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New York Sees Another Record Day of Deaths; Health Officials Urge Social Distancing as U.S. Nears Peak; Florida Governor Falsely Claims COVID-19 Has Not Killed Young People. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired April 10, 2020 - 06:00   ET



MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In areas where the epidemic has impacted most, we continue to see evidence of stabilization.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It appears to us the stay-at-home order, the social distancing are starting to pay off.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): The flattening of the curve happened because of what we did yesterday. If we stop acting the way we're acting, you will see those numbers go up.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hopefully, we're going to be opening up very, very soon, I hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we move to reopen, it's not going to be one- size-fits-all.


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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, April 10, 6 a.m. here in New York.

As Americans prepare for a holiday weekend, health officials urge everyone to keep up the social distancing and brace for the peak of the pandemic.

On the economic front, nearly 17 million people have filed for unemployment in just the last three weeks, and that plays into the president's plan for when to reopen the country. He's pushing for early May.

After first declaring that anyone who wants a coronavirus test can get one, President Trump is now saying something very different. Last night, he admitted there will not be widespread testing for Americans before everyone goes back to work. And still today, the tests are far from perfect. Overnight, CNN

learned that top scientists are warning the White House about the accuracy of these tests. One study found the test missed more than 30 percent of positive cases.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says antibody tests to tell us who has had the virus could become available within days or weeks. What does that mean for all of us? We will speak to Dr. Fauci live in our next hour.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So with over 97 percent of the country under stay-at-home orders, health officials say lives are being saved. Information and honesty also saves lives.

The opposite of this. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claims that coronavirus is not a threat to children and that no one under 25 has died. That is patently false. Americans of all ages have died. And of course, young people can serve as carriers and pass coronavirus to their parents and grandparents.

Florida's governor is trying to reopen some schools.

That happens as 16 states announced they have closed schools through the remainder of the academic year.

There are so many moments of unity across the country, like this. Hundreds of buildings lit up in blue last night in gratitude to the frontline medical workers risking their lives to save lives. Wonderful images.

Want to begin our coverage with CNN's Athena Jones, live in New York where officials are reporting hospitalizations, Athena, beginning to level off.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. Good morning.

Here in New York, we begin this holiday weekend with more bad news wrapped in better news. The state reporting its highest single-day death toll for the third day in a row, but as you mentioned, there are more signs of progress. New hospitalizations are down dramatically, and the number of new intensive care unit admissions, also the lowest number since March 19.


JONES (voice-over): In New York, the number of new coronavirus-related hospitalizations is falling. But Governor Cuomo once again faced the harsh reality of leading a state experiencing another day of extreme loss of life.

CUOMO: We have to keep that curve flat.

We have lost many of our brothers and sisters. And if you don't want to stay for yourself, stay home for someone you love. Right? That's what the stay-at-home campaign is all about. JONES: New York City turning to Heart Island, a potter's field, to

bury the unclaimed dead. Dr. Anthony Fauci says it's tough to see the country suffering.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: With the increase and the real adherence to the physical separation, the guidelines, at the same time as we're seeing the increase in deaths, we're seeing rather dramatic decrease in the need for hospitalizations. So that is going in the right direction.

JONES: But even with early signs of improvement, state leaders urging residents to stay at home.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D), MICHIGAN: When we all take this seriously, we will save lives in Michigan. We will save the frontline healthcare providers that are struggling to keep up with the need. And we will come out of this in a more robust way.

JONES: The director of the CDC says the U.S. is approaching the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, and it will take some time for the country to open up again.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: So it's not going to be one-size- fits-all. It's going to be using the data that we have from surveillance to really understand where it is the most important places for us to begin to reopen.

JONES: Across the nation, portraits of America on pause. Cities virtually emptied, businesses closed. And lines stretched with people seeking unemployment.

But even in tough times, some moments of a nation at its best. Volunteers stepping in to help at food banks, making sure families are fed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lending a hand and helping a neighbor in need is what Pittsburgh does best.

