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Michigan Governor Extends Stay-at-Home Order Until April 30th; Governors of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin Talk About Working Together to Reopen Their States; Death Toll Passes 10,000 in New York State. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired April 14, 2020 - 09:00   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good Tuesday morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.


This morning, as global coronavirus cases approach two million, more than 23,000 people have died here in the U.S., nearly half of them in New York alone. And a federal face-off is now under way over what comes next. Two groups of states now deciding they will go their own way together, representing millions of Americans and at least 10 East and West Coast states. They are bonding together now to study how and when to properly reopen.

HARLOW: Though not all states are taking that approach, it is a stark contrast to what the president said at the latest Coronavirus Task Force briefing, where he said governors would get in line behind whatever he says.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that's the way it's got to be.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Your authority is total?

TRUMP: It's total. And the governors know that.


HARLOW: Cue the 10th Amendment, which that frankly ignores the amendment about powers reserved for the states. It means that outside of the national parks and other federal properties, most scholars, constitutional experts, say the president doesn't have the power to tell states when to reopen, Jim.

SCIUTTO: And as many have pointed out, it is why the very document was written.

Let's begin with New York -- in New York, rather, with CNN national correspondent Athena Jones.

So, Athena, you know, on the good side here, the worst predictions or forecasts have not panned out for the last week. What are authorities there saying now?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Jim. Well, Governor Cuomo is saying, look, the worst is over if we continue to be smart. It's a good thing that we didn't hit those high, high numbers in terms of cases and deaths in hospital beds but that is because we've been following these social distancing guidelines. And so it's very, very important to continue to do that and to only begin to undo that in a very well-planned out way.

But one thing I want to note is that New York -- deaths in New York have now surpassed 10,000. And that is just a staggering number when you keep in mind this has only been going on for a few weeks. So 10,000 people have died, the case load nearing 200,000 people infected with the virus, but as Cuomo said, the curve is flattening. It's just flattening at a high level, a high level of hospitalizations and a higher level than you want to see of deaths.

But as you would say, there is still now looking -- beginning to look ahead to what is going to come next. Governor Cuomo saying, look, this state has lost billions of dollars, of course he wants to open the economy, but you have to do so in a well-thought out, well-planned out, gradual phased process.

They've announced -- seven states have announced they'll be working together as a bipartisan group of governors -- Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware -- so that they can take a regional approach to reopening because of course if you open things in one state, you know, New Jersey, and things are so closed to New York, that's going to affect people going across state borders.

I should also note that these states, we're not talking about something that's going to be immediate. These states are experiencing the virus in different ways. They're going to reach the peak at different times.

Listen to Governor Cuomo talking about what this process needs -- what this process needs to entail and also his response to the president saying that he has absolute power here.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: It's going to be a phased process. We have to bring in testing. So that we're testing as we're doing this reopening. So that we can gauge whether or not we're increasing the virus spread. If he ordered me to reopen in a way that would endanger the public health of the people of my state, I wouldn't do it.


JONES: So there you have it, he wouldn't do it. These states are now working together to reopen and we know they're in a place like Connecticut, they may not reopen or even thinking about reopening until May 20th. So this is not an immediate thing, it's just a construct that's been put together to try to begin to talk about reopening -- Jim, Poppy.

SCIUTTO: I mean, it was only a few days ago, of course, the president said it was up to the states to respond to this.

Athena Jones, in New York, thanks very much.

Experts agree to reopen the country needs more testing. This is both a question of scope, how many tests are available, no evidence of that, at least on a large scale, but also speed. Two weeks ago President Trump touted a rapid test, yet two weeks later and a top White House official says that those tests are still a limited resource.

HARLOW: And what a difference it would make to have them broadly available.

Our Drew Griffin has more on this.

Drew, thank you for being on top of this. Let's start with what the administration is saying about the timeline here and do we know why it has been so difficult for some of these places to get critical testing supplies?


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jim and Poppy, this falls under the category of one of those overhyped messages coming out of the White House, a problem with communicating what this machine actually does with the states, and then throw in a supply chain problem and you have this kind of crisis that was just all developed in the Rose Garden that just didn't need to happen.

When this was rolled out, when this machine was brought up by the president, he called it a whole new ball game. That was two weeks ago. This is what he said.


