Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR

Dr. Sally Goza & Dr. Tovah Klein Discuss Talking to Kids about Coronavirus; Small Businesses Face Challenges Amid Coronavirus Outbreak; Coronavirus Task Force Update; White House Updates Public on U.S. Corinavirus Response. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired March 17, 2020 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:30:00]

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And, Doctor Goza, when we first spoke, you told me said something really important. I said it on the show yesterday. This is not like a snow day in terms of schools being closed. Why is that important for parents to remember?

DR. SALLY GOZA, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS: This is so important. The social distancing is what's going to make this crisis go by faster and be resolved a little bit sooner with less casualties, less problems in the country.

And so we really need to make sure that we're not treating this just like another day out of school. We need to have activities at home. We need to keep our kids engaged at home, so that's going to be very important.

It's very hard to not want to go have a playdate when you're out of school for the day and everybody is feeling great. But that's where we really need to rein it in and say, no, let's do something at home.

If they're an older child, let's find something to do at home. But still have contact with their friends. They have social media. They all know how to Facetime and text. They can do that with their friends.

BOLDUAN: That starts at age zero, how quickly can they operate a phone.

Then there's the question about grandma and grandpa. Kids are quickly wondering, what's this mean for grandma and grandpa. Are they going to get sick because it affects older people? Can I get them sick? Why can't we see them? What do you tell parents?

DR. TOVAH KLEIN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR TODDLER DEVELOPMENT, BARNARD COLLEGE: This is a really important one because children are worried. Many of us have older parents and children have grandparents.

So to say to them, part of our role is to make sure that older people like grandma and grandpa don't get it, so, unfortunately, and maybe a little sad right now, we can't see grandma and grandpa. But you can talk to them. Maybe you do some kind of facetiming with

them. But if we stay home and we protect ourselves, we can make sure grandma and grandpa don't get sick. Again, it's a lot of reassurance in the same way.

BOLDUAN: Reassurance.

Really quick, Dr. Goza, because the academy has very important guidelines when it comes to screen time, where are you on screen time in this moment of crisis?

GOZA: Regular life limits are important. You should not let screen time interfere with your sleep, social interaction, those kinds of things.

There are a lot of places we can use social media right now. Kids can interact with their friends for a certain amount per day. You can watch social media together and enjoy that together.

I'm supposed to add in here the census is coming out April 1st so you can fill out your census paperwork with your children and show them how important that is.

Really and truly, there will be some loosening of the guidelines of the time people will let their children be on social media. But sit down with your kids, especially your older kids, and set a limit on it. Let them self-regulate it some. That's a really good thing to teach them some control as well.

BOLDUAN: Dr. Goza, Tovah, thank you both very much.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: You've given me a lot of advice off camera as well, and I really appreciate it.

If you'd like to know more about the helpful advice given by Dr. Goza and Dr. Klein and other health experts, please check out the piece we put together on CNN.com.

Coming up for us, small businesses are particularly under pressure right now. We're going to take a look at how they're hurting and what they need now to ride out the pandemic.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:37:56]

BOLDUAN: Any moment now -- we are standing by -- members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force will give us a live update in the briefing room. There are often important things that come out. We'll bring that as soon as it begins.

Meantime, the coronavirus is having a dramatic impact on businesses across the country. All businesses are taking a hit, but small businesses are especially at risk, with mounting fears that some may not be able to weather the storm.

Here's a stat that illustrates what they're up against. According to Moody's Analytics, 80 million jobs in the U.S. are at moderate or high risk due to the coronavirus.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is our outside food distributor in New Jersey.

Vanessa, it's great to see you.

You've been talking to small business owners. What are they telling you?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. It's an uncertain time for these small business owners, many of them looking at their bottom line and then having to look at their employees and asking themselves, what comes next.

We met with two of them just a short ways from where we're standing here in New Jersey to ask them how they're coping.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LARRY BIRNBAUM, OWNER, EPIC AND THE LIGHTBULB STORE: It's scary. It really is. I wouldn't want anybody to be in this position.

OK.

