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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 12,000; Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) New York Discusses About New York's Decline In Hospitalization; Gov. Cuomo: NY Sees Largest Single-Day Increase In Deaths, But "Reaching A Plateau In The Number Of Hospitalizations"; Trump: African-Americans Dying From Coronavirus Is "Disproportional" & "They're Getting Hit Very Hard"; Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), Chicago Is Interviewed About Disproportionate Effect On People Of Color Caused By Coronavirus; Top Trump Adviser Hopes U.S. Economy Reopens In Four To Eight Weeks. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 7, 2020 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're going to continue to stay on top of all of this. Thanks very much for watching.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT picks up our special coverage.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, as New York and New Jersey face their deadliest day yet, the head of the CDC says the number of U.S. deaths linked to coronavirus could be less than predicted.
And striking new numbers reveal the disproportionate impact the coronavirus is having on black communities across the country. Why? Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a new report.
Plus, more talk tonight about putting the country back to work. What would that even look like? Trump's former top economic adviser Gary Cohn is my guest. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, President Trump saying we are in the midst of a very difficult week as he says the U.S. may be getting to the top of the curve. This is the death toll in the United States now tops 12,000. Confirmed cases are now approaching 400,000. We're at now more than 387,000 to be specific and there are new numbers out of New York and New Jersey today confirming the deadliest day there and the number of reported deaths for both states.
In New York so far and this numbers changed even over the past hour, 806 people have died. And while there are still major challenges ahead, the Director of the CDC is actually now saying the U.S. death toll could be much lower than the 200,000 that he originally predicted.
Erica Hill is OUTFRONT in New York. And Erica, they've talked a lot about this model and this is the model that has been used to justify actions taken across this country, dramatic actions about the possible death toll. And today, they say they're revising that sharply downward.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And that certainly had a number of people sitting up and paying attention. Obviously, anybody would like to see that number revised downward. But what's, perhaps, most interesting was the reason that was given for that and it's pretty simple, Americans are listening to these very important orders to stay home.
HILL(voice over): With about 97 percent of the country now under stay- at-home orders, new evidence it may be working.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: The numbers are going to be much, much, much, much lower than would have been predicted by the models.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL(voice over): The Director of the CDC saying the U.S. death toll could be far lower than previous projections of 200,000, thanks to widespread social distancing which models had initially estimated just 50 percent of the American public would follow. The reality today is much higher. Though officials caution, this is no time to ease up.
On Monday, New York logging the State's largest single day death toll. One overwhelmed funeral home doing its best to meet the need.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OMAR RODRIGUEZ, FUNERAL DIRECTOR AND EMBALMER: We're no longer embalming them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is that?
RODRIGUEZ: Just because we don't have time to have visitations. We're simply either burying directly or direct cremation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL(voice over): Healthcare workers continuing to sound the alarm about personal protective equipment.
In Maryland, one nurse practitioner tried making a face shield out of a page protector and a headband.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARJORIE SIMPSON, NURSE PRACTITIONER: I put it on and I started crying and I thought I can't imagine anybody working, wearing something like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL(voice over): Staff also a major concern. Retired nurses and doctors answering the call to help relieve those on the front lines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIANA MORAWSKI, RETIRED ER NURSE: I've never seen emergency departments or nursing or any of the services actually, in general, under so much threat. And it's a family, so when family threatened, you try to step up as much as you can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL(voice over): On board the Comfort, which will now be dedicated to COVID patients, the number of beds cut in half to 500 for safety. One crew member has tested positive.
Meantime, in Florida this tightly packed line for unemployment forms a sobering picture of the growing need.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody out here is risking their lives to get this application.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've given out hundreds and hundreds of applications.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL(voice over): In Connecticut, unemployment applications are about 20 times higher than anything the state's seen during a recession. Wisconsin voters on Tuesday trying to keep their distance at the polls as one of the nation's largest grocery chains announces new restrictions on capacity amid concerns about how and where the virus is spreading.
In Miami Beach, face coverings now required for all customers and employees at grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants, including those making deliveries.
HILL: And Erin, just to give you a sense of where we're at, we talked about the highest single day for deaths on Monday in New York State, we heard from the Governor.
