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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Michigan Governor Says, We Are Behind the Eight Ball Due to Improper Federal Planning. Interview with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) Michigan on Cases Jumping in Michigan 400 Percent In 48 Hours. Administration Moves IRS Tax Filing Deadline to July 15. Managing Stress and Anxiety While Social Distancing. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 20, 2020 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: -- two weeks ago I'm pretty confident that they would say yes. Why aren't you doing that? Why aren't all the other governors doing that?

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): I think everyone of us is trying to share our best medical information and make decisions that are in the best interest of public health. You know it would be helpful if from the federal level -- I've a great deal of confidence in Dr. Fauci. But if they would communicate with us, you know, clearly give us guidance about what the best practice would be to have a hodgepodge of policies across the nation really isn't the wisest way to go.

Now that being said, absent that happening from the federal government we're going to continue to move forward and be aggressive. One of the -- we're communicating regularly with New York and California to understand their thought process and see if that's something that we need to do here in Michigan.

We have been on the front edge of being aggressive and we're going to continue to be and we're always mindful of how important it is to be swift about it as well. So, we're looking at all of these developments. The information is changing literally by the minute. And I would anticipate additional orders coming out of my office in the minutes, hours and days ahead.

TAPPER: You don't have enough tests, right? Have you seen any marked improvement in the number of tests or the number of labs able to conduct these tests in the last week?

WHITMER: You know, it's my understanding that we've got more tests coming and I'm grateful for that but nowhere near the amount that we would actually like to be able to execute.

The fact of the matter is without people to run the tests and labs to report the tests and give us the results of them, and then additional supplies and people online in our medical communities, we're seriously in danger of getting overwhelmed nationally and globally and obviously as a state too. So. these are concerns that we have. We know that COVID-19 is present

in much greater numbers than what the tests will tell you because we're undertesting, and that's why it's really critical that everyone one of us takes it serious, every one of us does our part.

That means these stay at home, you know, practices and the six-foot perimeter and ensuring that you're not out in public when you don't need to be. These are really important. And when I see videos of people congregating, you're just endangering the public and you're you know creating much more long-term problems for our economy and that's why everyone's really got to do their part and take this seriously.

TAPPER: Governor, you've asked President Trump to activate the national guard in Michigan to help with the response. What role do you want the guard to play?

WHITMER: Well, you know, our guards people are trained. They are trained professionals. They are you know steeped in logistics. If every governor around the country has asked for the same authority, that the you know federal government give us access to the logistics.

But they're under our command in each state. We can put guardsmen to work in terms of making sure that our veterans needs are being served. In terms of ensuring that communities have access to fundamentals, to everything from food delivery to ensuring that as products become available in terms of those PPEs that I was talking about, that they get to their destination.

To supplement the work that we're doing at the state where we desperately need more bodies who are trained, who are able to help us amplify what we're already doing.

TAPPER: Governor Whitmer, Democrat of Michigan, we thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you so much. And stay in touch. Let us know what you need.

WHITMER: Will do. Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: OK. Coming up, a grim new prediction about unemployment in America as the federal government makes an unprecedented move to try to ease the economic pain. Stay with us.

[15:35:00]

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TAPPER: A frightening prediction as more businesses lay off workers and close doors as a result of coronavirus. Economists at Goldman Sachs estimate more than 2 million people will file for unemployment this week, that's eight times higher than last week. And in a drastic sign of the times the Trump administration moved the IRS tax deadline from April 15th to July 15th.

I want to bring in CNN business anchor Julia Chatterley. The next official unemployment report comes out next week, how realistic is the prediction from Goldman Sachs, 2.5 million unemployment? JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: You're using all the right words, it's drastic and it's pretty terrifying, Jake, but everybody's scrambling to get a sense of what's going on.

Remember, the entire country is purposely brought to a halt here and people told to stay at home. The key point is that most people work in small and medium size enterprises in this country. 27 million people are right on the front lines, restaurants, bars, tourism those kind of sectors and these jobs disappear overnight.

We are fighting a health crisis but we're creating an economic crisis and now we have a jobs crisis overnight.

TAPPER: So, the Trump administration is asking states to hold off on releasing early unemployment numbers and to only put out their figures for official reports. Do you think that's to avoid confusion, to avoid panic, to stave off bad news, why would they make that request?

CHATTERLEY: I'm sure some part of it is logistics, quite simply processing all of these. I also think it will also create panic, Jake. But we need to be panicking here. I think Congress needs to be panicking.

