tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC May 20, 2020 8:00am-9:00am PDT
[music] [music] especially in times like these, strong public schools make a better california for all of us. good wednesday morning. i'm chris jansing in for craig melvin. let's start the hour by getting caught up on the latest facts. we just got this number in in the last minute. right now more than 1.54 million known coronavirus cases in our
country. so far we have lost more than 92,000 americans. this morning we also reached another major milestone with all 50 states today beginning some form of reopening. connecticut is the last state to start easing restrictions, joining the pact in the last couple hours. my own reporting from there in just a minute. in 30 minutes new york governor andrew cuomo will give his daily briefing. with every state at some stage of reopening, the cdc quietly released 60 pages of guidelines as they push ahead, guidelines the white house pushed back against as too restrictive. there was no formal announcement of this release, but now more information is out there about how to safely get schools, businesses, transit systems and more up and running. as always, we have our doctor on duty for the hour, dr. lipi roy, an internal medicine physician and msnbc medical contributor. we'll have more with our doctor in just a moment. in florida, more cities in
miami-dade are beginning to reopen this morning. cities there were allowed to start opening up on monday. some coronavirus hot spots in the county like miami and miami beach chose to postpone reopening until today. with memorial day now just a few days away, florida could face a major test on its beaches. nbc's sam brock is in delray beach, florida, where the call of the sand and the water have been a tension point in the state. good to see you, sam. what exactly does the reopening mean for beaches there? >> reporter: this is sort of a trial run right now, chris. you can hear the beaches calling your name. many residents down here -- there are 24 million people that visited the miami area last year. many of them to see the beaches. i'm in delray beach where this opened on monday, some restrictions in place. over my shoulder, you can see these folks walking, jogging and swimming is okay.
but sun bathing and surfing is not. as you look down the beach, you'll see people on their towels. there are drones spotting people sun bathing and announcing on a loud speaker, you need to get up. that's part of the process a as tray try to slowly ease people back in. in miami-dade and broward counties there are huge population centers. ft. lauderdale and miami beach have decided not to reopen until after memorial day knowing the kind of crowds that would attract. the people we spoke to here think it's very smart to do this for tailored areas. >> being within six feet of each other and the wind and all that, i don't feel like you're going to be as exposed -- >> this beach, my beach, even on the busiest days it's nowhere near what it looks like anyplace on miami beach. so i think that the restrictions could be a little looser here.
we just don't have the population. >> reporter: chris, she stalked about the business aspect of things. i'm in palm beach county right now. they reopened about a week and a half ago. i was talking to a restaurant owner who says he has sidewalk cafes on the beach. he sees demand between 8:00 a.m. and 2:45 in the afternoon, both nonstop. obviously that's not the case right now. a lifeblood of the ecosystem are the beaches. in miami beach, about 600 stores coming online today. at least they have the option to do that with restaurants coming in next wednesday. the one thing that remains right now, chris, hotels in miami beach still not open with no timeline for when that will happen. chris, back to you. >> nbc's sam brock. thanks so much for that. let's head to the northeast and to connecticut which is the last state to begin reopening. you have restaurants, shopping malls and offices in the state
that can get back to business with new restrictions. in a controversial move there, dental offices can now treat patients for non-emergency reasons. think about your last visit to the dentist and how much of what was in your mouth went airborne. never a pretty picture, but in the age of coronavirus it's a serious concern. i went to connecticut to delve into both sides of this story. connecticut orthodontist dr. gary open is reopening his office today. >> we have a backlog, we've been closed for six weeks. >> reporter: the new normal means keeping patients safe in the age of covid. >> we're wearsing, masks, face shields and disposable gowns. >> reporter: investing in an air filtration system, reducing the number of patients he'll see and revamping waiting room procedures. >> their temperature will be checked. once everything is deemed okay,
we'll escort the patient to the chair where we'll be working. >> reporter: dental practices are by nature innovative. and it seems the coronavirus survives airborne for hours. that's why this hygienist worries. >> aerosols generated in a dental office are unavoidable, whether by dentist drills, hygienist instruments or even the patients themselves who may need to cough. >> reporter: the american dental association has issued national guidelines including high enginists using hand tools and limiting drills, suggestions she worries not all dentists will follow. >> would you go to a dentist for a non-emergent problem? >> i would absolutely avoid going to a dental office with a non-emergent service. >> reporter: three in ten dentist offices didn't have any supply of n95 masks and nearly 18% had no face shields.
