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Three States Experience Spike in Coronavirus; Dr. Anthony Fauci on the Coronavirus Crisis; Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 30, 2020 - 06:30   ET

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


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[06:33:22]

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DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: No state, no metro area will be spared. And the sooner we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they've put in full mitigation, at the same time understanding exactly what their hospitals need, then we'll be able to move forward together and protect the most Americans.

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ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, you just heard White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx warning that no state will be spared as the pandemic spreads throughout the country.

At the moment, three states are experiencing a significant spike in cases. That's California, Illinois and Florida. We have reporters in each of them for the latest. Watch this.

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PAUL VERCAMMEN: I'm Paul Vercammen in Los Angeles.

And we're seeing a steep rise in the number of cases in California. And just in time, the hospital ship Mercy has begun to treat its first patients. This 1,000-bed ship is here for one reason, to take the heat off hospitals on land. It's going to treat non-coronavirus patients.

And behind me you see this boardwalk, it should be crowded on a breezy early spring day. It's not because of the extreme social distancing measures. Also all state parks closed. And in L.A. County, they also closed beaches and public hiking trails. These are extreme tactics to try to stop the spread of Covid-19.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Omar Jimenez in Chicago.

As the number of cases continues to rise here in the state of Illinois, including coming on the heels on the deadliest day yet we have seen in this state, there's been a real push for medical supplies to keep up with the rate of infections we have seen from all levels, including a push at the volunteer one in the form of personal protective equipment drives, where people literally come up and drop off masks and gloves to then be distributed to local health care providers here in the state.

[06:35:14]

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Rosa Flores in Miami.

The Zandant (ph) cruise ship has been given the green light to pass the Panama Canal and head to Florida for humanitarian reasons. Four people on board have died. Cause of death has not been determined yet. Two others have tested positive for Covid-19 and nearly 180 other people have exhibited flu-like symptoms.

The ship left Argentina on March 7th with 1,200 passengers on board. Once the ship passes the Panama Canal, it will take three days to get to the state of Florida. Florida has not given the okay for that ship to dock.

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CAMEROTA: Our thanks to our reporters for all of that.

Meanwhile, let's talk about the financial side of this. When should you expect to receive your stimulus check? We'll tell you the timeline that White House officials laid out, next.

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[06:40:00]

CAMEROTA: OK, now to the financial side of the crisis.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says that Americans who are eligible to receive stimulus checks will get them via direct deposit within three weeks.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us n with details.

So, Christine, this is for people who make $75,000 or less.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

CAMEROTA: They can expect it in two to three weeks. And what happens if your rent is due April 1st?

ROMANS: Yes, well, you've got a problem because there's this -- that's why there's this urgency to get as much money as possible into the hands of Americans as quickly as they can.

You know, Wednesday is April 1st. Rent and bills are due. And the White House is promising now to move more quickly than this has ever been done.

There are already scams, Alisyn. Do not give your bank info, a PayPal account or personal information to anyone offering to get you your check. Calls, texts and e-mails to connect you with your bailout checks, those are a swindle and they've already begun.

SO here's how you get the money. If the IRS has your bank info because you e-file your taxes, you're going to see a direct deposit. If you need a paper check, there will be a website where you can apply.

Now, the government is looking to get the money to small businesses even more quickly. The message for small business owners, hire your workers back because the government will pay you to do it.

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LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: The loans to the small businesses will be ready for processing this coming week, OK? This coming Friday. So we will have rapid speed, much faster than has been done in the past with these things. And so we will get it into people's hands right away.

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ROMANS: And, we'll, of course, be watching to make sure that all happens.

This is the biggest main street bailout in history. $350 billion for small business. For workers already laid off, there will be four months of full pay in jobless benefits. And if you have a federal student loan, the government is pushing the pause button on minimum payments until September 30th, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: During the news conference with the president, we heard him say that two of the country's biggest health insurers have a promise to people with medical bills. What is that?

ROMANS: So Humana and Cigna say that you won't pay any costs related to Covid-19 treatment. Some of the insurers had said that the testing would be free. But they go further now and say they are waving co- pays, co-insurance and deductibles on all coronavirus costs. You know the idea here is that this is happening to people and they're just -- your bills are still coming due. You might have to be out of work. You might have to pay out of pocket, right, for this -- for this illness. This is just another way of trying to press the pause button on another bill in case you need to.

BERMAN: All right, Christine Romans for us this morning, thanks very much.

Dr. Anthony Fauci warning that more than 100,000 Americans could die from coronavirus. I will speak to Dr. Fauci next.

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[06:46:43]

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So you're talking about 2.2 million deaths, 2.2 million people from this. And so if we can hold that down as we're saying to 100,000, it's a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000. So we have between 100,000 and 200,000. We all together have done a very good job.