In New York City, 806 new deaths reported today that is triple the number of new deaths that were reported on Monday. And when we look to where some of those numbers are coming from, we also learned from the NYPD today, Erin, the 13th coronavirus-related death there.
BURNETT: All right. Erica, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT tonight, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
And Sanjay, a lot to talk about from this briefing. I want to get, the President just wrapped up a few moments ago in his (inaudible). I want to ask you specifically again about this drug. He brings it up again, hydroxychloroquine.
And in this case, he emphasized twice that he wasn't a doctor, but he continued to say that he would try it. And he specifically also said that you're not going to die from it. And he gave a whole story about a woman that he said was a Democrat and African-American and now trust him because he said this about the drug and she took it four hours later, it was like a miracle. He said she was Better. What's your reaction to that what he said?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, I think everybody, as we've talked about before, in the world wants a drug to work, wants a medication that can work because we're in the midst of a pandemic, something that most people alive really haven't been through before. That's not evidence, what he's talking about. It's simply isn't evidence and it's not even a question of being a doctor at this point.
I mean, doctors may have some ideas in terms of why a certain medication may work, why it wouldn't work, who should get it, who shouldn't get it. But the reality is that we don't know right now. That is why it needs to be trialed.
There are concerns about just sort of giving medications without evidence. There could be potential problems. I'll give you an example. With this particular medication, it may be working in part by suppressing the immune system, OK.
And somebody who already has a weakened immune system, that could be a problem to give a medication like that. And someone who has an over reactive immune system, maybe a medication like that would be a good choice, but we don't know.
We don't know the dosing. We don't know the duration. We don't know at what stage someone should get these types of medications.
I think what I was really concerned about, Erin, besides the stories being used as evidence is the medication being trialed right now. We keep hearing that millions of doses have come to places like New York City, are they just being given without being studied, because that would be a real problem.
In the end, what might end up happening is a potentially legitimate medication. We may never collect the data and be able to responsibly apply it to people who could really benefit from it.
So not only it's dangerous for lots of different reasons, dangerous, potentially, to patients. But dangerous to the public, because we may be losing out here on something that's valuable.
BURNETT: And, of course, we do know it can also cause damage, heart damage, liver damage, I mean, there are side effects as you point out for certain individuals. The President though didn't just give that one example. He then also said that hydroxychloroquine is good for hospital workers, I'm sorry, to take and you know his words, I believe here, I jotted it down.
"It keeps it out of your system," which is a pretty direct way of saying if you take this stuff somehow it's going to prevent you from getting the virus. Is there any truth to that?
GUPTA: Not that I've heard. Essentially describing this as a prophylactic, it sounds like, to take it prophylactically. It's interesting, because if you look at the trials like the China, there was a study that came out of China, 62 patients, small study, Erin, something that we would never even report on CNN because it's not at that level of evidence yet.
GUPTA: But in those patients, it was given to patients who had mild disease. Now, thankfully, most patients with mild disease don't progress to serious or critical illness. I mean, 80 percent of people recover from this illness and maybe the numbers are even higher as we do more testing.
So how do you know whether it was the medicine or whether it was just natural history of someone's own fighting the disease. You don't know and so now you're potentially subjecting people to a risk, not knowing whether the medication actually helps.
And just quickly, Erin, in that study, they also excluded patients who had any kind of heart rhythm problem, liver problems or kidney dysfunction as well, because they were concerned about side effects even in a small study like that. Again, that's why we do the trials.
It isn't a question of being a doctor. I don't know the answer. I'm a doctor. I don't know the answer right now. Nobody does. That's why you have to do the studies.
BURNETT: Right. And, of course, one thing we do know from interviewing many people is that at least up to this point, when that drug is given, they were also giving other things as well, everything they could to try to help. So it's very difficult to say --
GUPTA: That's right.
BURNETT: -- if it was any of, none of or just getting better on its own.
GUPTA: Very good point.
BURNETT: I mean, it's very hard to say. So in New York which obviously has been the epicenter and I know obviously of a lot of places in the country, D.C. metro area where now the growth rates are really ramping up. But in New York, you had a new one day high in deaths.
You heard Erica mentioned 806 people died in New York today. But hospitalizations are slowing. How much do you read into that? GUPTA: I think it's significant, potentially, and I think it's
hopeful. I mean, you want to see these trends continue but it's important to keep in mind that the picture we're seeing right now in New York and really everywhere that's doing ramping up testing is still sort of a lagged picture.
