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NEW DAY SATURDAY

New York Has More COVID-19 Cases Than Any Country In The World; U.S. Has Largest Single-Day Jump In Coronavirus Deaths; U.S. Landmarks Turn Blue In Support Of Healthcare Workers; Moscow Launches Digital App To Track Residents In Lockdown; Fauci: Antibody Test Could Be Available In "A Week Or So"; Dire Economic Headlines Amid Push To "Reopen" Country; Family, Religious Groups Adapt To COVID-19 during Holiday. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired April 11, 2020 - 07:00   ET

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


[07:00:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This progress is being made.

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

DR. 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 ever have to make.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello to you and thank you for being with us. I'm Victor Blackwell.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: If you're watching in the U.S. or from around the world, it's good to have you with us. So, this morning, the numbers, they're just astounding. The U.S. is now above a half million COVID-19 cases. One day, just one day, 2074 people died in the U.S. from coronavirus that was on Friday.

PAUL: Now, there's hope. Dr. Deborah Birx says there are "encouraging signs" that the outbreaks leveling off here. And Dr. Chris Murray, who's an expert who helps create models used by the White House says we seem to be pretty close to the peak but the warning is this: the downslope is going to be "very slow."

BLACKWELL: Now, families across the U.S., they're finding new ways to celebrate Easter, the celebrate Passover this weekend. Experts say, that social distancing and stay at home orders, they are working and Dr. Anthony Fauci says a large number of antibody tests, they could be available within the next week.

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

BLACKWELL: Well as it has been for weeks, New York is by far the hardest hit city in this country. There are now more cases in the state of New York, let's say, than any other country in the world. Let's go to CNN's Cristina Alesci. She has the latest from New York this morning. It is a staggering statistic that just the state of New York, just behind U.S. if it were its own country would rank number two.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor. This is just crushing for both the city and the state, the number of cases as you said higher than any other single country in the world and the death toll keeps rising here. And in fact, it surpassed a very grim benchmark for many New Yorkers. Now, it's double that, more than double of 911 deaths. We had about 2800 deaths tied to 911 in the city alone. Statewide, now we have about 7800 deaths.

This is a terrible, terrible figure for most New Yorkers. And it's creating and keeping the fear factor very high here. There's a lot of anxiety about who's next. That said, there are some encouraging signs. For example, the governor here talking about the fact that that the level of hospital admissions, the three-day average is leveling off. The, the rate of ICU admissions is also declining, and there's encouraging signs also on capacity.

Right behind me, the Javits Center was originally supposed to have 3000 patients. We're hearing the numbers here in the, the hundreds. So, clearly, we're not at max capacity yet in the city, but we are prepared for the worst. Now, New York in many ways is very emblematic, and it kind of shows what may be happening in the rest of the country. You know, New Yorkers are experiencing, we're seeing health disparities.

For example, the virus is killing blacks and Latinos at double the rate of whites. And there's a tremendous amount of questions about how you reopen the city safely and ensure that the numbers do not spike as you reopen. And also, like many parts of the country and the city that there are New Yorkers who are taking time to really celebrate the first responders. We saw the mayor yesterday in front of Bellevue Hospital celebrating and clapping for the nurses and doctors there at that hospital.

That was really nice imagery to see there and very encouraging. But New Yorkers this weekend trying to get their minds off of this perhaps and focus on celebrating some Holy Days both Easter and Passover normally. Places like St. Patrick's Cathedral will be would be packed today -- tomorrow for Easter celebration. Clearly, that's not going to happen. Christi and Victor.

[07:05:08]

PAUL: Yes, I think that's going to be a tough one really for everybody across the country. Well, across the world. Cristina Alesci, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

Listen, there's no doubt President Trump wants to restart the economy. But he says he'll wait until the country is healthy to make that move.

BLACKWELL: Yes. He says, this will be the biggest decision without question that he's ever had to make. Let's bring in Kristen Holmes, CNN National Correspondent there at the White House. Kristen, no doubt that the President's guidance will be influential but it was Governor Cuomo who shut down New York, Governor Newsom who shut down California. Hogan in Maryland. And it will be the governors who will start these respective state economies. What are we hearing from the President about his framing of getting everything started again?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Victor, you have to look at this as two big competing factors that President Trump is currently dealing with. One is Wall Street, he's getting these calls from bankers, CEOs who are desperate to reopen the economy and reopen the economy quickly. In fact, I was talking to someone in the industry yesterday who said that these -- his big bank would do anything to get Trump to reopen the economy. So, that's one side.

