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U.S. Has Largest Single-Day Jump In Coronavirus Deaths; New York Has More COVID-19 Cases Than Any Country In The World; Models Show Ending Social Distancing Too Soon Could Lead To July Rebound; Food Banks Struggling As Demand Explodes; U.S. Health Officials Shift Focus To Antibody Testing; U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson In Good Spirits After Release From ICU; U.K. Government Urges People To Stay Home During Holiday Weekend; Italy Close To Approved Antibody Test For COVID-19 Patients; Newborn Babies In Bangkok Given Face Masks To Protect Them from COVID-19. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired April 11, 2020 - 06:00   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the midst of grief and pain, we're seeing clear signs tremendous progress is being made.

DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE RESPONSE COORDINATOR: You can see for the first time that in the United States we're starting to level on the logarithmic phase.

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What we are doing is working. We need to continue to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best way to save lives is to make sure that we don't open the economy early.

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I still believe, hopefully or maybe prayerfully, that in the next four to eight weeks we will be able to reopen the economy.

TRUMP: I'm going to have to make a decision and I only hope to God that it's the right decision, but I would say without question it's the biggest decision I've ever had to make.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Want to wish you a good morning to you, our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. We're so grateful to be with you. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you this morning.

PAUL: So this morning, the numbers, they're astounding as we pass half a million COVID-19 cases in America. The single day death toll has hit a new milestone, 2,074 people here in the U.S. died from the coronavirus yesterday. BLACKWELL: Now, Dr. Deborah Birx, she is the coordinator of the Coronavirus Task Force there at the White House, says there are encouraging signs that the outbreak is leveling off. Now, Dr. Chris Murray, he's an expert who helps create models used by the White House, he says that the U.S. seems to be pretty close to the peak, but there is this warning, the down slope will be very slow.

PAUL: And we know families across the nation are celebrating Easter and Passover this weekend. Experts say social distancing and stay-at- home orders are working and Dr. Anthony Fauci says a large number of antibody tests could be available within the next week.

BLACKWELL: Now, at the White House, President Trump is taking a slightly more cautious approach to reopening the economy. He says he is looking at a date. He notes that nothing will happen until he's certain that the country will be healthy.

PAUL: CNN national correspondent Kristen Holmes is at the White House for us now. Kristen, good to see you this morning. I know the president says, and I'm quoting here, "without question" this is the biggest decision he's ever had to make. Of course he won't make it in full. That's really a local jurisdiction call. Is it not?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, it is Christi, but look, this is a huge call for the president. This is a very big decision and one, sources tell us, that President Trump is not taking lightly and you have to really think about the two competing factors here. On one side, we have Wall Street, I'm talking about the bankers and the CEOs. They want the economy reopened and they want it done as quickly as possible. In fact, I was talking to someone last night who works in this industry and he said that his big bank would do anything to get President Trump to reopen the economy.

Now, on the other side, you see those medical professionals and they're essentially begging the opposite. They are pleading with President Trump not to reopen the economy too soon. They're telling him that the social distancing is working and that if he does open it too soon, we could see another spike.

So what is President Trump going to decide here? Well, that of course is the big question. He says he's going to try and merge these two groups next week. He's going to open up a task force that is called Opening up Our Economy. It's going to have doctors and business leaders in it to kind of walk through this, but he still wants to open the economy, he just doesn't know what to do yet. Take a listen to what he said yesterday.


TRUMP: I would love to open it. I'm not determined anything. The facts are going to determine what I do, but we do want to get the country open. So important. The states can do things if they want. I can override it if I want.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: And Christi, that last point there goes exactly to what you said earlier, President Trump saying he can override the states. Now, I want to take you guys back in time to last week and the week before and really actually every day for the past several weeks in which President Trump was asked why would he not issue a national lockdown, why would he not issue a national stay-at-home order and he said that's up to the governors. So in turn, the governors took action. That is what we see right now.