JOSE ANDRES, CHEF: Here, we are feeding doctors, nurses, National Guard in front of the Javits Center.

JONES: Chef Jose Andres converting his New York City food hall to serve thousands. California writing these notes of support to New York on this shipment of ventilators.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We can't just sit on assets when we could save lives and help our fellow Americans.

JONES: And overnight, cities glowing in blue, a way to say thank you to essential workers in all industries.


JONES: And as we approach this peak, the overwhelming message coming from experts and officials, something we're hearing day in and day out, social distancing is working and must continue. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo saying you can't relax. If we stop acting the way we're acting, you're going to see those numbers go right back up -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Athena, thank you very much for setting the table so well for us.

Joining us now is Dr. Amesh Adalja. He's an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. And Dr. Manisha Juthani. She's an infectious disease specialist at the Department of Internal Medicine at Yale Medicine. Great to have both of you.

Dr. Adalja, let me start with you. It's Friday. And as we head into this holiday weekend, what's your biggest concern?

DR. AMESH ADALJA, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL: My biggest concern is that we don't see flattening in all parts of the country, that there is some reversal that may occur if people don't social distance as much as they need to. We want to make sure that these are sustainable decreases that we're seeing in places like New York, California, Seattle.

And that will allow us to move forward to the next phase.

But that's only going to work if people continue to be cognizant and proactive about this virus and taking the requisite precautions they need to do.

BERMAN: It's a remarkable public health story, what we're seeing unfolding before our eyes right now. But it's only remarkable and continued to be remarkable if we do it. If we continue to do it. You can't let up.

And Dr. Juthani, on that note, one of the most important aspects of this as we move through the summer will be testing. And I want you to listen to what the president had to say about testing last night.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Don't you need that, Mr. President, to make sure people are safe going back to work? You don't want to send people back to the work place.

TRUMP: We want to have it, and we're going to see if we have it. Do you need it? No. Is it a nice thing to do? Yes. We're talking about 325 million people. And that's not going to happen, as you can imagine. And it would never happen with anyone else either. Other countries do it, but they do it in a limited form. We'll probably be the leader of the pack.


BERMAN: So the United States has tested about two million people, Dr. Juthani, which may sound like a lot, but it's not. It's a small percentage of the population. And for testing to be a sword and a shield going forward, for it to be

a weapon to battle this pandemic, how much more does there need to be?

DR. MANISHA JUTHANI, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE & EPIDEMIOLOGY, YALE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: I think there are two factors we need to consider. I think that we're going to continue to test as much as we can, as much as the capacity continues to increase, but that's why when the economy starts to open again, I strongly believe people are still going to have to wear masks.

Masks are the one thing that we can do in between while we're starting to be able to test who has had the virus and who has not. A way for people to protect themselves and to protect others.

It's going to be an easy way that people can do this. The surgeon general has even created a video on how to create homemade masks, until masks are available more so. And I think that being able to utilize resources like that will be very important.

CAMEROTA: And Dr. Juthani, just to be -- just to be clear on what you're saying, is that because we're sort of giving up on testing? Has the notion that we're able to test everybody -- I mean, as the president said, the -- the country is so vast, we don't have the capacity. Maybe it's past the time that testing would have been useful. And so is that why you're suggesting masks?

JUTHANI: No. I think it's in tandem. I think what I'm saying is that we know, as you already identified, that the test is not 100 percent perfect, and even when we get the blood test, that is -- may not be 100 percent perfect right from the start.

So I think that we're going to continue to test and expand that capacity, and I think that we'll be able to ramp that up more and more so.

I think that one thing about the test is that sometimes there are false negatives. And I think that, just because somebody has a syndrome that really seems like COVID, we shouldn't just assume that it's negative just if you test negative.

