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Some States Still Refusing to Issue Stay-At-Home Orders; Should Americans Wear Masks?. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired April 3, 2020 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The Trump administration could soon issue nationwide guidance suggesting that all Americans wear some sort of face coverings when going outside their homes.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has been clear he does not want masks to be used instead of social distancing. He tells CNN he believes it's time for a national stay-at- home order in addition.

But, even as the U.S. is largely hunkering down, as CNN's Nick Watt reports for us now, at least 10 state governors have refused to issue any stay-at-home orders, baffling the nation's top health officials.


DR. UMESH GIDWANI, MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL: One patient expired. It's very hard to lose a patient that you have been fighting for.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And many more will be lost in New York, some perhaps needlessly. The city might run out of ventilation by early next week, so the governor is going to commandeer them from places that don't need them right now.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I'm not going to let people die because we didn't redistribute ventilators. The National Guard are going to be deployed to pick up these ventilators which are all across the state and deploy them to places where we need them.

WATT: The 1,000 bed USNS Comfort docked in New York Monday, but still only 20 patients on board, some red tape, we're told.

CUOMO: The Navy's position is, they don't want to put COVID people on the ship because it would be too hard to disinfect the ship afterwards. That's my rough interpretation of what they're saying.

WATT: And those two cruise ships with sick and some dead on board, one of them finally allowed to dock in Florida. The sick will stay on board for treatment, the walking well given masks and bussed to the airport.

There are now more than one million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, and nearly a quarter of them are here in the U.S., where there is no national stay-home order, and some states still holding out.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: If you look at what's going on in this country, I just don't understand why we're not doing that. We really should be.

WATT: Twelve states also exempting religious services from their stay-home orders.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I don't think the government has the authority to close a church. I'm certainly not going to do that.

WATT: Here's what can happen. Health officials tell CNN that 71 infections and one death are all connected to this one church in California.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): It's essential that we practice physical distancing everywhere, period.

WATT: Mayors of our two most populated cities now telling us to wear masks outside. It's under consideration at the federal level.

FAUCI: The most important thing is to keep this six-foot physical distance from individuals. This is an addendum and an addition to the physical separation, not as a substitute for it.

WATT: Over in London, the coronavirus-positive prime minister still holed up at home, posting on Facebook.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I still have a temperature. And so, in accordance with government advice, I must continue my self- isolation.

WATT: Here, the White House just announced that anybody coming in close contact with the president or vice president will now be tested first.


WATT: No one really knows how long this is going to last, but here are some hands.

Here in Santa Monica, clothes stores have boarded up for the long haul. The mayor of Washington, D.C., has said that they may not see a peak in cases until late June, early July. And at least 10 states have now closed school for the rest of the school year.

So kids aren't going to be going back until end of August at the earliest -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Nick, thank you so much.

Joining me now is CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, the Trump administration is debating whether or not to issue new guidelines that Americans should wear masks whenever they leave the house. If they're debating this, and if cities like New York and L.A. are doing it, and Dr. Fauci thinks we should be doing it, is there a company out there that's already producing them en masse?

I mean, I'm told it's just simple cloth, easy to make. Is Hanes or Fruit of the Loom or -- Fruit of the Loom or any company on the case?


I mean these recommendations, obviously, Jake, still haven't officially come out. I am pretty sure they are. And, as you know, there's a couple of cities that have already started recommending it for their citizens.

So far -- and I talked to Dr. Fauci about this. He says there's going to be a specific recommendation coming soon. But, in the meantime, I think a lot of people are sort of making their own masks. And there's a lot of do-it-yourself sort of instructions online.


I can tell you, Jake, even my daughter, she heard us talking about it the other day, so she made a mask for me and for our family members to wear.


GUPTA: It's been a confusing sort of thing.

Yes, it's nice. It works well.

But the idea that people were told not to wear masks, now wear masks, it's a little bit confusing. This is -- these are not masks, as you mentioned, that should be going -- that should be taking away from health care workers. These are not the N95 masks. These are just masks that you wear to sort of protect your -- protect other people from you, because we all might have the virus.

We have to behave like we have the virus, as you and I have been talking about for a couple of months now.