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BERMAN: President Trump reversing course and extending social distancing guidelines until the end of April. It comes after doctors on his pandemic task force warn that with the current precaution -- even with the current precautions, the death toll in the United States could reach 200,000.

BERMAN: Joining us now is one of those doctors, Dr. Anthony Fauci. He is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Fauci, thank you for getting up early for us. Thank you for all of your doing.

Let me just ask you right away, why have the guidelines been extended to the end of April? Why was that decision made?

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, John, when you look at the kinetics of the outbreak, the patterns that are going on now even as we speak, they were not going to reach a peak and turnaround the way we wanted to within the timeframe that was originally estimated. So I thought it was prudent and I think the right decision to extend them another 30 days because what you really want to do is you want to start seeing some flattening out and turning around of the curve and it coming down. It wasn't doing that.

If you look in New York, it was doing this. If you look at New Orleans, it was doing this. Detroit is certainly going to start doing that. It would not have been a good idea to pull back at a time when you really needed to be pressing your foot on the pedal as opposed to on the brakes.

BERMAN: You keep talking about the peak. Can you explain to the American people what exactly that peak looks like and how it will tax the system?

FAUCI: Well, there are a number of factors that are going on at the same time. One is the number of new cases per day. The other is the number of deaths that you have.

So if you have like 100 cases today, 200 cases tomorrow, 400 cases the next day, 600 cases the next day, you are clearly going in the wrong direction. You don't want to interfere except to try and suppress that.

If you reach the point where the number of new cases starts to equilibrate so that yesterday you have 150, today you have 150, tomorrow you have 125, they're starting to level off, which is the - is the -- kind of the beginning of the turning around of the curve of it coming down. Deaths tend to linger a little bit more after the hospitalizations, but when you see the new hospitalizations start to do this, you know you're going in the right direction.

And we weren't doing that. And we felt that if we prematurely pulled back, we would only form an acceleration or a rebound of something, which would have put you behind where you were before. And that's the reason why we argued strongly with the president that he not withdraw those guidelines after 15 days but that he extend them. And he did listen.

BERMAN: You argued strongly, you said, with the president.

Our reporting is that among other things you showed him these models that suggest that even with the current guidelines, the death total in the United States could be between 100,000 and 200,000.

[06:50:12]

So why do you think that was so convincing?

FAUCI: Well, it was quite convincing. I mean the president is first, as he said multiple times at the press conference yesterday, his first -- his first goal is to prevent suffering and death. And we made it very clear to him that if we pulled back on what we were doing and didn't extend them, there would be more avoidable suffering and avoidable death.

So, it was a pretty clear decision on his part.

BERMAN: How much convincing did it take from you?

FAUCI: How much -- the convincing? You know, interestingly, you know, we showed him the data, he looked at the data, and he got it right away. It was a pretty clear picture that Dr. Debbie Birx and I went into together in the Oval Office and leaned over the desk and said, here are the data, take a look. He looked at them, he understood them, and he just shook his head and said, I guess we've got to do it.

BERMAN: How important was it for you to make this case when you made, because we've been, I guess, seven days into, we can't make the cure worse than the disease, an aspirational goal to open by Easter. So how important was it for you to go in and make that case, I guess it was just yesterday?

FAUCI: Well, it was very important because, from a public health standpoint, we felt strongly that it would be have been the wrong decision to pull back. I mean we are scientists, physicians, public health officials, we're not economists.

We're sensitive to the idea that the economy could suffer, but it was patently obvious looking at the data that at the end of the day if we try to push back prematurely, not only would we lose lives, but it probably would even hurt the economy.

So, you would loose on double accounts. So, to us, there was no question what the right choice was.

BERMAN: You've been in a position where you've had to talk about modeling to lay people probably more than you would ever like to. And I know that you make the case that models are only based on your best assumptions. But just so people understand exactly what you're saying here with this 100,000 to 200,000 death estimate, is that even with the measures we have in place now?

FAUCI: Yes. Yes. That was -- it -- that was of varying degrees of implementation and success of the methods. I believe, looking at the dynamics now, that if we really do put a full press on the mitigation, and importantly if we get the areas that are spiking now, New York, New Orleans, maybe Detroit, get them under control, but as importantly, there are a number of areas in the country that have relatively few cases, those are the ones that are vulnerable and dangerous, to go along and then spike.

So at the same time that we're concentrating on the ones that we're mitigating, the New Yorks, the New Orleans, you've got to look at those other areas and make sure you very vigorously identify tests, concentrate, get individuals who you take out of society because they're isolated and do contact tracing.

If you just look at those and say, they've very little infections in this area, or that area, or that area, we don't have to worry about it, you're making a big mistake, because those are timbers that can turn into big fires.

So, you've got to do both, you've got to mitigate the ones that's obvious trouble, but you've got to stop that one that are starting to spark.

