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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Headline: CDC Director Warns of a "More Difficult" Second Wave This Winter That Could Coincide With The Flu Season; Gov. Kate Brown (D) Oregon Discusses About Her Thoughts on The Second Wave of The Virus Next Winter; Dr. Sanjay Gupta Takes Antibody Test to Learn Whether He had Virus. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 21, 2020 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Take this into consideration that a drug may cause increased death rates. I mean, look, I think we need to be more honest right now. It's that important, Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: It certainly is. All right, guys, Everybody stand by. CNN is going to continue our special coverage right now with Erin Burnett OUTFRONT.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the breaking news, startling warning from the Director of the CDC telling The Washington Post a possible second wave next winter could be worse than the current coronavirus outbreak.
Plus, our Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes an antibody test. What did he learn from it? He's going to share his experience and the results.
And the renowned infectious disease expert who was the doctor behind the movie Contagion also contracted coronavirus. He tells me what he feared the most as he battled the disease and why he is warning things could get a lot worse before they get better.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, an alarming warning from the Director of the CDC, Director Robert Redfield telling The Washington Post a possible second wave in the winter could be worse than the current outbreak. The quote, "There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through. We're going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic all at the same time."
He says two respiratory outbreaks would put unimaginable strain on the healthcare system and what may be more concerning tonight is that he says his warnings of this are falling on deaf ears. Presumably, obviously, at the most powerful and important levels, the U.S. public health and government.
He said, "When I've said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don't understand what I mean." This comes as the number of coronavirus cases hits a new milestone in the United States now more than 800,000 and the death toll now more than 44,200 people.
Nick Watt is OUTFRONT live in Los Angeles. And Nick, as you hear warnings like the CDC director falling on deaf ears, you have some states trying to rush to reopen now with very little agreement on how to even define reopen.
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Erin. Listen, we were hailing these blocks of states last week that we're agreeing to collaborate, cooperate on opening. But, boy, is it getting messy already. You've got the federal government position, which disagrees with some of the states. You've got South Carolina saying that they're ready to open up. You've got North Carolina saying that they're not ready yet.
The Governor of Connecticut, Gov. Lamont kind of summed it up talking about himself and Gov. Kemp of Georgia. He said that their views are the exact opposite when it comes to reopening. That is the problem. And as you've mentioned, all the while we're now being told that this virus could come back in the fall and come back even harder.
WATT(voice over): The virus has killed more than 44,000 Americans and it will return this winter and it might be even worse so the CDC Director tells The Washington Post because it could coincide with regular flu season and two respiratory outbreaks at once would hammer our health systems. Meanwhile, our leaders are trying to agree on how to reopen from round one. Take Dallas County, they extended stay home through mid May, setting up a possible showdown with the Governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R) TEXAS: To the extent that my executive order has statewide application, it would overrule any local jurisdiction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT(voice over): In Iowa, Democratic lawmakers want a pork processing plant closed after an outbreak. The Governor won't do it.
The Governor in Georgia says barbershops, nail salons, gyms can all reopen Friday but SoulCycle says it won't. Congregations can gather, but one bishop is telling his flock not to and other governors are wary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. NED LAMONT (D) CONNECTICUT: I'm glad I'm not an immediate neighbor of Georgia because I think all you're doing is potentially throwing some gas on the flames there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT(voice over): Testing, of course, is required to keep track of the virus as we reopen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR JIM KENNEY (D) PHILADELPHIA: If we don't have the data, we don't know what we're up against.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT(voice over): The continued lack of testing partly what's making some in Georgia so anxious about reopening.
MAYOR KELLY GIRTZ (D) ATHENS-CLARKE COUNTY, GEORGIA: We need testing. We certainly need work on treatment and we need contact tracing of the sort that we just don't have in this state yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT(voice over): The White House guidelines say you should start reopening only after among other things a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14 day period.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R) GEORGIA: We are on track to meet the gating criteria for phase one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT(voice over): Not really. Monday, April 6th, 1,099 new cases. Fourteen days later, yesterday, just one less.
Not so in Tennessee, but they plan to reopen some businesses Monday. Not so in South Carolina, but they opened beaches and retail stores today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR STEPHEN BENJAMIN (D) COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA: And the reality is that South Carolina has not peaked yet, according to our own professionals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT(voice over): Myrtle Beach, defying the Governor, will keep beach parking closed.