Because between the time someone is exposed to the virus to the time they might get tested, to the time that they might actually end up in the hospital, if they have to go to the hospital, you're starting to talk about a couple three weeks. So you're really looking at a picture from a couple three weeks ago.
But if hospitalizations are slowing now, then in 10, 11 days should that slow down as a result of that, I think that's a reasonable sort of thing to think. We want to see that trend continue. But I think it is hopeful and also even though the number of deaths go up, the fact that the pace at which the number of people dying is starting to slow, I think that's also hopeful. But again, you want to see that continue.
BURNETT: All right. Sanjay, thank you very much. Sanjay is going to get back because he does have a special report coming up this hour about the disproportionate impact the virus has had on the black community in this country.
Right now, though, I want to go to the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, who joins me on the phone.
And Governor, I don't know if you just heard Sanjay, we were talking about the terrible news today, which is the death rate record in New York, 806 deaths. But your hospitalizations have started to slow. What do you read into that?
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Good evening, Erin.
I did hear Sanjay and I agree with what he's saying not just tonight, but in general. He's a great source. It is a terrible day today in New York. The highest number ever of deaths.
And as Sanjay was saying, it's called a lagging indicator. If you come into the hospital and you're not treated and discharge, you wind up on a ventilator. The longer you're on a ventilator, the less likely you get off the ventilator. And two weeks later, you tend to see the number of deaths increasing and that's what we're seeing now.
So you have two numbers really. The number of deaths is at an all time high today, but the hospitalization rate is slowing. So the number of people coming into the system is slowing, apparently leveling off, plateauing. We're not a hundred percent sure yet, but a spike in the number of deaths.
BURNETT: So when you look at things like the Javits Center where I know you had had somewhere around 50 people, but you had the capacity for many more than that, well over a thousand, do you think you may end up, because of the social distancing, not actually needing, I know your hope is that you won't need it. Is it possible now that you would not need all of that extra capacity? CUOMO: Well, two things, Erin, the entire hospital system is over
capacity right now. So the relief valve is the Javits Convention Center which is converted into a 2,500-bed facility and a navy ship called the Comfort which can hold an additional 500 COVID positive patients. That's basically a relief valve to the hospital system and the hospital system not only is over capacity, but they have been over capacity for weeks and they are stressed and the staff is getting sick, so that's very important.
But the second point is, people talk about projection models. There is no model. It is what we do. The number is determined by us, the 'social distancing'. If we do a better job at social distancing, the number comes down. If we get complacent and the weather starts to turn warm in the northeast and people start to go out. You're going to see that number go up.
So none of this is pre determined. God hasn't said this is what's going to happen. It depends on what we do and people have to remember that.
BURNETT: So when Larry Kudlow today says we could reopen the economy in 48 weeks, obviously that's a big range. But you talk about the good weather and you do see more and more people coming out and when you start to see numbers plateau and people internalize that, presumably you're going to have more people coming out.
How worried are you, Governor, about at that point it wouldn't even be a second surge, but about this really taking you off course over the next few weeks.
CUOMO: Oh, I am concerned about it. Look, I just doubled the fine for violators of social distancing. Because what, exactly what you said, was happening, the weather has turned warm, people have been in their homes for now of one month, everyone has cabin fever. And they are coming out in greater and greater numbers.
Places like New York City, you can't really walk down a crowded sidewalk and maintain social distancing, it's a physical impossibility. If that happens, the numbers will go up.
And you're right, I'm not even worried about a second wave, I'm worried about getting out of the situation we're in right now and saving as many lives as possible. And that will be a direct coefficient of how well we comply with social distancing.
So what I'm saying to New Yorkers is, look, this is not about me, this is about we. This really is a time where your own individual actions affect other people. It can literally kill other people. And for you to be irresponsible in your actions and jeopardize someone else's life is the height of irresponsibility.
We have first responders, we have nurses that are literally killing themselves every day in hospitals. We should be helping them, not creating more of a burden for them. BURNETT: So another question the President just said, Governor, about
ventilator resources, he said that we have 110,000 ventilators coming over a short period of time. That's his quote. He said that 60,000 of those, though, won't arrive until June 29th. Obviously, you can do the math.
