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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Coronavirus Crisis: Study Proposes Trials that Would Accelerate Rollout of Vaccines; Key Coronavirus Model Cited by the WH Revises Estimated Death Toll to 93,500 U.S. Deaths by August, UP from 82,000; NYC and Los Angeles Call on Residents to Wear Face Coverings in Public but Preserve Masks for Health Workers; Source Close to Task Force: "Certainly Possible" Virus Can Spread Through Talking and Breathing. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 2, 2020 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flags about the COVID-19 outbreak on his ship. It appears as if he's being punished for trying to save the lives of the sailors in his command. What's your sense?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I don't agree with that at all but we're going to wait a little while because I understand there's a news conference by the Secretary of Defense about that. But I don't agree with that at all. Not at all. Not even a little bit. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. This morning you said, once again, that New York got off to a late start and they should have pushed harder. But governors and other state leaders say they rely on the federal government to assess the situation and how risky it is and they want to know how would they have known to start sooner without your guidance.
TRUMP: Well, they have experts and frankly long after we came out and talked about it - look, how would I have known to cut off China? I cut off China very early and if I didn't we would have a chart that you wouldn't believe. So how would I know to do that? How would I know to cut off Europe? I cut off here very early.
I mean, you have to make a decision. People knew that some bad things were going on and they got off to a late start and some others got off to a late start also. But we cut off China. If we didn't cut off China, we would have been in some big trouble and we cut it off - and you know what we cut it off way early. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, to follow up on the insurance point in a separate question that came in from a colleague who can't be in the room. On the insurance point, is there going to ...
TRUMP: Who are you with?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roll Call. Is there going to be an opportunity for insurance companies if in fact hospitals are compensated for uncompensated care ...
TRUMP: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... are the insurance companies going to also get compensated for extraordinary expenses that they may have or they use assuming that cost?
TRUMP: So we haven't discussed it, but we're talking to them, getting them not to pay co-pays in the case of the big ones was a tremendous thing. That's a lot of money they gave up. But when discussing that with the insurance companies. We'll let you know, it'll be pretty quickly. Yes, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a question on Japan, sir. They are expanding their entry ban to include the United States. Are you planning to take any similar action to ban Japanese nationals from coming to the U.S. as a result of this crisis?
TRUMP: Well, we're looking at a lot of things and a lot of different bans. We have more bans than anybody. We had bans when bans weren't fashionable, if you remember, right at the beginning of this administration was for different reasons. But we've had bans long before people thought of bans.
When I did China, it had never been done before. I was the first one to do it, remember that. It had never - according to what I read at all of the papers, this had never been done. This is a terrible thing to do and four weeks later, they were all saying we're lucky we did it. So we're looking at it.
No, we hear that and I think it's fine that they do that. They're trying to protect their country and we have to protect our country. Yes, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, I asked yesterday about stay-at- home orders and if that decision should be left in the hands of governors or if you're considering telling the entire nation to stay at home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So just today, the Georgia's Governor finally issued a stay-at-home order, saying that individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn't know that until the last 24 hours. Is that ignorance, gross incompetence?
TRUMP: He's a good governor, Brian Kemp. He's a very good ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He have been calls with these governors.
TRUMP: ... he's a good governor and he has to make his own decision on that. I let the states - I think we're about 85 percent positive on that. If you look, I think it's about 85 percent of the states have got to stay at home.
Brian is a great governor. It's his decision. He made that decision. Ultimately, he decided to go along with it and they're doing well and the state is doing well in many respects. Yes, go ahead. Please. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is on a question from a colleague who
couldn't make it in today from Emily Goodin at the Daily Mail. A question in regards to the Russian plane that landed at JFK with medical supplies, did the United States ask Russia for this aid or is it just accepting it?
TRUMP: We're accepting it. It was a very nice offer from President Putin. I spoke to him the other night, as I told you, and they had excess medical equipment things and I'll take it. I'll take it. I think it's very nice. We've had some from China.
We also help other countries. We like doing it. Like I said before, if we have excess stuff, we let it go out. We let some go out where frankly they had orders for it and I didn't want to stop orders. It was a very nice gesture on behalf of President Putin and I could have said no, thank you or I could have said thank you. And it was a large plane of very high quality medical supplies. And I said I'll take it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any further aid in your conversation?
TRUMP: I think he would if we ask for it.
But he was very nice. It was part of the call. He suggested he said, we have it. It's additional. They have very big difficulties with this virus also as you know, Russia. I thought it was a very nice gesture on behalf of President Putin. I could have said, no, I don't want it or I could have said I'll take it. And you know what I said, I'll take it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Accept further aid.
TRUMP: I think so, yes. If they send things that we need, I'd take it. Sure. Nice gesture.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you concerned about Russian propaganda?
