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More States Moves To Reopen As U.S. Nears 1 Million Cases; Global Coronavirus Cases Top 3 Million, U.S. Cases Near 1 Million; TSA Reports, Americans Traveling By Plane Climbs Slightly. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired April 27, 2020 - 13:00   ET


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: -- that they do risk a new spike in cases if the Germans don't continue to adhere the social distancing measures.


Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Potsdam, Germany.

JOHN KING, CNN INSIDE POLITICS: Thanks for sharing your time today. I hope to see you back here tomorrow. Brooke Baldwin is back, picks up our coverage right now.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin, and you are watching CNN. And, boy, am I glad to be back.

Let me start with a thank you. Thank you for sending me so much love and prayers. COVID-19 gave me a beating, physically and mentally for two weeks. Then I took the third just to recoup. Severe body aches, fever, chills. And just ask my husband, a lot of tears. I never knew when it would end. It was relentless and scary and lonely.

But I was one of the lucky ones. Thousands of people are sitting in hospitals right now suffering. I made the trek to Central Park over the weekend for the first time since the quarantine began. In the middle of this glorious park, I reported on it, but I wanted to see it with my own eyes the tents erected as a makeshift hospital.

Can you just imagine, on one side of this sunny field, there are families biking by, and on the other people are fighting for their lives. It took my breath away. And I turned to my husband and said I hope we never see this again.

Some of have you a loved one in a hospital battling coronavirus. Some may not have made it home. And I offer you my deepest condolences. And to the nurses and the doctors and staff on the frontlines, God bless you. My heart goes out to especially those of you who have fallen ill while doing your job or those of you who have had to see your beloved colleagues become your patients on the other side of the curtain. And to our nation's scientists who work in the world of facts, we need you. Thank you.

So many unknowns when it comes to this virus. When does this end? Will there be a second wave, as the CDC director predicts, in the fall? With 26.5 million Americans having lost their jobs in the past five weeks, many are rightfully wondering how will I provide for my family on the other side.

So many inequities in our society have been eliminated by this virus. So much joy has been suddenly sucked out of our lives, social gatherings, concerts, sporting events canceled. It can be overwhelming.

So what are we supposed to take from this? I thought a lot about this while I was sick, and I was listening to Brene Brown while I was recovering. If you don't know who she is, she is the scientific researcher in Texas known for her wildly popular TED Talk and books about vulnerability and courage.

Brene was profiled in The New York Times over the weekend as her wisdom has come in handy during this uncertain time. And she said, quote, a crisis highlights all of our fault lines. We can pretend that we have nothing to learn or we can take this opportunity to own the truth and make a better future for ourselves and others.

She is right. We need to do something about the rapidly rising unemployment rate and the communities of color who are disproportionately affected by this. And we need examine why so many people are just feeling so lonely.

Brene also said, quote, we tend to be our worst selves when we're afraid, so we have to be intentional about choosing kindness and generosity.

Kindness and generosity, let's extend it to those who are disproportionately affected by coronavirus. Let's extend it to those who deliver our mail, stock our groceries, collect our garbage. Let's extend it to our families, our friends and, yes, even our adversaries.

I'll just close with this. Getting sick was awful, but hearing from thousands of you, sharing your kindness and generosity with me through texts and emails and a lot of D.M.s on Instagram was the biggest gift I unexpectedly received these last few weeks. And it showed me how even when the world stops and takes a collective breath, we are all capable of showing up for one another.

I am so moved by the millions of you who have been willing to sacrifice so much in these last few weeks all for the safety of your fellow Americans. I know it's tough and it still is. When the world reopens for good, let's remember these more challenging times and remind ourselves we have the power to take care of one another.


And with that, let me get you to the news of the day, specifically, to the nationwide experiment. We are all watching day-by-day as the number of cases nears a million. I am talking about reopening of some businesses in about a dozen states as governors try to restart their state's economy.

Despite not meeting the White House guideline that they should see 14 consecutive days of a decline in infections, and the White House is expected to issue further more detailed guidelines as early as this week, according to sources, the would be more direction on how to reopen restaurants, childcare centers, camps, public transportation, places of worship, with a focus on hygiene practices and keeping people spaced apart to prevent the virus' spread.