So it's not up to President Trump to reopen the economy. The governors would have to do that, but I want to offer one caveat here and that is that those red state governors, some of them will follow what President Trump does. If he says he wants to open it, they will figure out a way to try and get behind that and a lot of them are worried. I spoke to several of these Republican state officials this week who said that they hope he doesn't open the economy too soon. They don't know what they will do if he does, how they will act, how they will respond.

One person I asked exactly what will you do, how will you -- will you reopen the economy? He said we're not sure, but we know that we'll do a lot of tap dancing.

BLACKWELL: Now, Kristen, we know that last month the president said that he wanted churches to be packed with people on Easter Sunday. Different message now. What is it?


HOLMES: Absolutely. The message now is stay at home, President Trump wanting to open up by Easter. He was getting a lot of feedback from those faith leaders, from his evangelical base saying they wanted this important holiday to be celebrated in a church. Obviously it became clear that wasn't going to happen. This is the message President Trump said yesterday.


TRUMP: I know there are some pastors and ministers and others that want to get together. I would -- and I have great respect for them, two of them I know, but I would say first heal -- I'm a Christian. Heal our country. Let's get healed before we do this and there's time to do that. We'll do it for hopefully the rest of our lives.


HOLMES: And President Trump went on to say that he is essentially leading by example, that he will be watching his Easter service on his laptop.

BLACKWELL: Kristen Holmes for us there at the White House. Kristen, thank you.

PAUL: Want to tell you about some new polling today as well that shows the country's basically split down the middle when it comes to how the president's responding to the crisis. The CNN Poll of Polls shows about half the public, 49 percent, approves of how the president's handling the outbreak, 48 percent do not.

BLACKWELL: New York is the hardest and has been for some time now, the hardest hit area. There are now more cases in that state alone than any other country in the world.

PAUL: Want to get to CNN's Cristina Alesci who has the latest from New York for us. Cristina, good morning. What are you hearing from there this morning?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: New York is still getting crushed by the coronavirus both in the number -- in terms of the number of cases and the number of deaths. As you said, the state now has the highest number of deaths than -- I'm sorry -- of cases than any other country in the world. The death toll keeps rising here, surpassing a very grim benchmark for New Yorkers, that of 9/11 deaths. That is not something that New Yorkers take lightly.

Some hospitals here still reporting struggles with understaffing and under-resourced locations. The fear factor here is still very high, but given all of that, I have to tell you guys there are some encouraging signs as well. We heard the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo talk about the fact that the three-day hospitalization rate has declined, so has the rate of ICU admissions. So there are some encouraging signs and that's why we're beginning to hear, you know, talk of the city opening, potentially, back up, but it's still a very jarring feeling to be talking about that while so many New Yorkers are still dying.

Look, New York is very much like certain parts of the country when it comes to the way that this virus is impacting the city. We see an amazing amount of health disparities. For example, the virus is killing blacks and Latinos at double the rate of whites, which is just astounding. There's going to be a lot more research and testing in communities of color according to the governor. That's being looked at. Also there's a tremendous amount of anxiety about how you open the city back up safely and the -- and the realization that no one has the perfect plan to do that, guys.

So that are -- those are the anxieties. Despite all that, many New Yorkers trying to celebrate, you know, Easter and Passover this weekend with this grim reminder that we are not out of the woods yet.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Cristina, before we let you go, we talked about the number of deaths there in New York. How are our hospitals? How is the city, the state there handling the increased number of deaths?

ALESCI: Well, it's overwhelming the system for sure and it's a very sad reality that the city has had to use Hart's Island, which is a location that has been used in the past for unclaimed individuals and they are using that location now, but the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, making clear that this is not going to be a mass burial site, Christi, Victor.

PAUL: I mean, those are frightening pictures to look at because you just feel for their families and for them. Cristina Alesci, so appreciate the update. Thank you. And listen, we want to hear from you. We have experts here to answer your questions. We want to make sure we get your questions answered. That is our priority. Share your stories by tweeting us. Tweet @VictorBlackwell and @Christi_Paul on Twitter. We're also on Instagram. We're going to try to get you answers here in the next couple of hours here on NEW DAY.

