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NEW DAY

New York Sees More Fatalities but Some Hopeful Signs; Studies: Coronavirus in New York Came Mainly from Europe; Trump Aides Begin Discussions to Reopen Economy in May; Faces of Unemployment Amid the Coronavirus Crisis. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired April 9, 2020 - 06:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): The bad news is actually terrible. Highest single-day death toll yet.

[05:59:22]

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How and when to reopen the country. That conversation is starting with a focus on antibody testing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This makes a very big difference in really understanding who can go back to work and how they can go back to work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every week, I think how can it get more tense? I spent most of the night just going from one ventilator to another.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: Just forget about shaking hands. We don't need to shake hands.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're all looking to finally get out from under this. But it's not that time yet. The progress confirms the strategy is working.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, April 9, 6 a.m. here in New York.

And the thousands-year tradition of shaking hands might be over for good. That's just one small symbol of how different our society will be when we reopen.

And this morning, we have new information on the debate over exactly how and when to make that happen. The Trump administration is targeting early May. We're clearly not there yet.

Just yesterday, more than 33,000 new cases were reported. The peak now predicted for Easter Sunday.

Overnight, the CDC published new guidelines, saying essential workers can go back to the job, even if they have been exposed, as long as they take precautions and do not feel sick.

And it was Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert who said overnight that he believes people must stop shaking hands permanently, forever.

Speaking of traditions lasting thousands of years, this was Passover in the social distancing era and, to my mind, I have to say, one of the most poignant seders I've been part of, proving that families, loved ones and traditions can go on, no matter what.

CAMEROTA: My gosh, that is amazing, John, in this technological age, to still be close.

So the economic news continues to be dire. Economists predict that when we see the jobless claims this morning, the numbers will again be staggering. They think that between 5 and 7 million Americans lost their jobs and filed for unemployment last week. That would mean that total job losses because of coronavirus are more than 15 million.

So we'll bring you the actual numbers as soon as we have them.

There's also a new focus on prisons. Overnight, more than 100 inmates in a Washington state prison staged a demonstration after six prisoners there tested positive.

In Chicago, more than 400 people connected to one jail have now tested positive, making that the largest known source of coronavirus infections in the United States.

What are the next hotspots? Well, the White House task force believes it will be Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia.

So let's begin our coverage with CNN's Athena Jones. She is live for us in New York with the latest here in this city.

Athena, what is the latest?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.

New York reporting its largest number of deaths for the second straight day. The state also reaching a grim milestone today of having more people test positive for the virus than any country in the world, including hard-hit Spain and Italy.

Still, some officials are finding some hope in the numbers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONES (voice-over): For Governor Andrew Cuomo, it's a tough balance. Mourning the loss of thousands of New Yorkers while seeing some positive signs in the decrease of hospitalizations across New York state. CUOMO: It's an emotional time. It's a stressful time for everyone.

It's not going to get better any time soon. That's the truth.

We are flattening the curve. We have to maintain it. But the human cost here, the human toll, the suffering is just incredible.

JONES: Early data show black and Latino people in New York City make up 62 percent of reported fatalities, although they're only about half of the city's population.

CUOMO: I also believe the frontline workers do have a greater exposure than most people. I think that's one of the things we'll find when we do this research on why is the infection rate higher with the African- American community and the Latino community.

JONES: A model often cited by the White House suggests coronavirus- related deaths will be lower than initially projected, thanks to social distancing.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: That is modeled on what America is doing.

JONES: Still, Dr. Anthony Fauci reminding Americans the upcoming weeks and months will be extremely tough.

FAUCI: The most striking thing that, obviously, is so sobering to us is when you see the number of deaths. We know now for sure that the mitigation that we have been doing is having a positive effect. But you don't see it until weeks later.

JONES: For the essential workers like first responders and grocery store employees keeping the country going, the CDC issuing new guidelines for those who may get exposed to the coronavirus, saying they can return to jobs if they are asymptomatic, take their temperature before work, wear a face mask at all times, and practice social distancing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the most important things we can do is keep our critical workforce working.

JONES: People familiar with the discussions tell CNN Trump's aides are examining ways to reopen the U.S. economy as soon as May. But officials like California's Governor Gavin Newsom say it's too soon to lift safety guidelines.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): While the curve is bent, been bending in the state of California, it's also stretching. And at any moment we pull back, you can see that curve go back up.

JONES: The nation's top infectious disease doctor agrees.

FAUCI: We need to keep mitigating. We know that this is something that is a strain on the American public. But it's just something that we have. Not only the only tool; it's the best tool.