WATT: Now, I just want to talk briefly, Erin, about haircuts in Georgia. Hair salons will open Friday. We are told that social distancing will be maintained. I have lost count of the number of times over the past 24 hours that I've been asked how is that possible. Somebody just asked Dr. Birx during the White House press conference. She was a little evasive, but she said, "I don't know how that can
happen, but people are very creative." So that's really a non-answer. The President said he will be speaking with Gov. Kemp tonight and the President said he's not sure if - perhaps they'll be taking people's temperature as they walk into the hair saloon - salon, I'm sorry. More to come, I'm sure, on haircuts in Georgia, Erin.
BURNETT: Yes. The salons open, the saloons still closed. All right. Thank you very much to Nick Watt.
And let's go down to the Democratic Governor of Oregon, Kate Brown. Governor, I appreciate your time tonight. So I just want to start with what Nick was talking about there. The CDC Director tonight is warning that a second wave next winter could be even worse.
He's using the word assault saying it would be more difficult because you would have coronavirus and flu and it would simply put unimaginable strain on the public health system. Do you agree? Would your state be ready for that? Is that even part of your plan?
GOV. KATE BROWN (D) OREGON: Look, we are just beginning the reopening phase right now. We're starting to put meat on the bones and our counties are helping us with that work. It's very collective and it's very collaborative here and we're making decisions based on science and data and relying on public health experts and epidemiologists.
In terms of the fall, I think this coronavirus is going to change our lives in ways we have not imagined. I think it's really important that we start preparing for the future. For example, we do not have internet in all of our homes, and our communities and our businesses around Oregon. I think it's imperative that we do that quickly, so that our school children can continue to learn through the internet, through distance learning and have access to that education in the event we have an outbreak in the fall.
We also need to make sure that we have the ability to conduct elections safely, across the entire country. People should not be putting their health nor their lives at risk voting in November. And we have the means to do this.
In Oregon, we've been voting by mail, literally voting at home, at our kitchen tables, in our pajamas for years, for decades. We can do this safely. We can do it effectively and we can do it cost-effectively.
BURNETT: So when you talk about what you're trying to do now, we know the Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, he was just with the president not long ago, late this afternoon, and was talking about the need for more testing supplies. They both said that the meeting was productive. But Governor you know as well as I know that there are two very different tales in this country.
One is the President saying that testing is up to the states and we've done more tests than anywhere else in the world, so therefore, everything is fine and that any problems are on the governors. And then the other version of the story is the reality on the ground, which is that there is not all of the testing that is needed for a variety of reasons, whether it would be the tests themselves, the reagents needed to interpret them or something in between.
But he says, you've got everything you need right now. Is that true? What's your response to the president?
BROWN: Absolutely not. We certainly got some of the PPE that we requested. We roughly got about 25 percent of our requests. But we realized that we're going to have to rely on Oregon ingenuity and creativity. So we've been very careful. We've worked hard to collect it. Our dentists offices have contributed their PPE.
We've worked very hard to be conservative in our use, but most importantly, we're working with Oregon businesses to produce it. We have had over 80 Oregon businesses creating masks, creating gloves, creating gowns. I'm not sure they're doing gloves, but you get my draft.
BURNETT: Yes. What about testing?
BROWN: And obviously we've got very aggressive around procurement. In terms of testing, it's about having the right type of tests in the right locations. Oregon has some testing capacity, but we are one of the states with the lowest testing capacity. So is this OK? No. But we're going to have to be creative and innovative in terms of how we look for solutions, because it is really clear that we can cannot rely on the federal government to help us out right now.
BURNETT: We have seen protests across the country against stay-at- home orders. One took place in your state on Friday and one of the protester said keeping sick people quarantined is democracy, keeping healthy people quarantined is tyranny, what's your response?
BROWN: Look, these protesters are frustrated. I'm frustrated. We all want to get back to life as normal. And people are really, really scared. They're worried about how they're going to pay their rent, how they're going to put food on their table, how they're going to make sure their children get a good education. These are very frightening times.
I think it's so important that we all come together and I welcome people protesting. We support free speech rights here in Oregon, but they have to do it safely and they have to abide by social distancing measures.
BURNETT: All right. Gov. Brown, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
BROWN: Thanks, Erin. Good to talk to you.
