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Key Model Projects Higher Death Toll As States Reopen; Oxford Says, First Doses Of Vaccine May Be Available By Fall If Effective; New York City Mayor Unveils New Grading Policy For Public Schools. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired April 28, 2020 - 13:00   ET




BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me.

We will get to Governor Andrew Cuomo's comments going off on the world's lack of response to stop the spread of coronavirus, but let me begin with growing life and death dilemma now facing this country and trying to move forward from this crisis, just how much could we go backward when it comes to more infections and deaths.

That answer according to some new modeling is that reopening too early would bring deadlier outcomes. The CDC is consulting seven models that all show U.S. deaths from the virus will keep rising in the coming weeks, which is how sharply, so says the CDC, all depends on how much, quote, contact reduction Americans practice.

And as more than a dozen states, like Georgia, Florida and Texas begin to reopen businesses, one model often cited by the White House has raised its projection. The Institute of Health Metrics now fears as many as 74,000 people will die. That is up. You see from that previous number, 67,000, as its lead researcher says, some of that is based on mobility data showing more people are just out and about, moving around.

Moments ago, Florida's governor defended his response to coronavirus. He is in Washington meeting with President Trump.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): The most draconian orders that have been issued in some of these states and compare to Florida in terms of our hospitalizations per 100,000, in terms of our fatalities per 100,000. I mean, you go from D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, you name it, Florida has done better.

And I'm not criticizing these states, but everyone in the media was saying Florida was going to be like New York and Italy, and that has not happened because we understood we have a big diverse state, we understood the outbreak was not uniform throughout the state. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: The United States is on track to reach a million infections the next day or two, and matter how states reopen, the nation's top infectious disease expert says coronavirus will return this winter.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: But I am almost certain it will come back because the virus is so transmissible and it's globally spread.

Right now, as we start to stabilize, Southern Africa, places like KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and Cape Town and other places are starting to see emergence of cases. So it's not going to disappear from the planet, which means as we get into next season, in my mind, it's inevitable that we will have a return of the virus or maybe it never even went away.


BALDWIN: Let's talk about this and bring in our favorite doctor, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our CNN Chief Medical Correspondent.

And, Sanjay, let me begin just first with the New York governor from moments ago. He went off on the world and U.S. health officials just were not doing enough to stop the spread from China, for not, quote, blowing the bugle before the virus then spread. I mean, you actually though used that same line in his own responses, and he was wishing he had blown the bugle earlier. Does he have a point?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think he does have a point. I mean, I think when we started to see this coming out of China, I think there was a lot of questions about what was this new virus going to be like? Was it going to behave like a new flu virus?

Is it going to be more like 1918, Spanish flu or was it going to be more like SARS, which was very significant but ultimately affected only 8,000 people around the world. 800 people died of that. So I don't think there was a lot of context initially, I think, for people outside of China.

I think what we're not learning is that there was more sort of concern, and warning signs, red flags within China and perhaps the idea that the area of where this virus was clearly emanating should have been shut down earlier. I think there is some to this conversation.

Keep in mind, Brook, and this surprised me, but since 2009, when we had the last pandemic, H1N1, global travel in the world has doubled. Twice as many people get on an international flight now than they did back then. So if you don't act quickly in these situations, it goes everywhere very quickly. People can circumnavigate the globe in hours. So that is a legitimate concern.

And then I think he was criticizing their own actions as well. But in New York, should they have acted earlier, should they have thought about people already left China and went to Europe, where were they coming in, so all of that. There is going to be a lot to analyze, I think, in retrospect.

BALDWIN: No, I appreciate what the governor had actually told Axios. I'm just going to quote what he had said, when China says don't worry, I have a fire in my backyard, you don't hang up the phone and go back to sleep, right? You get out of your house, you walk two doors down and you check on the fire.


He was just saying, he wished he or maybe others had done. And you mentioned flying, we're going to talk about that in a bit.

But there are all these models, right, that these health experts are looking at. But the bottom line is that these experts are saying that there would be an increase in cases and deaths once social distancing was eased. And so can you put these projections of more deaths in perspective and is this a warning?

