Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

In Complete Reversal, Trump Tells Governors They "Call the Shots" on States Reopening; Trump Issues New 3-Phase Plan to Reopen Economy; Gov. Laura Kelly (D) Kansas Discusses About the New Guidelines to Reopen the Economy Within the Next Weeks. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 16, 2020 - 19:00   ET

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


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to be in a great position with everything we've done and everything we've learned. This was something that nobody ever saw before. Such contagion and very, very powerful, people don't realize.

We all probably have friends. I have a number of people that were just great people who were just decimated by what happened. Some are dead right now. They're dead. They went into a hospital. One called me. He said, I tested positive. Four days later, he was dead. The following day after he said that he was unconscious.

So this is a tough deal. At the same time, some people got sniffles and they didn't even realize they had a problem and they are supposedly immune. We're going to find out about that. Even that's a little bit soon because we don't know how long the immunity last.

But Peter, some states are in great shape and they're really in great shape to open. And I think you'll have quite a few states opening soon and they're going to be very vigilant. They're going to be very careful.

Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From this public, sorry, public health, from what public health experts have said this would be better done if there were comprehensive surveillance testing, which we're obviously not in the position to do. I wonder if maybe Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci (inaudible) ...

TRUMP: Sure. We can do that.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... we feel comfortable ...

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Dr. Fauci and I will do it together. That's why I wanted to put up the syndromic and influenza-like illness piece, because what is key in this is the early alerts and getting in there before they even know they have a problem. And I think CDC has been remarkable in building these platforms.

Dr. Redfield integrated them, so they're all on the same website. If you look at COVID-19, go into cases you can find all of the data. And the beauty of it is the states are used to utilizing that through flu season. So the testing and contract tracing and Dr. Redfield will be putting people in every single state to make sure that CDC is standing beside the state local health officials to make sure that all of those cases are immediately identified and contact traced.

I think what's new and what's really critical is this constant sentinel surveillance for asymptomatic individuals in communities that we know are particularly vulnerable and that hasn't been done in flu before. And I think that's going to be the added dividend that's really focused on who is most vulnerable and how do we get the fastest alert by generally screening people without symptoms.

So people who are just coming to the clinic will be screened for COVID-19 and we do have enough testing capacity to do both of that surveillance piece as well as the diagnostic piece and contact tracing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a follow up ...

TRUMP: Tony, do you want to say something?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: No. Actually, people have gotten confused about it, because in the beginning when we were focusing really on just mitigation and really trying to keep peaks down and trying to worry about ventilators and PPEs and things like that.

Well, now you get a little bit more of a grace period. You can start figuring out what is the penetrance of this virus in society, what are we missing in people who might be infected, what is the percentage of those people that are out there. That's going to inform us greatly for a number of things, including the level, once we prove that anybody test that you have is really protected and we still don't know that yet, we're going to find that out.

We may get a good feel of what the level of protection might be in society, but we don't know that yet. So it's going to give us information as to what the vulnerable areas are and how we need to respond.

Remember, there's two types of things. Antibody tests and tests for the diagnosis of who has the disease. One you need for contact tracing, the other you want to need for finding out what's in society. We're going to have both of those much, much better as we go in the next weeks and months. And by the time we get into the fall, I think we're going to be in pretty good shape.

TRUMP: As we see a hotspot possibly developing, maybe not, but if we see a hotspot developing, we've learned a lot. We'll be able to suppress it, whack it. We'll be able to do things that people weren't even thinking about because nobody has ever gone through this. And 1917, they went through something that was similar, probably not

as contagious, probably more powerful in certain other ways. But we are going to be able to suppress it, we think, and we're going to watch it very closely. We're going to be able to watch things very closely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President.

TRUMP: Yes. Bob, please.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: Thank you, Mr. President. I think what's really important is during this, we're bringing people back to work and our economy back to work. And what's going to go back is that we're going to be very aggressively focused on early cases recognition, isolation and contact tracing.

[19:05:04]

In the event that we just went through, unfortunately, and as we started, we were very capable of doing that. When the initial cases all came from China, all the way through January, all the way through to the end of February, we're able to identify cases early, the first 14, do the contacts, do the contact tracing over 800 contacts.

We identified that two of those contacts were actually infected. We're able to isolate them. We were able to contain the outbreak. We're about to enter a new phase of this where we're going back to containment and mitigation is going to continue as Dr. Birx and others have said.

Some of the things that we've learned to do, we're going to continue, but the major thrust of how we're going to control and make sure that we continue to keep this nation open is early case recognition, isolation and contact tracing. That's the fundamentals of public health. That's what we're going to do.

You see we have very good surveillance systems that are going to help us. As we see these cases sporadically across the country, we've got to jump on them with early diagnosis, isolation and contact tracing. That's what CDC is going to continue to help build that capacity in the states across this nation.

TRUMP: And one other thing, because we've discussed this today with the senators. We have the senators, we have the congressmen and women. There'll be some areas of our country wide open plains, wide open spaces with not that many people relatively speaking where you're not going to have to do that.

Senators are saying there is no reason to do that in certain states and in certain areas where you have them wide open. In other cases, we will be doing that. So we'll be following it. Largely that also will be a function of governors. They know their states, so larger that's going to be a function of governors. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. You use the term clear scientific benchmarks on testing. And the main periscope that I think you guys are talking about is the IOL syndromic as well as the surveillance and the sentinel testing. Are you opening things up then without doing, I just want to be clear, are you opening things up without doing widespread testing? Is that because you don't have the capacity or you don't think it's necessary?

TRUMP: We do have the capacity, but you have states without any problem. You have states with few cases and those few cases have healed. You have states with very little death relatively speaking. As I said, one is too many, but you have states with very little and, frankly, they're at a point where they have almost nothing.

So this is a much different case than a New York or New Jersey where they're going through, frankly, they go through hell. And if you look at New York, I'm looking at bed count, because you have to look at bed count, and it's really dropped. We built the Javits Center with 2,900 beds.

