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Trump: Testing All Americans is "Not Gonna Happen"; NY Reports 799 New Coronavirus Deaths, Most in a Single Day; Top Trump Adviser: Economy Will Reopen on a "Rolling Basis"; Connecticut Governor Says State Could Reopen May 20 as Hospitalizations in State Drop to Lowest Point in Two Weeks; U.S. Coronavirus Cases Top 456,000, Death Toll Surpasses 16,000; Gov. Ned Lamont (D-CT) is Interviewed About the Coronavirus Pandemic. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 9, 2020 - 19:00   ET


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We do have about 63 percent of states that have less than 10 percent positive despite significant testing.

And within the indigenous peoples and tribal nations, they're seeing the same thing that we're seeing across the nation, increase issues among those with comorbidities and those of elderly, but also issues in nursing homes. And so really they are testing many of these states are still capable of doing full contact tracing and so they've been doing contact tracing from nursing home outbreaks and other outbreaks.

It really gives us clear impression of no matter what we do in the future, we need to really ensure that nursing homes have sentinel surveillance. What do I mean by that? That we're actively testing in nursing homes, both the residents and the workers at all times.

That is where and that's how we saw this at the beginning. That's what we saw in Washington State and that's what we're seeing in many of the states that have very low case attack rates.

The other thing that I want to leave you with, I mean, we certainly know how desperate and difficult The situation has been in New York over the last few weeks and we've been telling and talking about how this would be the week that would be most difficult because of the large proportion of cases that are coming from the New York metro area.

What's been encouraging to us, those early states outside of Washington and California, which still have extraordinarily low attack rates because of their level of mitigation, all of the new areas that are having new increasing cases. We talked about them yesterday, Washington and Baltimore and the Philadelphia metro area that includes Camden, Wilmington, and the county counties around Philadelphia.

We're seeing that the case numbers what we'll get to as far as attack rates, we talked about seven in a thousand in New York that are being measured. These are coming in even with their progress up their curve in the one to two per thousand range, showing that when you start mitigation early, it has a very different impact. All of this data is coming together. The testing rates, the serial

positivity, the age groups, who really needs hospitalization, ICU, the innovative pieces coming from - we heard a great report from Louisiana this morning on the phone call where they talked about a minimum now of 40 percent of people coming off of ventilators alive and leaving the hospital. This is very encouraging to us and it really shows amazing progress clinically at each of these hospitals and the real lessons we're learning and sharing across hospitals.

But really should us that the original outbreaks were very large, but the newer ones that we talked about in Washington, in Philadelphia, in Baltimore, it looks like their attack rates and the attack rates in Denver and some of these other states that we had been talking about are much lower than New York and New Jersey. And this gives us hope about really understanding how to integrate this information together, not dealing with a model, but the real life cases that are occurring and understanding how to move forward together to really have a different future. So thank you very much.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President. So just reflecting about what we've been doing over the last few days, remember last weekend when we made the forecast that this would really be a bad week, as I mentioned yesterday and the day before, it is in the sense of deaths a bad week. In fact, every day there seems to be a record of a number of deaths compared to the day before.

In fact, New York today had, again, another record of, I think the city itself was about 820 plus deaths, but what we were predicting with the increase and the real adherence to the physical separation, the guidelines that the Vice President talks about, the physical separation, at the same time as we're seeing the increasing deaths, we're seeing rather dramatic decrease in the need for hospitalizations. Like, I think, yesterday was something like 200 new hospitalizations and it's been as high as 1,400 at any given time.

So that is going in the right direction. I say that and I always remind myself when I say that, that means that what we are doing is working and therefore we need to continue to do it. I know I sound like a broken record. That's good, I want to sound like a broken record. Let's just keep doing it.


I get questions a lot, Dr. Birx and I, about these numbers, the projections that you went with from 100,000, 200,000 now down to 60,000. That's a sign that when, as I keep saying, when you take the data you have and you re-insert it into the model, the model modifies. Data is real. Model is hypothesis. OK.

So that's what you have to do and that's what I think we're seeing. The other thing that some just broad, general, good news from the standpoint of a scientific standpoint that there are a lot of candidate potential therapeutics that are going into clinical trials now that we're sponsoring at the NIH. The kinds of clinical trials that will give us the answer, are they safe, are they effective and just what is the capability of using them under what circumstances as prophylaxis, as treatment in early disease in late disease.

So as the time goes by and we have the public health measures to try and contain this, we're doing an awful from a scientific standpoint. So that when we do get to next year, next fall or next winter, hopefully we'll have something that we could offer in addition to the very important public health measures. So I'll be happy to answer questions later.


EUGENE SCALIA, LABOR SECRETARY: Mr. Vice President, thank you and thanks to the task force and, of course, thanks to the President for his leadership. The important public health measures that have been discussed so much in these briefings in this room have had a large impact in American workplaces. We saw that again today as the Labor Department released figures showing that 6.6 million new unemployment claims were filed last week.

We're all mindful, the President mentioned this, that the American people are making difficult sacrifices. That is included being furloughed, laid off or having a small business struggle. That said American workers can be encouraged how swiftly and comprehensively the President and Congress have responded.

Three weeks ago, the U.S. had never had a law requiring paid sick leave at U.S. companies. But three weeks ago, the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which did provide paid sick leave as well as expanded family and medical leave for employees at small businesses. With those small businesses being reimbursed dollar for dollar for having provided that leave.

Last week, we, the Labor Department, issued rules to implement these leave requirements of the Families First Act and we've been in near constant contact with employers and employees to help them understand the law and in a number of cases already to help workers get the leave that they were entitled to.