connecticut dentist dr. david sa santtrella says it's a problem. >> he's invested in a fogger to clean rooms and a mobile uvc unit to reduce pathogens. >> you understand why people are nervous? >> sure. i'm also nervous. i'm nervous on the flip side. if we don't do anything, what about that patient. >> that they get really sick. >> they get really sick. >> reporter: all dentists facing the new reality that being afraid of the dentist means something different now. >> i wanted to make sure my child was safe and comfortable in a setting outside the home. >> reporter: what are you looking forward to most? >> well, getting my teeth straight definitely. >> reporter: the challenge of reopening a business when it's anything but business as usual. >> there is a major business consideration here. one study suggesting that 46% of dental offices around the country would close if they aren't reopened by the end of august. and the labor department says
dentists offices lost half a million jobs just in april, more than a third of the total number of lost jobs throughout health care. some hygienists are not returning to work because of safety concerns say they're being replaced. let's bring in our doctor on duty, dr. lipi roy. so much to talk about. let's start with one more financial consideration, dr. roy, for dentists. the doctors i spoke to have longstanding practices. they can afford to make the investments we showed you. not all dentists can. even with those safeguards in place, to put it sameimply, do think dentists are sometimes reopening before it's safe? >> good morning, chris. so good to be with you again. in medicine, we know that oral care is health care. so it is important for all of us to make sure that our oral or dental health is up to speed, up to par. that said, we, of course, want to make sure that the patients
and the public are healthy and safe as possible before they go to the dentist. it's reassuring that the ada, american dental association has posted guidelines to reduce the transmission of the virus. but again, there is some concern as you heard in the story that you reported, those particles, respiratory particles, they will inevitably get out into the air. dentistry by nature is invasive. it's going to be a fine balance in terms of maximizing the safety in a dental office. >> the air filtration systems are the things that came up again and again and again with people i talked to. dr. santorella who was doing emergency procedures told me he had patients call after the fact to say they tested positive for covid. i'm wondering can how much implementing temperature checks, safeguard dental office workers,
how much can those other things be safeguards. taken in total, does it need to be a total approach? >> the short answer to that comment, chris, is yes. it needs to be a comprehensive approach in terms of maximizing safety and reducing transmission. remember, at the end of the day, what we want to do is reduce the transmission of the virus as much as possible. you mentioned the temperature checks. there are a lot of businesses that are doing that, but frankly, that's going to miss a lot of potential cases because remember most people are still transmitting this virus in an asymptomatic way. they're not going to exhibit any symptoms. there are many people who have coronavirus who don't have fever at all. so that's one measure possibly. but it's going to miss a lot of people. the uv lights, as you mention in your report, could be a possibility. but i think really you're not going to be able to do the physical distancing. we know that, that's the most effective measure. that's going to be impossible in
a dental setting. i think wears the masks for the staff -- obviously impossible for the patient, is going to be one key factor. >> and the ada obviously is going to be following all this. i want to ask you one more thing that we learned about in the last 24 hours for the first time in months since all this started. some new york hospitals are going to allow families to visit their loved ones. it's a two-week pilot program. visits have a time limit. visitors have to wear all the protective gear. as a doctor, can you talk about the importance of this, both for the patient, for their mental well-being as well as for the families who obviously are very concerned their loved ones are spending a lot of time in isolation? >> chris, this such an important topic. unprecedented in all my years of practicing medicine. i've been a patient even before that and a family member. as a personal story, when my parents came to visit me in new
york last year, my father was unfortunately hospitalized. we, all of us, the entire family got to visit with him, sit at his bedside every single day as he was getting so worried and anxious. that connection, being at your family member's bedside, is such a critical one because of the nature of this disease. it's so infectious that for safety reasons we have not allowed family members. but if we can change settings such that it's safe for family members to don the protective equipment and be at their loved one's bedside, i think that says a lot. it also reduces the burden on health care workers who have been not only doctors and nurses and medical professionals, but they've also been these ad hoc family members as well during this very surreal time. >> and as we've all learned, as great as some of the technology is, they've been able to take and face time, the patients with their parents.