I mean, they built it in four days. They did an incredible job, the Army Corps of Engineers. It was not used very much. We sent the hospital ship in to New York Harbor and it was not used. Then we went COVID and it still was not used very much, because the bed count has gone way down, way, way down. Go ahead, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) when do you see yourself getting back to campaigning then?

TRUMP: This is not campaigning. I want to make the country better. I don't care about campaigning. This is about making our country better. I think this team has been incredible. Whether it's Army Corps of Engineers, whether it's FEMA, one thing that happened on the call today that I noticed more than anything is Pete Gaynor, so many governors said I want to thank you.

Pete Gaynor called up. They had tornadoes in a big part of our country this weekend, this week, and they were all saying that he has been unbelievable. They called one after another. They were thanking us for - that's FEMA and they were thanking us.

No. I want to heal this country. This is a war. We've been through a war. We have an invisible as opposed to a visible enemy. I think in many ways the invisible enemy is much more dangerous as much, is much tougher. In the G7 today, I went through country after country. We were there. We all get along great Angela Merkel and Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan and all of them.

And their countries have been devastated by this. Their economies have been devastated by this, 184 countries all over the world and we went through one after another. And I was angry because it should have been told to us, it should have been told to us early, it should have been told to us a lot sooner. People knew it was happening and people didn't want to talk about it. I don't know why, but we're going to get to the bottom of it. But people should have ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) China or, I mean ...

TRUMP: I'm not saying anything. I'm saying people should have told us about this. They should have told the rest of the world too. When I looked at Germany talking today, when I looked at France talking today, the European Union was there represented, that represents a lot of countries. Their economies have been devastated, but they're going to be hold them back.

[19:10:01]

We're going to build this economy back bigger, better, stronger than ever before. You watch. And we have stimulus. And we're going to do things, whether it's infrastructure, which we would like to be able to do, our roads, our tunnels, our highways, our bridges. Our bridges need help. A lot of you have reported on our bridges, a lot of bridges are in bad shape. They should have been fixed 25 years ago and they're still standing. They have to be fixed.

So hopefully, we'll get an infrastructure bill. The good news is the interest rate is close to zero and zero interest is a good thing when it comes to rebuilding your infrastructure and your country back. Please, in the back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, walk us through the calendar if you would, when it comes to Memorial Day or even Pentecost in May, you've got July 4th, Labor Day weekend, what would you anticipate in each of those milestones?

TRUMP: Well, I don't like to anticipate because you have a couple of states that are in difficulty, that have made a lot of progress, by the way, and they're either here or they're heading down. So I'm not going to go in terms of dates, but I think we're going very quickly now. I really believe. I think we're going to have a lot of states open relatively soon, we're beating the date, I set a date of May 1st and here we are.

And I think you're going to have some nice surprises over the next few days and that'll be before. And that's big stuff. Some of those states are big, they're big stuff, very important states and it's going to be added on and on.

Look, I don't want anyone coming back that isn't in a position to come back. The last thing we want is for, let's say, New York to come back too soon or New Jersey to come back too soon. We want them to come back when they're ready. But they're really heading in a good direction and I think it'll be much faster than people think. I think it'll be quicker, but it's got to be safe.

Yes, please, on the back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Has the government modeled the possibility of what would happen, how many deaths might occur if there is a widespread resurgence? If this just doesn't work, I mean, how many deaths are we talking about?

TRUMP: So if we didn't do what we did, we were talking about up to 2.2 million deaths. So that's five times almost what we lost in the Civil War, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) ...

TRUMP: If everything happens properly and if we continue to go the way we're going now, we will be significantly less than the lowest number with mitigation, so it'll be significantly less and it's a lot of people. One is too many. As I've said, one is too many. But we'll be under the number of 100,000, which was the minimum number projected by the model.

And I give I give everybody up here, I give all of the people that we've been working - I mean, this was a military operation with a lot of private help. If you look at Roche, they were incredible. Look at Johnson & Johnson now what they're doing, they are very far advanced on a vaccine.

I think therapeutically, we have some of these genius companies, they're truly genius companies. I'm seeing them. I'm meeting with the people that run the companies and scientists. And I mean what they're doing is incredible. It's incredible. It's a beautiful thing to see.

So I think we're very far advanced and I think we're going to be in great shape soon. Yes, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, I know you don't want to mention specific states. But what about Washington and California, do you have some guidance for them?

TRUMP: Do you mean Washington State or Washington here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Washington State and California (inaudible) ...

TRUMP: Well, that's going to be up to them. They're going to have to make that determination. I mean, the Governor of Washington was saying that he can't find cotton, because swab is a very easy thing to get and swab is essentially - it's a little bit more sophisticated than a Q-tip and you got to be able to go out and find.

The federal government shouldn't be forced to go and do everything. What we've done is incredible. What we've done are the ones that can't be done like for instance, the ventilators, that can't be done by anybody but a very powerful, very great manufacturing country which is what we are and what we're really getting to be.

And I have to tell you, some of these companies, what the job they've done and we're going to recognize them pretty soon. The job they've done in terms of getting out, in particular, ventilators, because ventilators is so hard. They're so - I say and some people say, oh, it's not really as complicated.

Well, it's like building a car and, you know what, the price is the same too. It's a very expensive thing for a sophisticated ventilator. It's very, very tough stuff. Yes, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, let me toss this question up to you and to the doctors as well. Truthfully, for those states that aren't ready to go to phase one, to get through these phases, do we have an idea of how many millions, 10s of millions of tests they're going to need for them to get through these phases? Any number out there of tests of any sort?

[19:15:04]

BIRX: Yes. So, I mean, you've heard me talk about tests for a while from the podium and I think what has happened over the last several weeks is hospitals and clinics that could move to the more point of care test, move to those point of care tests. And what's left is an amazing array of capacity that exists in the country for at least a million more tests per week.

