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Georgia Governor Preparing to Reopen State Economy Despite No Recent Decrease in Coronavirus Cases; North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Reportedly Suffering Complications after Surgery; Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is Interviewed About White House, Dems Near Deal on $450 Billion Stimulus Package. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired April 21, 2020 - 08:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And she will come back and answer. Great to see you.

JEAN CHATZKY, CEO, HERMONEY.COM: Nice to see you, too, thanks.

CAMEROTA: OK, so we have some major developments on the coronavirus. We also have breaking news out of North Korea for you. NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gyms, barbershops, hair and nail salons, all cleared to reopen in Georgia on Friday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will get Georgians back to work safely without undermining the progress that we all have made in this battle against COVID-19.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that decision was reckless. It shows you how undisciplined the leadership of this country has been.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know that the virus is still out there. We know that it's a contagious virus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are hearing leader Kim Jong-un could be in grave danger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. has been monitoring intelligence that he had a surgery. The aftermath of that surgery, there were complications.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. A huge amount of news this morning from the American south to North Korea to the U.S. border. First, the huge gamble being taken by some U.S. governors, even with the national death toll from coronavirus doubling in just one week, some states are relaxing many social distance restrictions. On Friday, in Georgia, gyms, bowling alleys, hair and nail salons, massage therapists, even tattoo parlors, they can reopen. Theaters and restaurants can reopen on Monday. South Carolina is already reopening retail stores. Tennessee, Texas, and Alaska also planning to ease restrictions this week. None of these states, none has seen a 14-day decline in cases, which was one of the suggested conditions by the Trump administration. Georgia's governor concedes that this decision will cause cases to spike.

CAMEROTA: Also breaking overnight, President Trump claims the pandemic in the United States is so bad that he will sign an executive order temporarily suspending all immigration into the United States. So if the situation in the U.S. is that dire, why then are those states overriding the federal stay at home guidelines? We have no details about the immigration ban, how it will be implemented, or how long it will last.

We are also following breaking news out of North Korea. U.S. intelligence suggests that dictator Kim Jong-un is in grave danger after undergoing surgery. We'll share the reporting that our Jim Sciutto is breaking.

But, first, we start in the United States, and the plan for some states to reopen this week.

BERMAN: All right, joining us now, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Carlos Del Rio, he is the executive associate dean and chair of the Department of Global Health at Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta. Both of you, gentlemen, this is not an obstruction what is happening in Georgia, the announcement by Georgia governor Brian Kemp. You both live in Georgia. So Sanjay, let me just start with you. How comfortable are you with backing off some of these social distance restrictions? How comfortable are you with barbers and hair salons and tattoo parlors, massage parlors, opening up on Friday?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm not very comfortable. I mean, this is a concern. It's a huge gamble, as you framed it, John. I do understand the desire to open things, I hear about this living here from people that I know. But the problem is that it is just too early. The federal guidelines, and they are just guidelines, but they recommend that we see a 14-day decrease in new infections, and we see a 14-day decrease in symptoms of these sorts of infections. But you can look at the graph and see how Georgia has sort of -- how the numbers have been over the last several days, and you see there is not a 14-day decrease. In fact, over the last couple of days, the numbers have continued to increase. And when you see that, you see people starting to get infected, then you know there is a bit of a lag time between hospitalizations and a bit of a lag time, sadly, if people die. So we're just not ready.

And as you mentioned, some of these businesses, it's very hard to maintain a physical distance there. Do you know if the person who is in a potentially going to be doing your nails or whatever it might be has been tested? Could they potentially spread the virus to you? Has the place been deep cleaned? Has the ventilation in these places be checked? These are all part of the guidelines as well for places that you might visit. So we're not there. We're going to get there at some point, but I think it is too early and I think there might be a resurgence of cases.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Del Rio, I want to pull up a graphic that shows the states in the United States that are currently seeing an uptick, and it is interesting to just look at where they are on the map, and also Georgia is one of them. So those are Massachusetts, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, and Kentucky.


And so that makes it particularly, I think, troubling that Georgia is one of the places that is on the upswing, and that they're thinking about reopening. One more thing, and that's the model that the White House has been using, which is the University of Washington model. They recommended given the trajectory of Georgia cases that Georgia not reopen until June 15th, OK, not April 15th, not May 15th, June 15th. And so the governor is really sort of overriding what even the guidelines that the White House is using. Your thoughts?

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE DEAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: I think this is a very tricky virus. It spreads very rapidly with a very short incubation period of five days. And we are learning a lot about what we call asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission. Maybe eight out of every 10 people that have this virus actually have very little to no symptoms. So as a result of that, it is very hard to control the transmission because you could be asymptomatic and be transmitting to other people. And that's part of the challenge that we have. This is a very, very difficult to control virus, a very difficult virus to stop.