Another unprecedented benefit for workers was provided in the CARES Act less than two weeks ago. That law, as you know, includes a $600 a week plus up to unemployment benefits that are provided by the states. We have millions of unemployed Americans who are making a sacrifice for our national well being. These bonus payments and they're unprecedented the government has never provided a plus up unemployment payment like this.

These payments are intended to make those workers whole as near we can. This temporary benefit is available not just to employees, but also to the self employed and gig economy workers. Before the President signed the CARES Act, gig workers, independent contractors were not available for unemployment compensation, today they are.

At the department, our team has worked day and night to enable states to make this benefit available. I'm pleased that a number of states are now making those $600 additional weekly payments. More states will follow in the coming days. How long it takes will vary by states, some state systems will take longer. But we at the department will continue to support them.

We have already dispersed half a billion dollars to states to help them with their systems and making these payments. We have another half a billion dollars that we're ready to release. And for workers who don't get this benefit when it's first due them, states will be able to catch them up later when their computer systems are able to make these payments.

Let me add that we're also mindful at the Labor Department that many Americans remain in the workplace, including on the front lines in our hospitals, as well as our emergency responders. My department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA has been providing guidance to employers and employees on Coronavirus since the early days of this health emergency. We are fielding and responding to calls from workers worried about their health.


And sometimes from workers who believe they've been illegally disciplined by their employer for expressing health concerns. We will not tolerate retaliation.

OSHA will continue to work with workers and employers to keep workplaces safe using all the tools available to us, including enforcement if needed. I wanted to finish by commenting on the Paycheck Protection Program, which we heard about earlier, run by the Small Business Administration. This, of course, is loans to small businesses to enable them to meet certain costs, including utilities rent and most important from my perspective payroll. As you know, if these companies receiving loans keep their workers on payroll, these loans are largely forgivable.

Here's why that program is so important from my perspective. We're seeing unemployment filings right now of a like that we've never seen before. But these numbers aren't the result of an underlying weakness to our economy. Our economy has been vibrant, incredibly strong just weeks ago.

If, as we've heard again today, if we are disciplined now and adhere carefully to the guidance being provided by health authorities, we'll get that economy back. The President spoke at the State of the Union of the blue collar boom we were experiencing. We want to lay the groundwork now for a blue collar bounce back.

We'll get there in part by helping companies hold on to their workers, which is what the Paycheck Protection Program does. Keep them on payroll, so that when businesses are ready to reopen, they have the workers they need and Americans have jobs. We will continue at the Department I know here at the White House to be laser focused on American workers and jobs until this is done. So thank you very much.

PENCE: Yes, very well done. Great job. We'll take a few questions. Yes, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Vice President, a question for you and then a question for Dr. Birx or Dr. Fauci. PENCE: Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to clarify on the federal funding for testing sites in the States, are you seeing that federal funding will remain for those sites and will it remain at its current levels?

PENCE: It's not merely federal funding, but in many cases, we've provided personnel from the U.S. public health service and also flowed supplies personal protective equipment that was required for some of the early forms of testing, but it's less required today with new formats for testing. But it is an option and as I've made clear to several governors, we'll continue to partner with our states.

But I have to tell you that the way states step forward with the concept of drive-through and community based testing is really inspiring. For our part, working with FEMA and our great team at U.S. Public Health Service, we've stood up nearly 50 different drive- through test sites around the country, but literally there are hundreds that have been deployed by states and by hospitals and local health care providers.

But in this instance, we wanted to at least give them the option to take control of that, but we'll continue to resource them with personnel, supplies and any other support that they need going forward and ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a question for doctors, I'm curious did you see this information out of the CDC in South Korea today that shows that they're seeing evidence of re-infection in some people who have been cured of coronavirus and what does that mean for our understanding of this?

PENCE: Yes. Have you seen that?

FAUCI: I'm not aware of what you're speaking about now, but clearly they've been anecdotal, mentioning of what appear to be re-infection. You have to really be very careful when you say re-infection and we were dealing with this with even Ebola back, during the Ebola time, that someone might still - when that someone does a test on them, do a PCR on a body fluid of some sort and be able to detect what are likely nucleotides that are not replication competent.

So if you're telling me which I don't think they're saying that someone has coronavirus disease, they get sick, it's documented. They get better. And then a month or so later they get sick with documented coronavirus disease. I don't think that's what they're saying. But I don't want to jump the gun on it until I see the data.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They used the word reactivate. Is that different?

FAUCI: Yes. Well, yes, what reactivating means is that it depends what you mean by reactivating. If someone clearly is ill and they have virus isolated from them, that you may have a prolonged course. I'd like to see how long they reactivate. I mean, if they were sick and had documented virus and then three months later, they had documented virus is that reactivation or is that infection with another virus? [19:15:07]

I'd like to see the data before I really comment on that. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A question, Dr. Fauci.

PENCE: Please. Dr. Fauci.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Fauci, I wanted to ask about medical criteria. You had a discussion with Dr. Birx and the other public health experts on Tuesday, I understand. Can you discuss what is the medical criteria that you guys are discussing in order to reopen the government? What is the medical criteria?

FAUCI: Well, it's less medical criteria than it is public health criteria and I think it's really important because often people say, reopen the government like it's a light switch that goes on and off for the entire country. We have a very large country with really different patterns of disease and outbreaks in different parts of the country.

So it's not going to be a one size fits all. It's going to be what is the kinetics of an outbreak, is that on the way down, is that essentially out, is it still smoldering and possibly going up? I think you're going to have to take it individually and ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) some benchmarks that you're looking at though? I mean, are there certain numbers that you're looking, some data that you would like to see? What would you like to see before that happened?

