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THE SITUATION ROOM
Trump Plan In Phase One Of Reopening, Schools Should Remain Closed; U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Almost 31,000; Record 22 Million Filed For First-Time Jobless Claims Since Mid-March; Soon: Trump Unveils Reopening Guidelines Amid Health, Biz Warnings; Trump Plan Calls For A Two-Week Sustained Decrease In Cases Before States Reopen; Mayors Say Sporting Events, Concerts Unlikely This Year; New Orleans Mayor Extends Stay-At-Home Order Until May 16; Record 22 Million Filed For First-Time Jobless Claims Since Mid-March. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired April 16, 2020 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, Nick Robertson in London, thank you so much. Appreciated.
President Trump will release his guidelines on attempting to reopen the country at least to a degree soon. Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Stay healthy. Stay home.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I will put you in "The Situation Room".
We're following breaking news. CNN has just obtained details of President Trump's new guidelines for reopening the U.S. economy, which she'll be detailing shortly in a White House Coronavirus Press Conference. In a complete reversal, he's now telling U.S. governors they will call the shots on reopening their states, not him. His plan calls for a three phase process, suggesting that in the first phase, schools that are currently closed should stay closed. Large venues including some restaurants could operate under very strict social distancing protocols, gyms could reopen if, if they maintain social distancing guidelines, but bars should remain closed.
Tonight, the U.S. death toll from the pandemic is nearly 31,000. With more than 650,000 confirmed cases. Worldwide, there are more than 2 million known cases and more than 140,000 deaths.
Let's go straight to the White House right now. Our Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is joining us.
Jim, we're learning details of how the President will propose reopening the country. These are guidelines, these are proposals, but he specifically says you're going to call your own shots when he had that conversation with the governor.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right Wolf. This is a total reversal from what President was saying a couple of days ago when he was saying he had the total authority to dictate to the governors what they can do in their respective states. The White House is not cleaned to that position anymore. I talked to a senior White House official who said that these guidelines are simply that guidelines, guidance to these governors to determine what is best for them and that ultimately, according to the senior White House official is going to be up to the governor's discretion as to how to reopen their states.
Let's move you through the phases as we're seeing them in these guidelines. We should point out that all Americans, all 50 states would start essentially at the same place and then hope to move to phase one, and we can put phase one on screen the President -- other top officials will be talking about this shortly. It says for states and regions that satisfy the gating criteria, they will move to phase one. What does that mean? That means vulnerable individuals they shelter in place. In terms of workplaces, Americans will continue to urge to be urged to telework and returned to work only in phases. As far as schools are concerned, they will remain close. Schools that are in a phase one states, they will remain closed if they're closed right now.
And then social gatherings. The administration is saying that those social gathering -- gatherings and states and phase one should not be larger than 10 people. And that non-essential travel should be minimized.
Now moving on to phase two, these are for states that can move beyond phase one into phase two. It's a different ballgame, vulnerable individuals, they will shelter in place, they'll continue to stay in place, but at the workplace, they will continue to encourage telework. But some will be able to return to their work in phases. In terms of schools, that's where a big change takes place. Schools will be able to open if your state is in phase two.
Now, in terms of social gatherings, you'll notice a change in numbers there, more than 50 people should be avoided at those social gatherings. But that means people would be able to have dinner parties, go to parties and homes and whatnot as long as those social gatherings are not larger than 50 people and that non essential travel can resume a presumably if you want to go on vacation, if you are going to a state, you live in a state that is in phase two. Presumably according to these guidelines, you would be able to take that vacation in restaurants, bars, gyms, all those kinds of places. They would be able to remain open with social distancing. It all sounds very good that that is phase two, we're obviously not there yet, you'd have to go through phase one.
Now, phase three, almost sounds like a mirage right now. But that is the next phase in all of this. If a state can move from phase two to phase three, this is what it would look like vulnerable individuals, they would be able to interact in public but still social distance, the workplace would have no restrictions whatsoever at the workplace. But restaurants, gyms, bars, they would remain open with limited physical distancing, and sanitation protocols.
