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Trump Falsely Claims He Didn't Suggest Looking into Internal Disinfectant as Coronavirus Treatment; Dr. Lauren Meyers Discusses Trump Suggesting Injecting Disinfectant & New Models for Projecting Coronavirus Spread; Cuomo Slams McConnell for Saying States Should Go Bankrupt; Northeastern University Model Shows Coronavirus Was in New York Before March 1st; Update on Coronavirus Response from Around the World. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired April 24, 2020 - 14:30   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Back to the stunning reversal and lie from the president now trying to claim he was being sarcastic when he made the nonsensical and potentially deadly suggestion that people use disinfectants as a coronavirus treatment or inject disinfectants or that be studied.

Here's the president earlier today. Here's his lie.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Clarify your comments about injection of disinfectants --


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I was asking the question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.

Now, Disinfectant, doing this on the hands would maybe work and I was asking the question of the gentleman who was there yesterday, Bill, because when they say that something will last three or four hours or six hours, but if the sun is out or use disinfectant, it goes away less than a minute. Did you hear about this yesterday?

But I was asking a sarcastic and a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside. But it does kill it and it would kill it on the hands and make things much better. That was done in the form of a sarcastic question to the reporters.


COOPER: Wasn't talking to reporters. He was talking to Bill Brian and Dr. Birx, and he wasn't being sarcastic at all. Not at all.

Listen to what he said to his task force coordinator, Dr. Birx, and sitting off to her side is Bill Brian from DHS.


TRUMP: Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you've said that hasn't been checked but you're going to test it.

I said, suppose you brought the light inside the body, which you can do, either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you're going to test that, too. Sounds interesting.


TRUMP: And then I see the disinfectant, knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and does a tremendous number on the lungs. It would be interesting to check that.


COOPER: We're showing you Dr. Birx there just because she looks so pained and embarrassed and horrified. She's just remaining silent and pretending she's not there.

Off to her side, which you didn't see, was Bill Brian, who had just spoken about humidity and light. And Bill Brian is the one from DHS. He's a scientist.

I couldn't clearly hear what he had said but sounds like we'll find the people who do that or something towards that effect. But clearly that's who the president was talking to. And he wasn't being sarcastic at all.


Let's bring in Professor Lauren Ancel Meyers, from the University of Texas at Austin. And her team working on models to project the spread of the virus.

I want to get to that in a moment. I want to know, first of all, Doctor, what you made of the president suggesting experimenting with injecting disinfectants into people.


Well, I am a mathematical modeler, and what we usually do --


MEYERS: No, no, you're right. But my expertise is in building models that project how viruses like COVID-19 are going to spread and specifically evaluating proven interventions like in this case, social distancing.

And I usually leave it to the medical experts to evaluate different kinds of possible treatments. That said, my other job is a mother of three, and I usually tell my

kids to avoid drinking cleaning fluids. That's all I think I have to say about that.

COOPER: Fair enough.

I want to talk about the work your team is doing at the University of Texas. It's the first publicly available model to project COVID-19 deaths for individual cities. Much more granular than we've seen. Can you just talk about what you're doing and what it may mean?

MEYERS: Yes, so last week, we released a new forecasting model on our Web site which projects the daily number of deaths from COVID-19 across the United States and in all 50 states.

And today, we're releasing a new version of the model that actually makes the exact same projections for 99 different metropolitan areas in the United States.

We look at cell phone mobility data to estimate how much people are social distancing in each of these cities and using that to project how much deaths will be increasing or, hopefully, subsiding in the days and weeks ahead.

COOPER: What stood out to you from the model?

MEYERS: So one of the things that stands out when you compare the projections we've already had online for states to the projections we're just releasing now for cities is that cities can look very different from states.

You may have a state with a clear signal that the mortality curve has peaked and deaths are beginning to descend, but cities within those states that either show a different trend or where we just simply don't have enough data yet to determine whether deaths are going to continue to rise or start to fall soon.

COOPER: It's interesting because it reminds me of Governor Cuomo. I think it was yesterday. The days are kind of blending together. He was talking about how they've done this survey on infection, people who have antibodies. And they do random sampling. Statewide in New York, it was just below 14 percent of the people found to have antibodies, but in New York City, it was 21 percent.

So as you're saying, a state can have a certain number but each city and different cities in that state can have different numbers.

MEYERS: Yes, absolutely. So for example, if you look at the state of Wisconsin, where I'm actually originally from, the city of Milwaukee looks like there's an 83 percent chance it's past the peak, whereas, the city of Madison is very uncertain whether it's past the peak or will pass the peak in the next two weeks.

COOPER: Is there a site people can go and see this?

MEYERS: Yes, absolutely. It's -- the best way to tell you is, if you look for the U.T. COVID-19 Modelling Consortium, you can navigate to our projections.

COOPER: OK, cool. Appreciate it.

MEYERS: They're on right now.

COOPER: People might want to check out their cities and see if it's on there.

Lauren Ancel Meyers, I appreciate your time and your efforts. Thank you.

MEYERS: Thank you.

COOPER: We're learning new details from the antibody test in New York. What it could mean for the fight the spread.


We'll be right back.


COOPER: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasting the Senate majority leader for saying they should let the states go bankrupt, a short time ago, called it a very dumb idea.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Legally, a state can't declare bankruptcy. You would need a federal law allowing states to declare bankruptcy.