On the other, you have those medical professionals. They are essentially pleading the opposite. They are saying that this social distancing is working and they are warning President Trump that if he acts too soon, too quickly, the country is not ready, that there will be yet another spike in the cases of coronavirus. So, what exactly is President Trump going to do? Of course, that is the big question. He says, he's going to bring these two groups together. He's going to form a task force next week that's called Opening Our Country and work with them listen to these leaders on whether or not to open this and how quickly to do so. Take a listen to what he said yesterday on his decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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: "I can override it if I want." Victor, that goes to your point who is actually opening up the economy. Now, I want to open offer one caveat here. We have seen in the past over and over again, President Trump refused to order a national stay at home order, a lock down saying it was up to the governors. The governors have in turn done that in many of their states. They have issued their own set of guidelines. But the caveat is that if President Trump goes out and says that he wants to reopen the economy, you're going to see a lot of problems with for those red state governors, particularly those governors whose states haven't hit the peak yet but want to align with President Trump. I actually spoke to one of these state officials asked him what would you do if President Trump opened the economy before your state reached peak? He said he wasn't sure yet, but he knew it would require a lot of tap dancing.

PAUL: All right. Kristen Holmes, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: All right. With us now, to talk about the reality inside some of the hospitals specifically is in Chicago is Wellington Thomas. He's the lead E.R. Tech at Loretto Hospital in Chicago. Wellington, good morning to you.

WELLINGTON THOMAS, E.R. TECH, CHICAGO LORETTO HOSPITAL (via Skype): Good morning. How are you doing?

BLACKWELL: I'm doing well. I want to transition straight from what we heard from the President into to your reality. And guys, if we have the sound, I want to hear from the President yesterday talking about the reality that from his perspective of PPE, the personal protective equipment, inside hospitals watch this exchange with our Jim Acosta.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You and some of the officials paint a rosy picture of what is happening around the country. If you look at some of these questions, do we have enough mask? No. Do we have enough tests? No. Do we have enough PPE? No.

TRUMP: Why would you say no? The answer is yes. I think the answer is yes. Who said no to that?

ACOSTA: I'm saying --

TRUMP: No, you're saying no. But who said no? Like you asked do we have enough masks? Yes.

ACOSTA: We hear from -- we hear from doctors; we hear from health experts.

TRUMP: No, no, you didn't say that. You said, do we have enough masks? Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: The president says to the question, do we have enough masks? The answer is yes. What's your reality?

THOMAS: Well, the reality is, I mean, we -- I don't feel that we have enough mask. Currently, we work in certain departments. You've run through mask every day, you run it, you run it through them when you go to these different rooms. And you can use three or four masks depending on what type of patient is easily. And then, on top of that, you have a different type of mask. For myself, I'm a bigger guy. So, when I put on an N95, it's not even the right size. So, I have to struggle with using two masks to just try to protect myself.

PAUL: Wellington, have you been forced, as we've heard from some others to, to reuse equipment at any point and are you are you ever afraid to go to work?

[07:10:04]

THOMAS: Well, it turns out I am afraid. I will say this, that we, we are forced to reuse our shields. Sometimes, certain isolation gaps we do use over just because of the shortage. And we're doing our best -- we could be in a much worse position right now, but we actually try to sustain we are getting donations at time. So that does help us out. But I will say that we're going to continue, we're going to continue to need more mask. I mean, we're going right through them. And not only that, we are also taking care of visitors, family visitors and other patients that come in the door that's walk-in. So, not only ourselves are using them, but our colleagues in the whole building and also of the people that come through which should a support system.

BLACKWELL: Wellington, let's expand the conversation broader beyond the PPE and the masks to what life is like there. You told one of my producers that Loretto Hospital was struggling before COVID-19. Just give us an idea of some of the challenges now that you face additionally because of the outbreak.