YURKEVICH (voice over): Larry Birnbaum says he's losing $100,000 a month.

BIRNBAUM: I've never seen anything like this where just everything grinds to a halt.

YURKEVICH: The factories in China, where he gets his wholesale lightbulbs, are closed because of coronavirus.

YURKEVICH (on camera): What percentage of your business comes from China?

BIRNBAUM: Ninety-five percent.

YURKEVICH (voice over): President Trump announced low interest small business loans.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These low interest loans will help small businesses.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: We'll have to jump out of that and head to the White House. President Trump and Vice President Pence giving an update on the coronavirus outbreak.

TRUMP: And I appreciate you all joining us.

Last night, the FDA announced groundbreaking new policies to further increase testing, very substantially so. All states can now authorize tests developed and used within their borders in addition to the FDA. So the states are very much involved.

They have been involved from the beginning, but we're stepping it up as much as we can. And the testing procedures are going well, and within a short period of time all of the private labs will kick in. This has never been done before.

[11:40:00]

And it's -- it's going to be something very -- I think it's going to be incredible if it's done properly. And these are great companies. These are among the greatest companies in the world, actually.

So the states going to be dealing through themselves and with local government, local physicians, local everybody. They're also dealing with us, but we have a tremendous testing capacity.

Today, we're also announcing a dramatic expansion of our Medicare telehealth services. Medicare patients can now visit any doctor by phone or video conference at no additional cost, including with commonly used services like FaceTime and Skype; a historic breakthrough. This has not been done before either.

In addition, states have the authority to cover telehealth services for their medical patients. And by doing this, the patient is not seeing the doctor per se, but they're seeing the doctor. So there's no getting close.

During this time, we will not enforce applicable HIPAA penalties so that doctors can greatly expand care for their patients using telehealth. So the penalties won't be enforced.

We encourage everyone to maximize use of telehealth to limit exposure to the virus. It's been a very successful method of communication, but never used on a -- on a scale like we're going to use the telehealth. And you'll be able to also better maintain hospital capacity by doing this.

Earlier this morning, I spoke with executives from America's fast food industry: Wendy's, McDonald's, all of the -- the big ones, Burger King. And they were great. We're talking about the pick-ups -- in light of yesterday's guidance you heard, to avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants or public food courts, we discussed the important role that the drive-through, pick-up and delivery service can play in the weeks ahead.

So that's happening. And they have been fantastic, they have been absolutely fantastic, and they've been doing it already. But they're keeping it open. And smaller staffs, very capable people and very capable companies and they're doing it. Pick-ups.

Our guidance yesterday urges Americans to take action for 15 days to help stem the outbreak. So it's a 15-day period. I guess now we'd say it's a 14-day period. It's 15 days from yesterday. And we're asking everyone to work at home if possible, postpone unnecessary travel and limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people.

By making shared sacrifices and temporary changes, we can protect the health of our people and we can protect our economy. Because I think our economy will come back very rapidly.

So it's 15 days from yesterday; we'll see what happens after that.

If we do this right, our country -- and the world, frankly -- but our country can be rolling again pretty quickly, pretty quickly.

We have to fight that invisible enemy that -- I guess unknown, but we're getting to know it a lot better.

Today, the Senate has taken up coronavirus legislation that includes free testing for those who need it, as well as paid sick leave and family medical leave for workers affected by the virus.

We're also committed to getting small businesses the support that they need. In fact, one of the things we talked about with the fast food operations -- we spoke to the chairmen and CEOs of all of the companies, but one of the things we discussed is exactly that, getting small businesses support and flexibility that they need for themselves and for their workers. And that's being worked on right now.

At my direction, Secretary Mnuchin is meeting today with senators on additional stimulus packages. I can tell you, he was meeting with them late until (sic) the night last night and for a big part of the day yesterday. And tremendous things are happening. There's great spirit, tremendous spirit. And I can say that for Republicans and Democrats.

I can say that with respect to Governor Cuomo. We had a great talk this morning. We're both doing a really good job and we're coordinating it. And we agree. You know, different states need different things and we -- we agree on that a hundred percent. But we had a very good talk, and I think we're right down the same track. And it's going to be very successful.

