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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Moved to Intensive Care; Over 10,000 Now Dead From Coronavirus in United States; Heated Disagreement Breaks Out in the Situation Room Over Drug Trump is Pushing as Coronavirus Treatment; Source: One Loan Application Took 72 Minutes, 13 System Crashes. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired April 6, 2020 - 16:00   ET

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


[16:00:00]

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The last statement that we had from Downing Street was that the prime minister was taken to the intensive care unit at 7:00 p.m. local. So, now that's about two hours ago.

At that point, the statement said that he was conscious and was being moved to the unit in case he needed the support of a ventilator. So, at that time, it didn't sound like that that was the kind of urgent care that he required.

But, Jake, let's just look at the timeline of this and what's happened over an incredibly short period. So, last night, 8:00 p.m. in the United Kingdom, about 24 hours ago, the prime minister was admitted to St. Thomas' hospital in London.

The statement read that he needed to have routine tests as a precaution because he's had persistent symptoms, after having coronavirus for 10 days. Those symptoms were a fever and a cough.

Then we learned this morning at the parliamentary lobby, where we're given more information about the prime minister and the government, that he was in good spirits and that he'd had a comfortable evening. At that point, a Russian report claiming that the prime minister was on a ventilator was dismissed as disinformation.

Then Dominic Raab, who's the foreign secretary in the United Kingdom, also our first secretary of state, so the de facto deputy for Johnson, stood in for him at the daily briefing on coronavirus. He also chaired a 9:15 a.m. coronavirus war cabinet, which would usually have been chaired by the prime minister this morning.

Now, at the press conference, which was only four hours ago, Dominic Raab stood there and said that the prime minister was comfortable, he was in good spirits and that he was continuing to lead the country.

The language was incredibly precise. And we did note a deterioration, in the sense that originally they were referring to the prime minister's condition as mild and now they were calling his symptoms persistent.

But Raab maintained that the prime minister was at the helm, giving instructions when necessary. Then, just two or three hours later, we learned that the prime minister had to be admitted to intensive care on the advice of his doctors.

And, Jake, we now await more information, but we do know that Dominic Raab, that gentleman I just mentioned, will not be deputizing for Boris Johnson. He will be the person taking the key decisions in this national emergency.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And, Bianca, obviously, we don't know a great deal about the prime minister's condition.

But if the British government called it disinformation, the report, I think you said from Russians, that Boris Johnson was on a ventilator, but we know now he's in intensive care, do we know if he is using oxygen or a ventilator? Have they disclosed that one way or the other?

NOBILO: All that we have disclosed at the moment, Jake, came from the statement which was released about an hour ago. And they said that the prime minister remained conscious at this time, given how rapidly his condition has declined.

We're talking about an hour-and-a-half ago, the prime minister was conscious, and that he'd be moved to the intensive care unit as a precaution, should he require ventilation to aid his recovery.

But now, if we consider the fact that the prime minister only went into hospital last night and that his condition does appear to have declined quickly, it's difficult to say the situation that he would be in now.

Obviously, he's going to get better, more intensive care where he is, will have one-on-one support, which he wouldn't have had before. From the doctors that I have been speaking to, most of the time they would move patients in Britain into the ICU unit because they need a greater source of oxygen than just a nasal tube or ventilation in more extreme cases.

But, as I mentioned, the prime minister had -- had these persistent symptoms for 10 days. The health secretary and the medical officer who had both been diagnosed positive with coronavirus at the same time as the prime minister were back working several days ago, the prime minister continuing to decline.

Jake, the last time we saw him in person was when he emerged onto the steps of Downing Street on Thursday. And that was to show his support for Britain's National Health Service. He came outside to clap. He was looking worse for wear, not subjectively speaking. You could visibly see signs of sickness.

And then he went back in. There's also been the odd video that he's posted on Twitter. But, as I understand from my contacts within Downing Street, obviously, they were capturing his best moments, trying to keep the morale of the country high.