So you have 50,000 between now and then from the federal supply. What does that say to you? Is that a surprise to you? Do you have what you need now?
CUOMO: It's not a surprise to me. We know that no one had the number of ventilators that were going to be required here and these ventilators sort of came out of the blue, just for this pandemic and this particular respiratory disease.
We have been scrambling with ventilators. We move them all over the state like pieces on a chessboard, literally whatever hospital has the greatest inflow, that night we move ventilators around the state. We've also used other machines that have a ventilating capacity, something called the BiPAP machine to something called a splitting capacity where you can take one ventilator and literally run two sets of tubes to treat two patients.
I understand there'll be a delivery of ventilators June or whenever. That's going to be passed our problem, hopefully, the apex in New York and my guess is most other places. But God forbid, there's a second wave, the ventilators will be here. But they're not going to make a difference in the next two weeks, obviously.
And right now we are OK, but we are literally moving pieces all across the chessboard every day.
BURNETT: So Trump also just said a few moments ago at his press conference, Gov. Cuomo, and I quote him, "I will protect you if your governor fails." This was not a reference to you specifically but in general to governors across the country. What do you say to that?
CUOMO: I don't know what the President meant by that, Erin. If I were to try to interpret every statement he made, there's a whole occupation in that, so I don't know. I know that I've been working cooperatively with him. The federal government has a very important role here.
I served in the federal government for eight years. I was a cabinet secretary. I know how important the federal government's role is. I know how important the state's role is and so far so good working with the federal government, but every day is a new day.
BURNETT: All right. Gov. Cuomo, I appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.
CUOMO: Thank you. Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, why is coronavirus disproportionately impacting the black community? Dr. Gupta is back with us with a special in-depth report along with the Mayor of Chicago. Plus, the President's top economic adviser says that the country
hopefully can pick up where we left off economically in as few as four weeks. Really? Well, Trump's former top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, is OUTFRONT.
And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spending a second day in the ICU. Just how serious is his condition and what is the lesson for America?
BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump's top infectious disease experts saying diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure are why coronavirus is killing a disproportionate number of African Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When you look at the predisposing conditions that lead to a bad outcome with coronavirus, the things that get people into ICUs that require intubation and often lead to death, they are just those very comorbidities that are unfortunately disproportionately prevalent in the African-American population. So we're very concerned about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And that concern is something that we are now seeing across the country. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is OUTFRONT.
GUPTA(voice over): In the beginning, COVID-19 was far away and it didn't even have a name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. CAMARA JONES, PAST PRESIDENT, AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION: It was coming over to our shores for people who had traveled.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA(voice over): But once it got a foothold in the United States, its true self was revealed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Once people got infected because of their diabetes and heart disease and the like that they would get it more severely and be at higher risk of dying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA (voice over): Dr. Camara Jones is past president of the American Public Health Association.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: I was really struck, Dr. Jones, we're both doctors and as I was hearing the story, it sounded just all of a sudden tragically familiar. Is this a familiar story?
JONES: What we see is so familiar because the conditions of our lives haven't changed, significantly. And so what's happening is that we are carrying the burden of these limited opportunities in our bodies and it shows up as the diabetes, the heart disease, the hypertension, even in terms of immune compromise and all of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA (voice over): Already we are hearing from some officials that blacks have been disproportionately hit by the outbreak. Early data shows that in Michigan, where I grew up, 14 percent of the population is black, though they make up 41 percent of coronavirus deaths. In Illinois, 15 percent identify as African-American, but they make up 42 percent of deaths. Louisiana's population is 32 percent black, which accounts for about 70 percent of coronavirus deaths.
But here's the problem according to Dr. Jones as inadequate as testing has been for the country, the problem is even worse for African- Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Our whole national testing strategy has started out as a clinical strategy, not a public health strategy. That, of course, has disadvantaged the whole nation in terms of knowing who's impacted and I am told also that it has been harder for many people of color to get the test just because of where testing stations have been located.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA (voice over): While blacks are less likely to be tested, less likely to be treated, they are more likely to be on the front line. Essential workers upon whom we all depend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON HARGROVE, BUS DRIVER: We are out here as public workers doing our job trying to make an honest living to take your families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA (voice over): Detroit bus driver, Jason Hargrove posted this online on March 21st.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: It is not as easy for them to shelter-in-place and it's not as easy because they might have front-facing pacing jobs like home health aides or bus drivers or postal workers or working at Amazon and the like.
