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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump Administration Says It Will Crack Down on Medical Supply Hoarding; Trump Again Says Malaria Drug Could Be a "Game Changer" As Race to Find a Coronavirus Treatment Intensifies; WH Coronavirus Task Force Briefing; Trump Says He's "Not Going to Let the Cure Be Worse Than The Problem"; Trump: "Not Looking at Months" for Social Distancing Guidelines. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 23, 2020 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Man that I happened to like. I spoke with Phil in New Jersey and we're going to be doing something very meaningful in New Jersey. We're doing something I spoke with.
J.B. Pritzker called me today. We're going to be helping them out in Illinois. We're doing a lot of things in Florida. We're doing a lot of things. And between FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers and the admiral in your group in terms of the purchasing. That's what he does. He purchases. It's supposed to be great. I'll tell you in about two days, but he's going to do a fantastic job.
So we have an incredibly talented group of people. But, yes, we'll be doing two things and three things at one time. While at the same time though, we're going to be watching very closely the hotspots. We're going to be taking care and watching very closely our senior citizens, especially those with a problem or an illness. We're going to be watching a very, very closely and we can do that and have an open economy, have an open country.
And we have to do that because that causes other problems. And maybe it causes much bigger problems and the problem we're talking about now. You understand. Jeff (ph), please.
JEFF: Mr. President, following up on that same topic and on your tweet, do you think that the cure so far has been worse than the problem?
TRUMP: I think the cure has been very tough. This has been very tough. This was an operation. This was somebody going to a doctor and saying, you need an operation and we've had an operation. We've learned a lot and we fixed a lot of problems.
One of the things we fixed, if you look at the obsolete system that this administration inherited. It wasn't meant for this. It was meant for a small group of people and even for that it was not very good and very obsolete. We have a testing program now that will hopefully be able to be used for many years into the future, should we have another event like this. I don't think you'll have another event like this. This is very
unique. You look back into time, you look back decades and decades, we can name them all, even if you go back 10 years, you go back to '09, but that wasn't like this as it turned out. But they lost a lot of people.
We were early. We were early, Jeff, because of the fact that we closed early. That was a big move. Please, Christian (ph).
JEFF: (Inaudible) ...
TRUMP: Yes, go ahead, Jeff (ph).
JEFF: You had said previously, I think from this podium, that the virus could still be with us through July or August by suggesting now that we might or that the government might change these standards, these recommendations too.
TRUMP: Well, it's not changed. No, we're doing things - yes, this was a learning experience for the people of the country and even for (inaudible) ...
JEFF: (Inaudible) timeframe has changed for you, the July- August.
TRUMP: What changed?
JEFF: The July-August timeframe of when you think the virus will be under control.
TRUMP: Well, I think we've learned a lot. I think that there's so much discipline now that we never had. Nobody ever said don't shake hands. I did actually before became a politician, once I became a politician. Then it's hard getting used to not doing it, because you do it with everybody, with literally thousands of people a week, you're shaking hands with big groups of people.
We've learned a lot. There's a great discipline that this whole country has learned having to do with distancing, having to do with shaking hands. I think a lot of it is going to stay long after the virus has gone. I really think it's probably good practice anyway, but I think it's going to stay long after the virus has gone.
But we have to open our country, because that causes problems that, in my opinion, could be far bigger problems, far bigger. Look, this is a severe medical situation that could cause problems far beyond the medical and then increase the medical problems to things that had nothing to do with this original medical problem.
We can't let that happen to our country. We have the greatest country in the world. I'm not going to let that happen. But these two weeks that we have spent has been an incredible learning period and process. Please, Christian (ph).
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I have two questions for you. One, you said it's likely going to be weeks, not months before you suggest easing these guidelines that you put out. Have any of the doctors on your team told you that's the right path to pursue?
TRUMP: We spoke to them today and I was telling them that we have two things to look forward. Don't forget, the doctors, if it were up to the doctors, they may say, "Let's keep it shut down. Let's shut down the entire world." Because again, you're up to almost 150 countries.
So let's shut down the entire world and when we shut it down, that'd be wonderful. And let's keep a check for a couple of years. We can't do that and you can't do that with a country, especially the number one economy anywhere in the world by far. Number one economy in the world, you can't do that.
COLLINS: So you're saying ...
TRUMP: Well, it causes bigger problems than the original, that's why I talk about the cure being worse than the problem. We can't have the cure be worse than the problem. But what we have done - so this is not retracing.
Note that we've done it really well, because this two-week period has been good and I'm not saying it ends at that time. We have another seven days or so. I'm not saying it ends at that time. But I am saying it's been like this incredible learning process. That's going to go into the future. That's going to go even as we open up our country.
And we're going to be watching New York and we're going to be watching California. We're going to be watching the state of Washington and other places. Illinois is becoming a hotspot and we can do both.
Now, we may quarantine, I mean, we will be quarantining many people in these areas. There are other areas that just aren't affected or they're affected very little. And why would we close down 100 percent of the country? There are areas within New York, where New York will be open, but there are areas within New York.
Remember this New York has the New York Stock Exchange that has NASDAQ. It has the exchanges. To close the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ with all of the great work they're doing, I mean, they've gone largely to computer you look at the floor, it's incredible what they can do, but it's fully open. But we don't want to be doing that.
What I'm saying, basically, is that we can do two things simultaneously and we've had this incredible learning period. Plus, people have been in a period and they won't be calling, oh, geez, because I've got many, many people that now come to me and say, we get it. We think we can really do it now and do it while we're open.
So at some point, we'll be setting some guidelines, we'll be setting some date lines and we'll be announcing them in the not too distant future.
COLLINS: (Inaudible) the doctors on your team endorse easing the federal guidelines?
TRUMP: Not endorse. We talk together and I think they're OK with it and I'm OK with it. But this could be a much bigger problem. This could create a much bigger problem than the problem that you started off with. Now, other nations are going to have to do what they're going to do, but they'll probably do something very similar.