there's no substitute for that face-to-face. we'll be watching how that goes. dr. roy, you're going to stay with us through the hour. also this morning, as officials in georgia look to keep lifting their lockdown restrictions, the governor says new data says keeping the foot on the gas is working and they need to keep doing it. over the past two weeks, hospital admissions in the state are down by a third, but there is some controversy over how the state is interprets ring the data. let me bring in nbc's ellison barber in gainesville, georgia. good to see you. help us sort through these numbers and exactly what they mean. >> reporter: chris, let's start by looking at some of the numbers that we do have. we know the state of georgia opened about three weeks ago, around april 24th is when they started the process of reopening. back then there were close to 27,000 cumulative confirmed cases of covid-19 statewide. today there are close to 39,000. the total number of confirmed
covid cases has increased since georgia began to reopen, but the seven-day moving average of new cases has steadily declined. testing numbers in this state are up. governor kim says georgia's hospitalization rate is down 34% since the beginning of the month. we're in polk county, a county that started emerging as a hot spot in the state of georgia at the end of the month. officials said they expected to hit staffing capacity by may 22nd, the end of this week. they set up temporary mobile medical units to treat patients with covid-19. they have another one on the other side of the hospital. they're getting ready for a big infl influx. today as we speak to officials at this hospital, they say their hospitalizations have steady declined for the last week and they're now cautiously optimistic. wet haven't seen anyone having to go into this tent to get care today. there has been questions when it comes to georgia and how they are keeping track of their data.
one big issue last week, there was a graph the georgia department of health posted online that looked at the number of covid cases in some of the hardest-hit counties. instead of putting that information in chronological order day by day, they put it in descending order. they started with the highest number of cases and put it down. it made it look like a massive drop in counties when that wasn't the case. critics say that was misleading and done purposefully. a spokesperson for the governor's office saying they were trying to make that data less confusing, easier to read. they said lesson learned, and they took it down and fixed that graphic. there are instances like that that people have pointed to that say they're a little unsure about the numbers. the data in that graph i'm talking about, that was never in question. but the presentation of it was. many people said it was problematic even though they fixed it fairly quickly. chris.
>> let me ask you briefly. the hospital you're at just got a shipment of remdesivir. what are the states learning about the effectiveness and what can you tell us about what they're doing in terms of coronavirus patients? >> reporter: this hospital is one of eight in the state of georgia that got a shipment of remdesivir. the state had enough doses provided by the federal government to treat about 110 patients. they decided which hospitals would get it based on who had the highest amount of covid-19 patients using ventilators. this hospital got some of that remdesivir doses and they have started treating patients. they say it's too early to tell exactly how it's working here. at emery university in atlanta, scientists there are leading the clinical study looking at remdesivir and how it impacts and can potentially help covid-19 patients. we spoke to the doctor leading that trial, and he said so far the results have been positive. listen here. >> we were able to show in this very preliminary data that
remdesivir was helping at least certain patients get home to their families faster and, therefore, prevent some of the complications for having covid-19 for such a long period of time and also making more room available in our hospitals for further patients with covid-19. >> reporter: remdesivir is an antiviral drug. unlike other drugs, such as hydroxychloroquine, doctors say this one has few side effects which is why they looked at it as potential treatment for covid-19. >> nbc's ellison barber. breaking news coming from the state department. secretary of state mike pompeo just responded to a question about president trump's firing of the inspector general. he says he was the one who recommended the firing. >> first, the president has the unilateral right to choose who he wants to be his inspector general at every agency in the
federal government. they are presidentially confirmed positions. those persons, just like all of us, serve at the pleasure of the president of the united states. in this case i recommended to the president that steve linick be terminated. frankly should have done it some time ago. >> now, pompeo also confirmed he answered written questions from the inspector general for the investigation into a saudi sarms deal. in that deal the trump administration bypassed congress to make an $8 billion arm sale by declaring an emergency. we've got a lot more on this coming up in the next hour. meantime we're waiting for new york governor andrew cuomo's daily update. we'll listen in once he gets started. a new warning about california's plan to delay reopening churches. governors of some of the most populated states in the country say they're starting to think about bringing back live pro sports, though they're not saying much about how it would work. so what would it look like?
