METROFOCUS: MARCH 15, 2020

As Mayor de Blasio considers putting New York City on lockdown, he announces all city schools will be closed until April 20th.

Aired on March 15, 2020.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI RAMON, JACK FORD AND FLANAGAN.

'NEED TO KNOW' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ.

THE ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION.

THE MIRIAM AND IRA DEAN WALLACH FOUNDATION.

ROCK OF PLAZA AND BY -- GOOD EVENING.

THIS IS THE PRESIDENT DECLARED A NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER AND AS THE FEAR GROWS.

IN NEW YORK, OFFICIALS REPORT THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF CONFIRMED CASES IN THE UNITED STATES.

THERE'S MUCH FOR US TO TALK ABOUT.

WE'RE DELIGHT TO HAVE WITH US AS GUESTS EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF CITY LIMITS AND DR. GRAYSON, A MEDICAL EXPERT ON A NUMBER OF THINGS INCLUDING PANDEMIC THREATS.

WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU AND THANKS FOR TAKING TIME TO TALK WITH US.

LET ME START WITH SOME NUMBERS.

WE DEFINE SO MUCH IN OUR CULTURE AND SOCIETY BY NUMBERS, AS A POINT OF REFERENCE.

THESE ARE THE NUMBERS, OF COURSE THEY CHANGE LITERALLY MINUTE BY MINUTE.

AS OF SUNDAY MORNING, MARCH 15th, WE'RE BEING TOLD, NEARLY 3,000 CONFIRMED CASES IN THE U.S., 60 DEATHS.

THAT COMPARES TO MARCH 1st, WHERE WE HAD 70 CONFIRMED CASES IN THE U.S.

NEW YORK STATE, THE NUMBER WE'RE TOLD NOW IS 613 CONFIRMED CASES, TWO DEATHS, NEW JERSEY, 75 CONFIRMED CASES, TWO DEATHS, CONNECTICUT, 20 CASES NO DEATHS.

THESE NUMBERS WILL CHANGE PROBABLY MOMENTS AFTER I UTTERED THEM.

IT GIVES US A POINT OF REFERENCE.

DR. GRAYSON, LET ME COME TO YOU ABOUT YOUR REACTION TO THOSE NUMBERS INCLUDING THE STARTING POINT OF MARCH 1st.

SHOULD WE BE SURPRISED BY THAT DRAMATIC ACCELERATION OF NUMBERS WE'VE SEEN SO FAR?

JACK, UNFORTUNATELY NOT.

I HAVE BEEN WARNING FOR ALMOST TWO MONTHS ABOUT THIS ONCOMING PAN DEMMIC TO OUR SHORES AND A MONTH AGO I'VE BEEN RAISING THE ALARM WE SHOULD EXPECT AN EXPLOSION OF CASES HERE IN THE UNITED STATES IN MARCH.

UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE NOW IN THE ACCELERATION PHASE WITH A NUMBER OF CASES THAT ARE EXPLODING.

THAT NUMBER WILL KEEP RISING EXPONENTIALLY UNLESS WE ACT NOW AND ACT AGGRESSIVELY TO SLOW THE SPREAD OF THIS DEADLY VIRUS.

I WILL GET TO YOU IN A MOMENT ABOUT THE THINGS WE CAN BE DOING.

LET ME ALSO ASK YOU ABOUT THE MORTALITY RATE.

IT IS HARD, OBVIOUSLY, COMPUTE A PRECISE MORTALITY RATE BECAUSE WE DON'T KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY INFECTED HERE.

USING THE NUMBERS I SAID A FEW MOMENTS AGO, DOES THAT MORTALITY RATE SOUND LIKE WHAT YOU WOULD EXPECT IT TO BE, AT LEAST AT THIS JUNCTURE?

IT IS.

IN FACT, THE OTHER THING WE HAVE TO CONSIDER IS YOU'RE RIGHT, WE DON'T KNOW THE TOTAL NUMBER INFECTED BECAUSE THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION COMPLETELY B BUNGLED THE NUMBER OF TESTING OR 'CAPACITY.