So we have a whole team working lab by lab to see what it would take to turn on all of those labs that aren't running the pieces of equipment now. So you see in the system, I just said to you, there's a million more tests per week that we have tests sitting there and equipment sitting there and now we have to really deal with each single lab to really figure out what they need.

And I just want to thank administrator Verma, Seema Verma, who went through with us and thanks to the lab directors, they really explained to us highly technical difficulty to run some of these big pieces of equipment. Because you have to collect the samples, you have to centrifuge, you have to put them on the machine, takes a tech full time. At $50 a test, it wasn't enough to hire another technician to run the machine full time, so at $100 a test it is.

So those are the kinds of changes we have to make bit by bit by bit, but that alone doubles our testing capacity per week. So we're committed to work with laboratories to answer every one of their issues with the state and local governments. And I think, frankly, every conversation I have and the governors will say, I need 5,000 people tested. And I say, well, at the University of X, there are 6,700 tests waiting for you.

So it's more of making sure that every governor and every public health official knows exactly where every lab is and where the tests are, so we can create with them a real understanding. So all these tests can be run. So yes, there is twice the capacity right now.

TRUMP: So just so you understand, excuse me, just so you understand, we have tremendous testing capacity. You look at the labs, they're actually saying, send us. And the reason it's gone down is because we have so many other tests that frankly are easier, because you don't have to send, they're on site.

And now we have the new saliva test that just came out yesterday, which is probably the easiest of them all when you get right down to it and I was seeing where Rutgers is involved, great school, great college, great university and they're using that. So many people are going to want to use that.

But they don't have to use the labs anymore. Labs are great, highly accurate, very, very great companies, but they're down. They have tremendous - as that goes down, you have additional capacity. We have tremendous testing capacity.

And to think that a month and a half ago, we had virtually nothing. I just want to conclude we're opening up our great country again. It's going to be over a period of time. We're working with some really great people. People that have become friends of mine and I'm including Democrat governors that have really done a good job, Republican governors most of whom I've known that have done a really good job.

They're all working together. We're all for the - with few exceptions, the relationship has been outstanding. And I want to thank doctor, doctor and Mike. I want to thank the director, fantastic job. We've all done - by the way, Head of the FDA. He has broken hurdles that years ago even recently would have taken years.

He got one thing done in one day that would have taken two years for somebody else, so I want to thank Dr. Hahn of the FDA. We have incredible people that we're working with and we're going to bring our country back and it's going to be bigger and better and stronger than ever before.

We have learned a lot. We've learned a lot about ourselves. I want to thank everybody. And most importantly, I want to thank the American people. Thank you very much. Thank you.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And good evening. That was President Trump. He was just unveiling new guidelines for states to reopen. The President telling the nation's governors to 'call your own shots', reversing a position that he had earlier this week, of course, when he said that he had total authority. He now says some states could possibly open tomorrow, as soon as tomorrow.

Well, the President laid out three phases. In the first phase, vulnerable individuals will shelter in place, people will be urged to work at home. Schools remain closed. Social gatherings no larger than 10 people. Bars don't open. Restaurants and gyms do with social distancing protocols and that phase does not even start until you have seen two weeks of a sustained decline in new cases.

[19:20:03]

Phase two, among the big changes, schools will open, social gatherings go to 50 people, non-essential travel could resume, bars allowed to open.

And in phase three, vulnerable people can interact with the public and there would be no restrictions on going back to work.

Obviously, at any point, if there's an increase in cases, theoretically, you would go back to the beginning. Although, there is a real lack of clarity about that. When will the states be ready, even for phase one? And what did the medical experts say?

All right. Well, I want to get to the bottom of that. This is the big question, of course, facing this entire country tonight. I want to go first to the Democratic Governor of Kansas, Laura Kelly.

She was on President Trump's call today with governors from around the country. Gov. Kelly, when you see this, do you feel - I mean, first of all, let's be clear, it was always the reality that you as a governor make the decisions when it comes to your own state. But when you get these guidelines and it says two weeks of a sustained declining cases and then you can do this and this and this. Does it all make sense to you? Does this look like a really good blueprint that gives you all the information you want and need?

GOV. LAURA KELLY (D) KANSAS: Well, I actually appreciate the efforts that Dr. Birx and others put into creating these guidelines. And today I just printed off the guidelines, put out by the World Health Organization because they too are developing guidelines in really sort of a how to do it plan to reopen our economy.

So I'm going to be taking all of this information and putting it together in a way that makes sense for Kansas. Obviously, I'm going to be keeping my public health people at the table, but I'll also be bringing in our businesses. I'll be bringing in economists. I'll be bringing in some others who can help us take all of this, all of these guidelines and then you figure out how that actually looks here in the State of Kansas.

BURNETT: So you just yesterday, Governor, extended your stay-at-home order until May 3rd and you said models show that your state could be two weeks away from your peak. So that would mean that your peak in two weeks and then you'd have weeks after that, theoretically, to make sure things are OK. I mean, when do you see it is reasonable to start reopening your state?

KELLY: Well, I think we will take a look at that May 3rd as an as an opportunity to perhaps reopen on a regional basis, not a statewide reopen. And I say this with the reservation that we may have to extend the statewide. But what our thought process is right now is that we would look at what areas in the state of Kansas could we start using these take it slow guidelines to reopen.

And then when I issued the statewide stay-at-home order, we usurped our local units of government. Some of whom had already put in stay- at-home orders. Once we start lifting the stay at home order on a statewide basis, we'll give them the authority to put in whatever orders they think are appropriate for their areas.

Kansas is very different, I know everybody thinks it's the same, but it's not. We do have some really urban hubs and then obviously we have our much more rural areas. So we're going to let the locals decide what needs to be done once we decide it's OK to at least partially lift the statewide order.

BURNETT: So the President in his briefing there again, Gov. Kelly, was talking about excess testing capacity, a tremendous ability to test. Basically saying that there's just testing out there, we're not even using all of the testing we have and yet we hear again and again that people can't get tests and they're told repeatedly that if you don't have symptoms you can't get a test.

