tv CNN Newsroom CNN May 7, 2020 8:00am-9:00am PDT
hello, everyone, i'm kate bolduan. thank you so much for joining s us. the white house is making it very clear they want to see states reopen. so why, then, are they rejecting their own expert's advice on how to do that safely? cnn confirmed the trump administration has rejected 23 pages of recommendations for safely reopening places like schools, restaurants, other businesses. just as a new analysis shows only 13 states are reporting a downward trend in new coronavirus cases over the last 14 days, a key benchmark set by the cdc and the task force for states to meet before reopening. 19 states are seeing an upward trend in new cases. yet by tomorrow all those 19
will have started reopening, bringing the overall total to 44 states beginning to open up. none of them meeting all of the cdc guidelines for doing so. and with the death toll in the united states approaching 75,000 people, president trump now has this to say about what he understands opening up could mean. >> there seems little question that by beginning the reopening process and continuing it, there will likely be more cases of coronavirus, more deaths than there would have been had everything stayed shut down. will the nation just have to accept the idea that by reopening, there will be more cases, there will be more deaths? >> we can't keep our country closed down for years, and we have to do something. hopefully that won't be the case, jim, but it could very well be the case. >> let's start off with cnn's nick valencia. nick, why is the white house rejecting those recommendations for safely reopening many
aspects of life coming from the cdc? >> reporter: we reached out to a task force official with the white house who said the president laid out april 16th guidelines. those guidelines are what they're going off of. they didn't directly respond to exactly why they rejected the 17-page document, which they asked the cdc to compile and put together. there's obviously a lot of frustration, a lot of anger from the cdc officials i've spoken to. they're saying at this point this is nothing new, dealing with the white house through this pandemic response. they're used to the chaos that ensues after they're asked to do something. this senior official being very frank saying, in their opinion, this all has to do with the liability that could be incurred by businesses under the current recommendations. over the last week, this 17-page document has been the topic of some intense internal debate specifically between the medical advisers and the business advisers to the president. many feeling on the business side that the draft documents
would leave businesses vulnerable to lawsuits from workers who may get sick or potentially die from getting covid-19 at the workplace. and this, according to the cdc, is very sound public health advice, but late last night it became very clear to the seniors there at the cdc that the white house was not going to implement their guidance. what they're doing now is they're pivoting and trying to get this to the states and seeing if the states can i implement these recommendations. they're very confused at this point, they feel like they've been getting mixed messages. i also spoke to trump officials who said they're not happy over the last several weeks with the work output of the cdc saying it hasn't been, in some cases, very well thought out. just real quick here to wrap up, kate, this 17-page document that we first reported about along with our colleague at the white house, giving proposed guidelines for things like restaurants, single use plates, utensi utensils, cdc guidelines for
schools, not eating lunch inside, and limiting large gatherings. just to wrap this up, kate, what we're hearing is the department of labor had some problems with the business recommendations. health and human services felt that churches were being singled out, all of this, of course, playing into the white house rejecting these documents, and the cdc very fearful that this could lead to thousands more deaths, potentially. kate? >> and in the absence of that, what guidelines are there? joining me now, richard besser, former executive of the cdc. thank you for joining me, especially today. what do you think of this, the white house rejecting safe opening guidelines from the cdc that the white house asked for? >> kate, i find it very concerning. you don't want to get into a situation where public health and public health science is set up as the enemy of restarting the economy.