BERMAN: The thing about testing is you have to be able to flood the zone. If you want to move to the next level here, which is to get people back to work, you have to be able to conduct an enormous number of tests to keep people safe.

And Dr. Adalja, one example of this we saw this yesterday at the White House, right? There was a reporter who two days ago had apparently exhibited some symptoms that they thought might be coronavirus. So then yesterday, everyone who was going to go into that White House briefing was tested.

Imagine that's a different workplace around the country, any kind of workplace: a warehouse, a school, an office. You have to be able to conduct the same level of testing going forward to make sure people are safe.


ADALJA: Yes. Testing has to be the cornerstone of our response. It's really what has been the -- the black mark on this whole pandemic response from the beginning, is that we are unable to know who had this, who didn't. We had overly restrictive testing criteria from the CDC, from the health departments and from our -- even from our local hospitals. And that made it very hard to know who you could actually safely say doesn't have it, and who did have it.

And we know that, from any infectious disease outbreak, from HIV to Hepatitis C to even into influenza, that testing is really crucial to give people protective actions to take, to link them to antiviral therapy. It's something that we know, and we need to have in place so that we can get this test seamlessly as easy as we get an HIV test. And it's not quite there yet. It's still hard, even in the hospital today.

In this past week, I've had difficulty getting tests. It's the same -- same story that's been going on for several months now.

CAMEROTA: So Dr. Juthani, tell us where that leaves us today, again, going into this holiday weekend.

Is the fear among doctors, like yourself, that if people don't continue to social distance, that the reason the virus comes roaring back is because it's somehow been lying dormant in people's homes for two weeks? Wouldn't they have had symptoms? What is the big fear if now we let our guard down?

JUTHANI: I think that we've seen cases of pre-symptomatic transmission. So there are people that are transmitting the virus. In fact, there's some data to suggest that you might be able to transmit the virus at an even higher capacity before you actually have symptoms.

Now, that's very scary. Because if you develop symptoms later but have already transmitted the virus, then there was no way to be able to protect against that.

And so that's why -- and going into this holiday weekend where people really want to be close to loved ones, I think we have to remember we are physical distancing. We are not social distancing. There are ways that you can maintain social interactions in our technology-filled world today.

And I think that the testing is such a cornerstone of this, but if people don't use these precautions, because that's the only way to prevent further spread when people are early in the symptomatic phase. Or maybe even before they're symptomatic.

BERMAN: Dr. Adalja, I want you to listen to the CDC director last night on the CNN town hall, talking about hydroxychloroquine, which of course, is this anti-malarial drug that some people hope can be used to treat coronavirus. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REDFIELD: We're not an opinion organization. We're a science-based, data-driven organization. So I do think this is going to be an independent decision of these healthcare providers and patients. And that at this stage, at this moment in time, we're not recommending it, but we're not not recommending it. We're recommending for the physician and the patient to have that discussion.


BERMAN: This has become such a hot topic and controversial over what really is a very narrow disagreement, Dr. Adalja. It's not that people don't want hydroxychloroquine to work. It's what people like Dr. Redfield and Dr. Fauci are saying, is we need to see clinical proof that it works in a large scale before we start saying that it should be prescribed at a large scale.

What did you hear last night from the CDC director?

ADALJA: That -- that's what we've been struggling with for a while. That we want to get hydroxychloroquine into patients if it's actually effective. But we don't have the randomized control trials to support it.

So right now, what we're doing at the same time as people are prescribing it, is we're trying to do randomized control trials. And we want to get data to be able to guide our decisions. Who benefits from it, what time window do they benefit, what's the dose, what is the risk -- risk profile in coronavirus patients?

And I myself have given it to patients as part of a hospital protocol where a patient was sick with pneumonia, and I followed some criteria and I gave it to the patient.

And I think that what we're seeing is kind of this tandem use of the drugs as -- on a protocol basis and clinical trials. But we really have to be clear about it. That there isn't definitive -- definitive evidence that this works. We know that it has in vitro activity, meaning it works in a lab. But do we know that it works in patients? No, we don't know that. And I think it's the most important question we need to answer before we start prescribing it and recommending it to everybody.