TRUMP: I'm not concerned about Russian propaganda, not even a little bit. He offered a lot of medical - high quality stuff that I accepted and that may save a lot of lives. I'll take it every day. Please, you in the back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, you said in January, you pleaded that you stand for the people of Iran at the beginning of your presidency and you'll continue to stand with the people of Iran. Given the fact they're so hard hit with coronavirus ...
TRUMP: Oh, they're very hard hit. They're very hard hit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But would you consider ...
TRUMP: In a lot of ways they're hard hit. They are hit with their economy, with their military and with obviously the virus, they're very hard hit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you consider easing sanctions to allow medical supplies to get in?
TRUMP: Well, they haven't even asked us to do that, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But we know that sanctions hit the people, not the government.
TRUMP: You know what? They haven't even asked us to do that. If they want to meet, we'd love to meet and we'd love to settle a whole thing out but I doubt they'll be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Realistically, how does a person in Tehran pick up the phone and call you?
TRUMP: I think they love America. I think the Iranians love America. I think they'd love to be free. I think they'd love to have just some of the things that we have. I remember Iran many years ago, friends of mine were always in Iran. They were doing real estate deals in Iran. They were building beautiful buildings all over Iran, apartment houses. They were very successful.
And then one day that came to an end. But you know what, the people of Iran, they remember that. It was a long time ago, but not so long ago ... 0 ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And you are listening to the coronavirus task force briefing. President Trump just answering a question there about Iran. There's been back and forth. Of course, Dr. Birx, has been there taking some questions along with the Vice President. Jared Kushner also appeared at the briefing along with Peter Navarro and they are giving the latest update just talking about testing there as well and why a lot of people are still waiting for tests.
This all comes on a day where, of course, you have more deaths and an increase in the number of cases. Right now, 5,800 deaths related to coronavirus in the United States. The death toll now 52,000 worldwide known deaths and more than 1 million detected cases worldwide.
John King, John Harwood, Daniel Dale are all here. In a few moments, we'll be joined as well by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Let me just ask you first though, John King. The President obviously taking a lot of questions there, the majority of them going to the President. But testing did just come up and you heard Dr. Birx basically admitting a lot of people are still waiting in this whole you get your results in 15 minutes like the President did. That is not the reality on the ground for many, many Americans.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, it is not. And as he she was answering those question, she also said we have to change that slope. From Dr. Birx saying France, Italy, Germany beginning to show effort that social distancing and other message are beginning to choke their curves in the right direction. The United States, Erin, still going in the wrong direction.
And the point she made about testing, part of her briefing in which we begin to see proof that the administration gets even though they don't like to say it so candidly that they still have big problems. Jared Kushner being in that briefing. He's the President's fireman. The President's troubleshooter.
The President calls him when he's taking incoming. He's been taking a lot of incoming from governors and others about the performance of FEMA and other federal officials. So Jared Kushner is there to say, I'm trying to help the President clear up these supply issues. They bring in an admiral to try to help FEMA streamline the logistics and the delivery.
But to your point about testing, Deborah Birx says it's getting better, but there are still a lot of people waiting. It was one month ago the President said, one month ago on March 6th, anybody who wants to test can get a test. President said that a month ago. We're still nowhere close to having enough tests.
Never mind can anybody wants to test get a test, just for the test that the states need to try to get a better sample of how bad is our problem. But that's one big issue. The other thing I want to note is the Defense Production Act.
The President has resisted for weeks and weeks and weeks. He has taken small modest steps today. He's essentially like the federal government takeover the supply chain, prevent parts for ventilators, because they understand they are behind the curve.
The message they were trying to send as we finally get it, we're going to do this. The question is, Erin, can they do it fast enough as you go state by state and look at the crunch on the hospitals, can they do it fast enough. Because as we speak tonight, there are not enough ventilators in the United States of America to meet what is coming in a week or three.
BURNETT: No, it certainly seems that way and it also seemed obvious for quite some time that you needed a central point person when you had states competing with each other to get the very same supplies and the people who wanted to provide the supplies not even knowing who to call and then the states knowing who to call on their side.
Then, the issue is tonight, John Harwood, Peter Navarro who's supposed to be running that, Admiral Gaynor from FEMA who's supposed to be running that and then you had Jared Kushner who now says he's running that. And yes, he's the President's troubleshooter. He also does lack any sort of a background in anything to do with procurement or logistics or supply chain management just to state the obvious.
So you then, John Harwood, is there fixing this yet three people now who are theoretically in charge on that platform?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And of course, the question it raises, Erin, is whether they are, in fact, fixing it. Let's just step back and remember four years ago when Donald Trump was running for president, Jeb Bush, who ran in the Republican primary against him said, you're a chaos candidate and you will be a chaos president.
We've seen a lot of chaos during the first three years of the Trump administration and what you have to wonder is that even now when the stakes are highest economically for life and death, a hundred thousand Americans now projected in a best case to lose their lives. Are we seeing more chaos here?
We've had HHS and Alex Azar the in charge of this effort. You've had then Vice President Pence. You then have FEMA injected. Now you have Jared Kushner coming in and saying, the President talked to one of his friends on the phone about New York and said they're short of N95 masks, so I called the head of a hospital and now I'm shipping him N95 masks.