So to the Senate that proposed it, I say, pass a law allowing states to declare bankruptcy. I dare you. And let the president sign that bill that says, I give the states the legal ability to declare bankruptcy.

Your suggestion, Senator McConnell, pass the law. I dare you.


COOPER: CNN's Brynn Gingras joins us now from New York.

The governor also talked about the new antibody test results in New York that show the virus is more widespread than previously believed. We mentioned in the last segment, below 14 percent statewide, around 21 percent in New York City.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and with as much emotion as he talked about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He has the same emotion talking about this, Anderson.

He said, about one in seven people in the entire state of New York likely infected with the coronavirus. Bigger if you isolate New York City, one in five. That's coming from the 3,000 antibody tests that the state did starting on Monday. And this really goes along with that model that we were hearing about

from Northeastern that said this virus was within the community, possibly more than 10,000 cases, before March 1st.

And the governor addressed that as well in his news conference today.


CUOMO: A researcher now says, known the number of flights coming into New York from Italy, it was like watching a horrible train wreck in slow motion. Those were the flights coming from Italy and from Europe, January and February.


We closed the front door with the China travel ban, which was right. Even in retrospect, it was right. But we left the back door open. Because the virus had left China by the time we did the China travel ban.


GINGRAS: Clear frustration there from the governor about the issue, looking back.

But looking forward, the antibody tests will be one example of what they're looking at as they consider a lot of research, including just widespread diagnostic testing in different regions of the state trying to move forward and open up the state.

Of course, we heard from the mayor of New York City as well saying that May is going to be a very pivotal month in New York City but may not be until September that we actually see things, quote, unquote, "getting a little bit more back to normal" -- Anderson.

COOPER: He told a remarkable story of a letter he received from a farmer in the Midwest whose wife has only one part of her lung and has health issues. He had five N-95 masks and he sent one of them to the governor so the governor could give it to a doctor or a nurse. I just found it such a moving story.

Brynn Gingras, appreciate your time. Thank you.

Coming up, what CNN has learned after going inside an intensive care uniting, fighting one of the worst outbreaks in the U.K. That's next.



COOPER: The European Union says it hopes to raise over $8 million for testing and prevention efforts starting early next month.

Our CNN correspondents have more on how the outbreak is reshaping everyday life around the world.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I'm Nick Paton Walsh, in London, where we hear the stories of British doctors who had to hold telephones up to their ear of dying patients to have last words with wives.

Inside these walls, the debate about how fast the country should reopen. And it seems silly given the fact they're seeing deaths every single day, much of the week, and also fearing the possibility of another wave if social restrictions are lifted.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Scott McLean, in Spain, where, for the first time since the outbreak began, more people recovered from the coronavirus than tested positive.

The health situation here is improving. Spain's economic health is a different story.

We rode along with the Madrid Fire Department tasked with delivering meals to those who need them, many of whom until now had never seen the inside of a food bank.

The coronavirus has caused hundreds of thousands into unemployment and millions more to be furloughed.

And one of the last industries to restart will be tourism, which makes up 12 percent of the Spanish economy.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: I'm Melissa Bell, in Paris, where the French president, Emmanuel Macron, has been speaking to the representatives of hotels and restaurants via video conference to try and reassure them and tell them that every step will be taken to ensure their survival.

This sector employs a million people in France. And as the French president told them, it is a part of the French way of life but also something that COVID-19, he said, doesn't respect.

And that is why the French government is going to put forward an extra amount of money, up to 10,000 Euros for restaurants, according to the French economy minister, to help those businesses, particularly. No decision until the end of May on when they will be allowed to reopen.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matt Rivers, in Mexico City. Further south, in the country of Ecuador, the number of cases doubled Thursday, going from 11,000 to about 22,000 cases after the government went through 10,000 tests that had been backlogged. The U.S. says it will send ventilator there to help with the situation.

The death toll standing at about 500 but we've spoken to several doctors in several hospitals in that country who are very skeptical of that number saying, in their opinion, the real number is far higher.


COOPER: Back to our breaking news. President Trump now flat-out lying about his dangerous comments that using disinfectants internally or injected with them or experimenting could somehow help treat coronavirus. He now claims he was being sarcastic. He wasn't.



COOPER: This weekend, CNN is airing a special coronavirus town hall for parents and kids. Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Erica Hill have teamed up with characters from Sesame Street to answer questions from families across the country.


ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Big Bird, this next question is for you.

BIG BIRD: It's for me?

HILL: And 3-year-old Connor, from Atlanta, Georgia, has this question.


UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Hey, Big Bird, what are you doing during this stay- at-home order?


BIG BIRD: Hi, Connor. Thank you for your question.

I've been reading and drawing pictures in my nest. And I drew a picture of my friend Oscar the Grouch and I'm going to give it to him when it is OK to have a play date.

I've also had video play dates with my friend, Snuffy. It is hard to see a Snuffa Luva Gus (ph) on a small-screen chat though.


BIG BIRD: What else? Oh, I've been doing virtual exercises with Grover. Here is one that we do. It is called the flap. It is just me flapping my wing. And it is fun.

But sometimes it is hard. And I do feel sad when I remember that I can't go to school and play with my friends. But you know, my friends have been helping me feel better.


COOPER: Don't forget to tune into "THE ABC's OF COVID-19." I'm going to watch that tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. Grover. Hmm.


Our special continues with Brianna Keilar. I'll see you tonight with "360" at 8:00 p.m.