HARGROVE: For you to get on the bus and stand on the bus, and cough several times without covering of your mouth and you know that we're in the middle of a pandemic, that lets me know that some folks don't care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA(voice over): Four days later, Hargrove, who was 50 years old, became ill. He died last Wednesday. It's still unclear how he got COVID-19.
BURNETT: Sanjay is back with me. I mean, Sanjay, I guess the big question here is how do we get more data about who is impacted by this and why you're seeing those numbers you just laid out state by state in terms of 15 percent of the population is African-American and your infection rate, relative infection rate is what 45 percent to 70 percent, depending on the state.
GUPTA: It's very hard to get this data, Erin. First of all, everyone knows there's been inadequate testing, as it stands, but so much of this data reported by news organizations, because they started digging into this. It really wasn't being categorized. You didn't get demographic data, which needs to be given.
I mean, there are long standing structural inequalities towards blacks in this country and that's some of what I was trying to get at in this piece. But I think there's two things that are really important, we might get into the situation, which would be really tragic, where some, at times, resources might have to be rationed.
We would hope that inequality is based on race wouldn't play any factor at all when it comes to that. Just to be clear, that's probably the most immediate concern. But then, yes, we need to really make sure that this data is being collected, that it's being sort of stratified by demographic, so that we can learn from this and make sure that these types of inequalities don't affect the care that people deserve as we go forward.
BURNETT: Yes. All right. Sanjay, thank you.
And I want to go now to the Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, who has seen this in her own city. I mean, Mayor Lightfoot, I appreciate your taking the time tonight and you have said that the number of African- Americans dying from coronavirus in your city takes your breath away. And I believe, correct me if I'm wrong here on the numbers we have from your city, but 68 percent of all coronavirus deaths are coming from black Chicagoans. Meanwhile, 30 percent of your population is that same group. What do you make of it?
MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO: So it's so it's 30 percent population, 52 percent of the confirmed cases and 72 percent of the deaths. That is breathtaking.
And I think it's what Dr. Gupta was just talking about. The reality is we've been talking about health disparities and life expectancy gaps in the black community, which put them more at risk, whether it's diabetes, heart disease or upper respiratory illnesses.
And what we now know about this virus, it attacks those underlying medical conditions with a vengeance. And we're seeing that in the numbers reflected. So it's shocking, it really is. But it's not entirely surprising, given the health disparities that we've been talking about for a number of years.
BURNETT: So President Trump talked about the same in his briefing and he said this about statistics, and which we need so many more of. But the statistics show exactly what you're talking about that this is disproportionately killing African-Americans. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Why is it three or four times more so for the black community as opposed to other people? It doesn't make sense and I don't like it. And we're going to have statistics over the next probably two to three days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you have any sense of what those are or what those statistics may show or delving into?
LIGHTFOOT: Look, I think one of the things that we have reckoned with is that African-Americans and other people of color do not have access to health care at the rates that we otherwise would enjoy.
And so, one of the things that we are doing here in Chicago is, one, we make sure that we can get the data so that we can have a full measure of the impact of coronavirus across our city, but particularly in the African-American community. Number two, we have to put together a racial equity rapid response team to make sure that we're doing hyper local connections and education of people, to connect them up with health care, and make sure that they are educated about the virus, that they're -- we are giving them tips on how to socially distance.
But the reality is, the axis of health care is really at the crux of the problem. That's why we need to make sure that the Affordable Care Act remains strong, that we made sure that Medicaid is expanded, not just in Chicago and Illinois, but across the country. It's critically important to literally life or death of our residents.
BURNETT: So, you know, the president of the American Medical Association today, Mayor Lightfoot, said she spent months debunking a myth that African-Americans could not get coronavirus.
LIGHTFOOT: Yes. BURNETT: Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. PATRICE HARRIS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: I spent the first two weeks of this pandemic, just on a personal note, more even so than in my professional capacity, telling people that it is absolutely a false rumor that African-Americans could not be infected with COVID-19.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And in a new op-ed on CNN.com, Van Jones, former adviser to President Obama said, quote: When I warned my family of the coming pandemic, my highly educated cousin told me with great confidence, "No, we got the antibodies for that."