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this morning the department of justice sent a warning to the state of california over its restrictions on churches. in a letter sent to governor gavin newsom, doj argues the restrictions raise, quote, civil rights concerns. so far shops and factories have been allowed to reopen. under current plans, churches in california will have to wait until after manufacturing centers and large offices.
nbc news justice correspondent pete williams joins me with more on all this. good to see you, pete. there had already been pastors who were defying these orders, other legal battles going on. what's at the heart of this warning specifically, especially since california isn't the only state with restrictions on churches? >> this is a coop assistant thing they've been doing, intervening when they think the state is violating constitutional rights of people who want to attend church services. the letter says, california, you're allowing people to go back to work in studios and offices connected to the entertainment industry or e-commerce, but not churches where there can be social distancing. they say in the second phase of the state's plan, schools, restaurants, shopping malls, swap meets, but not churches with social distancing. they're not allowed until the
third phase of the state's program. the justice department says many churches would be willing to open up even if only 15% to 20% of parishioners could get in. this is the third time the justice department has told a state they have to change their practices. they intervened in courts in mississippi and virginia. there had been lawsuits in california in federal court, but the churches in those lawsuits are lost. the justice department says, yeah, we're aware of that but we think they got it wrong. they believe the state must change its practices in terms of allowing churches to open with social distancing unlike other businesses. >> nbc's pete williams for us. thanks so much, pete. i know you'll continue to follow this for us. in the meantime, are you
ready for some football, maybe baseball or basketball? sports fans this morning with a glimmer of hope for pro sports to return. the governors of some of the country's most populous states including new york, california and texas, are looking to get dozens of their state's teams off the bench and back onto fields and arenas. >> i also have been encouraging major sports teams to plan reopening without fans. personal disclosure, i want to watch the buffalo bills. >> sporting events, pro sports in that first week or so of june without spectators. >> some professional sports can return on may 31st. that includes pro golf, auto racing, baseball, softball, tennis, football and basketball. >> a couple of other big states, florida and arizona are also encouraging sports teams to start playing again. what's missing everywhere, details about exactly how to do
it leaving teams and leagues with individual game plans for how to safely get back into action and eventually in front of their fans. joining me mike lupica. let me bring back our doctor on duty, dr. lipi roy. always good to see you, mike. i've been getting emails from my be loved cleveland browns about buying single game tickets. this is my time of year when i always believe we're going to go to the super bowl. but tickets to individual games are another question altogether. would it be fair to say from what you know talking to the leagues, all the leagues, that all of this is still a work in progress? >> oh, my god, chris. when you look at the coverage that the proposals of baseball have put together, and they're brilliant. it's a test where you're trying to score 100% where 95% safetiwise wouldn't be good enough. i don't see any way that they
could start with fans, and we may not see fans again all season. but it's a big thing in baseball, especially -- i hear governor abbott say, oh, we can start after may 31st. governor, tell me how you'll make that happen in baseball, for example, with no spring training, anything resembling spring training. right now baseball hopes they can start around july 4th. chris, there are so many hurdles to climb. again, when you read the coverage -- espn has this long piece today about everything baseball has to do to get back on the field. it's quite extraordinary. then you hear mike trout, the best player in the sport, one of the best of all time saying, wait a minute. you've got to talk to me about the safety factor for my pregnant wife. so there's so many layers of issues here. am i guardedly optimistic that we'll see baseball in july?
i am. but we're not there yet. >> i guess you bring up that question with trout which is who is involved in these conversations, and do we believe all the players are on board? i'm just wondering sort of ultimately where is the final decision going to be made. >> well, the players -- the major league baseball players association is the most powerful players union in the history of sports. it's one of the most powerful labor unions in the history of this country. i really think there are two things in play. one is safety. the players are going to be the ones, along with the ball park personnel and team personnel who are going to be taking the greatest fiscal risks. and then, as a great old football man i new ones said, when they say it's not about the money, it's always about the money. and how much of their salaries get prorated. i read something today, chris.