BERMAN: Did it work to with the patients you gave it to?

ADALJA: It's hard to say, because they were sick, and they got -- it wasn't a randomized, controlled trial. So you're stuck in that did you -- Was it the drug or was the person going to get better?

But I did use it in two patients that we have criteria. So it's not like we're giving this just kind of at a whim. We have kind of a criteria that we walk through, and it's -- you're thoughtful about it, thinking about will this patient benefit from it? Will they not benefit from it? And we're not giving it to outpatients that don't need to be in the hospital. These are sick patients that we're trying it on, at least at the hospitals that I'm on at staff at.

CAMEROTA: OK. Dr. Juthani, Dr. Adalja, stick around. We have some more questions for you.

Coming up in our next hour, we will speak with America's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Former President Obama has some advice for how officials should deal with coronavirus, and it's something that Florida's governor, for one, needs to hear. That's next.


BERMAN: Facts save lives. Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has falsely claimed that coronavirus has not killed young people. Not true.

CNN's Rosa Flores live in Miami with the details -- Rosa.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, there's a lot to unpack here. But let me start with this.

Governor Ron DeSantis that he has not made a decision as to when to reopen schools here in Florida. But it is the information that he says that he's going to be using to make that decision that's raising questions, because it's not based on fact. Here's what he said. Take a listen.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I don't think nationwide, there's been a single fatality under 25. For whatever reason, it just doesn't seem to threaten, you know, kids.



FLORES: Now, according to the CDC, five people ages 24 and younger have died from COVID-19. CNN has also reported on the death of a newborn in Connecticut and an infant in Illinois.

We've reached out to the governor's office for comment since yesterday. We have not heard back.

Now Governor Ron DeSantis also saying yesterday during a press conference that some students in some counties might return back to school sooner than others, saying that not every corner of the state has been impacted in the same way.

Well, this is the same rationale that Governor Ron DeSantis used very early on during the pandemic to not issue a statewide stay-at-home order, which created a lot of controversy. The governor then saying that it was going to be up to localities, municipalities and counties to issue restrictions to stop this virus, which created a patchwork of response here in the state.

And it wasn't until, according to Governor Ron DeSantis, that President Trump changed his tune, changed his demeanor on this pandemic that he decided to go ahead and issue that statewide stay-at- home order earlier this month.

Well, the governor mentioned the White House yet again yesterday during this press conference, John, saying that he is in communication with the White House constantly, that he talks to the White House every day. Of course, making what the president does, doesn't do, say and doesn't say critical to the response here in Florida and other governors across the country that take cues from the White House -- John.

BERMAN: Maybe the White House will correct Governor DeSantis and tell the governor that young people have died from coronavirus.

Rosa, thank you very much.

Our doctors are back with us. And Dr. Juthani, you know, it's one thing to have a discussion about reopening schools. That is a discussion that is happening and will happen. Sixteen states have said they're going to close for the rest of the year. But other states are having discussions right now.

It's another thing to say that young people haven't died. And also, that young people, you know, aren't at risk for spreading the disease. Governor DeSantis didn't say that. But clearly, that wasn't an area of concern for him, it didn't seem, yesterday.

JUTHANI: I think this is very important to highlight. Because as you mentioned, we had an infant die here in Connecticut. We had another infant in Chicago.

And I think that when children go back to school and can potentially bring it home to their pregnant moms or to their infant siblings, not to mention, potentially, grandparents that live in the household or parents that may have co-morbid -- co-morbid diseases that put them at risk, I think opening schools up prematurely is not a good idea.

And I think they really need to be thinking about this long and hard, because it takes a major toll on families, doctors, everybody involved to see a pregnant woman suffer or to see an infant potentially die.