I'm sure you've seen this as well. I interviewed a patient who at one point was talking about this very same issue.
How big of a challenge has this been for you, this thinking?
LIGHTFOOT: Well, look, unfortunately, that myth which is just wrong is absolutely prevalent in black communities in Chicago, and really I think across the nation. But the reality is, the first death in our city was an African-American woman.
So, we have to educate all of our people about what the risks are, who gets it, how it is spread, and what they can do to protect themselves. And we've got to go really go deep at the neighborhood level to make sure that we're reaching people that aren't otherwise connected up to the Internet, to CNN. And we're going to do that through are a lot of different means -- of course, the faith community, black clubs. We're using street intervention workers. Every tool that we have our tool kit, we're going to be using to educate people about this virus.
BURNETT: Mayor Lightfoot, I appreciate your time, and I thank you.
LIGHTFOOT: Sure. Thank you very much.
BURENTT: And next, President Trump says he wants America to get back to work. But the big question, of course, is when. Trump's former top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, is my guest.
And a doctor who has advised the White House now warning that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should isolate herself. That doctor, Jonathan Reiner, is OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Tonight, top White House adviser, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, says he hopes the economy can reopen in the next four to eight weeks.
OUTFRONT now, Kudlow's predecessor, Gary Cohn, the former director of the national economic council under President Trump.
And, Gary, I really appreciate your taking the time. So, I just want to start off on this crucial point which I know so many are talking about, as, you know, we all hope that these numbers start to plateau, and this country starts to come out of this.
Four to eight weeks to reopen the economy, do you think that is even possible?
GARY COHN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE NATIIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP: Look, Erin, we're all hoping for the best here. We hope that the social distancing is working. We hope that we've seen the worst, and it will take some time to open the economy.
I think we're going to have to go through a very incremental approach and reopen the economy. I think it's going to be different city by city, state by state, and county by county. So, yes, it could take a couple of months to get back to somewhat of a more normalized economic picture in the United States.
BURNETT: So, you know, obviously, and when you say somewhat of a more normalized. I mean, obviously, there could still be a lot of things I would presume in that that aren't happening, like large sporting events or conferences, big events like that.
All right. One of the ways, though, as you know, Gary, we've all been hearing a lot about this, to potentially reopen the economy is this idea of an antibody test. And, you know, I talk to people who make those tests, they say they're incredibly cheap to make, we find out who has had the virus, and is now healthy.
Assuming that they can't get it again, they could potentially return to the workforce. You know, Citigroup had an analysis, I don't know if you saw it, but they said 95 percent of working age Americans could get that antibody test by the end of next month. There's a lot of variables in this, what do you think antibody testing is an important part of all this, or not?
COHN: Absolutely. I think testing is imperative to be part of the formula of reopening the economy. We are going to need to know exactly where people stand, what people can do. We don't want to put anyone in harm's way.
The most important thing of reopening the economy is not to have a major relapse. If we know those people with antibodies, we know where they can fit into the reopening of the economy. We know people without antibodies, we are going to have to put them into a different position. So I think the testing will continue to be very important as we try and do a meticulous and very thoughtful job of reopening our economy.
BURNETT: So, you know, at this point, I don't know if you saw Iceland do this random testing. It's a small country, they were able to do it. But they did random testing to see how many people had the virus. They were able to test 5 percent of their population.
One of the things they found out was that only 1 percent of those they actually tested had the coronavirus.
Now, that's just -- you know, their sampling and one country, but I ask this, Gary, because it raises the point that, what if you did an antibody test, and what if it doesn't show 80 percent of Americans, but if it shows only 5 or 10? Is that changed the game on reopening the economy?
COHN: We need to know that. That's an important piece of data. And, yes, it will have an impact on how we open, and how we think about reopening the economy.
So, look, I guess, if we're lucky enough that enough people have the antibodies, A, we'll know what the end was, will actually know what the fatality rate was. We'll know what the potency of the coronavirus was, but, B, we'll really be able to take a more aggressive approach if we know there are a lot of people with antibodies around.