TAPPER: Yes, it's interesting, just because it sounds like the protocols in the U.K. are similar to how they are in the United States, which is, if -- you really only get admitted in the United States if you're having trouble breathing.

You can be weak, you can be feverish, you can be in a lot of pain, but if you're not having trouble breathing, you basically, after being examined, are told to go home and rest. You're only really admitted in the United States if you're having difficulty breathing, for the most part.

Bianca, thank you so much.

CNN's Clarissa Ward joins me now from right outside the hospital where Prime Minister Johnson is being treated.

Clarissa, what are you learning about the prime minister's condition?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, I have been standing here for the better part of the day, reporting lines given to us by 10 Downing Street, who have been saying that the prime minister was in good spirits, that this was just a precautionary measure, that he was just going in to get some tests because he'd had these persistent symptoms that had lasted 10 days.

[16:05:11]

And you yourself remember that, just on Friday, Boris Johnson was saying, oh, it's still mild symptoms, but I can't seem to shake this fever.

Well, what a difference a few hours make, Jake. Now he is in the intensive care unit. There is no indication yet, from what I am hearing, that he has been intubated, which is to say that he has been essentially being put on a ventilator.

But certainly (AUDIO GAP) business for him to have been admitted to the ICU at all. And I just want to give you a little bit of a picture here in the U.K. of how most of these emergency rooms are operating.

Basically, what happens, when you enter the emergency room, there's a clean bay and a dirty bay. The dirty bay is for all suspected and confirmed COVID cases. Once you're in the dirty bay, it's siphoned off into different wards, one for suspected COVID, one for confirmed COVID, but manageable symptoms, such as giving oxygen, giving an I.V. drip, if you're looking at a secondary infection such as pneumonia as a result of the COVID-19 virus.

And then the third ward is what they call full escalation. That is likely where Boris Johnson, although, obviously, he's the prime minister, it may be an exceptional circumstance, but the kind of ward, the level that he's at, full escalation. It doesn't get more serious than this, Jake.

And I think a lot of people in this country tonight will want to know and understand better how it is that, just a few hours ago, Downing Street was really trying to spin this as him very much being in charge of the country, managing things and all his affairs from the hospital, this really is just a precautionary measure, and now we find ourselves here in this circumstance with the prime minister of Great Britain in the intensive care unit behind me, Jake.

TAPPER: It's really a shocking development.

Clarissa Ward, outside the hospital where U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is, thank you so much.

Joining me right now to discuss, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, as always, thanks for being here.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: So, look, it's possible that because he's the prime minister, they're just taking every precaution.

But to be in the intensive care unit, what does that suggest to you?

GUPTA: You know, I think this -- this would not be a surprising development that we hear that he ends up on a breathing machine, Jake. And, obviously, this is a significant turn.

But you're in the -- we're in the middle of a pandemic. These types of intensive care unit beds are a real premium, as everyone really knows, Jake. So if you're sending someone -- now, he is the prime minister, so, obviously, you have to view this a little bit differently. He may be sort of being monitored right now.

But there clearly was a level of concern that was significant, Jake. Keep in mind, 10 days ago, when he was diagnosed. Last night, he went into the hospital, they say for routine testing at that point, but still, to go into the hospital in the middle of a pandemic, where there's lots of people who have COVID, you run the risk of getting even more sick, it's a significant sort of decision to make.

And now, with the intensive care unit, I mean, there's really just a few reasons why that would happen, the primary one being the need for additional breathing support, probably through a breathing machine.

Could be something related to his heart. It could be just the need for additional monitoring or trying some sort of new therapy. But I think that's -- the clinicians are probably trying to sort out right now, why the prime minister, why his condition worsened exactly.

There's the virus, obviously, but what is it doing to his body specifically? That's what they're trying to figure out, so they can best determine what to do next.

TAPPER: Sanjay, it sounds as though the protocols are similar, if not the same, in the U.K. as they are here, which is, one can be really, really weak, feverish, achy, loss of appetite, dehydrated, malnourished even, and still not be admitted to a hospital if you're not having difficulty breathing.