baseball is losing something like $75 million a day. and even with a sweetheart deal with the players association, they expect to lose $3 billion this year. the players will have a powerful voice. i'll add one thing real quickly. they'll have the kind of voice that college football players are not going to have when all the people in charge of that sport try to get it back on the field in the fall. >> if we have time, i want to get back to the financial part of this. dr. roy, let me go to you, because we love our sports. i think for mental health reasons we want to see our sports. when you look at the number of people who watched the nfl draft, it tells you how desperate we all were. i always watched who the browns were picking. i had nothing on because it had been such a long time since we had seen anything. what's the number one thing you think about, dr. roy, when you think about safely getting back
on the field and in the stadium? >> let me say, as a fan, i'm a huge hockey fan, tennis fan. as a fan, i'm dying to see sports. if i wear my doctor hat, i'm concerned about the safety of the fans. if they're going to be coming in person, how are you going to physically distance them while they're in the stands? what about while they're in concession and waiting for food, buying food. i'm also, of course, very concerned about the safety of the players, the athletes. according to the national guidelines, they risk stratify based on sports. individual sports, say swimming, maybe even in tennis, it's lower risk. but in other sports that are considered higher risk, like, say, football, where there's contact, it's going to be harder to keep players safe. how are they going to monitor this? are they going to be testing every single day? you're going to need to, right? you're going to get exposed every single day. so that's my concern.
there needs to be clear guidelines to keeping the players and as well staff, the coaches, all the other people that are required to keep teams running. those are my main concerns. >> mike, before we go, i want to ask you about non-pro sports really quickly. we heard one of the governors talking about that. i was in upstate new york when they were doing the first phase of reopening on friday. for example, they allow people on outdoor public courts to play singles tennis, but not doubles tennis. when you think about the incredible number -- millions of kids who play organized sports, soccer, baseball, softball, and already the way some parents go back and forth about their kids being on a team, my mind gets blown when i think about how you decide when to go back to an organized sport for kids. are those conversations ongoing?
is little league going to be something we see in 2020? >> i had a conversation today with steve keener, the ceo of little league. they've canceled the little league world series, canceled the regional tournaments. but he told me that little league baseball is starting up again in i think eight states soon. and i think that they have tried to clear all the hurdles that the doctor was talking about. chris, i have four children. i coached them all in sports. i would give a bazile i don't know dollars to go back and coach them all again. right now if i was sending them out on the field and i were coaching them, it would give me pause. >> mike lupica, always with the latest information. i ask a question about little league, so, yeah, i just talked to the head of little league.
by the way, beautiful room there. dr. lipi roy, stay with us. good to see you as well. any moment now, her background is nice, too. but it's our studio. governor andrew cuomo going to give us his daily update. we're waiting for that to start. congress thinking about complaining the restrictions on how employers can use that paycheck aid. for some workers, it can't come fast enough. >> what i make in a week on unemployment is usually my daily rates. if i put that in perspective, thousands of dollars in difference.
