Governor Cuomo: "Do we have enough beds, do we have enough gloves, enough PPE equipment? There is something called the Federal Defense Procurement Act. This is a war. Treat it like a war. Say to the manufacturers in this country, I need you to build these pieces of equipment quickly, certainly the gear, the machine next to me, the ventilator, this is going to be the matter of life and death for people. We now have about 5,000, 6,000 ventilators in New York State. We are going to need about 30,000 ventilators because these people who have come in all have respiratory illnesses."
Cuomo: "That's the war time mentality. You can't buy a ventilator right now. Globally, you can't buy them. We're going to have to make them or make something like them. And that's why the federal government is stepping up and ordering the manufacturers to now come together and make this happen is going to be imperative."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was a guest on CNN's New Day to discuss New York's plan to combat the novel coronavirus crisis.
AUDIO is available here.
A rush transcript of the Governor's interview is available below:
Alisyn Camerota: Joining us now is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Governor, we appreciate you coming on. There are so many developments every morning. What about that? This is just - Sanjay Gupta just reported there are two new guidelines on the CDC website this morning that say healthcare workers who are asymptomatic, but who have been exposed to a patient with coronavirus, can continue to work if they wear a face mask and, by the way, here is the other new guidance, if you don't have a proper face mask, you can consider using homemade masks like bandannas and scarves. Will this - will we see this in New York hospitals?
Governor Cuomo: Good morning, Alisyn. I'm not a doctor, obviously, but I hope we don't see that in New York. But it is making the right point, where this is going to become real and we have been saying this from day one, but we're seeing it now, s this is a crisis for our healthcare system management. it is our -- the capacity of our healthcare system. Do we have enough beds, do we have enough gloves, enough PPE equipment and the answer is no. And that's why the federal government is now fully engaging, and I believe the president now gets it. That's where they have to focus. We shouldn't have to go to scarves and bandannas. There is something called the Federal Defense Procurement Act. This is a war. Treat it like a war. Say to the manufacturers in this country, I need you to build these pieces of equipment quickly, certainly the gear, the machine next to me, the ventilator, this is going to be the matter of life and death for people. We now have about 5,000, 6,000 ventilators in New York State. We are going to need about 30,000 ventilators because these people who have come in all have respiratory illnesses.
Alisyn Camerota: I hear your plea. How fast do you believe those 30,000 can be built?
Governor Cuomo: Well, that's the war time mentality. You can't buy a ventilator right now. Globally, you can't buy them. We're going to have to make them or make something like them. And that's why the federal government is stepping up and ordering the manufacturers to now come together and make this happen is going to be imperative.
Alisyn Camerota: Governor, the last numbers we had from New York that had spiked overnight again, of course, we expect that: 1,871. Do you have any new numbers this morning?
Governor Cuomo: We have - we did 8,000 tests overnight, Alisyn, which is probably a new record in the country. We don't have the results of the 8,000 tests, but when you do 8,000 tests, the numbers are going to go up exponentially. And, again, reality in all of this, it doesn't mean that it is indicative of how many people have the virus, it is how many people you are testing. And when you do 8,000, you're going to see a major increase.
Alisyn Camerota: Governor, there has been a rather public debate going on between you and the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, about shelter in place policies and whether or not that's appropriate for New York City. As you know, San Francisco and the Bay Area has implemented that, basically people should stay in their homes and just on - that's their thinking and that I think is the Mayor's thinking - and so just on Tuesday, you had said at a press conference the people should get out of the house, they should go to a state park, the state parks here are still open, there are reports of people in central park still. Do you still feel as sanguine as you did on Tuesday that people should be going out to parks and not sheltering in place?
Governor Cuomo: Yeah, Alisyn, this is an important point. What I am least sanguine about is that we are battling two things, a virus and fear and panic. And I'm as afraid of the fear and the panic as I am of the virus and I think that the fear is more contagious than the virus right now. You take a place like New York City, we are at near panic levels, so what you say and how you communicate is very important. Should everybody stay home? Of course. Are we imprisoning people? No. Can you stay inside 24 hours a day? No. When you go out to shop or go out to take a walk and get exercise, social distancing. But look at your words, shelter in place, you know where that came from? That came from nuclear war. What it said is people should go into an interior room of their home with no windows, stay there until they get the all clear sign. Now, that's not what people really mean, but that's what it sounds like. And I spent half my day knocking down rumors that we're going to imprison people in their homes, there is going to be a roadblock around New York City, you will panic, 9 million people who will be fleeing New York City in 24 hours if we don't clearly communicate what we mean.
Alisyn Camerota: I hear you, but Governor, I'm sorry to interrupt, but then we also hear we are on a war footing. President Trump says we are on a war footing. This is being likened to war time, and so it is very hard for people to know whether they should be going out to a park or staying home on their version of lockdown, whatever that looks like in your house.
Governor Cuomo: Yeah. Yes, I agree with that. But say that, don't say I'm imprisoned in my home. And let's take a step back, we are on war footing. Build ventilators, manufacture PPE and gloves, et cetera. People stay home. Reduce density. Close businesses. But you're not imprisoned. You're not quarantined. You're not a prisoner. We're not going to put a roadblock around New York City so you have to pack up and get out today. This is going to go on for months. Communicate what you mean without using terms that nobody understands and only incites panic, because that's what we're doing in too many situations. You can get -- you can communicate what you want, but just say it in a more clear way, rather than using these buzzwords that are panicking people. I am not going to imprison anyone in the State of New York. I am not going to do Martial Law in State of New York. That's not going it happen.
Alisyn Camerota: Governor Andrew Cuomo, we really appreciate you coming on, so many mornings and giving us all the latest information. Obviously we'll speak to you again very soon. Thank you.