you know, clearly people are suffering. everyone wants to get back to work. but you need to do it in a way that's safe, that protects workers in the community. if you don't do that, front line essential workers, those who have been getting hit hardest to date, they're going to feel the brunt of this in a big way. as we've talked before, black and latino workers, they're getting hit very, very hard. >> absolutely. this is also what we', what we' play out, is how the cdc has been sidelined really since the beginning of this pandemic. you especially understand the importance of the cdc in such a crisis. i want to play some video from 11 years ago to the day as acting cdc director, you were front and center because of the hours you spent briefing the public. now as you heard from nick valencia, cnn reporting, the white house asked the cdc to stop briefing, they wanted the president to be front and
center. what is the impact of a decision like that? >> during a crisis, a public health crisis, one of the most critical success factors is trust. does the public trust the leaders th leaders, that they are doing things to protect their health? you get that trust by being transparent, by going by the certificates experts in science, by addressing the media and interests of the public. the guidance they put forward makes a lot of sense. states are looking for this. they're looking for something at the federal level that will give them a template to work off of as they're looking to open different sectors. you don't want to see different things in different states, and these are the kind of guidelines that would be very helpful in protecting workers and saving lives. >> the guidelines themselves, as nick was reporting them out, recommendations like sneeze guards on cash registers, kids
in classrooms sitting six feet apart. but the white house responding, according to nick's reporting and others, that the guidelines were too descriptive. they were overly specific and that seemed to be a problem. does that make sense to you? >> i think what people are looking for, and what states are looking for, is that kind of specificity. if you're going to go back into a restaurant, if you're going to go to a gym, if someone is going to go back to work in a factory or get on the subway, they want to know that the precautions are in place to keep them safe. and they'll know that if they know that they came from the most trusted public health agency in the world, and that's the cdc. without that, there is always the concern that things are being done for other than health reasons, for political reasons. the economy and public health don't have to be enemies. it just means investing to make sure that people's lives are protected. >> can i ask you, during the
h1n1 crisis, was liability for businesses a calculation that you were asked to consider in making recommendations? >> what we were told was that we should put forward recommendations based on the best available public health science. and they weren't always adopted fully. there were other factors that would go into the decision making. but we were allowed to be transparent in terms of here's what public health recommends and here's why. as we learned more -- because early on, and we're in early days with this pandemic. early on what you don't know greatly, greatly outnumbers what you do know. so you're going on the best available advice and evidence from experts, and you have to have trust in those experts. >> you said something that's so important, that we're still early on in the course of fighting this virus. and that leads me to another bit that leads to what you can trust. testing. the white house press secretary was asked if americans should feel safe returning to work
without widespread testing. let me play for everyone what the press secretary said yesterday. >> if we tested every single american in this country at this moment, we would have to retest them an hour later and an hour later after that, because any moment you could theoretically contract this virus. so the notion that everyone needs to be testing is simply n nonsensical. the people that need to be tested are vulnerable populations. we have been strategic with our testing so far. >> no expert has ever suggested testing every single american every hour for sure. what is the impact of downplaying the need for testing as we have heard the president do, very clearly? >> i think it's a big mistake. as we move from this setting where everyone is asked to stay home and shelter in place to opening up the economy, we have to have enough tests so that even people with mild infection can be tested.
right now it is vulnerable populations, it is people who are very, very sick to see if they have to go in the hospital. but as we open up, you want to be able to identify people who are infected very quickly, because even if it's mild and they'll do well, they could spread it to someone else. so you identify. you identify who they've been in contact with. you provide a safe place for all of those people to isolate or quarantine so they don't spread the infection. that's a total shift and it requires testing on a very different scale than we are currently able to. and you have to be able to break down that testing by race and ethnicity so you can see within your state, within your city, are there certain groups that are getting hit harder than others so you can address protective measures in those settings? >> i've asked this of a few governors and they haven't given me a good answer, and i wanted your take. with states that -- as we're seeing most states begin that process of reopening, do you think there is one benchmark or one data set that the states should be looking at to know if they need to reverse course, if they have opened up too fast and
they need to lock it down a little more? >> yeah. it's a challenge. i am one of the new jersey representatives on the seven state new england group, and he with talk about this. you don't want to use hospitalizations as your indicator because it takes a while between the time someone is infected and gets sick enough to be hospitalized. you definitely don't want to use deaths. you want to track those pieces of information, but it is very challenging. there is something around looking at what percentage of your tests are positive as an indication. that's a great indication if you're testing enough, because right now a high percentage are positive because we're not testing people who are mildly infected. it's a bit of a confusing issue, but you want to have so much testing out there that fewer than one in ten of those tests is positive. that will give you a sense that you're capturing most of those people who could be spreading
disease. >> it may be and is confusing to the general public, but that is why we all must lean on the experts like yourself in times of a public health crisis. and as you said, we are in the beginning of it, though it seems like it was a very long march, a very long april. we are only in may. dr. besser, thank you. >> it's a pleasure. thanks, kate. >> thank you. we also have new developments in the quest for a coronavirus vaccine. the fda cleared moderna for phase 2 of the vaccine requirement. elizabeth cohen is here. elizabeth, what does that mean? >> reporter: kate, this is definitely good news that they are moving forward in phase 2. others are headed in that direction. they all seem to be roughly at the same spot. let's take a look at what these phases mean. phase 1 of a trial, which has ended for some of these folks and others are still in it, is where they look at safety. it's dozens of patients. it's not that many patients.
