President's health protected, and I'm sure he's got 900 health professionals like I have to hear from my health commissioner in a nice way -- I love hearing from you -- say don't expose yourself, don't go out, stay in a bubble, wrap you in plastic, valuable asset.




STELTER: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo holding his daily briefing for the state with lessons and advice for viewers across the country and around the world. This is the time, he said on this Palm Sunday, this is the time the family has to come together. And we can file this news under the idea of glass half full. Cuomo says the daily number of new hospitalizations in New York State is down.

Cuomo also said the daily number of new deaths, the daily number of new deaths is dropping for the first time. But there were still another 594 deaths in the past 24 hours or in this new data presented by the governor so the glass cannot be that full. The situation in hospitals remains dire, particularly in New York City and around this metro area. Then bottom line, as the governor said, people who were very vulnerable must stay isolated and protected. Now with me now to debrief from this press conference, Jason Carroll,

CNN National Correspondent here in New York, and in Washington, Sarah Westwood CNN White House reporter. Jason, what's the biggest headline from the governor? Is it his remarks about hospitals continuing to run out of supplies across the board?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I would say so. A couple of headlines here, Brian. First of all, he made it very clear, he says he's been in touch with hospital staff over the past few days every single day. He says they are running low on supplies. He said probably about three to four days of supplies that are left.

And then once again, we heard the governor make this call for the need for more ventilators. He said quote -- he said, "this is not an exercise, this is not a drill." He said -- he talked about the need for ventilators now. He said he wants to have a B-plan, he wants to Have a C-plan available. He said, look -- in one situation, he said, one hospital was down to two to three ventilators. He said that's how desperate this situation can get.

And so it's very clear that the governor once again is saying, look, you bring ventilators to where their need is most, in this case being in New York State, New York City. Once that need is over, you then transfer those ventilators to the other place where there is going to be a need. So we made very clear during the briefing, as he has, Brian, each day we've heard these briefings that the need for the ventilators is now.

STELTER: Let's take a look at this morning's New York Post cover. It shows boarded up stores here in New York City, the graffiti, the writing there, the spray paint saying we are all in this together. But Jason, it's a striking image. And I've seen it driving around Manhattan. I'm sure you've seen it. How have you seen New York City change in recent days?

CARROLL: Well, you know, look, I mean, anyone who's been in this city who knows New York City knows that how strange it is now to be in the city. You can walk down 42nd Street during the middle of the day. You can jog down the middle of it. It's so empty. You can run down streets like Madison Avenue. It's so empty.

You go to the supermarket, for example, they've got tape that's down on the ground, indicating where you stand so you're six feet away from where the other person is. But one of the most striking things to me about living in New York City now is that when you talk to people, it's not uncommon at all to know someone who's been diagnosed with COVID-19, know someone who's sick with COVID-19.

And now the stories are starting to come in from just talking to friends and professionals about people who have succumbed to COVID-19. And that is become a sad reality here.

STETLER: Yes. Sarah, you just found a story for about Surgeon General Jerome Adams' comments invoking Pearl Harbor and invoking 9/11. Fill us in on what he said today. SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That right, Brian. The Surgeon General sounding very somber about what lies ahead saying that this next week, the week after it will be possibly the worst of it across the nation. He said Americans should prepare for this next week to be one of the hardest and the worst of their lives.

Now, you mentioned some of those encouraging signs that Governor Cuomo mentioned in the data that he's saying in New York City. For example, the higher number of discharges from hospitals. But Governor Cuomo was careful not to let optimism sort of overtake that saying that we won't really know if we're in a plateau up in New York City until we see next week's data and the week after that, compare it relative to this point in time now, whether they're at the apex, for example, or whether they're still climbing up that curve.

But President Trump in his briefings, has sounded a lot more optimistic about the data. But we've heard from it, for example, Deborah Birx saying the national curve, when she's interpreting it, shows that not everyone is following those social distancing guidelines. And again, the Surgeon General Jerome Adams, just really preparing Americans for the number of deaths that we're going to see just over the next couple of weeks.