looks like they picked the wrong getaway driver. they're going to be paying for this for a long time. they will, but with accident forgiveness allstate won't raise your rates just because of an accident, even if it's your fault. cut! sonny. was that good? line! the desert never lies. isn't that what i said? back live. new york governor andrew cuomo is updating the situation in his state. let's listen in. >> on the far right we have dr. howard zooker. my immediate right, mariah kennedy cuomo who is on special volunteer assignment for the state working for her father, very pleasant boss. a little sad today, mariah and
i, because the boyfriend has left the premises, returned to his home state. that's okay. an old expression, you love something, let it go and it will return to you. and if it doesn't return, then it was never meant to be yours. words to that effect. hospitalizations are down. the change in hospitalizations are down, intubations are down again. number of new cases, slow decline. that's what has happened all across the country. number of deaths, still painfully high, not down. up a little bit. the overall direction is right, but this a painful, painful tragic number of lives lost, and they're all in our thoughts and
prayers. you look at the entire experience, you see we're stabilized basically with where we were before we had this dramatic increase. one of the things we've learned through this is it's not about politics. it's not about emotion. you're dealing with a virus. the virus doesn't respond to politics. the virus doesn't have an ideology, the virus isn't red or blue. it is a virus that is attacking people. it's about science. it's about numbers. it's about data, and smart wins the battle. if you follow that guidance and that theory, we're always looking at researching the numbers, where a case is coming from, how do we reduce the numbers. you look all across the country,
it's lower income communities, predominantly minority, where we're still seeing an increase in the numbers. we looked at that in new york city. we did a very extensive research project, and it is true. you can look at where the cases are coming. look at the testing data by geographic area, by zip code and find out where the cases are coming from. we asked northwell health, the largest health system in the state, to do an extensive test for us. we're in the midst of that test, but we have back about 8,000 tests which is a very large sample. the data is very powerful and informs what we're doing going forward. the test was done in new york city because that's where we have the highest predominance of
cases. but in lower income communities, communities of color, we partnered with the faith-based community, with churches to conduct tests. we found about 27% of the individuals testing positive. 27%, that's compared to the new york city general population of about 19%. the bronx had the highest percentage, 34%, again compared to a citywide average of 19%. then brooklyn, manhattan, queens. staten island was right at the new york city overall number. but you take a place like the bronx. it's 34% compared to 19%, just to give you an idea. the data shows not just a high positive, not just a high number of people had the positive, but
the spread is continuing in those communities and that's where the new cases are coming from. and you can literally do that on a zip code basis. for example, in the bronx, 43% of the people tested positive, 43% compared to new york city general average of 19%. hospitalization rate 3.2 people for every 100,000 compared to 1.8. it is double the hospitalization rate. so be smart. let's use the numbers, let's research. where are people who are infected? where are the new cases coming from? where is the spread continuing? low-income communities, communities of color.
they tend to be high latino, high african-american populations. we're seeing that pattern continue in zip codes, lower income, predominantly minority. brownsville, brooklyn, 41%. double the city average. that happens to be 80% african-american. but again, just about double the rate of hospitalization. so that's where the cases are still coming from. that's where the virus is still spreading. but again, you look at the data, you see it over and over again by zip code, by select communities within the city. my old neighborhood, hollis
queens, 35% compared to 19%. so it's all across the city, less than staten island, higher in communities of color and lower-income communities. i want to thank the congressional delegation who helped organize this partnership between northwell and the faith-based community, getting 8,000 tests in a short period of time is not easily done. congressman hakeem jeffries came up with this idea about ten days ago, organized it quickly. i want to thank hakim. i want to thank congresswoman velazquez and congresswoman clarke for helping us get it organized. the faith-based community has been great here. they organized those churches for us, so we have the data, we have the research. and now we have to take the next step.
we did the research, we have the data, we know what's happening. now, what do we do about it? that's always step two. we're going to develop targeted strategies to these highly impacted communities. what we're seeing in new york city is going to be true across the state. northwell health is going to double the number of churches that they're working in, 44 total churches. we're going to partner with somos community care. i want to thank them for opening up. they're going to open 28 additional testing sites for the communities that fit this profile. they'll focus on public housing. think about public housing and how hard it is in public housing to do the things we're talking about. i worked in public housing all across this country when i was a