THOMAS: Well, Loretta Hospital is a safety net hospital. So right now, we've worked on or we rely on a lot of different financial assistance from the government, over half of the financial money that we get from the government. So, we were already struggling as it is, we serve community that doesn't really have enough money to take care of their bills. So, we are already having problems. But now with this COVID, we over here trying to go to Springfield within our state to try to get more money which we've been fighting for with the union. But unfortunately, with COVID here, it makes us go three, four steps back. And now the state trying to assist, the hospitals trying to get assistance from other people, and is putting a wear and tear on us. And on top of that we try to get hazard pay because workers, like you said, it's hard to come to work. They don't want come to work because they are afraid. I mean, you see how people dropping like flies. And fortunately, the workers afraid to come in here because they're at the highest risk.

PAUL: So, I know that workers are also, they say they're being denied testing, have you asked to be tested? Have you been denied it?

THOMAS: Well, what we've done was as far as our facility, they're only testing people who exhibited symptoms. I know colleagues that wanted to get tested until you get the symptoms, they don't want to test you, unfortunately, because of the test limits, or how many test kits we have in the building with us, so they want to just use those for our patient that exhibit symptoms or even co-workers that does. But there's a lot of workers that, that you say are afraid and they actually want to get tested because they've been in environment, patients get transferred to the floors. And when they go to these floors, two or three days later, they find out that they're positive, and you have co-workers that's been on it, particularly one on behavior health units or you know around the building. But thank goodness that's as bad but it's definitely starting to climb.

BLACKWELL: Wellington Thomas, Lead E.R. Tech and Loretto Hospital in Chicago. Thank you for the work you are doing and from what you've told us today, and from what we've seen across the country, we understand that it is under especially difficult circumstances. Again, thank you for, for your contribution to fighting this pandemic.

PAUL: We appreciate you, Wellington.

THOMAS: Thank you.

PAUL: Absolutely. Appreciate you and everybody that you work with. Cannot imagine. All right from coast to coast, their historic landmarks, their buildings that are turning blue to show their support for Wellington and all of his colleagues across the country: health care workers, first responders. Atlanta joins the Light it Blue campaign this week. Take a look here the Braves and Falcons home stadium lit up. So, was it Atlanta City Hall, Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Los Angeles was looking a little blue as well. The Staples Center, Knott's Berry Farm, LAX, the L.A. Coliseum are just some of the landmarks that took part as well. And it's their way and our way of saying, we hear you, we see you, we are so grateful for you, and so are these families who are putting the people that they love in your care. Please know that you are supported 100 percent.

BLACKWELL: And of course, we want to hear from you. We know that we're going into another week now and there are new questions about these antibody tests and more advisories and now masks becoming mandatory in some communities. What is your COVID-19 question? Let us know what's on your mind. You can tweet us, I'm at @VictorBlackwell. Christi is @Christi_Paul. We're both on Instagram as well. We have a medical expert who's coming up in just a few minutes, and we're going to do our best to get your answers right here on NEW DAY.

PAUL: So, listen, city officials in Moscow have rolled out a new digital monitoring app to track residents that violate the city's quarantine orders. We have a live update for you next.

[07:15:06]

BLACKWELL: Plus, there's this this back and forth in the White House over when to reopen the economy. We've talked a little bit about it. Our expert is here to explain the key metrics that need to be in place before everyone heads back to work.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: 19 minutes past the hour right now. So glad to have you with us. You know this week, city officials in Moscow rolled out this new digital monitoring tool to track violations of the city's quarantine orders. Residents have their movements tracked through a mandatory app on their smartphones. The goal is to encourage people not to go outside unless it's for essentials.

BLACKWELL: Moscow is also introducing passes for travel. CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance is in London with more. Is this a bit of catch up for, for the Kremlin?

[07:20:00]

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it is. I mean, look, I mean, when this virus first started to have its devastating effect, the Kremlin were criticized for being behind the curve, you know for not reacting strongly enough. In fact, they, they went out on I'm old enough to remember three weeks ago when Vladimir Putin came out on national television said, it's OK, there's no problem here. You know, since then, the situation in Russia, as was always suspected has, has grown massively. The number of cases that have been confirmed as growing exponentially.