But in our case much more so than anywhere else, because of the magnitude of our economy, the tremendous size of what we built and what we have and the jobs involved. You have almost 160 million jobs in this country now, the most ever by far. By far the most ever, the number of jobs, almost 160 million.
So we can't turn that off and think it's going to be wonderful. There will be tremendous repercussions. There will be a tremendous death from that, death. You're talking about death, probably more death from that than anything that we're talking about with respect to the virus.
COLLINS: (Inaudible) if we continue with these strict guidelines than if we ease them.
TRUMP: No. I think we're going to do them both. That's what I'm saying, I think we can do them both. Now, we haven't announced the date, but we're getting fairly close to coming up with a date and it's a much shorter period of time than I've been hearing the news report.
And I think everybody should be happy with that. But great knowledge was gained. Please.
COLLINS: I have two questions for you, Mr. President. My second one is on what your Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said today. He was talking about this and he said that there are going to be some difficult tradeoffs if you do ease these guidelines (inaudible) ...
TRUMP: You mean with the Democrats (inaudible) ...
COLLINS: No. No. He was talking about how you said the cure should be worse than the problem and he was talking about reopening the businesses, getting the economy going back to going again. What are those difficult tradeoffs?
TRUMP: Well, it is true. I mean, I didn't hear him say that, but if he said difficult tradeoffs, sure, it's less convenient. Before you walk in, you hop in the subway and you grab the handle and you go down to wherever you're going on Wall Street and you do all sorts of things. And you go in and you open the doors going into your great buildings or into the exchanges and now you're not going to have to maybe think about doing that or you're going to think about doing it a different way.
No. No. There are many tradeoffs. It's a different life and maybe it'll be made that way, frankly, after the invisible score just gone. Maybe it's going to say that way. Not a bad thing to say that way.
But no, there are tradeoffs. There's no question about that. But I actually think it's going to - I think in the end, we're going to end up being bigger, better and stronger. We have learned a lot, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're seeing an increase of cases in Latin America and the Middle East.
TRUMP: Maybe that's true, Latin America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And some places in Asia. Are you considering a new round of travel ban?
TRUMP: No. We're not really. Something like that could happen, I guess, but we're not really. They thought we were going to have bans within the United States. We didn't do that. We're not going to have that. Hopefully, that'll take care of itself.
In Latin America, there's been an uptick. Yes, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, a second question. What prompted you to say at the beginning of your comments that you're going to take care of the Asian-Americans as there have been something in particular that was prompting you.
TRUMP: Yes. Because it seems that there could be a little bit of nasty language toward the Asian-Americans in our country and I don't like that at all. These are incredible people. They love our country and I'm not going to let it happen, so I just wanted to make that point.
Because people are blaming China and they are making statements to great American citizens that happen to be of Asian heritage and I'm not going to let that happen. Please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You say you want to reopen the country, but most schools across the country are closed. Two states now are closed for the rest of the school year, how are parents supposed to go back to work and educate their children now?
TRUMP: The governors of the various states will have a lot of leeway. If we open up and when we open up, the governors in certain states, for instance, you go to some of the states I just mentioned, those schools are going to be open. Many cases they're open now, but the schools are going to be open.
In other cases, Governor Cuomo, Gavin Newsom of California, certain governors are going to maybe have a decision to make. Now, they may make a decision to keep them open in a certain part of New York and maybe in Westchester County or wherever it may be, they'll keep them close. But they're going to have leeway. We're giving the governors a lot of leeway.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you agree of the decision to close it several months out at this point? These governors are saying they're expecting a peak in the next couple of months and it made a decision (inaudible) ... TRUMP: The governors going to make those decisions. That's
going to be up to the governors and they're very capable they'll be able to make the decisions, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, will you explain why a $2 trillion economic stimulus is needed if you are going to be open country in a period of weeks, not months?
TRUMP: Because the virus has had a big impact on our country, so we're going to give a stimulus so that the workers can live their life. It was not their fault. It wasn't the worker's fault and we are going to give a kick so that it's a kick and this way we think the workers can get a fair start. The small businesses were taken very good care of. We want to take care of these small businesses.
They really are the engine of this country. A lot of people don't know that. Everyone thinks of these great big, beautiful businesses who, by the way, have been very badly hurt also.
But these small businesses have really historically been the engine and they still are the engine of the country. And you'd be amazed the workers love those businesses and the workers contact us and they want us to help those businesses because that's where they've made their living. That's where they've been paid a lot of money over the years.
And you've been seeing what's happened over the last three years where salaries and wages have gone up very substantially for those workers. And then we got caught by this sudden craziness coming into our country and coming all over the world.
So we need to make sure that the companies are strong and that the workers are strong and that's what we're doing and hopefully the Republicans and Democrats are going to be able to make a deal. And they're actually fairly close, but we'll see what happens, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) trillion dollars is my question (inaudible) at this point?
TRUMP: One of the things you're going to have to save companies that have been shattered, you're going to have to save various, I mean, you know a lot of the companies yourselves. We have a company that was - I think the greatest company in the world named Boeing.
Boeing is going to need some help. Now Boeing had some difficulty before that's unlike others. We have other companies that didn't have a problem coming in. Boeing had the obvious problem that everybody knows about from a little more than a year ago, a double problem, and it was a big one.
And then on top of it as they're getting ready to really show their stuff. On top of it, we all get hit by this. And obviously, the airlines are going to have a problem but the airlines aren't going to be buying from Boeing or from anybody else right now, because of this difficulty. So we have to work with the airlines. We have to work with the cruise
lines. We have to work with the companies like a Boeing, because Boeing is a potentially, again, a great company. They had a very rough period of 13 months, very rough period, horrible period and unbelievable period.
If you would have told me this would have happened to Boeing, I wouldn't have believed it. Because to me, it was truly one of the great. One of the truly great probably almost one point of GDP, if you can think of that. It's hard to believe that a company could have that kind of an impact.
