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Trump Aiming to Reopen Country by Easter; Top Health Official: "You Gotta Be Very Flexible"; Single-Day Coronavirus Deaths in U.S. Hits New Record: 144; WH Task Force: People Who Left NYC Over Last Few Days Should Self-Quarantine for 14 Days to Stop Spread.; Kudlow: $6 Trillion to be Spent on Economic Stimulus; Hong Kong Had Contained the Virus, Then the Numbers Jumped. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 24, 2020 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Extremely useful information. Brian Todd reporting for us as he always does. Thank you very much. And to our viewers out there, be careful. Listen to all the guidelines.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the President wants the U.S. open for business by Easter despite warnings from health experts. This as the White House announces new quarantine guidelines for those who have been to New York City.

Plus, the WHO warns the U.S. could be the next epicenter for the virus as the U.S. today reports its largest number of deaths in one day.

And Louisiana now has the fastest growth rate of confirmed cases in the world. Why?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT this evening, the breaking news, President Trump giving an Easter timeline to end the coronavirus shut down. Now, a reminder Easter is about two weeks and five days away and the President's own team of doctors does not appeared to be on board with that timeline.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope we can do this by Easter. I think that would be a great thing for our country on everything we do.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Who suggest the Easter? Who suggest (inaudible) ...

TRUMP: Like I said, it was a beautiful time. It could be a beautiful time, a beautiful timeline.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You can look at a date, but you got to be very flexible on a, literally, day by day and week by week basis. Obviously, no one is going to want to tone down things when you see what's going on in a place like New York City. I mean, that's just no good public health practice and common sense.


BURNETT: So the number of detected cases in the United States is accelerating, especially in New York where the rate of known infections is doubling every three days. So the administration is now telling anyone who is in or has recently traveled to the New York City area to self quarantine for 14 days.

And right now, more than half of the known cases in the United States are in New York, across the country nearly 10,000 new cases in the past 24 hours. Overall, more than 50,000 Americans have been infected.

Now, the real number of Americans who have the virus, of course, is significantly higher than that given the reality of asymptomatic transmission. And the grim reality is though as of tonight, 685 people in the United States have died. Today alone at least 144 deaths related to coronavirus.

That is the largest number of deaths reported in a single day in this country. The World Health Organization is warning that the United States could become the next epicenter of the pandemic.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT at the White House. Kaitlan, of course, you were in that briefing with the President, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, the Vice President. It did not sound when it comes to this crucial timeline, President talking about having a beautiful Easter and people are starting to be back out there. Fauci did not seem to be on the same page about that.

COLLINS: Yes. The President certainly sounded a lot more hopeful about that timeline and whether or not it's realistic as a time to actually open the country and certainly there are going to be questions raised about the President's suggestion that churches should be packed on that day, given what medical experts have said about crowds so far.

And then Fauci got up to the microphone. He essentially said that they discussed it in the Oval Office today. But he cautioned that any date you're talking about when you're talking about reopening the company or the country, excuse me, needs to be a flexible one. Because a lot of that is going to be based on the data that they're seeing and those questions going forward.

And so I asked the President is this Easter timeline, have you picked that based on any data that you've seen or why is that the date you've chosen, instead the President did not say that that was the case. He said he picked it because he thought it would be a nice day to have a lot of these closures and whatnot that he's been talking about come to an end.

BURNETT: So Kaitlan, the other big headline out of that press conference where you were was asking people that President and his team who had been to New York to self quarantine for 14 days. Dr. Birx saying 60 percent of all new cases in the United States right now are in the New York metro area.

COLLINS: Yes. Dr. Birx has been flashing the warning signs talking about New York, which they now view as a hotspot. The Vice President saying it is a high risk area and now they're saying anyone who has been there and left in recent days needs to quarantine.

And essentially the reason for that is because they fear that people are leaving New York City and spreading coronavirus around. And Dr. Birx seem to indicate that they believe that is the case why they are seeing coronavirus pop up in places in Long Island.