BERMAN: And even with that, you think 100,000 deaths is a reasonable projection at this point?

FAUCI: I think, you know, if you look at seasonal flu, we had a bad season in 2017, '18. We lost over 60,000 people just in the seasonal flu. This is clearly worse than that. So I would not be surprised. I don't want to see it.

BERMAN: Right.

FAUCI: I'd like to avoid it. But I wouldn't be surprised if we saw 100,000 deaths.

BERMAN: You talked about New York, New Orleans, Detroit. Any other cities you're specifically concerned about this morning?

FAUCI: Well, you know, there are cities outside the New York area, for example, the cities in New Jersey, you know, Newark and places like that. In Connecticut, Fairfax (ph) County, Greenwich, Los Angeles, perhaps, cities in the Midwest, some of the larger cities, those are the things we get concerned about, because thus far they seem to be doing well, but they have the potential to get into trouble.

BERMAN: What evidence have you seen that supplies are disappearing from hospitals at unusual rates?

[06:55:04]

The president said something that got a lot of people's attention, that hospitals that normally order 20,000, 30,000 masks were having to order 200,000 and 300,000, and then suggested they're walking out the back door.

What evidence have you seen that these masks are may be walking out the back door?

FAUCI: You know, I have not looked at that carefully, so I really can't comment. I mean it could be that there are many more patients there that need them and they're actually not walking out the door, they're actually being utilized. I don't know. When that discussion came yesterday, I really didn't know what was going on. So I'll have to check that out later and find out what they were talking about.

BERMAN: In terms of public health, one of the most important things in a public health crisis is public trust. How important is the consistent message in a public health crisis?

FAUCI: Well, it is important. That's the reason why if you go back and take a look at the things I've said over the last several weeks they're really rather consistent. I mean almost word-for-word.

BERMAN: Right.

FAUCI: Sometimes as we get more cases, you know, I get a little bit more emphatic about what we should do, and that's the reason why I made a big pitch to do a couple of things over the last couple of days. One, to not quarantine New York.

BERMAN: Do you feel that every - do you feel that every official speaking at a microphone has been as consistent as you have been over the last days and weeks?

FAUCI: You know, not everybody's the same. People have different styles about how they communicate.

BERMAN: Testing right now. New York City or New York state, I should say, is developing or has developed a test that can be taken with saliva and a nasal swab, a self-test. How important is this to battle the coronavirus?

FAUCI: You know, I think it's very important because what you want, if you're going to immediately identify, isolate, and contact trace a person so that you could quickly get them out of society and stop spreading other people, you want to test that you know the answer right away.

One of the problems with tests that you get back several days later is that you generally let that person who might actually be infected to go back into society and inadvertently be infecting other people while you're waiting for the result of the test.

So if you really want to do what I mentioned just a moment ago is to really get the handle on those areas where they don't have a lot of infected individuals where you want to effectively identify, isolate, and contact trace. You want the result of the test in real time. You want to know exactly what you're dealing with at the time you're dealing with it.

BERMAN: In terms of the other tests on some of these drugs for treatments, can you give us an update on what you're hearing, how effective they are?

FAUCI: Well, you'll never know if a drug is really effective unless you compare it to something, and that's called a randomized control clinical trial where you compare drug X and standard of care with just standard of care alone. We have a test of a drug called Remdesivir that's undergoing a standard - a randomized control trial. We have about 200 people in that trial. Hopefully in the next few weeks to a month or so we'll be able to get data that will give us a definitive determination as to whether or not the drug works and whether or not it's safe.

BERMAN: Dr. Fauci, just in the last few minutes you've been on with me, I've been looking down at my e-mail and my Twitter account, and there's so many people writing in, first of all, grateful for the work you're doing, but also frankly concerned with how hard you're working. You know, you're talking yourself hoarse like many of us do on TV.

So how are you doing through all this in this hard work, and what do you want to tell the American people about your health and wellbeing?

FAUCI: Well, I'm fine. I'm healthy. I'm tired. I don't get nearly enough sleep as I should. This is not my regular voice. I'm constantly briefing people, talking, testifying, doing interviews. It's a long day. I mean, I work pretty much hours anyway, but I'm getting only about four or five hours of sleep, mostly four hours of sleep a night. There's a lot of things to do. When you're working in the White House, it's a very, very busy place.

BERMAN: Well, we're grateful for the work that you're doing, Dr. Fauci. We're grateful for your consistent message. Thank you for coming on this morning and telling us the things that you have seen and what you need to see going forward.

Appreciate it, sir.

FAUCI: My pleasure.

BERMAN: All right, NEW DAY continues right now.

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ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The decision to extend this mitigation process until the end of April, I think, was a wise and prudent decision.

[07:00:00] DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: It's anywhere in the model between 80,000 and 160,000, maybe even 200,000 people succumbing this this. That's with --