But Boeing, we have to work with it for two reasons. Number one, it's a great company that we have to save. Number two, it produces unbelievable numbers of jobs and so the numbers have to be reflective of that kind of thing. Please.
You know what I'm going to do, we have wonderful people behind us that are working very hard and we want Bill to get back to the Department of Justice and we want the admiral to start going and doing their job and the same thing with Deb.
If anybody would have any questions, maybe I'll ask Mike to Stay around.
But if anybody would have any questions for the group and otherwise I'll let them go back to work, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) Dr. Birx, we seem to be talking about different geographical slopes on this, the curve would be changing and yet you just said that 20 percent numbers coming out of New York give us an indication that we don't quite know when the seeds, to use your metaphor, were planted.
So how confident are you on the start dates of each curve for each of the geographical areas that the President seems to be indicating will be adjusting the policy for?
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: So that's a very good question. So what we do know is now we can backtrack from people who got very seriously ill to when they probably got infected versus when they were exposed. And so when you start backing out each of those pieces, when you start seeing hospitalized patients, you know that the virus has probably been there for three to four weeks substantially circulating within the population.
So that's what we're looking for. Now, as all of our testing is improved and we want to really applaud The group who has worked on it, if you look at the pandemic flu preparedness, all of this was built on a flu platform. It was never ever thought that you'd have a simultaneous respiratory disease hitting at exactly the same time as your flu hits in the country.
And so when you're doing all of your flu surveillance, you could had small cases of these pneumonias and flu like illnesses characterized as a flu like illness for the last four to six weeks. And so that's really a caution to all of us. And so when we get through all of this, we'll be looking at each of the pandemic preparedness plans.
Along the way I was saying we know Washington State is a little bit ahead of New York because of the hospitalization records. What we will get to as a country with the nano testing that will be available is being able to do what the President talking about simultaneously. Simultaneously doing containment contract tracing at the same time you're doing mitigation.
And I think right now we put everything into mitigation. Yet, if we geographically get specific data by zip codes and counties, we'll be able to approach this in a very laser focused way. Making sure that what we're doing in each of those areas is absolutely appropriate for where they are in their own little bell shaped curve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Birx (inaudible) ...
TRUMP: Go ahead, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Birx, when will the government roll out the antibody tests so people can know possibly if they've been exposed.
BIRX: So all or several of them have come to the FDA, I believe. Obviously, that's something I'm very interested in for two reasons. One, on it will give us a retrospective on where these infections were, who was actually infected, and how really asymptomatic versus mild versus all of that comes into the spectrum.
Secondly, by people who have high titers of those antibodies, those can become our solution with plasmapheresis for those in need and the making of hyperimmune globulin. So knowing who they are becomes really critical.
But I think we're still a couple of weeks out. I have to go back and talk to the FDA where each of these are. Because this is what saved us with - when you do flu swabs and you do strep throat swabs and now where you do an HIV test.
So these are the kinds of tests that we know will be critical in the future. I wanted to say one other thing, because you see a lot of numbers out there about 70 percent of the population is going to get infected or 60 percent of the population based on those models. Understand that the way you get to that number is you do nothing and it goes through three cycles.
So they're talking about this cycle that we're currently in. Another cycle in 2021 and a third cycle in '21, '22 in order to get that level of population infected. And you know we will have vaccines most likely by the '21, '22 season and we're going to hopefully have therapeutics in the fall of the next season.
So the reason we're so much focused on blunting the curve for this piece is if the virus comes back, we'll have much more facility both for diagnosis, testing, monoclonal antibodies, treatments, and then the vaccine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Dr. Birx, so a question about the serology blood tests, which some people said hold some real promise here, when ...
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
You have been watching the press conference here with the President and the coronavirus team for the White House. President Trump moments ago making it clear that he wants the shutdown to end. He says as soon as possible.
His quote, "Our country wasn't meant to be shutdown." And he went on to say, "We're not going to let the cure be worse than the problem."
Trump indicating that the shutdown could be over as soon as early next week, which would be the end of the initial 15 day period.
He said that all-in this will be weeks and not months. Of course, obviously, last week he had indicated this could go through July or August, so a shift there.
The President also touting the possibility of existing drugs which could be used to treat coronavirus, drugs which many pharmacists and drug companies are warning could become scarce for people who need them for other treatments because of hoardings. And the latest numbers we have right now on coronavirus in the United States today, 100 deaths reported today in America.
It is the first time a single day death toll has climbed that high. Right now more than 42,000 Americans are detected to have been infected. I want to go off right now to Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Gloria Borger, our Chief Political Analyst and Austan Goolsbee, Chief Economist for President Obama's Economic Advisory Recovery Board.
Sanjay, let me start with you. There's a lot to talk about here that he just said and that Dr. Birx just said a whole lot. But let's just start with this timing. He wants this to end as soon as early next week. Obviously, last week, the timing he'd said was sort of July or August and when he was pressed on that there did not give an answer as to why his opinion had changed so dramatically. What do you say, really next week?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't think it's going to be next week. I mean, look, the public health officials, I think have been clear about this. Maybe you have to listen to them closely to sort of get at this point, but even within this press briefing, Ambassador Birx is saying look at places where they've had some success, where they've been able to slow down the rate of growth, how long were those curves, how long do they keep some of these practices in place.
And what you really heard there was it was more of like eight weeks, so a couple of months. So there are models to sort of look at around the country. Clearly, you saw on the stage just sort of this grappling with the public health sort of recommendations and trying to deal with the economy. I mean, you've seen that play out real time.
But I think it's clear from what you hear from public health officials that doing this now is not only good for health, but possibly good for the economy later on. That's I think, in so many ways what Dr. Fauci has been saying.
BURNETT: Gloria, it's interesting here when you think about the President trying to say that there are two things can be done at the same time. His exact words, "We can do two things at the same time." And yet when he was pressed on, what the doctors are telling him, did any of them support this idea of this ending as soon as early next week from a medical perspective? He did not have an answer for that.