As I was just saying, Wolf, it sounds wonderful to be able to get to phase three at this point, but most states around the country aren't even near that point. And I suspect the President other administration officials like Dr. Fauci, who is expected to be at this press conference in just about an hour from now, Dr. Deborah Birx, they'll be able to walk us through these guidelines when they present them to the American people shortly.
BLITZER: These guidelines or recommendations from the President to the governor. So what's the criteria in these guidelines for a state to move between phase one to phase two to phase three?
ACOSTA: Right well, and that is the key. I mean, right now, everybody is essentially not at phase one according to the administration. There are some states obviously, that have not had many cases of coronavirus, you know, when you compare those states to places like New York and New Jersey, but to get to phase one those states and regions would have to satisfy with the administration is calling gating criteria. That means a sustained decrease in cases of coronavirus over a 14 day period, and that hospitals would have to move to pre-crisis conditions in those hospitals.
If you can satisfy those requirements, according to the administration, your state can move to phase one.
Now for phase two. Those are states and regions with no evidence of a rebound of coronavirus cases, and that satisfy this gating criteria a second time. So if you're showing progress in phase one, you can move to phase two if you're showing no evidence of a rebound and to get to phase three. Again, this sounds like a mirage for everybody living in the United States right now, those are for states and regions with no evidence of a rebound. And that satisfied the gating criteria a third time.
Wolf, we should point out all of this is very nebulous. At this point, we don't have all of the fine details. And for people who are in New York, New Jersey, some of these hard hit states right now, it is going to be extremely difficult, as we all know Wolf, for those states, those kinds of places that have been hard hit to move from phase one to phase two to phase three, this is going to take a lot of time.
And as a senior White House official was telling me earlier today, all of this is going to be at the governor's discretion, not what the President was saying earlier this week, when he was saying he was calling the shots. That's not the case anymore Wolf.
BLITZER: He says the governor's will be calling the shots. And we do have the guidelines, this document that the White House prepared guidelines opening up America again. So all those that those elements contained in that document.
Jim Acosta at the White House, we'll get back to you.
The President's reopening guidelines come as part of the -- parts of the country are preparing for even more deaths.
Let's go to CNN's Nick Watt, near Los Angeles for us. So Nick, update our viewers on the latest. NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, another record death toll today here in California. I am at the forum in Inglewood. We have also been told that there will be no more sporting events or concerts in Los Angeles, possibly for a year. So now, this massive parking lot is a drive through testing center. You pick up a test kit, you test yourself in your car, you then give the kit back and it is sent away to a lab.
Now listen, the President might be pushing back on the need for testing but the mantra for most people is in order to reopen. We need to test, test, test.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Why don't you open tomorrow? Because we're afraid the infection rate will go up.
WATT (voice-over): But while we remain closed the unemployment rate goes up dramatically. More than 22 million Americans filed for unemployment just this past month. Look at the lines at food banks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have a buffer that there's no safety net for these folks. There's no, there's no savings,
WATT (voice-over): And new horror still on earth daily, 17 bodies possible COVID victims were found at this New Jersey nursing home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am outraged that bodies of the dead were allowed to pile up in a makeshift morgue at the facility.
WATT (voice-over): Tonight the White House will announce new federal guidelines on social distancing with an eye to reopening.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Twenty-four percent of the counties of this country have no reported coronavirus cases.
WATT (voice-over): But many say too soon. We just don't have the testing.
GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): And I think that would be really dangerous. We're ramping up the testing. We got to see what the infection rate is.
WATT (voice-over): Massachusetts and Rhode Island could still be days or weeks away from their worst. Michigan may have passed its peak and some are now protesting their stay home orders that are still in place.
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): The fact of the matter is, it's still too dangerous to have people just out and about.
WATT (voice-over): Getting ahead of those new federal guidelines New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. all extended their stay home orders another month through May 15th. And New Yorkers will now have to wear masks, riding the bus or subway.
CUOMO: I'm sorry it makes people unhappy. I do not consider it a major burden.
WATT (voice-over): Amazon has now begun the process of building its own testing lab. In a letter to shareholders CEO Jeff Bezos wrote for this to work, we as a society would need vastly more testing capacity than is currently available, because that vaccine is still likely more than a year away.