The critical problem in the United States, there's no back support here. There's no backstop, these people won't have health care, they're living paycheck to paycheck.

[15:40:00]

We have to stop the mass unemployment that's going to build over the coming months. I don't know what to say but it's the most vulnerable people at this stage that are going to get crushed very, very quickly.

TAPPER: Another startling prediction from Goldman Sachs, look at U.S. economic growth forecast from last week. Last week they predicted first quarter it would be 0 percent and then for the second quarter they predicted it would be negative 5 percent.

This week Goldman Sachs has a much harsher prediction. They're saying negative 6 percent for the first quarter and negative 24 percent for the second quarter. If the United States actually goes through a contraction, negative 24 percent growth in the second quarter, what does that mean? What does that look like?

CHATTERLEY: We are looking at something that we've never seen before in record speed. Mass unemployment at this stage. I mean these numbers are drastic. But businesses are grinding to a halt.

You know I look around the world at how other countries are responding to this because every country basically in the world is going through the same thing. And, Jake, they're cutting checks, they're writing blank checks.

The UK said it would backstop 80 percent of salaries today and this is the kind of spending and support that's required. Congress really need to understand that we need a two to three-month economic financial hole fill otherwise we're facing depression-style numbers here.

TAPPER: Julia, you're are business anchor. What's the fix here? What does the U.S. need to do? What does President Trump and the Congress need to do?

CHATTERLEY: That's a great question. We need to protect people for the next two to three months, like I say we need to fill the financial gap. So, people should not be worrying about paying utility bills, about paying mortgages. That's something that we've fixed.

They only need to be spending money I think on food and health care. So, in the same way that the economy is freezing here, we need to freeze people's outgoings. I know it sounds extreme. But look at states like New Hampshire, this governor gets it. He's doing that.

We started to see today Governor Cuomo saying, look, no foreclosures for the next 90 days. We need this on a national scale and you simply as a government have to throw money at it. I'm talking $4 or $5 trillion. Forget 2020, Jake, forget politics here, Congress has to unite to come up with big picture plans or we are facing real problems in the next two to three months.

TAPPER: All right, Julia Chatterley, thank you for that grim discussion.

CHATTERLEY: Sorry.

TAPPER: No, I appreciate the honesty.

CHATTERLEY: We have to be real.

TAPPER: No, that's what we need, exactly.

Coming up, stuck at home and stressed. We'll talk to an expert about the fear and anxiety many are feeling now, how to manage it all. That's next.

[15:45:00]

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TAPPER: As we end the first week of social distancing, it's important to note the emotional and mental toll this can take on all of us. And while this is all in an effort to keep Americans healthy and stop the spread of coronavirus, many Americans are understandably feeling scared and anxious. Not just Americans, obviously, around the world.

Joining me now is Andrea Bonior a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at Georgetown University. So, what are some things people can do to manage their anxiety?

ANDREA BONIOR, PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY (via Cisco Webex): Yes, it's such a hard time for so many of us. And the first step is to think about a sense of predictability, a sense of routine. We know that that lowers the stress response. And so even finding small plans throughout the day that can stay

consistent from one day to the next can be really, really helpful. Watching your sleep is so important. It's under threat right now because we're so anxious. But then it's a double whammy, we don't get good sleep we're more hyper-sensitive to threats, so we know that we feel worse.

Fresh air when it's safe to do so. Even small bits of sunlight can be very helpful. And of course, a big part is you know keeping your brain active without going to catastrophizing mode. So, setting limits on when you start spiraling, observing your thoughts.

You know, OK, am I finding information here that helps me feel more in control? Is it gaining me insight or am I kind of getting wrapped around this and starting to cycle into a really dark place and I need to take a step back and I need to re-set and get a little change of scenery even within my own house.

Of course, the biggest thing of all right now too is probably to make sure that the social distancing isn't turning into total social isolation. Because we know that has very serious mental health effects especially for people who feel particularly cut off from loved ones right now.

TAPPER: So how do people deal with that if they're feeling isolated and alone, because to be honest, they're isolated and alone? What should they be doing to help alleviate that?

BONIOR: Yes, you know, it's been heartening to see people are really getting creative, you know having virtual happy hours, cooking with each other over facetime, like let's cook dinner together. You know, watching movies together, saying, hey, let's have breakfast together, playing their instruments for each other. Or reading the same book together and talking about it on the phone.