BURNETT: And I want to go now to Dr. Jonathan Reiner who advised the George W. Bush White House medical team for eight years. So Dr. Reiner, let me just start by giving you a chance to react to the Governor. Look, what she's saying is they're one of the states with the lowest testing capacity, but they basically given up on the federal government. DR. JONATHAN REINER, CARDIOLOGIST, ADVISED WHITE HOUSE MEDICAL TEAM
FOR 8 YEARS: Yes. Well, a lot of states have come to understand that it's really every state for themselves. It's what has been described as Darwinian federalism. And our governors have become very resourceful. The governor of my state, in Maryland, acquired, 500,000 tests on his own from South Korea. So we're seeing governors have to do this and become very resourceful.
So I applaud them for doing that. They're taking over for what the federal government should be doing.
BURNETT: So there's all this focus on states reopening and not just whether it's too early for that state but, frankly, the impact of one state going too early on other states and Georgia is the example right now that people are looking at as to what happens, they have very aggressive reopen plans starting this week, including hair salons, manicure locations, tattoo parlors, movie theaters.
The President was asked about it tonight. He said that he is going to be speaking to Georgia's Governor in a while a little while it sort of sounded like that was a conversation about to happen tonight. But even Lindsey Graham, a Republican Senator who is usually very, very much in lockstep with the President, from the neighboring state of South Carolina tweeted today, "I worry that our friends and neighbors in Georgia are going too fast too soon."
Do you think that the President is going to be able to tamp down the Governor of Georgia or will he just encourage him?
REINER: The President has repeatedly given mixed messages. On the one hand, he encourages people to stay home and then on the other hand, he applauds people protesting because they have to stay home. There really has to be a consistent message from the federal government that by staying home, you're protecting each other.
When you look at a press conference that comes out of the United Kingdom, the podium has signage that says stay home, protect the National Health Service and protect your community. That has to be the consistent message and we've heard mixed messages from the President.
So when the President keeps urging the opening of states, really rooting for the opening of states before it's ready, he really does great harm to the advances that we've made in blunting the curve with social distancing and keeping people at home into self isolation.
BURNETT: So the President has not brought up hydroxychloroquine for a while.
BURNETT: It did come up, of course, today in the briefing when the President was directly confronted with the fact that the IHS apparently now saying that one should not combine that with a Z-Pak, which he has personally directly suggested doing multiple times. And there is a new study tonight from the U.S. veterans medical centers on hydroxychloroquine that found - for patients on hydroxychloroquine that found that those patients were no less likely to need to be put on a ventilator than people who did not take the drug and in fact they had higher death rates, compared to those who did not take the drug. Would you give this drug to a coronavirus patient right now?
REINER: No. Only in the context of a clinical trial and the VA study wasn't a randomized trial. So it really only has limited benefit to us. It's possible that some of the patients who got hydroxychloroquine were maybe sicker patients, so it's really impossible to know without doing a randomized trial where half the group by chance gets placebo, only when you do that can you understand whether the drug has benefit.
But in this study in about 390 patients in the VA system, no benefit and a trend towards worse outcomes. It doesn't add a tremendous amount of knowledge because it's not randomized. But it's yet another study that really fails to show any benefit and suggest perhaps some harm.
BURNETT: All right. Dr. Reiner, thank you.
REINER: Sure. My pleasure.
BURNETT: And next, Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes an antibody test to find out if he has already had coronavirus. So he's going to share his experience of how it happened and you will see the result next.
Plus, the Senate approving a $480 billion package to help small businesses. So does that mean that this business owner that you met earlier on this program will get help?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you scared?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And one of the world's leading epidemiologist who is studying COVID-19 then contracted the virus himself. What his biggest fear was when he was sick and he fears now for the United States. Dr. Ian Lipkin is OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Tonight, Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes an antibody test to see whether he's had coronavirus. We've talked a lot about these tests on the program as you know and they are seen as essential to understanding the spread of the virus into reopening the country, but they can be very unreliable.
So how reliable is a test right now? Sanjay is OUTFRONT. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to put a tight squeeze on you over here, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA(voice over): There are two different tests that we are all becoming familiar with a diagnostic test that searches for the genetic markers of the coronavirus and this one, that test for antibodies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to give you a cold wipe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA(voice over): First thing you'll notice is that the antibody test requires blood. For me, it was just a poke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's just like that, we're all done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA(voice over): But then look at all of the steps that take place after that. My blood is taken down to the lab and then spun down in a centrifuge. You're looking at my serum. That's the clear part that might contain antibodies, if I have been previously exposed.