(END VIDEOTAPE) [06:05:13]

JONES: Now, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx says the strict measures Americans are taking to stem the spread of the virus may be slowing the number of new cases in places like New York, Detroit, Chicago and Boston. But Dr. Birx says officials are growing concerned about spikes in the cities of Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Athena Jones for us in New York, giving us the lay of the land. Athena, thanks so much.

Some new information overnight: two new studies that indicate travelers brought coronavirus to New York in February. And they came mostly from Europe, not Asia. And this was weeks before the first confirmed case and weeks before European travel restrictions were put into place.

Joining us now, Dr. Celine Gounder, CNN medical analyst and infectious disease professor at New York University's School of Medicine; and Dr. Brendan Carr, chair of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Health System.

And Dr. Gounder, I want to start with you just very quickly on these studies, which we just saw a few hours ago, suggesting that coronavirus came to New York in force in February. And again, from Europe, not China.

This informs a lot of different things. First of all, how effective a ban on travel from China may or may not have been. But secondly of all, when it got here and when it started spreading, which is what really matters for right now.

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, ANN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. John, these viruses mutated a predict -- predict at a rate. If you sequence the different viruses, you look at their genetic code, you can basically create a family tree of viruses and figure out approximately when in time they arrived here.

And so, you know, I think this really does point to the fact that infectious diseases do not respect our borders, whether it's state or national borders. And that travel bans are only so effective because people will continue to travel elsewhere throughout the world.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Gounder, tell us on the ground in the hospital system that York at, Mount Sinai. What's happened? Are you seeing the peak in New York has passed? Are all of the E.R. doctors just as much in crisis mode as they were, say, a week ago?

DR. BRENDAN CARR, CHIEF OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, MOUNT SINAI HEALTH: You know, they're not. There is a glimmer of hope, a little bit of light over the last couple of days.

You know, we have to remember that the 10 to 14 days of time that it takes for you to get sick is when we start to see folks in the emergency department, we start to admit folks to the hospital. And we have noticed a day-over-day decrease in the patients that we're seeing coming in, in distress.

BERMAN: Interesting. And you've also had a lot of hard-learned lessons, Dr. Carr, and changed a lot of your procedures, as well. You now have palliative care physicians on the front lines in the emergency room. Explain exactly what that means and how that helps.

CARR: We do. We have across all of our hospitals, we have made sure that folks whose expertise is in -- docs whose expertise is in talking about goals of care, should you become critically ill, are standing shoulder to shoulder with emergency physicians whose expertise, obviously, is in resuscitating people who are critically ill.

It allows us to have a thoughtful conversation with the patient and with the family about what direction we should we go. Should we focus on full stop, aggressively resuscitating, or should we focus on comfort?

CAMEROTA: And Dr. Carr, one more question about all of this. Over this four-week crucible that your doctors have been involved in, has there -- what other lessons learned or have there been anything that they've learned that changes the trajectory of the sickness? Are there things, I don't know if that's experimental drugs, I don't know. We had heard about the positioning of the patients on their stomachs that allowed the more oxygenation to the lungs. Have there been things that have changed the success rate over these four weeks?

CARR: For sure. You know, American medicine is -- is pretty extraordinary. And everything from proning, which you're talking about recruiting parts of your lung that previously weren't recruited and weren't getting as much oxygen and as much blood flow such as the laying on your stomach part.

And of course, we're all hopeful about the drug trials that are happening. We're enrolling in a bunch of different ones.

I've got to say, though, the biggest thing that I've learned is that -- is that there is inspiration found everywhere. We, in the last couple weeks, one of our hospitals in South Nassau, because so frequently there were loud announcements for teams to respond to help people who were getting sicker, started every time there was a discharge of a COVID patient, started playing "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles. And it's been a wonderful breath of fresh air that reminds people that people are getting better, people are going home.

BERMAN: It's fantastic. And people need that.

So Dr. Gounder, the debate this morning is very much about how and when to reopen. And Dr. Anthony Fauci in one simple sentence about a tradition that's lasted thousands of years, I think, puts it all in perspective. He's talking about handshaking. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[06:10:09]

FAUCI: I don't think we ever should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you. Not only would it be good to prevent coronavirus disease, it probably would decrease the incidence of influenza dramatically in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Basically, he's saying, Dr. Gounder, we need to change forever now.

GOUNDER: Well, I think that's right. I think -- I would agree 100 percent that shaking hands is not the most sanitary hygienic practice.