GUPTA: I think it very much is a warning, Brooke. And as you might imagine, I mean, I'm living and breathing these models, and as saying often goes, all the models are wrong but some are useful. And I think this is a useful one.

I think you were talking about these numbers so they bounced around this model from IMHE. And I don't know if we have them and we can show people. But as we look at the numbers which now suggests maybe 74,000 people may die by August 4th, by the way. That's a top in red there. And it's varied, right, since April 8th, which was 60,000.

But one thing, Brooke, I'll tell you, is that a month ago, it was 90,000. And when I talked to the modelers and say, how did it turn to 90,000 to 60,000. They say that people actually were abiding by the stay-at-home orders more than they realized and that it was having more of an impact than they thought. So that was good. That was the good news.

But the reverse of that, I think, to your question, Brooke, is also true. The concern now is that they'd have an impact if you start to loosen them early early. Like -- places clearly are loosening them early. There is nothing to suggest that some of these places should be opening yet if you look at the data. And now, you're seeing what the models now show, which is, higher. And I hate saying it, Brooke, but I think it may be even higher than that if these places continue to open.

It is a contagious virus, Brooke. No one knows this better than you. You suffered through it. But it is a contagious virus that really knocks people down and that hasn't changed. That's the constant in all of this. Our behavior, which some of it has been very good, but the virus is the same.

BALDWIN: Right. And the tough part about places that are reopening, like you're in Georgia, is simply we won't know the consequences of that for weeks.

There was another piece of this, which is Dr. Fauci says coronavirus will certainly return this winter. I know that's the last thing any of us want to hear. If the U.S. starts meeting testing and contact tracing thresholds by then, how will that change all of our lives come winter time?

GUPTA: I think it could have a significant beneficial impact if we have lots of testing in place. And people have demonstrated as much as this is tough for everybody -- I mean, nobody likes what's happening right now -- as much as it's tough, people have done a pretty good job.

If there is testing available, Brooke, so you're going to work at Hudson Yards and you are able to get tested and be confident that the test is a good test, that you don't have the virus, you're likely not to because of your own protection. That's a different conversation.

But regardless, people have the confidence to go in, know that they don't have the virus, people around them don't have the virus, they are still practicing social distancing, physical distancing, I think they can make a difference. It's going to be a different way of life for a while.

It's not going to be a permanent way of life, because I think, ultimately, a good medicine and obviously a vaccine would change that. But, yes, that's why the testing is so important. It's the physical part of it but it's also psychological confidence that people will have.

So I think it will make a bit difference if we have the testing in place and then have all the contact tracers that Governor Cuomo was just talking about in place to immediately say, Brooke, you should be isolated, who have you come in contact with besides your husband over the last several days, let's talk to them, make sure that they don't spread this and really contain it.

BALDWIN: Let's hope so. Let's hope they're able to do all of this for when and if we have to deal with this in another couple of months. Sanjay, thank you very much as always, you are the best.

What is happening today in some key states as they struggle with reopening? Let's check in with our CNN reporters around the country starting in Texas.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ed Lavandera in Dallas. Texas Governor Greg Abbott is lifting the stay-at-home order on Thursday, which means, on Friday, more businesses will be allowed to reopen. That includes retail stores, malls, restaurants, movie theaters, but they can only operate at 25 percent capacity. What is not included is barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, gyms and bars. Those will have to wait until the next phase, which could come around mid-May.

But in big cities, especially across Texas, there is a great deal of trepidation concern that this will cause coronavirus to flare up again in this state.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Rosa Flores in Miami, where Governor Ron Desantis has not made an announcement yet about when he plans to reopening the state. The governor meets with President Donald Trump today in D.C.

Meanwhile, here in Miami-Dade County, the Florida county that has been most impact by COVID-19, it's preparing to reopen parks, waterways and golf courses starting tomorrow with restrictions. social distancing guidelines will be enforced and law enforcement will be patrolling, arresting people and issuing citations if necessary.