FAUCI: Yes. Well, I will allow Dr. Birx to come up with it, just my own opinion, I don't think they're going to be benchmarks that are going to be consistent from one to the other. For example, I would not want to pull back at all in New York until I was clear that that curve really was doing what we've seen in other countries, a very steep decline down and we had the capability if there was a resurgence of having everything in place to be able to do the containment as opposed to struggling with mitigation with what we've been doing.

That's different than a relatively smaller city town or what have you in the Midwest or mountain regions, which is generally very well controlled. But I wouldn't want to see, do we have the capability of doing the isolation, contact tracing and suppression of it. So it really varies differently. So I don't think there's one medical criteria. But Deb, if you want to speak (inaudible) ...

BIRX: Yes. Thank you. So it's what I tried to cover in the brief presentation I gave. In talking to the 17 states that have indigenous populations and tribal nations and discussing with them what they were doing generally and what they were doing specifically through the Indian Health Service. They discuss the ability to find new cases and doing full contact tracing.

And so they have strike teams, they are very well organized. You don't hear about them every day and that's why I wanted to call them out. They're really doing amazing work at their public health institutions with our governors and their mayors and they are in full contact tracing.

Yes, they're doing social distancing, but they're also doing full contact tracing and understanding all aspects of their epidemic. So we're looking at those pieces as well as when I was talking about blunting, really when you're starting to go up that curve, having that unbelievable blunting where you only get evident attack rates and I want to be very clear about that. When we see cases, these are symptomatic that have been diagnosed.

There's clearly, we believe, people we don't see and that's why the antibody test is going to be helpful to us to really define that. So those are the pieces that we're bringing together to really analyze that. I did want to say the President talks about the 150 plus countries that experience what we experienced.

I just wanted to do a call out. We have Americans around the world in every embassy that are working with those countries now. This scarf came from Africa, it's one of my public health colleagues there. I just want to recognize the public health colleagues around the world who are doing all of this work together to change the course in their epidemics in every single country around the globe.

PENCE: OK. Let me go to another question if I can. But in response to that, just so you know, what the President's tasked us to do is there's a number of working groups that are looking at not only how do we reopen the country, but how do we stay open. And I think most of America knows that no one wants to reopen America more than President Donald Trump.

But the President's told us we need to do it responsibly and we're going to follow the data. We're literally following the data on a county by county basis. And this morning, we were literally presented with information of each county that had more than a hundred new cases and went in the other direction and had less than a hundred than that before.


It's really remarkable. And so I think what you hear the health experts saying we'll inform the President's decision and timing. But make no mistake about it and that the best thing we can do to reopen America is put the coronavirus behind us to reach the end of that curve with as little loss of life or hardship as possible to have in place that we soon believe we will. The kind of therapeutics I call them medicines to make you feel better by this summer and to have more widespread testing that we're scaling up each and every day.

And also to have the kind of guidance that the CDC is even now developing for businesses large and small for families and for schools for that day that we do reopen America. Questions. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) touches on this question of when to lean back on mitigation. There is a study out of Los Alamos this week that I hope you've seen. It's on the CDC website. It looks at this question of Arnot which is a technical term that you understand that has to do with the reproductive rate of the virus.

The study shows that the Arnot for coronavirus isn't between two and three as have been thought before. It's actually closer to six, which means that one person on average is infecting six others. So with this information, how does that impact the model? How can you begin to think about when to reopen society if it's more contagious than we thought before?

PENCE: Well, I can tell you as the layperson on the stage.

FAUCI: Go for it.

PENCE: We have known from the beginning that this is at least three times more contagious than the flu. And I believe that that fact alone has informed our projections and the modeling, but now I'll let the experts respond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

BIRX: (Inaudible) we'll tag team together, so when we've been talking about the asymptomatic group and that's why I gave you that testing data where 11 percent of young people under 25 were positive, many of them very low grade symptoms. What we will be triangulating for you is the testing data with hospital admissions and then you'll be able to start seeing spectrum of disease.

Because what you're not seeing in spectrum of disease is people who never even think that this is something significant that that's what they have. We're seeing the significant cases. When testing you can see that we're getting a lot of people and with symptoms aren't positive. And so really finding out what is the Arnot, is it six, is it five and the only way to do that at this point right now is to get the antibody tests out there and go into these places that had significant disease.

When we talk about attack rates at seven per thousand like New York and five per thousand in New Jersey and test the healthcare workers, the first responders, all of the nursing homes for antibody and really get to your question. Because right now it's still theoretic. We understand they're modeling this and we will get the data to actually look at that.

You will see what others have been presenting, so you presented the six. What others are presenting importantly is they're modeling what's happening with mitigation and they're publishing that the Arnot with mitigation as approaching, like 1.3 and 1.5. So think of what that is if it was six and then with mitigation, we have it into the ones, that really shows the power of the American people.

No one has varied Arnot like that without a vaccine, but this is what's happening with really the power of the American people, Tony.

PENCE: Tony.

FAUCI: Yes. Ditto to everything that Dr. Birx said, but I couldn't help but thinking when you talk about - you know what the worst enemy of Arnot is? Physical separation.

PENCE: I'll have one more. One more, go right again.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: (Inaudible) testing capacity in the country right now to reopen in the foreseeable future? I mean, because the President talked about 2 million tests. Are we going to have the testing capacity needed to make Americans feel comfortable going back into their workplaces?

I mean, it seems to me that is a pretty critical question at this point. People are not going to want to go back to work if they think their co-workers might be carrying the virus. We're not testing enough. How do we know it's safe to go back?