And there was one person who was notably not on that stage today who has been there at the other briefings, and of course, that is Dr. Fauci, who has been the face of the administration's response and was critical of the President this weekend in press interview saying, "I can't jump in front of the microphone and push him down." Referring to how he had to correct the President. He was not there.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Right. And look, there are some people who are telling us that he has better things to do than to stand behind the President for over an hour every day. But it's very clear just to follow up on what Sanjay is saying and what we're seeing is the conflict here between the healthcare professionals and the President and his economic team and who are trying to figure out a way to walk and chew gum at the same time, which is the way Governor Cuomo called it this morning.
And I think the President said very bluntly, that if it were up to the doctors, we would never open the world, I think is the word he used.
BORGER: So I think that you see that he is struggling and my own reporting is that he has been very indecisive inside the White House going back and forth between the healthcare professionals and economists who are telling him you got to do something.
BURNETT: Right. And that indecisiveness, Austan, I mean, sort of swings one way to the other. Last week, July or August. Today, it's early next week. When he says economy is not built to be shut down, we can do two things at the same time. Can that happen? He's talking about having some regions open and others not open even as they are acknowledging the biggest problem of courses in the biggest states, the most economically vital states. Can you do two things at the same time?
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, look, in a nation where people travel, you can't open up some states and shut down other states, because people drive from one place to the other place and the virus spreads. So there are three things and you got to - you can only pick two. You can do two things at once, but not three. If you want to reopen
the economy and you want to slow the spread of the virus, then you have to have comprehensive universal testing. That's what they did in South Korea. They're not in lockdown in South Korea, because everybody gets tested. So the only people that have to go into isolation are the people who have the disease, but we're not having that kind of rampant testing of everyone, partly because they don't want the numbers to look too big and scare people.
And then you can't do two things at once. You cannot simultaneously slow the spread of the tell everybody to go back outside.
BURNETT: Right. I mean, and you're looking at, Gloria, as this comes today, they're talking about New York, 28 percent of the tests that they've given have come back positive.
BURNETT: Granted most of those tests are going to people who are sick and do have a lot of symptoms, it doesn't address the asymptomatic issue. But nonetheless, it is clear that you have a serious issue. Now, there was another question asked a moment ago, Gloria, and I want to ask you about this, a reporter asked the President directly why do you need to a $2 trillion stimulus if you're going to reopen the economy in a week, and I'm sure Austan has a point of view on that.
Look, the damage that has been done in one week is not insignificant. I mean, it's a shocking proportion. However, it is a fair question, Gloria, and he didn't really have an answer to that either.
BORGER: No. He didn't have an answer to it. But the point it but the point is they're going to have to reevaluate and I know Sanjay can talk more about this, this is what the President wants to do. It's clear, but they're going to have to reevaluate this at the end of these two weeks and figure out what they are going to do.
And in the meantime, you cannot let people suffer. You cannot let people get laid off with the kind of unemployment insurance they need. You cannot let small businesses fail. And so I think that is kind of the obvious answer that you have to go in for the long haul.
And if you're not in for the long haul, OK, great. But I do think that it behooves the government to do some advanced planning.
BURNETT: Austan, you also have the issue here of the fact that there's an issue of what the federal government can really do. What we've seen happen in this, which Pence was clear to establish at the beginning, the States have led - Virginia says they're keeping their schools closed for the rest of the year. The states are doing what the states want to do.
So the federal government can't really control what California is going to do or New York is going to do. GOOLSBEE: Yes, that's a tremendously important point that I think
the reason they're struggling is they're not in control. The president could come out tonight and say, I ordered everyone to go back out. But the states are under orders not to. The public health officials are saying that would be a very bad idea, because more people will get infected.
And so I think this is a shortsighted approach that's not going to help the economy. The number one rule of virus economics is that the only way to restore the economics is to slow the spread of the virus. And even things which in the short run seem like they're harming the economy, like getting people to go in and shelter-in-place, actually are helping the economy.
Because if you let the virus start to spread again, then we're going to go back into the same wave where fear drives everyone out of the economy in the long run. You're going to actually be in a worse position.
BURNETT: And Gloria to this point and I know we lost Sanjay for a moment, I want to ask him about this in a medical perspective, but from a political perspective, Ambassador Birx was making an important point, which is that there's a lot they don't know. Now, when there's things you don't know, you don't necessarily know if you're treating the full problem or not. But one of the things she said that they're not yet even sure about is exactly what is driving the spread of it more. Is it respiratory, through someone's cough or being with someone or is it on hard surfaces.
Where again we just found out today on that diamond princess cruise ship, they found staterooms where people would have the virus were staying that the virus live for up to 17 days on those surfaces.
So if you can't tell the general public exactly where their risks are of getting this to the point that they made about getting on the subway, how are you going - it is about confidence and people's willingness to go back, if you don't have answers to those questions, you can say go back and people may not do it.
BORGER: Well, they may decide they won't do it or they may decide that they actually need to keep their jobs. Again, this may not become a federal issue, this may become a state by state issue. And I think in many ways, the President would probably like to have it done that way and maybe that's one of the reasons he hasn't invoked the Defense Production Act.
I think that it would be very confusing to people in this country if their governors are telling them to do one thing and the federal government is saying something else. How do you reconcile those two things?
We understand where the hotspots are. We know that New York State is a hotspot. We know New York City is a hotspot. We know California is having problems. Washington State is having problems. Should there be different rules there than for other states, given what we know about how it spreads? As the President said ...