TRUMP: The numbers have been incredible on testing, but in the days ahead, we're going to go even faster and we have something from Abbott Labs, which is right here, and that's a five-minute test, highly accurate. This is the first one on the line of the five-minute tests from Abbott.


GRIFFIN: All of that is true, the problem is either the president didn't quite understand the limited ability of this machine or somehow or another that wasn't communicated in that news conference.

The machine exists everywhere. All Abbott did was make a test that could detect COVID for it. And it was needed for a particular person. That was the frontline health care worker that needed to know immediately whether or not they had COVID or not. The test works. Abbott sent out 556,000 of these since it's gotten the emergency use authorization. The issue is it went to all of Abbott's customers that already had this machine.

And this is where the screwup came in. Health and Human Services, in what Brett Giroir says was an issue of no good deed goes unpunished, decided to buy the remaining machines he could, send it to state labs that did not have this, but they weren't able to get the tests that go with the machine. So you had all these states holding these machines without the ability to use them because of the supply chain issue, throw in a couple of news clips that didn't explain the whole process, and you have this mini crisis on their hands.

The good news is Abbott is pumping out 50,000 of these rapid I.D. tests every single day. They are being used, but they are just part, Jim and Poppy, part of the problem, part of the solution to this testing debacle that we continue to go through.

SCIUTTO: Yes, it could have goes to having a national plan.

Drew Griffin, thanks very much.

We've tried on this broadcast throughout to give you both the good news and the bad news, and let's turn now to at least one promising new projection.


SCIUTTO: The director of one of the models that the White House has been closely following now says that U.S. coronavirus cases, deaths, could stop this summer, around the date of June 21st, if social distancing is kept in place through the month of May. He spoke with Anderson Cooper last night.


DR. CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: One thing we absolutely know for sure is that social distancing measures work. It leads to a situation where every case is infecting less than one other case. And that means if you keep the course, you'll get transmission essentially down to zero.


HARLOW: A little more important context here. Dr. Murray's model projects the U.S. will have 68,841 deaths by June 28th, roughly 45,000 more deaths than we currently have. So still an unbelievable number.

Let's talk about all this with Dr. Celine Gounder, infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist.

Dr. Gounder, so let's talk about that math here and the modeling because it is just modeling, but the University of Washington has been in front and all of this. The White House has been paying close attention to what they have done. The model graph shows it on July 10th, I think we have it here, zero ICU beds and zero ventilators would be needed for coronavirus.

What do you make of it?

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST AND EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Well, I think, first of all, I think this projection is very promising, but it does, as Dr. Murray says, depend on whether we do continue social distancing through the end of May. And I know that there are some states that still have not implemented this, that are still reluctant to do so and there are other states that are wanting to lift those restrictions as soon as possible, perhaps before the end of May.

So, you know, that's -- these models will change depending on what we do between now and then. That said, you know, I think it really also will be very much on us to be planning for what to do next. So the key things are, come the end of June, we really want to be able to do testing of every single body -- every single person who has symptoms. Right now, as you were mentioning, that remains a real challenge. Another challenge is that we don't have the swabs necessary to collect specimens, so even if you have a test, you're not able to collect the specimen to send the test.


And then we need to be able to do contact tracing. And in Wuhan, to give you, you know, some analogous numbers, we would need to do what they did, about 300,000 people here in the U.S. tasked with contact tracing across the country. We're not really prepared to do that right now. So, you know, there are a number of things that need to happen between now and then. You know, and I would still expect in the coming months, as you said we're looking at 60,000 or so deaths, 68,000 by the end of the summer, and many parts of the country have not really seen their peaks yet. So that's still to come.

SCIUTTO: Yes. So, Dr. Gounder, folks at home must be getting confused here, right? If you could begin to relax social distancing at some point, but you need to have testing and contact tracing to do so, and this country has shown no national ability or capacity to do that, how do you then relax the social distancing if one is dependent on the other?

GOUNDER: Well, that's precisely why we're really concerned because even if we can get the number of cases the transmission suppressed right now with social distancing, we need to be preparing for the next phase of this, which is a more targeted approach. And we haven't really done the necessary things to get ourselves there. So, you know, that's very concerning because then what you can in fact see is another spike in cases and then, you know, again, the same political battles about whether to reinstitute social distancing.

