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CNN Reports, Trump Aides Begin Discussion To Reopen Economy In May; Trump Blames Everyone But Himself As Pandemic Deepens; Alarming Rate Of Latinos And Blacks Killed And Infected By Virus. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired April 9, 2020 - 07:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is New Day.

This morning, the White House is trying to figure out how and when to reopen the economy, possibly as early as the beginning of May.

What worries some medical experts is that date, because just yesterday, more than 33,000 new cases were reported in the United States. The peak in this country is now predicted to be Easter Sunday.

Overnight, the CDC published new guidelines saying essential employees can go back to work even if they have been exposed as long as they take series precautions, including taking their temperature daily and they can't feel sick.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said overnight that he believes the tradition of shaking hands must stop permanently.

Speaking of longstanding traditions, take a look at this Passover Seder in the era of social distancing. Families and loved ones coming to the celebrate the holiday even if they're not physically together, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: I have to say, in some ways, it was more imbued with the spirit of Passover than any of the Seders that I've been to in a long, long time. It was really, really deeply meaningful to be a part of a Seder much like this on your screen that you're seeing last night.

We're just hours from a new measurement of the economic pain in this country. We're going to see how many filed for unemployment last week. Our economists are predicting up to 7 million new claims. That would mean a total job loss because of coronavirus of more than 15 million total. We're going to bring you the numbers as soon as we have them.

There is also a new focus on prisons overnight. More than 100 inmates at Washington State prison staged a demonstration after six prisoners 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.

So what are the next hotspots? The White House Task Force believes it could be Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia.

CAMEROTA: Okay. So joining us now are Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, she is the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Dr. William Schaffner, he's an infectious disease professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Nice to see both of you. We have a lot of headlines to get through.

So, Dr. Marrazzo, when you hear that the White House is eyeing early May to restart the economy, reopen the country, what are your thoughts?

DR. JEANNE MARRAZZO, INFECTIOUS DISEASES DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM: Well, good morning, Alisyn and John. Good to be with you again. My thoughts go back to something that Dr. Fauci has been saying several times. And that, again, is that the virus makes the timeline.

The challenge here is that we have been swimming upstream during this whole last several months because we haven't really had good diagnostic testing. And I think if you really want to think about opening the country, you really need to know who has been infected and is thus immune, who is still at risk and who is actively infected.

And if we had a series of tests that we could deploy to really figure out who to reintroduce into the economy, which we desperately need to do, that would help us dramatically.

BERMAN: Dr. Schaffner, it was interesting, the attorney general of the United States, William Barr, who isn't part of the medical task force, at least, and so far as I believe, had a remarkable statement last night that might indicate some pressures inside the administration to open up as soon as possible. Listen to what he said. He said, I think when this period of time at the end of April expires, I think we have to allow -- it's a sound bite. Let me listen to William Barr here.


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think when this period of time at the end of April expires, I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have, and not just tell people to go home and hide under the bed but allow them to use other ways of social distancing and other means to protect themselves.


BERMAN: Is that what we've been doing, Dr. Schaffner, telling people to go home and hide under their beds and is it time all of a sudden? I mean, this sounds like what the president was going through a few weeks ago when he was saying he wanted to open by Easter and it would be a beautiful thing for everyone to be in church at Easter, and he had to back off of that. Is this going to be a similar situation for May 1st? [07:05:00]

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, : Well, good morning, John and Alisyn. I'm concerned that we're setting dates and not listening to the virus. The virus is going to tell us when it's safe to open up again. If we had more widespread testing, as we are doing now, and then down the road we will soon have antibody testing that will let us determine who is still susceptible, those two tests, if widely deployed, cleverly, I think will help us in a statewide fashion, not all at once, reopen things so that we can get back to normal.

CAMEROTA: And, Dr. Schaffner, if we don't listen to the virus, I know that you think we put ourselves at great risk of a second wave, and this all coming back, and then everything that we've done for the past two months being for naught.