So she was saying it doesn't matter if you're going to Long Island, North Carolina or Florida or where you're going, you need to be self quarantining for 14 days if you've left New York recently. And she said if you left New York four days ago, then you can quarantine for the next 10 days. They gave that indication.

And, of course, this comes after the Florida Governor said they are going to be quarantining anyone coming from that tri state area into their state for the time being.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan.

I want to go now to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Mark Rupp, who is Infection Control Chief at the University of Nebraska Medical Center where he has been overseeing coronavirus patient treatment and Dana Bash, our Chief Political Correspondent.

So Sanjay, let me just start with you here where Kaitlan left off.


So Dr. Birx says anyone who was in New York should be self quarantining for the next 14 days and her logic for that is, is obviously she's saying 60 percent of the new cases in the United States are coming from the New York metro area. So that's where you're seeing the growth and now they're seeing pickup in places where those people went to.

We've got one in three tests in the United State - in the New York Metro Area coming back positive. Does all of that though add up to you to a 14-day quarantine making sense?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, it doesn't, Erin. Quite simply, I mean, first of all, it's not part of the CDC guidelines anymore, these 14 day quarantines. We heard about that some time ago, but the idea that they're being sort of implemented like this. It just doesn't make a lot of sense.

You also have Washington State, you have California. I get that there are more cases in New York, but it is clear that there are many places around the country where people can be exposed. I get the idea of trying to slow down - mitigate the spread, but this particular policy, it really makes no sense. I'm not sure where this is coming from and why it's being applied so

specifically to New York in this case. People fly from New York to Florida, Erin, that's what a lot of people apparently have done. If they're not working at their workplace, kids are out of school, they go down to Florida.

Well, we know the virus circulating in Florida as well. I mean, the numbers have gone up 20 percent a day in the last few days. So I've been reading these as you might imagine these guidelines daily and all of the revisions daily for several weeks now. This surprised me. This just doesn't fit.

I'm not sure where it's coming from or exactly how it can be defended.

BURNETT: Dr. Rupp, do you see any way to defend that or does it not make sense to you?

DR. MARK RUPP, INFECTION CONTROL CHIEF, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER: Well, I guess I can see it both ways. I think that clearly New York is a hotspot and so we do need to be concentrating efforts to enact social distancing and trying to blunt the curve and prevent the spread.

But as was pointed out, we're seeing spread in other parts of the country as well. So this really needs to be emphasized nationwide that this is our chance to blunt this curve and prevent the spread. And we need to be doing this pretty wide spread all over the country.

BURNETT: So Dana, what do you think the reason would be, I mean, for the President to do this? Obviously, he's got his long standing personal challenges with the Governor of New York.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, that came to a fore today. We have seen them actually getting along, apparently, according to sources in private and definitely in public until today, when the Governor of New York was very, very clear in his frustration with the federal government, with the President for not giving New York, the equipment that it needs and implementing some actions like the Defense Act, the so called GPA.

That would allow the New York government, him in particular, to get equipment like ventilators to the people who are in desperate need in his state. And that caused the President to lash back as he is one to do to go after the Governor and say that he should have planned for this several years ago, which also doesn't make sense, because you can throw that back at the President in a lot of ways.

So I don't know how much that has to do with it. It is interesting and noteworthy that, yes, we heard it from the political leaders up there. But we also did hear from Dr. Birx who is, if nothing else, a by the book medical professional.

BURNETT: Right. Right. And she was the one who said it and making that point, which is certainly significant.

Sanjay, let me ask you about something else that came up which, of course, the President is trying to stick by this timeframe. And in part he's doing that because Americans want to know and it is important to try to have metrics around and the President was pushed on this. How are you going to determine how you make the decision of when people can go back to their regular lives?

The President sticking with Easter, which as I said is, I believe, two weeks and five days away. "I thought it was a beautiful time, a beautiful timeline for a beautiful day." Talking about Easter, Dr. Fauci, though when asked specifically about that said, "You look at a date, but you've got to be flexible. Obviously, no one is going to want to tone down things when you see what's going on in the place like New York City."