And in the hardest-hit state, right here in New York, the governor says deaths are down, but the state is still experiencing about 1,000 new cases of infections every day.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Monday, this is the total hospitalization rate. What you see is basically flat. Flat is not great. But flat may be a reaction to the weekend. We don't want to see flat. We want to see an increasing decline. And we want to see how fast that decline goes.


BALDWIN: But some businesses reopening their doors, just how many customers are actually willing to come in? CNN's Martin Savidge is in Atlanta. And, Martin, I know there were lines at barber shops and hair salons when they reopened on Friday. You are in a restaurant. Are you seeing anyone there? And good to see you, my friend, by the way.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's great to see you, Brooke, really, wonderful, and I'm so glad you're back with us.

I am sitting down in a restaurant. Okay, normally, it wouldn't be newsworthy, except in Georgia, it is because it means you can dine in finally. Let me show you. It's a rather lonely experience right now if you choose to dine in. Not many people feel that comfortable just yet. It's pretty clear. This is the second restaurant that we have checked. We were at a waffle house this morning.

Most folks there showed up, but they then immediately carried out. They had the opportunity to sit down if they wanted to. They have social distanced, as you can see, the tables and everything else. And they certainly worked to sanitize. But it's the state of mind. Most folks just don't seem quite ready.

Say hello to Brian. He is the manager. Brian, give me your last name.


SAVIDGE: So how has it gone so far?

MANCUSO: Well, it's about as we expected. We didn't feel like there are going to be people lined up beating down the door to get in here. We have had some good dining customers today. It's day one. We are off to a good start. We'll just say that.

SAVIDGE: Is it more or less what you thought? It is an experiment, isn't it? MANCUSO: It is an experiment, for sure. And, again, my expectations for today were not very, very high in terms of numbers. I am encouraged that we have had a couple of people come in and sit down and enjoy their meal and say thank you and leave.

SAVIDGE: We should point out that most of your customers would come from Georgia Tech. They get a lot of college students, things like that. And, of course, as we all know, the university in most cases aren't operating the way they were.

So they are trying day one. And many restaurants didn't even bother trying to open as far as in-house dining. This one did. Day one is now starting to fade into day two and every day they hope will get better. But right now, it seems that the mindset of a lot of customers is just I am not sure if I'm ready to come here at the table just yet. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Yes, we wouldn't blame them one bit. Martin Savidge, thank you.

And as the nation begins to slowly reopen, the coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force says that some of the restrictions right now will be with us for a while.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: Social distancing will be with us through the summer to really ensure that we protect one another as we move through these phases.

But at the same time we have to realize that we have to have a breakthrough innovation in testing. We have to be able to detect antigen rather than constantly trying to detect the actual live virus.


BALDWIN: With me now, our CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. And, Sanjay, we just heard Dr. Birx say that the U.S. needs a breakthrough in testing. Taking just a big picture look of what's next for American, at this point, we know what's needed, the feds know what's needed. Where is the holdup and why?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, it's something we have been talking about. But if I can, Brooke, for just a second to say, welcome back. I think my family -- we were among the thousands of texts that you received. And --

BALDWIN: I appreciated it.


GUPTA: -- my girls love you, as you know. You're a hometown girl and they felt they were worried about you, and I'm so glad to see you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you so much, my Atlanta people, good to see you.

GUPTA: Yes, we love you.

Look, we have been talking about testing, as you know, Brooke, even, I'm sure, while you were away. The testing conversation never went away, from the beginning, now and always will be the topic of conversation.

What Dr. Birx is talking about is very interesting, Brooke. Let me show you the three types of testing that we're talking about here. Most people are familiar with the virus test. That's the PCR test. Basically, what that means is you're trying to find a little strand of the genetic material of the virus. It's so small that you then have to like amplify it through this special technique. It requires reagents and all these things. Some of those things have been in short supply. That's made that top test really hard.

The second test is the antibody test. That's the test that basically tells, did you have the infection, Brooke? So, for example, you would probably test positive for that in an hour or at least in some short time period.