SCHAFFNER: Alisyn, you have said it very well. If we let ourselves open up very quickly and exuberantly again, then that gives the virus more opportunities to once again spread readily among us and create a second wave, which will create much, much disappointment, a lot of confusion and will reduce confidence in the government. That's -- none of that is appropriate.

BERMAN: Obviously, Dr. Marrazzo, we all want to be out in public as soon as we possibly can. The question is how to do it safely and how to do it right. It was interesting to hear Dr. Anthony Fauci because he's thinking very big picture about all this, about ways that humanity needs to change maybe forever. And listen to what he said about shaking hands.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: 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.


BERMAN: I guess what struck me about this, Dr. Marrazzo, is I'm sure the medical professionals agree with this, it's so simple but also it shows you to the extent with which this pandemic may just change every.

MARRAZZO: Yes, it's really fascinating. I think our culture, not just our medical culture, but our social culture will be radically changed. One of the big things that's happened in the hospital is that we are now taking histories from patients outside the room. And not having that sort of face-to-face connection where you go in and shake the patient's hand, sometimes you touch the patient as you're talking to them, you're examining them, that is just a radical difference, so I agree.

You know, it's really interesting, I've been hearing and I think the data will show that a lot of other infections that are transmitted by hand-to-hand contact has plummeted in incidence in the last several months. One of them is influenza, classic influenza. The other is Clostridium difficile or C. diff, which is a diarrheal disease, that can afflict people, and especially older people. These are anecdotes.

But seeing those data are going to be so important to perhaps buttress the contention or the suggestion that Dr. Fauci made. He's always thinking several months ahead and that's what we need to be doing as well.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Schaffner, I know you want us to listen to the virus. But I just want to hear from you before the virus because there's a date that the experts have been banding about for the peak. And it sounds a little early to me, but what we heard overnight is that they think the peak in the United States will be Easter Sunday. But we've heard about these rolling peaks that will travel across the country. So do you agree that Easter Sunday is the peak for the United States?

SCHAFFNER: Well, I'm not so sure I can give you an exact date. But certainly cases are still rising in many parts of the country. But in other parts of the country, our social distancing seems to be having an effect. And that's very, very affirming and reinforces the notion that we shouldn't give up now. We should keep this up in order to make sure that this virus not only tops out but we can continue to flatten this curve so that the virus recedes and we can get back slowly to our normal activities.

But we need to do this in a careful, very staged way. Each time making a decision, kind of one week at a time, almost.

BERMAN: One week at a time. Maybe one city at a time, one region at a time. Dr. Marrazzo, a couple of really interesting studies overnight. One of them -- two of them, I should say, did come from New York City, which talked about when the virus got here. And they traced the genome back and determined that it got to the New York area actually in the middle of February and it was from Europe, not from China. What does this one tell you?

MARRAZZO: Yes. I think it's an amazingly interesting study. And there actually are two studies which came to the same conclusion independently.


What does it say to us? It says that the molecular epidemiology or the pathway of the virus as it has crossed borders is much more complicated than just tracing the path of people as they take airplanes or take ships or whatever. And so I think that it's a window into what really happened. And the closing the borders to China, while that seemed to be a very big step and probably did have some impact, was probably too late. And the virus already had sort of made its escape from China.

I think that we will know a lot more as the molecular epidemiologic studies continue to look at where the virus came from, how it got to where it got and we'll really sort of figure this out as time goes on. CAMEROTA: Another analysis, Dr. Schaffner, that we just wanted to touch on, The Washington Post crunched a lot of numbers from different states and different hospitals and found out something that doctors have anecdotally been telling us. And that is that this virus does not discriminate for age. There are a lot of young people getting sick. There are young people, and, I mean, very young. Some teenagers in their -- some in their 20s, some in their 30s who are dying from it. There's an E.R. doctor in La Jolla, California that says that half the patients in his E.R. are under the age of 50.

Do we need to think about this differently? Is that what you're seeing as well?

