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Interview with Mayor London Breed (D) San Francisco, Homeless People and the Coronavirus; San Francisco Extends Lockdown Until At Least May First; Coronavirus Testing in Commercial Labs Is Down 14 percent in One Week; CDC Says 9200 Health Care Workers Among Virus Cases; Former Education Secretary Discusses How to Safely Reopen Schools; Feeding Poor Students Is the Primary Objective Right Now. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 15, 2020 - 15:30   ET



MAYOR LONDON BREED (D) SAN FRANCISCO: I think you're absolutely correct in that because what I think I want people to understand about our homeless population, the challenge is that so many of our homeless population faced before this pandemic have gotten even worse as a result.

And it is even more difficult to make significant changes and to get people who sadly suffer from substance use disorder, suffer from mental illness, people who have sadly been down on their luck. It has been very, very difficult to adjust.

And to also, as other people who are working in these shelters, working in these hotels, working in these places with this particular population, you know, they are in fear of their own lives because it is difficult to get some people to comply with wearing masks or wearing gloves or following the social distancing orders. So, it is a very complex problem that has been made worse as a result of this pandemic.

But it doesn't mean that we can't continue to try. We've placed over 700 homeless people in hotel rooms in San Francisco. We're continuing to thin out our shelter systems. We're continuing to do our outreach and our work and to get people who work for San Francisco as disaster service workers, who work in our libraries, who work in other city departments to help staff up these hotels. We want to make sure they're training and they have the equipment necessary to protect themselves.

So, it is a very, very complicated problem, one that I think many of the folks here who are working hard on it are doing a great job in light of the circumstances.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Mayor, thank you so much for joining us. San Francisco Mayor London Breed. We appreciate it.

BREED: Thank you. KEILAR: We have some breaking news. The coronavirus model that the

White House has often relied on has just been updated and we'll have a look at the new predictions.



KEILAR: Today the FDA issued emergency use authorizations for two new antibody tests. These might be able to detect if a person had coronavirus and had recovered.

I want to bring in CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen to discuss this. So, Elizabeth, this actually now makes three of these antibody tests with FDA authorization. But each one is coming with a warning. Tell us about this.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, I want to tell you, this is good news because we need more of these antibody tests so that we could see who might be immune and who isn't and then people can start going back to work accordingly.

The question mark here is that the tests will tell you if you have antibodies. It'll tell you, yes, you had coronavirus, you've recovered and now you have antibodies. Will those antibodies protect you from being infected a second time? That's the question we don't know the answer to.

It looks like they will. But it is not clear for how long. For five months, six months, until next year, we're not sure. It is not like something like measles where we know if you've got antibodies to measles, you're immune to measles. We're not that sure about this coronavirus.

KEILAR: OK, and then researchers in a new French study found that hydroxychloroquine, which is a malaria drug that the President has touted, that it actually doesn't help coronavirus patients. Tell us about how they came to such a definitive bottom line here.

COHEN: Yes, this is a very important study. What they did is that people are getting -- people with coronavirus are getting prescribed this medicine so the French researchers said let's take a look backwards and see how they did, and the numbers are actually quite telling.

There were 84 patients who took hydroxychloroquine, 97 who did not, and these are hospitalized patients who were quite ill. They had similar death rates. There was not a significant statistically difference in the death rates, and also unfortunately eight of the people who took hydroxychloroquine developed heart problems which is a known side effect of hydroxychloroquine. So, the bottom line of this study is not only did it not work, it actually hurt patients.

KEILAR: Oh, my goodness. And the CDC, Elizabeth, is now saying more than 9,200 health care workers have been infected with coronavirus. Why do experts think that this number actually doesn't tell the whole story? They think this is underestimating it.

COHEN: They do. And the reason why, Brianna, is because for statistical reasons. The total number of cases the CDC was looking at is probably low. There are probably way more cases in general, in the general population.

In addition, the CDC was looking at reports of forms where you could check off if someone was a health care worker or not. But not all of the forms basically had that check -- had that place where you could check it. So not every case could you tell if someone was a health care worker or not.

So, in the -- in this review they did find these 9,200 people who are health care workers and had coronavirus but that is probably a pretty dramatic underestimate actually. There are probably many more than that.

KEILAR: And you know, Elizabeth, that CNN went through -- did this analysis, right, and found that when you look at the numbers, there's actually a 14 percent drop in commercial lab testing this week compared to the week before. Break that down for us.

