Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

U.S. Pork Producer Closes, Warns U.S. Running Out Of Meat; UK PM Johnson Thanks Medical Staff: "I Owe Them My Life"; Cuomo: Govs Will Discuss "Geographically Coordinated" ReopeningNY Gov. Opens Up About Emotional Toll Of Crisis, Death Toll. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired April 13, 2020 - 13:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:30:56]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Closure of one of the country's largest pork processing facilities is raising concerns about the nation's meat supply and the pandemic. The Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls South Dakota is now closed indefinitely after 240 employees got sick from the virus. The facility accounts for 4 to 5% of the country's pork production employs 3,700 people.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher joins me now. How much of an impact is this going to have on the nation's meat supply?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think it depends Anderson on what we're going to see over the next couple of weeks here of this trend across the country of these types of plants shutting down due to the virus continues. Pretty sobering statement from the CEO of Smithfield, when announcing to shut down that plant he said, the closure of this facility combined with a growing list of other protein plants that have shuttered across our industry is pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply.

And look, that particular plant in South Dakota, 130 million servings of pork were processed from there per week. So it's a large plant but it's not the only one dealing with this, in Iowa, in Pennsylvania were four of these meat processing plants have already shuttered there.

And in Colorado in Greeley, a JBS meat processing and packaging plant is closed down for cleaning after the union says at least 50 workers became sick. According to the governor they expect once testing is to be finished between two and 400 workers at that plant will likely test positive for the coronavirus.

Anderson, two of the employees there have died and that's the flip side of this, there was concerned about the food chain supply but also the workers who were helping process these meats. The Union say, that in some cases, there's not enough PPE. There isn't proper social distancing. The union rep for that particular plant in Colorado says that they want hazard pay, because these workers are putting their health and in some cases their life on the line to help sustain the health of the U.S. food supply chain.

COOPER: Yes, Dianne Gallagher. Dianne, thanks very much.

Some groundbreaking testing is about to happened on people who have already had coronavirus. The hope is their antibodies could treat or prevent the illness and other people. I talk to a doctor leading the charge on that in Los Angeles, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:37:57]

COOPER: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now recovering at home after his battle with coronavirus. In a video, Johnson personally thanked the medical professionals for helping him survive the health scare saying, things could have gone either way. Johnson specifically mentioned two nurses by name one from New Zealand and one from Portugal who he says stood by his bedside for 48 hours helping care for him when he was most critical.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, UK PRIME MINISTER: And the reason in the end, my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night, they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well the parents of the New Zearland -- the New Zealand -- noon -- excuse me, the New Zealand nurse, Jenny McGee say their daughter had a most surreal time treating the U.K. Prime Minister but added that their daughter downplayed heroics. Describing Johnson is just another patient.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAROLINE MCGEE, MOTHER OF NURSE WHO TREATED BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Oh, it makes us feel exceptionally proud, obviously. But she has told us these things over the years and it doesn't matter what patient she's looking after, this is what she does and I just find it incredible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well the U.K. Government is now coming under criticism for downplaying the seriousness of Johnson's condition soon as Nick Paton Walsh in London House (ph).

How is Prime Minister doing now, first of all, and what is Downing Street saying about the apparent lack of transparency over his condition?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I mean, the good news is that on leaving hospital, Boris Johnson tested negative for Coronavirus, and now appears to be continuing to improve at Chequers his prime ministerial retreat, but he's not back involved in day to day government business at this point, leading money to realize obviously we're dealing with a much more serious illness here than anyone previously a thought.

His first statement said that he owed his life to the nurses of the U.K. free health service, the NHS whose parents you heard from there. And then of course, in that video, too, he went on to say that it could have gone either way, essentially saying it was 50-50 between life and death for the Prime Minister, making everyone look back at what the office behind me here at Downing Street was during that period of time.

[13:40:02]

Unfortunately at the moment in which he was being moved from a hospital board into intensive care, the man deputizing for him here, Dominic Raab stood up and said he's, quote, had a comfortable night. Now some put that down to the lag between doctors not having political officials next to them in the hospital. And therefore that information the public being slower to perhaps also officials not wanting to alarm the public or even possibly British adversaries by suggesting that their key leader was in such dire straits.