So what we're seeing right now is despite everything that we have done, there is still an upswing of cases. And now you have to look at states like Georgia, it is not the entire state. Really, there are certain very specific hot spots that need to have targeted action taken. And when I think about, for example, down in south Georgia, near the city of Albany, where there were two outbreaks -- two funerals that led to a lot of outbreaks, I think there is a lot of effort that needs to be done down there.

I really think what is necessary right now is really a very targeted approach of rapid identification, isolation, contact tracing, that will allow it to stop the spread of the virus, and we need to do that. We need to implement it right away. So given the decisions taken and given the desire to open up, let's make sure we have, a, the testing and the rapid response that is necessary, and then that we continue observing things, and if we continue with a watchful eye and if necessary take corrective decisions right away.

My biggest concern is overwhelming hospitals. My biggest concern is having too many patients that we simply cannot take care of. When I talk to my colleagues in New York, and I don't want to be where they are right now, where they have more patients than they're able to manage. BERMAN: It is interesting. I actually spoke to the mayor of Albany

earlier this morning, and he tells me that despite what Governor Kemp says, they don't have the hospital capacity they want to handle an influx of new cases in Albany. They don't have the contact tracing that they want in Albany to handle new cases if they do develop fast. He's concerned there. As you said, that is a hot spot.

Sanjay, you were telling us, and I think this is fascinating, restaurants and theaters will reopen in Georgia, or can, on Monday. What do you risk if you go into one of these restaurants? And I want people to know, obviously we all want things to open as soon as they can safely, but people do need to know what the risks are.

GUPTA: Yes, there is real risk. Part of the issue with restaurants is that you're often sitting in one place for a prolonged period of time. So part of this is the physical distance, and part of this is how long you're in proximity, seemingly, to somebody else.

So we have this graphic. This is actually on the CDC's website, as well, you can take a closer look if you want. But this was a study out of China, and basically three tables, families, that these tables that are close together in this restaurant. And there is one person who subsequently is diagnosed with the coronavirus infection, that's person A1 in the middle table there. But take a look at what happens to these three tables. Four people at that table, the same table, the A table, three people at the table right behind him, and two people at the table one table over all subsequently become infected.

This is a contagious virus, and this is an example of just how contagious it can be. I think the overlap in table time was around 53 minutes between the two tables, but it gives you an idea. Prolonged contact with someone who didn't even know at the time they were infected, was subsequently diagnosed, could spread the virus that rapidly.

Are these restaurants, these businesses that are opening, are they going to have had their ventilation checked? Are they going to go through deep cleaning all the time? Are the people who work there going to be tested, because as Dr. Del Rio was reminding us, you don't have to have a fever. They may do temperature checks that maybe have some utility, but you don't have to have symptoms in order to be harboring this virus in your body.

This is a tough situation. I think these are tough calls overall, but the idea of opening this up too early is not a tough call. I just don't think it should be done. There are still places, as Dr. Del Rio was mentioning in parts of the state where nursing homes still don't have -- they tell me they don't have enough personal protective equipment. What are they going to do if they get new patients? It is suddenly starting to put other people at risk again.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, I want to stick with you for one more second, because we get new information about this virus every single morning. And so today is no different. We have some preliminary findings from a Los Angeles County study on antibody testing. So what have we learned from this now? [08:10:13]

GUPTA: Yes. So this is -- there was a study last week and now this new study that gives an idea of just how widespread this infection might be. It is pretty clear we're not doing enough testing. I think we have established that, in Georgia or most places around the country. So if you're not doing enough testing, do you really know how widespread this is? By doing some antibody testing and starting to extrapolate data, what they found was that the number of people who are infected, for example, in L.A. County and in another municipality in California, could be 50 times higher than what the confirmed infection rate is.

So, for example, in one county, I think they said 1,000 people who had a confirmed infection, but in fact the number of people who likely had been infected to this virus at some point was closer to 50,000 people. So it just gives you some indication that the virus has probably been spreading for some time, it is very contagious and exposed a lot of people. It is bad news. We talked about this since the beginning when we started talking about this on NEW DAY. It is bad news because it is spread a lot, but it also means that the fatality rate is probably lower, means that there's a lot of people out there who have not had symptoms or have had only mild symptoms as well.

GUPTA: And Dr. Del Rio, one of the remaining questions is if you are one of those people with those antibodies, what kind of immunity does that provide and for how long? That's still an unanswered question, even with this new knowledge coming from L.A. County.