PENCE: Well, I think the American people see the incredible progress that's been made after President Trump brought in the largest commercial labs in the world to scale testing the likes which we've seen. We are, as Dr. Birx said, well over a hundred thousand Americans being tested every single day. We have an antibody test that is coming online. Abbott Laboratories literally has thousands of machines across the country. We're working with hospitals and labs around the country to activate those machines for the 15 minute test.


ACOSTA: Do we have enough testing right now?

PENCE: Let me say we're moving every day toward meeting that moment. But let's be clear, reopening the country as the President is very anxious to do at the earliest responsible moment will be through a combination of facts. First would be that we are at the end of the coronavirus for most major communities. Another piece of that is that we have therapeutics for Americans to take medicines if they contract the disease.

Another piece of that is guidance from the CDC, to public institutions, to businesses large and small about how to conduct themselves in a safe and a responsible way. And testing is also a piece of that and as Admiral Giroir (ph) has reflected, we are spending a great deal have time expanding testing today.

Every single day, there's more and more tests across the country. But we're also working to scale testing, that as we move into this summer and move into the fall, we'll have the testing we need to do what these doctors called not diagnostic testing, which is to take a test of a person that has symptoms but surveillance testing so we can identify people that may have had it and maybe immune versus people - also, people that we just need to know whether or not they were they were ever exposed or and were not exposed.

How about one more quick question here if I can. I think he had one right here or I'll go to you in the back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. In the next few weeks, the Supreme Court is set to rule on DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival and about 30,000 of those people who are under that program are frontline health care workers. Is the administration in any way ready to protect them if the ruling comes in your favor and takes the protection out and they can no longer work in the health field as they're needed right now?

PENCE: Well, I think the President's been very clear on his desire to reach a solution on that issue with the Congress. But let me say whether it be healthcare workers or people working in food supply, other people working in critical infrastructure, we're incredibly inspired by the way people across this country is stepping up to keep health care rolling and available. A high quality of care even in areas deeply impacted by the coronavirus.

And also as we said the other day, hard working people in our food supply from the farmers, to processors, to distributors, to truck drivers to grocers, we received the good word that over the last several days, we've actually seen a significant drop with one major company in absenteeism. We issued new guidance from the CDC about how people who may have been within close proximity to someone who had the coronavirus could return to work before the 14 days if they didn't have a fever, if they tested themselves twice a day and returned with a mask.

But the dedication of people to continue to work is truly inspiring and I know as we go forward, we'll work through a broad range of national issues, but we're going to be incredibly proud for a long time by the way people all across this country responded to this moment. So thank you all very much, we'll see you tomorrow.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: ... have the coronavirus task force briefing for today. They were giving the latest update on the pandemic. And it came as the United States has now reported more than 16,000 deaths related to crime Coronavirus.

There are though some new signs of hope in the state hit the hardest. In New York just as you had nearly 800 people die today you also had only 200 new hospitalizations, which is down from 600 the day before. Obviously, you can see that as an improvement and admissions to the ICU at the lowest level since March 19th there. But as I said, the date the death toll still a record all time high, 799 new deaths in that epicenter here in New York today.

I want to go straight to Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, today a lot of interesting topics here that just came up in the question and answer with doctors Fauci and Birx and the Vice President. Let me just start with one key point to you and that is that they just came up this whole question that they don't seem to know at this point still how many people one person can infect. One reporter was citing a recent study saying one person could infect six. Originally we had heard two. They were very open.


Dr. Birx, at least, saying they still don't know.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, that was -- that was interesting. I had not seen the study that showed one person could infect six. I mean, typically, this term which is R- naught, a lot of people know this term now, that basically means how many people can one person likely infect and for coronavirus it's thought to have been somewhere between two and three people. So, you know, two and a half people with flu slightly above one. So that's why people say this is two and a half to three times more contagious than flu.

So, they -- you're right, Erin. They sort of left that open. They didn't say that wasn't accurate that it could infect a lot more people. What they did say was that outside of a vaccine it is typically very hard to reduce the R-naught, to reduce this contagiousness, but the social distancing measures do seem to be working with this particular virus.

So, it -- I'm not sure we got a lot of clarity on that particular issue.

BURNETT: No, and let me ask you a follow-up to the point you're making, because they were saying, well, maybe the social distancing has succeeded in bringing the R-naught down. They were saying 1.3 to 1.5. That would get, it would sound like, from what you're saying, to where the flu is.

But when you look at the range of flu deaths in this country, you can get 50,000 to 70,000 a year in many years. That's with R-naught of 1.3, which is they are saying what they believe we have now successfully, possibly brought this down to.

GUPTA: Right.

BURNETT: Just to show people if you don't completely eradicate it, right, aren't you saying that that would immediately go back up if people resumed any semblance of normal life?

GUPTA: Yes. I mean, I think that that's very true. I think there are two interesting points here. One is that all these social distancing measures that have been going into effect we've been thinking about them with regard to coronavirus, but we also are seeing data that shows it has impacted the flu. So the R-naught for flu, you know, the contagiousness or the impact of people spreading this has gone down for flu as well as a result of the social distancing.

I think the big difference here, Erin, is that there is a flu vaccine. It's not a hundred percent effective but it does offer a significant benefit to try and, you know, really inoculate people. As it turns out, less than half the country's adults get the flu shot every year and if more people got it, you know, then it would probably bring it down even more.

We'll see what happens when a coronavirus vaccine is actually available if people will get it. If people do get it, it works well. It should significantly bring down the likelihood that the virus may still be there I guess to your point.