If there are fewer and fewer antibodies in the system, we're going to have to be much more methodical in the way that we think of reopening the economy, and we'll have to devise a very specific plan knowing that at any given day, we would potentially have to change the way we're thinking about it, because if the disease reappears at any point, we're going to have to change the way we're thinking about it, change the way the plan goes and be very adaptable.
I think the antibody testing allows us to be a little bit more straightforward in our planning, and without antibodies, we're going to have to be a lot more adaptable, and it's going to be a lot more fluid.
BURNETT: So, I think it's interesting how you think through that. Today, I don't know if you saw the briefing, right, but obviously you heard about these memos that Peter Navarro had put out there, warning about, you know, possible death tolls and the danger that coronavirus could pose the U.S. And it could be a pandemic doing so back in January. Obviously, the president said he had not seen those memos at the time.
Gary, we do know that the intelligence community was warning about the seriousness of the virus back in January, and that Alex Azar, the HHS secretary, had said last year that the thing that keeps him up at night was the pandemic flu.
Now, you know President Trump, and you have obviously dealt with him extensively. Why didn't he hear some of those things? Whether it was from Azar or the intelligence community, why didn't he hear any of this earlier?
COHN: Erin, I know. Look, I've been out of the White House for almost two years now. And I'm not privy to the discussion that was going on in the White House, or the memos or the existence of the memos or not.
So, look, I'm not in a position to comment on what is going on there. I think that's going to be plenty of time for us to do a postmortem on what happened, what memos were written, what memos we're not written. But, right now, it's so much more important that we figure out how to continue to conquer this disease.
And, look, I applaud the American public for what they've done. Our social distance, you're reporting that 97 percent of people are literally staying at home, and it's having a dramatic effect. And that's great because that is going to allow us to re-normalize the economy, sooner than many of us have thought a few weeks ago.
BURNETT: So, when you talk about what to do to beat this, the United States right now, obviously, has already spent trillions and we anticipate there will be much more spent, right, to fight the virus, economic stimulus, whatever form that is taking already obviously and will take in the future.
So, right now, there's been no concern about the cost of doing that, and, frankly, the cost of borrowing, and global desire to half dollars has made it such that it's not an expensive thing to do right now. But it is going to explode the national debt. You have states that are going to be completely in dire situations, including the one that you and I are sitting in tonight.
Is their danger of spending too much, and that far out, this country will have a very big issue because of all of that?
COHN: Right now, there is no danger. The danger would be to spend too little.
So when we look at the payroll replacement plan, the payroll protection plan that we have in place, we have no choice but to do that. We need to allow American citizens to be able to put food on their tables, and buy the drugs that they need to buy to make sure that they are healthy and their families are healthy.
Whatever that costs right now, it's going to cost that. We will have plenty of time to figure out how to pay for. Look, this is going to be a big wake up call for Congress. We're going to actually have to sit down when this is over and go through the entire budget of the United States, and reconcile how we spend money, and we're going to have to go through our top system, and we're going to have to re-evaluate how we raise revenue in this country.
And we're going to have to say, look, going forward, we know that at any given moment we may have to be in a position to spend $3 trillion to $5 trillion on a pandemic or some other type of crisis. And we have to put our financial house in order to do that.
And I hope that our politicians do that. And if they don't, we should elect politicians that are willing to do that.
BURNETT: All right. Gary Cohn, I appreciate your time and thank you very much tonight.
COHN: Thank you, Erin, for having me.
BURNETT: All right. And next, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he is still in the ICU, his second day. My next guest, the doctor who advised the former President Bush says he is worried tonight and you'll hear why.
And on a lighter note, Jeanne Moos on the ways parents are keeping their children busy as they hunker down.
BURNETT: Tonight, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in the ICU with coronavirus. He is in stable condition, receiving oxygen, but not yet on a ventilator at this point.
OUTFRONT now, Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He advised the White House medical team for 8 years under George W. Bush, continued as a consultant to the White House for years afterwards. And he is currently the director of the cardiac cauterization program at George Washington University Hospital.
So, Dr. Reiner, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's condition is stable. That's the word we have been given. He is getting oxygen but not on an actual ventilator. What do you make of the fact that he is now been in the ICU we're now here on the second day?