JOHN ERVIN, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR PHARMACEUTICAL RESEARCH: Gosh, help us if this is one that that is going to constantly change and we are unable to get a vaccine against. We're optimistic. The President optimistic on reopening can of course issue new guidelines.
WATT (voice-over): The President optimistic on reopening can of course, issue new guidelines. But --
LAMONT: At the end of the day, though every state is a little different. Every governor will make up their own mind how to proceed.
WATT: And every governor might have a completely different idea. You know, we just heard from Wisconsin, they have extended their stay home order through May 26th. But they've tweaked it. Golf courses were closed. The golf courses are now open again. So you can play golf, but the pro shops and the club houses remain close. Expect to see a lot of that regional difference as we move forward in this process. Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, well, certainly will. All right, Nick Watt on California for us. Thank you.
Joining us now, the governor of Delaware, John Carney.
Governor, thank you so much for joining us. I know you were on that call. What about an hour or so ago with the President. What do you make of these new guidelines, the White House has unveiled as it pushing to reopen the country's economy?
GOV. JOHN CARNEY (D-DE): Yes, so two good things, I think from the White House Conference Call. One is the governor -- the President gave up the authority to close down and tell states so when to open up and gave it back to the governor's where it belongs and our discretion. And that was a really good thing.
And the second good thing was to have the first take of this guidance about the conditions that need to be in place on the ground before we can start reopening our economies here in our -- in our individual states. And the situation on the ground in every state is a little bit different. I heard governors talking about not having cases declining. That's certainly not the case here in the state of Delaware, were we still have an increase in the number of cases. Although it's not what we predicted it to be, we're still having an increase in the number of hospitalizations. Again, it's not as bad as we expected it to be.
And so things are a little bit better, but we're not in the position to even be at the starting line, where you have to have 14 days of declining cases, 14 days of declining symptoms, flu like symptoms, before you can even think about getting to phase one. And phase one is a very limited opening, which is really a prudent and a good way to do it. We have some guidance now that this is going to be done in phases. So we -- it gives information to our business leaders and individuals across our state. But the overall message that we're opening up as if it's tomorrow, for me is the wrong message here in Delaware. I'm still saying stay at home, stay safe. We're still not out of this. We still haven't peaked, and we will do everything we can to open when the -- when the conditions are right.
BLITZER: When it's safe to do so. And we're told the President specifically said to the governors and you were on that call, you are going to call your own shots which is a lot different than what he said the other day where he claimed a total authority to do whatever he wanted, basically. So that is it a dramatic reversal.
What was the phone conversation like? Were you pleased? How did it go? Give us a little bit of the atmosphere.
CARNEY: Yes, the atmosphere was celebratory to a certain extent. And I think that comes from states. They're not hotspots. We're not a hotspot, but we're in a region in between New York, Metro Philadelphia, part of our northern part of our state is part of the Philadelphia Delaware Valley region, and Metro Baltimore, Washington. So we're, and we're a small little state.
So we're influenced by movement of people across their borders. We've seen that early on in this pandemic outbreak with our beaches and our bars and restaurants in the lower part of our state was shopping -- tax free shopping in the northern part of our state.
So we've joined this coalition led by Governor Cuomo to try to think about how we how we put in place the guidance, how we use the guidance to make those decisions to open our economies, do it gradually, do it in a coordinated way within our region, because decisions that are made by Governor Wolf over in Pennsylvania really affect Delaware, we have thousands of people who live in Pennsylvania work in the northern part of our state, hundreds of people live over Maryland, go back and forth to lower Delaware. And we're influenced by New Jersey as well.
So we're going to think through it as a regional kind of way, using the expertise and the data of the scientists that are driving this and hopefully make good decisions for the people that we represent and for our individual states.
BLITZER: But your assessment of these guidelines opening up America again, the document that the White House provided you and we have a copy of right now, your assessment is that these are credible, legitimate phases that potentially you should be working for that you even though you don't necessarily have to accept them. They make sense from your perspective.