Beaches meanwhile will remain closed.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Stephanie Elam in Newport Beach, California, where the city council is going to meet later on today to decide whether to perhaps close down the beaches for the next three weekends or alternatively to shut down the roadways that lead to the beaches, this after last weekend when droves of people made their way to the beach as California saw a heat wave. And it was clear not everyone was social distancing.

That did bring the ire of California Governor Gavin Newsom, who pointed out to people that we are just weeks away from easing some of the restrictions that are in place, not months, but all of this is really going to be based upon Californian's behaviors. And so we need to keep socially distancing, he said. Otherwise, that could change.


BALDWIN: All right, everyone, thank you.

Experts have said a vaccine will take at least a year, but scientists at Oxford say they may be close to one this fall. We have all those new details.

Also and passengers seen packed onto planes, many of whom without masks. Hear what are airlines are not doing as traveling starts pick it back up.

And an E.R. nurse worked 18-hour days at one point dies by suicide. Hear why her dad says she tried to do her job and it killed her.

You're watching CNN's special live coverage. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We'll be right back.



BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

The one thing nearly all of us are eagerly waiting is a vaccine to protect against coronavirus. And the way -- excuse me, the race to get that vaccine is underway and the lab with the biggest head start is at Oxford University in England. Scientists there say that they are ready to conduct large clinical human trials by the end of May and hope to have the first few million doses of their vaccine ready as soon as September.

CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is looking into this. And I can't help but smile. I am an optimist. I am hoping this will actually happen, seriously, in September?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: September seems a little like that's not going to happen. And I want to emphasize, Brooke, that Oxford, while they appear to have a human trial going on, they are not the first. There are three that appear to be ahead of them, but is this group that are really trying their hardest to get a vaccine to all of us as soon as they possibly can.


COHEN: From Tokyo to Quebec, from Iowa to New Orleans, to Australia, scientists in a race to come up with a vaccine to end the scourge of COVID-19, more than 80 vaccine developers in all according to the World Health Organization.

At lightning speed, a vaccine group even suggesting that the vaccines be manufactured before they have been fully test. The so far, seven vaccines are in human trials.

On March 16th, a study volunteer was vaccinated in Seattle as part of a trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Two other vaccine companies followed, one Chinese and one American. And then researchers at Oxford University in England vaccinated their first patient on April 23rd.

SARA GILBERT, OXFORD UNIVERSITY: What we're doing with any vaccine is trying to trick the immune system into thinking that there's a serious infection here that the immune system needs to respond to.

COHEN: Different vaccines work in different ways, as Dr. Anthony Fauci, Head of the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We're using everything from genetic immunization with RNA and DNA vaccines, viral vectors, live attenuated proteins, nano particles, et cetera.

COHEN: And that's a good thing, said Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: By having that diverse array of different technologies, it increases the likelihood that you'll get one or two or three that will reach the finish line.

COHEN: That's right. Most of these vaccines likely won't work and those that do will take a while to be tested.

HOTEZ: Dr. Fauci has charged us with doing this in a year to 18 months. That would be a record. And we're trying our best.

COHEN: Hotez, who is also working on a vaccine, thinks it will take significantly longer than that to complete human trials. Researchers spend many months giving vaccines to their human study subjects to make sure they're safe and effective.

With dozens of companies developing vaccines, it's possible some might be overly optimistic.

HOTEZ: You may think they're talking to the general public. What they're really doing is talking to their shareholders and investors. So try to stay calm.

You want to be able to kind of distance yourself from a lot of the hype.

COHEN: Settle in for a long and remember --

FAUCI: We're dealing with an unprecedented global health problem. If we don't get control of it, we will never get back to normal.


COHEN: So, again, seven teams are working on clinical trials in human beings right now. It is unclear of who'll be first. It doesn't seem like anyone is doing any better than the other. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Elizabeth, thank you very much.

And I know you have a lot of questions on coronavirus and we're going to try to answer as many of them as we can. Due this Thursday, Bill Gates joins Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta live for a new CNN global town hall. It's Coronavirus, Facts and Fears, Thursday at 8:00 Eastern.