And, you know, now you're seeing the authorities take all these very drastic draconian measures to try and regain some kind of control. Look, an indication of that the Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin is his name, he's been pushed forward to the front to be the public face of Russia's reaction to the coronavirus outbreak. Vladimir Putin not seeing so much of these days is sort of receded into the background, because he doesn't want to be associated with these unpopular draconian measures. But Sobyanin, the Moscow Mayor, has come out and describe why these crucial, very strict passes and apps that are being talked about are now being implemented. Take a listen to what he had to say just yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERGEY SOBYANIN, MOSCOW MAYOR (through translator): From Monday, the situation continued to deteriorate. The number of seriously ill patients with pneumonia is growing fast. If earlier we had some 50 people admitted to hospitals daily, now it's 1300. The majority of patients are admitted before the coronavirus diagnosis is confirmed in a lab.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: Right, since you're talking about that dramatic increase in the number of people every day, that are being admitted to a hospital inside Russia. Not 50 anymore, 1300 every day. And you know, the suspicion is still that that is an underestimate of the extent of the problem confronting Russia, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Matthew Chance, we're grateful for the report. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Back here in the U.S., government officials are promising antibody tests for the coronavirus will be available in maybe just a few weeks but what does that mean for getting everyone back to work and traveling and some type of normalcy? Our expert explains coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:26:26]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I will say this: I want to get it open as soon as we can. We have to get our country open, Jeff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you say sir, what metrics you will use to make that decision?

TRUMP: The metrics are right here. That's my metrics. That's all I can do. I can listen to 35 people. At the end, I got to make a decision. It's the biggest decision I ever had to make.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: That was President Trump on the decision to get everybody back to work, reopen the economy.

PAUL: It's not clear which metrics the President will consider. We just heard what he said there. But medical experts agree widespread testing for the virus and antibody testing for those who have recovered from the virus are what's key here.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in Dr. Saju Mathew, Primary Care Physician, Public Health Specialist, CNN Medical Analyst. Dr. Mathew, welcome back.

DR. SAJU MATHEW, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Good morning, Sir.

BLACKWELL: So, let's start here with the metrics. The President says it's in his head. He either misunderstands or sidesteps, that the governors will be making the decisions about their respective states. But what from a public health perspective, would you need to see to say, I think this state that community, this city is ready to go back?

MATHEW: Good question, Victor. Every state in every county needs to look at their hotspots and needs to look at their graph. It's not only going to be important just to flatten the curve, we need to be coming down that curve to be absolutely sure that we can open up that county that state. So really, it should be an individualized decision, but most importantly, making sure that we're coming down that curve that is not just enough to flatten the curve. We need to look at also metrics like ICU admissions, is that going down? What about people being tested? So, there are a lot of metrics to look at to make that decision.

PAUL: You know, I've heard surgery that a lot of people have wanted to be tested who think they might have had it because they could have antibiotic -- antibodies to try to help other people. Let's listen to what Dr. Anthony Fauci said about those antibody tests.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: Yes, actually, the last test was meeting the, the individuals responsible for, for both developing, validating and getting the test out are saying. And 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: OK. So, how confident are you that tests are reliable, and if so, is that a game changer here?

MATHEW: You know, as a public health specialist, Christy I definitely think that this could potentially be a game changer. Obviously, I want to be cautious because once the FDA sort of relaxed the rules on the testing, a lot of the antibody tests were not that specific and accurate. But like Dr. Fauci mentioned, and I echo exactly what he says, if this is available, and we can validate it and reproduce it, this could be a huge game changer, Christi. We're talking about, for instance, for instance, healthcare workers that are falling sick, we could test the antibody levels and with some reassurance, get back, get them back into the workforce. If you've got a loved -- a loved person that has COVID-19, a family member, you can actually safely treat them without being worried about getting re-infected.

BLACKWELL: Of course, we've got some questions from our viewers. We have them every week. Let's start with this one. And this is an interesting one. How long does it take for a recovered coronavirus patient to be cleared? What's the expected arc of the virus?

[07:29:57]

MATHEW: If you have bile disease, COVID-19 mild disease, two weeks should be the expected time. But if you have severe disease, maybe you're hospitalized perhaps even maybe you're on a breathing too, then we're talking about three to six weeks before you could be fully recovered.

PAUL: So, somebody is asking back to the antibodies -- antibody test. How does someone become part of the clinical trials for that antibody test?

MATHEW: There is obviously a lot of interest. People want to help, people want to make sure that yes, they have the antibodies. So, this is what I would recommend is go to the CDC web site or your State Health Department web site. There are inclusion criteria and exclusion criteria.

So, you have to fit the demographics, make sure that you're healthy before you can actually qualify to be part of a clinical trial.