basically they want to make sure they're not hurting anyone. that's the most important thing. then you move on to phase 2, which is typically hundreds of people, and you look at safety issues. you look at dosage. is this the right dosage? you look at, does it produce an immune response in the body? then and only then do we move on to what i think people think of when they think of clinical trials. this is phase 3 where it's thousands of people and you're looking at the efficacy. does it work or does it not? that is the trickiest phase because you need to find a place to do this where there is plenty of coronavirus circulating, because you give some people the placebo, some people the vacc e vaccine, you wait a period of time and then you say, hmm, is there a difference of how many people got coronavirus? for that to work, you have to have a lot of coronavirus around so you have to find the right city, find the right place. >> it's so interesting. there may also be a bit of a reality check of a lead researcher working on another vaccine. is a january timeline looking
too optimistic right now? >> let's just go with what tony fauci said back at january of this year. he said 12 to 18 months. that puts us to january to june of next year. that's what we're hoping for. we have to be very clear that this is a process that can be rushed only to a certain extent. but you're referring to dr. mulligan, who is with pfizer pharmaceuticals. let's take a listen to what he said last night on cnn. >> normally it takes three or four months to establish that the vaccine is safe. that's actually the most important first question. and then we want to know if it's tolerated well and if it p produces an antibody response that might be protective. i think we're talking about end of the year and into early next year before we would have a definitive answer. >> reporter: right, so early next year. really, that's anyone's call. january, february, march, who knows. he didn't say we'll have it on
the market, he said whether we'll have an answer. now, we all have to keep this the back of our mind, kate, this vaccine or any vaccine might not work against covid. it is possible. we've been trying to find a vaccine for hiv for decades and it hasn't worked. we all hope that's not the case, but that could be the case. >> elizabeth, thank you so much. i really appreciate it. >> thanks. we also have this just in to cnn. a member of president trump's personal staff has now tested positive for the coronavirus. cnn's kaitlyn collins is joining me on the phone right now with the latest developments. kaitlyn, what's going on here? >> reporter: yeah, kate, this is a member of the u.s. navy. it is one of president trump's personal valets. basically there are members of this elite military unit. they're dedicated to the white house and they work really close to the president and the first family. we've now learned that one of those valets has tested positive for coronavirus. this is supporting with my colleague peter morris, and we're told this valet was
exhibiting symptoms yesterday. they were tested, they are now positive. we're told that president trump was upset when he was informed that one of the valets had tested positive, so he and the vice president were both subsequently tested for coronavirus. once agai as you know, they're tested regularly. and the white house said they both tested negatively since this valet tested positive. they were notified by a member of the military who works on the white house campus tested positive, and they said they remain in great health. but of course this is going to raise questions of how close he is to the president, the exposure, because this is someone who works very close to him. the question is were they in the west wing, were they in the oval office? we know he's on the grounds, but it's unclear what this person's activities were. >> and we also know you can spread the virus before you are even symptomatic, so that could
be days before even yesterday. correct me if i'm wrong, kaitlyn, but this is the first person that is this close to the president and the vice president that has gotten infected. >> reporter: that we know of, this is the closest person. remember, there was a member of the delegation that tested positive after they were all at mar-a-lago one weekend, and that, of course, caused a big stir. it caused several of the president's top aides to self-quarantine at home for several days because they had come in contact with this person. they were waiting several days to get a test back, not like the white house waiting for 15 minutes now. this is, of course, going to raise questions about whether other staffers will have to be tested again, who interacted with this person, whether or not they're doing contact tracing with this person as to who they came in contact with at the white house as well. the policy at the white house is basically they test people who meet with the president, the senior staffers who come in
regular contact, but we don't think they're testing every single person on the white house grounds. they're doing temperatures, but not testing. how does this change going to the white house going forward? >> i was going to say, are you hearing any policy change as to who gets to be around the president and vice president in light of this? >> reporter: we were told when this news went around the west wing, it basically caused quite a stir because that i was revelation people were having. so often the white house relies on saying, we're all tested regularly. if someone was positive, they would be sent home, and we haven't really heard of anyone being sent home yet because of that. this is really the first instance. so, of course, it's going to cause a lot of questions inside the white house. we'll be asking the white house about their policies going forward, but so far we have not learned of any. >> much more to come on this. kaitlyn, thank you very much. we appreciate it. we'll continue to follow this
