Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Poll: 36 Percent Of Voters Trust What Trump Says About Crisis; Experts Using Contact Tracing To Track The Virus. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired April 20, 2020 - 12:30   ET

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


[12:30:00]

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: -- testing kits or maybe we have the kits, but we don't have the reagents, or maybe we have the reagents and the kits, but we don't have the swabs and they want federal help, listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): To try to push this off to say that the governors have plenty of testing and they should just get to work on testing. Somehow we aren't doing our job. It's just absolutely false.

GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D-VA): That's just delusional. We've been fighting for testing.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): We need these fundamental supply chain issues addressed so we can ramp up our testing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Again, I'm not taking you deep -- I don't want to take you too deep into the politics here. But from when you're talking to people and collecting information, is there a clear sustainable functioning supply chain or is this a problem and Washington is best equipped to fix it?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: So thanks for having me back on, John.

It is a problem. It's not an issue where 50 governors have all happened to fail at the same time. That's not what's happening. Everybody is trying their best. But as Governor Cuomo said in his press conference, these are national supply chains, these are national companies. And we're not going to get through this by 50 states all competing with each other. So we need a coordinated unified effort.

And I believe the only entity, you know, capable of having a united effort across the country is the Federal Government. So the Federal Government really does need to step up and play a much bigger role than it has.

KING: We'll see if that one place that Dr. Jha and Dr. Mio (ph), we're a little short on time today, but I appreciate your insights. We'll continue this conversation as we go forward.

Still ahead here, we look at what you think of the President as he handles the coronavirus crisis and the numbers tell us many of you don't trust what you're hearing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:36:22]

KING: The President is lashing out at governors who say they need help, and that reporters who dare recall his early statements shrugging off the coronavirus threat. He wants you to believe he and his team are pitch perfect. But some new numbers today make clear many Americans aren't buying that.

Let's look at the numbers. And let's start with the President's approval rating, which has been pretty constant actually throughout the Trump presidency. These are new "NBC Wall Street Journal" poll numbers. Forty-six percent approve of how the President's doing his job right now, 51 percent disapprove.

Again, if you look at this track throughout the Trump presidency, a few spikes early on, but largely the President has stayed right here about half of Americans disapprove 40 to 45 percent, it's 46 percent right now, approve. That has been stubborn and constant throughout the Trump presidency.

But what about on the question of how he's handling the coronavirus? Here, 44 percent approve, 52 percent disapprove. So roughly, his national approval rating, his overall approval rating on the coronavirus, but 52 percent disapproving, that has been the trend, more people disapproving. This is the more damning number for the President of the United States.

We're in the middle of a global pandemic, fewer than four and 10 Americans, 36 percent of Americans say they trust what their President tells them in the middle of a pandemic, what a damning number. Sixty percent trust his top doctor, the infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Sixty-six percent, two-thirds of Americans trust their governor.

Look at that, two-thirds trust their governor, fewer than 40 percent trust their President, and nearly seven in 10 Americans, look at that number, trust the Centers for Disease Control. So trust, trust, trust, no trust when it comes to the President of the United States in the middle of all this.

Here's one other place where the President is out of touch with the people. He wants to reopen as soon as possible. Nearly six in 10 Americans, 58 percent are worried the Federal Government and their State Governments will push too soon to reopen in the middle of the pandemic. So the President knows the numbers. He's in a reelection year. He has his campaign polling. He knows a lot of you are not happy. He also wants you to know, it's not his fault.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He said we did a phenomenal job. So report accurately, because you are one of the most inaccurate reporters. You don't have the brains you were born with. You should be praising the people that have done a good job. I got here with the worst, most unfair press treatment, they say in the history of the United States for a president.

They did say Abraham Lincoln had very bad treatment too. I just don't have the sense to understand what's going on. I told you we inherited a lot of garbage. We took -- they had tests that were no good. You and the Obama administration were duped for years because China was ripping off this country. You know, I'm not a fan of Mitt Romney. I don't really want his advice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: With me now to discuss the President's mood for lack of a better term, our chief political correspondent Dana Bash and White House reporter for The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim.

Seung Min, to you first, and I just want to play a little contrast with you. We just showed some pictures out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Miguel Marquez is there, giant protests. We've seen these protests across the country in recent days. You see more of them here. They are yelling at their governors to reopen, essentially yelling at their governors to stop doing what the President asked them to do.

The President has been encouraging these protests. I want you to listen to the different approach taken just moments ago, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, says a lot of his county executives and supervisors are calling up saying, you know, Governor, people are mad, they want us to let them out of the House. The governor says, be careful.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Government has to be smart. And if it looks confused between the state and the county or the state and a town, that's the wrong message for everyone, so let's just be smart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: In other words, he's saying let's try to speak with one voice. So it's pretty clear in recent days, the President doesn't see it that way.

SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And Governor Cuomo hits on a point right there when he says, mixed messaging particularly in a time of a national crisis and a global pandemic does not help matters.

[12:40:06]

So when the President is saying, you know, liberate these democratically led states. Let them let them go back out to work. Let them go back out and socialize and go to the stores and whatnot. He is going against his own federal guidelines for doing so. But yet, this isn't the first time that he has gone back on something that his own advisors, his own administration had broadly recommended.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the CDC have recommended wearing a mask, but at that same briefing, the President just kind of brushed it aside and saying, yes, I really -- I'm not going to -- I'm going to choose not to do that. And that's why our leadership at this moment, the President is still going to be the guiding light for a lot of these people as a role model, as an example.

And when he gives out these mixed messages, when he gives out these confusing kind of, you know, reminders or guidance on what we as Americans should be doing, a lot of gaps interrupting, we're seeing that in different states across the country.

KING: And one of the things you see consistently, Dana, is the President says, you know, I was perfect. My team was perfect. We are great. How dare you, how dare you ask? How dare you ask anything about our performance if we happen to live in a democracy, and we're supposed to ask, that's our job in the news media.

One of the more telling moments yesterday, it's not the first time but a reporter from CBS asked a very good, very honest, very legitimate accountability question, and got this from the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If you look at what I did in terms of cutting off or banning China from coming in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chinese nationals. But by the way, not Americans who are also coming from China.

TRUMP: Nice and easy, nice and easy. Just relax. We cut it off. People were amazed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because you acknowledge that you didn't think --

TRUMP: Keep your voice down please, keep your voice down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you not --

TRUMP: How many, how many cases were in the United States? I did a ban where I'm closing up the entire country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: There are 1,000 ways to come at this, but just relax, keep your voice down. It's a perfectly fair question about an administration policy, her correction of the President was factually correct. And he says, essentially, keep your voice down. Let me translate it. He's essentially saying shut up, how dare you.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he doesn't like to be challenged by anybody, especially reporters, especially at a time when he realizes his leadership is on the line. And going back to the numbers that you just showed, if you pair those numbers, particularly the fact that people distrust him in this crisis, and he has such a low rating, 36 percent compared to the governors, compared to the CDC, that sound bite, that exchange that you just showed, is exhibits A, B, and C.

Why that is the case? Because instead of just either answering a tough question or trying to find a way out of it or doing something that a more traditional politician would do, perhaps that that would help. I'm not saying that he should evade it. But what he shouldn't do is lash out, because that's not helping anybody.

And just back to what Seung was saying about the about the mixed messages, I mean, think about where we are as we speak, John. Within the last hour, the President has tweeted once again that the testing issue was up to the governors.

And as he sent that tweet, his Vice President is on a phone call with the nation's governors where they're apparently talking about this as a partnership. I mean, if you don't have consistency with that, which has probably been one of the most inconsistent and frustrating things that has real life consequences for governors, for mayors, for people out there trying to figure out how they can get tests and can't, there's no better example than that.

KING: You can get dizzy at times trying to sort the conflicts between the President and members his own team, let alone members of the news media. Dana Bash, Seung Min Kim, appreciate your insights.

[12:44:01]

Coming up for us, what needs to be done to increase? This might be a new term for many of you, contact tracing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Some wide-ranging world headlines today on the battle against the coronavirus. Germany is reporting small signs of normalcy returning to some towns, while in Mexico City, hospitals are about to burst at the seams, and in the U.K., a new damning report about the Prime Minister skipping out on early emergency coronavirus meetings.

Our correspondents across the globe, here with the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Germany as of Monday, some smaller shops can now open and allow customers back in. And here in Rostock, in the north of Germany, we've seen a lot of people who have been taking advantage of that.

A lot of people were also waiting outside of shops, because of course, while they're allowed back in social distancing measures are still in place that means not too many people can be inside the showroom at once. We've also been speaking to shopkeepers, and they say they are extremely happy. They've spent weeks having to have their doors closed. They said a lot of them were on the brink of financially not being able to make it despite the fact that they were getting aid from the government.

So now they say they're extremely pleased to be able to open their doors once again. A lot of them are saying they believe that Germany was able to get this crisis under control because of a lot of testing very early on, social distancing measures, and then also, of course, discipline among the population who really has been doing this in a way that has been extremely efficient.

Now, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that, yes, the country is able to reopen for now. But she also warns that the gains are fragile and could be reversed if the amount of coronavirus infections rises once again.

[12:50:03]

Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Rustock, Germany.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Here in London, the government's credibility being called into question. This weekend, some hospitals coming close to running out of fluid resistance surgical gowns, the government promised deliveries over the weekend, that didn't happen.

The government also being heavily criticized because Boris Johnson between January and March did not lead COVID-19 emergency meetings of the government's special cabinet sessions, COBRA. The government's push back against a newspaper report alleging this saying that the Prime Minister was at the helm of the government, was doing his job.