Well, hospitals around the country, hundreds of hospitals around the country are begging for this kind of equipment. They have been for weeks. The idea that it takes a phone call from one of the President's friends to make this happen, that underscores the problem, not the solution.
BURNETT: Yes. And certainly, Daniel Dale, there was that anecdote from Jared Kushner, basically, which was, I guess, intended to show that once you get the President's attention he'll make it happen. That's a level of micromanagement, of course, which as John points out is very ineffective.
You then had Peter Navarro get up and go on a very long story that was essentially the same thing that the President was able to just make a couple of phone calls and get supplies where they needed to get.
DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Yes. It almost seems to be a requirement if you're going to speak at a Trump press conference appear alongside the President, you have to lavish him with praise that many previous presidents might have seen as over the top. We know that this president, like many of us, but probably more so enjoys being complimented in public.
Erin, just a few fact checks to do. I think one is very important, the President continues to give people a medical advice that is dubious at best. In talking today about masks he said that in many cases using a scarf can be better than using an actual FDA approved mask because he said it's thicker.
Now, there's still more studying to be done of the effectiveness of various kinds of devices against this virus. But that advice is not what the CDC says. The CDC says that things like scarves, bandanas are last resort options for healthcare workers. They have not been proven effective.
So if you're considering wearing a scarf over a mass because the president told you to, please don't.
BURNETT: Well, I mean, right and I'm going to have Sanjay about that in just a moment as well, I mean, just where that sort of claim would come from. John king, in the meantime the President did just say that they're
looking at a lot of different bans in response to a question about Japan barring people from the United States, Americans coming in, whether he would reply in kind. His response was, well, we've done more bans than anybody. And of course, he actually went all the way back to the original Muslim ban when he came into office.
But does that pre-stage 1910[00:03:31] even more bands coming in terms of transit and travel?
KING: The issue of the ban is if you see someplace around the world that has a growing problem, you want to limit input from their citizens, in coming from their citizens. But when the President says we're looking at that that has become early in the administration, he would often say, well, we have something in two weeks, we'll have something in two weeks, we'll have something in two weeks, which is his way of pushing it aside. He says at that these briefings all of the time we will look at it.
But back to the point you made the President did after being urged by Senator Tom Cotton and others in Congress who saw this problem way before the administration did, he did and he deserves credit for the travel ban on China earlier. And he was criticized for it. Chuck Schumer called him a racist and then deleted the tweet for that. He deserves credit for that.
The issue though when you go through this and then he did the European ban later and, again, a lot of the public health experts will tell you look at what was happening in Italy, Spain, and elsewhere. There were some holes in it, I get it, but that it was a wise move. It was a piece of a move.
The issue, Erin, is everything else. The issue is not his reflexes, you're telling me to ban travel from a foreign nation, I will do that. The question is when he began to travel to a foreign nation, at that moment, if you'd said that's a sign we have a problem coming, let's ramp up a testing paradigm.
How many ventilators do we have? Is it enough? Are the ones we have, have they been maintained? Let's put all of the states on alert. Let's pick up whether it's Jared Kushner in charge, pick who's in charge but put somebody in charge and start this back in January or early February. We'd be having a different conversation tonight. They didn't. He minimized this for months even though he did implement that China ban.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much and I want to just bring in Sanjay now, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
And Sanjay, I want to give you a chance to respond, Daniel Dale just brought up the point of what President Trump said about masks or he was asked about whether they were going to do a formal telling Americans to wear masks. And Trump's response was, you could use a scarf and he said in many cases a scarf is better. It's thicker. That's the exact quote. Is that true?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't know that it's any better because it's thicker. But I think that there's a fundamental point that I think is different here versus masks, for example, in hospitals or healthcare settings.
I think what has changed here, Erin, and the reason that the you hear the L.A. Mayor now recommending mask. I think Mayor de Blasio also recommending masks for people going out in public. It's because of this idea now that people who are asymptomatic, not having any symptoms, not knowing if they have the virus could still be spreading.
So these are not hospital grade masks that we're talking about, the surgical mask or the N95 mask, but rather some sort of cloth mask to wear when you go out in public, because you're trying to protect other people from you as opposed to in hospitals where healthcare workers where they're trying to protect themselves from the patient who may be putting a lot of virus into the air.
GUPTA: So it's a different thing, if you wear a mask and you have virus in your nose or throat, you may be sort of reducing at least the amount of virus you're putting into the environment. I think that's what's sort of driving this thinking. It's a little bit opposite, I think, than the way people have thought about masks.
Again, it's not to protect yourself. It's to protect others from you and I think that's what President Trump was talking about.
BURNETT: Well, it's really well said that you say that because I do think because America is not a culturally a mask society, anytime you travel in Asia, those are mask societies, they see it differently.
GUPTA: That's right.