COHEN: Right. There is a drop somewhere in the 500,000s for the previous week but then last week it was in the 600,000s, sorry. It had dropped to the 500,000s, so it seems that there was a drop.

But you have to be careful. It may just be the way that the records were being kept.


It's unclear to what extend that drop is real or not. And, you know, we know that Governor Cuomo has said, that they've been doing so much testing in New York. It's unclear what this drop actually means.

KEILAR: All right. We'll be keeping an eye on and see if we could make heads or tails of that, Elizabeth. Thank you so much as always.

And across the country, the nation's capital is extending its state of emergency. Thousands of Major League Baseball employees are joining a new coronavirus study and we have our reporters covering all of those angles and more.

I want to start though with CNN's Omar Jimenez and a new outbreak at a shelter for children.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Omar Jimenez in Chicago, at least 37 children at a shelter for immigrant youth have now tested positive for coronavirus. The shelter houses kids that came to the United States as unaccompanied minors and officials at Heartland Human Care Service say they're operating under the assumption they are going to see more positive diagnosis as they begin to get test results back.

This first wave accounting for more than half of the kids at this particular shelter. Now so far, the shelter said the kids are in good condition and that they've been in touch with the Chicago Department of Public Health throughout this.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Alex Marquardt in Washington, D.C. where the Mayor's office has just announced that the public health emergency has been extended until May 15th. That means school closures, business closures, the stay-at-home order, all pushed until mid-May.

The Mayor calling that a check-in day when city officials will reassess. Now as the death toll continues to grow here in D.C. African-Americans continue to be disproportionally affected. According to the Mayor's office, three quarters of the 72 coronavirus deaths so far are African American. While they make up just under half of the city's population.

The good news is that the peak when the curve is expected to flatten out, may come sooner than previously thought. The Mayor now saying that that peak is expected to come mid to late May, around a month earlier than she had previously said.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dianne Gallagher in Atlanta. As questions continue about the pandemic's eventual impact on the U.S. food supply chain, there is growing concern about the workers inside these meat processing plants across the country. With likely thousands already impacted by the virus.

In Colorado, the union says a third work from that JBS plant in Greeley has died from the virus. This comes as the Governor now said that they will keep it closed as long as it takes, he would like to see testing of all employees before it is reopened.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: I'm Andy Scholes in Milton, Georgia. Nearly 10,000 employees within Major League Baseball from the players to their families to concession workers have all volunteered to be a part of the first major nationwide coronavirus antibody study.

Now the antibody test can tell if a person had been infected in the past. If they have, scientists believe they may have built up at least temporary immunity and researchers say the goal here is to get a better sense of the infection and death rates across the U.S. And they picked Major League Baseball because the teams are spread out and they could do it quickly. Now the testing done, it has no bearing on when baseball returns, it was done solely to give back to society.


KEILAR: Well the coronavirus has left millions of American kids wondering what school is going to look like going forward. The former Education Secretary under President Obama will join us to discuss that.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KEILAR: As the conversation begins on how to reopen America, one area of particular concern for many is just how to safely bring students back to school. And while the two largest school districts in the country have decided they will stay shut down for the rest of the school year, there are others wondering how they will need to adapt in the post pandemic world.

So, I want to talk about this now with former Education Secretary under President Obama, Arne Duncan, joining us. Sir, thanks for being with us.


KEILAR: So, I actually come from a family of educators. My sister is currently a fifth-grade teacher in California. So I've been talking with her as she's been going through the process of learning how to distance teach while also being a parent.

And one of the things it sounds like teachers are hearing from parents right now is this question of really what should we be expecting out of our kids, how much should they be learning? Is it your opinion that the expectation is different for them right now than it is for if they were in classrooms, and if so, then what should the expectation -- what's the goal? What should it be?

DUNCAN: Well, let me say, the goal right now for schools, school districts and individual schools across the country is to feed kids. And there's so many kids across the country who are hungry now. There's so many, unfortunately hundreds of thousands of additional families who are out of work. And so right now we're working really hard with school districts around the country to feed kids and their families and the community at a massive level.

The second thing is to take care of kids' mental and emotional health. We have school systems doing amazing work, I'm talking to superintendents basically every day. Telehealth counselors, social workers, psychologists, teachers calling home just to check and see how students are doing, how they're feeling. It's a really, really rough time now. Lots of stress, lots of trauma.