You and I know lots of people who have this, including two of our friends and colleagues, Brooke Baldwin and Chris Cuomo... GUPTA: Yes.

TAPPER: ... who are at home, who are dealing with this at home.

For the prime minister to be admitted to the intensive care unit suggests, as you're saying, that there's something more, some difficulty with the breathing, whether it's through being fed oxygen or something more -- or significant.

GUPTA: Yes, absolutely, Jake.

I mean, given the nature of things right now in the world, going to the hospital, really, there's only enough beds for people who are seriously ill. So people are pretty much, unless they're seriously ill, being told to stay home, people who may have otherwise, under other circumstances, been admitted to the hospital.

[16:10:02]

So, he was admitted to the hospital last night, and then this additional turn, where he's going to the intensive care unit. So, while the hospital beds themselves are in short supply, intensive care unit beds even more so, ventilators even more so, and then all the people who make that work, respiratory therapists, the people who are going to monitor the ventilator and monitor, obviously, the prime minister, these are people who are very much on the front lines

So, you take a decision like that seriously.

One thing I will add, Jake, is, another pattern that we have seen -- and there are scientists all over the world trying to figure this out -- is that you can see people who are sort of cruising along. They're sick, but they're OK pretty much, they can stay at home, and then they do have a sudden decline. That can happen.

TAPPER: Yes.

GUPTA: I don't know if that's what happened with the prime minister last night or this afternoon or what, but that can happen.

And it just makes us have to be more judicious, to really pay attention to any kind of change that occurs, whether it be the prime minister or anybody else, for that matter.

TAPPER: And let me just ask you more -- on a national level, here in the United States, we have passed now 10,000 deaths.

And I'm wondering where you think we are in this virus, in the fight against this virus, in terms of flattening the curve? Is it state by state? What are you looking for? What are you anticipating?

GUPTA: You know, I spent most of the weekend sort of looking at a lot of these models, talking to people who've been creating these models, some of the big ones, some smaller ones as well.

I think if you look at New York and look at the country first as a starting point, then comment about the other cities, but New York, I think, really, the models do seem to suggest we have a curve. And when you look at these curves, you will see that there's these huge shaded areas, because there's such a wide range in terms of what the modeling shows.

But it does look like we are still on the upward trajectory of what is happening in New York, and getting closer to where people call the apex. But the apex is looking more and like it'll be a sort of flat line for a period of time, and then come down, as opposed to sort of a single point in time.

And the doubling time is around six or seven days for New York. It's similar for the country, where you're also seeing six or seven days. So I think the apex or this flat top will be sort of different time periods, but both within the next few weeks now, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

GUPTA: You got it.

TAPPER: And coming up: The surgeon general says this week will be the toughest week yet for some hot spots in the United States, as deaths in the United States surpass 10,000.

Plus, more than an hour, three people and 13 computer crashes, all to apply for one small business loan, the stimulus troubles -- next.

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[16:17:19]

TAPPER: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo saying today that hospitals in his state are so overwhelmed there, he will ask President Trump to allow the Navy medical ship that has come to port there to take coronavirus patients, which was not originally the plan.

CNN's Erica Hill reports now on the coronavirus fight from the epicenter, New York City.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two hundred fifty beds at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, 2,500 at Chicago's McCormick Place Exposition Center, and another 2,500 at New York's massive Javits Center, where COVID patients began arriving over the weekend.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo now asking President Trump to convert the Navy hospital ship Comfort to a COVID facility as well. The state's death toll still rising, though more slowly.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: While none of this is good news, the flattening, possible flattening of the curve is better than the increases that we have seen. HILL: The CDC today warning the country's death toll could be higher

because data is lagging by as much as two weeks. As a New York City councilman tweets, the city may need to bury victims in parks because morgues and trailers outside hospitals are reaching capacity.

That's not happening at the moment, though, Mark Levine's staff says it is part of the contingency plan, which seemed to catch the governor by surprise.

CUOMO: I've heard a lot of wild rumors but I have not heard anything about the city burying people in parks.