BURNETT: Here there is sort of, maybe people feel, what are you trying to say about me when they see someone else wearing it.
GUPTA: That's right.
BURNETT: To your point that you would be wearing it to protect others from yourself is something that perhaps people think about it more, they might feel differently. But part of this I think, Sanjay, we've known it can spread a symptomatically, but what seems to be perhaps new is that experts are now telling the White House that it can be spread by just talking or even by breathing, which is not what we had heard. So is that really a new thing here and why would we just be discovering that now?
GUPTA: Yes. No, well, as you know, Erin, it came from a letter that was given to the White House based on some research. But I've spoken to many of my contacts and even spoke to Dr. Fauci about this a little bit. Here's, I think, another way to think about it is that we have essentially been saying this all along. I mean, if you don't have symptoms and you're still spreading it, how are you spreading it, just through your breath and you're not coughing or sneezing the viral particles out, you're just basically - the viral particles are in the back of your throat, in your nose and just through daily activities of life talking breathing, you're releasing a little bit of virus into the air.
I will say this. It is true, I mean, the science, I think, is pretty clear now that can happen. But how much is that really driving the spread of this, it's probably a lot less than someone who's clearly symptomatic. Those are the people who are probably really driving the majority of the spread. It's something to be aware of and obviously we're doing everything. Our people want to do everything we can to mitigate slow down the spread of this virus, so this is another step and another thing to be aware of.
BURNETT: Right, certainly, and one that will cause some concern among people.
BURNETT: I guess, in a sense when you think about it, when we hear and we're going to talk to someone later in the show, the number of people who are getting this from parties or casual group settings, choirs, it's kind of clear that what you're saying is true. But hearing it nonetheless is quite sobering.
And it comes, Sanjay, as one of the death toll models that the White House has been giving and they're talking about in these briefings was just revised upwards. They had originally projected at 82,000 deaths by August, they're now projecting 93,500.
Again, these are projections. They're not any better than the inputs that they have and that is a crucial caveat now, because everything is an assumption. But what has changed? Why would that change so quickly?
GUPTA: Well, it's really interesting and we've spent a lot of time looking at these models and spoke to Chris Murray who developed these models at University of Washington. What's interesting, Erin, is that you're putting in new inputs every day and one of the things, as I think you and I talked about last night, that is fundamental to these models is that by the end of this week, by Friday, tomorrow, you have to have every state with stay at home orders.
These numbers would only be around what they are, 80,000 to 90,000, if you actually had stay-at-home orders in every state.
Every day that goes by where you don't have those and there's still several states that don't have them. Some have declared it, but haven't implemented it yet. It drives up the numbers. So that was one thing.
But in addition, when you really dug into those numbers, as we did today, you found that the critical shortage of hospital beds and ICU beds, what they predict those shortfalls will be also went up, Erin. So in part, if you're saying, look, we don't have enough ICU beds for the patients who are going to need them, that means that there's patients who aren't going to get the care that could save their lives and sadly that drives up these mortality numbers as well.
So the two things are going hand in hand. They may bounce around a bit, as we hear as some of these hospitals are developing surge capacity and we're seeing field hospitals near you in New York City, but right now they're not going in the right direction.
BURNETT: All right. Sanjay, thank you very much. And don't miss Sanjay because he's going to be here in the top of the hour for the GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS TOWN HALL along with Governor Cuomo and Dr. Fauci.
And next, a reporter covering the coronavirus outbreak may have infected at least six people at her 90-year-old mother's birthday party. Two people at that party have died, but she wants to speak to you because there's something she wants everyone to know about this virus tonight.
Plus breaking news the cruise ship with passengers who have coronavirus has docked in Florida. The lengths that Fort Lauderdale is going to tonight to keep people safe.
And an update you don't want to miss to a story we first brought you yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT: How are you going to pay this $1,100 dollar rent?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. When you're scared, you don't see nothing but fear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, the number of reported coronavirus deaths in New Jersey only second to New York. At least two of those deaths and six other cases linked to a 90-year-old birthday party. A radio reporter who was covering the outbreak in New Rochelle, New York.
Remember, when that was where the outbreak was, it was just outside New York City, she threw the party for her mother and she didn't know she had the virus. She has since tested positive. Her mother and father also tested positive and her mother's best friend was among the two people who died after that party.
OUTFRONT now WOR Radio's Alice Stockton-Rossini. And Alice, look, this is a tragic story and a really upsetting story. I just want to give you a chance to tell it. You had a party, March 8th, for your mom at a church, 25 of her friends were there. Things seemed OK. You obviously were not sick. What happened in the next few days? ALICE STOCKTON-ROSSINI, 710 WOR NEW YORK RADIO REPORTER, COVERED NEW
ROCHELLE COVID-19 OUTBREAK: The day after the party my mother got really sick and she didn't have symptoms that were like any other symptoms we had heard about. There was congestion, but she was throwing up. She had a really high fever. She was sick for several days and finally when her fever spiked to 102, we took her to the hospital.