New York has a pretty big problem. I guess would be the number one hotspot. That's no fault of anybody's, that's just the way it is. But we're working very closely together.

We're also getting FEMA very much involved. They've been involved, but now we're getting them to a different level and we'll have everything ready.

We're dealing with the Army Corps of Engineers, should that be necessary. We have them working in some cases on standby and other cases, but my conversation with Andrew Cuomo was a very, very productive one and a very good one and I appreciate that.

[11:45:05]

We're giving relief to affected industries and small businesses and we're ensuring that we emerge from this challenge with the prosperous and growing economy because that's what's going to happen. It's going to pop. One day, we'll be standing possibly up here; we'll

say well, we won. And we're going to say that, sure as you are sitting there, we are going to say that, and we're going to win, and I think we're going to win faster than people think, I hope.

Later today, I'll meet with the leaders from the tourism industry as well as industrial supply retailers and wholesalers to discuss their critical roles. As you know, I met with the department store people, all of the retailers, the big ones, including Wal-Mart and others, and those great meeting, they're stocking up their stores like they have never stocked them before.

We're trying to get people to actually buy less, if that's possible, buy less. Don't take everything, just buy what you need for awhile, it's -- they're going to stay open all hours of the day, and they've really been -- they've been fantastic.

We're taking aggressive action now as one nation and one family so that America can rebound stronger. Frankly stronger than ever before, and we recognize that while many American workers can work from home, many others cannot.

Many of our health care providers, first responders, and men and women in the food service and manufacturing are showing that -- they're showing up and standing up to provide us with the goods and services we need, so we want people to stay home where they can, but in many cases, when you talk about food service and manufacturing certain items in particular, they are -- they're going in, and they're practicing all of the safety rules and regulations that we talk about.

So with that, I'd just like to introduce our great Vice President, Mike Pence, he'll say a few words and then I'll make some other introductions, thank you very much.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Mr. President, and good morning. It should be very clear to the American people that President Trump has initiated not only a whole of government approach, but a whole of America approach, and the presidents interaction even today and through the course of this day, with leaders and industry around the country, reflects that we're not only bringing the full weight of the federal government to bear, but the full weight of the American economy.

And I know I speak on behalf of the president when I say how inspired we are at the way the American people have stepped up and the way that American businesses, large and small, have stepped up, it's truly been inspiring. Our task force met this morning, and we continue to focus on President Trump's priorities of testing, prevention, and supplies.

And in that category, I'm pleased to report that -- that while testing is available in all 50 states, as the president just indicated through the swift action of the FDA at the encouragement of governors throughout the country, now the state health authorities can authorize labs in their state and expand existing testing capabilities.

But also in connection with the FDA's action, which you'll hear more about in just a moment, we now have continued to expand the public and private partnership that the president forged with vast commercial laboratories around the country, increasing access to the high volume, high throughput coronavirus testing that is -- that is greatly expanding access even as we speak.

Also, our task force received a report this morning on the progress that the U.S. Public health service and FEMA are making, working closely with state governments, and also partners in the private sector like CVS, Target, Walgreen, and Wal-Mart, to expand remote testing sites around the country, and we'll have a full report later this week as those come online. It's important the American people understand that testing is happening all over the country.

But all of our health experts wanted me to tell the American people, you don't need the results of testing to know what you should do, and President Trump's 15 day coronavirus guidelines are advice for every American in every community. They are the results of the best guidance of CDC and our health experts.

As the president said, we continue to urge every American over the next 15 days to put into practice the principles in the president's coronavirus guidelines. By every American practicing these principles, we believe that we can slow the spread of the coronavirus. In fact, our experts have told our task force that if every American acts on the president's coronavirus guidelines, we could see a substantial reduction in the spread of the coronavirus.

But as the president said, it will take all of us to do it. And so if you feel sick, stay home. If someone in your house tests positive, keep the entire household home.