HILL: Around the country, communities adapting and bracing for what the surgeon general cautions will be the hardest and saddest week yet.

VICE ADMIRAL JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it's not going to be localized, it's going to be happening all over the country.

HILL: In New Orleans, mortuaries and morgues are at capacity. Louisiana's governor says they could run out of ventilators and beds by the end of the week. Officials in New York warn they may have even less time and resources.

DEANNE CRISWELL, COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK CITY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT: The numbers that we're really watching is still the number of hospital admissions, the numbers that are going into the ICU and eventually on ventilators. And we're not seeing a decrease in those numbers yet. Those are the numbers that are really going to strain our health care system.

HILL: Meantime, severe widespread shortages of critical supplies across the country adding to the strain. A government watchdog report finds those shortages are making it harder for hospitals to test and protect their staff. The government adding new travel restrictions for all cruise ship passengers and crew arriving in the U.S., not allowed on commercial flights and subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

[16:20:09]

A third passenger from the Coral Princess now docked in Miami has died.

In New Jersey, a mother and ICU doctor is recovering from the virus, anxious to hold the children she wasn't sure she'd see again. Dr. Julie John even making them a goodbye video.

DR. JULIE JOHN, ICU DOCTOR STRICKEN WITH CORONAVIRUS: I just wanted to tell my kids that they are the most important thing in the world to me. I love you and I want to be there but I can't. But be amazing, be nice, and I just -- that's the most important thing, right, when you can't breathe, I thought of my children and how I can say goodbye the best way.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HILL: Just heartbreaking to think how many people across this country, Jake, had a similar thought of how do they say their goodbyes. Thankfully, she did not have to do that.

Just another note on what we're seeing in terms of the Comfort here in New Jersey. Governor Phil Murphy saying that he got a call from Washington earlier today saying some of those beds which are going to be now be turned over for COVID patients on board the Comfort will go to patients from New Jersey. He didn't have a specific number of how many. When you look at the 2,500 beds behind me at the Javits Center, the thousand on board the Comfort, these beds are what the governor is calling the relief valve for the rest of the state.

TAPPER: All right. Erica Hill, thank you so much.

A heated argument inside the White House has spilled into the public. Sources tell CNN the president's top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, lashed out at Dr. Anthony Fauci during a meeting in the Situation Room last night after Fauci warned there is no direct proof that an anti- malarial drug can help treat coronavirus. Navarro, who is not even remotely a medical expert, disagreed with Dr. Fauci, who is the head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

When asked on CNN earlier today why Navarro's credentials as an economist make him more qualified than a top doctor, perhaps the top doctor in infectious diseases in the nation, well, here was Navarro's answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISER: Doctors disagree about things all the time. My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I'm a social scientist, I have a PhD, and I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it's in medicine, the law, economics, or whatever.

(END VIDEO CLIP))

TAPPER: Mm-hmm.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins takes a closer look at how this public feud got started.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What do you have to lose?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ignoring the advice of medical experts, President Trump is now promoting the use of an anti-malarial drug that isn't proven to treat coronavirus yet.

TRUMP: I'm not a doctor. But I have common sense.

COLLINS: Actual doctors are hedging their bets, warning there's no medical proof that hydroxychloroquine will work and cautioning that it's still being tested. You wouldn't know that from listening to the president.

TRUMP: And there are signs that it works on this, and very strong signs.

COLLINS: Experts say they have concerns about the well-known side effects of the drug, including fatal heart problems.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You could lose your life. It's unproven.

COLLINS: Last week, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval for the White House's plan to distribute millions of doses to coronavirus patients, though no substantive trials have been completed yet.

TRUMP: But we don't have time to something and say, gee, let's take a couple of years to test it out and let's go and test with the test tubes and the laboratories.

COLLINS: At the briefing yesterday, Trump was standing next to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert.

But when a CNN reporter asked Dr. Fauci for his opinion on the drug, it was Trump who entered instead.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: He answered that question 15 times.