SCHAFFNER: Well, initially we really focused on people who were older with underlying illnesses. But, obviously, this virus is much more, shall we say, democratic. It can spread in any aspect of our population. And we in Nashville are also seeing people admitted to the hospital who are younger, middle aged adults and even young adults. We're warming up now, we're seeing more of those patients all the time.

With asymptomatic transmission, think virus, I think, is moving particularly among middle aged, younger people and children being infected and they, in turn, hand their infection off to older persons.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Marrazzo, Dr. Schaffner, thank you both very much for going through all of the new headlines with us this morning. We really appreciate being able to lean on your expertise.

MARRAZZO: Thanks. Stay healthy.

CAMEROTA: You too.

So, coronavirus is killing and infecting black and Latino communities at an alarmingly high rate. So we discuss why and what we've learned about this, next.



BERMAN: So as the coronavirus crisis deepens, President Trump has made one thing clear, he blames everyone but himself for the U.S. response. China, the World Health Organization, Democratic governors, they've all become targets.

Joining us now, CNN Political Analyst Maggie Haberman, White House Correspondent for The New York Times, and CNN Political Analyst David Gregory.

Maggie, I left out the media because somehow the journalists are also responsible for the failed U.S. response at times to the crisis. This is a behavior pattern for the president that you've observed, I think, not just over months but over years.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The president's entire playbook is about deflecting blame, taking credit when things are going well. When things are going badly, it's someone else's fault. So to your point, the latest instance is that he's blaming the WHO, which a lot of Republicans in some of his administration have issues with, and that's fine, except that he was praising the WHO back in January. And the through-line, as you say, is that it must all be someone else's fault. I expect that it's going to continue as criticism continues at the federal government's response.

CAMEROTA: David, the WHO did appear to have some incorrect messaging early on with this when not a lot of information was known, but so did President Trump. I mean, this is the thing that always astounds me is that there's videotape. So every time that he tries to deflect blame and say that they didn't get it right or somebody didn't get it right, we can always cue up the sound bite of him saying that soon there will be zero cases in the United States. And as you can see on your screen, that was the opposite of what was true.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, how about the fact that there were members of the president's administration, Health and Human Services secretary, who is trying to sound the alarm. Peter Navarro, as Maggie has reported, was trying to sound the alarm. That's so clearly documented here.

So are there things the World Health Organization has not gotten right? Sure. You hear Anthony Fauci say over the years the World Health Organization has had problems with the organization. But he as a public health specialist also says that he relies upon them, the community of scientists around the world to seek to maintain public health. That's far more important.

What you wish out of a leader is that the president would stand up and say, look, there will be time to examine who got what right and wrong. There were mistakes made within governments, throughout the government in terms of our preparedness for something this unusual. Right now, let's achieve the results in front of us, which are getting people healthy.

BERMAN: And sometimes, Maggie, the messaging is eternally contradictory, sometimes even within the same news conference. But, overall, if you're trying to send a message of, let's all come together and fight this invisible enemy together, he is doing that sometimes in the same events where he is attacking people by name or groups of people.

HABERMAN: Usually when he is saying, we all need to come together is when he is reading the prepared remarks that he comes to the podium with. When he starts talking without that and answering questions is when he is fighting with the media, he is fighting -- accusing Democrats of trying to attack him, suggesting that people are all out to get him, why can't you praise me? He has a fundamental misunderstanding of what reporters do. And anything is seen by him as sort of up/down about him as opposed to, as David was portraying, WHO, a much more nuanced view that could exist over time.


There can be complicated views of institutions and people, but in his description, it is all black and white, good or bad.

CAMEROTA: David, I thought it was interesting that The Wall Street Journal had an editorial today that these press briefings that we watch every day for information, hungry for information about the plan or whatever new stats there are, have possibly outlived their usefulness.

Because what the Wall Street Journal says is that, when you track them over time, at first, they were fact-heavy and now there's a lot of just insulting of reporters who are trying to do their jobs and asking questions.

There's a lot about President Trump reiterating how effective he thinks that his travel restrictions from China were. Though we now know that did not shut down the outbreak here and that hundreds of thousands of people did travel from China.