BLACKWELL: Sure will. Now, we don't know when the nationwide social distancing guidance, the measures will end, but models show that easing them too soon could lead to a spike in infections over the summer. The director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation spoke to Anderson Cooper last night. Watch.



CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION: We rerun the model basically almost every night and the new returns from different states are suggesting different peaks in different states, but overall, at the national level, we seem to be pretty much close to the peak. Remember also that in our model, we assume that the social distancing is going to stay in place till the end of May and we've now started to run some scenarios about what happens if you took them off on May 1st and the early returns on that analysis don't look good.


BLACKWELL: So that's Dr. Chris Murray and he warns of a rebound in July if the restrictions are eased prematurely.

PAUL: Let's go to California now. Governor Gavin Newsom says the state's seen a drop in the number of people in the ICU, much like New York. He says the stay-at-home order appears to be working. However, he says the state is waiting for the worst right now. Here's CNN's Stephanie Elam.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm standing in what is now known as the Los Angeles Surge Hospital. This critical care unit here in the heart of Los Angeles is going to start taking on patients that are coronavirus positive. This is not going to be a normal hospital in that it won't have an ER. These will be patients transferred from other hospitals and then brought here to treat them solely for coronavirus.

You can see they've got their ventilators set up and they have these rooms, some of them are private some of them are not because these are people who are all fighting the same battle. This is one of the 11 hospitals opening throughout the state of California before the expected peak. What we've seen in a lot of these hospitals is setting up of negative pressure rooms. This is a place where we know the virus cannot get out and this could be a place where they would put patients who really are in the biggest fight for their lives.

One of the things they're able to do is treat those patients together and that means setting up beds to cohort them because they're all suffering from the same illness. All the supplies they need will be right here in this one area. At full capacity, this surge hospital will have 266 beds available. It's been a public-private partnership, so that means the state of California, the County of Los Angeles, Kaiser Permanente and Dignity Health working to open up this hospital.

PPE, ventilators, all of the equipment that is necessary that we've heard has been hard for these hospitals to get. It will be up to the state of California to make sure that they have what they need and looking at which hospitals in the area need to transfer patients out because they may be at capacity. L.A. County will step in and figure out where patients need to be transferred out to make sure that there's more beds freed up in those areas.


BLACKWELL: We've got some families that are really being hit hard by the increasing number of businesses that are shut down, weeks now of people without work. Food banks across the country, they're seeing this surge in need. Let's go to Pittsburgh, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Look at this line. They teamed up with the Pittsburgh Penguins, that's a hockey team there, to hand out food, more than 65,000 pounds of food. The food bank estimates that more than 1,600 cars rolled through that parking lot and that's just yesterday alone.

PAUL: Want to show you more than 6,000 families who received food at this event in San Antonio. The San Antonio Food Bank gave away more than a million pounds of food and according to the CNN affiliate there in that city, the nonprofit has gone from serving about 60,000 people a week to more than 120,000, doubling the people in need there.

BLACKWELL: Wow. And of course the question -- and we've talked about it this morning, the question about when will we get back to our normal lives or what the new post COVID-19 normal will be. Health officials are looking at the antibody tests as the key to help make that happen. Well, coming up, our own Sanjay Gupta is breaking down how the tests work and what we could learn from the results.

PAUL: And guess what. You may be carrying the key to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. How tech companies and states are using cell phone data to track the virus.




PAUL: Eighteen minutes past the hour right now. Welcome to NEW DAY here. Health officials are saying they expect antibody tests for the coronavirus to be available soon. Now, these tests can tell whether a person has been infected and if their body's built up immunity.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a look at what that could mean in the fight to end this pandemic. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: According to the coronavirus task force, more than 2 million tests have now been performed in the United States and yet there are still people who need to be tested such as healthcare workers who can't get one. It's part of the reason there is now so much interest in a different kind of test, an antibody test. Dr. Fauci told CNN on Friday it's coming soon.