She stayed in the hospital for it seemed like forever, four days and she tested positive for coronavirus. She was the first to test positive for coronavirus at Southern Ocean County Hospital. And it was at that point the health department reached out to me and it dawned on me that there was a good chance that having been in Westchester several times since the Manhattan lawyer had tested positive in the beginning of March and he was the first case in Manhattan that there was a good chance that I had brought it home and brought it to our congregation.
And all I can say is that at that point, we did not know how quickly this virus spread. Even reporters like myself were saying more people die of the flu, it's not going to be much worse than that. We don't want to make a big deal out of nothing and we quickly found out that it was a big deal, that it spreads very quickly and that social distancing has proven to be the way to control it. And within a week, seven people in the church and tested positive.
BURNETT: And as you said, six cases, your parents and two of those people who are at the party died. I mean, did it ever occur to you, Alice, during the party and, obviously, I know the answer to this question, but I just want to give you a sense, because I think there are a lot of people out there who still may think things like this are OK or think that they can't have it.
Did it ever occur to you that the virus could be present and being transmitted? I mean, you had no symptoms. You had been covering it, but did it ever even crossed your mind?
ROSSINI: Not at that point, not even. It was the first Sunday that the pastor suggested that instead of sharing the peace that we do a fist bump. That was the first. We were like, just to be safe, that's what we were going to do.
No. No. Social gatherings were not banned at that point. I had no idea how quickly this virus would spread. No idea at all. And it is frightening, and it is sobering and it's not fun to have to live with the fact that you could make someone extremely sick.
You don't realize, OK, so it's obvious there are older people in the church. But my next door neighbor wasn't that old. She had a compromised immune system. If you don't want to social distance, because it's making your life miserable, think about the people that you don't realize might have a compromised immune system.
My brother in law was not at the party. He has since contracted the virus. He is on a ventilator in a hospital in New York City. He's 56 years old. So, I mean, who knew that he was so compromised that he was going to
get so sick. And the other thing is you think the symptoms are a sore throat, you think it's a cough, you think it's congestion, no one in my family and now every member of my family has tested positive, except for my son. That's five members of my family tested positive. Not all of us had the same symptoms.
They really have to test people that are having a variety of symptoms, not just the big three; fever, and cough and lethargy.
BURNETT: Well, Alice, I appreciate you're talking out. I know it's hard. Look, I don't know how to describe how you feel about what happened.
But I hope that people listen to you and change if they are still making these mistakes and change what they are doing. I know that that is what you ...
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: I hope that people listen to you and change if they are still making these mistakes and change what they are doing. I know that that is what you hope and why you're speaking out.
Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And I want to go now to Dr. Jonathan Reiner who advised the White House medical team for eight years for under President George W. Bush. He's the director of the cardiac cauterization lab at George Washington University Hospital.
Obviously, Dr. Reiner, we have talked about people who presented themselves with unexpected symptoms as in heart attack symptoms. But when you hear Alice's story, I mean, what stands out to you?
I think one of the things here is that we have heard multiple stories. And people on the show, you know, go to a party, nobody had symptoms. You know, 40 percent of the people have it, or 40 people at the dinner party in Westport and they have it, or a choir, and everybody gets it. And now, we're seeing it again. It's clearly spreads easily in some settings than people expect.
DR. JONATHAN REINER, CARDIOLOGIST: Oh, yes. You know, there's an interesting study that just came out of Iceland. Iceland is a pretty small and very contained country. They can do testing in a quick period of time.
And they tested an enormous proportion of their population. They tested about 5 percent of the entire population of Iceland. And what they found is that half of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic. Think about that, 50 percent.
And, you know, the -- those results have been replicated in other places. So, we think a large proportion of patients who are positive for the virus have either mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, or sometimes odd symptoms. And those folks can transmit the virus.
REINER: So, this is -- the reason why social distancing and self- isolation is so crucial.
BURNETT: Well, I mean, I think what Alice said, it brings it home, right? I mean, she was covering the story, you know, at the time not doing anything that you weren't supposed to be doing, you know, in her personal life.
But -- I mean, for people just to try to comprehend what came out of that. I mean, her parents now are going to be OK. But two people died. And I think people don't understand how serious this can be.
I want to ask about something on the point. She didn't get a chance to talk about it, but she did say the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, helped her parents recover when she was talking to us earlier. I know another family they believe that turned it around for their three brothers and their mother, again, whole another family unit that was infected.
You are cautious, though. Tell us why?
REINER: Well, first of all, about 98 percent of people who contract the virus are going to recover. And because such a huge proportion will survive the virus, it's very hard to know from any kind of individual experience what the effect of the drug is, because most people are going to survive. If you're given a drug which you are told is a miracle drug and you survive, obviously, it's normal to attribute it to the drug.