CARNEY: Yes, they seem to make sense. And I would say that were days, maybe weeks away from the starting line. And then you have to have 14 days of declining cases, declining symptoms and hospital capacity that exists in case you have a rebound. And once you get through those four -- first 14 days, then you have another 14 days where you have to meet the same criteria in phase one, in order to, to move to phase two.
And phase two really is the stage that looks a little bit unlike normal. It's not it's certainly a new normal. This even phase three is not going to be the old normal that that we were used to. It's going to be a new normal until we get a vaccine with protections against a rebound of COVID-19.
BLITZER: Yes, I think that new normal is going to continue to include for many of us, certainly I don't know about Delaware, I assume Delaware like Maryland, Washington, D.C., or Virginia. It's going to include social distancing. It's going to include a lot of testing, masks and all sorts of other stuff, gloves for that matter.
Schools, what about schools? They're going to be closed for the rest of this academic year in Delaware, is that right?
CARNEY: Well, we haven't made that decision yet. But looking at these guidelines that looks like that's probably where we're going to end up. But you mentioned testing and I want to go back to that, because before you can get to the starting line, you have to have a series of things in place, including a testing framework that enables you to identify people who are COVID-19 positive, isolate them and do contract tracking. You also have to have a series of things in place with respect to your hospital capacity, just to get to the starting line for the 14 days of phase one.
And that's something that we don't have. We had a governor's only call yesterday, Governor Hogan is our chair for -- on NGA. And you -- and we heard it on the call with the President, so many states that don't have the testing capacity, really to implement this phased in approach to recovery.
CARNEY: And that's a really key element. And there was a lot of back and forth about all the tests exist here or there, a various private labs. But when I'm when I hear my colleagues and when I talk to the hospital leaders in my state, they're now able to get the test kits and the testing capacity that we need to implement this recovery plan.
BLITZER: I hear that from a lot of your governor, your colleagues, the other governors as well. And it's hard to believe that here in the United States of America, that testing equipment is still not available to all of you.
Governor Carney of Delaware, thank you so much for joining us.
CARNEY: Thank you Wolf.
BLITZER: Good luck to everyone in Delaware.
Stay with us. We're standing by for today's Whitehouse Coronavirus Task Force briefing, it's back in the briefing room today.
Also coming up, I'll speak with the mayor of New Orleans about these new guidelines from the White House, first city has been hit very hard by the coronavirus. What will a return to normal look like there?
BLITZER: As we await today's Whitehouse Coronavirus Task Force briefing, I'm joined now by the American Medical Association president, Dr. Patrice Harris. Also our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Dr. Harris, these new guidelines from the President. Before we even get to phase one of opening up, the White House wants states to meet certain criteria. These include what they call a downward trajectory of reported symptoms and cases for 14 days, two weeks the ability of hospitals to treat all patients without crisis care and robust testing for at risk healthcare workers. What do you think? Does that go far enough?
PATRICE HARRIS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: Well Wolf, it's good to be back with you. And certainly I look forward to learning more about these guidelines. But at the end of the day, these decisions need to be made based on the evidence, the science and the data. At first blush, they certainly seem reasonable, particularly around robust testing. We have been behind since the beginning of this pandemic on testing. And so we need to significantly expand testing capacity, not only for the diagnostic tests, but also the antibody test.
And so we know that some regions of the country have not even reached their peak. And he data that we have right now is incomplete. We have data around deaths and hospitalizations, we need data on the total number tested. We need the date -- data segmented by race and ethnicity and perhaps even zip code. So I look forward to learning more about these guidelines. But all decisions need to be based on science and the evidence.
BLITZER: Yes, that's an important point.
You know, Sanjay the plan also calls for states to have not just the testing, but also what they call the contact tracing surge capacity at hospitals, plans to protect different sectors of society. How far are states from meeting these initial standards?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Some states are better equipped than others. I mean, that that's, you know, that in some ways, we're talking about the same issues Wolf that we talked about back in, you know, late January, early February, you wanted hospitals to be able to have surge capacity, enough protective equipment for the healthcare providers, enough testing. It's the same things that we talked about back then that are still necessary now, as we think about a phased reopening.