The way to find that out is fascinating. Just take some of my serum and put it in the same test tube as the virus and see what happens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JOHN ROBACK, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, EMORY UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL BLOOD BANK: If you have antibodies against that, they're going to bind and we're going to be able to detect that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA(voice over): Dr. John Roback is the Medical Director of the Blood Bank at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta where I practice as a neurosurgeon. I was able to get this test because I'm still working as a doctor at Emory and healthcare workers are considered to be at high risk for COVID-19.
Now, this particular test approved under FDA emergency authorization at Emory was developed by Roback and his colleagues. Right now they test up to 300 people a day. By mid June, they expect to be processing thousands a day. It's far more sophisticated than the tests you may have heard of recently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: What do you make of these at home tests for antibodies?
ROBACK: I don't think that they can achieve the sorts of performance characteristics we can with these tests that we have in our clinical laboratory. We have a lot better control over the testing conditions over the sample that was collected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA(voice over): Here's what happens in your body when you're infected. The blue line, that's how long the virus typically lives inside of you. Take a look at the green line. Early on, IgM antibodies appear, but they disappear shortly after and then the red line. That's the IgG antibody. That's the one that appears after the infection is cleared and might provide immunity for just how long, how strong that we don't know yet.
We do know that for other coronaviruses like SARS, antibodies lasted two to three years and MERS, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome had antibody presence of about three years. But with this new coronavirus, it's still too early to tell. And in order to answer the question, researchers are going to focus on this term, neutralizing activity.
You see, it doesn't necessarily matter how many antibodies you have. It only matters how well they work at keeping the virus from entering a human cell. And that can vary from person to person.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBACK: It's fascinating that not everybody that has high levels of antibodies on the test we're doing now actually have very much neutralizing activity that those antibodies might still be helping. It causes us to pause a little bit before we just categorically say if you have high antibodies, you're immune.
GUPTA: What is the real value of having the test?
ROBACK: I think if you're positive on this test, it indicates you've been exposed. That can give you a little bit of peace of mind, I think, that the cough I had two weeks ago that was really COVID-19. It could indicate that some of your close contacts should be tested.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA(voice over): But perhaps most importantly, Dr. ROBACK told me something I hadn't really considered before, that if you test positive for the antibodies, that means you've dealt with this infection and you beat it. And chances are that if you're exposed to it again, you'll beat it again.
As for me, that part is still an open question mark. I tested negative.
(END VIDEOTAPE) BURNETT: So Sanjay, there are so much in that and, OK, so just to
start, I know we've talked a lot about these tests and that so many of them are very inaccurate just because it's very hard to test for the specificity of a specific virus if it isn't widely present in a population. So definitionally, there can be a lot of challenges and I know you're talking about this one being one that they had a lot of control over. So how much do you have confidence in your result that a negative is a negative?
GUPTA: I feel pretty good about this test. I really wanted to see the process by which they went through this. There's a lot of tests out there. There's only four that have been approved under the Emergency Use Authorization, but I wanted to get a sense of just how much they went through the process of collecting my plasma, trying to find if there was any antibodies by letting it react to the virus and really spending some time doing that.
In my case, there was no reaction. So I feel pretty confident that there was no antibodies in my plasma. I have not had an exposure to this, but it could be tough to your point.
I mean, I think there are some 90 tests out there that haven't been validated and there's been this push, this rush really to try and get these tests out there, but many of them, they don't work. They're not accurate. They're not something you can rely on.
BURNETT: So on this issue of immunity and I know we've talked a lot about that, I want to take the positive though of what you just said, because what you were saying is, OK, even if you don't get immunity from having antibodies, if that's the case, the fact that your body would have successfully if you had a positive, successfully fought the virus off would mean it would be likely to do so again, that you wouldn't be under a situation where you get a mild or asymptomatic case the first time and then the second time you need to be on a ventilator, right?
GUPTA: Right. I mean that that could happen but according to Dr. Roback, a lot less likely to happen once you've proven that you've been able to sort of fend off this virus once.