So they're not on the same page. Dr. Fauci was careful in how he said it, but it does not appear that they're on the same page at all.

GUPTA: Yes. I mean, Dr. Fauci, he's very good at sort of being able to say what he wants to say without ruffling feathers, I guess, in this particular case, we need to look at the data is what Dr. Fauci has said, what he continues to say and what I hear from most public health officials.

The data in a week from now, which will be the 15 days or I guess six days from now will be the 15 days is not going to look good.


I mean because right now we're seeing an image that is probably 10 to 14 days behind. And we know that for the last 10 to 14 days, the spread, the numbers have gone up and the pace at which they are going up is pretty concerning.

So how you could say at that point, like, yes, now is the time to pull back won't make sense. So Dr. Fauci says, we will look at the data at that point. But he knows and most public health officials know that what that data is going to look like, so he's absolutely right.

By the way, it's also true that you can look at places like China and South Korea and still start to get some sense of a timeline. It's not like it's in total perpetuity here, I think. I don't think anyone is saying that either. If you look at China and South Korea, these eight to 10 weeks sort of timelines between the peak and then the sort of tail end of this, maybe they're going to have a resurgence of cases.

Everyone is hoping that that doesn't happen. But that seems like a more realistic sort of picture. But again, even then you'd have to look at the data to make sure it's slowing down.

BURNETT: So Dr. Rupp, what are you seeing right now in your hospital? And I say this in the context of the Atlanta Mayor just in a local interview saying that ICU units in hospitals across Atlanta are currently at capacity. What are you seeing, Dr. Rupp?

RUPP: Well, I think we're doing a little bit better here in Omaha, Nebraska. We are obviously seeing cases. We're having to open special floors of the hospital to take care of patients with this infection or with rule out for this infection.

We're stressed just like every other hospital in the country, but we are making good progress and continuing to plan ahead and being as judicious as possible. We're still facing a lot of the things that other people are as far as not being able to test everybody that we want having a shortage of personal protective equipment. We've actually started to irradiate our N95 respirators so that we can reuse them. So we're trying to stretch our supplies just as far as we possibly can.

BURNETT: And Dana, on that point, this has been an issue not just from the Governor of New York, but from governors across the country about how there's a shortage of supply. And as you say, you can point the finger at states for not being prepared, at federal government for not being fair. The bottom line is nobody was and there's a lot of frustration from the states that the federal government isn't taking this over.

If only to stop the states from competing with each other to get the supplies and driving the price up, which taxpayers pay for them, do you anticipate that changing?

BASH: Well, look, it has to. I'm, before coming on with you, was speaking with a lawmaker who was telling me that the governor of their state had some supplies coming to the state and the supplies were stopped because the federal government said, no, no, no, we're going to take over and there was confusion. And that has been the hallmark of this whole situation.

In fairness, this is unprecedented, but that would all be alleviated if the federal government was more clear in how it's going to take over. We have heard several different things on several different days from the President himself about whether or not he is really going to implement the powers that he has, the Defense Production Act.

That could make it more clear in how people and how states were going to get the supplies and maybe it's just that those supplies were much more needed in New York. That might be but governors aren't being communicated with to the extent that they hope.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.

And OUTFRONT next, just how widespread is this virus? It may mean everything to how the social distancing plays out.

We have two epidemiologists with two very different views on the problem.

Plus, how long can food manufacturers go about business without a disruption in supply? Well, the head of Tyson Foods is OUTFRONT.

And Louisiana has the fastest growing rate of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world. What is going on there? The Mayor of New Orleans is OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, nearly one-third of the world is now under some form of complete or partial lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. That is about 2.5 billion people. That's 2.5 billion people and here in the United States by midweek, more than half of the American population will be under some form of a stay at home order.

This is something that you would have thought was out of science fiction even six weeks ago. The President of the United States now is saying he does not want this to last long.