And I think that younger children seem to be doing OK. But the whole point of this is a sacrifice. This is a sacrifice everybody has to make for the greater good, not only of themselves but of their families and their communities.

CAMEROTA: And by the way, Dr. Adalja, I also think that the CDC's numbers that Rosa just quoted there, may be on a lag time. Because "The Washington Post" called each state and tried to crunch the numbers in terms of young people's deaths. This is not a complete list, because, you know, they were just doing it on -- cobbling it together on their own.

But what they found from the states that participated, was that nine teenagers had died, not five, and that 45 people in their 20s. So that -- those are higher numbers. Those are young people. We had hoped that this disease was sparing -- this virus was sparing young people. But it's not. ADALJA: So you have to think about the disease as having a spectrum of

who it causes severe illness. And while you'll see deaths cluster, for example, in those who are older who have other medical conditions, it's not going to be that anybody that's younger than that age group is completely free from any risk of severe disease.

And there are younger people who do have pre-existing conditions, like asthma and diabetes, as well as people who are healthy that are going to be a very rare occurrence, but they can occur. And you're not completely clear if you're young.

So you need to be careful about getting this infection and not welcoming it into -- into you, the way some younger people think that they can do. Because you can get shortness of breath, you can get pneumonia, and you can end up in a hospital, and you can end up dead. So it is something that can affect everybody.

BERMAN: Now Dr. Adalja, his facts aside -- and his facts are wrong, he's getting it wrong on whether young people are at risk. He said no one's died; they have. The discussion about closing schools is controversial and has been with other medical issues over time.

ADALJA: Definitely. This isn't something that is an open-and-book [SIC] -- -shut case. Some countries closed schools, some countries didn't. And most of the school closure data comes from influenza and the experience with influenza, where there may be a different role for children in terms of how they transmit it in the community. Meaning they're magnifiers with influenza.

We don't quite know that for coronaviruses. So there is a little bit of debate here. And -- and I think there is room for disagreement among people in my field, and there are disagreements in our field about what the impact of schools are and how marginal the benefit may be. And when you do it, how long you do it for.

So I do think that there is a way to open these schools back up safely, thoughtfully, looking at what the prevalence is in the community and looking at the resources in the community before you do it. So I don't think it's something that should be completely off the books, but it needs to be done in a mindful manner.


CAMEROTA: So just to be clear, Dr. Adalja, you're on the side of schools can reopen before the end of the year?

ADALJA: I do think that there are parts of country where you can do that if you have proper resources in place. Meaning diagnostic testing, hospital capacity. And you think about all of the implications and follow the example of some of the countries that did not close schools.

BERMAN: Dr. Juthani, it is interesting. And just as a public health matter, one of the things that we've been told constantly by experts is what you need is public trust. And former President Obama addressed this a little bit in a phone call with some mayors yesterday. Let's put it up on the screen so I can read it out loud.

He said, "Speak the truth. Speak it clearly. Speak it with compassion. Speak it with empathy for what folks are going through. The biggest mistake any of us can make in these situations is to misinform, particularly when we're requiring people to make sacrifices and take actions."

Again, medical school, you don't need to go to medical school to know that the truth and facts help.

JUTHANI: That's absolutely true. I mean, I think that we're trying to communicate with the public in real-time on what the facts are now. And what we can do now, the past is past. We know what is here and what is now.

What we know is that what we've been doing is working. And we have to stick with that for now. And there are going to be, potentially, different solutions for different communities, based on the prevalence of disease in that particular area.

And I think that, if people continue to hear facts and the truth in specific areas, they will trust their leadership, public health and government, in what decisions they're making to be able to help people move forward.

BERMAN: Dr. Juthani, Dr. Adalja, thanks so much for being with us this morning. Have a safe and joyous weekend.

JUTHANI: Thank you. You, too.

BERMAN: Detroit and New Orleans have been hit hard by coronavirus. An update on how both cities are doing, next.