REINER: In the press in the past, published online was a small study from China looking at only about 62 patients which seemed to suggest an advantage -- small advantage to treating folks with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. We need to replicate this in a large number of patients and because the virus is just rampant now, and we have people contracting the disease. We have the ability to acquire this data in a very short period of time.
And the NIH and the other centers are actively doing that -- this now. The issue with the drug, Erin, is that it has toxicity. You can hurt somebody taking the drug. There are specific cardiac toxicities that can result in death.
So, this is not something that -- you know, it's not like a bowl of chicken soup. You know, my mom used to say, oh, it couldn't hurt. This can hurt. We really need the studies to prove it is both safe and effective before we roll it out on a national basis as a standard treatment for COVID-19.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Dr. Reiner, thank you very much. Thank you for raising the cardiac issues. It's important people do hear, right, because obviously the president talks about this as a possible game changer. And, you know, we need to know about those risks. Thank you very much, sir.
REINER: My pleasure.
BURNETT: And next, Florida's governor who finally issued a statewide stay-at-home order now overriding tougher guidelines that some communities had in place. This as the number of cases in the state of Florida spikes.
Plus, a business owner forced to lay off 600 people. But she's still paying health benefits. How much longer can she afford to do it? She's OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Tonight, Florida governor signing an order that blocks local governments from placing strict restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus. The state was one of the last to implement a stay-at-home order, and it doesn't go into effect until midnight tonight.
Rosa Flores is OUTFRONT.
And, Rosa, what's interesting about this, Governor DeSantis it seems to be in doing the stay at home order overriding some way more stringent policies that were already in place in communities across the state. What's going on?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Erin, you're absolutely right. And this isn't about face by Governor DeSantis, because very early on it, he has said that it was going to be up to localities, up to cities and counties to make the decisions to meet restrictions to stop the coronavirus, which created a patch work across the state. Well, now, he's coming in big footing all of these localities, overriding these local orders. And at least one of the orders got national attention just a few days ago because a pastor in Hillsborough County was arrested for holding church services in spite of social distancing orders. And now, this order created confusion. But one thing is very clear,
Erin, I just got on the phone with the D.A.'s office in Hillsborough County and they tell me that the pending charges of the investigation against this pastor is going to move forward, because hear this, the governor's order is not retroactive.
And because it's happened before, the pending charges move forward, which begs the question, so can this pastor just go back and hold services again? I asked that question to the governor's office and I have not heard back -- Erin.
BURNETT: Wow, it's incredible to see what happens. And, of course, Florida is such a huge and critical state, so significant in this battle against the virus. Thank you very much, Rosa.
And tonight, the race for a vaccine. So, you know, you've heard it, right, that nothing is going to be available for at least a year. At this point, what, 10 to 16 months if you count every day since they started talking about it. One renown epidemiologist though says that the wait time maybe much less than that. It's possible. How so?
Well, he is OUTFRONT now.
Marc Lipsitch is back with me, epidemiology professor at Harvard University.
It's good to have you with me, Professor.
So, you've been studying this and you're saying there could be a way to safely get a vaccine out in way less time than what anybody is putting out there, right? That it could be months. I mean, explain how this could happen.
MARC LIPSITCH, PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Well, we -- to be clear, we are not placing an exact number on it because there are so many uncertainties. And the idea we have doesn't make the vaccine work. It's only if it's a good vaccine and can be shown that way with the approach we're suggesting.
What we're suggesting is that as a way of testing how well the vaccine protects people, we invite individuals to volunteer if those people are people who are at high risk of getting the disease anyway, getting infected anyway, have not gotten it yet, and are low risk for severe complications. So, young healthy people. We invite those people to participate in a study where they would be either given the vaccine or a placebo substance and then challenged with a live virus, with the live SARS COV 2 virus, to figure out whether the vaccine is protective.
Such trials are known as controlled human challenge trials and quicker and more efficient as ways to get an answer.
BURNETT: So, if you got an answer. So, again, the "if" is what the vaccine is. But let's say that you have one that's ready to go. How quickly can you do a test on the group? And if it works, how quickly would you know?
LIPSITCH: Well, again, there are so many uncertainties yet that we are not specifying exactly how many months it would shave off. But the duration of such a trial might be a couple of months instead of the usual year or so that it takes to test whether a vaccine works or not by the typical usual method that we use.
BURNETT: All right.
LIPSITCH: So, it could shave off several months.
BURNETT: Yes. I mean, that would be, I mean, you know, who knows? I know, I understand it depends on what the input is of the vaccine, but if some of those reports are out there and you have something this summer, you could be a few moments away. I mean, that would be a dramatically different time line if all that played out.
But I want to ask you another question, professor, because you point out how this would be done, and how it's an unusual way to do it, right? That you're going to have a group that doesn't get the vaccine and a group that does. They're young, they're healthy. But then they're going to be exposed to the live virus.
We do know that people, of course, in the age range 20 to 45 with no health conditions have ended up with significant long term health impacts or died. So, literally, that is a risk that some people would be taking, correct?