BORGER: ... we've had an incredible learning curve, but it's up to the scientists really to say how can we keep people safe and figure out a way with the economist to figure out how to run the economy at the same time. It's tough.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: So, yes, it is. And to that point as I said it was just days ago, Austan, when he said this was going to go as far as July or August. And I, along with many Americans, probably thought their stomach sink with the great uncertainly and fear that that creates about just the state of our country. But that's what he said just then.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It seems to me that if we do a really good job, we'll not only the hold the death down to a level that is much lower than the other way had we not done a good job, but people are talking about July, August, something like that. So it could be right in that period of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And, Austan, so that was exactly one week ago today. Now today he says it could be just a week from now, which, you know, on one level is supposed to make people feel good but perhaps makes people feel deeply uncertain that they know what they're talking about.
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS UNDER OBAMA : Yes, look, you don't want to blow your credibility in a crisis. It's the number one rule of the crisis. So don't get up and say it's going to be July and get up and say, now, it might be in two weeks.
I think the White House, the president and his staff in a way I think they're kidding themselves. If they think that they can sort of delegate this to the states, if the hospitals fill up the way they have in Italy and in other countries where they've had these outbreaks, everyone is going to turn to the federal government and say we've got thousands of people dying, no one can go to the hospital because all the hospitals are full. All the ventilators are taken, there are people out in the halls.
I just think they need to think more than two days ahead. They need to be thinking two weeks from now where's it going to be. And if in two weeks it explodes like that, nobody is going to be happy that they announced that, well, in two weeks, we're just going to go back to doing what we were doing before. BURNETT: You know, you keep talking about the importance of testing,
and part of the reason for testing is something that Ambassador Birx raised, right, which is that, you know, these projections of up to 80 percent of the population having it. Again, I go back to the Diamond Princess. We just found out that half the people that had on that ship never even knew they had it and no symptoms at all, right?
So it's possible it's much more prevalent and many more people have already had than know it and that over time that will create confidence, is there won't be a fear of getting it if you have already had. But you can't get that answer right now because there's no antibody test. They referenced that there are some now going through the FDA.
How significant do you think that could be, Austan, if we were actually to retroactively tell people whether they had or not?
GOOLSBEE: I think tremendously significant. If you've had knowledge of whether you have had or will get it, whether the people you're interacting with, if they know whether they had, or if you had a treatment or if you had a vaccine, all of those things could help a great deal.
I mean, if you look at Korea, like I say, they've had extensive close to universal testing and they aren't in lock down. So, their economy can recover. I guess I don't understand why Washington is not putting more of a focus on this health side. If you slow the rate of spread of the virus and you get the testing and 20 percent, 40 percent, some percent of the population realizes they already had it so there's not a risk, you can go back to doing your job. And that's where we got to get.
BURNETT: Gloria, obviously, there's been this, this, this -- you know, political fight going on in Washington, right, of who's getting the aid. The president making it declared tonight --
BURNETT: -- that he worries about Boeing, and by the way just purely on the facts of it Boeing is the largest exporter in the United States. It's a major employer and a lot of people rely on the largest exporter. He has a point.
He also brought small businesses as the engine of America. That is also true.
BORGER: Of course.
BURNETT: So, how quickly does this happen, that when this passes in whatever form it takes, you know, when are these checks going to go out to people, to individuals? How quickly?
BORGER: Well, very quickly, very quickly. I can't give you a day on it, but I'm telling you these checks are going to go out very quickly. They understand the people are suffering, and I think Congress needs to pass it. I think we can all agree on that, that Congress needs to get this done either tonight or tomorrow morning.
And one thing I want to -- I want to add, Erin, is that what I was told from a source close to the White House is that the president is truly very preoccupied with what's going on in the stock market. And that as we know from covering Donald Trump that is one yardstick he uses to judge himself. And that I know you heard him in his press conference just now wax almost nostalgic about the economy and the way it was just a short time ago.
And I think what he is doing is saying I'm going to -- we need get back to that and this is his way, by giving us this shortened deadline, I think he thinks in a way he may be giving Americans hope, but the question is whether that is the right thing to do right now.
And by the way, I don't think any of us have the answers to this. Governor Cuomo was saying it this morning, there aren't any clear answers right now. And he said, look, maybe we have to think about different ways of doing things given what is going on right now -- again, the walking and chewing gum at the same time.
BURNETT: All right, thank you both very much.
And the Trump administration now says it will crack down on anyone hoarding crucial medical supplies. It's shocking to think people are doing this, but they are.
Here's the Attorney General Bill Barr just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We're talking about people hoarding these goods and materials on an industrial scale for the purpose of manipulating the market and ultimately driving windfall profits.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: This as medical workers across the country warn of hospitals being overwhelmed by coronavirus cases, and a major shortage of supplies that frankly could be a matter of life and death for the people who are taking care of them.
Drew Griffin is OUTFRONT.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the front lines, the lack of ventilators, personal protection equipment, and face masks is at a critical stage, where medical workers from across the country say they're being asked to do something that weeks ago would have brought reprimand or even termination, reuse supplies.
DR. SOMIL VIRADIA, CALIFORNIA: You currently have to check out a mask in order to see a patient that is suspected to have a coronavirus. And after that, you actually have to use the mask, the same one for five more patients.
DR. DANIEL VARGAS, CHIEF PHYSICIAN EXECUTIVE, NEW JERSEY: We have probably 3 to 5 days of N95 masks left.
DR. JESSICA KISS, CALIFORNIA: I am down to my last N95 mask and I'm reusing it.
DR. MARIANNE HAMRA, NEW JERSEY: It's unacceptable that we are sending medical professionals like lambs to the slaughterhouse.
GRIFFIN: Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association, says what she is hearing from her physicians is just unprecedented.
DR. PATRICE HARRIS, PRESIDENT, AMERCIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: They're saying they're having to reuse masks, and they're saying they're being asked to re-sterilize masks, all things which in normal times we would certainly not do may even be grounds for discipline or a dismissal for violating routine infection control policies and practices.
GRIFFIN: New York has now topped Washington state as the new epicenter and the epicenter of critically short supplies and staffing. The mayor issuing dire warnings to federal officials.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: If we don't get more ventilators in the next ten days people will die.