BURNETT: All right. So Sanjay, please stay with me. I want to bring in now to the conversation Dr. Larry Brilliant, an epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox and is a CNN Medical Contributor.
So Dr. Brilliant on this issue of immunity that Sanjay was just referencing, I know he was talking about some coronaviruses, SARS, MERS where it seems that the antibodies might last for two to three years. But I know that you have a lot of questions about this and we don't know. You've seen evidence, for example, that mild cases of coronavirus may only give extremely limited immunity like how limited?
LARRY BRILLIANT, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Erin. Well, Arnold Monto who's a well-known infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Michigan where Sanjay and I are both alumni, I would say, he just published a paper saying that for other corona viruses that circulate annually in colds, for example, they only give one or two years of immunity after people have had that. And that helps explain why we get this recurring seasonality of some viruses and cold.
So I think somewhere between what we've seen from SARS and MERS and these four other corona viruses is a good place to begin.
BURNETT: And I know, which is an interesting point, you were also referencing though, I believe, and I was just reading some of your commentary that if you have a very mild case, that may mean an extremely limited period of immunity, correct? I mean, like, so if you get a really serious case, you might get two or three years, but if you get a mild case, who knows, it might be nothing, it might be two months.
BRILLIANT: So this virus is four and a half months old. It hardly crawls little and walks. We're finding out everything about it every day, something new. And we have anecdotal evidence that the immunogenicity is proportional to how difficult the case was, but it's only anecdotes so far.
BURNETT: Sanjay, what do you make of that? And I know Dr. Brilliant is referencing a study that had said perhaps you do only get two months if you have a very mild case. These are, obviously, we don't know the answers. But those are the kinds of possibilities that are deeply concerning, especially when you hear the CDC talking about a second wave that could be worse in this winter, right?
GUPTA: Right. I think that's absolutely true. I mean, there's good reason to believe that after you've been infected with this virus, you should have protection for some period of time. It may not be as strong with a milder infection, but I think there's good evidence based just on other viruses that you should have some protection.
Again, the reason I brought up these other corona viruses such as SERS and MERS was that they did offer a couple of years worth of protection. I don't know if they split it into patients who had milder versus severe illness. But I think I'm counting on the fact that we can count, at least, on a little bit of protection. We're going to get a better idea of how long, how strong that protection is and it may vary from person to person.
I mean, no one knows this stuff better than Larry Brilliant. His last name perfectly suits him. But I think we have a lot to learn as we go along.
BURNETT: Right. And certainly, I mean, the reason I just raised that point that Dr. Brilliant had brought up was merely that with so many asymptomatic cases, that could be quite concerning, obviously.
So Dr. Brilliant, when you talk about eradicating infectious diseases, obviously, it's very rare, but you are part of the team that eliminated smallpox and in that doing a great, great good for humanity. Corona viruses though have been around for decades and I know two months ago, Sanjay was telling me about labs where they simply study which ones could cross over and how concerned they are about them. Do you think, Dr. Brilliant, that this corona virus is something we would ever be able to eradicate?
BRILLIANT: So eradicate which means pull out by the roots, it sort of implies that there are no animal hosts. You can't clear the whole world of them because if it's in tigers, they're not going to hand out their paw for you to vaccinate them very easily. This is a bat virus. There's also the camel virus, MERS. As long as the virus has a home that it can go to on animals and we can't vaccinate them, we have to think about conquering the disease with a different bit of language.
We can pretty much throw it into the dustbin of history. We can use metaphors like that, but eradicate is really reserved to a disease that doesn't also affect animals.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Right, because I guess they can keep coming back around.
All right. Thank you both so very much.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you.
BRILLIANT: Thank you very much for having me.
BURNETT: And next, a warning. The new $480 billion package to help small business owners could run dry in days. What does that mean for one small business owner that you met on this show who still cannot get a loan from the federal government?
Plus, the infectious disease expert behind the movie "Contagion" is my guest. He has been studying the virus and where it came from. And tonight, he is warning that it is about to get much worse before it gets better.
BURNETT: Tonight, the Senate passing a $480 billion bill that will provide $310 billion for small business loan programs. The original program ran out of cash in less than two weeks. Now they're doubling it.
One business owner still waiting for help from the federal government is Tom Sopit, who runs the Los Angeles restaurant Employees Only.