We know in other countries that have successfully started to reopen like South Korea, they test a lot more than people with symptoms. They test asymptomatic people. They test contacts of people who have had it whether they're symptomatic or not. That is not happening in this country.

Do you have all of the testing that you need? Are you confident that you can test every single person you want or any person who's been in contact with someone who has it to the extent that you could reopen your state?

KELLY: No, not at all. And in fact, I'm a little embarrassed to tell you that Kansas ranks 50th in per capita testing. We have had a very difficult time getting access to tests and all of the stuff you need to complete those tests. So that was part of the conversation I had with the White House today.

And I'm glad to say that I'm getting a response. I'll be on the phone with the Admiral, with the Joint Chiefs of Staff who's taking care of all the logistics on Saturday morning and we're going to be talking about this test. And we're also going to be talking about personal protection equipment.

That's another area where Kansas and I think many of the smaller states, particularly in the Midwest where we haven't seen these real hotspots develop really had a hard time getting the supplies that we need.

[19:25:00]

We now, I think, have put in seven to nine orders to FEMA and not received anything. And that clearly has to stop because not only do we need it for our healthcare workers, we also our change agricultural state. We have a lot of meatpacking plants in the state of Kansas. We need that personal protection equipment so that those folks can continue to do their jobs and continue to feed the nation.

BURNETT: Well, and of course we have, obviously, heard of significant outbreaks at plants across the country, raising questions about the safety of those workers and the food supply itself. But the President has been very clear that testing is up to the governors. He sort of push that onto the governors and basically said, that's your fault if that's a problem.

You're saying you're getting a different message from others now in the administration that they're going to help.

KELLY: Well, I'm hoping that will be the content of the conversation that I have on Saturday, that they will help us. I mean, yes, we are the ones who will administer the tests and we'll get those tests to the labs to be run, but we need the equipment to do that.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Gov. Kelly, I appreciate ...

KELLY: And that can only come through the feds.

BURNETT: Thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight, Governor.

KELLY: Thank you. BURNETT: And I want to go straight to our panel now who, of course,

was there throughout the briefing as well, John King, Jim Acosta, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Daniel Dale.

Let me just start with you, John King, in terms of the President. He came out there. He stuck to his script. He wanted to lay out his everybody is going back to work and that included, according to him, some states that can open tomorrow.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There may be some states, Erin, that move quickly but in the nine states that have the fewest cases, under a thousand cases as of this morning, that's 3 percent of the American population. Good for those states if they can reopen. We want to replace the can reopen to reopen as long as it'd be done safely.

But in terms of seeing a boom in the American economy, a boost in manufacturing, a major economic output it simply doesn't exist in those states right now. That doesn't mean they're not important and they're obviously critical within their states. You just heard the Governor of Kansas talking about her state and its role in feeding the nation.

But what we heard from the President a couple of things, number one, a complete retreat in terms of the power structure. It was just 72 hours ago, the President was saying I call the shots, I will tell the governors what to do. He has completely backed away from that.

Acknowledge, even though there was some fiction in the briefing, he said he will allow states that need to stay close to stay close. And then he will give the freedom to states to reopen when they want to reopen. He cannot allow or give the freedom, it's not in his power.

The states have the power to do within their borders what they need to do, but a major retreat there. And I would say too, he also once again ceded to the scientists; Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci. This is a very cautious go slow approach. These guidelines, you've just asked the Governor of Kansas, that's her state, she's weeks away from being ready to do this.

The governor of New York and the other states in the northeast have already said they're going to go through the middle of May and then they're going to start to talk about this. If you think this through, especially in the larger states that have the problems that also have the manufacturing base, the large economic output of the country, Erin, we're talking about a process that's going to go through the spring, into the summer and to the fall.

To the fall (inaudible) Dr. Fauci (inaudible) take some time to be able to (inaudible) by Easter and he came up to the podium after he said, no, we have to get America open. We have to get America open.

The President envisioned for a long time flipping a switch or opening a door, closing a chapter, opening a new chapter. This is not this. This is a slow methodical transition, not what the President had envisioned for a very long time. BURNETT: Slow and methodical, Sanjay, and yet still so many questions.

A lot of subjectivity and also they say before you can even start thinking about this, you have to have two weeks of decline in cases but no sense of what the level is or anything, which obviously from a scientific basis would be incredibly important. What do you make of the plan?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, in addition to the two week reduction, they got to make sure that the hospitals are at pre crisis capacity, can handle the surge. All of the things that should have been happening all along, certainly should have happened at the beginning. We're now talking about as this gating criteria or triggers to basically come out the backside of this curve.

I think the way John King framed it is right. I mean, everyone is sort of focused on the reopening what's America going to look like during these various phases, but these are significant criteria. So even if symptoms of influenza-like illness are coming down over 14 days and even if actual cases are coming down over 14 days, there still has to be testing in place.

It was a very interesting discussion you just had with the Governor of Kansas, because who is ultimately responsible for being able to say testing is definitely available to anybody who needs it.

[19:30:00]

So you're walking into your place of business in a large building, it could be a situation where people need to get tested, maybe even on a regular basis before they actually walk into their place of employment.

[19:30:11]

Is that set up? Can it be set up? Whose responsibility is it? Part of it's going to be the companies, the communities, the states.

But as Governor Kelly was just saying, the equipment that they need, they don't even have that and she says she needs that from the federal government. So, there are still things that need to be done here. But the overall criteria I think, you know, makes sense to get us to phase one.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Sanjay, to the point you're making, though, in order to reopen the economy and have the confidence of people to return to their places of work and other places, right, gyms, whatever it might be, sure you need temperature checks and things like that, disposable menus, but you have to have testing.

And we just -- we're getting clear pushback from the president who says this tremendous capacity, this excess capacity that's out there, and yet still say you're only going to have people who have symptoms get tests. That, obviously, is not going to catch perhaps the vast majority of cases that then can re-infect and cause this whole thing to surge again.