BLACKWELL: So, this drug Avigan -- and I apologize if I mispronounced it. It's being tested at some hospitals in Massachusetts. So, what do you know about this?

MATHEW: So, this drug basically was being used in China, Victor, to treat influenza, not COVID-19. So, now, there are a lot of clinical trials in China, Italy, and Japan, to see if this could be a good antiviral drug for this particular infection. PAUL: We have somebody here asking. "Is it common for body temperature to fluctuate widely during the onset of COVID-19? My spouse is taking his temperature every two hours. Today, it varied between 97.5 to 101.5." Is that concerning to you?

MATHEW: Not really. It depends on the viral load. Everybody that's infected of COVID-19 has a different load, meaning, the amount of virus in the body. And depending on that load, your body temperature can vary.

For a lot of COVID-19 patients, unfortunately, the night time tends to be the worse when the fever spiked up to sometimes even as high as 103. So, no, I'm not concerned with fluctuation of the fevers.

BLACKWELL: So, this is my own write-in or social media question. And I, I admit from the outset that if it's a silly question, just tell me it's a silly question. But if the economic value of finding these antibodies, and people who have recover from COVID-19. Aside from being flipped into a vaccine or some type of therapy allows them to go back to work, allows them to potentially travel.

For those who have been fortunate enough to avoid COVID-19, do they have to stay at home, do they have to stay away from work, still while that vaccine is developed?

I mean, will you have two different parts of society where those who have the cleared card for COVID-19 are back in their normal jobs, and everyone else is kind of waiting for the vaccine?

MATHEW: Yes, and now Victor, that's not a silly question. It's a -- it's a -- it's a really good question. How are we going to slowly get back into society?

Obviously, if a majority of the population has the antibodies, then yes, you can safely say that most people can return back to some normalcy. If you are not necessarily exposed to COVID-19, and you don't have any antibodies, yes, that's a bit tricky. For those patients, we'll just have to really exercise precautions and make sure that they are not necessarily out there full blast into a normal routine until we really know what your status is.

But, technically speaking, Victor, we're talking about the whole world. The epidemiologists are estimating that 60 percent of the world's population will be exposed to COVID-19, and will probably have some antibodies.

PAUL: OK, Saju, I had a question as well regarding the seasonality of this. There are a lot of people who are concerned that this is going to go away, it's going to come back. Do you have any idea how prepared or what is being prepared to possibly try to fight this if it pops up again in the fall?

MATHEW: Technically speaking if you look at the numbers, and if you look at how previous viruses have behaved, Christi, there is a chance that we could have a surge in the fall. However, as I've mentioned before on various airs on CNN, the good news is that we're going to have a lot of tools in our box. Whether it's the antibody test that we just talked about, Christi, a vaccine and antivirals.

So, I personally think that we are going to be better prepared in the fall, but we absolutely need to expect that there will be a surge. And then -- and the lastly, Christi, I think it's really important for all of us while there is some glimmer of hope and while we're talking about reopening society, so to speak.

We still need to be careful, it's not like a switch that we turn on and off. There needs to be a very graduated back to a normal life.

BLACKWELL: Dr. Saju Mathew, always good to have you with us, both for answering our questions. I thank you for not saying my question was silly. But also for answering the questions of all the people who send them into us on Twitter and Instagram. Thanks so much. Stay safe.

PAUL: Thank you, sir.

MATHEW: Thank you. Always available. Thank you.

[07:34:59]

PAUL: Thank you.

So, we just talked about it a little bit here. The dire economic headlines driving a push to restart the economy. When is the safe time to make that move? We heard from Dr. Mathew.

The question is, is the federal government doing enough to help workers in the interim? In the meantime, we'll talk about that. Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:39:53]

PAUL: So, right now, the U.S. is facing a two-headed threat, essentially. A public health crisis and a growing economic crisis, as you know. Take a look at these headlines. Just in the last couple of days, "Another 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week."

The next one, "Nearly a third of Americans didn't pay rent this month, new data shows." Also, "The United States is already in a recession, 45 economists say." And then, there's this headlines, "Stock finish best four-day stretch since 1974."

That mix of messages, I know, is playing a part in a push by some to reopen the economy and to do so soon. Experts tell our next guest, the U.S. is nowhere close to reopening the economy.