IN ADDITION, YOU ALSO HAVE PEOPLE STILL SICK OR HOSPITALIZED.

A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT DIE FROM THIS VIRUS, NOT LIKE THEY DROP DEAD, THEY'RE CRITICALLY ILL MANY TIMES FOR SEVERAL WEEKS AND UNFORTUNATELY THEN PASS AWAY.

THAT DEATH IS A LAGGING INDICATOR, IF YOU WILL.

IT TAKES A LONGER TIME HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL UNFORTUNATELY SUCCUMB TO THIS VIRUS.

LET ME GET TO THAT NUMBER, THE MOTARTALITY AND HOW MANY PEOPLE SUCCUMBED TO THIS VIRUS.

I DON'T WANT TO SAY, THEY WERE SICK ANYWAY, WE DON'T WANT TO SAY THAT.

GIVEN WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THIS VIRUS SO FAR, DOES THAT SEEM TO BE GENERALLY SPEAKING, THE CASE, TALKING ABOUT MORTALITY RATES AND DEATHS.

IT'S A NUMBER OF ISSUES.

YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT INDIVIDUAL PATIENTS.

PEOPLE OLDER, BASED UPON DATA COMING FROM CHINA AND ALSO CONFIRMED WHAT WE'RE SEEING IN ITALY AS WELL AND HERE INITIALLY IN THE U.S. WITH THE RELATIVELY LOWER BUT STILL ALARMING NUMBER OF CASES HERE.

PEOPLE WHO ARE OLDER TEND TO HAVE MUCH HIGHER RISK AND MORE SERIOUS ILLNESS AND EVEN DEATH.

THAT GOES UP EXPONENTIALLY.

ONCE YOU HIT 60 YEARS OLD, RISK INCREASES SUBSTANTIALLY.

70 YEARS OLD, EACH DECADE INCREASES IN AGE.

THE RISK GOES UP AND UP AND UP, TO THE POINT PEOPLE OVER THE AGE OF 80 HAVE ABOUT A 15% RISK OF DYING FROM THIS VIRUS.

WE KNOW ABOUT THE EXTREMELY SAD CIRCUMSTANCE OF THIS VIRUS CIRCULATING IN EXTENDED CARE FACILITIES IN THE SEATTLE AREA WHERE A LOT OF PEOPLE THERE ARE UNFORTUNATELY DYING FROM THE VIRUS.

IN ADDITION, WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE MACRO PICTURE HERE.

WHAT I MEAN BY THAT, IF YOU LOOK FOR EXAMPLE IN WUHAN, CHINA AS WELL AS ITALY, IF YOU LOOK AT AREAS WHERE THE HOSPITALS GET OVERWHELMED, THE MORTALITY RATE GOES UP SUBSTANTIALLY.

IN AREAS IN ITALY OVERWHELMED, THEY SEE DOUBLE THE AMOUNT.

THERE AREN'T ENOUGH HOSPITAL BEDS OR VENTILATORS TO SUPPORT THESE PATIENTS WHO MIGHT OTHERWISE SURVIVE.

THE SAME THING HAPPENED IN CHINA, IN WUHAN, THE EPICENTER WHERE THIS VIRUS IS THOUGHT TO HAVE ORIGINATED, THE MORTALITY RATE WAS DUE TO LARGE THOUGHT THERE WEREN'T ENOUGH DOCTORS, WEREN'T ENOUGH NURSES AND OXYGEN TANKS TO TREAT OTHERS WHO MIGHT OTHERWISE SURVIVE.

THIS MORNING IN DAILY NEWS, GOVERNOR CUOMO TOUCHED ON THE NEW THREAT, WE KNOW THE THREAT NOW.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE HOSPITAL SYSTEM BECOMES OVERWHELMED.

HE WAS SAYING SOME 200 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY COULD CONTRACT THE VIRUS AND 21 MILLION NEED HOSPITALIZATION WHICH WOULD TOTALLY OVERWHELM OUR EFFORT TO TREAT THOSE PEOPLE.