But there's some states that are clearly they don't feel like they're in a position now to test enough. And that's not to say that the number of tests haven't gone up they have. But there, there may be states that still don't have enough access to those tests, or they're not easy to obtain, meaning, like for people who are watching right now, if you said, OK, you needed to get tested, do you know how to do it? Who would you call? Where would you go? How would you get your test results?
Those things need to be imprinted in everyone's minds in terms of actually getting to widespread testing. It doesn't mean 325 million people need to be tested. But it means we need to be able to do enough testing, maybe a million tests a day, some have said in order to be able to start slowly thinking about reopening.
BLITZER: And what do you think, Dr. Harris, is that a good idea for phased reopening of the economy, certain parts of the country, they can begin to do so very quickly. Other parts let's say New York or New Jersey, they have to wait, they have to meet a lot more criteria.
HARRIS: Phase reopening is definitely a reasonable approach, because we know there's so much variability in this country. As Sanjay just noted that we still continue to see an increased number of hospitalizations, unfortunately, and tragically, an increased number of deaths, particularly among vulnerable populations. So, it certainly makes sense to have a face reopening, again all the time following the data, and we have to do a much better job of making sure the picture that we have regarding the data is a more complete picture.
BLITZER: You know, Sanjay, what do you see as the biggest risks right now?
GUPTA: Well, you know, if we reopen things too quickly, and, you know, everybody wants to reopen things I mean, people are starting to go stir crazy, you know, there's no question about people want to get back to work, the economy, all the all the reasons that people have been talking about, but the biggest risk is that we sort of lose the gains that we've made over the past few weeks.
I mean, this has been an incredible sacrifice. But there's some evidence from places around the world, Singapore for example, you know, fantastic public health system. You start to open things too early and you could have significant resurgence.
Wolf, I think once we start to reopen, there are going to be more people who get infected. Sadly, there'll be more people who get hospitalized and even die, that will happen as a result of the reopening. The virus is still out there. So we have to really approach this very methodically as safely as possible.
BLITZER: Which is of course critical.
Yes, Sanjay stick around we got more questions for you coming up later this hour. Dr. Harris, appreciate your joining us as we always do. Thank you very much. And to our viewers, be sure to tune in later tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern for a live CNN Global Townhall Coronavirus, Facts and Fears: Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. They will be joined by special guests including Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden along with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan. That's later tonight, 8:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.
And stay with us. We're continuing to standby for today's White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing. You're looking at their live pictures coming in from the briefing room over at the White House.
We're also taking a closer look at the devastating new report of jobless claims here in the United States. At least 22 million Americans have lost their jobs in simply the past four weeks.
BLITZER: We're awaiting the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing. Today's briefing is expected to focus on efforts to reopen the country. We'll have live coverage.
CNN's Brian Todd has been checking in with experts on what the so- called new normal may eventually look like. Brian, what are you finding out?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we've been digging on this. We found that there are many things from how we go to restaurants to how our children experience school that will be changing. But the key question is, for how long?
TODD: L.A.'s Mayor Eric Garcetti makes a stark declaration to Wolf that large gatherings like sporting events or concerts may not return to his city until next year.
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI, LOS ANGELES: It's difficult to imagine us getting together in the thousands any time soon so I think we should be prepared for that this year.
TODD (voice-over): New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio telling Wolf he's got to see steady progress which could take months before sports and concerts can come back in his city.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY): The last thing we should do is gather, you know, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 people in one place. It's like the exact opposite of social distancing.
TODD (voice-over): How much of a shock to the system to American sports fans and the American psyche is that?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Absolutely shocking. I mean, it basically is devastating. Sports really is that bellwether, sports has been our North Star in many ways and it is certainly the entity that provides that escape for so many fans. That idea that there's hope, something other than this.
TODD (voice-over): Dr. Anthony Fauci says sports themselves could return sooner but with no fans and weekly testing of players.
Beyond the ball parks, New York Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell believes some of her cities biggest events like Jazz Fest and the Essence Festival won't happen until next year. And experts say our new normal in more common places where we're so used to being shoulder-to- shoulder will be different.