housing and urban development secretary during the clinton administration. socially distance. how do you socially distance in an elevator in a public housing complex. how do you socially distance in the hallways, in the lobby, how do you socially distance in a small playground that's attached to public housing. so we understand the challenge, and ready responders are going to increase the testing in 40 public housing developments in new york city. so this is going to be an extensive effort, 72 faith-based sites. you'll have ready responders in public housing. we want to now take the next step which is outreach programs, getting the ppe into the community, getting the hand sanitizer into the community, explaining social distancing and why that's so important and explain how this virus spreads. it's a public health education
effort. i've been all across the state. you drive through some of these communities, and you can see that social distancing isn't happening. ppe is not being used and, hence, the virus spreads. we did the research in new york city because that's where we have the predominance of cases. it is going to be true in every community across this state and across this nation. you tell me the zip codes that have the predominantly minority community, lower income community, i will tell you the communities where you're going to have a higher positive and have increased spread and you're going to have increased hospitalization. i'm asking all local governments to do the same thing that we did in new york city. focus on lower-income communities. do the testing and do the outreach. do the testing and do the
outreach. that's where the cases are coming from. that's where the new hospitalizations are coming from. that's what's going into the hospital system. that's where you're going to see the highest number of deaths. so that is our challenge. on reopening, which we're doing across the state, we do it on the numbers. we do it on the metrics. every new yorker can go to the website and find out where their community is. capital district will reopen today. we're working with religious institutions. right now they can have up to ten people with strict social distancing guidelines at religious gatherings. we've asked them to consider drive-in and parking lot services for religious ceremonies. we're going to be working with our interfaith advisory council. our interfaith advisory council has representatives of the
religious community across the state, all different religions. i understand their desire to get back to religious ceremonies as soon as possible. a former altar boy, i get it. i think even at this time of stress and when people are so anxious and so confused, i think those religious ceremonies can be very comforting. we need to figure out how to do it safely and smartly. the last thing we want to do is have a religious ceremony that winds up having more people infected. religious ceremony by definition is a gathering. it's a large number of people coming together. we know from new rochelle westchester, the first hot spot, that religious ceremonies can be very dangerous. we all want to do the same thing. the question is how do we do it and do it smartly and efficiently.
i'll be talking with members of the religious community in doing just that. i'm sure we can come up with a way that does it but does it intelligently. people ask all the time, now we're reopening, what's going to happen? what's going to happen is what we make happen. there is no pre destined course here. there is nothing that is preordained. what is going to happen is a consequence of our choices and a consequence of our actions. it's that simple. if people are smart and if people are responsible and if the employers who are opening those businesses do it responsibly, if employees are responsible, if individuals are responsible, then you will see the infection rates stay low. if people get arrogant, if people get cocky, if people get casual, if people become
undisciplined, you will see that infection rate go up. it is that simple. this has always been about what we do. it's never been about what government mandated. government cannot mandate behavior of people, and it certainly can't mandate behavior of 19 million people. it can give you the facts. it can give you the facts that lead to an inevitable conclus n conclusion, and new yorkers have been great about following the facts. but we're at another pivot point. yes, we're reopening. yes the numbers are down. yes, we can increase activity and increase economic activity. what is the consequence of that? it depends on what we do. do your part, wear a mask. now, wearing a mask, i have been trying to communicate in a whole
different set of ways. mariah is heading up a project that she'll report on in a moment that's helping to communicate this message. but it seems like a simple thing, wearing a mask, and it's apparently so simple that people think it's of no consequence. it happens to be of tremendous consequen consequence. it is amazing how effective that mask actually is. don't take my word for it. i'm not a doctor. i'm not a public health expert. again, look at the facts. what shocks me to this day -- and i would have lost a lot of money on this bet -- how do front line workers have a lower infection rate than the general population? if i said to you, who is going
to have a higher infection rate? nurses in an emergency room, doctors in an emergency room or the general population, who has a higher infection rate? i think most people would have said they've dealing with covid-positive people all day long. not true. how do nurses and doctors have a lower infection rate than the general population? how do transit workers on the buses and subways all day long have a lower infection rate than the general population? how does the nypd, police officers who show up, who are dealing with people all day long, how do they have a lower infection rate? how does the nypd have almost half the infection rate of new
york city? how can it be? they're the police officers. they're wearing the mask. the mask works. those surgical masks work. and it's in the data. it's not that i'm saying it. it's in the data. otherwise it's inexplicable. look at the list. transit workers are lower. health care workers are lower. the police department is lower. the fire department is lower, which also has the emts, who show up first and help a person get into an ambulance. they have a lower infection rate. the docs workers are the correction officials, correction officers, who are in a prison, they're at 7%. state police, 3%.