FAUCI: I'm certain that that's going to happen, that within a period of a week or so we're going to have a rather large number of tests that are available.

GUPTA: But what exactly are antibodies? They are proteins in the immune system that develop days after someone has been infected and it's the antibodies that make someone immune to becoming reinfected. It means two things -- you were previously infected and you are now likely to be protected at least for a while.

STEPHEN HAHN, FDA COMMISSIONER: We think it'll be a tool to help us get people back to work. It'll be additional information because as you know, if you have an antibody, that means you were exposed and have recovered from it. That, with the information about diagnosis, should help.

GUPTA: That's why public health agencies around the world want these antibody tests, because it could help some people get back to their daily lives. You remember the swab test we're all familiar with. Well, that tests for the virus itself, specifically its genetic material.

[06:20:02] Problems are, first of all, at some point after you recover, that test will be negative and secondly, a lot of people have had trouble getting that diagnostic test in the first place. The antibody test is more definitive. There are only a few reasons you would have antibodies in your blood -- you got someone else's antibodies by an injection of their blood, you got a vaccine which teaches your body to make antibodies or you were infected.

The antibody test requires a sample of your blood and this strip which has proteins from the virus on it. If your blood reacts to that strip, it means you have antibodies in your blood.

BIRX: And I think really being able to tell them -- the peace of mind that would come from knowing you already were infected, you have antibody, you're safe from reinfection 99.9 percent of the time and so this, I think, would be very reassuring to our frontline healthcare workers.

GUPTA: Another benefit of antibody testing, surveillance. In places like Miami-Dade County Florida, Santa Clara County California and Telluride Colorado, they have already started using antibody tests to get a better sense of how many people, many of whom will be surprised to learn, have already been exposed to the virus.

LOU REESE, CHIEF OFFICER, UNITED NEUROSCIENCE: Whoever volunteers is getting tested twice and the purpose of that is to see who Sero (ph) converts and develops the antibodies, meaning who was actively infected during this period of quarantine.

GUPTA: A CDC spokesperson told CNN the agency has already used these tools to, quote, "monitor contacts of infected people and to identify individuals who, due to mild infection, may have not known they were infected." Getting the antibody tests up and running, much like the test to detect the virus itself, have been challenging. In a rush to get these tests to market, the FDA lowered the regulatory standards and what followed were a lot of unreliable and inaccurate tests.

BIRX: There's a series of antibody tests out there that have not been validated. Some of the tests that may be available on the internet may have very low sensitivity and specificity and give you a false reassurance that you either -- give you a false positive or a false negative implying that you may be protected.


BLACKWELL: That was CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Now, coming up we have a public health specialist and he'll talk about the factors he'll be looking for to be able to call any test a game- changer and he'll tell us what impact he thinks it'll have on those who are found to be immune or have some degree of immunity. He'll also take some of your questions about COVID-19, so continue to send them to us through social media.

PAUL: Absolutely. So we're getting some new information about U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson this morning and his condition. We have a live update for you from outside St. Thomas Hospital next.




BLACKWELL: Welcome back. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is just beginning his recovery. He is in very good spirits. That's what we're hearing from Downing Street after being moved out of the intensive care unit at St. Thomas Hospital.

PAUL: And we're hearing this as the British government is urging people please just stay home this holiday weekend. Officials say they are, quote, "starting to see this strategy work." So they don't want to change course and let's broaden it out because across Europe, governments are calling on people not to travel or congregate this weekend.

BLACKWELL: So Easter and Passover ceremonies will largely take place over livestream. Yesterday was Good Friday. Pope Francis led the way of the cross service in an empty St. Peter's Square.