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devastating new jobs numbers out this morning. 3.2 million new unemployment claims filed this week. that means 33.5 million americans have filed since mid-march. unbelievable. and important to note in the midst of all of this, a new poll shows the furloughs and layoffs are not affecting everyone equally. african-americans and latinos far more likely to be laid off than whites. let me bring in cnn business anchor julia chatterley on what
today means. today's numbers are tragic, but they also, julia, may only be a preview of what's coming tomorrow with april's job report. >> you're absolutely right. i wish i had better news for you, kate. it's going to be record and heartbreaking numbers of jobs numbers. we could be looking somewhere between 15 and 20% of american workers. i see many comparisons to the great depression, so we have to go back decades and decades. my honest feeling is that this underestimates the number of people, of families that have seen wage cuts of some sort, hours cut. it could be as much as one in three workers. i think for everyone's sake, for confidence sake here, the conversation needs to turn to what does the safety of reopening these states look like and how many of these jobs come back. >> that's what i was going to ask you. so states are starting to reopen. what are you hearing about that
expectation of how quickly jobs could come back? >> quickly, i think, is the key here as well, in addition to how many. ilts it's a critical question. it's also a complicated question as we reimagine what the world looks like under physical distancing. construction and manufacturing, i think, will come back quickly, then it's about the consumer. this is the key driver of the economy, and whether it makes sense for bars, restaurants and people to bring their workers back. what you were just looking at there is the fact that right now an estimated 38 states have workers that are on average earning more or equal to what they were earning before the pandemic currently on benefits. that's a challenge for people fighting to come back. is it better to stay on benefits for the short term? that's going to be a problem for businesses, too, so it's tough to gauge these numbers. >> absolutely. it is bad here, but the virus obviously is impacting economies all over the world. what is the broader perspective
of the international picture right now? >> it's an interesting one. economic devastation if we look at europe, but if we hone in on the u.k. particularly, because we have fresh data from them, the u.k. is saying this is going to be the worst recession they've seen in 300 years. but they handle it very differently to the united states, and this is where the comparison is interesting. the government backstopped salaries, 80% of salaries up to a certain point, and literally gave companies the money in order to pay their workers. the government in the central bank said today we could see at worst an unemployment rate that is less than half what we're talking about in the united states. short term it looks like a success, but it's priced for perfect reopening of the u.k. economy, and i think the fear is that rate rises as the u.s. comes down. >> great to see you, julia. thank you. >> thank you. let's get back to our breaking news right now. a member of president trump's personal staff, a personal assistant, has tested positive
for coronavirus. with me, back with me, is cnn senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen. elizabeth, i just want to get your thoughts on this breaking news. what questions do you have as there are a lot surrounding this news coming out? >> reporter: kate, the biggest question in my mind is what exactly does a valet do? never having had one, i don't know. if sounds like a valet would be close to the president. in other words, the valet is not sort of outside on the grounds, the valet would be inside the living space. so how close did this valet get to the president? another thing that comes up in my mind is that, remember the white house staff has to go home every night. the white house staff, those folks have families. they have communities. so it is not shocking that someone would have covid-19 working at the white house. they're not kept in a bubble, they're out in the community. coronavirus is spreading in the community. this is what can happen. >> just looking right here, some
reporting from kate bennett that's just coming through that valets in the west wing, they do not wear masks, according to a white house official telling cnn. another interesting aspect. a question as we think about our daily lives and what we have all been told to do to take safe precautions when being out in public and coming back to our families. how that is applied at the white house is another part of this. from what we've learned about the virus, how quickly it spreads, how it can spread, how long it can survive on surfaces, what do you think needs to happen now as you now have a confirmed case of coronavirus to someone who is very close gets very close to the president and the vice president? >> i mean, certainly if i were working in the white house, i would feel much safer with a mask. i mean, it just makes sense. you know, experts do have a variety of opinions about masks and what they can protect against and can't protect
against, but one thing i hear consistently from expert to expert is, look, if you're in your house alone or just with your immediate family who you're always with, you don't need a mask. if you're taking a walk and nobody is going to be anywhere around you, you don't need a mask. but if you are in a grocery store, wear a mask. if you're out in an enclosed space, wear a mask. we notice when the vice president went to the mayo clinic, everyone except him was wearing a mask. and it wasn't just because it was a hospital, it's because it's an enclosed space and people are near each other. i don't know why in the world you wouldn't wear a mask under those conditions. >> and we know that the white house has this rapid lab test and they have been testing the president and the vice president and they have obviously tested negative for the coronavirus. what is known about the incubation period of the coronavirus? how long is going to be this window where there could be a real question of if the president or the vice president or anyone else at the white