GUPTA: Yes.

BURNETT: Why not? Why aren't they clearly pushing for what you're talking about?

GUPTA: They should be. And ultimately, you know, I think there's sort of this -- sometimes a slower roll of things in terms of how things are presented.

But ultimately if you read between the lines, and I've looked at this plan, these various phases, it is saying ultimately there has to be safe and efficient testing available in all these places. And it might mean even at a gym or at a place of -- where you work that you get tested on a regular basis.

You're right. The temperature checks, the screening kind of made sense initially. Now, we know, people can be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic and still spread this. Maybe there's some comfort in checking for symptoms, but it's not really the point. It makes the case that the testing is even more important now, given some of what we've learned the last several weeks.

BURNETT: All right. And to the point you make, obviously, a study -- we talked about it where pre-symptomatic people may be spreading -- more spreaders of the virus than ones who actually get symptoms. So, that opens up a whole door as well about testing. Daniel Dale, to that point -- and John King referenced this. But, you

know, the president keeps talking about, you know, states with no problem are going to be able to reopen. He's saying some of them could do it as soon as tomorrow and he keeps talking about these nine states.

But when you look at those nine states, if you look at -- you're talking about economic impact on the country overall and a return to, quote, unquote, normal, that isn't going to get you anywhere close.

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: It's not economically. And the president keeps referring, exaggerating on the extent to which even small, rural states are free of this issue. In short, they're not free of this issue, he said today. You have states without any problem. If you look at the John Hopkins data, every state has at least 288 confirmed cases, there are many cases that have not been confirmed by testing.

He also followed, the CDC director saying we need to do contact tracing, testing and isolation by saying, well, there are some states with wide-open spaces where you don't really need to do that. As we've seen repeatedly, even states that are heavily rural have pockets of density where there can easily be outbreaks, factories and so on. So, I don't know if the experts would agree with that. I don't think they would.

He also said, you know, people should have told us about this. They should have told the rest of the world, too. As John King has talked about a bunch of times there are legitimate questions about with the WHO, what China certainly told the world and what they told it to the world, but the president kept downplaying this virus long after repeated warnings both from the WHO and internally from U.S. intelligence.

And so, the suggestion that we didn't take action earlier because we just didn't know, even through February, is not born out by the facts.

BURNETT: Jim Acosta also in that room.

The president, you know, kept trying to make a push for how you're going to have this full return to normalcy. There was one moment, and he kept getting a lot of questions about this from reporters, I think justifiably so, where he was giving an example of a stadium and saying, well, if a stadium that fits 150,000 people, there isn't a new normal. The normal is 150,000, and that's how it's going to be -- implying it would be that way as you get to phase three, I think to some incredulity in that room.

That is what he wants, right, Jim? Yes, he is still going with the science but he still wants that light switch. He wants in this runway up until November, he wants that everything is fully back to normal?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, President Trump wants to be phase three in a phase one world. I think that's one way of putting it. I mean, he was talking about states that could get back to normal tomorrow and open up tomorrow.

That is just going to be unrealistic for most states around the country. Now, I think one question that has to be asked is, you know, is he sending signals to these Republican governors who were taking cues from him to begin with?

[19:35:01]

And essentially, you know, while we've been saying for the better part of this afternoon that the president is giving this back to the governors after claiming total authority earlier this week, he is sending strong cues to governors in his party to get going. And I do think that there's some significant questions that need to be asked, as you were just saying a few moments ago, Erin. When the president says we have tremendous testing capacity in this country, that is false. That is not the case.

The president was on a conference call with governors and with other lawmakers earlier today, who are telling him there just isn't enough testing to get most states back to normal. You have most of these places, most workplaces back to normal. And so there is a problem here where the president is just not dealing with the reality of the situation.

At one point, Erin, during this press conference, he said there are outbreaks or hot spots that flare up we can go in there and, quote, whack it. What does that mean? There isn't a vaccine at this point. There isn't a proven treatment at this point for the coronavirus.

So, you can't go into hot spots and just whack it. There will be significant health problems and the potential for outbreaks and things needing to be closed down again, I think there is that potential there. The other thing, Erin, that has not been discussed is what happens if

people want to travel from a phase three state to a phase one state and phase one state to phase three state? There are so many different questions that have not been answered in all of this, Erin. There was not enough time to go through some of these questions and I think, quite honestly, there will be a lot of questions asked in the coming days. You have states eager and raring to go to get opened up again. They may not be ready.

But they're taking cues from the president tonight, Erin. As you know, when he talks, Republican governors and Republican lawmakers listen. The question will become, do they open up too quickly and have problems because of that, Erin?

BURNETT: And, Sanjay, what about that very question? Because I think it is crucial, right? You're trying to say you can open up a question in a checkerboard way. I think you had Senator Toomey saying you could open a state at a checkerboard way, whether it's county by county.

But the reality of it is -- and we've been talking about this already. We don't have militarized borders. We are one country. So, if you're going to say you're going back to normal and that means people going to, I don't know, conventions in Las Vegas or in other states who are coming from big states like New York, you aren't going to be able to get back to normal. How are you even going to be able to police or enforce that and prevent more outbreaks?

GUPTA: No, that would be very challenging. And, again, we don't have to look too far back in the past to understand these lessons at the beginning of this outbreak. You start to understand what exactly was happening when the numbers were small in this country.

It was clusters a lot of times, after a big convention in Boston, I believe there was one. Those people came. There was an outbreak there. Those people then went back to their homes and, all of a sudden, you had many outbreaks from those people that carried the virus back with them. The virus doesn't respect borders.

So, you know, I don't -- the virus is a virus. It's out there. And it's going to spread from person to person if those people are still allowed to move, that would obviously be a problem.

GUPTA: And then -- so, Sanjay, when it comes down to it, I know there will be an effort. Look at, say, Singapore. I thought it was interesting. A couple of months ago the prime minister of Singapore gave a really calm and reasoned layout of how things were going to be.