So the best thing would be to be prepared with the testing and the contact tracing come, you know, end of May.

HARLOW: Yes. Jim, I'm so glad you asked that because -- I know we got to go, but, I mean, Dr. Redfield just said that a few days ago at the CDC. You need what he said very aggressive contact tracing and widespread testing before we can get back to any semblance of normal. So there we have it.

SCIUTTO: We don't have it, yet.

Dr. Celine Gounder, thanks so much for helping us kind of dive through all this.

Still to come this hour, the New York governor says that he thinks the worst could be over for his state. We're going to speak to the New York City commissioner who handles emergency preparedness there about what she is seeing.

Plus, the Florida surgeon general fears social distancing will need to stay in place a lot longer than just this summer. Why is he saying it could last more than a year?

HARLOW: And later, President Trump gets defensive, very defensive over accusations of inaction by the administration in February in response to the virus.



HARLOW: Well, this morning as officials say the coronavirus curve appears to be plateauing in some parts of Michigan. The governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer is not letting up extending the state's stay-at-home order at least until the end of the month. And like we're seeing across the country, Governor Whitmer along with the governors of Minnesota and Wisconsin say, they're forming their own regional coalition, they're going to work together and decide together amongst themselves when and how they will reopen their states for business.

Let's go to Ryan Young, he joins us again this morning in Detroit. Ryan, I mean, Governor Whitmer in so many ways has been on the frontline of this. At first, you know, pleading essentially for supplies, pushing back at the president's claim now that he alone has the power to order the governors reopen their states.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Poppy, something that I've watched since I've been here. She doesn't mince any words when it comes to trying to protect the people of the state. One of the things she's done is extend the stay-at-home order through the end of the month. A lot of people were upset last week when she said she couldn't buy paint or certain supplies from stores, but she says she was doing this to make sure that people were safe. In fact, take a listen to her words as she just said yesterday.


GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): The government doesn't get opened up via Twitter. It gets opened up at the state level. I've been in contact with a lot of my fellow Midwestern governors on this subject specifically, because we recognize that we've got to have good data, we've got to have a good plan, we've got to make sure that we avoid a second wave at all costs. That would be devastating for our economy.


HARLOW: Avoid a second wave at all costs. And Ryan, you obtained photos shared among emergency room staff at the Detroit hospital, and they're incredibly disturbing. Can you talk to us about that?

YOUNG: Yes, obviously very difficult. Look, we've been here for almost two weeks now, a little more than two weeks actually, and working together with my team, you're talking about 25,000 people who have tested positive from the coronavirus. You're talking about so many people have lost their lives, and we were talking to some of the staff here who has been working heroically 24-hour shifts to try to make sure everyone is safe.

And they started telling us these stories about what was going on inside in that great hospital. And they were upset about the staffing levels, they were upset about what was being done with the bodies. So, take a look at these pictures, this was a sleep study room where they had some bodies propped up inside. Some of the staff there in the ER, emergency room was very upset, and they were telling us, they wanted more to be done in terms of what was going on with these bodies.

And then the freezer room, which had bodies on top of each other, this was before the hospital was able to bring in extra freezers. Now, we know there was a shortage of supply and space, and that's why they did bring in more freezers. We have aerial footage where we went back to that hospital, and now they have five freezer containers to contain all the bodies at the hospital.

But look, this city was hit hard. There were a lot of patients at one time, we know inside now, Grace Hospital, you had to walk out inside the hospital. You also had nurses who were upset about the patient ratio there. For the hospital's part, they said they've been surging in extra staff, but as you can understand, these pictures are difficult to look at. But I want to say, again, this was the staff that shared it with us because they were so upset and moved by what was going on.

HARLOW: Horrible to see. I'm glad that they've made some progress since then, but, still Ryan, thank you very much.


SCIUTTO: Well, this morning, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo said that it would -- if it would endanger the public health of the people of his state, he would not listen to the president's order to reopen New York. Joining us now is Deanne Criswell; she's commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management Department. Always good to have you on, Deanne, thanks so much.