LIPSITCH: That is a risk that some people would be taking, and this is why it would be done with volunteers, it would be done with volunteers who've been fully informed of those risk. And it will be done in conditions where, in fact, the extra risk they're taking on would be relatively small because we would guarantee them under such a proposal that they have access to very good care, which is not guaranteed for everyone at this stage.
And we would do everything possible to minimize the disease once they showed signs of infection if they did.
And this is a sort of thing, if we think a little more broadly, we ask people and invite people to take on risk on behalf of others all the time. I just heard on the radio an interview with a young medical student who's graduating early and has decided to go onto the wards early in ha special program to try to help boost the medical capacity. She's volunteering to take a risk on behalf of others. So, this is another way to do that.
BURNETT: All right. Well, look, it's a fascinating concept and I think one that will have a lot of people thinking, logistically and, of course, morally as well.
Thank you very much, Professor Lipsitch. Good to talk you again.
And next, a small business owner forced to lay off 600 people. But she's still trying to hold onto as many as she can and she is paying healthcare for her employees. [19:45:00]
Right now -- how long? That's the big question. She's my guest.
Plus, an update you do not want to miss on a story that we first brought you yesterday. This woman was unable to pay her rent because she lost her job because of coronavirus. We have a big update tonight.
BURNETT: Tonight, shattering a record, 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. That is double the previous record of 3.3 million, which, of course, was set the week before. This means that nearly 10 million Americans have lost their jobs over the past two weeks because of the coronavirus.
And a lot of those job losses have come from small businesses which have been forced to close their doors due to the shutdown.
OUTFRONT now, one of those people who had to lay off staff as her entire business shut down. Britney Ruby Miller is president of the Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment.
And, Ruby, you had to lay off 600 employees, still, though, providing them with health insurance.
So, you know, Bri, tell me about this. What -- this has been your life, building and running this company, and when your entire business essentially ended for the time being, you ended up having to layoff nearly 600 people a couple weeks ago. I mean, how hard was it to have to do that, to realize this is what it had come to?
BRITNEY RUBY MILLER, PRESIDENT, JEFF RUBY CULINARY ENTERTAINMENT: Well, to make it worse, it was my father who founded the company. He's 72 years old and he built a legacy, he built an empire. And my brothers and I are in the business and we've been in the business for the past 20 years.
But watching my father cry three weeks ago when we laid off 600 people and say this was the saddest day in his career, that really was the most emotional for me. He never had family growing up. His family were restaurant people.
And that's why we provided health care from the very beginning because he always said, I'm going to take care of my restaurant employees as if they're family. And so watching him right now -- and he should be in his golden years and he's still actively involved in the company, extremely involved -- watching my father say at a time he should really be in retirement say this is the saddest day of his career, that's heartbreaking.
BURNETT: And you mentioned how important health benefits are. An amazing personal story because of your father not having, you know, a family, how important that was for him. I know, Britney, you're paying health benefits for your employees through the end of June, which was important for you to do that.
I mean, how are you paying for it and how long can you do it? I mean, that's not going to be something you're able to do for an extended period of time.
MILLER: Yes, you know, nobody has a crystal ball when this thing is going to lift, when we're going to allow guests back into our restaurants. And so, for us, you know, we've been very, very financially smart over the past, you know, however many years you want to say. But our cash flow was pretty good in the sense of -- listen, this is affecting everybody. But for us to be able to forecast, we had to make some decisions so we forecasted through June 30th. God willing we're going to be able to open our doors by then.
And so, the decision really was quite simple. When you look at your cash flow and you have to make some serious decisions, that's one that was a non-negotiable for us.
BURNETT: And does the federal government bail, does that help you at all as a small business? Is that going to help you in a specific, tangible way?
MILLER: Thank you for asking. I think, I think the CARES Act is a good start. I think it's critical we sit down at the table. I think the National Restaurant Association -- we're under the Ohio Restaurant Association, but it's not a cure-all.
People need to understand how critical the restaurant industry is, not only to our communities, but to the work force. We provide a service. We are 51 percent of the food supply chain in America.
We supply -- I'm sorry. We employ 20 percent, so 10 percent of the workforce are restaurant folks, but the ancillary businesses and the suppliers that support that take it up to about 20 percent.
And, no, it's not -- it's not as robust as we would like it. And so I think as long as we've got a laundry list of things that we believe should be included in regards to -- there's a number of different issues. Whether it's the length of the forgiveness --
MILLER: -- the percentage of how much is going towards payroll versus other very critical costs for restaurants that were not considered --
MILLER: -- I think that really on behalf of restaurants, we would ask, please sit back down at the table with the National Restaurant Association and get inside the heads of restaurant folks because when you consider how important the airline industry is and the bill that was passed for them, restaurants should be at the top of the list. And I'm not saying that airlines are not important. I'm saying restaurants are as important.
BURNETT: Well, I think all Americans would agree with you on that. Thank you so very much. Britney, I appreciate your time, and we are rooting for you and wishing you the best as well as your employees. And I know they're grateful for that.