It basically was -- granted, Singapore is different, and tiny and completely controlled but the point was we're going to open up and there's going to be a surge and we know it, and then we're going to close it down. And you have to bear with me because that's how this is going to be.

It was this layout. I'm wondering, Sanjay, if essentially that is what we are looking at, too, basically until there's a vaccine. Is that fair? GUPTA: Yes, Erin, I think that's exactly right. And these are going

to be tough decisions, I think, every step of the way. What you're saying is absolutely right.

And I think people probably need to understand that no matter what, until there's a vaccine, that every time things are reopened to some extent, there will be new infections. We don't know how many. But there will be new infections, likely new hospitalizations, and there may be more deaths as a result of that. That will happen each time you start reopening things.

This is a contagious virus. It's still out there. You know, I think -- I think people sort of fundamentally realize that but it's worth reminding.

And I think it's going to be a balance each time, you know, like how many people are likely to get sick if we do this, even if we're not hearing it at a press conference like that? Those are the machinations going on that are sort of informing this plan.

So, obviously it's -- this is, again, there's good gated criteria here, which should lower the likelihood that people will get very sick and die from this, but that's likely to happen each time this happens. And I think it will cause people to sort of re-evaluate and wonder, was it too early, every single time this happens.

BURNETT: All right. And as you say, you go to the gate and you could have to step back.

I mean, John King, how aware of this, on sort of an emotional level, is the president?

[19:40:05]

To the fact that, you know, when you do reopen, you are going to see more infections and you are going to see deaths that you wouldn't have otherwise?

KING: Well, you see with the president, he wants to get the country open last week or last month but again he has once again given in to Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci about a science-based, more measured approach.

He's in a re-election year. His economy is in a recession. This is terrible for him. This is terrible for him as a politician.

And so he wants to get it open as soon as possible. He did cede to the scientists again. And let's be clear also, to the point you were just talking with Sanjay, these are recommendations from the federal government.

The president is a lagging indicator to a degree here. I don't say that in any disrespect. The governors control their states. The governors are going to decide how to do this. They're grateful for these guidelines. You do start to see these protests, saying governor, why are you shutting us down? Why is this state doing this and you're doing that?

But now you have federal guidelines that allow governors to say, we're all in this together and I'm going to use the federal guidelines as essentially a road map. It will be different in my state, little different in that state.

But also the business community, Erin. There are not going to be big conventions. Companies will not send their people into big rooms.

Sanjay mentioned Boston, there was a Biogen conference. You're going to have governors, industry, businesses take very cautious approach here. And you can bet frustrating the president along the way because yes, Jim is dead right. There are a handful of Republican governors who take their cues from the president. They're going to try to push the envelope here.

But the majority of governors, look at Mike DeWine in Ohio, look at Larry Hogan in Maryland, Massachusetts, not Trump Republicans but Republicans. They are taking their own approach, working with their neighbors, Democratic governors as well, because they're on the ballot some day, too, whether it's this year, next year or two years from now. They are not going to be pushed by the president, the majority of them.

BURNETT: Jim Acosta, the president obviously is putting pressure on some, right, saying there will be announcements in the next couple of days. There's going to be some announcements. Wait for it.

I mean, he is counting on that and he is pushing for that.

ACOSTA: That's right, Erin. What are we going to do? What is Sanjay going to say? What are our health experts going to say if the spring breakers are back on the beach in a couple of weeks, not practicing social distancing, doing the opposite of that, which is what you do at spring break?

I think we could see hot spots flare up that perhaps could have been avoided had these social distancing guidelines been continued for some period of time. We saw the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, announcing earlier today that he is going to be continuing social distancing and shutting down his state until May 15th. The mayor of Washington has talked about doing something very similar. Other states are doing the same thing.

And so the president talked about this being a beautiful puzzle during this press conference just a short while ago. I think the president better hope that the puzzle isn't turned upside down and dumped on the floor, because he could have a situation here where, you know, he's giving the green light to certain parts of the country because he's concerned about this economy, and everybody is.

But as health experts have said over and over again, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said over and over again that the virus dictates the timeline. It sounds as though -- because the White House was issuing these new guidelines today before the old guidelines were even expired. The question is going to be asked if you start seeing hot spots and flare- ups, whether or not he pushed the accelerator too fast and people got sick as a result of that. I think that question is undoubtedly going to be asked if people get sick, Erin.

BURNETT: That's right. If you have a surge in one place, it spreads to others and then a lot more.

And, Sanjay, I asked that for a very simple question. You could say a city like New York is hit the hardest in no small part, right, because of its population density. Once you start to reopen in New York, even if it's only a little bit, you start to see a lot of pressure on, let's be honest, public transportation. And how do you -- how do you deal with that? How do you deal with that?

If that happens again, it starts to spread more in places like New York, it then spreads to Connecticut, it then spreads to New Jersey, it then spreads to Washington, D.C., or Chicago, or any of these places that you have these regular links.

GUPTA: It's the biggest public health challenge in this whole thing. I mean, when we talk about containment, the reason that testing and contact tracing is so important is because each time somebody tests positive -- again, these tests have to be done very regularly on everybody. Each time someone tests positive, they need to be isolated. They need to figure out who they've been in contact with. If they've been on a subway or something, that's very challenging.

So, some of that, you know, I think each state is probably going to have to define this a little more carefully. But there's some places and some activities that are obviously just going to be huge problems and, again, you know, the virus is still out there. It is still circulating.

So, until you have a vaccine, each time you have a cluster like that, not only will it be spread within those people, but then they all go somewhere and can spread it even more.

[19:45:03]

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.

Sanjay is going to be back, by the way, on CNN's global town hall on coronavirus and it starts at 8:00 Eastern, just about 15 minutes from now.