Ironically, I think one positive you know bright spot within this larger horror is that people are having to find ways to come together and because so many people are trapped at home, it almost gives them more motivation to say, hey, I really need something here and I'm going to make it happen.

Of course, not all of us can do that. It depends on our technology. But really even you know reaching out to a neighbor via an old- fashioned phone call can be really helpful right now.

[15:50:00]

TAPPER: I also I think it's important that people just acknowledge, this sucks. This is really awful. It's totally OK to be upset and emotional and freaking out at home. I mean, we are going to get through it. The world will, the United States will. But it's tough. And we don't have to pretend that it's not.

BONIOR: Yes, yes. That's such a good point. I think accepting that some anxiety right now is very normal, our circumstances are anything but normal. But our anxious reaction to that can be very normal. Can we harness that, can we manage that, can we observe ourselves and

try to find pockets of the day where we sit and breathe and say, this is really hard? Is there a part of this that you know I will remember in a way as helping me grow? I know that sounds sort of ridiculous as we're so anxious but thinking about how we can look back on this and be the people that we want to be in these moments can be really powerful.

TAPPER: Nietzsche once said that which does not kill us makes us stronger. Is that true? I mean, obviously, some people are going to leave this era physically harmed. But in terms of your expertise, are there long-term mental health effects that we should be concerned about?

BONIOR: Honestly, I do worry about that. I think whenever we talk about long term economic crises we're also talking about the potential for a parallel process in psychological crises. We do see anxiety and depression rates rise when poverty rises, when isolation and unemployment increase. We see ripple effects with substance abuse.

I know I'm very concerned and many other mental health professionals are, that so goes the economy goes, so too goes our mental health. And I think for most of us there's a baseline resilience there but I really am concerned right now for folks struggling with anxiety and depression because not only is this an anxiety-producing situation that will raise their overall stress, but they might be cut off from their typical therapy appointments.

Or they might be in recovery and unable to go to their typical meetings. Or they might be in a difficult relationship that's somewhat controlling and now they're cooped up all day.

So I would love to think that we're all going to grow stronger from this and it's very motivational to think about what we can gain from it, but I do worry that we really need to step up and add some resources to the folks who are most at risk from a mental health perspective right now.

TAPPER: And obviously the economic anxiety is very real, people are worried they're going to be laid off, people have been laid off. Business owners are concerned they could lose everything.

How to deal with -- you have the health issue, the mental health issue, you have the fear that you're going to get sick, you have the fear that someone you love is going to get sick, and then there's the financial stresses of all this.

BONIOR: Yes, it's so much. It's so much. And I would really hope that as the government is thinking about relief and ways to help, that they also can put their money where their mouth is in ways of you know resources, or insurance companies stepping up and saying, OK, you can see your therapist via a videoconferencing tool and we will also cover that as we've covered the in-person sessions.

Or state licensing board saying, you know what, you're long distance right now, but it's OK, we've got reciprocity for whatever mental health license exists. I think these are tangible ways that the governments can step forward and say, hey, let's help, because again, the mental health crisis is real and it's underlying this. And we feel like we have more immediate things to talk about but honestly, from the standpoint of survival, there's nothing more important than mental health.

TAPPER: All right. Our 50 minutes is up, Andrea Bonior, thank you so much, I appreciate your time.

BONIOR: Thanks again.

TAPPER: Coming up, President Trump says there's a drug that could treat the coronavirus, but the nation's top infectious disease doctor does not sound as confident. We're going to talk to our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta in our daily talk about that and much more.

But first, CNN Heroes takes a look at just some of the acts of kindness being carried out by people around the world during this horrific coronavirus crisis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD: Happy birthday --

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): At a time of social distancing, empathy and compassion are alive and well.

CROWD: Happy birthday to you.

COOPER: Around the world, people are coming up with creative ways to stay connected. To share resources and to stay healthy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:55:00]

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ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We are continuing this hour with the coronavirus pandemic as our LEAD, 215 people in the U.S. have now died from the coronavirus with more than 16,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. and that number of course expected to grow as testing increases around the country.

We are also watching the New York Stock Exchange on its last day of in-person trading, closing its trading floor temporarily, moving to fully electronic trading next week. The Dow closing in a moment, it's down more than 900 points now as the pandemic continues to rattle the markets.

This afternoon President Trump says he does not think there needs to be a national lockdown, a national order for people to stay at home. But he did applaud the Governors of New York and California for taking those measures, enacting new mandates for their residents to stay at home.