they wear the masks. wear with a mask. remember all of those pictures of people in china always wearing masks? oh, i wonder why they wear all of those masks? they were right. the masks work. they are protective and they work. wear a mask. so on may 5th we launched a contest to come up with video messages prepared by new yorkers to try to communicate the message of wear a mask better than i was communicating the message of wear a mask. my daughters were quick to point out maybe it was my communication skills which were preventing the effective communication of the wear the mask message. caveat is my daughters often say it is my communication skills which are the problem in the
home in society at large. so mariah volunteered to run a competition where we asked new yorkers to do a 30-second ad and the winner of the competition would be the ad that the state runs. with that, i will turn it over to mariah for her update and her report. >> today we're excited to be sharing the five finalists that our team has selected for the new york state wear a mask ad contest. and these ad finalists, which we will be showing shortly, are in the running for winning this contest and being shown as a public service announcement. starting today people can go to wear a mask.ny.gov to vote for their favorite ad and voting
will be open through memorial day. on may 26th we'll be announcing the final winning ad. and we're so grateful to all of the new yorkers who have submitted one of the over 600 submissions. and we will be sharing honorable mentions as well so that you can see even more of the great videos. >> great, 600 submissions and these are the five finalists that people can view and vote on. okay. let's see the five finalists. >> i wear a mask for my fellow new yorkers. >> my momma is a health care worker. >> nurses and doctors. >> my father. >> for marginalized communities who don't have access to health care. >> essential workers. >> transit workers. >> immunocompromised. >> i wear masks so we can get back to work. >> go to school. >> share a meal. see a movie. hug my friends.
>> dance together. >> see my friends. take care of each other. >> save lives. >> stay strong. ♪ >> i love new york. we love new york! >> our everyday heroes have been working overtime. >> for new york to reopen -- >> and stay open -- >> -- we all need to do our part. >> and show that we care. >> i wear masks to protect you. >> you wear masks to protect me. >> let's all wear masks. >> to stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives. >> when we show up in a mask, we're showing up for each other. >> show your love for new york. >> as new york loves you. >> the next book says politicians lead. no, sometimes the people lead. and the politicians follow. follow the american people. they will do the right thing.
>> great. i know that guy, by the way. i see him all the time. so those are the finalists. people to vote go to website and vote between now and may 25th. winner announced may 26th. how many times can a person vote? >> once. >> once. no voter fraud on this election. no absentee ballots. no polling place. is there early voting? i don't think so. all right. so that's great. thank you very much for doing
that. we'll announce that winner may 26th. over 600 submissions though. and they're really great. i have seen a number of them. we're going to post the honorable mentions also. but all 600 will be available to look at. they're very creative and different voices from all across the state. i want to thank very much everyone who participated because they really are, they are special. and with that, we'll take any questions that you might have. >> governor, will you be testing every nursing home resident and staff in the state like the white house is recommending? they set a sort of deadline by may 25th. >> everybody, every state wants to test every person in a nursing home. every state wants to test every person in a congregate facility. every person in a prison, every person in a state. so it becomes a question of how fast can you get the testing up?
you know we have the most aggressive and ambitious nursing home testing program, testing staff twice a week. and we're testing people in nursing homes now. could we ever get to -- we have about 180,000 people in nursing homes, right? >> 180,000. >> 180ish. can we speak to the nursing homes? >> we're doing as the president said last sunday mandating twice a week for staff. last wednesday the nursing homes had to turn in their proposals in order to meet that mandate. the feedback we got back from many is they were struggling so we arranged to on monday and tuesday of this week have kits sent to every single nursing home across the state to do the testing. we also paired nursing homes with commercial labs to be able to run the actual tests, so that is officially off the ground. that's to help meet the mandate
of the twice testing wiea week. i believe there's about 100,000 residents in our nursing homes, about 180,000 staff between adult care facilities and nursing homes. it's very aggressive. we're leading the nation on this and, yes, we believe we will meet the goal. >> when? good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington continuing our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. new york governor andrew cuomo today saying that in new york city the virus is still spreading in lower-income communities and communities of color. in those communities, 27% of the populations tested positive for covid-19. that's compared to the overall rate in new york city of about 20%. the government said testing would be increased in those areas. here are the other facts at this hour. today connecticut becomes the final state to begin partially reopening as governors put more responsibility on residents and business owners to sustain their social distancing and safe practices. try to prevent