It's the bottom test that is sort of the interesting one that Dr. Birx brought up. We're not there yet. But, basically, what this is saying is we're just going to look for a protein that sits on the top of this virus. We don't need to find the genetic material. We need any of those other reagents necessarily. We just want to find this protein.

Think of this more like a strep test. I don't know if you had one of those, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Oh, yes, I did.

GUPTA: It's a rapid strep test, yes, or even like a rapid flu test, something that you can do very quickly. It gives you an answer and then maybe gives you some confidence to go into your place of work or go into some public sort of space.

These tests are sometimes problematic. They can have high false negative rates and that obviously is something they need to fix.

But that's what she's talking about, this idea that we need to do more testing, everyone has heard that, but more available testing, I would say, Brooke. Like who do you call, where do you go, how do you get your results. That all has to be very, very easy for people to start thinking about reopening. And, sadly, in your home state here where I am, Georgia, we're not there yet. Despite the fact that Martin is at that restaurant and places are opening up, that's going to be the really tricky thing here, I think, Brooke.

BALDWIN: And on the point of the testing, and I hear you on who should reopen and maybe not, you and I have had the nasal swab. I put this video out because I thought it was important and I know you have too, just for people to see how deep the doctor goes in order to really know whether or not you are sick.

And I know that here in New York City, Mayor de Blasio said they are starting self-swab testing. What do you make of people at home trying to do this themselves?

GUPTA: I think we're going to have to get to that point. I mean, because -- and it has to be validated in some way. Think of this -- the metaphor I sometimes use, Brooke, and it's not a blood test for this but like diabetics are constantly checking their blood sugar.


GUPTA: I think it has -- I mean, just to get their head around it, people need to get their head around, like what kind of availability of testing. This would not it be a blood testing and it would be some other test, but something like that, or point of location. I mean, I don't know if this would happen, but let's say you are going into Hudson Yards at some point in the future, but in order for you to feel confident that, A, you don't have the virus, again, you shouldn't because you had this infection, but that also people around you don't have the virus, just the degree of confidence is going to have to be based on testing.

And then if you did come back positive, if someone did come back positive, okay, now, you need to be isolated. By the way, who have you been in contact with the last two or three days, how are we going to sort that out, that's got to be part of this as well. That's called containment.

Right now, we're still trying to slow down. But if we're serious about getting out the back side of this curve, we've got to contain this virus, that's before we have a vaccine, before we have a therapeutic even, and that's challenging. It's laborious work but it needs to be done.

BALDWIN: Yes, and they are on it. It's just going to take some time. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, I love you right back. Thank you.

GUPTA: Good to see you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

News today on the treatment here with doctors in Florida say they're seeing great results involving plasma trials.

Plus, could a common heartburn drug be effective in treating COVID-19 patients.

And the CEO of Tyson Foods issues a disturbing warning. America's food supply chain is breaking as more plants shutter.

I'm Brooke Baldwin and this is CNN's special live coverage.



BALDWIN: Across the country, researchers are working to find effective treatments for people with coronavirus. And one potential treatment they are actually looking, at a key ingredient in the popular heartburn drug, Pepcid. A clinical trial is underway right now in New York, and that is not all.

Let's find out more from our Senior Medical Correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen. Elizabeth, it is wonderful to see you. Tell me more.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, before I tell you more, I want to welcome you back and tell you just how happy, joyful we all are to hear you and to see you and what an incredible example you have been for all us with your strength and your optimism, as you wrote in you are essay, which was so beautiful. You're a half glass full kind of gal, and it means the world to those of us who work with you and love you. So, welcome back.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

COHEN: Welcome back.

So, now, let's talk about heartburn medicines. This is a really intriguing study, Pepcid. This is the study of the active ingredient in Pepcid. It's intriguing. And the way that it started was because of an interesting observation by an American doctor working in China.


COHEN: Could it be that a medicine on drugstore shelves might help in the fight against coronavirus? Doctors are trying to figure that out. Researchers in New York City are studying the active ingredient in Pepcid, called famotidine. It's because of something doctors observed in China.