house, on the white house staff, could be at a higher risk right now? >> reporter: right. to your point, kate, testing in this situation can only go so far. all you know is that that person is not getting a positive test at that moment. they could be incubating the virus and they could also feel perfectly fine so they're completely asymptomatic. just because someone has a negative test doesn't mean that they can't spread the virus. is it unlikely? yes, it's unlikely. but it doesn't mean that they don't have the virus. so that's another question that comes to my mind, is did this valet have a test before he entered the white house? and if it was negative, and it later turned out he was positive, what does that tell us? >> stick with me, elizabeth. let me bring kaitlyn collins back in. she's on the phone. kaitlyn, maybe to answer the question that elizabeth led off with at the top, what is known about how close the valet gets to the president and the vice
president, the responsibilities of a valet? >> reporter: that's what's so notable. they get incredibly close to the president and sometimes the first family. this is someone who is personally assigned to president trump. there's this elite military unit, they're assigned to the white house, but the point is there are many valets. so did this valet interact with other valets who went into the residence where the first lady is? questions like that is what the white house will be asked in the coming hours about this, and in the west wing, how much interaction did this person have with the president, other staffers, other staffers on the ground? because we do know from sources telling my colleague peter morris and i that this person was on the grounds yesterday. what's still unclear is if they were actually in the oval office yesterday or, of course, the days leading up to that. so this is someone who works really closely to the president. they handle their food, their beverages, things of that nature. so that is why we are told by our source that the president was upset when he was informed
about this, because obviously he knows this is someone close to him. we should note the white house told us they were both tested after. they both tested negative, that's the president and the vice president. the other question of staffers getting tested, oftentimes they're tested in the executive office building next door. if you're looking to the white house right now, it's to the right of it. that's where the national security council is, and oftentimes staffers go in and are tested, and they're sent on their way and told they'll get a call in 15 minutes if they tested positive. obviously any news is not good news if you get a call from the medical unit. so often they're not called back. clearly this person was. we were told they were exhibiting symptoms, and it's not clear which siymptoms or if that's what led them to get tested, or if they were just being tested because they were on the grounds. a lot of questions about the president's exposure here. >> we have seen very clearly over the past week-plus the
sensitivity that the president and the white house in general has to this issue of wearing masks. we saw that with the vice president when he was traveling and with the president as well. now the reporting coming in from kate bennett is that the valets do not wear masks in the west wing. i wonder now if you're hearing that could be changing. >> reporter: so far the calculus on that is not only do the valets not, many staffers don't wear masks in the west wing. there is one staffer who is famous for wearing it, the deputy national security adviser, who has been wearing one for weeks now, basically trying to signal to his colleagues about the seriousness of this, but most staffers you don't see wearing masks with the president. so when they go on air force i like they did to arizona this week, the president was saying he felt comfortable because everyone had been tested before they got on the plane, things like that. but as elizabeth was saying, the concern is you could contract this and not know it. as even the press secretary
pointed out yesterday, if people got tested, you would have to retest them every hour because theoretically you can get the virus at any moment. so the question is because this person is so close to the president, does this change their thinking going forward, and if not, how does it not change their thinking going forward? because obviously the number one concern that people like the secret service and the medical unit are going to have is how to protect the president. >> absolutely. and that is a very -- a hugely important job in question, and i think we also need to ask is there any update on how this person is actually doing? >> reporter: no update yet. they just said the white house only confirmed when we reached out with this reporting this morning that it is true someone tested positive, but that's really all we know. we don't know how the staffer is doing, where they are, if they were just sent home. we really don't have more details on who this individual is except that they are a male and that they are a valet assigned to the president. >> kaitlyn is going to have more reporting throughout the day.
kaitlyn, thank you so much. elizabeth, thank you so much. we have to jump over now to governor cuomo beginning his updated briefing. >> big believer in the american people always. let them know the truth and the country is safe. i love lincoln and the wisdom and the economy of his language. let him know the truth and the country is safe. here are the facts where we are right now. 8,600 total hospitalizations. that number is down. that is good news. and it's a fairly significant drop, so that is good news. the net change in hospitalizations you see is also down. that's good news. intubations is down, that's good news. the three-day rolling average of hospitalizations is also down. you see the curve, you see the outline of what we went through, you see how fast it went up.