STELTER: Right. That's right. There is no such scheduled briefing today at the White House. This task force has been briefing almost every day. Do we have any sense of why there's no scheduled briefing today, Sarah?


WESTWOOD: Brian, this is the first day in a while that we haven't seen the Coronavirus Task Force briefing reporters. They've been getting longer and longer. I mean, sometimes going over the two-hour mark or close to it when the President is taking the podium. We saw a lengthy one last night but we're not going to see one today.

So no chance to ask the president and administration officials about the latest data. But again, we did see a number of administration officials, governors on the Sunday shows answering questions about the coronavirus earlier today, Brian.

STELTER: Yes, a little bit of behind the scenes he tells people. The White House has declared what's called a photo lid which indicates some members of the media that we're not going to see the president today. Another sign of a lack of a briefing. Look, yesterday was a very disturbing briefing at the White House, I thought, to hear the President talking about this unproven drug, which hopefully will help many people who have this disease.

But say hey, people should try it. What do they have to lose? They actually could have a lot to lose. There are now issues about the supply of that drug running low. So it was a disturbing briefing yesterday. I do wonder that has something to do with the fact that there isn't a briefing scheduled today.

Let's take a break here and then come back with Dr. James Phillips. I want to ask him about the President's talk about unproven medications and more in just a moment.



STELTER: I'm Brian Stelter in New York. We've been watching New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's daily briefing. RELIABLE SOURCES will begin at the top of the noon Eastern Time hour. But let me bring in Dr. James Phillips, one of our new CNN Medical Analysts. He's an E.R. doctor, the section chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University's Emergency Medicine Department.

Dr. James Phillips, I was talking before the break about President Trump promoting hydrochloroquine as a potential solution to this crisis. Some people even building it as a cure. There's a lot of talk about this in right-wing radio and TV. What's the reality about this?

JAMES PHILLIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, thanks for having me on. The reality is that we don't know enough to start making recommendations. When we -- when we are in a situation like we're in, we obviously want to find something that will help. We are -- we are experimenting or trialing medications, maybe 60 different medicines across the country and across the world right now.

And it's quite frankly, a dangerous message for someone without a medical license to get up there and tell people to try it, which was a quote. It's not good messaging and it can cause harm.

Dr. Fauci has made it really clear, and I think every physician in the -- in the public has made it clear that you need to listen to physicians, listen to people who understand science, and listen to people who understand risk profiles and the possible consequences of trying a medication off label before you just go out willy-nilly go into the medicine cabinet and take the medication.

STELTER: People talked about the contrast between the President's briefings and these governor briefings. What stands out to you about these governor's briefings? I loved how Cuomo was talking about cabin fever, trying to help people through the therapy part of this, the psychology of this experience.

PHILLIPS: And that's a display of fantastic crisis messaging. Governor Cuomo is being -- is popular in the United States for a reason. He's doing exactly what should be done. He's reliable, he's incredibly knowledgeable about the situation, and impressively, even the medical aspects of what's going on there.

You want someone who is in authority who's also comforting, displays empathy and sympathy. And so, there's a reason why people are tuning in to watch his briefings. There is a sharp contrast with the way the President's style is. And my criticisms of President Trump are not political in any way.

You know, he's not only the commander in chief right now, but he's also the incident commander for the entire nation when it comes to what we call the incident command structure. And so we turn to him for leadership and we turn to him for advice.

And we also turn to him because our hearts are hurting and we need someone to give us real hope and also shoot it to a straight. And I think that there is a failure on his part as the incident commander when it comes to messaging.

STELTER: Incident commander, that's such an important way to view this. Dr. James Phillip, thank you very much. A quick break here. A special noon Eastern time hour of RELIABLE SOURCES is coming up in just two minutes. We're going to speak with the CEO of Zoom, the editor of The Washington Post, and much more.