But as that information continued to come out, we kept hearing the phrase that he was in good spirits and asked today and the Prime Minister's official spokesperson said, well, that was essentially language cleared by the doctors in the hospital. So many concerns about this principally because and we have a good outcome for Boris Johnson here, it seems because of the issue of government credibility here today, we had pleas from government officials today in their daily press briefing telling people they had to stay at home that the policy was working and saying possibly we might be getting near the peak here in the United Kingdom with two or three weeks on the plateau here as well.

The credibility of those officials so key though, in order to be able to convince people to follow their advice, and so many numbers being pushed around the moment here by different U.K. officials, one horrifying one we heard today, one in seven care homes for the elderly here in the United Kingdom appear to be testing positive for coronavirus at the moment that will certainly contribute to a rising death toll down slightly in the last 48 hours in terms of the daily numbers reported, but still deeply troubling. Some official suggesting the U.K. could be the worst affected European country when this is through, Anderson,

COOPER: Nick Paton Walsh. Appreciate it Nick. Thanks very much.

Breaking news now from the White House about Dr. Anthony Fauci. Kaitlan Collins joins me now. What did you learn?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, we've been talking all day about this tweet that the President elevated calling for Dr. Anthony Fauci to be fired and now the White House has put out a statement saying he is not going to be fired. This is coming from Hogan Gidley, the Deputy Press Secretary and he said, "This media chatter is ridiculous. President Trump is not firing Dr. Fauci. The President's tweet clearly exposed media attempts to maliciously push a falsehood about his China decision". It goes on to say, "The Democrats and the media were -- were the ones ignoring the coronavirus outbreak".

And then Anderson it ends. Dr. Fauci has been and remains a trusted adviser to President Trump. Now, a few things on that, first, the reason there is this chatter about Dr. Fauci and the President's relationship is because of what the President retweeted yesterday, that tweet from a former Republican congressional candidate the ended -- that ended with the words fire Dr. Fauci, time to fire Dr. Fauci. That is something that the President has often done in the past where he often elevates things that his allies or friends of his has said and then when people questioned him about whether or not that means his relationship with that person has deteriorated. It provides him this opportunity to dismiss it, to push it down as fake news when really he was the one elevating it to his millions --

COOPER: Yes.

COLLINS: -- of followers yesterday. And of course --

COOPER: I mean --

COLLINS: -- Anderson, the -- with the President.

COOPER: No, go ahead. Sorry.

COLLINS: Yes. What he was saying here about his China thing, that is something he has come back to time and time again to defend his response to the coronavirus outbreak. Talking about these travel restrictions, when in reality experts say that the time those restrictions did by the President, he squandered by not ramping up testing and trying to control the outbreak enough in the United States.

COOPER: You know, it's so cheap of Hogan Gidley to, you know, try to use this an opportunity to bash Democrats or bash -- or bash reporters. It's the President who retweeted this person's tweet, you know about with fire Fauci. So the idea that, you know, the President of United States is the most important person, you know, on the national stage, and if he's retweeting some person who's tweeting about fire Fauci, you would think it has some meanings.

The idea that Hogan Gidley is saying, this is all just reporters, you know, elevating this, I mean, it's just ridiculous. It's unfortunate that he uses this, you could have just put out a statement saying, Dr. Fauci is a valued member and there's no truth to, you know, this anyway. I don't know why bothers me. It's what we should expect from this White House, but it's just -- it's disappointing.

Kaitlan Collins, Kaitlan, thank you very much. Sorry I ranted.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will hold a news conference moments from now during which he'll announce a reopening plan, standby.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:48:41]

COOPER: ABC News is George Stephanopoulos is the latest journalist to test positive for coronavirus. The Good Morning America co-host says he has no symptoms and is feeling great. His announcement comes just two weeks after his wife Ali Wentworth also tested positive.

For more in the latest virus headlines in the U.S., I want to go now to my CNN colleagues who are stationed across the country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dan Simon in San Francisco.

Across the bay in Oakland, the city is shutting down 74 miles of road to cars to allow people to jog, walk, bike, whatever form of outdoor recreation they want to do and spread out. The thinking behind this isn't there's limited traffic right now, why not take better advantage of those streets and allow people to have some physical distance while they recreate outdoors.

Now, a couple of other cities are already doing this to some degree, Boston and Minneapolis but Oakland is going to be doing this on an unprecedented level. Now if you still live on that street, you'll still be able to get in your car and take advantage of the road. Same applies to emergency vehicles, but it is going to be shut down to through traffic. They're not going to issue any citations though, they're really looking for voluntary compliance.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Polo Sandoval in McAllen, Texas. One of many communities across the Lonestar state, could begin to see small businesses reopen. Part of Governor Greg Abbott small business initiative that was introduced here today. The goal here is to allow some of these hard hit establishments to slowly begin to return to normal here.