it reminds you how fast the infection rate can spread. look how fast those numbers went up. and you see how, once those numbers are up, how slow, how long it takes to get them down, right? we're on the down side of the mountain. down side of the mountain is a much more gentle slope than what we went through going um tp the mountain. we wish it was a steeper decline. but it's not. this is the worst number every day, is the number of deaths, 231, and you can see how slow that has come down and how painfully high it still is. this is a chart of the number of lives lost. and, again, you can see how fast that infection took off and how many lives we lost, and once that infection rate is high and people are getting infected, you can see how long it takes to
slow it down and reduce the number of deaths. and they're coming down at a painf painful, slow level of decline. the top priority for us, one of the top priorities for us, has been protecting our front line and our essential workers. you have to remember what happened here. it all happened so fast that it's almost hard to gain perspective on it. but the front line workers, they showed up and went to work and put their lives in danger so everyone else could stay home. i laid out the facts, as lincoln said, to the people of this state, laid out how dangerous this virus was, advocated and argued based on those facts that we needed to close down, close down schools, close down businesses, stay at home.
people did that. in the next breath, i said, and by the way, we need you, essential workers, to go to work tomorrow. after just having explained how dangerous the virus was to justify shutting down society in a way it had never been shut down before, next breath, essential workers, i need you to go to work. hospital care, i need you to go to work and help people who come in with the covid virus after we just discussed how dangerous the covid virus was and how little we knew about the virus. look at the courage that those front line workers had to show. i mean, it is still amazing to me. i just want to make sure, on a human level, we're doing everything that we can for them. so we've been aggressively testing the front line workers to find out who needs help, how many people actually have been infected, and we've been working
with the police and transit workers and health care workers. we tested 25 downstate health care facilities. downstate new york is a place where a lot of the virus was, so it was a large sample. what we found out was really good news, and one of the few positives that i've heard in a long time. when you look at the percentage of people who have the antibodies, which means they were infected at some time in the past and are now recovered, of the health care workers, in westchester 6.8, new york city 12.2, long island 11.1. that is about the same or lower than the infection rate among the general population. so westchester, the infection rate among the general population is 13.8, almost 14. westchester health care workers, it's about half of the rate of
the general population. i mean, that is amazingly good news, right? we were afraid of what was going to happen, and the health care workers actually are at about the same or lower than the general population in that area. so that is -- makes two points to me. number one, our health care workers must be protected, they must have the ppe. we've been saying that all along. it was a mad scramble this last time to get the ppe. internationally it was a mad scramble for all of us. that can never happen again. we have to have the ppe, we have to have the stockpiles. we did an order that said every hospital has to have a 90-day supply of ppe at the covid rate of usage. so we'll never go through this again. but it also shows everybody how important the masks and the gloves and the sanitizer are and that they work.
you know, it's not that the front line workers get anything especially more sophisticated than the masks that people wear, the n95 masks. they wear a gown, they wear a mask, they wear gloves, but they follow protocol. and those masks work. they work. if they're working for front line workers, they're going to work for people in their day-to-day lives. and the precautions of gloves and sanitizing, they work. also during this time, it's important that we protect new yorkers who are facing financial hardships. you have people who live paycheck to paycheck. the majority of people in this state live paycheck to paycheck. all of a sudden, the paycheck stops. the federal government issued a one-time payment of $600, unemployment benefits, but it's not making up the gap for many, many families.