PAUL: That had to be strange. Meanwhile, Wuhan, China is back open, continues to push community safety measures, though, to prevent a potential second wave. And a Chinese city that sits on a border with Russia was locked down just this week to combat the increasing number of COVID-19 cases there. CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson outside St. Thomas Hospital in London. Nic, always good to see you. What are we hearing about the Prime Minister?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Positive news for the prime minister. We're told that during his recovery, he's been able to walk a little bit. He's remaining in hospital under the close medical supervision of his doctors, but the news from the prime minister does appear to be positive at this stage, less so the rest of the country.

Yesterday, the deadliest day recorded so far, 980 deaths. In percentage terms of rate of increase, that was down on the previous day which is the current trend, government officials saying they are beginning to see a bend happening, but they're not clear yet at all when this is all going to peak out, when they're going to receive the sort of maximum number of people predicted at the top of the curve, if you will, with coronavirus.

However, they've been able to point to some other positive news that the ICU beds in London -- of course ICU beds in intensive care are a real metric of just how intense the health service is being hit by the pandemic. In London, the number of ICU beds down yesterday. However, across the rest of the country, because London's a bit like New York and it's taken the brunt of this first, across the rest of the country, they're beginning to see a significant increase in ICU bed take-up.

Bad news also for the National Health Service here, the health care professionals. Nineteen so far confirmed died with coronavirus. The government saying it's now delivered 742 million pieces of personal protective equipment, 116 million masks, 127 million aprons.


But the Health Secretary pointed the scale of scope of that task. They now have to deliver them to 53,000 different locations, and he gave a warning that there really is only enough of this protective equipment to go around if health care professionals just use -- stick to using the equipment that they've been told that they need to use, don't use more, don't use anything else because otherwise the system just can't cope.

And that gives you an idea still of the battle on everyone's hands here even while the Prime Minister is recovering in his personal battle.

PAUL: And I know that's so frightening for the people who work there because they just want to make sure that they are covered so they can take care of everybody else. Nic Robertson, always so good to see you, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to Italy now, and CNN Contributor and Rome Bureau Chief for "The Daily Beast", Barbie Nadeau is there. Barbie, the U.S., the FDA in the U.S. approved an antibody test about ten days ago here. And we understand that Italy is close to an approval for a test of the virus there.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right and it's very encouraging. They're doing something, they mentioned testing in the north of the country, that's the place that's been the hardest hit. And they're testing frontline workers, doctors. You know, we've lost more than a 100 doctors here to the coronavirus and several nurses and other frontline workers.

It's so important in trying to get people to take the antibody test to understand who can serve the public. Who is safe? Who is possibly immune from that. That's going to help kick-start the economy eventually and it's going to let the experts here really understand the extent of the outbreak. This is a country of 60 million people, yet, we've had nearly 150,000 cases and nearly 19,000 deaths. It's really taken its toll on this country.

PAUL: And I know it's taken a toll emotionally too, Barbie, because think about the fact that we're in week five, the lockdown has been extended there, Easter is tomorrow. What are you hearing from families?

NADEAU: Well, it's really difficult. Easter weekend is traditionally one of the most wonderful weekends in this country. The weather is beautiful. People go to the beaches, they have picnics. They get- together with their extended family, they go to church services. Of course, all of that has stopped. It's on pause right now. We've got helicopters flying over the city of Rome. We've got drones in the city's center of many towns, looking to make sure people aren't throwing parties on their roof tops.

The lockdown here is a very serious matter. If you break it, you face fines up to 3,000 euro. And it's been a long haul for a lot of people. Five weeks is a long time to not be able to leave your house except for the bare necessities. People are really anxious to get over this, and we're seeing the results of it. The cases have plateaued here, we're waiting for that curve to go down.

But the lockdown can only be effective if it's respected and the authorities are making sure that it is here.

BLACKWELL: All right, Barbie Nadeau for us there in Rome. Barbie, thanks so much.