[11:50:02]

Especially if you are a person with an underlying health condition, we urge you to stay home and practice social distancing from people: No social gatherings of more than 10 people, use drive-through, as the president discussed with leaders in the industry today, and every American, especially, practicing common sense and good hygiene.

For the American people as a whole, the risk of serious illness remains low, but we're asking every American to partner with us in this effort to slow the spread of the virus, and especially to be mindful of seniors or others with serious underlying health conditions for whom the threat of the coronavirus can be very significant and very real.

As I said, the president has continued to push our task force to bring a whole-of-government and a whole-of-America approach, and we continue to be inspired the way our nation's governors, our nation's businesses are responding. We spoke just yesterday with the leaders of every broadcast network in America that will soon be unveiling a public service campaign using CDC guidelines.

And specifically, as we work on the issue of supplies, meetings yesterday with the Department of Defense officials about excess supplies. The president and I will be meeting today to speak about the supply chain for hospitals.

We would make one specific request, and that is we would urge construction companies to donate their inventory of N95 masks to your local hospital and forgo additional orders of those industrial masks.

Because of what the president asked to be included in legislation moving through the Congress today, those industrial masks that they use on construction sites are perfectly acceptable for health care workers to be protected from a respiratory disease.

But we're asking construction companies, that our president knows very well from his background -- we're asking them to donate their N95 masks to their local hospitals, and also forgo making additional orders.

At the president's direction, we will -- we will continue to do whatever it takes. We'll continue to marshal the best of the American people, the best of all the people behind me, the people behind them, our state and local officials. And we will get through this, and we will get through this together.

Thank you, Mr. President.

TRUMP: Thank you, Mike. (Inaudible)

QUESTION: Mr. President?

TRUMP: I want to thank Chad Wolf and Homeland Security. The job they did at the airports was really incredible. They screened thousands and thousands of people. O'Hare got backed up, but -- a little bit, but they got them out, and -- but everybody was screened and screened very carefully.

They didn't want to rush it. I think it was 13 airports, and it was -- it was an incredible thing. Then they had a big surge, also, from the U.K. and Ireland, and that went very smoothly.

But they did a fantastic job. They worked long hours, and they did a fantastic job.

I'd like to introduce Steve Mnuchin, and then I'm going to ask Steve to leave because he's going to the Hill. He's been working very hard with the Senate and with -- actually, with the House on a very -- very big, bold package. It's going to be big and it's going to be bold, and the level, again, of enthusiasm to get something done -- I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it.

So Steve Mnuchin, please.

STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Thank -- thank you, Mr. President.

I'd like to announce some very significant actions that the president has approved today.

The first I would say is earlier today I sent a letter to Fed Chairman Powell approving his request to use 13-3. And what that will do is the Fed will be setting up a special purpose vehicle which the Treasury will invest $10 billion in from one of our funds.

That will enable the Fed to guarantee the purchase of A1-P1 commercial paper going forward. That is a $1 trillion market, and is critical to American workers, it's critical to American business and it's in -- critical to American savers who have a lot of that money in money market funds.

So we heard loud and clear there were liquidity issues. This is very significant, and will create -- I don't think we'll need to use it all, but we have the ability to have the Fed purchase up to $1 trillion of commercial paper, as needed. That has already created significant stability in the market today.

The second thing I would say is, you know, we've previously talked about deferring IRS payments. The president, earlier this morning, authorized me to announce this program. I have previously announced we would defer $200 billion. The president suggested we increase that to $300 billion, which will we -- we will be doing.

Now, let me just be clear on the specifics. We encourage those Americans who can file their taxes to continue to file their taxes on April 15th because for many Americans, you will get tax refunds.

[11:55:02]

And we don't want you to lose out on those tax refunds, we want you to make sure you get them. Many people do this electronically, which is easy for them and easy for the IRS.

If you owe a payment to the IRS, you can defer up to a million dollars as an individual. And the reason why we're doing a million dollars is that covers lots of pass-throughs and small businesses, and $10 million to corporations, interest-free and penalty-free for 90 days. All you have to do is file your taxes, you'll automatically not get charged interest and penalties.