GRIFFIN: Dr. Nisha Mehta runs two closed Facebook groups with about 65,000 physicians across the country. She says a doctor in New York told her conditions are so dire, he compared it to third world health care.
DR. NISHA MEHTA, NORTH CAROLINA: He said this is worst than anything I've seen in third world countries I've been in. I feel if there's such a world as a fourth world country, that's what our hospital system is already.
GRIFFIN: Supplies are steadily increasing but not enough to fill demand exploding demand in state after state where hospitals are already at critical shortages or preparing for them.
In San Diego, the UCSD system posted this guide requiring good stewardship of masks. The memo warning staff inappropriate use of N-95 respirators could easily end up with minimal supplies during the peak of this pandemic. The bigger threat is running out of health care workers because of the lack of protection. In Teaneck, New Jersey, 35 physicians and nurses are no longer working at Holy Name Medical Center because they're either confirmed or suspected of having COVID- 19.
Chief medical officer, Dr. Adam Jarrett, says those supplies and staffing are holding up he's not sure for how long.
DR. ADAM JARRETT, HOLY NAME MEDICAL CENTER, NEW JERSEY: I'm very concerned if things don't slow down, if supplies don't open up, if we don't figure out a way to get nurses in here from the federal government, from the military that I in a week or so, I may not be able to feel the same way about the fact I've not had to compromise care.
GRIFFIN: One question being asked, how long will doctors and nurses stay on the job risking their own lives if asked to do so without proper protection.
DR. TERESA GALLO-THYS, FLORIDA: We are all scared as health care providers that we're going to bring it home to our families.
GRIFFIN: Erin, we've already heard of health care workers becoming sick. If that continues, if doctors and nurses can't go to work because they're getting sick or quite frankly because they're too frightened to go to work because of this proper protection, that is only going to deepen this crisis -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Drew. Thank you very much.
And I want to go OUTFRONT now to a leading voice on how to respond to this epidemic, Dr. John Ioannidis. He's a professor of medicine and bio medical data science at Stanford University.
And, Doctor, I appreciate your time.
So, you know, when you hear that piece and look at some of the statistics we've seen in other countries, you know, 10 percent of the people infected being medical workers in some European countries, and you have the shortage, it's sort of stunning for Americans to imagine that we're in a position like this, where our doctors and nurses cannot get what they need.
How big of an issue is this if this is not resolved in the next few days?
DR. JOHN IOANNIDIS, EPIDEMIOLOGIST AND RESEARCHER, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: I think this is quite an issue and, of course, we need to make sure that we protect our medical personnel in every way possible, and there's a battle to be fought here. We don't know the exact magnitude of the attack by the epidemic, and it could be that some of our hospitals might be overwhelmed. We just need to be prepared. We cannot afford to lose physicians and personnel who would be indispensable to fight that battle.
BURNETT: You know, we just -- we're learning -- Ambassador Birx was talking in that press conference about they still don't know how this spreads. I mean, they understand how it spreads but they don't know what is driving the majority of the spread. She was specifically saying how much of it is coming off hard surfaces where again we found out on that cruise ship, the Diamond Princess it was still on surfaces 17 days after people had vacated those staterooms or how much of it is spreading in respiratory manner, right, from, you know, being around someone who may be coughing. How big of an issue at some point that we still don't know which of
those is a big driver and by what magnitude?
IOANNIDIS: Well, I think what I worry about is we don't know the final product of that spread. We just don't know exactly what is the number of cases in our country and in different states. The numbers that we have are based just on people who have symptoms and get tested, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
It's very likely that the numbers of people who are infected is much larger, and we need to do some random population testing to see where we stand and where we're heading. It makes a complete difference if 0.1 percent of the population is already infected. If 1 percent, if 10 percent, if 20 percent is already infected, I'm sure that there will be differences across locations.
The strategy on how to deal with that is completely different. The strategy on how to protect, whom to protect, what to do would be different depending on what part of the curve where we are. We may be damaging lots of things if we just go blindly without knowing what is the best recipe for each situation.
BURNETT: So, you know, we have found out that in New York City right now, 28 percent of the tests in greater New York City are now positive. Now, there's a much broader availability of tests. Now, in New York, I know people have been able to get tested, but they've had, all had some of the items on the check list, right, whether it'd be symptoms or contact. You know, it's not just walk in and get one because if you feel like it.
We also found out today that on that Diamond Princess, again, because the CDC just came out with these numbers, 700 people got the virus, about half of them, 47 percent of them were asymptomatic, never had symptoms at all. So that gives us the magnitude at all of that.
Does that affect when you look at population, even a place like New York where clearly a lot more people seem to have it than in other places, of how widely this may be out there, when you're looking at that crucial, is it 0.1 percent or 10 percent or what?
IOANNIDIS: Absolutely. And probably the best data we have on that approach, a random sampling of the population is in Iceland where they have been sampling from their general population based on a volunteer basis, they have found 1 percent of the population being infected. Fifty percent of these people have absolutely no symptoms. Another 50 percent have very mild or moderate symptoms that probably they wouldn't have noticed, they might have thought that they had a little bit of the common cold and nothing serious.
If you go back and ask, of course, people will report it. Bottom line, a very large number of people probably out there do have that infection. Does this sound like bad news? In one way, maybe it does.
In another fashion, it's probably good news because it means that our estimates of how many people are going to get severe disease and how many people are going to die among those who are infected are probably pretty inflated. Initially, WHO released estimates of 3.4 percent of the cases dying. And if there's far more people who are infected but just never realize that that's the case, the true infection fatality rate is likely to be far, far less. It could be in the range of seasonal influenza or in that ballpark.
We just need to test, we need to know because the strategy of how to deal with the problem is entirely different if we're talking about a pathogen that is in the same ballpark as influenza. In that case, we just try to protect those who are susceptible, the elderly, those who have severe diseases, make sure we do our best for them. But more or less we can get rid of many of the measures or it's something that has still a very high fatality, in which case, it's a very different story.