ED YONG, SCIENCE WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: If you were to open a restaurant or a coffee shop, you might have fewer tables or people -- more further spaced apart. If you have offices, you might have shifts so they're not everyone is out there at the same time, or not everyone is packed together as tightly as before.
TODD (voice-over): And our kids' experiences in school already fundamentally changing with distance learning may keep changing. The College Board is preparing ways for students to take the SAT test at home. Staggered class times for students, plus no middle seating on commercial airlines, widespread temperature checks, all being considered. The governors of several hard-hit states are now requiring masks to be worn on public transportation and elsewhere.
GOV. NED LAMONT (D), CONNECTICUT: When you go into a grocery store, wear a mask. If you're working in a grocery store, wear a mask.
TODD (voice-over): All measures that official say are critical to beating this pandemic. But what about the cumulative effect on Americans mental and emotional health, if our favorite pastimes like going to a popular buzzing restaurant, or taking in the energy of a pack sporting events are unreachable?
DR. SEEMA YASMIN, DIRECTOR, STANFORD HEALTH COMMUNICATION INITIATIVE: That uncertainty can really drive anxiety. And I want to make sure that as capitalists, we are about making sure we have provisions for testing and treating people for an infectious disease that we also allocate healthcare resources to dealing with mental illness.
TODD: Now a key question is just how many of these measures are forever? Now the doctors we've spoken to say a lot of these measures like small numbers of people at restaurants, distancing in schools, face masks everywhere are likely not forever, but will be with us for at least a few months until a vaccine is out and until we can identify the most vulnerable parts of the population and lift restrictions on everyone else. Wolf?
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting for us. Brian, thank you very much.
Joining us now, the Mayor of New Orleans, LaToya, Cantrell. Mayor, thank you so much for joining us. First of all, do you agree with the mayors of New York and Los Angeles that major sporting events, big concerts this year probably unlikely it's going to have to wait until next year?
MAYOR LATOYA CANTRELL, NEW ORLEANS: Listen, I do agree with my brother mayors, especially, you know, a city, a world class city that that hosts these large events, I think second to none. But you know what, we have to brace ourselves and I do not see it. It's not the date that we have to look at, we have to look at the data. And based on that I just don't see us being able to host like Essence has just come out, Jazz Fest for the year of 2020. Let's look at '21.
BLITZER: So, you know, and that's a huge part of New Orleans tourism. A lot of folks love to come to your hotels --
BLITZER: -- your restaurants and see what's going on. They want to go to the French Quarter. None of that's presumably going to happen for the time being, right?
CANTRELL: Well, you know what, with the large scale events, the festivals that we just mentioned, I don't see them happening. And let me tell you, 30 percent of our workforce in the city is a tie to our hospitality and tourism industry. No doubt about it. So the city of New Orleans is the backbone of the industry and a city that's been hit very hard as it relates to the population of people.
And also, as we've been focusing on the health and health disparities of this virus, it has really impacted. You know, the New Orleans is a 60 percent African-American that suffers from those disparity gaps as well. And so I just don't see how we can lift up festivals in in 2020.
BLITZER: NFL football, what about that?
CANTRELL: Well, I know that the NFL is working very hard to determine methods of reengagement of the fans like no fans present. I think that is the best way to go. But I know that they're working very hard as it relates to not only the players, but the staff that's required to even host a sporting event.
BLITZER: Schools are -- you've closed public schools now through the end of this school year, right?
CANTRELL: Yes, sir. Schools are definitely going to be out. They're still doing remote instruction, however, they will not go back to on site instruction. It's the best thing to do. We do see that our curve is flattening, but it's based upon the efforts that we have put in place over the past four weeks. This is not the time to step back. It's the time to double down so that we, when we come back, we can come back stronger, and we cannot just regress, we can continue to make the progress that's necessary for all of our people to be safe. And of course that work force that we all depend on.