PAUL: So we want to point out the little ones need protection as well, and there's a hospital in Bangkok that's giving newborn babies -- look at this -- face masks to protect them from COVID-19. The masks are designed to stop any virus droplets from coughs or sneezes to reaching the baby's face. Reportedly, the vices are part of an effort to give new mothers at the hospital some peace of mind as well. This would be very -- I would think frantic for them.

BLACKWELL: Remarkable photos when you see newborns now with face shields.

PAUL: Yes --

BLACKWELL: States we know across the U.S. are partnering with tech companies to slow the spread of the virus. Coming up, how cell phone data is being used to trace the number of cases across the country. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BLACKWELL: About 23 minutes to the top of the hour now, two of the biggest companies in the world, Apple and Google are now working together to help trace the spread of coronavirus. Here's the plan. They plan to start next month by creating a program that will allow health officials to gather information on the location of cell phone users.

PAUL: So, that data will be collected through existing apps through public health authorities. Those are apps users must voluntarily download in order to participate. But a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform is also set to be released by the two tech giants in the coming months. The company says this data collection can help determine how the virus is being transmitted from person-to- person.

BLACKWELL: Out west, New Mexico is using smartphone data to help track and combat the spread of COVID-19.

PAUL: Yes, Victor, the state just under 1,100 cases right now, and the governor wants to know if people are following social distancing guidelines. CNN's Sara Sidner explains how companies are collecting that data.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Official government orders to stay-at-home stare you in the face, but are you obeying them? A tech company Unacast knows, grading the nation state-by-state, even county-by-county. As of Friday, Nevada, Vermont and California were at the top of the list as far as residents staying put. Six states were near failing.

Overall the United States got a C-plus. How did they do it? By tracking cell phone data. And now, some state governments are hiring companies to do it too. They developed social distancing models that gauge how well residents are adhering to stay-at-home orders.

GOV. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM (D-NM): As we dig deeper using cell phone data.

SIDNER: The state of New Mexico was one of the first to go public about hiring a company, Descartes Labs to get cell phone geolocation statistics.

MIKE WARREN, CO-FOUNDER, DESCARTES LABS: We came up with a way to measure statistically how far a typical person in the community was going away from where they started the day.


SIDNER (on camera): So you actually could track cell phones to show that people were following or not following the stay-at-home order? WARREN: Yes.

SIDNER (voice-over): Mike Warren says other states have also signed on during the pandemic. China goes even further. It's using citizen's smartphones to control their movements around their cities, a QR code on their phone determines where they can go.

(on camera): Americans are really concerned about that kind of personalized tracking. Is that concern addressed by the technology?

WARREN: Absolutely. I mean, I personally I'm concerned about that as well. So, we've got a number of controls that prevent us from tracking individuals.

SIDNER (voice-over): He says the data sold to the U.S. government is just statistics, anonymous information that does not reveal who the phone belongs to. You play a role in being tracked too when you download certain apps and agree to let them use your geolocation on your phone, that data is being used by third-party companies and advertisers, and now some state and local governments. There are plenty of companies buying the tracking data. For example --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not on Spring break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not really, it's time to have fun.

SIDNER: Remember those Spring breakers who flocked to beaches even after the warnings to social distance? X-Mode collected Spring breakers phone data. Another company Techtonic was able to show where those Spring breakers ended up. Those little points of light are cell phones pinging from the beaches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we zoom further and further out, it becomes clear just how massive the potential impact just one single beach gathering can have.

SIDNER: If just a few of those Spring breakers had contracted coronavirus, they could have spread it far and wide. Now governments want this kind of data in part to see if stricter measures to distance citizens are needed.

GRISHAM: I am talking with governors around the country about how you do that. And again, everything on the table, including if we needed to, I would consider curfews.

SIDNER: All these tracking capabilities have brought up the quintessential question about privacy, how much of your personal liberty are you willing to give up for security or the health of the nation?

WARREN: Well, like many things, it can be used for good or it can be used for evil.