[13:50:06]

But the big question that will remain, how will the governor's office people be able to strike that balance between protecting the livelihoods and the lives of Texans? You see, Texas one of many states that is yet to see a peak, which suggests that the spread is still happening.

And of course, the governor here under tremendous pressure to act to try to allow Texas to get back on its economic footing as soon as possible.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Rosa Flores in Miami.

Governor Ron DeSantis announcing that a second outbreak has happened at an elderly care facility in the state of Florida. This time in Suwannee County that's in the northern part of the state. According to the State Emergency Operations Center, more than 50 people have tested positive at this facility and it was all traced back to an employee going to work sick. The name of the facility has not been released. The first outbreak was in Broward County where at least three people died. All this as the number of cases in Florida near 20,000 and the number of deaths exceed 460.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: I'm Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

A U.S. Navy sailor has died from complications of the coronavirus who was serving aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The aircraft carrier ducked in Guam. And now nearly 600 members of that crew have tested positive for the virus. Four additional sailors are also in the hospital they are not in intensive care, not on ventilators we are told.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper here at the Pentagon issuing a statement of condolences to the family of the sailor who died a quick.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Quick roundup from our correspondents around the country. Dr. Celine Gounder is an infectious disease specialists, a CNN medical analyst.

Dr. Gounder we just heard Texas is looking to set guidelines to reopen. At the top of the hour New York's governor is set to announce a potential reopening plan for the northeast region again, what the details of it? We don't we don't know, obviously, we're talking about a phased kind of plan, whatever it is? What should a plan look like just from a science standpoint?

CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, from an epidemiological perspective, you know, we think about how people move, how the disease is transmitted among people. And so it makes sense to reopen, according to how people actually exist, not where state borders lie.

So as you know, you know, we have a lot of people going up and down the northeast corridor from Boston to New York down to Washington, D.C., you have the New York City metro area, which really comprises Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, as well as New York. And so, you know, people live and work and move around in those areas. So it makes a lot of sense to really plan reopening in conjunction with leaders in those other states because that's where people are going to be living and working and transmitting.

COOPER: Dr. Gounder, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

We're going to have standing by hear from New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo. He'll be joined by other northeast governors discuss a plan to reopen. We're anticipating that any moment now. We'll bring you those comments live.

Plus, some damning e-mail spotlighting the Trump administration's weeks long delay and taking action to stop the coronavirus. More than, that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [13:57:56]

COOPER: Many people come to depend on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for information in the crisis. But this morning he got candid about how he's coping personally when he appeared on Howard Stern's radio show.

(BEGIN AUDIOTAPE)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Who could sleep in the middle of this, right? You can get in the bed you can try to sleep, but your mind doesn't turn off and you know that people are dying literally every hour in the state. So your job is -- your every instinct says make sure you're doing everything you can do. What else can you do? What else can you do? What else can you do?

So yes, you tried the best. I've been more careful on -- my instinct is to run around, you know, and be very hands on and on the ground. After Chris my brother got the virus, which is what the quarter (ph) was talking about. I took more precautions.

HOWARD STERN, HOST: Who do you talk to, to unstress? That you got to shrink?

CUOMO: No. No, I don't do it. I sort of talked to everyone. And you and people feel different needs for me. There is no one person, Howard. I talked to a number of people and it sort of works for me that way. But also, I'm more fundamental as a person, especially the older I get. Who's going to help you with the problem that 700 people died yesterday?

STERN: No one.

CUOMO: No one, no one can help. We are going to get through this is it? Is it -- it will -- we'll get through it in phases. And there is no light switch here where you go from darkness to light.

STERN: Right.

CUOMO: Your point 18 months? Yes, I think that's the ultimate trajectory. We will get through it, but it is hard and acknowledge that it's hard. And I'm scared. I'm scared. Just clarify that. I'm frightened for my mother. I'm frightened for my brother.

(END AUDIOTAPE)

COOPER: I'm Anderson Cooper, want to reset CNN is continuing coverage the global coronavirus pandemic.

Any moment now the governors of six states will make an announcement including Governor Andrew Cuomo about how and when they'll try to reopen their states in a coordinated effort.

[14:00:09]

Here's Governor --