If you watched the show you've seen Tom's story. We introduced him to you back in March
Here's what he told our Kyung Lah then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Are you scared?
TOM SOPIT, OWNER, EMPLOYEES ONLY: I'm concerned. Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Tom is OUTFRONT now.
Tom, I know you applied originally. You weren't able to get a loan originally.
How, tell me how things are right now.
SOPIT: Well, you know, we -- it is a bit frustrating because we were one of the first in line to apply but we didn't really have the opportunity to do so until the day before they ran out of funds.
So I submitted my application. Woke up the next morning. Found out that they ran out.
So, it really went from us being hopeful to having to rethink a lot of our strategies again in how to align them to when we could potentially open.
BURNETT: And I know there are a lot of questions still on that. Now you have I guess essentially they are doubling the amount they had out there but look, tom, I know the reality from what I hear. People who are really well-connected with their bankers and have established relationships got all that money the first time around.
You know, we understand you could have two days before this one is gone. Maybe ten if you're lucky. You know, do you feel better positioned to be able to get your application where it needs to get this time? Or no?
SOPIT: It's hard to say because I don't really have much faith in the system anymore. If anything, if this has taught me anything, it's that we all get to make a choice, and to choose who we give comfort to I really hope that we can all refocus on protecting our most vulnerable instead of just monied interest.
BURNETT: So, President Trump said today, Tom, I don't know if you saw this, but he said he is going to ask some of the bigger companies that were able to get those loans to return the money. And then, you know, Ruth's Chris said it was giving it back, Potbelly, how did you feel about them, they are getting the money from the program before you did?
SOPIT: It's discouraging, because we see all of the -- all of this on the news that all these big publicly traded corporations, some of them grossing close to half a billion dollars in revenue, are receiving $20 million and then a small business like us, we're receiving a letter that says the program is out of money. You know, it just continues that frustration because it is very clear that access equals success.
And even if they give it back now, what does that matter? Why did they even go for it to begin with?
BURNETT: I just want to make sure I clarify. They got the money. They did not return it. Shake Shack did, but Ruth's Chris and Potbelly did not. I want to make sure, because I misspoke there.
Tom, can I ask you, just given how things are and the uncertainty and the fear and the heartache that you have, with your livelihood, that important definition of yourself, your work that you have built, I mean, how are you managing right now? How is your family?
SOPIT: My family is OK. I mean, we're going day to day. We're just trying to stay focused on kind of the charitable aspects we're still doing and, you know, for us at least, we've made a choice that we want to continue feeding people in our industry and the hospital workers who protect us, so we want to give comfort to people who we feel need it most right now.
So I think that's kind of where we're focusing all of our attention and just, you know, trying to stay busy as best we can.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Tom, I appreciate your taking the time. I hope people heard what you had to say. And thank you.
SOPIT: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And I want to go straight now to Austan Goolsbee, who is the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama.
So, Austan, when you hear what Tom is saying, you know, that is -- and when he is talking about charitable evidence so people know he has been using his restaurant to feed other restaurant workers just to do that for free, first responders, that's what he's been doing. He's been unable to get this money.
And yet you have companies that had big, existing relationships with banks, some of them do happen to be pretty big, publicly traded companies, well known brands, able to get the money.
Now we're hearing this one is going to run out in two to ten days and yet you've spent as much money on the small business program as essentially in the entire bail out of the great financial crisis when you were in the White House. It's pretty stunning.
How is this happening?
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Look, I think it is stunning. That's the right word.
The $350 billion that we blew through for small business, that's almost $3,000 per family for the United States. So, if we just spent $3,000 a family and it turns out that we outsourced the decision of who should get the money to banks. You can't be surprised the banks decided who should get the money are the people they are most comfortable with and are the safest -- safest credits that they have. The problem is, the companies that banks are most comfortable with and are the safest for them are not the companies that are at highest risk of having to liquidate, shut down, or fire people. And this money was intended to try to help exactly the small businesses like Tom's where they're kind of on the margin. And if you look in my own neighborhood, we got a pizza place on the corner called Pizzeria Nella (ph) and down the street, there's a Potbelly Sandwich shop which is a national chain.
Potbelly got money. I'm not exactly sure how they did it but they got money. And Nella didn't. The chance that a small, local restaurant or dry cleaner, beauty salon, whatever, in your neighborhood is going to be done for good, unfortunately, is going up with time because they're just blowing through this money.