COLLINS: Trump's push for the drug has caused tensions in the White House and even led to a heated disagreement between Dr. Fauci and Trump's top trade adviser who doesn't have a medical degree.

NAVARRO: My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I'm a social scientist, I have a PhD.

COLLINS: Peter Navarro brought a stack of papers to a White House Situation Room meeting that he said was proof the drug worked. Fauci pushed back, arguing any decisions should be based on actual data.

NAVARRO: Two words for you. Second opinion.

COLLINS: Trump left that meeting and headed straight to the briefing room where he told reporters this.

TRUMP: I may take it, OK? I may take it. I'll have to ask my doctors about that. But I may take it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: So, Jake, he not only said he would consult with his doctors, something that people do not think it's likely that's he's actually going to take that drug. But he also told Americans to consult with their own doctors before they made any step so that to talk about the drug that he has repeatedly and continuously pushed from the White House briefing room.

[16:20:11]

TAPPER: The national lesson and the donning Kroger effect.

Kaitlan Collins, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Just minutes ago, the Dow closed up 1,600 points, the stock market's best day since March 24th. This comes as pieces of the stimulus bill continue to roll out. A new hotline for lenders today is supposed to help the stimulus plan for small business loans after Friday's chaotic launch. This all comes after Wells Fargo said today that it maxed out on its $10 billion cap on loan applications.

Let's bring in CNN's business anchor Julia Chatterley.

Julia, good to see you.

An industry source told CNN, for just one loan, it took 72 minutes on the application site, it crashed 13 times. Three different people had to try to do it. Is the technology there for this kind of demand?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: Not on this scale, not on this size, and not at this speed. That's what we've learned over the past few days.

Remember, the dollar amounts we're lending is ten times the size of what the Small Business Administration did in the whole of last year. So the technology glitches here I think are vast. If you imagine the billions of dollars that banks have tried to agree to loans just in the past couple of days, Bank of America, I heard, did $25 billion worth of loans on Friday, they then have to upload all that information manually to the Small Business Association website.

So, 13 crashes in order to do that, to me, given the bottom we're talking about, make sense. There are all sorts of issues for all sorts of sizes of lenders here, Jake.

The only good news I can give you is I spoke to the chief of the banking association that represents the vast majority of lenders. He said Amazon is helping the SBA with their website and he says the money will flow by Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

TAPPER: You have Wells Fargo already tapped out. Citibank and Chase had trouble uploading applications to the Small Business Administration, the SBA. If this is the situation for big banks, how do the smaller community lenders, how are they able to do it?

CHATTERLEY: They're struggling with the same issue, not necessarily in terms of the scale of the loans but with the sheer inability to be able to give all the borrower information to the Small Business Association. I heard from one community bank that had three people, that's the only size -- amount of people that they could have adding this information to the website. They asked for a hundred log-in credentials, they were given two extra. It's a problem for banks of all sizes.

What I heard today, Jake, as well is that the website itself went down at around 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time, so no one was uploading information. I struggle to give you an optimistic view of what we're seeing here. There's so much demand, and the technology can't keep up.

TAPPER: Today, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the unemployment rate, she believes, is likely 12 or 13 percent and going to continue going up. She also said unemployment might reach depression levels, which would be in the 20 percent range. She's not alone making this prediction.

Have you heard anyone say how long this unemployment might last?

CHATTERLEY: All the predictions suggest that we won't see a recovery now until the fourth quarter or into the first quarter of 2021. But Janet Yellen, former chair of the Federal Reserve, the Central Bank, was very calibrated. She said it's going to look and feel like a Great Depression, but this is different, because the hope is that we can get back to business, to quote her, as soon as possible.

Jake, you and I have discussed this before. One, the recovery is going to depend on the stimulus and how supportive it is, and we've talked about the challenges for small businesses. But two, getting in control of the health crisis. Those two things are critical and we don't have either right now.

TAPPER: All right, Julia Chatterley, CNN business anchor, thank you so much, as always. Good to see you again.

Coming up, the hunt to find the origin of the coronavirus and why it's possible the original source might be still spreading it.

Stay with us.

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