HUMAN NATURE, WE PUT OURSELVES OUTSIDE THAT CLASS AND SAY, WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT THOSE FOLKS, AND FEW, IT'S NOT US.

ESPECIALLY NEW YORK CITY, ADDING UP EXTRA VULNERABILITY, AGE, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, WHILE THAT IS NOT THE MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION, IT IS LARGE PARTICULARLY IN LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS.

IT'S A HUGE NUMBER OF FOLKS IN DANGER.

LET ME COME BACK TO ONE THING, YOU MENTIONED GOVERNOR CUOMO.

THEY TRIED TO BE CAREFUL SAYING, LOOK, THERE ARE VARIOUS SCENARIOS OUT THERE AND THE WORST CASE SCENARIO THAT COULD GET US TO THE NUMBERS YOU MENTIONED, BETTER SCENARIOS OUT THERE.

WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE REAL SCENARIO WILL BE YET.

AS THE OBSERVER, YOUR JOB IS TO OBSERVE AND WATCH AND LISTEN AND COMMUNICATE OUT THERE AS A JOURNALIST.

ARE YOU GETTING A SENSE PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO APPRECIATE THE SEVERITY OF THIS AND STARTING TO CHANGE THEIR INDIVIDUAL CONDUCT AS A CONSEQUENCE?

YES.

I THINK THROUGHOUT SOCIETY IT IS PERCOLATING DOWN FROM PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS TO OFFICIALS TO FOLKS ON THE STREET, PEOPLE ARE REALLY CHANGING THEIR LIVES IN EVERY WAY, DOWN TO PARENTS THINK GOING ABOUT WHETHER TO SEND THEIR KID OVER TO PLAY WITH MY SON.

FOLKS CHANGING THEIR BEHAVIOR IN TERMS OF WHERE THEY SHOP, HOW THEY EAT.

AS YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED IN NEW YORK CITY IN THE PAST 24-48 HOURS THERE HAS BEEN A CALL NOT JUST TO SHUT DOWN THE SCHOOLS, WHICH IS AN ACTIVE DEBATE GOING ON WITH THE MAYOR AND OTHERS, LITERALLY SHUT DOWN THE CITY, TO ORDER RESTAURANTS AND BARS AND ANY OH NON-ESSENTIAL CONGREGATION POINTS TO BE SHUTTERED FOR SOME PERIOD OF TIME, AN UNTHINKABLE STEP, UNPRECEDENTED IN NATURE.

THAT IS GAINING CURRENCY AND MORE AND MORE OFFICIALS ARE SIGNING ONTO THAT BECAUSE MORE PEOPLE ARE.

LET ME TALK ABOUT THE MEDICAL AND THEN ECONOMIC ASPECT OF THAT.

DR. GRAYSON, FOR YOU, THE CITY OF HOBOKEN, JUST OVER THE RIVER IN NEW YORK CITY, ANNOUNCED THE BEGINNING OF THIS WEEK, THEY ARE LITERALLY SHUTTING DOWN RESTAURANTS AND BARS.

UH-HUH.

NOBODY CAN COME IN.

THEY CAN DO TAKEOUT FROM THERE BUT NOBODY IS ALLOWED TO COME IN THERE.

THEY'RE ALSO IMPOSING A CURFEW, SAY 10:00 P.M. TO 5:00 A.M. IN THE MORNING.

LET ME START WITH THE NOTION OF SHUTTERING BUSINESSES.

WE KNOW THERE HAVE BEEN CANCELLATIONS AS A SEQUENCE, NOW SAYING TO PEOPLE, ALL RIGHT, TALKING ABOUT SOCIAL DISTANCING, TAKING THAT A DRAMATIC DEGREE FURTHER SAYING, NOW WE WILL SHUT DOWN THOSE VENUES SO YOU CAN'T GET IN A SITUATION WHERE YOU'RE INTERACTING.

IS THAT RESPONSIBLE FROM A MEDICAL POINT OF VIEW?