BURNETT: So, when you say 1 percent of the population in a place where they did random testing, you're giving Iceland. That 1 percent showed that they ended up having it. We're hearing numbers -- Gavin Newsom said out of California, 60 percent of the population today.
You know, Governor Cuomo said 80 percent of New Yorkers could get it. I mean, obviously, there's a big difference between 1 percent and 80 percent.
Do you -- do you think that that's possible? And if that's the case, no matter what the fatality rate, do you think we're doing the right thing right now by doing these shutdowns and lockdowns?
IOANNIDIS: So I am personally right now in a shelter in place condition, and I'm perfectly fine with that because we just don't have data. So if we don't have data, it makes sense to just act, act swiftly and make sure that you protect people in a blind fashion, you just do your best.
However, it's true that we cannot remain in that condition forever, and we do have the capacity to get this type of information that will tell us what will be the next best steps, when to implement them, when to exactly move to relieve some of these restrictions and shelter in place and lockdown type of situations.
We need to do it with data. We cannot do it blindly. If we do it blindly maybe it backfire, who knows, maybe it will back in a couple of weeks, and then we're back to square one --
BURNETT: So you don't think, when the president says he wants to open early next week, that does not sound like you think that that is reasonable?
IOANNIDIS: I think it's reasonable provided that we have data. So combined with data showing it is the right thing, it may well be the right thing.
Now, about the 80 percent quote, all of these are very speculative. The 80 percent is based on some mathematical modeling that, of course, mathematical modeling is useful, but it makes a lot of assumptions, and these assumptions are very difficult to test. You just need to see what happens in the field. And very often, these models can be off by a scale of magnitude.
It's possible that many people will be infected. If I had to judge based on the available data that is accruing today, I would think that depending on what measures were taken and what were the characteristics of the original seeding of the virus in different communities, you may get very different rates of infection. So, it could be that some communities end up containing the virus pretty well and others may end up with high percentages.
I believe 80 percent is rather an outlier. I don't want to think that high, but 20 percent could definitely be reasonable. I've been talking with people from Italy who are leading the response there and they believe they have some preliminary data suggesting that in Lombardi, the rate is about 30 percent of the population being infected. And in Veneto, it may be about 6 percent.
BURNETT: Well, which is obviously a huge range and obviously still all in the north of the country.
All right. Doctor Ioannidis, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
And the breaking news, Dr. Deborah Birx saying tonight that based on the data they're getting, the mortality rate for millennials and generation Z is less than 1 percent. This comes after the U.S. surgeon general admitted that officials are still trying to figure out why more people in the United States are getting the virus compared to their counterparts in other countries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Are young people more at risk than previously thought?
DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Well, so far, the demography definitely seems to be very different in the United States versus in other countries that saw this hit earlier and we're looking into that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So more getting it, the mortality rate, though, very low.
OUTFRONT now, Valerie Wilson, 34 years old, travel expert.
And, Valerie, I know you have coronavirus. So, obviously, you fall into that your -- young group. I mean, when did you suspect that you might have the virus, and what were your symptoms?
VALERIE PLAME, TESTED POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS: Well, certainly -- thanks for having me, Erin. It certainly crossed my mind right off the bat. But having had Lyme disease in the past I'm sort of a paranoid person, so I brushed it off. But I got sick around March 7th and my first symptoms were very
strange. I had sort of a wave of this short strickening feeling going through my body and it just kind of kept coming. And I thought I was maybe a little bit overtired, so I went to bed again the next night the same feeling. And a got a fever of about 99 degrees for about an hour.
And so, I just kind of brushed it off and didn't really think of anything. And finally that next day it was Monday and I lost my sense of taste completely and that's what sent me to the GP the first time, and we went in and he checked me out and said, you know, you definitely have a virus. And I said do you think I have coronavirus, and he listened to my lungs and said I sounded good and he sent me on my way.
So, it was after that that my symptoms started to develop a little bit more. I started to get a stronger cough that I really started to become nervous.
And that was Friday 13th I drove to his office first thing in the morning with no appointment, and I just broke down in tears and told them I was really scared and with no hesitation they tested me right off the bat.
BURNETT: That's -- well, that's fantastic that they did that. It's really interesting, Valerie, I just want to say this to emphasize to viewers, too, when you mention the loss of taste and smell, that we've been hearing from other countries that that really is a sign. That happened to you, and that you explicitly now looking back noticed, right, that's such a significant thing that happened.
You know, when you look at trying to know -- you know, you're in the travel business. You obviously travel quite a bit. But you still don't know where you actually, you know, contracted the virus, right?
WILSON: Exactly. So, my best guess is I did -- so, I've been in the country pretty much most of the year, so I did not contract it outside of the United States. But I was speaking in Denver the last weekend in February, so it's highly likely being on a plane and knowing that it's such an airborne illness, it's likely that I did get it on my flight to Denver.
BURNETT: Now, I also want to emphasize, as people are obviously anxious and worried about this, that you fall in the underlying condition, right. You have Lyme disease, which you just mentioned.
You know, had your doctor talked to you at all about how that may have impacted? I mean, obviously, you're doing well and thank goodness. You know, you're good here. But how significant was that underlying condition?
WILSON: So, I did talk to my doctor about Lyme disease, and I also have an underlying autoimmune issue that we haven't gotten to the bottom of yet. So that was very scary knowing that those are some of the things that are really sending people to the E.R. And we did have that conversation, but unfortunate, like many of the other answers that I've received from, you know, it wasn't just him.
I called every doctor that I've seen in the last year or so, and they just say, we just don't know. We just don't have answers. And that's just really hard. It's one of the scariest things about having coronavirus is not only knowing that that big scary thing that we keep seeing on TV is in your body, but also knowing that you can't get any answers from the people that we really trust and rely on.