and they are struggling, and we want to make sure we're doing everything we can. we have a problem in upstate new york where many of the farms can't sell their product. you had a lot of farms that were literally just dumping milk that the dairy farms had produced. but at the same time you have people in downstate new york who are going hungry and can't buy, can't pay for enough food. tremendous demand on food banks. so we've been putting the two together. it makes no sense to have upstate farmers who can't sell their product and downstate families that can't get enough to eat. so we have been funding efforts to connect the farmers to the downstate food banks. and we've done that with about $25 million through what we call our nourish new york initiative. and that has worked. we're funding about 50 food banks that are -- have 2,100 farms that are delivering food to those food banks, and about
20,000 households in the state are participating in that. and the volume of food and product that is not being wasted that is supporting upstate farms and helping downstate families is tremendous. we want to continue doing that. the state budget is very, very tight right now with what's going on with the economy, so philanthropy foundations, they want to help. this is a great cause and i would suggest they help so we can do even more. people are literally worried about being able to pay rent. you don't work for two months and that rent bill keeps coming in. it's not that the bill payers, the bill collectors have taken a vacation. the bill collectors work, right, they still send a bill and you still get collection notices. by executive order i issued, we did a moratorium on residential
or commercial evictions. you cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent related to this covid situation. and that went through june. so nobody has been and nobody can be evicted through june, either residential or commercial. we're going to take additional steps of banning any late payment fees because a person couldn't pay the rent during this period of time. also allowing people to use the security deposit as a payment and they can repay it over a prolonged period of time. but also i'm going to extend that moratorium an additional 60 days. it hasn't expired in june, but people are anxious, and june for many people is just next month, and the rent bill is going to come due so we're going to extend that 60 days until august 20th. so no one can be evicted for nonpayment of rent, residents or
commercial, because of covid until august 20th. and then we'll see what happens between now and then, right? nobody can really tell you what the future is, so that will be in place. i hope it gives families a deep breath. nothing can happen until august 20th and then we'll figure out between now and august 20th what the situation is. also at this time, principals matter. and i understand the anxiety, i understand the stress, but let's remember who we are and what we're all about and what principles matter to us. people are talking about we should reopen the economy, it's more important than public health, or public health is more important than the economy, and that's the underlying argument and discussion that you're hearing going on right now.
to me it's never been a question of whether or not we reopen, it's not reopen or reopen, you have to reopen. you don't have a choice. it's how you reopen. it's how you reopen. and to say, well, we either have to have a stronger economy or protect public health, no. that's a false choice. it's not one or the other, it's both. we have to reopen, get the economy running, and we have to protect public health. i mean, this is not a situation where you can go to the american people and say, okay, how many lives are you willing to lose to reopen the economy? we don't want to lose any lives. you start to hear these, to me, what are absurd arguments. well, yes, if we reopen, people will die, but people were going to die, anyway. look, we're all going to die at one point.
the big question is when and how. and the when and how matters. i understand that i'm going to die. i just don't want to die now or next week, and i don't want to die because i contracted the covid virus unnecessarily. right? so people are going to die. yes, we're all going to die. that is not a justification in my mind, right? it would be a novel defense. perso a person before a judge charged with murder. did you have a gun? yes. did you fire the gun? yes. did the person die? yes. but the person was going to die, anyway. yes, i know, but it was a gun that killed the person and the bullet, and you fired the gun, right? so to go down this road, well,
there are old people who will die. p predominantly on the numbers. how do you define old? not that old is a justification. but we looked at numbers yesterday, the number of people coming into -- the new cases coming into hospitals. 51 years old is where the increase starts, right? 51 to 60, 60 to 70 is the highest, 71 to 80. but 51 to 60. so 51 is not really old. i know that it's all relative, and since i am beyond that 51, it's easy for me to say. but i don't really see 51 as old when we start talking about the old people. i also think, and i do this for myself, any leader who makes a decision in this situation should be willing to participate in anything they authorize.
so there is nothing that we are going to authorize or allow in this state that i myself will not be part of. it's too easy to say you can go do this but i'm going to protect myself and i'm going to stay behind the glass wall. all human life has the same value. if i say something is safe for new yorkers, then i will participate in it, because if it's safe for you, it's safe for me. right? and that should be our standard going forward. and what we've been doing in new york is, look, make the decisions based on facts and data. not emotion and politics. and i understand the emotion, and i understand the anxiety and the stress. i understand politics a little
bit. but that's not the basis for making a decision. and that was every leader who has told us that in different ways. that was john adams, that was lincoln, that was fdr, that was teddy roosevelt. when when my team comes to me, oh, we had a prison break and there is a flood coming and a hurricane and ebola virus and everything is on fire. slow down, deep breaths. let's look at the facts. let's understand the situation and let's take action based on the facts. that's the way to lead. that's the way i believe to lead one's life. here we have a lot of information. we have a lot of facts. we know the hospitalization rate and the infection rate, number of deaths. we'll be taking antibody tests
and diagnostic tests and we are doing tracing. make your decision based on the fact of the data. it is simple but it is more important than ever before. it is working for us. it is working. that's not just me saying that. because i am the governor. luke at what's happening in new york and look at what's happening in the rest of the nation. in new york, the numbers are coming down. it is coming down dramatically. you take new york out of the rest of the nation's numbers, the rest of the nation is going up, we are coming down. what we are doing is working. what's working stay the force.