[17:40:03] But let me say this too, Wolf, listen, the city of New Orleans right now will looking at $150 million deficit with about $126 million tied to sales tax which is absolutely because of our industry. But as it relates to the Care Act, there are no dollars for losses of revenue only for expenses. So I don't see how a city that I will be able to operate in terms of basic city services, let alone host large scale festivals.
BLITZER: Yes, it's going to be a real, real problem. And I hear that from every major -- mayor of every major city around the country. Right now, the money is simply not there. Mayor Latoya Cantrell, good luck everyone in New Orleans, and thanks so much for joining us.
CANTRELL: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. We're going to take a quick break as we continue to stand by for today's White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, standby for that. Also ahead, an update on a new kind of tests for the virus that gives rapid results and is drawing praise.
BLITZER: Once again, we're awaiting the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing. We'll have live coverage. Meanwhile, widespread testing for the coronavirus appears to be one of the most important keys for any, any return to normal, but so far there isn't nearly enough capacity.
I want to get an update now from CNN Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin. Drew, where are we on getting more of those so called rapid result tests?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, these are fantastic tests that Abbott got EUA approval forward getting out the door. And they are working terrifically where you can get them. I want you to listen, Wolf, to the mayor of Detroit talking about his use of these tests, why they're so great. And on the other side, I'll tell you what the issue is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MIKE DUGGAN, DETROIT: We now have returned 700 police officers to duty because we brought every police officer, exposed firefighter, bus driver in got them the 15-minute test. Those who are negative go back to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: They work perfectly in getting people back to work. You can tell instantly whether or not your employees have the virus or don't. Abbott is trying to get these out as much as possible. 600,000 shipped since they got that EUA certification. 50,000 a day they say they're working day and night and want to get up to 2 million of these tests per month by June. The problem in all of the testing, Wolf, is capacity. Not one single one of these tests is going to be our way out of this. There has to be bunches and bunches of different tests and the industrial capacity to produce them to get us there. These are all small parts of the puzzle that need to add up in some kind of a national strategy. And right now, we're still very much behind in that category, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, that's sad because the potential is really enormous. Drew Griffin reporting for us. Drew, thank you very much.
We're standing by for the start of the Coronavirus Task Force briefing and we will get more specific details on what President Trump is thinking about how to reopen the economy. Plus, right ahead, our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he's getting ready to answer your questions about the coronavirus and the pandemic. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: We're standing by for today's White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing. We'll have live coverage. The U.S. government meanwhile, reported today that more than 5 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week and that brings the four-week total to a staggering 22 million people here in the United States now out of work.
Let's bring in our Business Editor-At-Large, Richard Quest. Sir Richard, how much worse can job losses get for Americans?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR AT LARGE: It is likely to plateau but at this very high level, there will still be more job losses to go, arguably even more so from small businesses. Now the Small Business Administration, the SBA, has announced its run out of money, the 350 odd billion that Congress approved for grants and loans to small businesses, Wolf, has run out. And so far, Congress doesn't seem in a rush to appropriate more money.
So small businesses will be suffering, it's likely the job losses will continue not at this 656 million a week level, but for the foreseeable future. Most analysts now believe that U.S. jobless over this period will be anywhere between 15 percent to 20 percent before it goes to comes down as people go back to work later in the year.
BLITZER: And quickly, Richard, how quickly can the U.S. economy bounce back from this?
QUEST: There'll be an immediate bounce when things reopen, but longer term real recovery that's well into next year.
BLITZER: Relative next year. All right, Richard Quest with economic analysis for us. Appreciate it very much.
More of the breaking news coming up next, we'll have details of President Trump's new guidelines for reopening the country and the economy. We're standing by for a White House briefing, we'll have coverage.
BLITZER: We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "The Situation Room". We're standing by for the Coronavirus Task Force briefing over at the White House. You're looking at live pictures, reporters are getting ready to see the President, the Vice President and the other experts who will be walking in shortly.
The President is expected to announce new federal guidelines aimed at reopening the U.S. economy in three phases, we're told. Mr. Trump previewed his plan for the nation's governors just a few hours ago, assuring them they will call the shots when it comes to reopening their states despite his previous claim that he had what he called total authority.