DEL RIO: Absolutely, John. And I think that's a very important question. First of all, not all antibodies are created equal, not all antibody tests are created equal. Some tests simply tell you you've been exposed to the virus, you've had it, others tests actually tell you if you're immune to the virus. It really depends what part of the virus is the antibody test detecting. And there is a specific area in the virus that we know it is a conserved region in the spike protein which is where a lot of vaccines are being targeted. But we know that's where the -- but the currently available commercial tests, none of them is looking at that part.

So again, there is -- the antibody test right now, it is a little bit of a wild, wild west. There's a lot of tests out there, they're not created equal, and there needs to be a better understanding of what test exactly is being offered and what are you going to do with it.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Del Rio, Sanjay Gupta, thank you, doctors, both very much.

OK, we have to get to this other breaking news right now. This is out of North Korea. There are serious questions this morning about the health of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. One U.S. official tells CNN that Kim is in, quote, grave danger after undergoing surgery. CNN's Jim Sciutto broke this story last night. He joins us now with the details. Jim, share your reporting with us.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: So I'm told that the U.S. is monitoring intelligence, that Kim's health is in danger following a surgery. This comes from a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the intelligence. Also part of this picture is that Kim six days ago missed a major event in North Korea, that is an event commemorating his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, the founding leader of North Korea. Following his absence from that ceremony, questions were raised why, why did he miss this? And it is more recently that the U.S. received intelligence that he had a surgery, and that the aftermath of that surgery may have caused problems.

Now, we always have to mention when you're talking about North Korea and intelligence, it is the blackest of black boxes. It is difficult to penetrate for U.S. and foreign intelligence services. So hard answers in this country are always a question mark. That said, the U.S. taking this information seriously enough that they have reached out to North Korean experts, contacts on the peninsula, to discuss at least what the ramifications of this might look like, questions such as would there be a need for humanitarian aid in the wake of this, would there be an exodus of refugees, et cetera, what succession might look like. Again, those are preparatory questions. They are not there yet. But, again, they do at least have intelligence indicators that his health is in danger.

CAMEROTA: Jim, we just got some reaction from the White House to the news that you're breaking. This is the presidents' national security adviser Robert O'Brien. Here is what he said moments ago.


ROBERT O'BRIEN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: It is 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. So I think basic assumption would be that maybe it would be someone in the family. But, again, it's too early to talk about that because we just don't know what condition Chairman Kim is in, and we'll have to see how it plays out.


CAMEROTA: Jim, it sounds like publicly at least they don't have any more information this morning either.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, they just don't seem to know. But the fact is you have the national security adviser speaking publicly about that question of succession, means this is something they're looking at seriously.

Again, as I said, with North Korea, you don't know for sure until there is an official announcement. But officials taking the intelligence they have seriously enough that they are talking about these questions. What would succession look like, what would the other ramifications be? That's where it stands now.

You always have to watch the Hermit Kingdom, as it's known, with a very close eye, U.S. intelligence does, and look to see if there are other indicators coming out of that country, particularly if there are any official announcements in state media as to his condition.

We should note that a South Korean official told CNN overnight that from their perspective, they do not have any hard indicators that his health is in grave danger.

CAMEROTA: Jim Sciutto, thank you very much for all of your reporting this morning.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Small business owners are desperate for relief after the federal government's loan program ran out of money. So we'll ask Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer about a possible deal to help them. He's here live next.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The White House and Democrats still negotiating a $450 billion deal to help small businesses and expand coronavirus testing. We had been told senators could vote on it as early as today.

Joining me now is the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.


Senator Schumer, thank you very much for being with us.

What's the current state of play in these negotiations?

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Yes. Well, I think we will be able to pass this today. Last night, well past midnight, Speaker Pelosi, myself, Chief of Staff Meadows and Secretary of State Mnuchin were on the phone and we came to an agreement on just about every issue.

Staff was up all night, writing. There is still a few more I's to dot and T's to cross, but we have a deal. And I believe we'll pass it today.

BERMAN: Our understanding was one of the conditions that Democrats were pushing for was a national testing plan. Not just $30 billion for testing, but a national testing plan.

Are you sticking with that demand?

SCHUMER: Yes, John. This is one of the last things that we had to hold out for. We do believe the states need money. We do believe as the president and the governors do that, it's a partnership, but we need a national strategy.

As the governors have said, to get the kinds of testing that's done, to get the contract tracing, to make the tests free, you need a significant federal involvement, you need a national strategy, and the president and Mnuchin and Meadows agreed to that, to their credit. And will be in the proposal. BERMAN: What else is in the proposal? One of the concerns was that in

the first round, that a lot of the money went to publicly traded companies or companies worth more than $100 million.


BERMAN: So what guarantees do you have in place this time around that the money will get to so many of these smaller small businesses in need?