Jim Tankersley, tax and economics reporter for The New York Times, graciously got up early on a Saturday morning to be with us. Jim, it's good to see you. Thank you so much for being here.

I know that --

(CROSSTALK)

JIM TANKERSLEY, TAX AND ECONOMICS REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks for having me.

PAUL: Yes, of course. You spoke to several economists about their view of the economy and what needs to be done, and it seems that there was one universal viewpoint that took shape and that was -- and I want to quote it here. "Without more testing, there's no way that you can set a time limit on when you could open the economy."

So, the short answer they're saying is, it all is dependent on the testing?

TANKERSLEY: Yes, absolutely. If you think about it, no one's going to really want to get back to anything close to normal life, whether it's shopping or eating out, or even going to work if they don't have to. Unless they know that it's not really dangerous anymore to catch the virus.

And we're not going to know how dangerous the spread of the virus is until there's a vaccine or barring that until there's just a lot more testing to see where it is, who can get it, who's already had it. So, we don't have anything close to that level of testing now. And until we have it, we're just not going to have the information we want and need to make people feel safe to just go back to normal life.

PAUL: Lawmakers are trying to mitigate this to some degree with the -- with the rescue plan that they put in place. And you said of that plan, "Trillions of dollars in federal aid can't stop a historic rise in unemployment. Why? The money is too late to help some companies and it's too little to help all that need it."

So, are you saying the rescue package was a waste of money? I mean, what should the government have done, do you think?

TANKERSLEY: No, no, no. I think, in fact, we're probably going to need a lot more money for companies. I think that unfortunately, for everyone involved here, the government was just late, and it's, you know, the fastest-moving economic crisis in American history, by far.

And the government got money out the door really actually quite quickly for Congress, but still not quickly enough. You have, I mean, I talked to companies every day where they need loans, they need cash, they've had to lay-off workers, and we're just going to keep seeing that, and unfortunately, we're going to see a lot of companies fail. Unless they can get essentially, bridge loans or bridge grants, some way to just keep their books going while they wait for the permission from the government and from consumers to reopen.

PAUL: And when we talk about consumers, we're talking about 6.6 million people who filed jobless claims last week. When we talk about those numbers in normal times that would be hideous. I mean, it is hideous now as well.

But because we're living in such an unprecedented time right now, this is an unprecedented situation, we almost expect, do we not that we're going to have those elevated numbers, and that rates going to skyrocket, but it's not a surprise.

So, with that said, how does the market react differently when its expectation is that it's going to be bad? Because normally, you would think bad unemployment numbers, bad stock market, and that hasn't necessarily been the case.

TANKERSLEY: Yes, I think what we saw was the market reacted very, very negatively before we started to see these numbers come out in unemployment. Because investors could see what was coming.

And what's happening now is that -- is that investors are really hopeful that the assistance that the federal government and particularly the Federal Reserve are offering to companies, is going to be enough to keep, you know corporations profitable throughout, you know, the span of this crisis.

So, it's bleak and the market understands that. But the market is hopeful that there's going to be enough money from the Fed and from Congress to bridge the way and then, to get through the other side.

PAUL: We'll going to listen to President Trump here, and what he said about really the risk for the remedy here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself. We have to open our country because that causes problems that, in my opinion, could be far bigger problems.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Since, we said, 6.6 million filed jobless claims. They have no insurance, a lot of them, no income, small businesses are closing, airplanes are empty, people with mental illness, with addiction, and domestic violence situations, they are at risk right now as well. Is there a valid argument that the cure could be worse than the virus itself?

[07:44:53]

TANKERSLEY: Well, I think, everything you just mentioned is tragic. And we really have to look at this as we want to end it as quickly as possible. But I think there's a false choice. This is idea that we're just going to lift all the restrictions on the economy no matter what's going on with the virus and that all -- everything is going to get back to normal.

What economists keep telling me over and over and over is that actually, the opposite could be true. If the restrictions get lifted too quickly, either people won't rush back out or only vulnerable people will because they have to go back to work. Or worse, people could rush back out, the virus infections could spike again. And then, everyone's just going to retreat to their homes for a long time. And so, we could get almost a worsened longer recession.

So, we've got to be careful about easing back into normal life so that we don't risk that, you know, triggering. Again, the way to get the economy back going is, is to defeat the virus.