TAPPER: Well, let me ask you about that, because, obviously, the instructions changed.

The surgeon general was very forceful in February, saying, don't go out there and buy masks, masks won't help you.

Was that, as I have heard described, a noble lie, in the sense that they were saying that in order to make sure that health care workers in the front lines got the masks and weren't taken or hoarded by people in the general public? Or is it more benign than that?

It's because it turned out -- and we didn't know this at the time -- health care experts didn't know at the time that it's actually much more easily transmissible than we thought, because -- and, for that reason, the message changed?

GUPTA: Yes, I think it's probably, as with most of these things, a little combination of both, but probably more the latter.

I mean, certainly, we don't -- still don't want to take away masks from health care workers. And I think it was extraordinary that it was already anticipated back then, two months ago now, that we were going to run short, that despite everything that we knew about this pandemic, that these masks were going to run short for health care workers.

I think what has changed, especially over the last few weeks, is the clear recognition that, even if you don't have any symptoms, no coughing, no sneezing, whatever, that you could still be releasing the virus from your nose and your mouth.

And so anything you can do to decrease the amount of virus that you're putting into the environment is good when you go outside, so when you're in public, when people are around you.

Obviously, the primary advice remains the same. Stay home as much as you can. And don't use this to lull yourself into some sort of false sense of security. But a cloth mask could probably decrease the amount of virus that you're releasing, so you're not really doing it to protect yourself.

You're doing it to protect the people around you if and when you have to go into public. It is a change. It's going to be confusing for people. But, look, I think I get it now. I understand the science. I have talked to many doctors about this.

And, like I said, my daughter made me this mask, I will probably use it if I go out into public. I don't think you have to have a mask like this. You can use something else. But I think that that is something we're going to see in this country.

TAPPER: I wanted to ask you yesterday, and we ran out of time.

You live in Atlanta, and your governor, Kemp, said yesterday, when he announced that he was finally issuing some guidelines and regulations for your state, that he didn't know until the previous 24 hours that asymptomatic people might be carriers of coronavirus.

You have been saying and the CDC, which is also in Georgia, have been saying that asymptomatic people are carriers for weeks, if not months.

How is it that a governor of your state, the governor of your state, didn't know that?

GUPTA: To be clear, it's months, Jake, months, beginning of February.

I went back and looked at this afterward just to remind myself. You and I talked about this back on February 4, just -- so months ago.

It's ridiculous, Jake. I think probably -- my wife and I were talking the other day that twice that she's seen me the angriest have probably both been on your program, once a couple of weeks ago, as you know, when we weren't seeing social distancing, despite the fact that it was clear that it was necessary, and now talking about the governor. It's unbelievable to me, I think just a flat-out excuse. It makes no sense. Either he was completely not paying attention to the biggest issue of our time, possibly increasing the likelihood that citizens of his state will get sick, maybe even die, possible that it would increase the likelihood that hospitals would become more overwhelmed.

And he was seeing some of the hospitals in Georgia actually starting to become overwhelmed, in Albany, for example, Georgia.

I don't -- I don't get it. I don't understand it at all. I mean, maybe this is -- maybe there's things at play that are just mysterious to me.

But he said yesterday that he just found out over the last 24 hours that asymptomatic spread was possible, that people who didn't have symptoms could spread that.

The CDC, which is right down the street, has said that. My kids, who go to grade school in this state, already knew that. I mean, they -- everyone knew this.


So, it's really ridiculous. I'm glad that they're at least going to start the stay-at-home order, I believe, tonight. It's still not in place, I don't believe.

But I think, one day, Jake, hopefully, you and I can go back and look at what exactly happened there.

TAPPER: It's just some of the most confounding things that I have heard and seen from leaders, ranging from the president, to your governor, to other governors, just people not paying attention or -- anyway, let me move on to another question.

Sanjay, we keep hearing about desperate cases among not older people, younger people. And we have seen this time after time after time. It's not just people who are 60 and over or people who have preexisting conditions, as was the original guidance.

It might more adversely impact older people, but it certainly does not spare young people. Do we have any idea of what's going on? And do we have any idea of the percentages now in the United States in terms of how often it is children, young adults, middle-aged people getting this, as opposed to seniors?