IT'S ABSOLUTELY RESPONSIBLE AND REQUIRED IN CERTAIN AREAS.

LET'S JUST LOOK AT ITALY.

I HAVE TO BEG TO DIFFER A LITTLE BIT WITH DARREN HERE ON VOLUNTARY SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES.

I THINK CERTAIN PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING BUT YOU CAN LOOK AT THE VIDEOS FROM BOURBON STREET, NATIONAL NIGHT CLUBS, PHOTOS COMING IN FROM CHICAGO WHERE PEOPLE ARE CELEBRATING ST.

PADDY'S DAY AND ARE ELBOW TO ELBOW.

I THINK ALL OF US KNOW IF YOU ASK A 20 SOMETHING-YEAR-OLD TO PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING AND NOT GO OUT WITH THEIR FRIENDS, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, RIGHT?

WE CAN ALSO TAKE THE RECENT EXAMPLE OF ITALY.

ITALY TRIED VOLUNTARY MEASURES AND THAT DIDN'T WORK.

PEOPLE AREN'T ABLE TO DO THAT.

THAT'S NOT ME, I'M YOUNG, I'M HEALTHY, IT WON'T AFFECT ME.

I'M NOT OLDER, I DON'T HAVE LUNG DISEASE, I DON'T HAVE OTHER RISK FACTORS.

THEN ITALY TRIED LOCKING DOWN 25% OF THEIR COUNTRY.

PEOPLE GOT WIND OF THAT AND FLED TO OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, SO THEN THEY HAD TO LOCK DOWN THE WHOLE COUNTRY.

I DON'T WANT US TO HEAD DOWN THAT PATH.

I DON'T THINK ANYONE WANTS THE UNITED STATES TO HEAD DOWN THAT PATH AND CERTAINLY NO ONE WANTS TO LOCK DOWN COMMUNITIES.

HAVING SAID THAT, WE ARE, IF YOU LOOK AT ALL THE NUMBERS, OKAY, LOOK AT THE TRAJECTORY WE ARE ON, AGAIN, WE ARE NOT REALLY TESTING PEOPLE, SO THE NUMBERS WE HAVE, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TODAY, EVERYONE KNOWS THOSE ARE SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER THAN THE REAL NUMBERS OF CASES.

THAT IS FACT.

THIS IDEA IN CERTAIN AREAS LIKE SEATTLE, LIKE THE NEW YORK AREA AS WELL, WHERE WE KNOW FOR A FACT THERE HAS BEEN SUSTAINED COMMUNITY SPREAD OF THIS VIRUS NOT FOR A WEEK, NOT FOR TWO WEEKS BUT MANY WEEKS, AND WHERE PEOPLE ARE NOT PRACTICING VOLUNTARY SOCIAL DISTANCING THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STEP IN.

I THINK THESE KINDS OF MEASURES ARE REALLY SMART, TO SAY, LOOK, I DON'T WANT TO HURT SMALL BUSINESSES, AND WE CERTAINLY NEED MEASURES TO HELP SUPPORT NOT JUST BUSINESSES BUT OF COURSE PEOPLE FINANCIALLY AND SOCIALLY, WITH FOOD AID AND ET CETERA.

WHAT WE CAN'T DO IS TO KEEP GOING THE WAY WE HAVE BEEN BECAUSE WE CAN WATCH THESE NUMBERS.

THEY'RE GROWING EXPONENTIALLY.

WHAT WE ARE DOING IS NOT WORKING.

WHAT ITALY TRIED DIDN'T WORK.

THINK ABOUT A VIRAL OUTBREAK LIKE A SNOWMOBILE HEADING DOWNHILL.

SNOWBALL HEADING DOWN HILL.

THE LATER YOU ACT THE WORST IT GETS THE MORE YOU HAVE TO DO.

TAKING STEPS LIKE, LET'S SHUT THE SCHOOLS DOWN, LIMIT THE BUSINESSES.