BURNETT: So, you know, when you talk about that, I think there is a lot of that. That there is, you know this, scary thing we're hearing about, then when you have it, that anxiety before that has got to be very significant. And when we hear a lot about older people, the dangers of this virus and certainly we've all heard that, Valerie, what do young people need to understand about it?
WILSON: Young people need to understand -- first of all, by the age of 30, I'd say there is a good portion of us that do have some sort of underlying condition, so we all need to be aware that, you know, we could have something that could make us a little bit weaker to this virus. But we need to -- young people need to understand that not only are we staying home to protect ourselves, but we're staying home to protect those that we love. I was more worried about my parents than I was about myself, even after I contracted it. My main concern is like, mom, dad, are you guys staying home?
But, you know, we need to realize you can be in that small percentage point, 20 -- I believe right now we're saying 20 percent of the people in the United States that are being hospitalized for COVID-19 are in that 20 to 44 range, and that is scary. That is kind of a large chunk.
BURNETT: Absolutely. And I know that a lot of them will, you know, take hopefully comfort and also understand how seriously to take it from watching you.
Valerie, thank you so very much.
WILSON: Thank you so much.
BURNETT: And tonight, President Trump just moments ago, again, praising that malaria drug chloroquine as a potential, quote, game changer. Now, he keeps saying this.
Of course, the FDA has not approved that drug or any other to treat coronavirus, but it is one of a number of drugs under investigation as scientists in the United States and abroad are rushing to find an effective treatment. And you just heard Dr. Burkes saying they hope these therapies will be online as soon as this fall and obviously are being tested now.
Isa Soares is OUTFRONT.
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the fight against coronavirus, speed is everything. And scientists around the world hold high hopes that a treatment can be found while we wait for a vaccine. That means testing existing drugs.
In Geneva, the World Health Organization launched an unprecedented trial that will compare treatments and identify the most successful. The study will test four different drugs from an anti-malarial medication to an antiviral to a combination of two HIV drugs.
The unprecedented effort to eventually include thousands of patients across dozens of countries. A Europe-wide drug trial was launch in France on Sunday with at least 800 patients who have a severe form of the disease.
In the United States, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said drug trials will begin in the state on Tuesday. Cuomo also announced the testing of antibodies from recovering coronavirus patients.
GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: There have been tests that show when a person is injected with the antibodies, that then stimulates and promotes their immune system. It's a trial for people who are in serious condition.
SOARES: In one trial here in the U.K., researchers are taking a different tactic, an inhale respiratory drug. SNG001 will be trialed here this week on 100 coronavirus patients.
The aim: to treat one of the virus' most debilitating symptoms.
(on camera): Explain to us how this would actually work in practice.
PEDRO RODRIGUES, SYNAIRGEN RESEARCHER: So, the device is a handheld nebulizer. There is a chamber on top that is going to contain the study drug. This is going to be administered directly to the patients by mist. So, the patients are going to be able to breathe in -- this is the mouthpiece. It clicks in and then the patients can use it.
SOARES (voice-over): The coronavirus attacks the lungs, infecting and hijacking the cells. The makers of this drug Synairgen believe SNG001 will ramp up the cell's defenses and kick start the immune system.
(on camera): What hospitals could face is a health care crisis -- a shortage of beds, a shortage of respirators, as well as a shortage of staff. What this drug could do if it works is really ease the pressure on the health care system with patients being able to administer the drug at home.
(voice-over): Richard Marsden is the CEO of Synairgen. And while confident, he tells me, this is not the miracle the world is waiting for.
RICHARD MARSDEN, SYNAIRGEN CEO: This is not a cure. It is designed to help the lungs during a difficult episode. And if we can keep people out of hospital, if we can stop people needing more intensive treatment when they first get to hospital, then that's a major success.
SOARES: Now, Erin, despite the speed of these trials, what doctors and experts are telling us around the world is none of this is guaranteed if successful, any of these trials, it could potentially take months.
We heard a similar warning from the World Health Organization today basically saying, and I'm quoting him, that using untested drugs could raise false hope and actually be more damaging -- do more harm than good because you're basically taking away drugs that could potentially be needed for other illnesses. So while the medical community are racing to try and combat the virus, they are asking you, I, everyone, everyone at home to do all they can to really try to slow the pandemic -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Isa, thank you very much, from London tonight.
And now, you know, some classic songs are getting the coronavirus treatment.
Here is Jeanne.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Given what's going on, better to have a sing-along than a cry along. What better to sing along to than --
MOOS: But to make it sweeter or bittersweet, Neil Diamond updated the lyrics. Instead of --
NEIL DIAMOND, SINGER (singing): -- touching hands.
MOOS: It's now.
DIAMOND: Washing hands.
MOOS: The 79-year-old singer posted the video with his dog --
DIAMOND: Hi, everybody.
MOOS: -- making a cameo.
Other dogs seemed to like it.
Remember how Neil Diamond used to be reaching out?
DIAMOND: Touching me
MOOS: The revised lyrics go. Don't touch me, I won't touch you
Fans were touched calling Diamond a national treasure. (on camera): Neil Diamond delivers a gem, inspiring other
(voice-over): Coming up next, the Knack sings "My Corona" based on --
MOOS: Wait, that parody already exists.
Done by a podcaster who happens to be a real doctor.
Someone imagined a conversation between the who and the World Health Organization, the WHO. The group The Who, see me, feel me, touch me. The WHO, knock that off.
One Neil Diamond fan even changed the title of his 1969 anthem.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sweet quarantine.
MOOS: Where the audience usually chimes in.
DIAMOND: Sweet Caroline --
MOOS: Someone else suggested, cough, cough, cough.
In no time, Neil's new lyrics "hands washing hands" were icing on the cake, even if by the end of the song --
DIAMOND: We love you.
MOOS: -- Neil's dog had been lulled to sleep.
(on camera): Put your hands together, folks, for Neil Diamond.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
DIAMOND: Don't touch me
BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us.
"AC360" with Anderson begins right now.