MILLER: Erin, can I mention one thing real quick?
BURNETT: Uh-huh, yes?
MILLER: I think it's really important for people to support gift cards because that is an immediate capital that goes to restaurants. And so where this package is debt still, even though some is getting forgiven, if you can support -- if others can support gift card sales, that's critical and that really helps.
BURNETT: Well, thank you for sharing that because that is a specific thing I think a lot of people didn't know. Thank you very much, Britney. I appreciate your time.
MILLER: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: I want to give our viewers now an update on a story that we brought you last night.
Our Kyung Lah, you may have been watching, she reported on millions of people who were struggling to pay their rent. Obviously rent was due, due to coronavirus. She spoke to one woman, Shujana Anthony, in Los Angeles and here's her story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPNDENT (on camera): Did you lose your job?
SHUJANA ANTHONY, WAITRESS: Yes, all of us lost our job.
LAH (voice-over): Because of coronavirus, says Shujana Anthony (ph). She used to make enough at restaurant Rosa Mexicano to cover her Los Angeles apartment rent.
ANTHONY: Check out my little 500 square feet, $1,100 a month.
LAH (on camera): How are you going to pay this $1,100 rent?
ANTHONY: I don't know. When you're scared, you don't see nothing but fear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Shujana joins me now.
And, Shujana, that was an emotional moment. Here we are, the day has passed. How hard was it for you not to be able to pay your rent when it was due?
ANTHONY: To be honest, it wasn't that hard. It would be very self- centered of me to think that I could pay my rent knowing that I lost my job with probably 30 percent of people in America. So I was able to call them and they didn't respond. So that gave me confidence that maybe they understood that no one could pay their rent at that time, at this time.
BURNETT: And so you didn't get a response from them. You know, we did get a response, Shujana. You know our team called you today and said we wanted to follow-up on some things. We do really have an update.
One of our viewers, her name is Tammy Vaughan (ph), she saw you last night on the show. She was moved. She reached out to us and called us. She said she's going to pay your rent this month.
ANTHONY: Shut up. I'm very grateful. Thank you, Ms. Vaughan. I really appreciate it. I'm a little shocked right now and overwhelmed, but yet super grateful.
BURNETT: I know, look, I'm putting you on the spot. You didn't know this was going to happen. But --
ANTHONY: I had no idea. Can you tell?
BURNETT: No, I know, I know. Look, I know people around the country are going through this, the same horrific thing. But, you know, Tammy did not want to be on television, so as I said, she called us and she did have something specific, though, to say about your story so I just wanted to tell you what it was and give you a chance to respond, Shujana.
So, Tammy said and I quote her: I was just moved by what she's going through, talking about you, and I know so many people are going through the most at this time. I just wanted to be able to help, even if it's just a little bit. And maybe she can pay it forward even if it's years from now and to whomever she wants. Just spread kindness. I hope it helps her in any way.
That's what she had to say to you.
ANTHONY: Well, Tammy, thank you, because in the interview I did have, that's what I told Ms. Kyung, that's the goal, is to build something for people who work in the restaurant industry who have been doing it all their life, because I'm one of those people and I love it. And it's unfair what we're going through, so I'm very grateful for her. Thank you.
BURNETT: It's a pretty incredible thing. I know when you say you love what you do, I think it's a moment right now for people to realize there are so many people who love what they do who can't do what they do because of what this has taken from them.
ANTHONY: Yes, yes.
BURNETT: Tell us about that. Tell us about how you love what you do. ANTHONY: Well, I started at 6 years old. I was at Augusta Masters
National at a food truck called Wings and Things. I used to give out samples as a kid. And from there I grew into labor, which is what I like, working at home folks, which is a CV place in Augusta, Georgia, just consistently working in a restaurant.
So, my first job was in Hughey's in Savannah, Georgia. I was grateful for that, because it was a time I made money by what I did, not by the hours I work. I love the concept of being in college, being able to work and make the income that you need and be able to survive. And I needed that.
So I utilized that even after college to make a career in L.A. So I came to a restaurant here that unfortunately was closed. Like I said, it's heart breaking because it makes you think, OK, now, I have to do something bigger.
I can't sit and be sad, because as somebody that's not as strong as me that works in the restaurant and loves it she doesn't know what to do. So I need to take this opportunity to think what can I build for those who don't know what else to do because we are serving.
So I'm very appreciative of Ms. Vaughan. Yes.
BURNETT: Well, she's made it possible for you and I think it just goes -- you know, it's a wonderful moment and the generosity we're seeing.
ANTHONY: Thank you.
BURNETT: And, Shujana, thank you for coming on and, of course, thanks very much to Tammy for reaching out to us and making this possible.
Thank you so much, Shujana.
ANTHONY: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate that.
BURNETT: All right. And thanks very much to all of you for joining us.
CNN's global town hall "CORONAVIRUS: FACTS AND FEARS" begins now.