It is absolutely unusual to see the government respond this way by taking apart a newspaper article in this way. Their rebuttal claim and counterclaim shows the pressure that the government's under right now.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, after having avoided the worst of this outbreak for so long things are starting to get bad here in Mexico. The country has recorded nearly 700 deaths, more than 8,000 confirmed cases. But authority said, they've only tested about 50,000 people and that the actual case total is likely closer to 70,000.

The Federal Government has encouraged people to stay at home. But some localities are taking it a step further. In the State of Morelos, one police department is flying a drone around town broadcasting messages encouraging people to stay home.

Meanwhile, over the last week or so I've spoken to several doctors who say their hospitals are at or near capacity. This is health officials say the likely peak of cases in this country is probably weeks away.

Matt Rivers, CNN, in Mexico City.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Let's bring the conversation back home to the United States and move over social distancing. It is time now to add contact tracing and tracing armies to the lexicon of our new normal. New to many of us perhaps, but contact tracing is the good old fashioned detective work long part of smart public health planning, scaling it up to meet the coronavirus challenge, though, is a new challenge.

Dr. Louise Ivers is a professor at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Center for Global Health at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Ivers, thank you so much for being with us.

We're all learning new things here. And maybe we've heard of contact tracing, but we're not quite sure what it is in the case of the flu or some other infectious disease. Walk us through what is so necessary here and a contact tracing army, you're in Massachusetts, you're still going up the curve. What are we talking about? So let's assume on your patient, I have coronavirus. You need to trace all my -- how much does it take? How many people, how much work?

DR. LOUISE IVERS, PROFESSOR, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Yes, so it's a lot of work. So if you're my patients, I call you and I speak with you about where you've been? Who have you been in contact with? I tried to get the list of those people's names. I tried to help jog your memory. Usually I'm going back to at least two days before you have any symptoms.

In Massachusetts, our governor announced a couple weeks ago, really ambitious plan that many of us are very happy about to hire 1,000 people to start working on contact tracing, because once we've detected cases through testing, we want to try to then figure out who's potentially been exposed, and they don't even know it.

So we trace the contacts of everyone who has the disease, and then we give those people instructions in the hopes that they don't go on to transmit the disease to somebody else.

KING: And so you'd say you're pleased with the governor's effort about 1,000 people. If you put up the Massachusetts cases right now, you're approaching 40,000, 38,077 as the count as of yesterday. Is that -- that shows you the cases there. Is that anywhere near, anywhere -- 1,000 people sounds like a lot of people, but if you have 40,000 cases, is that enough?

IVERS: Yes. I mean, 1000 people is the beginning. At the moment, the way we mostly do contact tracing is manually. So it's a human speaks to a human. They're trying to remember what they've done. I'm also working with a group at MIT who's been devising some digital approaches that would try to complement manual tracing.

I do think that as a commonwealth, as a nation, we're going to have to start so be innovative. But the way we think about trying to get ahead of this, and hopefully technology and digital applications could help us to do that.

KING: I was just going to jump in on that point. Apple and Google have talked about this, which raises, A, the blessing of technology, you can do things a lot more quickly. You can take down a lot of walls. Eliminate a lot of the painstaking detective work. However, also it rages giant privacy issues. As you're trying to work through how to make this work, how do you make that balance?

IVERS: Our privacy has to be a very important piece of this. And public health does have certain authorities normally to understand who has certain illnesses. But when we start to bring the private sector in, when we're talking about our phones, we have to ask, well, when will this stop? What exact information is being shared? This is a really important piece of advice. Certainly, would be an advocate for having a robust privacy as an important part of any digital technology that we want to use.

[12:55:15]

KING: Does the size of your army have to factor into decisions about reopening? I asked in the context, if you let more people out of their house, you let more people go back out there, we are going to see, I assume in most if not all places, some increase in cases. The question, the great unknown is, how big of an increase?

And so, does the size of that tracing army, that does that have to be part of the governor's decision when he or she of the different states says, OK, let's give this a chance.

IVERS: Yes. I think we're going to see people learn more and more in the public about contact tracing because as you say, as we start mixing more socially and going out, we are going to have more cases happening. And what we need to be able to do is to really try to kind of capture and turn our attention to the areas where that's happening to the locations.

I do think that the number of contact tracers is going to have to increase around the country to be able to make sure that we can safely get out and go back to work. I think in Massachusetts, 1,000 is more than many places have said that they would do. So it's a really good start. We'll have to keep our eye in the numbers as we go forward.

KING: Dr. Louise Ivers, appreciate your time today. More importantly very much appreciate your work and wish you the best in the days and weeks and months ahead as you do this. We'll keep in touch to see how it's working. Thank you.

IVERS: Thanks.

KING: Coming up here, hundreds of protesters on the streets today demanding the government reopen the economy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:00:00]