GUPTA: But the idea that somebody would get it and then spread it in a community that is very well immunized it becomes very, very low.

BURNETT: Yes. OK, so to the point that you're making, talking again about a vaccine and, you know, whatever scenario and either there are some who are talking about sort of extraordinary circumstances in which one could try to use a vaccine if effective earlier than a full set of trials. Putting that aside, you're still looking at a year, about, maybe more, right, for a vaccine if there is the perfect vaccine?

Yet you have the vice president there at that briefing a couple moments ago say that they believe, you know, sort of implying you can have a real reopening of the economy because there will be therapeutics by this summer. And by that, essentially means a cure or something so that people don't get really sick.

Is that reasonable that they're going to -- there are going to be therapeutics that work and make this a nonevent by this summer or are we really looking at waiting for a vaccine?

GUPTA: Well, I think until we have a vaccine, we're probably never going to be at that point of complete normalcy, you know? I think that even then if people don't get the vaccine there could still be transmission. I think it could be a very different scenario.

But there are two things that I think are important. We keep looking at these projections, 60,000. It's tough to say 60,000 and say that is a good thing but it is a lot lower than we've been hearing.

When you look deeply at that model, Erin, what they're basically saying is beyond May, the only way you get to 60,000 is if social distancing, these physical distancing measures stay in place until August 4th actually. So that is obviously well into the summer. That is what the models that project 60,000 say that the physical distancing measures have to last until, August 4th. So just to keep that be in mind.

Second of all, yes. Therapeutic would be really helpful especially if it is a really good antiviral or whatever type of medication.


GUPTA: But the testing is still probably in pole position in terms of what needs to be done because until you can test people, isolate them, trace their contacts, you're still running into the same situation. People may still get very sick. People may still need to be hospitalized, and people may still be contagious because there is no vaccine.

So testing, all the other stuff is important but testing has to be first in line here. That is something we sort of were -- everybody knows inadequate at the beginning of the curve. At the end of the curve, we have to make sure it's well set up.

BURNETT: All right. And, of course, obviously, still so many issues as we are hearing from front line health care workers still not able to get tests along with so many others who struggle to get that test. [19:35:09]

Thank you, Sanjay.

I want to make sure everyone knows Sanjay is going to be back because tonight CNN global town hall with coronavirus at the top of the hour, 8:00 Eastern.

And we do have a lot of news to get to from across the country. When you look at the situation here, with the spread, with the death toll today, let's go to Nick Watt OUTFRONT.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than 16,000 have now died nationwide. In Detroit, health workers say people are dying in E.R. hallways. This Chicago jail, now America's largest known site of infection outside medical facilities - 400-plus cases, among inmates and staff.

In New York, military doctors now deployed not just to field hospitals but inside city hospitals.

DAVID NORQUIST, DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY: What they're suffering from is doctors getting sick or nurses.

WATT: This city, the crossroads of the world, now has more confirmed cases than any other city on Earth, according to data from John Hopkins University.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: It's been 18 days since we closed down New York. I know it feels like a lifetime.

WATT: New York state's curve is now flattening. The numbers are now encouraging. But the message stays the same: do not stop social distancing.

CUOMO: Because we can't handle the worst case scenarios. We can't even handle the moderate case scenarios.

WATT: The president regularly hails his imposing travel restrictions on China in late January.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I cut off China very early. I closed down our country to China, which was heavily infected.

WATT: Nearly 17 million Americans have now filed for unemployment in just these past three weeks. That's more than 10 percent of the total work force.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I already can't swim and I literally feel like I'm drowning.

WATT: Air travel in the U.S. is down a stunning 96 percent year on year according to various metrics reviewed by CNN.

Dr. Fauci says we might still be able to take summer vacations this year.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It can be in the cards and I say that with some caution. We have to be prepared that when the infections start to rear their heads again that we have in place a very aggressive and effective way to identify, isolate, contact-trace, and make sure we don't have the spikes that we've seen now.

WATT: This summer might still be very different to the last. Just listen in to the Santa Clara County, California supervisors' virtual meeting.

DR. JEFFREY SMITH, SANTA CLARA COUNTY EXECUTIVE OFFICER: I don't expect that we'll have any sports games until at least Thanksgiving and we'll be lucky to have them by Thanksgiving.

WATT: For now in Brookhaven, Mississippi, a drive-by show of support for 90-year-old Bryant Johnston, sick with the virus that just killed Betty, his wife of near 60 years.

BRYANT JOHNSON, WIFE DIED FROM COVID-19: I didn't get to see her. I didn't get to hold her hand. I didn't get to tell her good-bye.


WATT: One small and encouraging number tonight from California, 22. Today, there are 22 fewer people in the ICU than there were yesterday, and the governor says that is more evidence that social distancing really is working -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Nick. Thank you very much.

And we are learning more about how the virus got to the United States. There are two new studies now, finding that the outbreak in New York, which is, of course, the worst in the United States, came from Europe not from China directly.

Dr. Anthony Fauci weighing in, giving these studies some credence.


FAUCI: Given the travel and the air traffic from anywhere in Italy but also particularly northern Italy, it's just not surprising that, unfortunately, and inadvertently, New York was seeded before they really knew what was going on.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Viviana Simon, one of the authors of that study.

And, you know, Viviana, I suppose to the extent they were looking anywhere in those early days, they weren't -- they would not have been looking at Europe. But I guess just on a very basic level, when people hear this virus, they assume it's just one virus. Obviously, what you're -- what you're pointing out here is that there are small differences that enable you to tell if someone got a virus from one place versus another.