SCHUMER: Well, this is -- this is one of the main things we held out for. The reports I'm getting is that two-thirds of the businesses in New York that applied didn't get it. Those who didn't have a good banking connection, you know, a restaurant, a nail salon, a small startup business.

We insisted that a chunk of the money be separate from the competition with the bigger companies, you know, the people -- the ones that have 200, 300, 400 people and the relationship with the banks.

And we got $125 billion that will go exclusively to the unbanked, to the minorities, to the rural areas, and to all of those little mom and pop stores that don't have a good banking connection and need the help. We did two other things in the bill. We did increase the money, not only to testing which was so vital to us.

Testing is key. We're in the going to be able to open up America unless we have a national testing strategy and the states tied into that. We got that in the bill. That's really important.

But we also got money for hospitals, another $75 billion.

And the one place that we regretted, Republican opponents opposed, was more money for states and localities, but we did get a commitment from the White House that they would be able to use those funds for lost revenues. That's very, very important, and that's one of the major demands that the governors and mayors had, because as you know, the revenues are declining.

And on FEMA, where we did get good vibes, good support from Mnuchin, that the president might move up the FEMA share to 100 percent for some of the tough stuff -- tough hit states.

BERMAN: Let me ask about the aid to state and local governments there. So I want to make sure I understand that correctly, because as recently as this weekend, and Bill de Blasio just moments ago on the show, the mayor of New York City, you are a New York City resident, he was saying that the president's message to New York was: basically drop dead, New York.


BERMAN: Because there is no direct federal to the city.

Is that part of this deal, yes or no? SCHUMER: The answer is we will fight for that in COVID 4 very

strongly and we do believe the White House will understand the need for it. They resisted. The Republican Senate, McConnell and others resisted.

But the one thing we did get -- we need the money, don't get me wrong and they refused in this bill -- but we did get this ability to what (ph) -- use the money that's been already sent that's not spent yet and the future money that we're going to --


SCHUMER: -- much bigger than the -- wait, much bigger than the 150 we asked to be used for lost revenues. That was important to the mayors and the governors.

BERMAN: OK. But just to be clear, we do have a deal as the words you said to me, there is a deal right now?

SCHUMER: There's still dotting the I's and crossing the T's, but every major issue was resolved by the four of us last night. And I know that Mnuchin and Meadows were in good touch with Leader McConnell and with the president as we went through this.

So, yes, I believe we have a deal. And I believe that we will pass it this afternoon at 4:00 p.m.

BERMAN: All right, thank you for the updates there.

If I can, I'd like to ask you about some other developments that took place overnight. One of them was that president made this announcement, albeit on Twitter, that he was going to sign an executive order suspending all immigration to the United States.

Your reaction?

SCHUMER: Look, I think it's another diversion. The agencies don't even know what it is. No one knows what it is.

Last -- yesterday, or the day before, we were talking about WHO.


I think the president ought to stop these diversions. What we really need is a focus on testing, a focus on contact tracing, so that we can open up again and that should be the focus, that's what we've been -- we've been negotiating this all night. And I don't think we should be lost in diversions that have little to do with getting the testing and the opening up of America that we need.

BERMAN: What's your opinion of what's happening in some states including Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, where they're beginning to reopen businesses? Now, these are not your constituents exactly, but how do you feel about these measures? SCHUMER: Here's what I feel -- I feel that we ought to be listening

to the medical experts. The worst thing that could happen is if we open up too soon, and then this coronavirus comes back in a second round with a vengeance. And that could happen in the summer, it could happen in the fall, who knows when it could happen?

But listen to the experts and be safe. Every expert I have talked to said, you got to be careful. And, by the way, the wisdom of the American people is real.

I think two-thirds of them say they're worried we'll move too fast, not that we'll move too slowly. Everyone has a right to protest and make their views known. But because a couple of thousand protesters gather on a lawn doesn't mean that we should bend to their will, they're not the scientific experts, nor am I.

We ought to listen to them and be very careful.

BERMAN: What are your concerns as a resident of New York City that someone from Georgia or South Carolina could end up bringing the virus from there to here?

SCHUMER: You know, we cross state borders. And that's one of the reasons we did need some -- we needed a national -- we need a national program on testing and that's why we need a national -- national guidance on these things.

It's up to each state, but, you know, you could have the weakest link bring down the other states and I am very worried about that.

I wish the president would discourage, not encourage these governors.

BERMAN: Senator Chuck Schumer, we appreciate you being with us, delivering the news that you believe you have a deal, barring the T's and the I's that are being dotted and crossed, but we appreciate your time this morning.

SCHUMER: Thank you very much. Good to talk to you.

BERMAN: All right. Georgia's governor plans to let some businesses, including gyms, bowling alleys, hair salons reopen as soon as Friday. We're going to get reaction from a mayor of one Georgia city, next.