SIDNER: Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PAUL: And thanks to Sara Sidner there. So Tyson Foods is using walk-

through temperature scanners to try to keep COVID-19 out of its facilities.

BLACKWELL: So, the scanners check body temperature of anyone going into one of the facilities. We're talking the employees, also the visitors. Now, they don't check for COVID-19, but they do show if someone is running a fever, and that's of course a common symptom. According to the company, there are more than 150 scanners at four of their plants that they say are most vital to the U.S. food supply.

PAUL: So President Trump says voting by mail is dangerous. In the midst of a pandemic, it could be the safest option for voters. Up next, the truth about the conspiratory theories over absentee ballot fraud.



PAUL: So recommendation from the CDC is that people need to vote by mail this election cycle. Obviously, the intention is to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But President Trump doesn't seem to be embracing the idea.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the president claims that mail in voting is corrupt and it's dangerous. Well, here's CNN's Abby Phillip with a fact check.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the novel coronavirus ravages the country, President Trump declaring war against a new enemy, vote by mail.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mail ballots, they cheat, OK? People cheat. Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country because there are cheaters. They go and collect them, they're fraudulent in many cases.

PHILLIP: The president pushing unfounded claims of fraud and unfazed by images like these. Lines snaking through parking lots at Wisconsin polling places after the court sided with Republican officials to allow the state's primary to go forward, forcing thousands of voters to potentially risk their health to cast in-person ballots on Tuesday. Trump warning his party that expanded mail in voting will mean that they will lose.

TRUMP: They had things -- levels of voting that if you ever agreed to it, you'll never have a Republican elected in this country again.

PHILLIP: And claiming that for whatever reason mail-in-voting doesn't work out well for Republicans, urging his party to fight very hard against efforts to expand it. Experts say voter fraud is rare, though it is more likely with mailed ballots. A prominent recent example, a Republican campaign operative in North Carolina charged in 2019 with fraud for tampering with absentee ballots in a congressional race. Five states already conduct their elections entirely by mail, and most

states allow absentee ballots to be cast for any reason. Washington Secretary of State, Kim Wyman; a Republican says her state hasn't seen any evidence of fraud.

KIM WYMAN, SECRETARY OF STATE, WASHINGTON: There has to be an option because 16 percent of our population across the country are people that are in the highest risk group because they are over 60 years old. Those voters have to have an option that doesn't involve going to a polling place. Our experience in Washington has not been one where voter fraud is a problem with vote by mail because of security controls we put into place.

PHILLIP: And Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, also a Republican dismissing those concerns.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): We've had a lot of experience in this, so we didn't really worry about, you know, any kind of fraud as far as I was concerned.

PHILLIP: In Georgia, the state's Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger has already mailed absentee applications to all eligible voters ahead of their rescheduled presidential primary.

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, REPUBLICAN SECRETARY OF STATE: We want to get that information out to voters and show them here's a way you can vote from the safety and security of your home.


PHILLIP: Other Republican officials in the state appear to be taking their political cues from the president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then you look at the people here in Georgia that have lined up to support Secretary Raffensperger's proposal. I mean, it's every extreme liberal Democratic group that's out there. It kind of makes you wonder what their agenda is.

PHILLIP: Democrats across the country preparing to fight back.

STACEY ABRAMS, FORMER GEORGIA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: What should be terrifying to every American is that Donald Trump set out loud the quiet part, that he knows that every eligible American got to cast a ballot he would lose.

PHILLIP: Abby Phillip, CNN, Washington.


BLACKWELL: All right, thanks to Abby Phillip for that report. Of course, the election is coming, there are more primaries. So some decisions will have to be made on those mail-in-ballots. Let's turn to sports now, there are really no games going on, but fans we know are what make college football special. But two of the most influential people in the sport want to know, if they can't go to games, why should their players be forced to play? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BLACKWELL: Two prominent voices in college football are already questioning whether games should even be played this season.