And so, I don't know, what are your thoughts on whether or not these are still helpful?

GREGORY: You know, I still look to these briefings to get information primarily from the public health officials on what is the latest on the virus and the tracking of the virus. And there's obviously important elements with regard to legislation that's happening in terms of trying to stimulate the economy. That is important.

But I agree, I think it's becoming something akin to the follies, needing (ph) the follies during the Vietnam War where you have officials giving briefings with either contradictory or false information right down to the use of this tired cliche at the light at the end of the tunnel which apparently nobody told the president is a euphemism for having blinders on and not seeing reality that goes back to the Vietnam War. It's astounding to me they keep using that tired parade.

But, I think, primarily, it's a chance for the president to show that he's large and in charge and to take on all comers who disagree with him. As Maggie was saying, it's so counterproductive. And as I think The Wall Street Journal laid out too, people aren't interested in that. Of course, there's people who hate the media, who think the media are either out to get Trump or just focused on the negative all the time, you're always going to have those people.

What people want to know, right now is are you achieving results? Only the federal government has the scales to deal with this kind of pandemic. Are you getting results? That's what people are interested, not whether governors agree with the president.

BERMAN: Right. The number one issue for everyone this morning, tomorrow morning and for the next several months is what are you doing to save lives and how are your actions going to save lives, which actually, Maggie, dovetails with my next question to you, that you've written on, which has to do with voting and the idea of mail-in voting. We got to figure out how we're going to vote in the country, not just in the rest of the primaries but also next November. And the president laid down this line on mail-in voting where he calls it this great evil basically, despite the fact that he voted by mail in Florida. What's going on here?

HABERMAN: So he actually tried cleaning that statement up and (INAUDIBLE) on Twitter last night. Because he gave -- again, as I said before, there is often no nuance in what he says. He just gave this blanket condemnation of absentee voting and mail voting, it's corrupt, you'll never have another Republican elected. What he was responding to was the fact that there was a push by Democrats, particularly Nancy Pelosi, in one of the packages to help the country after and through the virus outbreak.

There was a push for a much more uniform and broader form of by mail voting. That's what he's reacting to. And he's reacting to it in a new way that sounds dismissive, of a form that some of his own voters and some Republicans need, as particularly older voters.

So he tried moving away from that last night. But, look, there's a broad Republican push to try to limit the expansion of mail-in voting beyond what state-by-state laws dictate. And so you're going to see the -- a well-financed effort by the Trump campaign, by the RNC to try to push back on efforts by Democrats to expand it.

Democrats have argued that studies show that the fraud that the president talks about is exceedingly rare. And they argue this is being done to disenfranchise poorer voters, minority voters, voters who tend to vote more Democrats. We will see how it plays out. But the president's absolutist language again may get him in trouble.

CAMEROTA: David --

GREGORY: Can I just say what I think is so important here, is that in a democracy, as many people who can vote should vote. That's the bottom line. If you're trying to depress the vote in any way, if you're relying on lower turnout, that means you're afraid of the voters.

Here is what's most important between today and April and November, is that we spend time trying to make sure there is no fraud in mail-in voting, that we have an actual fallback to make sure our elections could go forward. This is all part of the same problem. Prepare for the possibility of difficulty. Have a backup plan.


And if mail-in voting is in, make sure -- there're so many people working on the integrity of our voting right now. Tap those resources. Tap those experts and make sure you get it right. Don't say no, we don't want mail-in voting so we can keep older Americans and as well as the Americans that the president fears wouldn't let Republicans.

BERMAN: And make sure you can do it while keeping people healthy.


BERMAN: David Gregory, Maggie Haberman, great to have you this morning. Be well, both of you.

GREGORY: Thanks.

BERMAN: So what is causing blacks and Latinos to die and be infected by coronavirus at twice the rate of whites? We'll discuss, next.



GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It always seems that the poorest people pay the highest price. Why is that? Why is that? Whatever the situation is, natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina, people standing on those rooftops were not rich, white people.