How is that? How could you determine it came to New York from Europe primarily?

VIVIANA SIMON, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, INFECTIOUS DISEASES AT MOUNT SINAI: So, the Mount Sinai health system is the largest health care provider in New York City and we serve a very diverse population across the city's different neighborhoods, and to monitor the viruses and bacterias that cause disease in our patients, we put in place a pathogen surveillance program over the past years so we can follow and monitor, for example, influenza or a drug-resistant bacteria.


So, when we heard about this new virus emerging in China, we retooled our pathogen surveillance program to be on the lookout for this new virus. So, when the first cases were identified in U.S., we were ready to take action and to immediately sequence those viruses. When more broad diagnostic testing became available middle of March, we could sequence and obtain information of the viruses that caused those diseases in the many New Yorkers.


BURNETT: So basically -- yes, go ahead, so it's mutating I guess over time, not in any way that changes how it affects people but it mutates enough so that you can tell where it came from?

SIMON: Yes, exactly. So, we can compare sequences with New Yorkers we analyzed and with those in the database from the worldwide analyzed coronaviruses and we can compare based on those mutations in the viruses. And we notice to our surprise, but many of the survivors in New York simply resembled the viruses found in Europe.

BURNETT: And from Europe generally, or Italy specifically? Are you able to look at it that granularly?

SIMON: So, at this -- we don't have enough data yet, so future studies will provide more information so that we can see from where the virus came. So it is important to note that if the virus originally came from China, but it took -- it didn't take a direct flight but, you know, it connected to Europe and came indirectly to New York City from those countries, probably by --


BURNETT: Were you surprised to see that? Were you -- I mean, I know obviously we know Washington state, you know, you obviously had a lot of travel from Asia there but a lot of travel from Asia to the United States, as well as from Europe. But were you surprised when you saw this that sort of it had really, it seems essentially really first gone to Europe before it came to New York?

SIMON: So, yes. We were. Yes and no.

So, yes, we were surprised by the number of viruses that were interrelated with the viruses circulating in Europe. And, no, we were not surprised because there is really a lot of travel for tourists going forth and back, and New Yorkers also traveling to Europe.

And so, in a way, it was not surprising. But the extent of it was unexpected. We only had one case where the virus resembled Asian lineage.

BURNETT: Wow. Only one, out of how many?

SIMON: Eighty-four.

BURNETT: Wow. All right.

SIMON: (INAUDIBLE) resembled the virus seen in Washington state.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Viviana, thank you very much. It is fascinating and I think really important as people try to understand exactly what happened here. Thank you so much.

And tomorrow morning on CNN, don't miss an interview with Dr. Fauci. He will be live on "NEW DAY" at 7:00 a.m. Eastern.

Well, President Trump moments ago is saying the United States has the best testing system in the world. Of course the United States has failed miserably in getting tests to many who needed it particularly at the beginning of the crisis. Why?

Drew Griffin is OUTFRONT.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As coronavirus was silent racing around the world in late January and early February, the federal government failed to use the massive arsenal of hundreds of laboratories across the United States for emergency testing, it actually left road blocks in place to prevent non-government labs from assisting.

That is according to documents obtained by CNN and interviews with more than a dozen scientists and physicians involved in coronavirus testing.

DR. AMESH ADALJA, JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: At the very beginning of this pandemic, it was the federal government that had the sole ability to do the testing. It made it very difficult for private labs and university labs to make their own tests based on several regulatory hurdles.

GRIFFIN: Several hospital and university-based labs have told CNN they saw the pandemic approaching, were developing their own tests as early as January to detect the virus. But the red tape with the FDA's regulatory process prevented them from moving forward -- meaning labs sat idle.

DR. GLENN MORRIS, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: Rather than enlisting the tremendous strength and power of the U.S. laboratory capacity, getting everybody working on this and creating tests and having widespread test availability, we had CDC trying to keep running everything by itself.

GRIFFIN: The federal government was prepared to enforce the rules, sending this memo on February 6th telling state health departments to actively police against labs using their own coronavirus tests. The reasoning behind the tight regulations were good to ensure the safety and efficacy of tests.

But Dr. Glenn Morris of the University of Florida says the FDA rules were written for normal situations, not a crisis.

MORRIS: When we suddenly hit the point where we were looking at China and seeing what was going on there, what we needed was extremely aggressive leadership.


We got to move fast, because, otherwise, we're going to run into a problem.

GRIFFIN: The problem developed as soon as the CDC rolled out its own tests for verification. It didn't work. And weeks were lost as the CDC scrambled to make a new test.

SCOTT BECKER, CEO OF THE ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH LABORATORIES: So, we really were in -- in a basically on a pause for a few weeks within the public health system. And meanwhile, the academic laboratories who had developed their own tests also were not able to test because the regulations didn't allow it at that time.

GRIFFIN: What's even worse in 2018, after the Zika outbreak, the CDC came up with a plan to avoid the very testing disaster that's happening. CNN obtained a copy of this memorandum of understanding between the commercial and public labs and the CDC that was supposed to increase national laboratory testing in an emergency by engaging commercial labs early in the response.

It didn't work.

Dr. Karen Kaul who runs the laboratory services for NorthShore Research Institute in Evanston, Illinois, was one of the labs pushing to start its own tests and was stopped by overbearing red tape.

(on camera): It seems like this is a bit of a failure.