Well, look, it's very clear. And I can show you the numbers, the percentages, right away here. We look at younger people, people clearly below the age of 60, and we see that if you start to do the math there, that, actually, the vast majority of people who are infected are actually 65 and younger.

And you -- we also know that 20 to 30 percent of people who are in hospitals, who are hospitalized with this infection, are actually between the ages of 20 and 44. This clearly can infect younger people. They are not immune to this. It can clearly infect them and make them sick.

And, sometimes, the impact can last a long time. Jake, part of it is probably because there's a lot of preexisting conditions even among younger people. I mean, older people are obviously more vulnerable, but younger people can be a affected by this.

I will tell you quickly, Jake, older people are likely -- the virus is sort of maybe overwhelming their immune system. And that's part of the reason they're getting so sick. With younger people, it could be that their immune system reacts so strongly to the virus that they develop what's called a storm, a cytokine storm in their body.

And it's actually the inflammation that is making them so sick and sometimes, rare cases, actually causing death.

TAPPER: Oh, wow.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks. Always great to talk to you. I will talk to you on Monday once again.


TAPPER: And you can listen to Dr. Gupta's full podcast, "Facts vs. Fiction," wherever you listen to podcasts. It's always a great listen.

Coming up: billions of dollars in loans for small businesses available right now, but getting that money not proving to be so easy for everyone. What's behind that problem? That's next.

Plus: Patients could be reduced to points on a scale -- how some hospitals are preparing for a worst-case scenario, preparing. They're not doing it yet. But that would require them to choose who lives and who dies.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome back.

The president's latest line of defense seems to be two-pronged. First, he and the administration are doing an excellent job and any complaints are fake news. Second, the ventilator shortage issue is the fault of the governors and the hospitals, not his fault. Even the lack of working ventilators in the national stockpile is not his fault.

And as CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports, governors are not the only ones Trump is pointing the finger of blame at.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The White House is expected to make a final decision on whether all Americans should wear masks in the coming days. Though some of President Trump's advisers fear it will lull the public into a false sense of security.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: We don't want people to feel like, oh, I'm wearing a mask, I'm protected, and I'm protecting others.

COLLINS: While Trump and his aides decide on guidance, a new face emerged yesterday in the administration's response to the coronavirus.


COLLINS: In his first briefing on the pandemic, Jared Kushner drew backlash for this remark.

JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: The notion of the federal stockpile is it's supposed to be our stockpile, not states' stockpiles.

COLLINS: But many pointed to the national stockpile's website which said it was for state, local, tribal, and territorial responders who need federal assistance.

That language was changed overnight to fit Kushner's description.

The move added to the mounting frustration among governors who are looking to the White House for help to get ventilators, masks, and other lifesaving equipment.

GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D), ILLINOIS: This will go down in history as a profound failure of our national government.

COLLINS: The president is also now feuding with a company he once said was proof of his success. Vice President Pence toured 3M's headquarters in Minnesota last month. But now Trump is using the Defense Production Act to force the company to make more masks. And 3M is pushing back.

MIKE ROMAN, 3M CEO: The narrative that we are not doing everything we can to maximize delivery of respirators in our home country, nothing could be further from the truth.

COLLINS: The company's CEO says Trump wants them to stop exporting masks to Canada and Latin America, which the White House has denied.

ROMAN: We're more than happy to ship our overseas production to the U.S. but there are going to be consequences on a humanitarian level as we are the sole, often the sole provider of those respirators in countries around the world.


COLLINS: 3M's CEO is also warning that the move could backfire by causing other governments to clamp down on the export of materials to the U.S.


COLLINS: Now, Jake, Republican Senator Cory Gardner has sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services requesting a probe into what's going on with the distribution of these ventilators. And when "Politico" asked him about Kushner's comment about the stockpile, he said he didn't know what the president's son-in-law and senior adviser was talking about. But he said the stockpile is for the country and, of course, the country is made up of those states.

TAPPER: It seems to follow.

Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much.

In money today, a chaotic start as $349 billion worth of essentially free money went up for grabs to an estimated 30 million small businesses in the United States. Final guidance to lenders went out late last night, only hours before banks were set to begin taking applications.