BURNETT: Well, right. And I know, you know, talking to the dry cleaner I deal with, they weren't able to get it. They have had business around for a long time in a lot, a big part of New York City. And I was shocked when I heard that.
So how do you fix this, Austan? Because, obviously, the federal government didn't want to be in the business of having to evaluate the loans, right? That's why they out sourced it to the banks and you can understand why they thought banks would be better at doing that. Yet that is exactly what is causing the problem here.
GOOLSBEE: Yes, look, I think that is what's causing the problem. A part of what is in this bill today, I still got to look at it in some more detail, but I think one thing that is successful is trying to get the money not just to the biggest banks but also to some of the smaller community banks because they at least will have more connection on the ground to these local -- these more local businesses.
I think the second thing is the government has not really been that up front or clear to the banks with what is it that we want the companies to do either with the money -- part of these loans become forgivable grants if you don't layoff employees and things like that. And in a weird way, it made the problem worse. Because it led the banks to try to identify companies who had the smallest negative hits on their demand. Those are exactly the kinds of companies that are not going to layoff workers.
So, of course, they want to get free grants from the government. I think we've got to make the criteria clearer and we've got to work through other financial institutions not just the big banks.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Austan, for laying that out.
And next, one of the top experts in the world on infectious disease has caught coronavirus while studying it. It took him out for six weeks. Why he says there were days he was afraid.
Plus, President Trump wishing Kim Jong Un well after CNN is learning the United States is monitoring intelligence the North Korean leader is in grave condition. What we are learning about his health tonight.
BURNETT: Tonight, the renowned virologist behind the movie "Contagion" warning, quote, we're in trouble when it comes to this coronavirus. Dr. Ian Lipkin contracted the virus himself in February and has been investigating where the virus came from. Dr. Lipkin who is the director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University and joins me now.
And, Dr. Lipkin, I'm so glad to have you with me. You know, you're with me, and I'm glad you're doing better. You know, when I'm reading some of the things that you have been saying, you said this virus took you away from your work for about six weeks. I know you're back though now and we hear from the CDC director there could be a worse second wave in the winter, and you also have a warning about what we could be facing.
DR. IAN W. LIPKIN, DIRECTOR, CNETER FOR INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Yes, good to be with you, Erin. Happy to be here.
I feel much better today so I've come out the other side and presumably I'm not immune. It is interesting I became sick when I came back from China in 2003. This time, I became sick in New York, which indicates how the shift has occurred on the epicenter of the outbreak.
The concern that's been raised by Robert Redfield is that next fall and winter we're going to have to contend with influenza at the same time we have this new COVID issue. And it is going to be difficult to differentiate the two. Clinically, they may appear to be quite the same and obviously the treatments for flu and for COVID are very different.
We hope that by that point we may actually have a treatment for COVID. At present, we're still in the process of trying to sort that out.
BURNETT: So, you know, so when it comes to your situation, I know that you were fortunate, Dr. Lipkin. You didn't have to go to the hospital. But you did say, and I think it is important for people to hear, you know, given who you are and your expertise, that there were some days when you were afraid.
Tell us what you were experiencing.
LIPKIN: So, my outset -- the onset of the disease for me was quite classically and similar to other people's. I had a fever headache. I had coughing, I sweated, I had headache, which is a little bit unusual, and then I slowly began to improve.
But around day eight to ten, many people have a second sort of phase of the disease where they begin to deteriorate a bit. This may, in fact, be in relationship to the immune system kicking in, and you may be looking at side effects of that immunity.
I did have some mild shortness of breath. It never progressed to the point where I felt that I was going to need to be hospitalized.
BURNETT: So, you know, we've been seeing some states, Dr. Lipkin, obviously Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, they are taking steps to reopen, doing so this week. You've got beaches open now. You're going to have salons, you're going to have movie theaters.
What impact do you think those few states, which are doing this, by the way, even more accelerated than the White House plan that's out there. How much of a negative effect, if there is one, could they have on the country as a whole when you worry about the possibility of a second surge or a second peak?
LIPKIN: This is extremely worrisome because people cross state lines all the time. So you could have excellent containment in one state and then because people are exposing themselves, individuals come through that state, either passing through or returning to school or what have you, and they carry the virus with them. This is an extraordinary risk for us all.