TRUMP: We lose thousands of people a year to the flu. We never turn the country off. We lose much more than that to automobile accidents. We didn't call up the automobile companies to say stop making cars. We don't want any cars anymore. We have to get back to work.

You're going to lose more people by putting a country into a massive recession or depression. You're going to lose people. You're going to have suicides by the thousands. You're going to have all sorts of things happen. You're going to have instability. You can't just come in and say let's close up the United States of America, the biggest, the most successful country in the world by far.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, two of this nation's leading voices in epidemiology, Dr. John Ioannidis, Epidemiologist at Stanford University and Dr. Marc Lipsitch, Epidemiologist at Harvard. And I appreciate both of you taking the time.

I know you've spent time talking to each other as well as you've been going through the data that we do have. Dr. Lipsitch, President Trump, you just heard him, he says thousands of Americans die from the flu, 10s of thousands of Americans die from the flu each year. That more people die in car accidents than this virus and he says we're going to lose more lives by the economic shutdown than we will save by this country staying close for the coronavirus. What do you say to that?

MARC LIPSITCH, PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: We have a hard time understanding exponential growth. This virus is growing at a very rapidly accelerating rate. And while it's true that only a few hundred people are known who have died, probably more have died already, the projections are that way more people maybe two or three times as many people will get this in the United States, especially if we don't try to control it, as get seasonal flu, and the risk of dying from this disease is around 10 times higher.

So if you put that together, we're talking about 20 or 30 times over the course of the year, potentially what we see from seasonal flu.


Also, it risks wrecking our - bringing our healthcare system to its knees. And health care is a huge percentage of the economy. So if we want to protect our economy, we cannot let our hospitals turn into morgues.

BURNETT: And health care is about 17 percent to 20 percent of the economy, depending how you look at it.

Dr. Ioannidis, what do you say to that argument?

DR. JOHN IOANNIDIS, EPIDEMIOLOGIST AND RESEARCHER, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: Well, I think that clearly, we need to be safe than sorry, so I can

understand that people want to make sure that things don't get out of control. At the same time, I really feel strongly that we need to get reliable data to be able to estimate how widely the virus is circulating at the moment and what is really a more plausible range of the infection fatality rate.

I think that the estimates that have circulated in the early literature about both the proportion of people who get infected and the infection fatality rate probably are pretty exaggerated. To get reliable data, we need to get these data urgently on random representative samples of the population, which can tell us whether we are under estimating the number of infected people by fivefold, by tenfold, by a hundred fold, by 300 fold.

If we are under estimating the number of infected people by a very large factor, then that means that the infection fatality rate is much, much lower. I mean, it could be anywhere close to the range of seasonal influenza. And I don't want to put a number into this because we just don't have the data, but we could get the data.

BURNETT: You're shaking your head Dr. Lipsitch, what's wrong with that analysis given that we're not testing people and we know that half the people seem to be asymptomatic and so we don't even know who they are or who's at it?

LIPSITCH: Right. And there may be another five fold more that we don't know about. I think that's absolutely possible. But there is no seasonal flu that routinely crashes intensive care units in multiple countries. There is no seasonal flu that has or I should say there is no pandemic flu which is what we study as a comparison to this which low proportion of the population infected.

We know how these infectious diseases behave. We don't know all of the details. I absolutely agree. We need to know more data about this, but there infectious disease epidemiologists have been working for three years since August to understand how you estimate the severity of an infection you are just beginning to understand.

And I don't know any infectious disease epidemiologist who thinks it's plausible that the risk of dying is close to that of seasonal flu and I don't think anybody thinks the risk of getting it is close to seasonal flu either. BURNETT: Dr. Ioannidis though is saying that that may be possible.

LIPSITCH: They're both higher.

BURNETT: And there's one right here. Go ahead, Dr. Ioannidis, respond.