I LIKE THIS IDEA OF TAKEOUT, PEOPLE CAN COME IN, GET THEIR FOOD, LEAVE, LIMITING THE AMOUNT OF INTERACTIONS PEOPLE CAN HAVE IS A GOOD FIRST STEP.

UNFORTUNATELY, THOUGH, I AM CONCERNED IT'S NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH, ESPECIALLY IN THESE AREAS HIGHLY DENSELY PACKED WITH PEOPLE AND WHERE THE VIRUS IS ALREADY SPREADING.

LET ME TALK ABOUT PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT HERE FOR A MOMENT, IF WE CAN.

WHAT YOU SAID, DR. GRAYSON IS ECHOED BY DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, OF THE INFECTIOUS DISEASE, SAYING, I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE DRAMATICALLY OF INTERACTIONS BUT WE DON'T WANT TO SHUT THINGS DOWN COMPLETEY.

HOW DELICATE SHOULD WE BE, THIS IS A VERY DELICATE BALANCE.

ON THE OTHER HAND, WE HAVE THE NEED TO DIMINISH THE TYPE OF CONTACT THAT CAN HELP THIS SPREAD.

BUT ON THE OTHER, WE'RE SEEING SOME ELEMENTS OF A SIEGE MENTALITY, GROWING WITHIN OUR SOCIETY.

WE'RE SEEING EMPTY SHELVES, WE'RE SEEING FIGHTING IN GROCERY STORES OVER THINGS.

LET ME ASK JARED FIRST, AND THEN DR. GRAYSON, I WILL COME TO YOU.

YOU AS THE OBSERVER, WHAT ARE YOU SEEING IN THE BEGINNINGS OF SIEGE MENTALITY?

I HAM SEEING INTERESTING DIVISION, REPORTS OF SHELVES BEINGEMETRY AND LONG LINES, MAYBE -- BEING EMPTY AND LONG LINES.

IN THE BRONX AREA I HAVE NOT SEEN THAT.

MAYBE MORE AWARENESS AND LESS DISPOSABLE INCOME TO SPEND ON STOCKING UP.

WHO KNOWS WHAT THAT IS.

IT'S STARTING TO HAVE THAT EFFECT IN SOME COMMUNITIES.

THERE IS SOME CONCERN IN THE HOMELESS SERVICES COMMUNITY, BECAUSE HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE SEEN AS A POTENTIAL AVENUE OF DISEASE TO COME INTO NEIGHBORHOODS, PEOPLE MIGHT BEGIN RETALIATING AGAINST HOMELESS PEOPLE OR TREATING THEM DISDAINFULLY AND THEY'RE WARNING FOLKS AGAINST THAT ACTIVITY.

THE CONCERN ABOUT THAT EFFECT IS PRESENT.

I DON'T KNOW IF THE EFFECT IS THERE.

ONE THING I WOULD SAY ABOUT THE DRACONIAN MEASURES AND MAKES ME NERVOUS IN THE CITY, WHEN YOU IMPOSE A BAN THE QUESTION IS HOW DO YOU ENFORCE IT.

IN THIS CITY AND COUNTRY, WE'VE HAD A LOT OF CONVERSATIONS THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS ABOUT CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM AND IN EQUITIES HOW THAT OCCURS, ALL OF THAT WOULD BE GRAFTED TO REDISTRIBUTIONS IN A LARGE CITY LIKE NEW YORK, THAT MAKES ME NERVOUS.

YOU'RE A SCIENTIST, AND PART OF WHAT YOU DO IS DEVELOP MEDICINES AND THINGS WE CAN UTILIZE TO FIGHT THESE TYPES OF THINGS.

YOU'VE STUDIED AND DEALT WITH PANDEMICS.

WHERE IN THE CALCULUS DO WE START INTRODUCING THE NOTION TO PROTECT US FROM A SIEGE MENTALITY AND ALL THE HORRIBLE THINGS THAT CONDITION FLOW FROM THAT.

JARED RAISESUP GREAT POINTS AND WHY YOU HAVE TO COUPLE THIS CONCEPT OF LIMITING PEOPLE'S INTERACTIONS WITH EACH OTHER WITH A SAFETY NET.