we are going through hell but we'll keep ongoing. we are new york tough, united and loving. questions? >> you began the briefing with the term like high anxiety and what seems to increase that when we think of a second wave later. you look at people who are concerned and for the first time people in their lives maybe they want to go to the suburbs of individual family's decision. what do you tell focus that. do you think i am going to leave the city and try something new. if that becomes a trend and putting it way out there. what do you think is your advice? >> you are right, high anxiety and emotions are high. often when emotion is high, logic is low, right?
well, new york had a lot of cases. yes, by the way we now know why new york had a lot of cases. it had nothing to do with new york. it was a national issue. i am going to leave new york. oh yeah, and go where that did not have covid cases? suburbs? other cities? l.a. has them and chicago has them. new york had more. it had nothing to do with new york. it had to do with the fact that all the experts missed a very importa important, a fact that while we were all watching china and talking about china, the virus gotten on a plane in china and went to europe and infected people in europe and people from europe were coming to new york
because that's where the flights come. 2 million people came to new york february, march and nobody was stopping european travels or screening europeans coming into the airport. nobody said to new yorkers by the way any european travelers or people from the u.k. or germany, they may have the covid virus. nobody said anything. we had 2 million passengers from europe. everybody is still talking about china. we do the china travel ban, we are screening people from china but meanwhile it came through europe. millions of people came from europe. we had no idea. we had no idea. that's why the number of cases in new york are so high. they're now looking at people came from europe came into jfk
and new work but toyork but too connecting flight and went to another city. they think the whole east coast may have seen cases coming from new york. the china flights were going to the west coast. the european flights came to the east coast. it had nothing to do with new york. once the virus is in new york, any place of density is where this virus takes off. any place of density. it had nothing to do with the meat processing plant. it had nothing to do with the meat or agriculture, it is density. that's what happened with rochester here and new rochelle.
yes, in new york any dense situation, meat processing, plant and agriculture plant and city of chicago and city of new york, density is going to increase. why here? because of the flights from europe that nobody knew and nobody stopped us. post 9/11 you went through this situation in new york where people asked that question, well, maybe new york is a target. now, we were not the only place attacked in 9/11. it was highly impactful. we lost a lot of lives. people say maybe new york is the target. yeah, but that lasted for a short period of time and new yorkers came back and we are going to do the same thing here.
>> we spoke about a couple of initiatives all struggling, what's your message to those new yorkers and who's hiring at the state? >> we get to may 15th. close down order will expire. we'll look at different regions in the state die the data to see if they'll be in the position to start reopening. you will see the economy start to reopen on a regional analysis and not a flood gate but it will start so we can watch what's happening and calibrate because we don't see the numbers go the other way. everyone is making do and everyone has hardships and etc. we just want to make sure those people who are most vulnerable are protected, right?
one of the greatest vulnerabilities is i am not working and i can't pay my rent and feed family. we have to make sure those people are protected. nobody is evicted because they can't pay rent. let's take that issue off the table. we have to make sure everyone has food to feed their family. we are going that through a number of ways and last resort, these food banks we are talking about today. the number one issue that people talk to me about probably is rent and fear about paying their rent. this takes that issue off the table. what's going to happen on august 20th? i can't tell you two or three months down the road.
whatever happens, we'll handle it. this is unlike anything we have seen before so i am not going to tell you what's going to happen in a month or two months. anyone telling you that, i will question that person seriously. none have gotten this right from the time it started. >> about the landlords who would say they got to pay the mortgage? >> i get it. none of these decisions are easy. you are right. the landlords will say okay so now the tenants does not pay the rent. that's true. we are working on relief from the banks with the landlords
also. and our program and the federal and the states is doing to make sure banks also get relief so they don't have to go into foreclosure and we stop the foreclosures on the landlords. there is no trade off between the tenant and the landlord. we are helping the landlord also. i don't want to see children and family being evicted at this time through no fault of their own. my grandfather used to say if you have your health, we can figure out anything else and fix anything else. if it is about money, we can all figure it out. we have to have your health. we have to have our health. we should protect human