IOANNIDIS: So what Marc described like we might be one log scale off would mean that would bring the infection fatality rate from 1.3 percent, which is the current crude data if you take the number of people dying versus the number of people who have diagnosed.

It will take it from 1.3 percent to 0.13 percent, which would be very close to the 0.1 percent of the infection fatality rate for seasonal flu. And more than that, it could be even lower.

Again, I think we need these data. We have some data from other settings that approximate random population sampling. The best example probably is Iceland, that has a wonderful system. They test large segments of the population. They have decode, which is a database that they had started collecting samples from thousands of people - thousand every day and testing close to 3,000.

They found 1 percent infection rate in the population which is corresponding to 3,500 Icelanders being infected with one death at the time that these measurements were done, which corresponds to a 0.03 percent infection fatality rate.

Of course, some of this will occur later, there's no doubt about that. But it's extremely important to know the exact magnitude of the problem. It's not a short-term problem. I hope that it goes away shortly, but there is a chance that it will be with us for a while.

And any discussion about shutting down the country and shutting down the world for a few weeks unless we get data, we will be back to square zero again in two weeks or three weeks with no data and without knowing where we go next. So I feel that we need - and it's likely that they will be more optimistic than we currently think.

BURNETT: Dr. Lipsitch, do you entertain that possibility and do you think there's any point at which we as a society should be balancing coronavirus contagion against the threat of economic contagion?


LIPSITCH: I think we absolutely have to do that and that's another point on which we agree. I agree that we need more data and I agree that we need to balance economic factors and take care of those people who are going to be most affected by the economic consequences.

What I don't agree with is that we stop now or anytime soon with trying to slow the spread of the virus so that New York's intensive care units don't become the first casualties and a number of others well behind. We've got to stop the catastrophe that's happening now and then we can think about how we're going to gather more data. We'll do it at the same time and then we'll figure out how we're going to get out of this.

BURNETT: Bottom line, how long does it take to get that data to you considering you got Mike Pence saying, we don't want to test people who aren't sick. So if all you're doing is testing people that aren't sick, you're never going to know how many people have it, you're never going to know an infection rate, how are we going to get these answers?

LIPSITCH: Luckily, there are people in charge of states and localities who have a more scientific approach than our Vice President and who are at this very moment developing protocols to gather those data, New York City, New York State, Massachusetts, many other places are going to get that data.

BURNETT: All right. Well, we all hope they do and get these desperately needed answers to all Americans. Thank you both very much. I appreciate your coming on together, as I said to our viewers, I know they have been talking between themselves about their different views. And then we wanted to make sure you could share that thought with all of our viewers.

Next, warnings from analysts that easing coronavirus restrictions too early could backfire. So could it be too much too soon?

And the bad, the terrible mystery in Louisiana, the State is posting record numbers, record growth here on coronavirus cases. As a Louisiana pastor has been preaching to a thousand people at his mega church in person has no intention of social distancing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to address that by laying hands on them and praying for them and believing God to heal their body.


BURNETT: The Mayor of New Orleans is OUTFRONT.



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Breaking news: $6 trillion worth of economic relief according to top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow. He says the coronavirus relief package that's being finalized on Capitol Hill will consist of $2 trillion in direct assistance, and that will include things like direct payments to Americans. And then what about the majority of it? The other $4 trillion he says comes from Federal Reserve lending programs.

Kudlow and President Trump insisting the economic downturn will only last for weeks and months, not years. Of course, that is something that neither one of them -- nobody can know at this point, which is why you're seeing such uncertainty and fear out there.

OUTFRONT now, Dean Banks. He's the president of Tyson Foods, one of the largest, you know, chicken meat protein companies in the country.

Dean, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much for coming on.


BURNETT: So, when you hear Larry Kudlow or the president say weeks and months, not years, does that give you calm or not given the uncertainty of the situation here?

BANKS: Well, first, I'd like to thank all of the Tyson team members, partners and customers. It's been quite a trying time.