UNFORTUNATELY, THIS IS WHERE WE NEED STRONG FEDERAL LEADERSHIP ALONG WITH PARTNERING WITH STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE HAVE NOT JUST FOOD BUT MEDICINE AN OTHER THINGS LIKE TOILET PAPER, RIGHT?

PEOPLE NEED HELP.

WHAT WE'RE NOT SEEING IS THIS IDEA OF PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS.

UNFORTUNATELY, MR. TRUMP FIRED, AS WE ALL KNOW, FIRED AND GOT RID OF THE HEAD OF PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS ON THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL.

I RAISED A FLAG A YEAR AND A HALF AGO WHEN THIS HAPPENED.

WHY?

I THINK ABOUT PANDEMICS.

THE KEY WITH PANDEMICS IS PREPARED, PREPARED, PREPARED.

IF YOU TRY TO REACT, IT'S -- AGAIN WE HAD THAT SNOWBALL DOWNHILL EFFECT.

I SHARED JARED'S CONCERNS ABOUT THE SOCIAL IMPLICATION OF TRYING TO EFFECT REALLY STRICT LOCKDOWNS.

THIS IS WHERE WE HAVE TO TAKE LESS DRACONIAN STEPS EARLY.

IF YOU TAKE THEM EARLY.

THE BEST THING WOULD HAVE BEEN, HEY, LET'S HAVE AGGRESSIVE TESTING.

DRIVE THROUGH TESTING HAS BEEN TALKED ABOUT.

IN PLACES LIKE NEW YORK WE NEED WALK THROUGH TESTING WHERE PEOPLE CAN WALK THROUGH.

IN CHINA THEY HAVE THINGS CALLED FEVER CLINICS, WHERE THEY KEEP PEOPLE SEPARATED AND DO VERY FAST TESTING, COME IN, GET YOUR TEST AND GET THE RESULTS AND KNOW YOU'RE NEGATIVE AND LEAVE.

WE HAVE NOTHING LIKE THAT RIGHT NOW.

AS A SEQUENCE, WE HAVE TO UNFORTUNATELY RATCHET UP THE MEASURES WE'RE GOING TO IMPLEMENT.

NOT CLOSE THE STORES DOWN AT ALL, SAY, WE WILL CLOSE RESTAURANTS, CLUBS, PLACES PEOPLE ARE INTERACTING SHALL WE SAY NOT NECESSARY.

YOU CAN GET TAKEOUT FOOD AND STILL EAT.

NOT LIKE YOU'RE GOING TO STARVE.

LET'S KEEP THE LOCAL FOOD MARKETS OPEN FOR NOW.

BUT THE LONGER WE WAKE TO TAKE MORE MODEST MEASURES, YOU ARE VASTLY EXPONENTIALLY RISKING THE VERY REAL RISK YOU HAVE TO IMPLEMENT EXTREMELY DRACONIAN MEASURES.

WE UNFORTUNATELY ARE HEADING DOWN THAT PATH AS WE SPEAK.

TO ECHO THE WORDS OF DR. TIM RYAN, W.H.O., WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION EXPERT ON PANDEMICS, HE SAID, DON'T LET PERFECTION BE THE ENEMY OF GOOD.

WHAT WE KNOW FROM THESE PANDEMICS, IS THAT IF YOU WAIT, YOU LOSE.

THE VIRUS WINS.

RIGHT NOW, WE'RE WAITING.

OUR COUNTRY HAS HAD A WOEFUL NON-RESPONSE TO WHAT WE KNOW IS HAPPENING.

WE'RE SEEING THIS EX-SPOKENENTIAL RISE AND EVERYONE IS LOOKING AROUND AT EACH OTHER, WELL, WE MIGHT HAVE TO DO SOMETHING.

I FEAR WE ARE GOING TO WAIT UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE, UNTIL THE HOSPITALS ARE OVERWHELMED.

I WELCOME GOVERNOR CUOMO'S CALL TO MR. TRUMP TO LEVERAGE THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS TO BUILD HOSPITALS.