I want to bring in CNN business anchor Julia Chatterley along with Brock Blake, who's CEO of Lendio, which helps small businesses find loan options.

Thanks to both of you for joining us.

Julia, I'll start with you. JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, both had clear hesitations about taking applications. What are the big concerns for the banks?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: For all of them, Jake. This was a mammoth undertaking that the start was chaotic. Firstly, the terms and conditions. We didn't get those until late last night. A formal application form also not confirmed until last night. They were just the basics, try building a website based on a form that you don't yet have finalized.

Then there were other things. We can pay out billions of dollars, that was the message from the banks, but who's going to replace that money to allow us to keep making loans, and then basic things like who carries the risk of verifying the borrower information?

The Treasury final said last night, look, just make the loans, we'll take on the risk here. But a lot of information came incredibly late, and the chaos today represents and reflects that.

TAPPER: And, Brock, you lit up Twitter with questions from lenders, 24 hours before the lenders were supposed to start taking these loan applications. Were most, any, some of the questions answered when the Treasury Department finally released the guidance last night?

BROCK BLAKE, FOUNDER & CEO, LENDIO: Well, some of the questions were definitely answered last night. The most important being, what is the actual application that a business owner needs to complete to get one of these loans? That was released last night at 10:44 p.m. Eastern. And so, the lending institutions across the country have been scrambling, most didn't sleep last night, trying to implement technology so business owners can go online and actually apply for these loans.

TAPPER: And, Brock, let me just stay with you for a second. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said today, quote, there are always glitches. Are the glitches understandable given a program of this magnitude rolled out in just seven days while companies are shedding jobs daily or was there some incompetence here?

BLAKE: Well, there's no question, this is the largest stimulus package in the history of the U.S. that's being rolled out in the hands of business owners. They had seven days to make it happen, and align thousands of lending institutions and millions of small business owners.

Unfortunately, the guidance came late. But the fact that dollars are flowing today, to me is a big win. Most lending institutions are not prepared today to begin lending. I think that some of them will come online this afternoon. Probably more likely the majority of lending institutions will come online on Monday.

The challenge is, most small banks and credit unions aren't prepared to spin up a technology to be able to accept applications so quickly. We're doing our best to help all of them and make that happen. But it's an overwhelming undertaking in such a short amount of time.

TAPPER: Julia, before noon today, the Treasury Department reported nearly $900 million worth of loans already processed. Small businesses, of course, make up more than 80 percent of America's workforce. That really speaks to just how many of these companies need this money. But that not really even a fraction of the money that's available.

CHATTERLEY: Absolutely. I mean, the treasury secretary tweeted earlier today that actually $1.8 billion worth of loans had been processed. But your point is exactly right. And we know the situation across the country right now, 30 million businesses, most of these are in distress, they barely have any cash.

So, a lot of people still struggling to get access and to understand where. He said it was the community banks that were providing the money here. Bank of America said halfway through the day today, they had had 58,000 customers asking for $6 billion. And they restricted it to clients, remember.

So it's a beginning. It's been quite chaotic.


I think my big question is, what now needs to be fixed to be able to ramp this up more broadly.

TAPPER: And, Brock --

(CROSSTALK) TAPPER: Go ahead, go ahead.

BLAKE: I was going to say, I think there's two solutions that will help get capital into the hands of business owners more quickly. One is, they have to allow fintech lenders to participate in the distribution of that's loans. They have the technology available. They're set up to handle high volume. And they can participate, in addition to the community banks and the large financial -- and credit card unions that are participating.

The other thing is that most financial institutions don't have the balance sheet or the capital to fund the demand of loans out there. And so, if the Treasury can give some guidance on how a lending institution can fund the loans and then get reimbursed or replenish their capital so they can keep funding the loans to the business owners that are out there, there is so much demand. A lot of these financial institutions are going to go through their capital way too quickly.


TAPPER: All right. Brock Blake and Julia Chatterley, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

Coming up, who lives and who dies. It could come down to a patient's score on a point scale. In a worst case scenario, but they're talking about it.

Stay with us.