And then, yes, as work on those basic needs then you get to the education part. You know, we have to do everything we can to try and maintain education. This is a different environment. It's hard. It's difficult.


We already know about summer slide. We don't want to lose too much ground now. So, it's amazing, hardworking teachers like your sister across the country work to move into this space. We'll get smarter together. Every single day people are working hard, they're collaborating. But we cannot, you know, do everything we can not to let kids fall further and further behind, particularly the most disadvantaged, the most marginalized who are always the hardest hit by these types of crises. KEILAR: You make such an important point that learning is really just one really piece of this pie because of the emotional stability, because of food insecurity being an issue.

Of course, for parents to return to work, their kids have to return to school. So, when you're looking at reopening schools, I wonder what that really looks like for you in terms of the timetable, in terms of maintaining social distancing. What do you think?

DUNCAN: Well, I think we all desperately want to get back to school for a whole host of reasons including helping parents, you know, get back to work. But honestly, I don't know how we do that without a massive, massive testing system across the country.

And we know our children are carriers of this virus when they're asymptomatic, maybe when they don't show any symptoms. We can't allow them to get each other sick, get teachers sick, you know, custodians sick, lunchroom workers sick. So, we as a nation have to commit to massive testing.

And just very honestly, the lack of leadership at the federal level here is just stunning, it's mind-boggling, and it's leading to death. And this virus, this pandemic, it doesn't know state borders. It doesn't know school district borders. It doesn't know schoolhouse borders. This thing can spread anywhere, any time. And so, we have to come together, test at a massive scale. And if we do that, we can talk about a slow and gradual reopening of schools and doing it in a smart, thoughtful way that keeps children and adults safe.

Without that we're just slowing the time, delaying the time in which we can reopen our doors and get everybody back to a sense of normalcy.

KEILAR: I wonder how that looks that sort of dialing it up. Because we've heard from the Governor of California, he's talked about a staggered reentry for students and also this idea of practicing social distancing.

How do you do that if, say, you have two children and one's in junior high, one's in elementary school, maybe they're not even in a unified school district where the timetables actually coincide? And then also this idea of, I mean, can we realistically expect kids who haven't seen each other for months to go about practicing social distancing?

DUNCAN: I think we have to do this, again, very thoughtfully, very gradually, and with huge discipline. This is not like a nice thing to do. This is about life and death. This is about trying to save lives.

Unfortunately, here in Chicago our communities have been hit really, really hard. I lost a very close friend Saturday night. And this thing is no joke. It does not discriminate. And so, we have to do this, again, in a very thoughtful way. We may be going back to school and then having to leave school again, this going in waves, there'll be ebbs and flows in this, so we have to think about this differently. So, it's a very challenging time.

But again, the absence of leadership at the federal level is unbelievably disturbing. But what I'm seeing from local superintendents, teachers, principals, governors like you talked about, at the local and state level, that leadership has been fantastic.

And let me just add, while this is a really hard time in education, it's also a time to reimagine education, and to think in a much more broad way. And my goal frankly is not to return back to normal because for far too many children around the country, normal wasn't good enough. They weren't receiving the kind of education they need and deserve.

What this pandemic is doing is slapping us in the face with the huge inequities we have here in our country. We have to close the digital divide once and for all. What if as a nation we committed to giving every child, you know, a device but also

access to wi-fi, and the internet, so children can learn anything they want, anytime, anywhere, any place.

My children have access to this. I'm sure your children as they get older as they get older are going to have access to that. But that's not the norm around the country. We have to commit to creating something much better than what existed before and have the courage to do that.

KEILAR: That's right. That's a very good point. Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan, thank you so much.

DUNCAN: Thanks now, stay safe, thanks for having me.

KEILAR: Well, there is a study that claims people may be the most infectious before they even show symptoms. We'll have a look at what that means for containing the virus with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, next.

Plus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will join Jake Tapper live to discuss President Trump defunding the World Health Organization and whether another stimulus package is on the table. So, stick around for that.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

Right now, there are more than 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases around the globe. More than 600,000 in the United States alone. The worldwide death toll, just over 132,000 dead. The death toll here in the United States now eclipsing 27,000. That's nearly double what it was one week ago.

Yesterday marked the deadliest day in the United States for coronavirus. After days of trending down, the number shot back up with 2,405 people losing their lives to this disease in a single day, in a single country.