Now, of course, any American has the right to extend their taxes, we're not taking that right. But the president has asked us to go up to $300 billion, that's also an enormous amount of liquidity in the system.

The third thing is, the president and I worked on a very significant economic stimulus plan -- thank you for being available last night and throughout this morning -- and I will be presenting that to the Republicans in the Senate this morning, and also discussing that with the House.

We look forward to having bipartisan support. We're now working with the Senate to pass this legislation very quickly, and these will be payments to small businesses. We've talked about loan guarantees to critical industries such as airlines and hotels, and we've also talked about a stimulus package to the American worker. You can think of this as something like business interruption payments for the American workers. Thank you.

TRUMP: Do you have any questions for the secretary of the Treasury? (CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: When you say a stimulus package for American workers, do you mean direct payments to Americans or are you talking about a payroll tax holiday?

MNUCHIN: Although the president likes the idea of the payroll tax holiday, I will tell you what we've heard from many people -- and the president has said we can consider this. They payroll tax holiday would get people money over the next six to eight months. We're looking at sending checks to Americans immediately.

And what we've heard from hardworking Americans, many companies have now shut down, whether it's bars or restaurants. Americans need cash now, and the president wants to get cash now. And I mean now, in the next two weeks.

QUESTION: How much?

MNUCHIN: I will be previewing that with the Republicans. There are some numbers out there, they may be a little bit bigger than what's in the process (ph).

TRUMP: Go ahead, please, please.

Wait, please.

QUESTION: Secretary Mnuchin, what help are you going to give to airlines specifically?

MNUCHIN: We've -- I've had discussions with all the airline CEOs this week. The airline CEOs have had conversations with the Senate and the House. As the president said, I was up with a subset of the Republican senators last night, I've discussed that with them.

I think as you know, this is worse than 9/11. For the airline industry, this is -- they are almost ground to a halt. The president wants to make sure that although we don't want people to travel unless it's critical, we want to maintain for critical travel, the right to have domestic travel.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: -- billion dollars, is that enough (ph)--

(CROSSTALK)

MNUCHIN: I'm not going to comment on the specifics. I will tell you, we're very focused. There's a lot of workers, this is strategically important to us and we'll be working with Congress on this.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: The airline industry will be in good shape.

Yeah, go ahead, please. QUESTION: There's been talk about a thousand-dollar checks to every American, increasing support among Republicans and some Democrats for that. Would you support that going to everyone? Or would you support some sort of income restriction on who gets a check?

MNUCHIN: Well, I think it's clear, we don't need to send people who make a million dollars a year checks, OK? But we like -- that's one of the ideas we like. We're going to preview that today, and then we'll be talking about details afterwards.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Well, I think -- I think we're going to do something that gets money to them as quickly as possible. That may not be an accurate way of doing it, because obviously some people shouldn't be getting checks for a thousand dollars. And we'll have a pretty good idea by the end of the day, what we're going to be doing.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary -- Mr. Secretary--

TRUMP: OK, John (ph), please.

QUESTION: Can you tell -- how would the mechanics of this work? I mean, we've been talking about a payroll tax holiday, some $500 billions' worth was floated to me today. But -- so how would this idea of sending people a check work? Would you -- would that be sort of an advance on what they would pay in payroll tax? How would it work?

MNUCHIN: Again, we want to make sure Americans get money in their pockets quickly. We want to make sure small business owners have access to funds. We want to make sure that hotels, airlines, we have an entire package. We'll be laying out those details later today.

TRUMP: Yeah, I have to say this. There are four different ways you can do it -- that's OK -- four -- you can hear me well enough, I imagine?

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: -- people at home.

TRUMP: OK. Oh, people at home, you're right. Those are very important people, come to think of it, especially you (ph) people.

Look, we have four or five ways we can do it. Four ways in particular. I think there's a fifth possibility, but there are some very good ways of getting the money out and getting it out quickly.

Payroll tax is one way but it does come over a period of months, many months, and we want to do something much faster than that. So I think we have ways of getting money out pretty quickly and very accurately. OK?

[12:00:08]