I would say that our primary focus is making sure we keep the plants running so we can feed America. Many of our food service customers, cafeterias and restaurants, are really suffering during this time, especially small businesses. We love to see them get back to prosperity, but we also know that we need to continue to keep the company. So, we've been shifting a lot of our supply chains, to retail and grocery to make sure America continues to eat.

BURNETT: So let me ask you about that because I've seen it, you've seen it, I'm sure everybody watching has seen it. They've gone to the grocery store and there hasn't been enough supply, not just of paper products, of meat and every other sort of food. People are seeing empty shelves.

So when you talk about just trying to keep things running and switching your distribution, you know, from maybe cafeterias that are closed to those grocery stores, are you -- do you have any concerns right now about your ability to meet that demand?

BANKS: No, we don't. Some of our products are packaged in large quantities for food service. We're shipping that supply chain immediately to service grocery stores. We have had weekends, second shifts, we're running the plants as far as we can to make sure we're meeting the demand.

There's a significant surge in the grocery business and we've seen our grocery partners even struggling to keep the shelves stocked. We're doing everything we can to make sure that their distribution centers are full and we're taking care of them.

BURNETT: And I know you had had some concerns about that. You say you're confident now. I mean, certainly you've seen the first big rush of panic buying. But you feel confident there is enough supply. People don't have to worry if they're stuck at home for days or weeks that they wouldn't be able to get chicken?

BANKS: Yes. Erin, fortunately, there's -- there's nothing about coronavirus that makes people eat three times the amount of food they normally would. So, we are seeing people stock their freezers but we are comfortable and confident that we're going to be able to continue to keep shelves stocked.

BURNETT: And what does all of this mean for your workers? As you say, working around the clock, shifting your plants. They themselves no doubt have some apprehensions and concerns.

How is this playing out for your work force?

BANKS: We've made significant strides to protect our team members. We've implemented temperature testing. We've ordered a (INAUDIBLE) supplies to make sure they're test safe. We run very clean plants.

We've also implemented a number of health care benefits to make sure that they have incentive to signal to us that they're feeling ill and not come in to work and make sure they can also take the time they need to recover. It's gone quite well. The plants are still running full and we're feeling very good about that.

BURNETT: So, Morgan Stanley today put out a report, sort of raising some questions. I know you heard the president, right? He wanted it over next week and now he says by Easter and he wants full churches on Easter.


Morgan Stanley warned today easing restrictions too early in their opinion could backfire. That instead of flattening the curve, it could actually make things worse economically. And, obviously, this is a delicate balance.

But do you have concern that the U.S. might re-open for business too soon, that that might end up being worse economically?

BANKS: You know, Erin, I'm not an epidemiologist. What I would say is we're going to continue to support the American economy the way we can. Our primary focus is to keep the plant, team members healthy and the communities they live in keeping the diseases out of there and stays out of our plants.

As far as the president's decision and how it affects the economy, we're going to make sure we service the American consumer in everywhere we can.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Dean, I appreciate your time.

BANKS: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: Dean Banks, as I said, is the president of Tyson Foods.

And next, why is Louisiana becoming one of the hardest hit places for coronavirus on the planet? The mayor of New Orleans is my guest.

And men are more likely to die than women after they're diagnosed with coronavirus. Why?



BURNETT: Tonight, Louisiana asking the federal government for a major disaster declaration as coronavirus cases surge there. The state has the fastest growth rate of confirmed cases in the world.

The governor now warning that without federal help, New Orleans hospitalizations will exceed their capacity in 11 days.

OUTFRONT now, LaToya Cantrell, the mayor of New Orleans.

And, Mayor, I appreciate your time.

Look, you are now dealing with some of the highest known cases of the growth rate here of coronavirus anywhere in the country. I mean, what is the situation like on the ground here and how suddenly did this realization hit?