You know, there are other things that we do, like sending kids to school sick or going to work sick, that those things really need to change. And that's going to mean that we need to have other options for child care for parents to work. It's going to mean that employers are going to have to change their staffing approaches, for example, during flu season when people might be sick.

So these are -- these are pretty big changes, actually. They might sound like small things, but they're quite significant.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Carr, when you hear the White House talk about reopening the country and getting back to work, does it send a shiver down your spine, or do you feel like we could be close?

CARR: I think that, you know, as long as we remember the 10 to 14 days that sit takes for people to get sick, I think that we start a staged approach with all kind of testing that is being developed, isn't quite there yet, but that helps us to know who's been exposed, who's got antibodies. That stuff is all coming, and it's going to help us to do it in a really thoughtful way.

BERMAN: Dr. Gounder, just very quickly, overnight also, there was a warning from cardiologists about hydroxychloroquine, which is part of the studies and very hopeful for a lot of people. A lot of people have been taking it. Some people think it works. There haven't been any major conclusive studies yet. But a warning from cardiologists about prescribing it to people who may have -- or be susceptible to heart conditions, right?

GOUNDER: Right. And just to follow up real quick with what Dr. Carr was saying about when can we re-open, you know, I think a key factor here is we need to be able to do contact tracing. We need to be able to do testing. It's not just a question of bending the curve.

And building up that capacity, we're nowhere near being able to do that now. So I think that's important to understand and acknowledge.

In terms of the hydroxychloroquine, that small study out of France that looked at the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin has now been retracted, that study.

So, you know, what little data we had is getting shakier and shakier. And it is very concerning that this is -- these are medications that can cause cardiac arrhythmias, that are unproven as treatments for COVID-19. And so they really should be used with a lot of caution. CAMEROTA: Why was it retracted, Dr. Gounder?

GOUNDER: Well, it was retracted because of methodological flaws. So, you know, we are very careful when we publish studies that we're, you know, calculating appropriate sample sizes sizes, controlling fore other factors and those kinds of things.

And so this study had a lot of flaws, very tiny study; was not an appropriately controlled study. And so some of the conclusions that were being drawn from this were really quite false.

BERMAN: All right. Dr. Gounder, Dr. Carr, thanks so much for being with us this morning. Wish you the best of luck, both of you, in your jobs in the coming days and weeks ahead.

We just had a little bit of a discussion about this. What needs to happen before the United States can reopen? The milestones that researchers say the U.S. needs to reach, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:17:35]

CAMEROTA: CNN has learned that the White House is beginning to discuss how and when to restart the U.S. economy. They're thinking May. Is that realistic?

Joining us now is Crystal Watson. She's a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health and Security and the co-author of a new report outlining a clear roadmap for how to reopen the country.

Ms. Watson, great to see you. I was fascinated to read the report from you and your colleagues. This is at the American Enterprise Institute, some of whom are medical doctors.

And you have a clear roadmap. And I have to say, it sounds like we're nowhere close to that. So let's just take people through it.

Here's what you say in the report. "We would have to see a 14-day reduction in cases." So not just, I think, a plateau but a 14-day reduction in cases.

Then, hospitals would have to basically be able to safely treat patients without being in the crisis mode that they're currently in. States would be able to test everyone with symptoms. OK, I think we're a long way from that.

And then fourth, states would be able to monitor and trace cases. This is the contact tracing.

So where does that leave us, Ms. Watson? How close are we to all of that?

CRYSTAL WATSON, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Well, we are not there yet. And communities across the country are going to look different, because they're having different epidemics that started at different times.

So it's not going to be a uniform opening. And we really need to focus on the suppression phase right now, which is maintaining these social distancing measures and make sure that we are able to flatten that curve and bring cases down.

BERMAN: Because that's what will lead to the 14-day reduction in cases. If we can put this back on the screen so people can see it, I have some questions specifically about each of these other listings.

Hospitals can safely treat patients without resorting to crisis standards of care. What exactly does that mean? That the healthcare system needs to be able to absorb these cases without some of the measures we've now taken?

WATSON: Without some of the more extreme measures. So changing the standard of care to reduce it and maybe house patients in places that they wouldn't normally be housed, to treat them in ways that we wouldn't normally see in a hospital. We want to avoid that. And so we need to make sure that hospitals can treat patients safely before we let up on these restrictions.

And that includes having enough personal protective equipment, enough ventilators that they can treat patients in a way that would -- that would be most successful for those patients.

[06:20:07]

CAMEROTA: And then the idea about testing, the idea about being able to test everyone with symptoms, you know, the states have been struggling, as you know, with having enough tests and being able to do that.