PAUL: So, Jim, bottom line, what are economists saying is the answer here.

TANKERSLEY: Economists are counseling patients and counseling -- you know, assistance. They need the government to step in and do more, they need people to be patient and keep doing what they're doing, and we're all going to have to live through some pain, unfortunately.

But the real hope is that, again, if we can get testing, testing, testing, that's the one thing they all come back to. If we can get more of that, then we really could maybe start to more safely open some parts of the economy faster than we otherwise would have.

PAUL: Tim -- Jim Tankersley, we appreciate you taking time for us this morning. Thank you so much.

TANKERSLEY: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So, tomorrow morning is Easter morning. And normally, sanctuaries across the country would be packed, but not this year. Now, let me take you to one state specifically.

Kentucky, where they will be watching and then cracking down on anyone who attends a religious ceremony this holiday weekend, who goes to those sanctuaries. We will have more on that next.

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[07:51:10]

BLACKWELL: Kentucky is cracking down on violations of the state stay- at-home orders this weekend. The state will be -- consider this, recording the license plates of people who show up to any mass gatherings, and then provide that information to local health department.

PAUL: Yes, those people will, in turn, be order to quarantine for 14 days. Now, the governor says, there are a few churches that are "still thinking" about having in-person service.

BLACKWELL: So, with these stay at home orders and social distancing guidelines, families really around the world are coming up with alternative ways to celebrate Easter and Passover this weekend.

PAUL: Yes, government officials are discouraging in-person gatherings. They're calling on people look, just don't travel, they say. CNN's Natasha Chen has -- Natasha Chen, excuse me, has more details on the impact on the faith community. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to keep church and state fully separate this Passover and Easter as debates rage over whether religious institutions should be allowed to stay open during a pandemic.

In Kansas, the Department of Health, says three coronavirus clusters are tied to church gatherings. The state's Democratic governor filed a lawsuit after a majority Republican legislative council threw out her order to limit religious gatherings to 10 people.

In Philadelphia, Greater Exodus Baptist Church protested from the pulpit.

REV. DR. HERB LUSK II, SENIOR PASTOR, GREATER EXODUS BAPTIST CHURCH: No, my friends. Moment the church start taking orders or instructions from the government about what to do with her doors in their sanctuaries, we may turn to the slippery slope about we'll never give back.

CHEN: In New Orleans, religious leaders are taking social distancing to new heights literally. The archbishop who just recovered from coronavirus flew over the city in a World War II era plane to send blessings below. And in a show of interfaith unity, a rabbi then did the same.

On the ground, St. Rita of Cascia Catholic Church held drive-through benedictions. But Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski is not even taking a risk with drive-thrus. He only permits his priests to hold Mass via live stream.

ARCHBISHOP THOMAS WENSKI, ARCHDIOCESE OF MIAMI: We are together, we're not separate, but we are distant at this particular time. We are united in the one body of Christ, but we have to maintain this social distance for the public -- for the public good, for the common good.

CHEN: For those who participated in virtual Seders over Zoom, one of the traditional questions asked every Passover is, why is tonight different from all other nights?

That question, says the CEO and founder of City Winery, means so much more this year as he organized his annual entertainment Seder, done this time via live stream.

With more than 40,000 views across Facebook and YouTube.

MICHAEL DORF, FOUNDER, CITY WINERY: And I think this can be a nice extension to expand the reach. It give this message a broader breadth and I do think that's a positive.

CHEN: Everywhere, people are embracing different ways to keep their traditions and connect both spiritually and technologically. Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PAUL: I think it's fascinating, Victor, how resourceful people are right now.

BLACKWELL: Yes. People are having to continue those family traditions and teach grandma how to use Zoom and bring the family together.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: I have seen though, which has been quite helpful that several mayors have declared the Easter Bunny an essential worker. So, those deliveries will continue to happen.

[07:54:41]

PAUL: Yes, that is absolutely important and essential right now.

Listen, we have comedian Jim Gaffigan and his wife who are on a mission to feed the fearless, the campaign they've launched to send meals to every hospital in New York City.

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

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

FAUCI: What we are doing is working. You need to continue to do it.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D-CA): The best way to save lives is to make sure that we don't open the economy early.

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I still believe hopefully or maybe prayerfully that in the next four to eight weeks, we'll 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)