MAYOR LATOYA CANTRELL (D), NEW ORLEANS: Well, the situation on the ground, well, you know when it hit several weeks ago, we were at 13 cases. Today, we are at 375 cases and 26 of our people have died. And so, there is an immediate need, of course, for PPE as it relates to our medical professionals working tirelessly on the ground to meet the needs of our residents. Ventilators, you know, are in need. We have more people that are on ventilators that are not coming off, and that just creates that backlog and an added burden to meet our people where they are.

The testing we have seen ramped up significantly. For example, a couple of days ago, we were at 347 tests throughout the state. Today, we're 8,000.

So the increased testing has been helpful. That is also our ability in New Orleans to stand up. One of the federal pilot testing, drive through testing locations that we were able to stand up in three days' time, and that was on Friday. Since Friday, we have seen 1,900 tests be conducted.

BURNETT: So that ramp up obviously is significant. But, you know, you mentioned 26 deaths.


BURNETT: And each one of those tragic for those families. Accord to go reports, one of those was a 39-year-old health care worker from New Orleans.


BURNETT: Who died last week waiting five days, she was -- which is the impossible to comprehend situation with coronavirus tests. You know, people I know taken it, it's all been five days.


BURNETT: At least. She's waiting for those results. She is a health care worker and she died.

I mean, just how could this have happened in the United States? I mean, people hear this, say a health care worker and still this could happen in this country. CANTRELL: Well, I mean, I would love to hear the answer to that. The

scene on the ground is really unimaginable as it relates to the United States of America. Clearly, the response has been inadequate. You know, I am -- I say it's been bittersweet because we have been able to, again, lift up this drive thru testing.

But, again, my governor, John Bel Edwards, is requesting and has made sure we made that mandate a major disaster right here in the state of Louisiana. And we're looking for that declaration to be approved so that it can unlock the much needed resources that our first responders need on the ground.


CANTRELL: For example, my EMS department, over 50 percent of my people are now on quarantine. And so, while we've unlocked additional resources at the state level, the state can no longer go on without additional -- without federal assistance at this time.

BURNETT: Before we go, I have to play something for you from the Louisiana megachurch pastor. On Sunday, he had 1,000 people at his church, and he said if people get coronavirus, this is what they should do. Here he is.


TONY SPELL, PASTOR, LIFE TABERNACLE CHURCH: I want to address that by laying hands on them and praying for them and we're leaving God to heal their bodies.


BURNETT: Mayor, what do you say to someone like that? That happened in your state on Sunday, 1,000 people. His solution is to lay his hands on them and cure them.

CANTRELL: Well, you know what, the power of the holy spirit doesn't come, in my opinion, I don't need the hands laid on me to be connected to a higher power. Prayer does work and it does matter.

However, at this point we need resources from the federal government to unlock the change and really tear them down in the state of Louisiana so that we can meet our people where they are, and so that we can give them the services that they desperately need, and particularly --



CANTRELL: -- our health care professionals on the ground working tirelessly. We need the support and we need it now.

BURNETT: All right. Mayor Cantrell, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

CANTRELL: Thank you so much.

BURNETT: And next, the data that we have shows that men are more likely to die after being diagnosed with coronavirus than women. Why? What explains that? That's next.


BURNETT: Tonight, growing evidence from around the world that men are more likely to die than women from coronavirus as the death toll tops 18,000. Why? Max Foster is OUTFRONT.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Countries around the world are struggling to contain the virus that's upended life as we know it, and across the globe a surprising statistic has started to emerge. It appears more men may be dying. There's no good data about the share of tests that are given to men and women respectively.


But in Florida, nearly 60 percent of the confirmed coronavirus cases are male, and 70 percent of the deaths are male. Researchers have found this emerging pattern of men dying from the virus at higher rates in countries in both Europe and Asia.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: From Italy, we're seeing another concerning trend that the mortality in male seems to be twice in every age group of females.

FOSTER: Comprehensive data about those who have got sick could help inform more effective responses to the crisis. But public health researchers say that when governments such as the United States either don't collect or don't publish their data, it's impossible for experts to gain an accurate sense of what's going on.