And then the contact tracing, that just seems so complicated. If it takes five days or seven days or longer to get your test results back, how can a state ever go back and trace all of the people that you came in contact with?

WATSON: Yes. So testing is a very important part of this, and we shouldn't take our eye off the ball. And anyone who has a reasonable suspicion that they've been exposed can get a test.

But it's not necessarily a prerequisite to doing the very basic public health actions of identifying cases and tracing their context. You can -- public health has been doing this for centuries, really. Identifying people who are sick and then looking at that context around them; asking them questions; and having them quarantine at home to make sure that they don't develop symptoms.

BERMAN: It feels like a full-court press is what you're saying. It will take in order to be -- to be comfortable in reopening, yes, the testing people with symptoms.

But when you're talking about contact tracing, and the disease detective work that it will take, that is an enormous effort. And that, too, by the way, takes testing, as well, because you have to be able to go and test even the asymptomatic people who came in contact with the people who originally got sick, correct?

WATSON: Right. Testing is very helpful to doing this. But you can also quarantine somebody at home and watch them for symptoms.

You can diagnose presumptively, if you don't have a test. So tests are really important. They're going to be a critical tool to help this process. But they're not a prerequisite. So we can start doing -- taking these actions and tracking cases before we even have a test.

CAMEROTA: Now this -- what you're suggesting, you and your colleagues, in this new report is quite different, I think -- but tell us if we're wrong -- from what the CDC guidelines that they've just put out, in terms of essential workers being able to go back to work.

They're saying take your temperature before work, wear a face mask at all times, and practice social distancing in the workplace. I mean, that's just completely different guidelines than what you all are suggesting. So how do you square that?

WATSON: Right. I don't think we're ready to let up on these measures yet. We're just seeing the benefits of social distancing in places like New York and Seattle, where they -- we had hotspots. But this is spreading around the country.

So if we do let up on social distancing measures prematurely, we're going to waste all of the sacrifice that all of us have made so far to bring down the number of cases in this country.

BERMAN: I was going to say. What do we risk if we aren't careful the way that you suggest?

WATSON: Right. Well, right now, while we're not testing widely, we can't confirm how many people have been infected. We think it's a very small proportion of the population. So if we let up on social distancing, we have a vast majority of the population who are naive to this disease. So we could have a huge resurgence and much worse than we've seen already.

CAMEROTA: Crystal Watson from Johns Hopkins, thank you very much for sharing with us the research that you and your colleagues have just put out. We really appreciate it.

WATSON: Thanks a lot.

CAMEROTA: The coronavirus crisis has already been a disaster, of course, for the U.S. economy. Millions of Americans are now out of work. So we take a look at the hardships that they are facing. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:27:66]

BERMAN: A new CNN poll shows that six in 10 Americans say the U.S. economy is in poor shape, a staggering 30-point increase from last month. The majority, though, believe it will recover. Half of Americans polled say coronavirus has caused them financial

hardship. One in six say that hardship is severe. A record 10 million Americans have already filed for unemployment. We're expecting new numbers in a couple of hours.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich joins us with the faces of unemployment. And those faces are really everyone almost everywhere, Vanessa.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, John. And many Americans are going to wake up this morning and again try to apply for unemployment, a system that has been plagued by backlog. Many Americans unable to get through.

We spoke to several of them who said that while they wait, they feel like they have no other lifeline.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

YURKEVICH (voice-over): For the millions of Americans applying for unemployment, this probably sounds familiar.

JACORY WRIGHT, ELEVATOR DISPATCHER: You have to hang up and call back. Hang up and call back. Hang up and call back.

ED CHAN, GIG WORKER: It was tough. The system does crash.

YURKEVICH: Right now, millions of Americans, no matter their age, sex or race, are confronting a chilling but shared reality. Unemployment offices around the country, ill-equipped to deal with the sheer volume. Phone lines jammed, sites crashing and lines of Americans in Miami, waiting for paper unemployment applications.

WRIGHT: I already can't swim, and I literally feel like I'm drowning.

YURKEVICH: Jacory Wright lives in Dallas, furloughed from a job he loves on Tuesday. It was the most he's ever made. $18 an hour. But Wright still lives paycheck to paycheck. And now, without health insurance.

WRIGHT: My insurance is gone. I'm HIV positive, so now I have to go through the process of being able to get my medicine paid for again. And it -- it doesn't just take people out of a financial comfort zone temporarily. It literally does a domino effect to certain people.

YURKEVICH: It was a domino effect for Stephanie Bonin, too, who has owned Duo restaurant in Colorado for 15 years.

END