DR. KAREN KAUL, NORTHSHORE RESEARCH INSTITUTE: I do think there is a definitely room for improvement. What's happened is we've had a number of laboratories and a number of manufacturers and groups that are not all working together in a coordinated fashion.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): In a statement to CNN, the FDA insists there was nothing wrong in its process, and instead blames individual lab delays where labs did not understand the FDA process and mistakenly believed there was more work involved. Despite that, the FDA did publish new guidelines on February 29th

allowing labs to begin testing. Experts tell CNN, it was just too late.


GRIFFIN: And, Erin, the CDC got back to us and said they were communicating with these labs early on. But the CDC would not answer our question, why did you stop those labs from using the tests they had that worked back in January?

Just think of that, Erin. If we had started testing back in January based on what your last guest said, testing in New York in January, what kind of different outcome we may be looking at right now.

BURNETT: That is for sure. Drew, thank you very much.

And, you know, I want to turn now to where testing remains a problem. That is Connecticut. Officials are bracing for a peak in cases they say could still be a couple of weeks away according to one key model. So, things are getting worse and worse.

OUTFRONT now, the governor, Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut.

Governor, you know, obviously, you've talked about your state and having issues with testing, being behind on testing. You just heard Drew's report.

Are some of these problems caused by the red tape he was detailing from the feds on down?

GOV. NED LAMONT (D), CONNECTICUT: I think the feds, Erin, just got off to a slow start. They didn't take it quite as seriously as they could have. There was maybe some red tape regarding testing.

Imagine if we had commissioned Ford and G.E. to start making ventilators three months ago instead of three days ago, imagine where we'd be today. But the feds are catching up now.

Fortunately, the governors are -- hit the ground very early in terms of social distancing and a lot of protocols, and I think that's going to save a lot of lives.

BURNETT: You have announced and you are one of the few to try to put a date on it. Obviously, I know the date depends on what the numbers show, but you had said you wanted Connecticut to possibly re-open schools, bars, restaurants, by May 20th at the earliest.

How realistic do you think that date is?

LAMONT: I think it's probably a little wishful. But I wanted to give people at least a sense that over the next seven weeks, you know we're not going to open anything up. You should apply for those federal -- you know, forgivable loans if you are a small business. Parents should think about tele-education and other ways to take care of their kids at least until May 20th. But most of the models we show this is going to linger beyond there.

BURNETT: And we are seeing that. I know there's also been a lot of talk and hope about the antibody test, right, that you would give people an antibody test, you would know who had it, you pick up people who had been asymptomatic theoretically and they could go back to work.

That would work of course if this has much more widely penetrated the population than it seems to have from other models in other countries, right, where you'd be looking at 1 percent to 5 percent of the population. That doesn't help get many people back to work. Obviously, a much more deep penetration would.

How important is antibody testing going to be for you in Connecticut to re-opening?

LAMONT: I think it is quite important. I think we're going to do very broad based antibody testing, focus, first of all, on first responders, maybe folks in our defense-related industries, big manufacturing facilities.


LAMONT: I don't -- the people we test to see whether or not they have COVID is a small minority of the people who actually probably had it and they built up some antibodies.

[19:50:01] They're immune to COVID. If I can test for that, we can get people back to work sooner and get them back to work safely.

BURNETT: So, Governor, one day hospitalizations totals I know have dropped to their lowest level in two weeks. But the CDC is still saying that Connecticut has the highest rate of hospitalizations in the country when they look at it on a per capita basis.

Why do you think that is from your medical experts?

LAMONT: I think we had a very high level of infections down in southern Connecticut. We are part of that New York metropolitan area. New Rochelle, remember that hot zone, was just across our border. And, frankly, a few folks from New York come to our hospitals in southern Connecticut as well.

And now, the virus is slowly moving up the state, but it's tough because maybe it's going to slow down in southern Connecticut, but it's going to speed up in northern Connecticut.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Governor, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much, Governor Lamont.

LAMONT: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And I want to go now to Dr. Jonathan Reiner who advised the George W. Bush White House medical team for eight years. He's currently director of the cardiac catheterization program at G.W. University Hospital.

Doctor, you heard Governor Lamont. He wants to reopen. You just heard what he said, though, that May 28 date is wishful thinking. A little wishful, he said. What is realistic from a medical standpoint here? Obviously, you know, Connecticut is one specific example, but more broadly?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CARDIOLOGIST, ADVISED WHITE HOUSE MEDICAL TEAM FOR EIGHT YEARS: Well, everyone is trying to look at infection rates and the curves to try and guess this. But the truth of the matter is Dr. Fauci has mentioned many times, it's really the virus that's making the rules here. And we're reacting to outbreaks around the country and we're only really going to be able to start looking at ways to open up areas if infection has dropped to very low levels in these places.

So the virus is really setting the pace. And we just don't know right now.

BURNETT: So, you know, the vice president just made a comment about possible therapeutics by this summer, which seemed a bit like wishful thinking. You know, therapeutics that would be so transformational you could have a broad economy reopening from a vaccine.

But Dr. Fauci who's been much more conservative did today say summer vacations were possible? Here's how he put it, Dr. Reiner.


FAUCI: It can be in the cards, and I say that with some caution, because as I said, when we do that -- when we pull back and try to open up the country, as we often use that terminology, we have to be prepared that when the infection starts to rear their heads again, that we have in place a very aggressive and effective way to identify, isolate, contact trace, and make sure we don't have those spikes that we've seen now.


BURNETT: Is that wishful thinking? I guess it depends how you define summer vacation. It implies with a return to normalcy in American life. Is that wishful thinking?

REINER: Well, I think the number of people on this planet qualify to say that something that Tony Fauci has said is wishful thinking can fit in the back seat of a two-seat car. I will say that I think that it's aspirational. And I think that with proper planning and with widespread surveillance in the United States and the ability to do contact-tracing, should smoldering areas flare-up, I do think it's possible to have more of a normalcy this summer.