DR. KEVIN TRACEY, NORTHWELL HEALTH: Patients who were sick with COVID but were taking famotidine had a better outcome.

COHEN: Now, doctors at Northwell Health are trying it out in a clinical trial. So far, they have enrolled 187 patients and expect preliminary results in a few weeks.

TRACEY: There are many examples in the history of medicine where a drug that was designed for one purpose turns out to have an effect in another disease.

COHEN: But Dr. Tracy warned don't rush out to buy heartburn medicine. The patients in the study are in a hospital getting mega doses intravenously. And it's not clear that it will work.

While the Northwell doctors work on famotidine, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Saturday, had some hopeful words for another drug, remdesivir for animals with coronavirus.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: There was clinical benefit just reported a couple of two weeks ago with SARS coronavirus 2 in rhesus macaques.

COHEN: And a doctor at the University of Nebraska saying, results on a major remdesivir study in humans could be available in a week or two. Also over the weekend, the governor of Florida held a press conference where a doctor said, 12 patients had done well on convalescent plasma. Antibodies from someone who has recovered from coronavirus are given to someone who is currently infected.

DR. SUNIL DESAI, ORLANDO HEALTH MEDICAL GROUP: When we give it to that patient, we essentially are boosting their immune system to help fight this infection. This will be a huge game changer in our (INAUDIBLE) to fight COVID-19.

COHEN: But doctors warn having 12 patients who recovered doesn't necessarily mean very much, since most COVID-19 do recover. A larger study with the comparison group would be necessary. Only the best science to get treatments that really work for COVID patients and their families desperate for answers.


COHEN: Now, doctors involved in this study really wanted to emphasize, do not go to your local drugstore and hoard Pepcid or other drugs with this ingredient, because, one, heartburn patients won't be able to get the medicine that they need, two, we have no idea if it works against coronavirus, and three, the patients in this study are getting intravenous mega doses. They are not taking these tablets. Brooke?

COHEN: Keep us posted, certainly. Elizabeth, thank you on that possibility.

Meantime, the number of Americans traveling by plane is on the rise. This is according to the TSA. We'll tell you why.

And the White House just canceled tonight's task force briefing after President Trump's disinfectant remarks in his bizarre Twitter rants. But the president will still speak. We have those new details ahead.



COHEN: Another sign the country is reopening, the number of Americans catching flights is climbing slightly after sinking to lows not seen in decades.

The TSA says the uptick comes as states begin reopening businesses despite some warnings from medical experts, but it's still too soon.

Our CNN Correspondents are spread all across the country with a look at how states are rolling the dice.


GARY TUCKMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Gary Tuckman in Greeley, Colorado. This barber shop in Weld County in the northern part of the state is reopening amid confusion. That's because the governor of the state has authorized retailers to open up if they follow proper safety protocols and if they have curbside pickup. Barber shops are not on that list.

The county commissioner here have told retailers and other businesses they can reopen today. They're supposed to apply for a variance (ph) with the state. It's not clear that they did that, but this barber shop is listening to its county and reopening.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Rosa Flores in Miami, where Miami-Dade County will be announcing today the plan to reopen parks, waterways and golf courses.

According to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Jimenez, this will involve strict social distancing guidelines and law enforcement, so much so he says that he has hired 400 people just to monitor parks and that members of the Miami-Dade Police Department, the U.S. Coast Guard and state's fish and wildlife will be patrolling, they will be arresting violators if needed and issuing fines of up to $500.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dianne Gallagher in Atlanta. Several more meat processing plants shut down over the weekend, including the JBS beef production plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin due to an outbreak of coronavirus and its employees. This comes as Tyson Food board chairman took out an ad saying that the food supply chain is breaking and warning customers there are maybe fewer Tyson products in the grocery stores.

Now, experts tell CNN that while there will likely be less variety, there should still be plenty of meat. And the major concern is the health of the workers in the plants and the financial health of the farmers and their livestock.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I'm Josh Campbell in Los Angeles. Across the country, a handful of county sheriffs have publicly expressed their refusal to enforce new stay-at-home regulations aimed at stopping the spread of the deadly coronavirus virus.


And in Houston last week, the head of a police union publicly --