SARAH HAWKES, PROFESSOR OF GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH AT UCL: People have the data. What we're not seeing happening, it seems, is a collation, a collection of that data at state and national level, with the speed which one might hope to see from the perspective of global health research.

FOSTER: CNN found that of the six countries providing data by sex, all show men dying at higher rates. More than 70 percent of those who died in Italy are men. In France, more women have tested positive for the virus, but more men have succumb to it. The same in South Korea.

Across the countries for which we have data, spanning nearly a quarter of the world's population, we found that men were 50 percent more likely than women to die after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

So why might men be more vulnerable? It's still too early to say, but one hypothesis is gaining traction.

HAWKES: Across their life courses, men have greater risks of exposure to behaviors that will lead to adverse health outcomes in the long term.

FOSTER: Researchers say that means smoking and drinking.

Lifestyle factors, then, may be making men more susceptible. It's the type of insight that could inform who receives which treatment and when as the U.S. ramps up its virus response.

The most effective way of reducing the death toll will be knowing who is at most risk and needs to be protected first.


FOSTER: Or it could simply be that women have stronger immune systems than men. We simply won't know until those researchers, those medical researchers get their hands on this data, which is why they're pushing so hard for it. It can make a real difference to the type of response that the authorities are putting to action as this virus spreads, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Max.

Just a moment again and again of how much data we need.

Next, Hong Kong seems to have done a lot right to fight coronavirus. Now, though, a possible threat. With success and reemergence, a second wave of contagion is threatened.



BURNETT: Tonight, Hong Kong bracing for a second wave of coronavirus cases.

Ivan Watson is OUTFRONT.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, and it's right next to mainland China, birthplace of the coronavirus pandemic.

But for a month and a half, this city managed to avoid a full-blown outbreak, possibly because of the discipline of people like Sarah Membrey. As a precaution, we don't meet face to face.

(on camera): Hi there.

(voice-over): Since January 29th, Sarah and her family have stayed confined to their apartments in this building, only setting foot outside once or twice a week.

SARAH MEMBREY, HONG KONG RESIDENT IN LOCKDOWN: Basically just we didn't want to take any risk because at home I have my mom, who is a cancer patient, and we want to be really, really careful and we also have two kids.

WATSON: Until last week, aggressive social distancing and the closure of schools and public facilities helped keep Hong Kong's coronavirus caseload below the 150 mark. But over the last week, the number of infections in Hong Kong suddenly doubled.

Authorities say the majority of these new cases were imported, involving people who traveled internationally.

(on camera): The Hong Kong government is responding to the recent surge in infections. As of last week, any new arrival here at the airport has to go into mandatory 14-day quarantine.

(voice-over): All arrivals get an electronic band to monitor them.

LINDSEY WILLIAMS, ENGLIST TEACHER: This is for quarantine for 14 days. Yes.

WATSON: Lindsey Williams, an English teacher from Ohio, has to spend the next two weeks stuck in a hotel room.

(on camera): How do you feel about that?

WILLIAMS: A little nervous, but I've got lots of snacks, books.

WATSON (voice-over): Hong Kong police have been doing spot-checks. They say they caught five people who broke quarantine and they're searching for at least 36 more who have gone missing.

Hong Kong's second wave of infections has Sarah Membrey on edge.

MEMBREY: It makes us all very nervous, I have to tell you that. But then we also accept the fact this is happening.

WATSON (on camera): Do you feel safe right now?

MEMBREY: At home, yes.

WATSON (voice-over): She's keeping up the self-imposed quarantine. Her 10-year-old son takes daily classes on video conference.

(on camera): What do you miss most about life before the coronavirus?


WATSON (voice-over): Nearly two months into their lockdown, this family has some advice for people just starting this process.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Just stay positive.

MEMBREY: Yes, just stay positive. That's the only way. And remain hopeful. I mean, we remain hopeful that a vaccine is going to come out soon.

WATSON: That's something the whole world is hoping for.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


BURNETT: Incredible. Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.