BURNETT: And the other question I had, this also came up at the briefing, Dr. Reiner. We had seen a study that came out of South Korea that -- the word they used was reactivation of the virus. Dr. Fauci seemed to pour a little cold water on that, but essentially saying he wanted more data. Sort of there's one thing if it's reactivation a week or two later if it's not fully out of your system. It's another thing if it's, quote-unquote, reactivation three months later.

It does, though, raise a question of how little we know, about whether someone can, quote-unquote, reactivate or be re-infected or how long someone can transmit this. We still don't seem to have answers to any of those questions, do we?

REINER: Right, this is why we need to focus on science. We need to focus on the epidemiology, the epidemiology will show us when we can start to open up areas. We need to focus on clinical trials. The clinical trials will show us which therapeutics work, so that when and if this virus comes back for a second round, perhaps in the fall or winter, we have the benefit of all that knowledge and we're not starting over again.

So this is why science now, getting this right, is key.

BURNETT: And Governor Cuomo in New York today made a comment to the point you just made. He talked about a possible third wave, right? He said you look at -- incorrectly, known as the Spanish flu of 1918, that actually really went from 1918 to 1921. There were multiple waves.

Obviously, medically and vaccine and the world was in a different place. But a virus is a virus, and so if this virus -- is it very possible we see wave after wave every time you try to reopen things, that it surges yet again?

REINER: Well, we certainly might see more than one wave. I think what we're really unsure of now at this point is actually how many people have been exposed to this virus, which is why we need to continue to accelerate testing in this country. We might find that a much larger number of people have been exposed to the virus.

More people have been exposed to the virus, sort of the more you have kind of a fire break to prevent transmission from person to person. So we have a lot to learn. But I think it's very reasonable to expect that there might be a second wave, which is why we have to get ready now.

BURNETT: All right. Dr. Reiner, thank you, as always. Have a good night, sir.

REINER: My pleasure.

BURNETT: And now in this country, the impact of this so broad and so painful, nearly 17 million people are now out of a job. That is about 11 percent of the United States work force in just the past few weeks.

And that number is growing and growing quickly, and it will almost certainly become higher than at any point since the Great Depression.

OUTFRONT now, Cameron Mitchell. His Ohio-based company had to layoff 4,500 people across his 37 restaurants due to the coronavirus shutdown. Cameron, I am glad to have you back. Of course, I'm sorry it's under these circumstances. Although I do know, I believe you applied for a loan through that

small business program in the stimulus bill, applying for $10 million, which may sound like a lot to some. You are awaiting an answer. Many haven't been able to get through. So, I know in the sense you were able to get that through is possibly a good thing.

But still, I understand it's only half of what you need, right?

CAMERON MITCHELL, HE'S LAID OFF 4,500 EMPLOYEES AT 37 RESTAURANTS, APPLIED FOR SBA LOAN: That's right, Erin. And I'm very concerned about the possibility of us opening up in another two months or so, call it early June, to about 50 percent sales volume, and opening up to bleeding red ink, all of our fellow restaurateurs across the country.

And I'm not sure how we're going to survive. And the stimulus package, while it's great and helps us, it's just not nearly enough that our industry needs to survive through this, I think.

BURNETT: So, when you -- you look at this, Cameron, and you look at a world -- we don't know what the world is going to look like, OK, I'll be honest about that.

MITCHELL: I agree.

BURNETT: It is possible we're looking at a world where when you reopen, you are not going to be able to reopen to a full restaurant. You're going to be reopening to half capacity or something that's very different, and that that could extend for quite some period of time.

Is that a scenario under which you could even operate, that you could even, you know, make your payroll and be profitable or not?

MITCHELL: Not really, Erin. It's one of my biggest fears as an entrepreneur in this business the past 40 years, to move forward. The average restaurant in the United States has about a 7 percent profitability margin. If you take our average rent in the United States from a restaurant at 7 percent, and you open up a restaurant at 50 percent capacity, that rent is now 14 percent, which virtually erases any potential profit margin.

You cannot cut your utilities by 50 percent. You cannot cut your management labor by 50 percent. So I believe many, if not all restaurants across the country, reopening at 50 percent volume will continue to bleed red ink and eventually go out of business in short order in the future. And I'm very concerned about that.

BURNETT: So, you know, when you say that, it just makes me think of the restaurateur David Chang. He told "The New York Times," I think the restaurants and service industry there is going to be a morbidly high business death rate. And is that -- sounds like you would agree with that? This is going to be an industry transformational event.

MITCHELL: Oh, absolutely. I don't see how very many restaurants survive through this, especially if we talk about another year of social distancing and another year until Americans get vaccinated from the coronavirus. It's going to be very difficult to survive. BURNETT: And so, Cameron, what do you do now then? I know you're

waiting for this loan, but what are you doing right now?

MITCHELL: Well, we're working on trying to acquire different avenues of capital to get the capital we need, not only to reopen, but hopefully withstand some losses. Once we reopen, obviously raising capital. In today's environment it's very difficult. Our banks are willing to participate, but that money is very, very expensive also.

So we're working on securing the remainder of that capital needed to move forward and get through this.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Cameron, we'll be checking back in with you and hoping that you're going to be getting some slightly better news. Thank you, sir.

MITCHELL: Great. Thank you. Thank you.

BURNETT: And thanks very much to all of you for being with us.

Again, as another night as we cover this story, CNN's global town hall "CORONAVIRUS: FACTS AND FEARS" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper begins now.