Well, you know, part of this whole conversation we're having, right, how do you get back to normal? President defined it, stadium of 150,000 people has 150,000 people. Well, as of now it seems the key to that, to getting back to that complete normalcy is a vaccine.

And we've been talking a lot about that on the show, various efforts, a few in human trials. Researchers at Oxford University now say they could have a coronavirus vaccine ready by the fall.

Now, when I say that, your jaw should drop. There's a reason for that. That is because that is at least a year ahead of what many experts have projected for any kind of a vaccine. They're all saying from now, 10 to 16 months best case scenario, maybe two years.

One member of the oxford team, in fact, says she's 80 percent confident their vaccine will work already at this time.

OUTFRONT now, Professor Adrian Hill, one of the lead researchers working on the vaccine at Oxford.

Professor, I appreciate your time.

So, I want to get straight to this, because, you know, people hear this, wait a minute, you're saying this fall. That is the kind of thing that literally, if it happens, could change the world. One of your colleagues says she's 80 percent confident at this point that the vaccine will work.

What makes your team so confident?

ADRIAN HILL, LEAD RESEARCHER IN OXFORD'S VACCINE TESTING ON HUMANS: Well, this is a very special type of vaccine technology. It's an improvement on what was used during the Ebola outbreak when four of the vaccines that were taken to West Africa were of this type, and it's a single dose vaccine, so you don't need to get multiple shots, and it's very manufacturable.

So, we've been able in, what, three months since this virus was discovered, to make the vaccine, test it in animals, find that it appears safe and manufacture it to a standard that we can start dosing people next week, and aim to have 1,000 people vaccinated eight months later in this trial that we are planning in Oxford and other parts of the U.K.

BURNETT: OK. So, explain to me this because, yes, we understand you have to do human trials. Your vaccine will be the fourth to enter human trials. Some of the others, obviously, are starting with way smaller groups. You're starting with a much bigger group, obviously 1,000. I know some of those are controlled, but still, you know, starting with 500 people is 10 times more than other vaccines in phase one.

How are you able to do that? Why is it that you are not afraid of severe adverse effects?

HILL: That's a great question. Because what we're immunizing with is a vaccine type that has literally been given to thousands of people already in 22 different clinical trials, and it's been shown safe in all of those trials. We understand that, because the virus literally cannot grow, cannot replicate in the arm. And we have the advantage of having worked in the clinic with most closely related vaccine you can imagine to this coronavirus, which is another coronavirus for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

And again, in pre-clinical studies, that vaccine was effective. And in clinical trials, it's been very immunogenic and very safe and looks very promising. So, because of that, the regulators in London, and that's a very stringent regulator authority, have had the confidence of that experience and so many other vaccine types based on the same technology that unlike, say, RNA vaccines that are new and unproven, we know this is a very potent vaccine technology. It works with a single dose and regulations have seen it so many times before that they have the confidence to go ahead, to try and see if we can get an efficacy result this summer.

And that's important not just because we want a vaccine sooner rather than later, but it's crucial to vaccinate while there's still a peak of the epidemic in the country, because that means you can get a result in a couple of thousand of people, I believe, rather than 20,000 or 200,000, which you would need once the pandemic dies down.

BURNETT: Because of people's exposure.

OK. So when we talk to other people working on vaccines, and as you point out, obviously, it's extremely complicated for most of us, but there's different technologies, whether it's RNA or what you're talking about, okay? We are hearing, though, from others who are very optimistic about the vaccines they're working on, that they're talking about the fall of 2021 or early '22.

But you are just, as I said, literally a full year ahead of their best case scenarios. So, do you have any concern that you're being overly optimistic, that that just seems, for lack of a better word, too good to be true?

HILL: We don't think so.

[19:50:01]

If you think about what happened five years ago with Ebola, vaccine was rushed into clinical trials. They had one goal at testing it, and it worked, and that vaccine is now licensed. So, they had a result from going into humans to (INAUDIBLE) field in well under a year.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: So, how long did it take if this works for you to get the doses? Because once you -- you know, making millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of doses, that -- if everything you're saying about efficacy and safety is correct, that hurdle may be the biggest of all.

HILL: I agree it's the biggest of all. It's one we haven't cracked yet, but we're talking to manufacturers in three continents, including some of the biggest vaccine manufacturers in the world, one in India, one in China as well as Europe and America, and they're all very, very keen to scale up and we're helping them scale up as quickly as possible.

So, no, we're not going to have a billion doses available in October. We should have millions once, you know, a month or two after we get an efficacy result and the scale up will be accelerating from there. Because we've never done this before, we can't guarantee what the level of supply will be. But, certainly, we're being very ambitious to meet what's needed. BURNETT: Well, Professor Hill, I really appreciate your taking the

time. I know it's late there. I appreciate it. I know everyone wanted to hear what you had to say and I thank you, sir.

HILL: Thank you.

BURNETT: All right. I want to bring Dr. Jonathan Reiner right now who advised the George W. Bush White House medical team, currently the director of the cardiac cath lab at G.W. University Hospital.

So, Dr. Reiner, you know, you just heard Professor Hill walk through this, why he is so confident in terms of the type of vaccine it is and the safety profile of the vaccine. Do you think it's possible? I mean, obviously I know you're not involved in the technicals of this, but that there could be some sort of a solution like this, which is so much earlier than anything else we have been promised in terms of a possible vaccine?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CARDIOLOGIST; ADVISED WHITE HOUSE MEDICAL TEAM FOR EIGHT YEARS: Well, we'll have to see. The breathtaking pace of vaccine development now is occurring throughout the world. There are about 70 vaccines in development, and what innovators and manufacturers are doing is they're compressing a lot of the development cycle. So rather than doing animal studies and then in a serial fashion moving into phase 1 and phase 2 trials, some companies are combining animal studies and phase 1 trials at the same time, so doing them in parallel.

We're also seeing companies start to think about ramping up manufacture while the trials are still going on. So that's a huge financial risk for a company, but it's a way to scale up production before you have an answer and that, I think, is going to be one solution for having billions of doses of a vaccine available shortly after we know that a vaccine works.