IF THAT'S NOT A CLARION CALL TO EVERYONE IN THIS COUNTRY, THAT'S NOT LIGHTLY.

I DON'T WANT THIS.

I DON'T WANT THIS FOR ANYONE.

I DON'T WANT IT IN MY COMMUNITY.

I DON'T WANT IT IN NEW YORK, MY FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES THERE, SEATTLE, ET CETERA.

IF WE DON'T ACT NOW I CAN GUARANTEE YOU IT'S GOING TO GET MUCH MUCH WORSE VERY VERY QUICKLY.

WE CAN'T CONSTANTLY BE PLAYING CATCH-UP, AS YOU MENTIONED.

EXACTLY.

LET ME MENTION, I DON'T WANT TO RUN THE RISK OF DIMINISHING THE MEDICAL IMPACT AND HEALTH IMPACT.

THERE'S ALSO AN ECONOMIC IMPACT HERE WE CAN'T IGNORE, BECAUSE IT'S PART OF THE FABRIC OF OUR CULTURE.

JARED, TO YOU, AS YOU LOOK AT WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND THE CITY AND PROJECTING A LITTLE BIT, FOR INSTANCE, HOBOKEN, SHUTTING DOWN THESE PLACES, AND ON THE NEWS YOU SAW VARIOUS RESTAURANTS BARNARDS SAYING, IT WILL PUT ME OUT OF BUSINESS.

BARS SAYING.

I LIKE THE IDEA OF SHUTOUT BUT IT WILL PUT ME OUT OF BUSINESS.

WHAT ARE YOU SEEING IN TERMS OF ECONOMIC SO FAR?

I DON'T THINK WE'VE SEEN ANYTHING YET THAT COMES CLOSE TO CAPTURING THE SCOPE OF WHAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE.

I'M 44.

I KNOW YOU'RE A LITTLE YOUNGER THAN THAT.

I'VE SEEN TWO EMERGENCY CRISIS IN MY LIFE, EXPERIMENT 11 AND SUPERSTORM SANDY.

9/11 AND SUPPER ST-- SUPERSTORM SANDY.

I HOPE WE WON'T SEE THAT.

SEPTEMBER 11th, WE COULDN'T GO SOUTH OF 14th STREET, THAT WAS OVER IN A MONTH'S TIME.

SUPERSTORM SANDY, A WEEK, NEIGHBORHOODS TOOK A WHILE TO COME BACK AND BASICALLY BACK TO NORMAL.

THIS COULD BE WEEKS AND WEEKS AND MONTHS OF A HUGE HUGE SHUTDOWN OF BUSINESSES FROM MADISON SQUARE GARDEN TO YOUR LOCAL BAR.

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IT PUTS OUT OF WORK AND TAKES DISPOSABLE INCOME FROM TO OTHER BUSINESSES, IN THE FACT IT'S A LAG EFFECT, OTHER STUFF.

PEOPLE ARE CANCELING CONFERENCES, EVENTS, SPORTING EVENTS, MONTHS IN ADVANCE.

HOPEFULLY THOSE NUMBERS ARE GONE.

YOU DON'T MAKE UP THOSE NUMBERS.

THOSE NUMBERS DON'T COME BACK.

MY YOUNGEST SON AND I WENT TO AN ISLANDER GAME AND ALL THOSE PEOPLE THAT HELP, CLEANING THE ICE AND SERVING.

I WAS AT THE NBA IN ATLANTA.

HOW MANY PEOPLE HAD TRAVEL PLANS AND BUSINESSES DOWN THERE.

LET ME JUMP IN.

WE HAVE ABOUT THREE MINUTES OR SO LEFT.

I WANT TO TOUCH BASE ON THE NOTION OF THE SAD INTERWEAVING OF POLITICS INTO THIS CRISIS.

WE LIVE IN AN ERA OF RAMPAGING PARTISANSHIP AND TRIBALISM.

I SAW A STUDY -- I'M AN INDEPENDENT AND VOTED FOR PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES.