DR. JONATHAN REINER, CARDIOLOGIST, ADVISED WHITE HOUSE MEDICAL TEAM FOR EIGHT YEARS: Well, it's good news that he's not on a ventilator. It's particularly ominous and the prognosis is particularly bad when someone is transferred to an ICU and is intubated, put on a ventilator within the first 24 hours.
So, the fact that he is not yet on a ventilator is obviously positive news. But having COVID-19 and being admitted to ICU is a poor prognostic finding. I wish him well, but he has a big fight ahead of him.
BURNETT: And you had talked about these statistics you have been following out of the U.K., which is, of course, where he is hospitalized. But those are the most in-depth statistics we have in terms of how dire it is, right? When you are in the ICU? Or on a ventilator?
REINER: So, you know, we know from the U.K. experience that folks who are admitted to an ICU with COVID-19 have about a 15 percent mortality rates. Almost two-thirds of people who end up on the respirator, on the ventilator, will succumb to the illness.
So, it's -- again, a very adverse prognostic finding to be admitted to an intensive care unit with this particular disease. He can survive it. You know, he's young and he has a reasonable chance of surviving this. But he is sick.
BURNETT: And, you know, to this point, OK, when he had it, he was doing a video, right? He said, I'm going to be -- I'm fine. I have some mild symptoms. And then 10 days later, he is taken to the hospital as a precautionary step.
Then suddenly, he is in the ICU receiving oxygen. That's a similar tale we have heard again and again for many people who have gotten very sick. Mild symptoms, maybe some got a little worse than that, basically felt better, and then all of a sudden, at around day 10, this dramatic turn for the worse.
What -- what is it that is happening in these situations where people think they are fine and then this dramatic turnaround day 10?
REINER: Well, a lot of things can happen. So, you know, the virus initially invades the respiratory epithelium and invades the lungs, and people develop an overwhelming pneumonia, typically in both lungs. That creates the shortness of breath, that creates the chest pain, that creates the difficulty into delivering oxygen to the body. And that either starts to get better, or it actually gets worse.
As the body fights the infection, the immune system elaborates an aggressive immune response, inflammatory response. Paradoxically, and dangerously, sometimes, this immune response can be overwhelming and in fact work against the patient and start to affect the liver and kidneys and worst of all the heart. And this all begins, sometimes, around day 10.
So, day 10 becomes sort of a pivot point. People who have the virus either start to get better or they take this, you know, dramatic turn for the worse. Plus, (INAUDIBLE) over and over.
BURNETT: And, obviously, we see that with Prime Minister Johnson. You also have expressed that last night we were talking about your concern that President Trump and Vice President Pence are still side by side and spending so much time together. You thought at this point, that would be completely inappropriate and they should be separated. You think it perhaps could go farther than that?
REINER: The president has likened the coronavirus pandemic to a war. If it's a war, we haven't done a very good job taking care of our foot soldiers, the nurses and doctors on the front line.
But I'm also concerned that we're not doing the best to protect the generals, our leadership. You know, we see over and over again, the president and vice president together. We need to protect them. They need to be isolated.
It is very possible for both the president and the vice president to contract this disease.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Dr. Reiner. I appreciate your time.
On a lighter, Jeanne Moos is next on the lengths some parents are going to entertain their kids while social distancing.
[19:58:22] BURNETT: Here's Jeanne.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's pretty obvious everyone has too much quarantined on their hands.
Even someone as famous as Jack Black seems to be losing his equilibrium. Not to mention his hat.
If you can't entertain yourself at say a casino, you might as well make your own slot on TikTok.
And if you cannot go to the gym, squirt dishwashing liquid, add water, make your own treadmill.
Pet the dog, take the kids out for a spin. Use cabinet doors to perform a drum solo.
Home quarantine videos have become a staple of late night.
This, for instance, was a recreation of a scene from "Home Alone".
Some folks are decking more than the halls. But Getty Museum in L.A. asked people to recreate famous paintings. A reclining nude gave rise to a reclining lab.
Salvador Dali's melting timepieces led to limp lunch meat.
Nothing limp about this performance by a family in the U.K. Their rendition of lame as included and unfurled jacket flag and many of the existential questions provoked by quarantine.
Or better yet, change your species.
This little video has been galloping around the globe, spawning imitators with this dad and his daughter. It seems likely that people will keep horsing around until it's time to dismount and get back to work.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: And Anderson starts now.