SCIUTTO: Just a week ago, a little more, you know, at the worst moments, there were fears New York would have more patients than ICU beds, ventilators, that didn't happen. Tell us how New York avoided that. CRISWELL: So the best way to avoid that and what we did was through

the strict social distancing strategies. And you know, it takes a while to see the results of those, but we are seeing the results of those. And the number of new admissions while still going up isn't going up as fast as it was a few weeks ago.

SCIUTTO: Are you concerned that discussions of reopening now, whether in New York or elsewhere around the country are too soon? That if you reopen too soon, then you -- then you might challenge New York healthcare facilities once again?

CRISWELL: I think the discussions need to happen, but the discussions need to be about how we do that in a very controlled fashion. We went from, you know, the early stages of containment into mitigation which is where we're at. And when we start having conversations about reopening, it has to be around how can we continue to contain it then again so we don't --


CRISWELL: See that second wave and that second spike.

SCIUTTO: Key to that, and the governor mentioned this as have other governors and healthcare professionals is testing, because you've got to know who is infected, who has antibodies, et cetera. But Governor Cuomo, I mean, there's no capacity to do that on a broad basis now in New York State. When will that happen, will it happen? Are you confident that New York and, well, other states, but you're talking about New York can get the tests they need.

CRISWELL: So that's still yet to be seen. But testing is going to be the key component to how we can reopen in a very organized fashion because, again, as we try to get back into containment, the only way to contain is to do testing and contact tracing to test others.

SCIUTTO: Does that mean if those tests don't appear on a broad scale basis, we can't reopen? We've got to wait because again, you know, we've been through this before, early on, there were lots of claims about tests being widely available. They're still not available to this day. If they're not widely available in New York, does that mean you can't begin to relax some of these standards?

CRISWELL: Well, we are definitely not in a place where we can relax the standards yet. Again, it has to be a very deliberate and phased-in approach. And it will depend on how much testing is available. I think that there will become a point in time where you can open in pieces, and that will depend on how much testing you have. They're also looking at --


CRISWELL: Other ways to do testing and the anti-body testing. And there's you know, definitely a lot of discussions around how do we make sure that we provide for the safety of our citizens. Because that's --


CRISWELL: The only way we're going to be able to open up in a timely fashion.

SCIUTTO: You've heard this now public spat between the White House and governors as to who has the power to reopen the states. In your position, if given such an order, who would you listen to, the governor of New York State or the president?

CRISWELL: No, I'd listen to my mayor and the mayor and the governor have been in sync with, you know, the way we have put in the strict social distancing strategies, and of the conversations about how we will, you know, be very deliberate about how we open the government again or the city again.

SCIUTTO: Understood. Well, Deanne Criswell, glad to hear that New York is making progress. I know it's still rough there, but you guys have done a great job, and we wish you and my fellow New Yorkers the best of luck.

CRISWELL: Thank you very much, Jim. Have a great day.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

HARLOW: Yes, we certainly do, all of them here in New York, and across country. So Florida Surgeon General saying yesterday that social distancing could be here for a really long time. If that's true, how can life get back to normal? We're going to speak with the mayor of Miami ahead.

SCIUTTO: And we are just moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street. The Dow should rise at the start of trading. This comes as trade data shows that China's economy is doing better than expected as it recovers from the coronavirus. Investors are also going to be watching as earnings season kicks off. It will be a huge indicator on how the virus and the economic shutdown are hurting companies across the globe.

One of America's largest banks, JPMorgan Chase, it says its profits are down 70 percent, 7-0, because of the virus.



HARLOW: Welcome back. Florida's Surgeon General just yesterday saying people should get used to social distancing for a while, at least until a vaccine is created. Listen to this.


SCOTT RIVKEES, SURGEON GENERAL, FLORIDA: I cannot emphasize enough that we cannot let our guard down at this present time. Until we get a vaccine, which is a while off, this is going to be our new normal, and we need to adapt and protect ourselves.


HARLOW: Now, that could be over a year from now. Right now, more than 21,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19. In Florida, nearly 500 have died. I'm joined now by Miami's Mayor, Mayor Francis Suarez. Well, as you know, mayor, we're glad you're better. You tested positive for the virus, you were in quarantine for 18 days, we're glad you're better and we're glad you're here.