It's going to be a financial risk and it's something that perhaps the world's governments are going to have to participate in and help these companies take a risk to do that.

BURNETT: That's a really interesting point. That's what Professor Hill was talking about. They're trying to get approval. Yes, there's a risk it doesn't work. If it does, you're going to want those millions of doses.

But I think as he made clear and you point out, for them they believe that could be the biggest hurdle of all hurdles, actually getting -- it may work, but who cares, if you can't -- if you don't have the doses to give people.

In tonight's briefing, Dr. Reiner, the president reiterated his claim that the United States is testing more than any other country. Here's how he put it tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have now completed more than 3.5 million tests, by far the most anywhere in the world. Areas of our country that have been hot spots have done much more testing on a per capita basis than South Korea. We've done more than South Korea, and South Korea has done a good job, but we've done more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So, Dr. Reiner, in terms of the facts, we're sort of neck in neck, a little behind South Korea per capita but it's close, but the kind of testing they're doing is different. They test everyone you came into contact with, even if they have no symptoms. So, they're testing random people. So, they're finding asymptomatic people.

It's extremely different than the model in the United States, which is essentially no symptoms, no test.

REINER: Yes.

BURNETT: Why is that still the model in the U.S.? If it's true that there's this excess capacity that the president keeps talking about?

REINER: Yes, I'm not sure this excess capacity. First of all, it's taken us forever to get to this point. The U.S. has tested about just a little bit less than 10,000 tests per million people in this country.

Think about Italy. Italy has tested 16,000 tests per million people.

[19:55:03]

So we're still playing catch up. And in many parts of the country it's hard to get a test.

I got a call from an old friend in New York this weekend who felt sick, called the testing center, went to the testing center, by the time she got there, there were no more tests. This is in April. So it's still not easy to get tested. In fact, if you don't have symptoms, you want to get tested, asymptomatic, you are concerned, you can't get tested. So testing remains a problem.

One of the pieces of the re-opening plan that's absent is a widespread plan to test asymptomatic people. Dr. Birx said that they're going to do the sentinel testing in high risk groups like nursing homes, but what we really need during this re-opening plan, surveillance plan, is a plan to widely test asymptomatic people because we know that's the reservoir for the virus.

BURNETT: Right. That's where it lurks. And then, of course, infects others who will not be asymptomatic and you get another surge.

All right. Dr. Reiner, I appreciate your time. As always, thank you, sir.

REINER: My pleasure. Sure.

BURNETT: And President Trump making his announcement tonight as the number of Americans who have filed for unemployment in the last four weeks now stands at 22 million. That is now about 13.5 percent of the United States labor force, and there is more bad news on this front. Small business owners who were hoping to get a loan from the program set up by the Small Business Administration will now see a notice like this on the website telling them the program has already run out of money.

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM SOPIT, EMPLOYEE ONLY OWNER: We have served several hundred, over 1,000 for sure.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tom Sopit and his team load hundreds of meals bound for the USC medical Center. Sopit, the owner of Employees Only Restaurant and Bar donating, even though he is in need himself.

A month ago, fear gripped Sopet as coronavirus shut down Los Angeles restaurants.

(on camera): Are you scared?

SOPIT: Yes.

LAH (voice-over): Now that has turned to anger, as the married father of a toddler waits for a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP from his bank, Wells Fargo.

SOPIT: Then I was calling basically almost every day, wait on the phone for about an hour. So every day we're just looking at our bank account, just waiting for the money.

LAH: But now, the Small Business Administration says the PPP program is out of cash. It is a life line, a forgivable loan that gives businesses 2.5 times their monthly payroll, 75 percent of that must go to workers. It's been a battle to get the available money.

ALEX HARTUNIAN, STUDIO METAMORPHOSIS OWNER: We're desperate for this relief from the government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bear with me.

LAH: It's been call after call to the bank for Alex Hartunian and Jen Yates, owners of Studio Metamorphosis, a fitness center in Los Angeles, shut down for a month, unable to pay bills or staff until finally this notification.

(on camera): What does this now mean for you guys?

HARTUNIAN: This means we have help. We know we're assured at least to pay our staff.

JEN YATES, STUDIO METAMORPHOSIS OWNER: That was the number one thing for us is to take care of our team.

HARTUNIAN: OK, guys. We have something to announce.

LAH (voice-over): On a staff call, the owners shared the news. The PPP loan will help cover the payroll.

HARTUNIAN: So, it looks like we're going to get some money for you guys.

LAH: Until the end of May.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's awesome.

LAH: Cheering here is Matt Wood, Studio Metamorphosis employee.

MATT WOOD, STUDIO METAMORPHOSIS EMPLOYEE: That's my girl.

LAH: And new dad to 2-week-old Lavender.

WOOD: I understand there's so much that has to happen to get a bill passed, but it's very scary waiting for that money to come through.

LAH: These funds stop after eight weeks. Their message to Capitol Hill arguing now over the next stimulus bill, the clock is ticking.

HARTUNIAN: There we go.

YATES: We need the funds now. We cannot wait.

HARTUNIAN: Put partisanship aside.

YATES: Yes.

HARTUNIAN: You came up with it. You all come together for us. We need it.

LAH: Sopit has even less time. His business and donations to hospitals have only days before he's completely underwater.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAH: So, of course, to get the government loan money, you have to go through a bank. That's something Tom Sopit did, but after two weeks with no word from Wells Fargo, no official word, he was told yesterday that he could apply for the loan but now, of course, Erin, they are out of money.

Wells Fargo in a statement to CNN says it has now launched new automation and technology to process a high volume of these applications, something they will continue so this is funded. They're going to immediately submit them to the SBA -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Kyung, thank you very much.

Thanks so much to all of you for joining us, as always.

CNN's global town hall, "CORONAVIRUS: FACTS AND FEARS" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper begins now.

END