So, you know, people need to get this through, you know -- think about this. All we have at present is containment and physical distancing, and testing that allows us to do that in an intelligent way. When we have a vaccine, all of this is going to recede. When we have good drugs, it will be a different story.
But that's not where we are now. All we have is common sense.
BURNETT: And you view that as extremely risky. So let me ask you another crucial question, Dr. Lipkin. This is sort of the heart of, you know, a lot of conversation about this, which is where this virus came from, right?
Obviously, we know that it -- Wuhan, China, was where it came from. But we know U.S. officials are looking into the theory that it is a natural virus, but that it leaked out of a lab in Wuhan where they were studying coronaviruses in bats.
I know that you were actually in China before you contracted this. I know you say you contracted it here. You were there talking to people about it and the virus.
What do you believe at this point about where it came from?
LIPKIN: There is an enormous difficulty we have right now with xenophobia and finger-pointing. It's going both directions and it's not productive.
This is a virus that originated in a bat. We don't know which bat. We don't know precisely where that bat was located. But if you look at the sequence and you examine what's present in bats and what's present in humans, you can see very clear that there's a linkage between what started in the bat and what ultimately was found in the human. We were asked to look specifically at whether or not there was any
possibility that this virus was bioengineered, created in a laboratory and then released in the world. There is zero evidence to support that. There is also no evidence to support the idea that this virus somehow leaked out of the lab.
We have an enormous problem with emerging infectious diseases every three to five years there's another one. HIV, West Nile Virus, Nipah, Ebola, Marburg, another Ebola, SARS, MERS, so forth.
These viruses emerged in nature and, frankly, is a self-inflicted wound. If we didn't destroy our habitat, it if we didn't have forced migration, poverty and many of these other issues, bushmeat consumption, so forth, we would have far lower risk. These are things we do to ourselves.
BURNETT: It's a very -- it's a very interesting point and how you link it to being human cause.
All right. Dr. Lipkin, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much, sir.
LIPKIN: My pleasure, Erin. Bye-bye.
BURNETT: And next, President Trump weighing in on CNN, reporting that the U.S. is now monitoring intelligence, which suggests Kim Jong Un is in grave danger after undergoing surgery. What he's saying tonight.
BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump says he wishes Kim Jong Un well after a CNN report that U.S. officials are monitoring intelligence that suggests Kim is in grave danger after undergoing surgery.
Jim Sciutto reports OUTFRONT.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the U.S. is monitoring intelligence suggesting that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is in grave danger after undergoing a surgery according to U.S. officials. The secretive North Korean leader recently missed the national celebration of his grandfather's birthday on April 19th which raised questions about his well-being.
A South Korean online newspaper that reported Kim who appears overweight underwent a cardiovascular procedure on April 12. Another U.S. official tells CNN that Kim is definitely unwell, but he is still likely involved in day to day decisions despite his deteriorating condition.
This morning, the White House national security advisor confirming the U.S. is keeping a close watch on Kim's health. ROBERT O'BRIEN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Yes, we're watching
reports closely. We'll have to see, as everyone here knows, the North Koreans are parsimonious with the information that they put out about many things, especially when it comes to their leaders.
SCIUTTO: These images show that last time Kim was last seen in public on April 11. According to North Korean state media chairing a politburo meeting four days before missing his grandfather's birthday celebration.
But while his absence is notable, North Korea is notoriously difficult for U.S. intelligence to penetrate making concerns about the state of his health difficult to assess.
GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": North Korea is a hard target for the intelligence services. They really don't have much in the way of assets.
SCIUTTO: South Korea says they are unable to confirm the reports about Kim's health. Nevertheless, U.S. officials have begun to reach out to experts on North Korea, to assess what the aftermath of Kim's rule could look like, a potentially unstable nation with nuclear weapons.
JOSEPH YUN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Kim Jong-un is very young. As a result, there are no succession plans.
SCIUTTO: One possible successor would be Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, one of the most visible members of the family. She appeared at the Winter Olympics in South Korea and attended the Singapore summit with President Trump.
O'BRIEN: It's hard to know, but it seems to have been a family succession over the past -- at least we've had three leaders in a row of North Korea who have been in the family.
BURNETT: And that was Jim Sciutto reporting.
Thank you so much for joining us.
Anderson continues the breaking coverage now.