PAUL: Yes, Coy Wire is here, so Coy, as we understand it, they're asking, look if it's not safe for fans, why would it be safe for athletes, valid point?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, valid point, good question, right, good morning to you, Christi and Victor. College football season is more than four months away. Several pro leagues have floated the idea around as holding games without fans. But here we have a University of Mississippi head coach, Lane Kiffin and Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith are blasting that idea, saying that it's hypocritical. Listen.


GENE SMITH, VICE PRESIDENT & ATHLETIC DIRECTOR, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY: When I first heard that, I said OK, that could work, but then I figured that if we don't have fans in the stands, that means that we've determined it's not safe for them in a gathering environment. So why would it be safe for the players?

LANE KIFFIN, HEAD COACH, UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI: People talk about, well, how much America needs sports and so, even if you didn't have fans, if there's a way to still play which I don't even know how that's possible. Either we've made it through this and it's safe for people to be around or it's not. You know, and obviously, we shouldn't do anything until it's completely safe.


WIRE: All right, now, Smith added that there are 100 players on college teams, so it would be difficult to social distance in a locker room or a training room. And with some of the optics right now, these images of empty public places. One big question is whether fans would even feel safe going to a college football game if social-distancing guidelines are lifted.

Six schools, Victor and Christi, average more than 100,000 people packing into their stadiums on game days last year. Now the NHL, they're considering playoff games without fans. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly saying that the league is right now trying to find a way to salvage the rest of their season and the playoffs, even considering mutual sites for playoff games.

Daly says they've received calls from potential host cities, but it's merely a possibility at this point and teams, well, they may not even be able to open their facilities to their players before May 1st. Now, today was supposed to be the third round of the Masters. Hoards of fans following the leaders at Augusta National, many more watching from home. Instead, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, they're going to be reliving

their most magical Masters moments. Mickelson airs today and tomorrow, Tiger discussing his historic return to greatness last year and how special it was because of his kids, Sam and Charlie.


TIGER WOODS, GOLFER: For them to see it, feel it, experience it, understand it. Now, if I would have won earlier on or early on in their lives, they probably would never have understood it and probably would never remember it. But now, because they're of age, they'll remember for the rest of their lives.


WIRE: Now, hearing how special that win was for Tiger with the Masters being postponed until November, something tells me that Tiger is not going to mind being able to wear that green jacket at home with his kids for a little while longer.

PAUL: Well, you'd be wearing it. We know that much, Coy.

WIRE: I need one of those in wardrobe --

PAUL: Yes!

WIRE: Maybe Victor has one, I'd like to borrow it.

BLACKWELL: Listen, you don't need to win the Masters to have a beautiful green jacket.


That's all I'm saying.

PAUL: And you know, Victor --

BLACKWELL: You don't have to wait --

PAUL: Will scout one out for you, he will find one --

BLACKWELL: You don't have to wait --

WIRE: Oh, I miss those tie swaps, Victor, I can't wait to see you in studio --

BLACKWELL: Oh, we'll do it. We'll do it. We'll do it.

WIRE: All right.

BLACKWELL: All right --

PAUL: You'll see them both in a green tie soon. So listen, before we start the next hour, this is something you don't want to miss because it's something that people in northern India have not seen in decades. I mean, they're getting a fresh look, there would be a bit distance, but look at this.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you've got to look all the way back into the back -- the mid-screen here, the towering Himalayan mountains. Now, one person there said he could see the peaks from more than 100 miles away now. That country has been under lockdown for more than two weeks which has dramatically improved air quality and visibility. Wow.

PAUL: Isn't that amazing? Just two weeks.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and stay with us. Next hour, you're going to hear from frontline healthcare workers.

PAUL: We're going to get your questions answered as well. We have a doctor here, the next hour of NEW DAY starts now.


TRUMP: In the midst of grief and pain, we're seeing clear signs, tremendous progress is being made.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can see for the first time that in the United States, we're starting to level on a logarithmic phase.