The State of New York issues a new grading system for students. And the president of Brown University says, many colleges will just collapse if campuses do not reopen in the fall. We'll talk to her live.

And The Venetian in Las Vegas announcing how it will reopen casinos, and it includes thermal cameras.



BALDWIN: Big announcements today from New York City schools about grades and graduations because of coronavirus.


So, first, instead of getting an A, a B, C or D or an F, Mayor Bill de Blasio says kids in kindergarten through fifth grade will now be assessed with two options, meets standards or needs improvement. Meantime, middle school kids, sixth through eighth grade, will have those plus one more standard, course in progress, translation, summer school.

Since the coronavirus means no big gatherings, high school students will not their graduation ceremonies but the mayor did announce this.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY, NY: We're going to do one big citywide virtual graduation ceremony. We're going to do one big celebration of New York City's high school seniors. We're going to make it something very special.

You may not have the traditional ceremony that you are looking forward to. We're going to give you something you will remember for the rest of your life and you will cherish.


BALDWIN: I know that's a bummer for so many families, but we will get you more details on the virtual graduation ceremony expected in the coming weeks.

Now, coronavirus, this whole pandemic, really, has turned the path to higher learning into a massive roadblock with an uncertain future. Colleges and universities are facing some tough choices right now, mainly, can they reopen this fall?

In a new op-ed, the president of Brown University writes, I'm quoting her, the reopening of college and university campuses in the fall should be a national priority Institutions should develop public health plans now that build on three basic elements of controlling the spread of infection, test, trace and separate.

Christina Paxson wrote the op-ed. She is the President of Brown. She is with me now. So, Christina, thank you for being with me. I hope you are well.

And so you argue that higher education would crumble if colleges and universities don't reopen. Tell me why.

CHRISTINA PAXSON, PRESIDENT, BROWN UNIVERSITY: So, many, many colleges, and certainly not all, but many, were very financially stressed even before the pandemic hit. The predictions about closures over the coming decade of numerous small colleges primarily. And most colleges and universities depend on tuition. If they can't bring students back safely, it is very important, then they're going be under severe financial stress. And I don't how long that we'll recover (ph).

BALDWIN: So what can you do as the head of an incredible academic institution? What can you do just at Brown to stop the spread of this virus?

PAXSON: Well, what we're doing is making a plan. We don't know if we're going to be able to implement it, it depends on how the pandemic spreads, to just apply very basic public health principles as we think about reopening the campus and bringing students back. And you said it. It's testing, it's tracing and it's separating or quarantining and isolating people who are scik or who might have been exposed. And, you know, I think if we do that rigorously, if we had the resources to do that rigorously, then we have a fighting chance of opening our campus. And I hope colleges and universities across the country are able to do that as well.

BALDWIN: Now, I'm not trying to be glib here, but the last I checked, college kids like to hang out, they like to party, they don't always play by the rules. So, how possible, realistically, is this for young people and aren't dorms and classrooms petri dishes anyway even without a virus?

PAXSON: Yes. So those are really good questions, and those are exactly the kind of things we're working through. I mean, one of the big questions is how densely can you populate a dorm. So we're thinking about how we (INAUDIBLE) campus. That may mean that not all students return at the same time that we spread out the year. And we're thinking about large lectures where maybe the large lecture is something that you watch online and then you have smaller breakout discussion groups to cover the material.

So it won't be, if we can do this, a normal academic year. It will be different. And we're going to have to spend a lot of time working with our students, helping them understand what they need to do to responsibly keep themselves and their community safe. I have a great deal of (INAUDIBLE).

BALDWIN: Of course. No, faculty, family, students, they will have to roll with it, they will have to respect the rules if they want that hard earned education. Christina Paxson in Providence, thank you very much.

PAXSON: Thank you.

BALDWIN: For a month, we are seeing empty flights. But now, more and more passengers are seeing packing into planes, many whom aren't wearing masks. Hear from one passenger about what concerned her.

Plus, the president just said he is working with airlines to conduct tests on international travelers. So we have that news for you. Stay with me.