A THIRD OF A POLL OF REPUBLICANS DID NOT BELIEVE THIS WAS AS SERIOUS AS THE MEDIA WAS SAYING IT WAS AND TWO-THIRDS OF DEMOCRATS WAS SAYING, YES, IT IS.

DR. GRAYSON, I GUESS, HOW DO WE GET BEYOND THE NOTION OF POLITICS HERE TO GET PEOPLE TO GRASP HOW IMPORTANT AND SERIOUS THIS IS?

I THINK THE BUCK STOPS WITH THE LEADER OF OUR COUNTRY.

WHEN YOU HAVE THE LEADER OF OUR COUNTRY, WHO HAS REPEATEDLY FOR WEEKS, DOWNPLAYED THE SERIOUSNESS OF THIS OUTBREAK, CALLING EFFORTS BY DEMOCRATS TO RAISE THE ALARM A HOAX.

HE DIDN'T CALL THE VIRUS A HOAX BUT HE CERTAINLY CALLED EFFORTS BY DEMOCRATS TO RAISE THE ALERT, HE CALLED THAT A HOAX.

YOU HAVE CERTAIN MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS, I SHOULD SAY, CALL IT THAT, THAT KEEP BLASTING OUT THAT THIS IS A HOAX.

THAT KIND OF DISINFORMATION IS DANGEROUS.

DANGEROUS.

UNFORTUNATELY, THE SAD, SAD IRONY HERE IS THAT REPUBLICANS SKEW MUCH OLDER THAN DEMOCRATS, OKAY, SO ACTUALLY REPUBLICANS IN GENERAL, YOU KNOW, AS A PARTY, MEMBERS OF THE PARTY AND PEOPLE WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THAT PARTY, UNFORTUNATELY ON AVERAGE ARE AT MUCH HIGHER RISK THAN DEMOCRATS.

I AM A DEMOCRAT, I'M A PROUD DEMOCRAT, AND I WILL TELL YOU SOMETHING, THOUGH, I AM A HUMAN BEING, AND I'M A PHYSICIAN AND SCIENTIST FIRST AND FOREMOST.

MY CONCERN HERE IS NOT A PARTISAN CONCERN, IT IS TRULY A PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERN, BECAUSE THIS VIRUS, IT DOESN'T CARE.

IT DOESN'T CARE IF YOU'RE A REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT.

THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE TO KEEP IN MIND.

IT DOESN'T CARE.

IT'S NOT RED AND IT'S NOT BLUE.

EXACTLY.

IT JUST HAS THE POTENTIAL, I WANT TO SAY, AS WE'VE BEEN TOLD, TO BE FATAL.

NOT ALWAYS FATAL, WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT BUT HAS THAT DRAMATIC POTENTIAL.

LESS THAN A MINUTE LEFT.

DEREK, IN THIS AREA, ARE YOU SEEING LESS THAN THE PARTISAN DIVIDE DEALING WITH THIS VIRUS?

YES.

PROBABLY BECAUSE DEMOCRATS CONTROL JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING.

THAT KIND OF HELPS.

IN THE CRISIS, I THINK PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER.

I THINK YOU WILL SEE MORE OF THAT NATIONALLY, TOO, REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS, RECOGNIZING THE SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM.

IRONICALLY THE MORE EFFECTIVE OUR EARLY MEASURES, THE EASIER THE PRESIDENT CAN SAY THIS WASN'T A BIG DEAL BUT THAT'S OKAY.

MAYBE A THIS AND ALL THE GOOD WORK YOU'VE BEEN DOING.

WE WILL LET YOU GO TODAY SO YOU CAN CONTINUE TO DO MORE.

HOPEFULLY WE CAN TALK TO YOU DOWN THE ROAD TO GET A BETTER UNDERSTANDING.

JARED, ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU WITH US.

THAT DOES IT FOR US, THANK YOU FOR WATCHING.

FOR THE LATEST ON THE CORONAVIRUS AND PANDEMIC, GOOD NIGHT.

STAY SAFE.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ.

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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